Helen Munday shares some remarks from Adam's handler - Gerlinde Hockla
The Newfoundland Club of New England is proud to have as members the owner, Elinor Ayers, and the handler. Gerlinde Hockla. of the Best in Show winner of Westminster Kennel Club for 1984.
Gerlinde Hockla wrote the following as a review of events leading to the big day and how the day unfolded.
"On February 14, 1984, Ch. Seaward's Blackbeard indeed took one paw step for Newf-kind and one paw step for history. He accomplished on that day what no Newfoundland ever did before him ... Best in Show at the most prestigious Dog Show in America Westminster Kennel Club. Many have tried but none had ever succeeded.
For all involved, it was a moment not to be forgotten. The road to Best in Show was no bed of roses. For awhile, it was questionable whether Adam, as he is called, could compete at the Garden.
When in haste to make the entry, it was forgotten to indicate the class Adam was to compete in and the entry was returned. Phone calls to friends on the West Coast to get it straightened out before entries were closed were made and then the anxious waiting started-not knowing if the entry was accepted. Fortunately. it was.
Finally the day came. Not until late afternoon Tuesday was the breed judging held. Among the nine male champions entered were three National Specialty winners, Best in Show winners and two more who had won one or more Working Groups.
The outcome sent Adam into a strong Working Group. Adam emerged victorious.
Ch. Seaward's Blackbeard had to overcome stiff competition for Best in Show-considered by many experts to be the strongest in many years. In the end he knew he must do his utmost to win this one for his reputation and record, for his owner, his handler, but most of all,for the Newfoundland Breed. Never in 108 years has a Newfoundland gone Best in Show at Westminster. As the end came near, Adam just got stronger in his desire to please his handler. He held his head high in full coat and top condition, never missing a step or stride and when the final nod came, Ch. Seaward's Blackbeard had done it all from being a breed winner, a specialty winner, a record holder and now, for one year, he will reign as top dog in the USA.
For me, his handler, who has guided him to all his wins, it was a special moment to have accepted the Best in Show ribbon from a special Newf lady and a very special judge, Mrs. Maynard K. Drury.
For his owner, Elinor Ayers, a proud moment of satisfaction-the crowning glory of 52 years in this magnificent breed.
For Adam, the height of his career.
A hug and a pat from me for a job well done.
For the Newfoundland world. a moment in history for the breed has emerged on the top at the oldest and most prestigious dog show in this country."
Mrs. Maynard K. Drury writes about her experiences judging Best In Show at Westminster in 1984
Truly one of the great experiences of my life was to have the privilege of judging Best in Show at Westminster Kennel Club in February 1984. As my son, Jack, said to me when he heard of my assignment, "Well, I guess there is nowhere else to go but down now, Mom." Mr. Collier had called me two years ago to ask me to do this show and I must admit I have thought of it almost every day from that day until the exciting night.
I had bought my dress when I was judging "down under" several years ago and had also had my shoes made down there because I wanted this to be special for a special occasion.
When I walked.out and saw the array of dogs, I was thrilled to pieces! I had seen all of these dogs at one time or another before Westminster, but had only had my hands on a few of them.
The first dog that I went over was the Irish Setter. This is one of the most beautiful type dogs with lovely length of neck, beautiful balance, and in fantastic condition. He moved well and was a proud representative of the Sporting group.
The German Shepherd was one of the most lovely moving dogs that I have seen. He also had that beautiful head and expression and dark eye that speaks this intelligent lovely breed. He showed great style.
Next was the Foxhound. This dog you could see is truly a working dog besides being a show dog. One could easily imagine that he would run to the hounds
and lead the pack on many a lovely morning. He was typey and he was very sound.
The Chow was in the most beautiful condition of any dog in the ring. Every hair was in place and he looked gorgeous. He moved with the typical Chow way of moving.
The Scottie is the most beguiling dog.
She not only has all the type and beautiful head and beautiful coat but she acts stylishly.
