An Awesome Weekend At WPB


By Sandy Herzon


An Awesome Adventure
West Palm Beach July 2010


Joan Rivers would assuredly ask “Can we talk?”


Yes Joan, talking/writing recently about obsessive compulsive behavior, I think that I just topped the charts this past weekend at the WPB dog shows!


You be the judge!


Arriving at the South Florida Fairgrounds, the venue for the West Palm Beach dog shows at 6:35 AM Saturday morning July 10th………… 6 hours before Labradors are scheduled to enter the ring for judging goes to prove the unbridled obsessive compulsive disorder that pervades those who delve into the intricacies of being a Labrador breeder, owner and exhibitor!!!!


A trait so all-consuming that I wrote about and so chastised all the other Florida breeders & exhibitors of possessing in one of my recent diatribes published to this website. So this one is on me folksJ!


The early morning’s fog and dew were still evident all around the sprawling grounds and building complex that houses the expo center that serves as the backdrop for this weekend’s dog shows for the Florida dog show aficionados. There were a few other hardy souls that were already stirring about the vast grounds, walking dogs, carting crates and whatever else needs tending before the dogs are expected at their designated rings at their designated times. On this bright and early July morning, the powers that be decided to schedule the Labradors at 12:30 PM with 18 Vizslas ahead of the Labs.


So, yes, let’s talk about OCD arriving 6 hours before our scheduled time in the ring!! I fess up; I too am an OCD practitioner!


We sat in our “Lab-Limo” awaiting for the man/woman in charge to open up the “flood gates” to allow the prior-mentioned OCD crowd and those others “slightly/severely affected” to enter and jockey for position in front of all the doors serving as an entrance to the building, all this in order to unload all the pertinent paraphernalia that one accrues over the years, with us now almost 30 years, for such an endeavor.


When I say “we”, I am talking about my immediate family, for sitting right next to me in the front passenger’s seat is my wife Johanna of 25 years (feels more like 55!!!), oh well back to the dog house for me when she reads this offering!


In the back seat of our newly acquired “Lab-Limo” is my 21 year-old-to-be daughter, Jessica…………home for the summer from her senior-year-to-be at the University of Florida (go Gators!). She of recent “clubbing fame”…….I state “recent” because you have to understand that Jessie was the daughter that everyone wishes that they had growing up as a baby, then through pre-k, kindergarten, elementary, middle, high school and even her first 2 years at MD Honors College. The “perfect child” was our “Mimi”!


Now don’t get me wrong………… the ultra liberal, me probably stuck back in the 60’s mentality, actually sees nothing wrong with a responsible young person staying out to all gads time’s of the night or in Jessie’s case we need to define that arrival time to read……. “the wee and not so wee early morning hours”.


6 AM is usually reserved for those heading out to earn a living by toiling at some job that they probably hate with a passion ……….now a days at the Herzon’s adobe 6 AM is the time that Jessie’s bedroom door closes behind her right before she zonks out for rest of what we OCD people consider the “normal waking/working day”.


Like I said, it really doesn’t irk me the least bit about Jessie’s nocturnal ceremonial behavior as I can live with that without a problem, the problem (big, huge problem) arises with my partner of 25 years dozing right next to me in the front passenger’s seat who happens to also be the exact polar opposite to yours truly in all demographics designed to sort us homo sapiens out.


Yes, as true a bleeding heart liberal that you will find in me, Johanna is as staunch, ultra conservative, right winger as they come! Scary thought to have two people so opposite in almost every thought and prayer that has existed between us in this last quarter century!


My way of thinking is that if you plant a seed, nurture it through thick and thin, water it, give it the appropriate food, right it when the winds blows it down, trim it when it gets unsightly, and even talk to that plant along the way, that eventually it will grow into a stately and sprawling arbor of its own and this is the case with my soon-to-be-liberated-adult 21 year old daughter. On this emerging day she has slept a total of 1 ½ hours, the time it takes from our domicile’s location in the East Everglades, west of everything that is east of where we live to drive up the turnpike and arrive at the desired location where the dog show will take place! That’s the nightly, wee-morning clubbing scene at its best!


Joining in the cacophony of snores emanating from the front seat and also that same back seat of the stretch silver Lab-Limo* where Jessie tries desperately to catch up on lost sleep is my 16-year old son Ryan and his also 16-year old girlfriend Stephie.


So different are the times today that young folk this age actually travel around everywhere with each other and each other’s parents! “Sacre bleu mon Dieu” would emanate from my recently departed mother’s lips, of course only if she had spoken French! 


Back in my day as a youngster (no, not the cavemen times!), 16 year olds had to use those rotary phones that also had to be shared (party line) with 3 or more other houses! Since we couldn’t afford our own private line, you were stuck with the stupid party line phones! Now a day, “party line” is something totally different and there are some folk that pay big bucks to be on those “party line” numbers talking to perfect strangers that say the right things to them for a price! But, hey I’m a liberal, so different strokes for different folks.


Ok, so back to my super-star baseball playing son, just back yesterday from an 8-day baseball tournament at Disney World………..can you say kids now a day are spoiled! Ok, I can say kids now a day are spoiled!


