Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Blowing Off the Dust for Intergroom 2012

It happened late last Thursday night. That realization was suddenly slapped into my face like a sack full of batteries. No, it wasn't the fact that I haven't written anything here since September; but rather the realization that in less than 24 hours, I'd be on the road for New Jersey! Yes, the show season was upon me again, and even though I registered in March, that familiar yet electric feeling never hit me until the last minute!

Unlike departure weather from last year's Groom Expo, Pennsylvania's clear blue sky spanned out over the mountains, the sun beating down on Puppy Waggin' II. The drive always goes fast under those perfect April conditions. Shortly after checking in and collecting my registration info on Thursday, I ran into two familiar faces: Joey and Jen (aka Dirty Hairy from PetGroomer)! After saying hi, we all retired for the night; travel seemed to get to the best of all of us and the big excitement wasn't until tomorrow!

Saturday, the doors of the trade show revealed a groomer's candy store. Nearly 150 vendors were present to sell us new toys, and among them were Chuck (who gave a powerful presentation using my chewed Groomer's Helper), Gilly (who changed the name of his company), Jorge, my friends from Aesculap... y'know, it just might be easier to say who wasn't there!  :)

Handstripped Brussels, Frodo
Classes were offered by ISCC groomers Pam Lauritzen and Vero DaSylva, Rev. Sonny D., Melissa Verplank, and others. The Reverend spent time talking about how important nonverbal communication is in the salon, and taught us a breathing exercise to help clear our minds - exactly what I need, but I haven't gotten very good at it yet! ISCC's handstrip class gave me further insight into one of my grooming obsessions; it really IS an art form when done correctly! Now if only I can find someone with a dog that they want kept in show rotation! Melissa Verplank's class on time management also contained useful business tips - a few extra gems hidden in an already dynamic presentation. And what better way to close out the day than joining Jen and Melissa (Mylady of PG) for a hibachi dinner?  ;D

In the competition ring, Novi was standing out among the Rising Stars. While I was in ISCC product and Spaniel classes on Sunday, he snagged Best in Show of the Rising Star division with a Kerry Blue terrier. Congrats again Novi, your dog was absolutely stunning!

Groomer Party!!
Sunday night meant it was time for Chuck's big party. Before entering the big bash, another groomer introduced me to the liquor concoction known as the Black Russian. I grabbed a few more and shot the breeze with several groomers from Rome, Italy, until Chuck shooed us all into the room: "Can I ask you a question? What the hell are you doing out here? Go in and dance!" Haha!

Lights, disco balls, and glow sticks that were handed out by Chuck himself transformed the second floor of the Holiday Inn into a dance club for pet professionals. The cover band Phenomenon kept the energy alive with everything from Disco Inferno to Footloose. Sasha Riess jumped into the middle of dancing groomers and really got things going - he sure can shake it! As for me, I left the party a little early; after being introduced to one too many Black Russians, I just knew when enough was enough! o.O

Monday came and went way too fast. That last day of the trade show are always lightning-quick. They kind of sneak up on you... much like a couple of Black Russians... :)
Christine DeFilippo's Poodle

Anyway, after attending another insightful class by Melissa Verplank (all about economics) and a quirky but fun Poodle class from Pam and Vero, I decided to play hooky on the last session... and finally got a while to talk to none other than Judge Joey! He took a look at my 2012 portfolio and said I do "nice clean work". Talk about feeling accomplished! Then, my years-old question was finally answered: yes, the seventeen coat types are worth knowing; and for the same reasons I like them: thoroughness, style, technique, tool knowledge, professionalism. That means I need to get busy on making a giant poster displaying all the breeds and their coats. Whee, another great project coming up!! :)

After picking up a few more odds and ends, it was time to make my rounds and say goodbye to all my friends, many of whom will be in Hershey. Oddly enough, my GPS once again tried to take me to the sweetest place on earth; it was reading my mind because I can't wait! One of my favorite sayings really holds true: "It's never really goodbye, because there will always be another dog show!"  ;)

See y'all in September!

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