“RUFUS!” came the cries from all over the sold out Madison Square Garden, cheering him on and pleading with the judge to point to their favorite among the seven group winners in another spectacular Westminster Best In Show lineup.
They were not to be disappointed.
“The Colored Bull Terrier,” said Best In Show Judge James Reynolds, setting off a celebration for Rufus’s fans in the Garden and among the millions more watching the national telecast on USA Network.
Known formally as Ch. Rocky Top’s Sundance Kid ROM, the top-winning Bull Terrier of all time capped his impressive career with the ultimate win, Best In Show at the 130th Annual Westminster Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show Feb. 13-14, 2006. It was his 32nd All Breed Best In Show, which included wins at the Morris & Essex Kennel Club and the National Dog Show last fall.
Handler Kathy Kirk guided the enthusiastic 5-year-old, 70-pound dynamo around the ring perfectly, making him the first Colored Bull Terrier to capture the Westminster title. A White Bull Terrier was Best In Show in 1918.
Rufus is owned by Barbara and Tom Bishop of Holmdel, NJ, Dorothy Cherry of New York, and Norma Shepherd of Smithfield, MA, and was bred by William and Rebecca Poole and Robert Long.
Other Best In Show finalists:
Sporting Group (judged by Mr. Michael Faulkner): An exuberant Golden Retriever was a big crowd favorite in the final lineup. Ch. Chuckanut’s Party Favor O’Novel (“Andy”) was the only one of the Group winners without a previous Best In Show win to its credit, but had an impressive record with several Specialty Bests and many Group wins. Andy, a 7-year-old male, was owner-handled by Ken Matthews of Bellingham, WA, is co-owned by Wayne Miller, and was bred by Beverly Wagner.
Hound Group (judged by Dr. Donald Sturz): The only female in the finals was Ch. Thistleglen Margot, an elegant Scottish Deerhound owned and bred by Jeanne Frye and co-owned by Pennyworth Kennels of Chardon, OH. With four Bests In Show to her credit, this 4-year-old was the #1 Deerhound in the country and handled by Lesley Ann Potts. Pennyworth Kennels owned one of only three Hounds ever to win Best In Show at Westminster, the great Whippet Ch. Courtney Fleetfoot of Pennyworth, who captured the win in 1964.
Working Group (judged by Ms. Pat Laurans): Many breeder-owner-handlers were rooting for Keith Carter of Sharpsburg, GA and his Rottweiler, Ch. Carter’s Noble Shaka Zulu, in the final lineup. Only three breeder-owner-handlers have captured BIS in the last 50 years, the last one coming in 1983 when Chris Terrell piloted the Afghan Hound Ch. Kabik’s The Challenger to the ultimate win. Shaka, with 38 All-Breed Bests making him the top-winning Rottweiler in the history of the breed at the young age of 4, became the first Rottie ever to win the Working Group at Westminster.
Toy Group (judged by Dr. Harry Smith): A spunky little Pug, Am. Can. Ch. Kendoric’s River Song Mulroney, was looking to become the second Pug ever to go BIS at Westminster. Handler Barry Clothier had guided Dermot to the #2 Dog All Breeds in 2005 for owner Carolyn Koch of Chapel Hill, NC, in the process making him the top-winning Pug in the history of the breed with 65 Bests In Show. Dermot was bred by Robert and Carol McGuire and Doris Aldrich.
Non-Sporting Group (judged by Mr. Roger Hartinger): A Dalmatian named Boomer was trying to duplicate his kennel mate’s Best In Show performance from 2005 to give owners Dick and Linda Stark of Castle Rock, CO back-to-back wins (they are the owners of the 2005 Best In Show winner, Ch. Kan-Point’s VJK Autumn Roses). Ch. Merry Go Round Mach Ten, handled by Michael Scott, could have become the first Best In Show winner of the seven Dalmatians that had won the Non-Sporting Group at Westminster. Boomer was bred by Patty Strand of Portland, OR.
Herding Group (judged by Mr. Rick Gschwender): The youngest of the seven Group winners was just barely 3-year-old (born Jan. 1, 2003) Ch. Bugaboo’s Big Resolution, an Old English Sheepdog from Colorado Springs, CO. Colton Johnson handled for the breeder-owners Doug and Michaelanne Johnson (Colton’s parents). Bridgette Callahan and Pam Henry co-own “Smokin,” who plays with miniature horses at the owners’ house when he’s not at shows.