In my day we played out in the middle of the street and constantly were headed for hiding places after breaking someone’s car or house window……………today kids play in state of the art stadium complexes in super vacation haunts like Disney World!


Anyways, Ryan is also an integral part of Team Chambray as is my clubbing-going daughter Jessie and her ultra-to-the-max conservative mother, Johanna! All four Herzons form Team Chambray, each handling a special dog or two or three and on this very special occasion weekend, maybe 5 or 6 or 7 different dogs each!


That last statement of handling that many dogs in one show has already been acknowledged as soon as I enter the now empty, cavernous exposition building that on this weekend in July will serve well as a dog show venue. I say, now empty at 6:45 AM, but by 8:30 AM it will be bristling and bustling with activity as people and their dogs scurry to and fro from crate to ring and back again while others mill about the many vendors selling their wares, still others waiting for the action to begin in each ring and become cheering spectators!


My presence at the show was acknowledged as soon as I open the back door to the building and begin to search for suitable grooming space for 25 to 30 dogs, for shortly after taking my first few steps into the building I am met by the show chairmen, Tom Grinels.


After exchanging the usual pleasantries with the always affable, super friendly and very talkative Mr. Grinels, I usually refer to him by his first name Tom, but on this occasion he is serving in the highest capacity at a dog show and having been through the process many times myself, he deserves all the reverence for doing a usually thankless job! So here’s to you Mr. Show Chairman! Thank you for a job well done.


Upon seeing my displeasure in not finding suitable space for my setup, Show Chairman Grinels goes into action, first of all by thanking me for bringing the largest entry of dogs at this dog event. Then by finding/making a couple areas where I can set up house for the weekend for all of my client’s dogs!


Of special significance for M. Grinels being so co-operative is that there are 51 Labradors entered each day for these shows and 31 of those Labradors are Chambray-bred Labradors! Of course he is always more than willing to be helpful at all the shows that we encounter each other at. The special interest generated this weekend is that the next breed with a large entry at this show is 21 total dogs, so the Chambray Labrador’s group is responsible for more entries than the 2nd breed behind Labradors!!


Before jumping head first into the awesome adventure of a weekend, I need to back up a bit and explain the Lab-Limo thing! There is always a story to be told and this one is one of those “ironic twists of fate” things!


My wife, besides having particular social/traditional leanings is also very, very materialistic to say the least (more dog house time earned for me here). She longs for the good things in life and cars are extremely high on the list! If we had the means and comfort there would be some really expensive sounding car name sitting out in front of our house. Since the reality of life is that we are of more middle ground economically, our car bear’s the name of a Honda Pilot, now mind you that is an exceptional car in my book, however in Johanna’s book there is definitely something “better” to aspire to car-wise.


Now, little ole me, the liberal spouting oldster, cars have a value, to get me from point A to point B and the look or name of the car has no consequence to me at all!


So, here is where irony comes in and plays some chicanery with my wife and with me! Remember back several paragraphs where I mention that along the way as a form of convenience we begin to accrue certain items to make our way through life and especially with our endeavors easier, well recently it became apparent that to continue with our OCD-driven passion for all that is dog-related we needed a better vehicle configuration than what we currently were employing.


We needed a better form of transportation to suit the 4 completely different Herzons, and whoever came along with them for the ride and to comfortably transport and house our client’s dogs.


So, guess what car brand name Sandy Herzon, the non-materialistic chap is driving around in? Again, mind you that the name really means sasquatch to me as I am truly not Gucci-name driven……………….but it is ironic that yours truly now drives one of those expensive sounding named cars……..a Mercedes Benz luxury van while the missus drives the ordinary sounding Honda car. Can anyone say more dog house time?


Ok, ok back to the awesome adventure weekend for the Chambray Labrador Owners Community owners, breeders and exhibitors.


If you read the Sizzling Summer of 2010 article, you would see that our dogs, especially the Girls Of Chambray have been on a winning tear of epic proportions! A winning streak that has no parallel in the last 30 years with showing dogs, the Chambray-bred dogs have won consecutively at every weekend of dog shows since the end of January 2010, that’s 14 straight weekends with at least one Chambray-bred dog winning points. Add two more winning weekends outside of Florida as Chambrays Dakota also won points and Best Of Breeds in Virginia and South Carolina along the way.


This winning streak is not just in our own backyard of South Florida with more than 5 different weekends and location down at this end of the peninsula, it stretches out through every weekend of shows adding 6 weekend/cities in the Central Florida area and then up to North Florida for 3 more weekend/cities of wins.


Coming into the West Palm Beach shows, our windup weekend before we all go into a Florida-weather induced hibernation/hiatus, one lasting until the end of September, we had several of our dogs on the verge of finishing out their AKC championship. One dog needed just 1 point to end her trek as a class dog and enter the world of an AKC champion, several others needed to parlay the 2 shows into wins to accumulate the needed points to champion out.


