Somebody finally did it. At the ABC membership meeting in May 98,
Dr. Paul Gerard, the 1997-98 regional ABC board member from California, tossed a bombshell
into the closing minutes of the meeting just as everyone was stifling yawns, glancing
surreptitiously at their watches, and hoping that someone would make a motion to adjourn.
Dr. Gerard made a motion that the entire ABC membership be allowed to vote on whether or
not to move the ABC to the center of the country. Even though the meeting room was packed
with northeastern ABC members, his "Move the ABC" motion passed quite handily.
And that means that ABC members and member clubs can soon expect to receive a ballot
asking for their vote on yet another controversial issue - one that may make "Ear
Wars" look like a minor disagreement over which shade of blue to paint the guest
As long as
weve been members of ABC - over 17 years now - there have been rumblings about
moving the ABC out of the Northeast to a location more accessible to all exhibitors. This
dissatisfaction came to a head when several car thefts and muggings made it plain that the
Newark, NJ site was not only esthetically unappealing, it was downright unsafe as a venue
for our national specialty. At that point, after giving the membership a brief period of
time to check out and propose alternatives to Newark, the ABC sent out ballots for what
amounted to a "show site popularity contest," and Frederick, MD won. In all
fairness, no center-of-the-country site was proposed (Ohio and Pennsylvania were as close
to "centrally located" as it got), and I dont think anybody realized that
the Holiday Inn FSK could not accomodate all would-be ABC attendees without utilizing its
"sister motel," the Holiday Inn Express (formerly the Super 8), which was NOT as
conveniently located to the Holiday Inn FSK as advertised, especially if you flew into the
ABC with dogs or without a rental vehicle. Be that as it may, ABC members once again have
an opportunity to select a different location for our national specialty. Lets look
at the mileage differences first, and then talk about some of the other issues.
The mileage stats
printed below were taken from the American Map Corp.United States Road Atlas. To
the left of the chart are listed the cities generally considered centrally located in the
U.S. - St. Louis and Kansas City, MO - plus Dallas, TX, which was suggested by a Texas
exhibitor. Listed below them is Washington, DC (Frederick, MD), the current location of
the ABC. Across the top of the chart are listed four cities at opposite ends of the
country from which exhibitors travel to the ABC.
exhibitors who live on either coast are going to have quite a hike no matter what, but
everybody else would be within a very manageable driving distance of the ABC if, for
example, it were located in Kansas City. We Floridians would travel about the same
distance to Kansas City as we did to Newark.
What are some of the
other considerations? Several people we spoke to pointed to the relatively small turnout
at the Regionals as proof that the ABC entry would drop drastically if the show were held
anywhere but in the NE. Ah, but those people are forgetting the Futurity. The possibility
of winning one of those big Futurity prizes - and purses - with ones latest young
hopeful is what spurs many an exhibitor, including this one, to spend a week of their
precious yearly vacation traveling to and from the ABC.
Its also been
suggested that the experience and ability to put on a huge show like the ABC resides only
in the NE. The obvious answer to that argument is that, unlike the Regionals, sponsoring
the ABC is not the responsibility of a local member club...it is the responsibility of the
ABC. Our national specialty and futurity is produced and directed by the officers, board,
and committee members of the parent club and financed by its treasury (read, our dues),
wherever the show is held. Take a look at the 1998 catalog - this years ABC was
truly a national effort! The show chairwoman lives in MD; the obedience chair lives
in VA; the Futurity chair in NY; the ABC president hails from GA; the treasurer, from TX;
catalog advertising was also handled from TX; the chief steward lives in FL; the RV
parking coordinators are from IA and MN; the Top Twenty coordinator lives in FL, and the
ABCF dinner and auction was coordinated by two very capable members from MN and CA.
On the other hand,
we cant expect the ABC leadership to fly all over the country checking out sites
before the membership has made its wishes known with a "yes" - or "no"
- vote. So please take a look at the survey below. If you live in a centrally located area
of the U.S., know of a great potential show site, and wish to participate in the survey,
just fill it out and return it to B.U. via e-mail. Although B.U. is NOT conducting this
survey in an official capacity for the ABC, if the vote is "yes," we will
forward any information we collect to the ABC.
IF THE ABC
MOVES TO THE CENTER OF THE COUNTRY...
OF CITIES/SHOW SITES
Name of city:
Name of show site
(i.e. Kemper Arena, Holiday Inn Westport):
Distance from the
show site to the airport:
Type and size of
airport (i.e. international?):
If the prospective show site is a motel or hotel:
How many rooms
does it have (the Holiday Inn FSK in Frederick has only 155 rooms and is inadequate; the
Holiday Inn Newark Airport has 234 rooms and was ok)?
Is there a
restaurant on site?
What are the
restaurants hours of operation (24 hours, 8am - 9pm only)?
hotel/motel provide transportation to and from the airport?
What is the size
of the ballroom and meeting rooms?
Are the banquet
facilities large enough to accomodate 400-600 guests at the Annual Awards Dinner?
Is there room for
RV parking? How many RVs could be accommodated ?
Are there grassy
areas available for walking/exercising dogs?
Has the hotel ever
hosted a dog show?
If the prospective show site is NOT a motel or hotel:
How close is the
nearest motel/hotel that accepts dogs?
Does that hotel
provide transportation to the show facility?
How large is that
hotel (how many rooms), and does it have all the amenities listed above. For example,
Purina Farms in St. Louis, MO looked promising initially, but has only outdoor show
rings and no nearby motel large enough to accommodate all ABC goers or the annual banquet.