Saturday, March 23, 2013

Nationals! (more in depth)

Ok, yeah, so Nationals was last weekend, but anyone who knows me knows that I procrastinate everything.... and in all fairness to myself, it's been a busy week here.  But let's get back to Nationals.  So, we got there Friday reasonably uneventfully.  Signed the forms that would sign our lives away if the critters chewed up our rooms, and went in.  Between fast food, a run to Walmart, a drive out to the show hall, and grooming chins... we were in bed at like 3 am.  Again.  So much for "we will get to bed earlier this time."

Unlike the last show, where Gin (one of Meredith's chins) had gotten out, this time we had prepared and had used a spring latch to hold the carrier shut.  All was good and well... til Gypsy got out.  Twice.  I'm not sure how she did it, but she did it.  The second time, by the time I'd even made it off the bed and towards the carrier, she'd hopped back up into her hole.  Evil little turd.  I moved her to a different hole in the carrier, and I guess the latch must have been more secure, cause that's where the problems ended.

Though I kept hearing her messing with it all night, which didn't help at all for sleeping purposes.

...and so much for getting up early.  We were probably up around 7:30, which really wasn't a problem, as we'd groomed the chins the night before and only had to do touch-ups and tails.   So, we got our numbers and got the chins groomed, tails clipped, and in cages.  We were asked by Brent (Walter, of B&B Chinchillas) to go through and write the birthdate on the back of all of the cage cards, so we did that.

I managed to find someone to talk to during the pelt show (which, in all fairness, I've seen plenty of times, and, with the pelts being, well, dead... there's not much going on), while Meredith helped out by bringing pelts to the show table.  I'm sure there's a term for that but I don't know it off hand.

When the live animal show started, then most everyone sat down to watch.  We had seats in the third row behind Firebaugh and some other tall people, so we spent most of the show maneuvering ourselves so we could actually see the chins.  Couldn't tell you much about the show itself, it's a lot of repetition.  The animals are divided by color, and then colors are divided by classes, which are further divided by class based on age and sex.  So, the colors would be white, beige, standard ("naturelle" in show terminology), and so on.  For the color white, it's further divided into white with dark guard hairs, predominantly white, pink white / white with beige guard hairs, and mosaic.  Standard is divided into light, light medium, medium, dark medium, dark, and extra dark.  Within those color classes are four further divisions:  1 (males under 7 months old), 2 (females under 7 months old), 3 (males over 7 months old), and 4 (females over 7 months old).

So, the show starts with whites.  So they first do predominantly white, go through all four classes (assuming there are chins entered into all four), and then move onto white with dark guard hairs, and go through all four classes, and then move onto pink white / white with beige guard hairs, and go through all four classes, and then move onto mosaic, and go through all four classes.  And amid all of that, the top chins from those classes go head to head to become class champions or reserve class champions, to later compete for the possibility of becoming color phase champion, which is decided at the point all the whites have been shown.

And that's just one color.  There are seven recognized colors: white, sapphire (includes colors such as blue diamond), violet, beige (includes colors such as goldbar/recessive white), naturelle, black, and ebony.  So, there's a lot of repetition going on.

I had brought a pink white female to show, as well as two chins that I had pulled from breeding -- a male hetero beige reserve color phase champ, and a female homo beige.  The pink white (Gypsy) received a 2nd place, which is reasonable, considering she is still on the small side, though she did get nice comments about being very blue and having good fur.


The male and female both received 3rds, which I pretty much expected, knowing I had only recently pulled them from breeding and knew they were not in tip-top shape.  Breeding animals never look the same as an animal that has been living alone, been growing out, and such.  The judges noticed the collar lines on the female, and on both of them noted that they had likely been in breeding, but they had likely been nice looking chins at one point.  Neither had clarity issues, which is really what I was listening for, as clarity of color is something I still sometimes can't "see" very well, so since they both have good color, they can stay.  As I'm still working on developing that eye for clarity, I don't want to be keeping chins in my herd that have clarity issues, as that will only further increase clarity problems, but also, would not be benefitting anyone to be bred.  Breeding bad to bad never makes good.  

So, the female doesn't have a name yet, but here she is:

....and yes, her eyes really are a jelly-bean red... though NOT as red as that picture makes them look.

