The 127th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show


Kerry Blue Terrier, "Mick" captures Best In Show

In any year, when Westminster's seven Group winners gather in the Best In Show ring Tuesday evening for the selection of America's top dog, the superlatives flow readily. For The Westminster Kennel Club's 127th Annual Dog Show in 2003, only one word was needed.

Wow. And let's add an explanation point.


These seven dogs may well have comprised the greatest finale ever, both in terms of their records and their performances in the pressure-packed conclusion. To have a final lineup like this reflected well on the breed and group judging that had gone on for the two days of Westminster 127.

These seven Group winners had accumulated over 400 Bests In Show in their careers, and as they each took their turn in the spotlight under Judge Irene Bivin on that Tuesday night, it was easy to see why.

By the time Mrs. Bivin was done with her examinations and ready to make her decision, anything was possible. She could have pointed any direction for her winner and made the case without much debate.

And that said, there was little debate and a lot of cheering when she pointed to the Kerry Blue Terrier, Ch. Torums Scarf Michael, as her selection for the dog world's ultimate prize, Best In Show at Westminster. Given that lineup, it was a spectacular win, even more spectacular than the world has come to know at Westminster.

"Mick" already had his share of spectacular wins. After all, he had gone Best In Show at Crufts, Westminster's counterpart in England, before coming to America. Once here, he won just about everything there was to win and had compiled a record to be envied: Best In Show at Morris & Essex, two Bests In Show at Montgomery County, #1 dog all breeds in 2001, and Bests at virtually every prestigious dog show in America, with Bill McFadden handling for owner Marilu Hansen.

But that final jewel awaited him: Westminster. He had won the ultra-competitive Terrier Group in both 2001 and 2002, but other dogs went Best In Show. There was talk that 2003 might be his last Westminster, win or lose. So there he was at Westminster in 2003, after an abbreviated show schedule in 2002. He had attended fewer than 50 shows, but among them were the six largest dog shows in America (each of them over 3,500 dogs), and he captured Best In Show at all of them. Mick finished as the #4 dog all breeds on that limited schedule in 2002, and as the Garden approached, the question was being asked everywhere: Would this be Mick's year?


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