The crowd sat silently shortly before 11 p.m. as Irene Bivin, Judge for Best in Show category signed the book and then stepped onto the green carpet. She was ready to make her announcement: The winner for Best in Show for the 2003 Westminster Dog Show was the Kerry blue terrier, Ch.Torums Scarf Michael, affectionately known as Mick.
This win gives Mick a kind of Triple Crown in dog competition. He's already won at the world's most famous show, Crufts in England, and the huge AKC/Eukanuba National Invitational Championship in Orlando, Fla., in December.
His biggest competition came from Dallas, a German shepherd that had already won 103 best in show titles around the country.
However, from the time Mick walked into the ring he was dominant.
"He was perfect," said Mick's handler, Bill McFadden. "I asked him to do it one more time for me, and he did it." Beaten out in the finals the last two times on the green carpet at Madison Square Garden, Mick captured the best of breed and the best of group judging.
"That was an awesome lineup," said McFadden.
"Well, that was an awesome performance," said Bivens.
The terrier group has dominated the Best in Show, winning 42 of the 94 times awarded since 1907. The last breed from the Terrier Group to win Best in Show was a Norwich terrier (1998). That was the second time in five years that a Norwich terrier had won Best in Show at Westminster (1994 Ch. Willum The Conqueror). This is the first time a Kerry blue terrier has won.
The terriers originated in the Irish and British Isles – all of them except the miniature schnauzer, that is. They are intelligent, lively dogs that are bred to hunt game and vermin. These dogs range in size from relatively large to diminutive, and are gentle and loving companions.
The Westminster Dog Show, in its 127th season in 2003, is the second-longest continuously running sporting event in the United States (the Kentucky Derby is older by just two years). This year more than 2,500 dogs from 159 breeds competed to win Best in Breed, then Best in Show.
All dogs competing this year were spectacular, making it extremely difficult to judge. All dogs were winners just for making it to the "Super Bowl of Dog Shows." Those who won Best in Breed should be congratulated too. The winners are: