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  • Writer's pictureSarah Szymborski

2023 Border Collie National Specialty

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

On November 3-5, I attended the Border Collie Society of America National event with Risk and Token. It was a lot of fun seeing old friends and meeting new ones, as well as watch the conformation specialties with a more experienced, knowledgeable eye. I did not expect us to come home with any big ribbons, but boy, my dog's really came and showed their stuff!


On Friday, Risk was entered in several different activities: two rally trials, working dog sweepstakes, and top 20 owner handled invitational. In both rally trials, Risk qualified in all of his runs gaining many RACH and master points! Only one run was he out of the 90s, and that was my fault for misreading a jump sign. I had videos of the first trial runs, which you can watch here.

While the rally trials were ongoing, we ran over to working dog sweepstakes where Risk competed against many other versatile border collies. Somehow, we managed to win the male class and then the overall working dog sweepstakes. Incredible!

Finally, we finished up our rally trial and went over to the top 20 owner handled judging. Risk's brain was a bit fried for this but we managed to finish off our day getting through the judging and also had such a fun time during our celebration run! This year I improvised what we did out in the ring, but next year I plan to come back with a little more planning to have fun with my best boy. Who is going to tell Risk that there won't always be disc in the conformation ring?! You can watch our celebration here. We ended up winning the NOHS People's Choice Award, too, thanks to all of you for voting for my special boy!


On Saturday, Token was entered in the 4-6 BPUP competition at the national and Risk in breed at the National Specialty. Risk walked away with no love this day, however Token walked away winning the entire BPUP competition and was the best puppy at the national specialty show. Amazing!


On Sunday, Token again was entered in BPUP and Risk in breed at the Parent Specialty. Token repeated her victory, winning best puppy for the second day in a row. The real crowning glory was Risk's incredible wins at the Parent Specialty. After making several rounds of cuts among many accomplished teams, Risk was awarded the Second Award of Merit as well as Best Owner-Handled out of nearly 200 entries. Never in a million years did I believe we could pull this off.

I want to thank the following judges for recognizing my dogs this past weekend: Donna Lawson, Robyn Powley, William Daugherty, and Jon Cole. I would also love to thank you for voting for Risk for the People's Choice award. I would love to thank Risk and Token's breeders and stud owners for always being supportive of our adventures: Angela Efinger, Claudia Garzon, Nikolett Toth-Cselko, and Helene Wohak. I would also love to thank all of my show community friends and family for supporting us through these adventures. And my best husband, Kyle Hand, for always supporting my passions and being the best dog sport husband I could ever ask for.

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