Twenty four kooikerhondjes and nearly 60 of their admirers converged on the Kalamazoo Expo Center on June 14–15, during the UKC Premier Dog Show. The KCUSA annual meeting and Specialty Match took place at the Expo Center campgrounds and in the Expo Center, respectively. Club President Jac Knoop and former President and current AKC liaison, Rod Beckstead, secured adjacent sites at the campgrounds, and parked their mobile homes on the perimeter of the grassy area that came to be known as “Kooikermazoo.” Two tents sheltered the tables covered with items donated to the silent auction, and a colorful assortment of lawn chairs filled in the grassy area as the weekend proceeded.
On Friday evening, the Becksteads hosted a “Meet and Sniff” at the campground, where people and dogs greeted old friends and made new friends. Jac invited the very talented and charming Aaron Bozwell and his Country Music Band to perform on Friday evening, and the band returned on Saturday to fill the air with music when it wasn’t filled with rain.
Kooikermazoo, with the U.S. and Dutch flags flapping overhead, mysterious boxes of silent auction goods under the tent, dogs and kids romping to live music, and the enticing scents of BBQ wafting over the campgrounds, sent a clear message that kooikerhondjes and their people sure know how to have fun together. The potluck BBQ was a great success, with delicious contributions that came from as far away as Minnesota, Indiana, and Massachusetts.
The attendees included people who had shared their lives with one or more kooikers for several years, people who were new to the kooikerverse, and people who are considering adopting a kooiker, or awaiting that special puppy who’s not yet ready to join them.
Marilyn LeDoux tallied the votes for the 2013–2014 KCUSA officers and board members, and the results were announced as lunch grilled. Congratulations to re-elected President Jac M Knoop, new Vice President Scott Crockett, new Secretary (and former Vice President) Joyce Y Maxwell, and re-elected Treasurer Linda S Dean. Seven Directors were also elected – their names and positions will be announced in the next Kooiker Chronicle.
As Saturday’s BBQ wound down, and Jac announced the start of the annual KCUSA meeting, the skies opened up, and dogs and humans raced to huddle under the tents and umbrellas to hear Jac’s assessment of the past year and projections for the year ahead. The U.S. kooiker population and, with it, the club, is growing rapidly. More club events are in the planning stage, and we can confidently look forward to raising the kooikerhondje profile even further.
Shortly after the squall ended, we were called to the ring inside the Expo Center. We heard two informative presentations – Mary Davis of Ogden, Illinois, shared pointers on traveling with dogs and congratulated the assembled kooiker fans on their collective knowledge of good travel protocol. Stan Matsumoto of Oak Forest, Illinois, gave the many inexperienced dog handlers hands-on coaching and experience presenting kooikers and handling them in the conformation ring. He enlisted the help of practiced kooiker handlers from the group to provide individualized attention to each dog and human team.
After the coaching session, a Match was held in two rings. Results of the Match are published in the Membership section of the KCUSA Website and will be in the next Kooiker Chronicle.
Congratulations are in order to the KCUSA kooikers who competed and won ribbons in UKC events. The names and accomplishments of these dogs are posted on the KCUSA Website and will appear in the next Kooiker Chronicle.
For the record, here’s a rough “demographic overview” of the 24 kooikerhondjes at Kooikermazoo: there were 10 females and 14 males; 7 were puppies and 17 were adults. They were born in 6 different countries (Denmark, Finland, Hungary, The Nederlands, Switzerland, and the U.S.) and live in 14 different states (Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin).
And every single one is a beloved family member and treasured companion.