A 5-Generation Odyssey
BeaverCreeks Crystal Chambray
Update note: 10/16/2005 Since publishing this story on 10/15/2005, I have received numerous emails asking about the relationship of Crystal to their dogs. If you send me your dog's name with its sire and dam I will be able to respond with the relationship.
Inadvertently I left out several champion descendents from Crystal, 7 to be precise!!!! So I have gone back over the original story and added new "footage" to include those Chambray dogs that were left out of the loop the first time around. The additional copy will be found in italics and in this color within the original story.
A Five-Generation Odyssey Begins
The trip to pickup up our newest Labrador Retriever puppy at Miami International Airport was uneventful; the same ride that had been taken several times before, however little did we know on that fateful day in February 1987, that we would be embarking on a journey that would span 2-plus decades with this unforgettable Labrador puppy.
The wait at the Delta Dash counter was interesting; as my wife Johanna and I watched the passengers from the Pennsylvania-bound flight, all bundled up with all types of heavy garb, trench, fur, leather coats and an array of other harsh-weather paraphernalia not normally seen in Miami. My gosh, were they in for a major surprise when they were to step outside the airport’s terminal. Outside of the confines of the concrete and glass structure, these denizens of the north were going to encounter a typical steamy Miami night, even in February.
We too were in for a shocking sight as they wheeled out the kennel cab that the puppy was shipped in. We anxiously peered inside the little cage door to see our newest addition to our growing Labrador family. All we could see was a huge white ball of fur peering back out at us. Finishing up the paper work for the courier, we scampered out into the balmy, 90+ degree evening’s parking lot, now filled with passengers removing the snow garb and carrying most of what they could over their shoulders, while some of the heaviest outfits were draped over their suitcases, all waiting for their transportation to destination’s unknown.
Our destination was the 30 mile ride back to the farm, but we could not wait the hour that it would take to get home to see our newest little girl, we had to take her out right then and there before we placed the crate into the back of our car. We had to see what Carol and Francis Rabalais from Beavercreek Labradors had sent us.
This was not our first shipped puppy, in fact she was our third in the last 6 months, so we had been through the drill recently, but this was to be a one of a kind experience right from the get go. In fact, we should have had a premonition that this was the beginning of something great! Instead we were shocked when we opened the little crate door and we could not get her out, as she occupied the entire crate! When she finally squeezed out of the confining crate, we weren’t sure if it was a purebred Labrador. I stared in bewilderment at this huge ball of white fur that reminded me of the famous Star Trek episodes where the Trebles took over the space ship, reproducing on masse throughout the ship. Trebles were those round furry creatures that were so adorable that they entranced all that laid eyes upon them.
Well, this white Treble of a Labrador bedazzled us to no ends that steamy Miami night. Unlike the Start Trek Trebles, she was a one of a kind, for I have never seen another puppy this bound in coat at 8 weeks of age! Needless to say, we were mesmerized by our newest little princess and named her Crystal! Beaver Creeks Crystal Chambray to be exact. Her influence and importance to our kennel now spans, the 1980’s, 1990’s and now well into the year 2005!
As a show dog she endured through our learning processes into the realm of dog shows. Although we had been into the sport at the obedience sector, Crystal was to be our most successful representative venture in the show ring at those primitive times. With our novice training and handling, by 1992 she would have accumulated 13 points and 3 major wins and was on the verge of becoming our first-ever champion. For those from Miami, the year 1992 is a major notch carved deep into the minds of those that lived here at the time. Hurricane Andrew, the worst natural disaster to ever hit the country at the time, plowed through the area leveling everything in its path, nothing could withstand the 6 hours of onslaught, the 200 mile and 6 hours of winds, the more than 175 tornadoes and the weeks of rains that followed. Nor nature’s trees, nor man’s structures, nor living creature was spared the ordeal and those that went through the harrowing nightmare would take months and in some cases years to recover from the lingering psychological effects.
Crystal was one of those victims, for she would never be able to show again. The house that we thought would provide a safe haven from the storm would cave in on the dogs that were huddled in their crates. The all-night ordeal of thousands of flashes of lightning, thunder, rain, collapsing roof, 200 mile and hours of screeching winds and hundreds of objects hurled at her would cause irreparable damage to her and all the other show Labs that were so traumatized that eventful day/night in August of 1992.
Although Crystal would never show again, she would contribute greatly with a litter by Ch Snowdenhills Wise Guy, a gorgeous black male, and grandson to Eng/Am/Can Ch Receiver of Cranspire, the most influential Labrador in our breed’s history. From that litter came our first-ever homebred female champion, Ch Chambrays Indian Summer and littermate Chambrays Cryptic Crytic (Tikki). Crystal was bred a second time to another black male that produced Chambrays Apollo and Chambrays Perfect Season Shula.