The Chihuahua may seem like a Toy dog but he acts like a big dog. He had a lovely head and a beautiful eye. Truly a giant among Toy dogs.
Now the Newfoundland. I might as well be honest and say he's the loveliest Newfoundland I have ever seen. That particular night of Westminster he was not only in beautiful condition with every hair groomed to a ''T'' but he moved well front and back and from the side, and he had all the characteristics of what I consider a Newfoundland should have. H is eye is correct, his head is correct, he has a good mouth, his tail is the correct length, he is completely the correct size (I understand that he
weighs 155 lbs., which is as close as one would want to come to what we think is the ideal at 150 lbs.). And furthermore, on that particular night, he was what I call "asking for it." He came in literally and said, "I am the best, try to beat me."
The last time that I moved the dogs around the ring I had settled on three dogs from which I would pick my Best. The last time around the Newfoundland put out more than any other dog. He was still going and saying, "Here I am," and he didn't give up for a minute but moved well the entire time. I would also like to say that his handler added to the overall effect of a stunning combination.
It was an added thrill to me to give it to the Newfoundland because the Newfoundland is a breed that I have loved for years. I never thought it would be possible that there would be such a dog that could win at Westminster because I think that the standards at Westminster are possibly higher than any other show in the world. This was proved by the type of dogs that were in the ring for Best in Show. I have had many, many people tell me since then that they felt it was the finest lineup that they have ever seen in a Best in Show in their lives. I go along with them on that. I hope that with Adam winning Best in Show that other people will take to heart the type of dog that we are looking for in a Newfoundland. He is the epitome of what a Newfoundland should be, in my mind.
I would like to add that all of the handlers showed their dogs to the best. They are to be complimented on having the dogs in such beautiful condition and in showing them to me in such a fine manner. I thank them all.
Good luck to Nell and Gerlinde and Adam. It was a privilege to put him Best in Show and I thank both Nell and Gerlinde for being able to present him to me. Good luck!
THE NEW YORK TIMES, THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 1984
Top Dog at Garden To Remain Active - Busy Slate For Winner
By WALTER R. FLETCHER
The dog show world has not seen the last of the big Newfoundland who achieved a first at the Westminster Kennel Club show in Madison Square Garden Tuesday night.
In being judged best in show among the 2,652 entries, CII. Seaward's Blackbeard, more familiarly known as Adam, became the first Newfoundland in the 107 years Westminster has been staging shows to take the top award.
Unlike so many previous winners of America's most prestigious canine event, who were retired immediately after their triumphs. Adam is not going to rest on his laurels.
No Retirement Planned
Elinor Ayers of Manchester Center, Vt., who owns the 155-pounder, said:
"He's only 4 years old and is right in his prime. It would be absurd not to let him continue his show career. In 1983, he was out some 50 times and he will be shown about the same this year."
Adam, so named because he was the first to be whelped in a litter, is the top-winning Newfoundland in the breed's history. The Garden triumph was his 30th top prize and he has been best working dog 75 times.
His reward Tuesday was a big bowl from Tiffany's.
"I get a $500 stud fee for Adam, " said Miss Ayers, who was an assistant high school principal and college guidance counselor before she retired in 1973. "His stud fee will remain the same."
The black dog last year sired 10 litters and in December a son became his first champion. A 6-month-old daughter, competing in her first show in the Midwest, won the breed and was fourth in the group.
"I call Adam my helicopter dog because his tail's always wagging," said his owner. "He loves children. He also likes ice cream. After taking the breed Tuesday, he went back to his bench with Gerlinde Hockla, his handler, and he shared a cone with her."
The Newfoundland is in superb condition. His handler walks him three miles every day. "It keeps us both in shape, .. she said.
Kitty Drury, only the seventh woman to judge best at Westminster, for years owned Newfoundlands but she hasn't bred one in a decade and doesn't own any now.
The final was one of the strongest in years, with all seven contenders previous best-in-show winners. Among them they had a total of 221 major prizes.