The Man Behind the First NSS

In February of 1964 the Board of Directors of the newly reorganized Parent Club announced an NSS would be held in conjunction with the Farmington Valley KC All Breed Show on the Polo grounds in Farmington, CT. The date picked was July 4, 1964.

Farmington was picked because the previous two years the GSP entry had been the largest of any show in the U.S. attributed to the terrific co-operation of all the GSP owners/enthusiast to promote the breed for all GSP exhibitors. Farmington Valley KC had agreed to provide the judge, grounds, birds for the field exhibition and award the National club $1 for each dog entered. The GSP folks on the other hand would be responsible for promoting the event, trophies and hospitality.

To accomplish this a Booster Organization was formed. Membership in the Booster Organization ranged from $5 to $10 and provided the individual the opportunity to be part of a “sincere effort” to promote the breed along with their name and address printed on the Booster Organization page of the catalog. For those unable to attend a marked catalog would be sent to them after the show. The Booster budget was planned to be $300, $60 for promotion, $40 for hospitality and $200 for trophies.

In his initial letter to GSP owners/enthusiasts, Gene Ellis explained, the hope was that the money raised by the Booster organization would cover the show expense so the $1 per dog from the FVKC would cover the cost next year and donations wouldn’t be necessary.

In his second letter Gene outlined more details about the proximity of the show site to the World’s Fair in NY, the New England Circuit shows, and the Gala plans for the NSS to include reserving an entire motel for the exhibitors, providing transportation from Bradley Field Airport, reservations to board ones dog with a top vet if needed while taking in the Fair or the local sights. An Open House Party planned the night prior to the show, fabulous trophy list, that judging would include emphasis on Veteran dogs, a Luncheon and a tail gate party after the judging. There were plans for a field exhibition of the top dogs using live birds and a banquet after the show with well know author C. Bede Maxwell as the guest speaker.

Gene explained the committee felt the main purpose of the show was to provide a medium for GSP breeders across the country to exchange ideas and get to know one another. His letter was an open invitation to all GSP owners/enthusiast but he specially targeted those whose dogs had won specialty shows, group placements and BIS. He further enticed the owners of the top GSPs that this would be the “greatest gathering ever” of the GSP clan, a term he used often in reference to the GSP family of individuals. He reminded the owners of the top dogs in the breed of their responsibility to have their dog present. Gene further challenged them to seriously consider entering their dogs for the “good of the breed” regardless if they might win or not. In Gene’s estimation this would be a display of sportsmanship and devotion to the breed that would be appreciated by all serious in keeping the GSP the best of all breeds. . And while the judge would only pick one dog for BOB those sitting ringside would be making their own selections as to the dog that would make the greatest impact on their future breeding programs and those decisions would have a great influence on the breed for many years to come.

It is interesting to note, as an encouragement to veteran dogs an Australian Trophy Sash would be offered to the top dog and bitch in addition to the regular trophies. Also a list of these veteran’s wins would be handed out at ringside to acquaint new comers to the breed with these dog’s accomplishments.

Plans were to take color movies of the Veterans and Specials Class and archive them with the Parent Club to establish a record of the great dogs of the breed and to set aside a special area near the ring and field exhibition for anyone that wanted to take pictures.

$10 would reserve a motel reservation and $3 confirm a boarding space for those wanting to board their dogs while attending the Worlds Fair or taking in the local sights. Veteran dog’s records needed to be sent in by June 25th and to receive a premium on needed to contact FOLEY Dog Show Org. out of Philadelphia, PA or the Committee by 30 May. If one needed a premium list for the New England circuit or a ride from the airport that contact information was provided.

Gene was not shy about cajoling GSP owners about the opportunities of entering their dogs and attending the first NSS. He closed his letter with, “It is hoped that this letter actually serves two purposes: (1) to have owners of top dogs throughout the country enter their dogs at the National Specialty. (2) to have the average exhibitor realize the great display of sportsmanship and dedication to the breed that the owners of the top dogs exhibit, when they do enter their dogs in a show such as the National Specialty.

The Balance sheet for the 1964 NSS shows the total income to be $747. The Booster Fund raised $510, trophy donations a $100, additional income(auction trophies, 2 rolls of film & return bottles) $25 and $112($1 per dog from the FVKC).

Pre-show expenses for stamps, mimeograph paper, envelopes and post cards accounted for $98 and trophies $355.14.

Actual Show expense amounted to $193.78 which included: movie and polaroid film, beer and ice, soda, printing(signs, tags and tickets) GSP tent, batteries, tape and cups, corsage for Mrs. Maxwell(banquet speaker) Complimentary Banquet tickets(3 @ $4.50 and Banquet income loss($19.50)

After show expenses amounted to $9.60(cost of mailing catalogs and postcards to the Boosters).

Total cost for the 1964 NSS was $657.17 pending two possible outstanding bills for the Challenge Trophy base and cost of editing the film. Gene’s final balance sheet report indicated a profit of $89.93 pending the two outstanding bills. He noted three assets for the Parent Club: a challenge trophy, specialty show banner and 400 feet of color film of the show and field exhibition. The large silver challenge trophy was retired by Helen Case Shelley’s dog Ch Kaposia’s Wampun II in 1972 after winning three NSS BOBs and currently is showcased in the GPS area at the Bird Dog Museum in Grand Junction, TN.