I recently had the pleasure of attending the 2017 American Dog Breeders Association convention held in Las Vegas, Nevada. This convention is held bi-annually and is great opportunity for like-minded American Pit Bull Terrier enthusiasts to get together to discuss what’s going on with the breed and the show scene.
The convention was held at the Palace Station Casino. It’s off the strip but only a short cab ride away. Most of the show attendees arrived in Las Vegas on Friday night and we all gathered at Jack’s Irish Pub in the Palace Station Casino. The drinks were flowing and so were the good times. Many new and old friends from all over the world were there enjoying the live music and good company.
Saturday morning pastries and coffee awaited everyone in the banquet room. After signing in and getting situated we were ready to start the convention. Around 150 people were in attendance. The ADBA President Mr. Hank Greenwood welcomed us with a short speech and then rolled into a slideshow presentation entitled “Reflections”. After the slideshow, they moved on to the Award Ceremony. Much to my surprise I was presented with the highly coveted Dogman of the Year award! I was extremely shocked and caught off-guard. While I’m not sure I’m worthy, it was nice to be recognized by my peers for my dedication to the American Pit Bull Terrier. The breed has done so much for me over the last 22 years. It is my duty to give back whenever possible. I have sacrificed much for these dogs, but I would not change a thing. My friend Ron Wolfe from Utah also received the Dogman of the Year award. He is very deserving and I am most happy for him. The Dogman Hall of Fame award was given to Mr. Joe Chan. I had the pleasure of finally meeting Mr. Chan after all these years and I must say he is one of the nicest, humblest men I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. The Lifetime Achievement award went to the late Lee Craig. I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Craig but his impact on the breed is undeniable. Starfish awards were handed out next and there were far too many for me to remember so I’m not going to name names. Next Mr. Joe Buford was given an award for his 40 years of service to the ADBA. I was then given the 2015 Most Request Judge award and Mr. Gary Hammonds earned this award for 2016. Pretty good company if I do say so myself! More awards were handed out and I was presented with the Top Conformation Dog of 2015 award for CH Vito. This dog was very special to me so this award really means a lot. After the award ceremony, Kim Krohn of the Endangered Breed Association talked to us about what’s happening with the EBA and then we broke for lunch.
After lunch we watched a nice slideshow presented by Patty Bullock entitled “Past, Present and Future”. After this slideshow Lisa Berry talked about the ADBA Safe Dog Program. This is a program designed to identify & test APBT's that possess +basic obedience and solid temperaments. It is a very good program that is being under-utilized today. It is my hope that this program picks up some momentum because temperament is very important for the public image of the American Pit Bull Terrier. Next was an open forum where we all discussed the current state of affairs with the clubs and dog shows. After this discussion we broke for a few hours to relax before the Hospitality Room.
The Hospitality Room included 2 hours of open bar and Heather Devito hosted the ADBA’s version of the “Let’s Make A Deal” game show. This was very entertaining and my only complaint was that we didn’t have enough time to keep playing. Next up was the EBA Auction. James Rogers and Stoney Greene both wanted to play the role of Auctioneer so they decided to arm wrestle for it! Stoney Greene prevailed! Some really cool one of kind items were auctioned off. After the hospitality room we were back to Jack’s Irish Pub for celebrating and unwinding.
Sunday morning we had a Judges Only closed door meeting and then following that Hank Greenwood presented a conformation seminar which was open to all.
If you have never attended an ADBA Convention, I highly recommend going. It is a great opportunity to meet and talk with APBT enthusiasts across the globe. It also gives you a chance to provide feedback on what's working and what's not working. And lastly, it's in Las Vegas!!