Groomer to Groomer

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A Look Back at 2012

By Cheryl A. Purcell
2011-2012 GroomTeam Coordinator

This past October was the end of my term as the 2011-2012 GroomTeam Coordinator, and what an exciting two years it has been.

The first year of the two-year cycle is known as an off year. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t feeling well. It means that you usually see fewer competitors at shows. Maybe a competitor won’t make the big push and go to all the shows, or they won’t enter all the classes. The second year is a big deal! Competitors are making the push to make the travel team and the alternate slot. This is known as an on year, and competitors bring it.

As you may know, the competitors that go to these shows are competitive by nature. They torture themselves by getting up at 4 a.m. to bathe and prep dogs and by staying up late, driving for hours on end, just to get to a grooming show.

I remember what it was like when I was out competing. Our motto was “go big or go home.” We often traveled with a group from my area to save on travel expenses. Though we were all friends, we were rivals as well. I recall many occasions when friends and colleagues would be battling it out for a placement — either a spot as the number one groomer or the tenth slot on the team. Often it was, for lack of a better term, a slug fest for the travel team. I, myself, was in heated competition several times for the alternate slot.

2012 did not disappoint for any spectator tracking this year’s shows. After the end of 2011, it was pretty clear who the people were to beat.

In 2011 we had no new GroomTeam members. We did have some returning members in 2011, but all had been on the team at some point in the past. The up and coming groomers in 2012 were looking to make sure that didn’t happen again. There were several groomers in Intermediate that were worth keeping an eye on. Among them were Nick Waters, Sarah Moon, Mackenzie Murphy, Hannah Allen, Yvonne Aitken, Erin McLaughlin, Kristen Clyburn, and Tammy Colbert, and they battled right to the end.

The last two shows of the year were on the same weekend. It was quite nerve wracking for me. I can only imagine how the competitors felt. Several of the groomers went to NDGAA Fun in the Sun in Orlando, and several chose to go to Pet Pro Classic in Dallas. This show was a three-tiered show, and even though it traditionally draws fewer competitors in Open, you can garnish more points due to the group placements.

I was in Florida running the GroomTeam USA booth, and everyone there was wondering what was going on in Dallas. I texted Scott Wasserman, the BIS judge there, and he texted me the class results. Even though the results were unofficial, I kept the competitors in Florida up to date. By the end of the Orlando show, we had two groomers tied for tenth place. While one groomer in Dallas was close on their heels, Pet Pro Classic still had several classes going on Monday.

Several other Northerners and I were stuck in Florida due to Hurricane Sandy. We waited around until we got the text about what was going on in Dallas. As it turned out, it looked like the groomer from Dallas had earned enough points to knock out the two groomers from Orlando. I informed both that they had been bumped off GroomTeam by one point. I knew how much it meant to them and wished them good luck for next year.

About a week later, I received the official result forms from Pam Lauritzen, and the number of competitors was different than what was texted to me. I can only use the official forms — not something else. When I was adding up points, it became apparent that GroomTeam was going to have a three-way tie for tenth place. On occasion, we have had a two-way tie but never a three-way tie. I was so excited about this that I contacted the two groomers from Orlando and let them know that they made the team. They were both over the moon.

I would like to take this time now to announce GroomTeam USA’s first 12 members: Lindsey Dicken, Irina Pinkusevich, Veronica Frosch, Olga Zabelinskaya, Amy Triezenberg, Tammy Siert, Jennifer Lee, Nicholas Waters, Michelle Breen, Sarah Moon, Mackenzie Murphy, and Kristen Clyburn. This gives GroomTeam USA four new members for the 2012 season.