Photos curtesy of Shirlaine Forrest.
The day all the Russian “CZARS” aligned.
SUP UK OlyG IGrCh Melkelter Galiya Gertruda.
Because we are self- employed we have to do some of our work deliveries the night before any shows, try, and get to bed early, and hopefully manage to get some sleep! Not easy when you are excited, I love the Supreme cat show, and call it my “ Christmas Day”. So up out of bed at 1am Saturday morning to try to leave the house by 3am, for the nearly 4 hour journey down to Birmingham from Northumberland, which was in atrocious weather the further down country we went. Arriving at the NEC we finally got parked, and unloaded the 6 cats that we had taken with us. We went into the atrium as usual expecting to join the long queue that normally forms in there, but nothing! We were starting to think we may have got the wrong day, but we were met at the entrance doors to the hall by a lovely gentleman who proceeded to lead us over to the far side of the hall, where the vetting in was taking place, they had generously allowed everyone inside because of the awful rain. Through vetting in smoothly, and onwards to decorate the 6 pens, the word “ stupid “ ringing in my ears….. reiterated by my husband Paul! …. several times in fact as the curtains went up, especially those fiddly hooks that you can’t quite reach. All the cats were duly installed in their respective pens, and ready for the judges.
First to be taken up to the ring for judging by Mrs. Maria Chapman-Beer (Russian breed judge) was Wishful Thinking, trying for a second UK Grand, he doesn’t like showing whatsoever, and was beaten fair, and square. Next was his sister, Galiya Gertruda, (Gertie), also for a second UK Grand, which she was duly awarded, beating her equally beautiful half-sister, Katya Kalikova, they have the same father, Khan. Then came the neuters for their UK Grands, both Andris Kuzma, (Kez),and his sister Sybilla Luba (Sybil) were impeccably behaved, and gained their 1st certificates each, then finally for our Russian contingent at the show was the very slender, still no bigger than a kitten at 2 years old, Bezruchka (AKA Brenda), who scraped through for a Grand ticket. So onto Best of Breed for, the adults, and after much deliberation Gertie was chosen…. cue 1st tears! Many thanks to Maria for sending her off on this amazing journey. Closely followed by Sybil winning the BOB for the neuters – wow, 2 going forward to their respective Best of Varieties. We also had a young Chartreux home bred female kitten with us, Petite Petronia (Pebbles), and she won her first merit certificate, and the BOB , so she too was going forward to her own section 3 BOV, against mainly British kittens.
A short wait, after some lunch it was time for judging of the Best of Varieties in different rings around the hall. Gertie was in the first pen waiting to be judged by Mrs. Val Kilby, Sybil was over the far side of ring 4 in the first pen for Mrs. Naomi Johnson, and Pebbles, the Chartreux was due to be one of the final kittens to be judged for BOV in section 3, against the Britties. Paul was trying to keep an eye on her, whilst I was watching the section 4 BoV’s. Gertie behaved beautifully for Mrs.Kilby, and then waited patiently for all the other adults to be judged, I took this opportunity to have a quick look over at how Sybil was doing against the other neuters, then it was down to the final 6 adults, Gertie was taken out again, and posed as only she can, with her “look at me pose”, Mrs.Kilby went straight to her to award her Best of Variety…. cue more tears…. she had been pipped at the post 5 years previously when she was Reserve BOV at 9 months 1 week old, to a more mature Abyssinian boy. This win achieved the 1st part of my 50 year old bucket list dream… a cat in the top pens at the Supreme cat show.
Sybil didn’t go any further in her BOV, and Paul hadn’t managed to keep an eye on the judging in Pebbles ring, both of us being engrossed with Gerties win, so after putting the Russians back in their decorated pens, I went over to pick up Pebbles… now sitting there all alone with a huge Reserve Best in Section 3 kitten rosette on her pen… cue more tears… this time guilty ones at not being there to see her big moment! A wonderful achievement for an Assessment breed.
The next hour or so was a bit of a blur, Gertie went into her pen up by the stage, promptly curled up, and went to sleep, not at all perturbed by her new surroundings. The 3 Best in Show panel of judges took their places on the stage, Mr. Mark Pearman, Mrs. Linda Walpole, and Mr. John Harrison.
Adults ,(1 from each section) were first to be judged each cat (6 in all) was brought up onto the stage , and passed in turn between all the judges in sequence so they each made their own assessment of each cat, and placing them in the order they would like them to be in. Then it was the kittens turn, and finally the neuters. After every cat had been judged, the 6 adults all came back on stage together to get the final results of who would become Supreme Adult.
Mr. John Hansson, the very adept show compère was ready to send back the 1st cats in no particular order when Gertie, very uncharacteristically, started to wriggle quite violently, prompting her steward to put her down on Mrs. Walpole’s table, where she stood looking very regal for the whole of the announcements, at this point I thought she was going to be the first sent back to her pen, because of her behaviour, but NO… as my friend Julie, and I stood there holding hands desperately hoping, and then the disbelief that she was still there when they got down to the final 2, at which point Mr.Hansson asked for no screaming, and whooping… too late! When he announced the Supreme Adult winner is …… the Russian, we erupted, jumping up and down with great delight! I have always tried to include Julie in Gertie’s wins as she bred and owns her father Khan, (we bred her mother Mara Minerva), and therefore we all had a great input into this fantastic girl. No Russian has ever held a Supreme title before, so we have made a little bit of breed history, but it still wasn’t over. The kittens and neuters were then judged to select the Supreme Kitten, and Supreme Neuter. Once those results were finalised, the 3 Supreme cats came back on stage together with us , all the owners/ breeders having now been asked to join them .. cue the shakes! I clung onto Lynda Ashmore for support, it was then announced that there was a tie , but for 2nd, and 3rd places, both these cats came from the same “stable” the Hemlock prefix, but the outright winner was the gorgeous Gertie, she took it all in her indomitable stride, looking to the cameras, and posing as she does so well. The very 1st Russian Supreme Champion, hopefully the 1st of many more to follow, she is a very special once in a lifetime lady.
And to think that I was once told that compared to some cats, a Russian is just “a boring grey cat”, how wrong can you be, she is a sassy, shimmering, superstar show off! And all my Christmas’s came at once on that very special day.
Then… 2 weeks later we went to the Yorkshire and Cumberland back to back shows, she gained another Olympian certificate from Mr. David Redtfeldt, now resident in America, Kez also gained an Olympian to make him up to Silver, and was up in the top pens for BOV in the Cumberland, finishing in the last 3, meanwhile Gertie was in the top pens for the Yorkshire section 4, Mr. Redtfeldt did the honours of judging BIS, cue nail biting this time, Gertie flirting with his feather stick teaser, down to the final 3, Gertie, a Maine Coon, and a long- haired British, he commented on all three, praising each one individually, then chose Gertie to be Overall Yorkshire cat of the Year, he called her “The Grand Duchess “, by winning BIS she also got her final Gold Olympian at the same time, given to her by this wonderful judge, who just so happened to have awarded her grandfather (Pumpkin), his BIS many years before- everything had come full circle. Our heartfelt thank you’s go to all the judges she has had the good fortune to be given awards by over the past 5 and a half years, you have made us so happy. My Dad, whom I lost just a few weeks before Gertie was born would have been so proud of our Yorkshire cat of the Year, as he was a Yorkshire man through, and through.