The male is still sort of un-named, but he's tentatively named Benji:

Unrelated to the show specifically, but these two chins were in the carrier holes next to each other on the way home, and I got the cutest picture:

These two lovebugs are currently in a run together.

...besides just being cute, I think the picture shows a good example of the difference between a heterozygous beige (left) and a homozygous beige (right).  The hetero beige is the expression of one beige gene, which results in a darker, more tan-colored beige.  Because a hetero beige only has one beige gene, they can throw beige or standard kits.  A homo beige is the expression of two beige genes, which results in a lighter, more creamy colored beige.  Because a homo beige has two beige genes, they can throw only beige kits.

So Meredith's chins did reasonably well.  One of her black velvet's didn't win the class, but was noted for having the whitest belly, which is definitely something worth striving for with bv's.  Most of her other chins did well.  She picked up a standard male to bring home from the auction.

So, while the show had been going on, in the pink white class was this stunning pink white -- beige except for its face, which was white, and it's belly, which was white.  Stark demarcations as well, making this one of those chins that got people talking.  They pass out a list of what numbers are whos chins, so if you see a chin up on the show table, you can look and determine who's chin it is.  So, we found out that the chin was Mish's chin, and I wanted to ask if it was for sale.  Well, Meredith somehow found out that Mish had sent pictures of this chin onto Jim Ritterspach, who is like *the* person in the chin world.  Jim is the guy behind, which has all the herd improvement amazing chinchillas and the rare mutations and all.  But, we figured it couldn't hurt to ask.  So, as seems to be the tradition at Nationals, Mish was the one announcing the placings of the chins, and placing the stickers (denoting the placings) on the cage cards.  Which meant, unlike just about everyone else there... I couldn't bug her until the entire show was over.   You all know my patience level is not known for being high, that was a long 8-something hours.  Cause whites go first.

So finally, the show's over, and I go over and ask Mish, and she said yeah the chin was for sale, but was already sold to Jim.  Well, Meredith had this idea of talking to Jim.  Now, to me, I'm like, "you gotta be kidding, you want me to ask someone who just bought a chin to sell it."  And Meredith, being, well, Meredith, was totally like "yeah."  At that point, it was kind of like well, what's the worst that can happen, so I went over by Jim, waited until he had a free moment, and told him that I was interested in this chin that he'd just purchased.  Well, he ended up telling me that his wife was doing the negotiating, as he had been judging, and so he said let's go talk to Mish.  So we find Mish and it turns out that Jim's wife was still going back and forth on if she wanted the chin or not.  So Jim asked what she wanted for the chin, and she said $300, and he turned to me.  So I said that I was fine with that and then he said if I really wanted the chin I could have it.  Awesome.  So I thanked Mish and she said something about "well, you asked Jim" kinda incredulously, which, I still look back and think, I can't believe I asked someone who I thought had just bought a chin to sell it.  But then... it's Jim.  He can have his pick of chins anywhere in the world.  The rest of us have to fight for what we want.  So I got my money, paid Mish, got my chin.  Mish asked if I wanted her ribbon (she got a 1st), which I did, I think that's cool.  I don't have a lot of ribbons at the moment, so to me, I'll take what I can get, haha.

So here's the cutie:

And totally not even evil!  Amazing.  Not so true of the other chins I came home with.  I tell ya, if I'd known at the time, this might have been named Psycho Chinchillas instead of NWI Chinchillas, as I know how to pick the nutballs!  I got a female 1st place standard in the auction from the Lemlers, she managed to take a bite out of me before I even got her in her carrier.  She may very well be named Diva, as this girl thinks very highly of herself and is a very prissy girl.

Also got a Hendryx standard.  Meredith started to compliment Juanita Hendryx on doing well in the show, when someone (Cheryl?) commented to us that Juanita was deaf and couldn't hear us, we had to speak directly to her and loudly.  Ah ok.  So, we got to talking with her, very nice person, and I ended up taking home one of her female growers who also placed 1st.  Very nice chin, tad bit psycho.  Wanted to take off my fingers as I got her collar on, and she actually managed to grab the collar and throw it several times.  Once, she even grabbed the collar and took the entire thing apart before I could get it away from her.  Hope she doesn't do that while in the run.