A consensus was arrived by the large number of Chambray owners to meet up at this last gasp of a show until we all could breathe again at the Deland Fl dog shows in late September. Maybe, if enough of the other Florida breeders and exhibitors would enter their dogs we could build up two days of major pointed shows at WPB. So, it was to be, there were enough dogs entered to build 2 days of majors!


The owners and exhibitors from the Chambray group did their part as 20 owners of females and 9 owners of males with 2 owners of champions entering their dogs, coming from all points of Florida. For a major in females, 23 are needed and 24 were entered, mission accomplished!


The Chambray owners came from due north to Jacksonville, centrally north from Ocala, from the northwest in Brooksville and Tarpon Springs, just an hour north to Vero Beach, across Alligator Alley to Naples, in the neighborhood from Wellington, Boca and Boynton Beach, south to Ft Lauderdale and from several cities in Miami-Wade county***(obvious reference to Miami becoming the sports Mecca of the western world with the recent re-signing of basketball super star Dwayne Wade and the major land grab of “King” Lebron James from sleepy town Cleveland, hey you snooze you lose Cleveland)!


So here we were all gathered for the largest congregation of Labradors from one kennel in remembered times (like in “my” remembered times). Adding to the special occasion was more that 30 other owners that showed up in support of the home team. Ringside was standing room only with so many people sharing so much camaraderie and so much in common, all loving the breed so much and almost all those by ring 4, the Labrador ring owning a dog from the same breeder.


Of super special interest there were 19 dogs present for the competition that were sired by the same dog, Chambrays Hogan! There were also 6 of his grandkids there that were sired by Chambrays Bailey. Bailey is Hogan’s highest rated 8-week old male puppy ever and now he is producing as great as his sire has done for our kennel. Hogan is owned by Rosie and Bill Feeley of Wellington Fl and Bailey lives in Kendall Fl with Faith Bandklayder and Neil “The Trainer” Wasserman.


Hogan’s daughter, Chambrays Viper owned by Marie Knapp of Homestead would be awarded Winners Bitch/Best Of Opposite for a 3-Point Major on Saturday and Sunday’s show would have Chambrays Scarlet a daughter from another of our great stud dogs Chambrays Lancelot would be the Winners Bitch. Scarlet is owned by Nina and Edgar Otto of Boca Raton who also own Cadbury one of the most awesome looking male Labradors ever bred by Chambray.


Hogan’s highest rated 8-week old puppy ever, now 3 ½ year old Am/Int/UKC Ch Chambrays Charm would also be in the competition and be awarded Select Bitch to Viper at Saturday’s show to add 2 points to her Grand Champions points. At Sunday’s show Charm would take Best Of Opposite Sex and add 2 more points to her now total of 17 points and 3 majors. (25 points and 3 majors needed for the Grand Champion title)


Chambrays Cher, another Hogan daughter was awarded Reserve Winners Bitch and Chambrays Sunny Daze was awarded Reserve Winners Dog at Sunday’s shows. Both Sunny and Cher are owned by Mary and Bob Jakeway of Tarpon Springs Fl.


Congratulation to Sunny for also passing his CGC test and now officially can add the CGC to his credits. For those watching the testing, Sunny passed the 10-item test in spite of the major JbrouhahaJJJ moments by his handler……………lol,lol,lol,lol J, J, J!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


How in the world can you miss a baby carriage that size Bob? I’m sure the other owners looking on are still giggling!!!


Visiting us at the special weekend were some real blasts from the near past and not so near. Martha Chisholm showed up with Ch Chambrays Sir Lancelot in tow for all to see and lavish love upon. Martha came into the program in 1997 with the addition of Ch Chambrays Chancey (our logo dog) to her life and then keeping Lance one of Chancey’s boys from her 2nd litter.


Also visiting was Matt Connors who purchased his Chambray Lab back in 1989 and Milo lived to 2004!!!!! There are way to numerous people to name in this short informative article, so thank you to all those that came out in support.


Thank you to all our present, near present and really way in the past owners for making the Chambray Labradors project the huge success that it has become. It was truly the talk of the town this weekend by those putting the dog show on and those in attendance at the shows.


I received over 50 forms of congratulations and “thank you’s” from officers of the club, stewards, many of the vendors, several of the judges and even from some of the other breeders of competitive Labradors present for the competition.


It is such a pleasure to see so much positiveness that is generated from those that understand and appreciate what Chambray Labradors and the Labrador Owners Community is doing in so many different areas of participation with the breed.


The Labrador Owners Community has become the model for the rest of the dog show environment to follow. The vast majority of those at the shows that are aware of our offerings have taken notice and tip their collective hats to the successful venture.


To me the program is like that seed that was planted and was nourished along the way and today it is a large sprawling tree with branches reaching across the sunny state and beyond its borders. A stately tree that now stands solidly on its own and continues to grow with each succeeding generation of top quality-bred Labradors.


Thank you and congratulations to all that took part in an awesome weekend adventure!


Mission accomplished.............for now until we meet again at the Deland Fl dogs shows in September!





The follow-up to an astonishing, awesome and very inspiring weekend!!!

That's A Wrap
The First Half of the Florida Dog Show Season
Is Now History





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