Ch Chambrays Indian Summer would have only one litter, as she was bred to Ch Lindenhall’s Grandquest Rebel, producing one of our best litters ever. The 5 males and 2 females were breathtaking. Four of them went on into conformation, with Ch Chambrays Caleb achieving national status as the #9 Labrador in the country for 1995 and a participant at the 1995 Westminster Dog Show, the first-ever Chambray dog to step center stage at the exulted venue at Madison Square Garden.
We only had 1 litter from Caleb as he was bred to our first made up champion, Ch Chelon's Emma Ducka O'Chardon. From that litter, 2 dogs went on to show and garner champion's points. One of those was Chambrays Just Cruizin who won 10 points and both majors before his owner moved away and not show again. Chambrays Can U Cachet was to retire with 9 points and 1 major and produce 1 litter for Chambray which produced one of our winningest dog ever, Ch Chambrays Franco. Franco was our first GROUP 1 winner and ended up with 10 Best of Breeds and 5 Group placements.
There were 3 other dogs from Summer's litter that made an impact for our kennel. Chambrays Mitzvah (13 points and both majors) and Chambrays Summer Rebel Amber (13 points and both majors) both would come very close to finishing their titles. Each however would fall short for varying reason, none having to do with their conformation.
Chambrays Mitzbah bred once for Chambray and produced our very first black American champion, Am/Int Ch Chambrays Silver Storm CGC. Storm won several Best of Breeds and a couple of Group placements.
Chambrays Summer Rebel Amber was not to achieve the coveted champion’s title, but she was to take the torch from her dam, Summer and carry the betterment of the breed to the next generation with a single litter from Am/Can Ch Grandquest-Chambray Slapshot.
From that first and only litter, Amber would produce one of the most outstanding puppies that I had ever evaluated. At Chambray our goals are to produce the very best and then to share those outstanding pups with people that appreciate well-bred specimens of the breed. With that goal in mind, that special puppy was placed with Martha Chisholm, as she had been on our waiting list for over a year. That puppy would grow up to be:
Chancey was to team up with my wife Johanna to accomplish most of the above in record-setting fashion through part of the 1998 and 1999 show seasons.
Chancey’s first litter to Ch Mtn Meadows Romeo produced an all female litter of 3 puppies. Each of those puppies would certainly live up to the now Chambray-coined motto of Betterment of the Breed. All three of those girls would earn their AKC champion's title in dominating fashion at the Florida and Georgia shows, setting all kinds of records along the way.
Am/Int Ch Chambrays Chance N Counter CGC (Connie) would be the first out of the 3 girls to shine as a puppy,
· Taking our kennels first-ever Best Puppy In Show, a feat that she accomplished twice with then 12-year old Jessica Herzon at the end of her leash.
· Connie with Jessie handling would also be the first of the 3 puppies born to Chancey to win champion’s points by taking back to back Winners Bitch ribbons and they did that on the same days that Chancey won back to back Best of Breeds. Chancey and Connie are the only mother and daughter to accomplish Winners Bitch & Best Of Breed two days in a row! What a thrill that was for me as I handled Chancey to both of those Best of Breeds and to have my then 12-year daughter, Jessica handle Chancey's daughter to 2 Winners Bitch. A truly father and daughter moment, deja vous all over again, twice!
The 2003 show season in the Labrador ring out of the bitch’s classes was totally dominated by the 3 girls from Chancey’s litter.
The first of the 3 girls to finish out their AKC championship was Am/Nat Ch Chambrays Twist Of Fate (Karley) in August of 2003 with a spectacular Best Of Breed/Group 2 win over the top winning Labrador of all times BIS BISS Ch Aquarius Centercourt Delight (Buzz). Co-incidentally Karley was bred to Buzz for her first litter in 2005. I was to have the honors in finishing Karley, mostly from the Bred-By-Exhibitor class and then Karley went on to an amazing run at the national rankings in 2004 with junior handler, Jessica Herzon handling her as a special in the Best Of Breed ring.
By the time the 2004 dog show season was over with, Karley had ascended to national prominence with setting benchmarks and records along the way
Karley and Jessie would receive an invitation to the 2005 Eukanuba National Championship Invitational, making Karley the first-ever Chambray Labrador to make this most revered venue for champion dogs.
The second girl to attain her AKC champion's title was Connie and she was totally handled by Jessie finishing in September of 2003; only 21 days after Karley had finished in Georgia the month before. Connie’s finish was as spectacular as Karley’s finish, as Connie and Jessie would beat a field of over 50 females for a 5-point major at the weekend of the South Florida Labrador Retriever Specialty! Connie’s record of 51 females defeated still stands today. Connie and Jessie would also shine in the Junior Showmanship ring, with Jessie achieving a 2003 Top 10 Junior Handler USA!
It seems that spectacular finishes and one-upmanship was imprinted at birth to all three girls from Chancey’s litter, as Am/Int Ch Chambrays Mad About Madeline CGC TDI NAP (Maddie), was to up the ante finishing her championship the following year with massive fireworks in July with a Best Of Breed and a Group 2 in one weekend and topped that off the next weekend with a Best of Breed and GROUP 1 on her first time out as a champion! Since those spectacular weekends, Maddie has soared to new heights in the record books.
