Ah yes, where were we? The Friday night preparations were made, which involved me putting on my 2011 costume...
Originally I wanted to do an off-duty lifeguard Portuguese Water Dog. It was brought to my attention that it wouldn't be a tourist. Darn! My mind went back to all things tropical and landed on the hula skirt. What happens when a Schnauzer isn't groomed right? Put on a Hawaiian shirt and a lei and you have...
So how surprised was I when three other dogs came walking in? Don't get me wrong - the costumes were cute, but dog suits are my style! Guess that makes me a trendsetter. That was the group that won first place. My hat goes off to them, but just remember one thing: you guys may have gone wild, but to paraphrase one of the first songs of the night, baby I was born that way! ;D
Anyway, the main attraction of the night was the green screen jet ski. Complete with air to blow your hair back, everyone was eager to hop on and take a ride!
And what's better than a Schnauzer riding a wave? ;)
Tropical themed groomers from all over hit the dance floor. There wasn't as much of an island music selection as I would've imagined, and it was mostly rap, but Mr. B kept the tunes spinning all night. Thrown into the mix were classic Groom Expo party songs like Michael Jackson, Cottoneyed Joe, Thank God I'm a Country Boy (complete with the bubble wrap stomp!), Cupid Shuffle, and others. All in all, it was a great night!
One thing I do have to say though: I felt so much better after taking that stuffy beard off! :)
Tosha and I woke up Saturday morning, groggy but ready to learn and shop! Our morning began with a seminar on setting yourself apart from other shops, but it wasn't really what either of us expected. A lot of the advice given was good old-fashioned common sense: keep your shop clean, hand dry all dogs with coat, and the like. However, the one thing that made the seminar worth it was the Christmas idea: a clear bulb with a lock of hair and tinsel inside, possibly painted with the dog's name on it. What a great memento! Maybe we can do that at the shop this year?
The trade show was in full swing with the feeling of energy and insanity vibrating down the rows of booths. After picking up some shampoo orders for Nancy, I ran around in typical J.C. trade show fashion: every and any direction, like a maniac! ;)
After buying some nail pens from Show Seasons, I went to the Groomer's Helper booth to see Chuck... and to paint one of Mark's nails blue! Gotta love my wacky trade show buddies; where else could I do something like this?
The second seminar in my day was hosted by Olga, who demonstrated a trim on - you guessed it - Bichons! The most impressive segment included her detailed explanation of those little puffball heads, a point that most anyone would love to brush up on... figuratively speaking! I feel like she was absolutely right when she said that the proper finish can only be achieved with shears; snap-on combs can come close, but there's nothing like carving out and then shaping that little fluffy ball.
Saturday's luncheon was not only delicious, but fun as well! After a buffet of delicious pan-seared chicken and potatoes, Mr. B. hosted a version of Minute to Win It. All of us contestants were given a different wacky activity to do, everything from putting a lampshade on our heads with a fishing line to shaking all the tennis balls out of a box strapped to our butts! Me? I got off the hook easy, yanking all the tissues out of a box! Everyone got a Barkleigh bag. You can never have too many of those!
This is what handstripping from hell must be like!
Still stuffed from lunch, I headed down to Diane Betelak's Wonderful Wheaten class. OK, so the Wheaten wasn't so wonderful, as he had peed all over himself. Ah, not only a Wheaten, but an un-neutered male! At least Diane was able to put him in an exquisite, modified show trim.
I can't quite remember in what fashion I bought things from the trade floor. Whether it be something I needed, something for the shelter, or just something that looked good, I was very bad with my credit card! While making the plastic melt, I saw my old classmate Novi in the competition arena with his toy Poodle, Ozzi. He ended up taking first place. Congrats again Poodle Guy!
The last class of the day was all about mixed breed makeovers. After viewing the slideshow of adorable mutts that Cheryl Purcell put together, I knew I had to get a DVD to keep them for reference. One of my favorites included a Maltese/Poodle mix groomed to look like a Westie; apparently, those little ears stand right up when you take the hair off! I also loved the Lhasa Apso turned Dandie Dinmont. Looks like I've got a new style to learn, because I fell in love with that little puffy head and tasseled ears!
With the night coming to a close, I decided to drop by the Aesculap booth to have my German Red Clipper blades sharpened. After talking to the reps about how I loved the Favorita II, especially for those pelted rescue dogs, they decided to give me the clipper that haunted my dreams: a Fav5! I'm still reeling from the fact that I now own the clipper with the power that I thought I was years away from owning! I cannot thank them enough, and neither will my little matted friends!
After showing off my new favorite toy (hehe!), it was already time for the Saturday night dinner. Best in Show awards allowed the competition winners to show off the best dogs the industry had to offer! Different this year was the exclusion of the Dancing with Dogs presentation. In its place was a lineup that was just as fun, if not more so. The night began with the retirement roast of Frank Rowe. Dirty jokes abounded about who slept with Frank and raucous laughter filled the dining hall. Frank even let fly with some jokes of his own, then offended everyone with his Elvis impersonation; he just stood in place with his arms crossed!
Next was something that I was involved in on Thursday night. Todd Shelley took the stage and waited for the emcee, Jay Scruggs, to appear on stage. When he didn't show up, Todd pulled out his cellphone and pretended to dial him. On screen, a video presented to look like live feed showed a very busy Jay selling DVDs in his booth. He took off, leaving a customer with one of them, and ended up in the room where the Internet Social was held. At that moment, all of us yelled in unison, "Oh my god, it's Jay Scruggs!!" He asked which way it was to the award show; we all pointed in a different direction, and off he went again!
Further editing of the video featured Jay stopping at the Bear's Den restaurant to play video games, running by a wide-eyed Ellen Ehrlich, cleaning up with hand sanitizer, and also included Pet Groomer's own Dirty Hairy pointing in every direction possible. Jay came running into the first Barkleigh Honors Awards - what a great show they put on, and that was only for the introduction!
Winners of awards included Daryl Conner for best blog, Frankie Brown for hospitality, Lisa Leady for congeniality (who also had us all crying - love ya, Lisa!!), Chuck for contribution to the industry, and Dawn Omboy for creative styling... and that's just to touch on the list! About midway they featured a spoof of Groomer Has It. The "up-and-coming" third season would feature the Barkleigh dog pooping in his trailer and a groomer using hedge clippers to style a model dog. While I was laughing, a small voice inside my head was silently cursing - this was an indication that there most definitely will not be a third season. Damn. At least the spoof was wonderfully entertaining!
The final award of the night - the Sally Liddick Lifetime Achievement Award - went to Sam Kohl for his many years of service and improvements to the industry over the many years. Ellen didn't win any awards, although she was nominated for a couple. Just remember Ellen, you are running with the big dogs now, and you should be proud!
A great night after a great day - how could I ask for anything else? Tomorrow is the last day, already! Why oh why does time have to fly when you're having this much fun? ;D