The Best is Yet to Come...
While I was showing Gigi as a kitten, my best friend and showing
buddy, Mary, was showing a black longhaired cat that someone had
dumped near her house. She was a couple of months younger than Gigi,
and her kitten career was more successful. She did well enough to
earn a regional award! So, we packed up Rosie and Stanley (her other
cat) and Gigi and Bo, and off we went to the last awards show for
the TICA Northeast Region as we knew it. The regions were redrawn
at the beginning of the 1994-1995 season and we were now part of
the new Mid Atlantic Region.
When I began claiming titles for Bo, I made up an Excel spreadsheet
to keep track of his points. I added to it (and learned a lot about
TICA scoring rules) when Rosie started to do well enough for us
to wonder if shed make a Regional. I remember glancing at
it the night before this show and making a mental note that Gigi
had around 5400 points. I probably thought to myself, Wouldnt
it be a kick if she Supremed, and then put that right out
of my head. I was lucky that she got all the way to Quad Grand!
All of the judges at the show had seen Gigi before, and some had
finaled her, but this was a big show and our cats would have to
compete against up and coming campaigners and the previous seasons
regional winners. Andrée and Pauline even came down for the
occasion, with a pretty blue kitten, Perce Neige. I was happy to
see them again and even happier that they were getting the chance
to see Gigi show, a whole year after I had brought her home.
Poor Bo was having a rough weekend, with a ruddy regional winner
in his class. He was finishing 2nd out of the two Abys in most rings
and didnt make any finals. Gigi, however, was doing well!
She had made two finals on Saturday, one from a judge who surprised
me. Her point total was inching ever closer to 6,000 but what judge
in his or her right mind would final a fawn Somali BEST!? In the
relatively short time I had been showing her, I had already figured
out that a lot of judges dont understand fawn.
Gigis Saturday ended in Fate Mays specialty ring. Fate
gave her a nice final in June but Gigi was a little hissy in his
ring. At the time I thought it was because she had been recently
spayed, but now I think it was her emerging Pink Princess persona.
But Gigi seemed to be having a good time at this show and since
this was a specialty ring, I hoped for a final, any final.
Fates clerk called the longhaired alters up in numerical
order, which is usually how its done unless theres a
scheduling problem. The cats are judged by breed, in alphabetical
order. Gigi was last to be called to the ring. I put her in the
judging cage and sat down in the front row, as usual. Gigi was the
only Somali, so she was guaranteed Best in color and division, unless
Fate saw something he didnt like! Of course that didnt
happen; her presentation was good and she handled beautifully for
him. After the judging was finished, it was time for the final.
Fate had to pick the five cats that in his opinion, best met their
standards. He left Gigi in her cage while he deliberated, rather
than have his clerk send her back to the benching area. This was
a good sign. It meant that he was considering her. Mary came into
the ring and sat down next to me, and we waited as the clerk posted
the rest of the numbers and the other exhibitors brought their cats
up. Since it was the end of the day and Fate only had one more class
to judge after this final, he decided to have a little fun with
us. He presented his 5th, 4th and 3rd best alters, and Gigi wast
one of them! She and a black Persian named Bonnie were going to
be his top two! The smart money was on Bonnie. Persians always win,
and Gigi had never placed higher than 3rd before. Fate took both
cats out and presented them again, and showed us what he liked about
each cat. He held Bonnie in the air like a stuffed animal and talked
about her short, cobby body, legs and tail, and her flowing black
coat (this was August, shed grow more of that stuff as the
season went on), and then he brought Gigi out, and stretched her
so we could see her long body, legs and tail, and her nice ears
and head, and her ticking. Gigi was relaxed and confident. She was
good at stretching, especially in Fates hands. Andrée
told me later, You cant teach that. A cat will either
stretch or she wont. Foxy and Quinn dont.
Next Fate picked up the two rosettes and hung one on Gigis
cage first. I assumed that meant she was second. I could deal with
finishing second to Bonnie. She was a pretty cat as Persians went,
and her owners were nice people. He hung the last rosette on Bonnies
cage, opened Gigis and took her out again? What?
Oh, my God, she Supremed.
Gigi with Fate Mays
I didnt yell it loudly, just said it, just like that. Mary
ran across the show hall to get Andrée and Pauline, who were
in a ring at the opposite end of the room. I dont remember
thanking Fate for the rosette or even who took this picture! I dont
remember the ride to the hotel, or much about the awards banquet
that night, other than receiving a bottle of champagne from Sheila,
Louise van de Water's final
Gigis good luck continued on Sunday. She made three more
finals, including another BEST, allbreed this time! It was her best
weekend ever. She left with six beautiful rosettes and a brand new
cage sign, a gift from Andrée and Pauline. Gigi was the first
Nenuphar cat to Supreme. I found out later she was the first dilute
Somali SGC in all of TICA!
Gigi with her six rosettes and new cage
The BEST rosettes are the two off-white ones