Chancey’s second litter was to 2002 Eukanuba Best of Breed Winner Am/Nat Ch Little Rivers Ophir Calvin that produced 5 superb puppies. Two of those have gone on to show, with Am/Int Ch Chambrays Chisholm Sir Lancelot CGC (Best of Breed winner) and Int Ch Chambrays Amazing Grace CGC making a mark of their own in the show circuit. The culmination of excellence for Chancey’s offspring would come June 2004 when three of her kids would accomplish a feat never seen by this author in 30 years of dog shows; The Family Trifecta!
A Trifecta consists of BOB, Winners Dog and Winners Bitch all at the same show. In June of 2004 the “Family” Trifecta was perfected with
Talk about exemplifying the Betterment of the Breed credo, all of the preceding have done Crystal proud; in fact Crystal would revel in the foundation that she laid here at Chambray, from her daughter, Summer however the other daughter Tikki and her son Apollo from her second litter have also contributed greatly to our kennel.
Chambrays Cryptic Crytic (Tikki), also left a valuable imprint in our successes since that fateful day in 1987 when we picked Crystal up at the airport. Tikki was also shown and won several Winner Bitch awards, in fact in March of 1992 Chambrays Russell and Tikki would team up to win our kennel's first-ever Big Five, or as we call it the Perfect Trifecta.
Note of interest: Since then Chambray has enjoyed an astronomical 19 Big Fives-Trifectas, including the unheard of Family Trifecta in June of 2004.
Along with Crystal, Tikki was also not spared by Hurricane Andrew, as she too would suffer irreparable psychological damage and was to never show again after the monster storm ravaged Chambray farm in the summer of 1992.
Tikki was bred once to Ch Danjacs Vinnie Vegas and produced Chambrays Nikita, who was bred to Am/Can Ch Grandquest Chambray Slapshot and produced Ch Chambrays Catch Me If U Can (Chase), a multiple Best of Breed and Group winner.
Tikki was also bred 3 times to Am/Can Ch Grandquest-Chambray Slapshot (Chancey’s sire) and produced several exceptional show puppies with 5 of them winning champion’s points of which one in particular has contributed to the Chambray Betterment of the Breed motto.
One of her daughters, Chambrays Bailey Irish Cream attained 13 points and 1 major before retiring for maternity duties. Bailey has produced 1 litter to Mtn Meadows Romeo (Karley, Maddie & Connie’s sire) from this one and only litter, 2 AKC and International champions excelled at the dog shows. Setting a champion’s weekend record in March of 2005, Am/Int Ch Chambrays Moon Over Maya and Am/Int Ch Chambrays Right On Target would both attain their AKC champion’s title, Maya on Saturday and her brother Dakota the next day on Sunday.
One of Tikki's sons, Chambrays Honey Boy sired a litter that produced 2 champions, Ch Chambrays Penalty Shot and Ch Chambrays Buckshot Shooter a multiple Best Of Breed and Group winner.
Crystal's son from her second litter produced Chambrays Apollo who showed for several years, winning 9 points and 1 major before retiring from the show circuit and moving to Key West with his owners. Apollo sired 1 litter for Chambray and produced 1 champion offspring Ch Chambrays Klever Kloi.
The latest generation, #5 from Crystal’s lines are a litter from Am/Nat Ch Chambrays Twist Of Fate bred to the winningest Labrador in the history of the breed, BIS BISS Ch Aquarius Centercourt Delight (Buzz). Buzz currently has 25 Best In Shows and over 5 Best In Specialty Shows.
From this litter there are several outstanding puppies that will make a mark in the show world in the future.
Watch for Chambrays Stroke Of Genius (Frida) make her debut at the Orlando International Shows at the end of October 2005. Frida will take off where her mother Karley left off, with Jessica Herzon at her helm. We have “great expectations” from this very typey and flashy girl. Although Frida is 6 generations away from the ball of white fur that we picked up at the airport on that now memorable night in 1987, she exemplifies all that has become the Betterment of the Breed motto.
Yes, I have no doubts that somewhere in the celestial canine skies, Crystal looks adoringly at her brood of descendants and smiles as only she could. As she sees the invaluable imprint to our kennel and to all the owners, exhibitors and breeders that came along to savor the benefits from her is a continuing odyssey.
There are also scores of other dogs that are direct descendents from Crystal that have gone on to bring love and joy to all those that owned them and although we don't have a measuring stick as we do with the show dogs that accumulate titles and accolades, I am sure that those who read this story will send in stories of their own about those dogs so that I may add them to our Great Stories section.
I truly long to hold that bundle of white fur once again as I know that I will some day again, thanks Crystal, for Chambray is all that it has become because of you.
Back to Reference Library
Back to Home Page