Meredith and I both got raffle tickets -- she won hay and a wine basket, and I won a small animal treat basket.  Luckily for me, I have the rescue, as most things in the basket weren't chin safe, but my other critters will love them, so I came home with something for everyone.  :)

So, after definitely learning my lesson at the last show, to never, EVER come home the same night if at all possible, we headed back to the hotel.  Got some nice relaxing in at the pool and hot tub, and omg like melted into bed.  Drove back around mid-day on Sunday.  Detoured off the toll-road to stop in Bristol, IN, where we picked up an owner-surrender -- a beige female chinchilla named Critter.  They were right on our way home, so we saved them probably an hour and a half drive to Munster.
Got back and had everything unpacked just in time for one of my adoptive homes to arrive to pick up their guinea pig.

Originally, we were supposed to go Meredith, her husband Brandon, and me.  Which would have been fine, had we not been anticipating picking up so many supplies.  Originally, we were supposed to pick up 13 pounds of wood, but that was canceled prior to the show date, as the wood person wasn't going to be there due to a medical issue.  So one thing less.  But, we were going to have two 6-hole carriers (mine), then we were going to pick up another 6-hole carrier (for Meredith and them), as well as three bags of dust, two boxes of Ryerson water bottles (so 80 bottles), plus a box filled with the metal water bottle holders, stoppers, and sipper tubes, plus some breeding collars.  Plus we had our bags, the chins, my grooming toolbox, some food/snacks....and let's not forget, she won the hay and wine basket and I won the small animal basket, which also took up more room... and then the stop in Bristol gave us an additional box of chin supplies, a chin in a carrier, and a chin cage.  So here's how it all looked when we pulled up back home:

That's with both back seats down and everything stacked and triple stacked to make everything fit.  There is NO way we would have fit a third person in there, even if we hadn't had the cage and extra rescue chin that we hadn't anticipated.   I had actually brought my rachet straps with me, in the event we'd had to put something up on the roof rack, because I'd been really iffy that three people AND all that stuff was going to fit.  And that was just figuring on the ryerson supplies, not counting the baskets we won and the other extras.  So in a way, Brandon's bowing out at the last minute worked for the best, because we never had to figure out how to fit everything and a person behind the front seats.

Well, since the show, had 6 animals go home.  Oh and Rochelle went home at the show, she went home with Tricia, one of our breeder friends, as a pet.  I have pics of those, but it's already late, so that's for another day.    

So with the addition of the new critters, the runs are full.  We have Myshkin (white ebony) with the two new standards and Dreamz (std).  Then Benji (hetero beige) is with Mish's pink white, Gypsy, and the un-named homo beige.  And then Squishy (std) is with Lexi. (hetero beige)... and assuming the two chins recover, he will also be with Nikki (hetero beige), and Jessie (mosaic).  Then we have our pair of holding cages, which are now being used for our retired pairs that just sort of breed once in awhile, rather than having a whole run to themselves.  The one has Nytro and Puff and the other has Bailey and Shimmy.  So hopefully four months from now, we'll be hearing the pitter patter of tiny little chinny feet.

I've heard from several other people who wanted to get Mish's pink white, which makes me feel even better about spending the money to get her.  When you're fighting over a chin, it's typically worth having.  She still doesn't have a name.  My mom said she looks like an owl, and I suppose she does look vaguely like a barn own, so she's been termed "the owl-chin" at the moment.  So far, out of all the males, I've only seen Benji trying to cuddle up to Gypsy (of all chins!), who has practically made herself into our new Dreamz.  Dreamz has seemed to tone down the attitude a bit... now, the barking and kacking coming from the runs is coming mostly from Gypsy.  Lol.

Anyway, will post soon about the recent adoptions and other goings on at the rescue.  Had to post this stuff as time had been passing.  But will update on the rescue front soon.


  1. Congrats to you and Meredith (and from the sound of it, everyone should have a Meredith!), and of course to Rochelle and Tricia. I can't think of a more loving woman; I was so happy when she told me she was taking her.
    Very cool to read what it's actually like at a show--I always think about going, but you just have no idea what to expect. I take it you avoid the pelt show? That would be too much for me!

    1. I wouldn't say I avoid the pelt show, I want to say I've sat to watch it every other year I've gone. I actually think it's easier to see the "blue" on the standards, the "red" on the beiges, dark standards, ebs, and so on, on the pelts than it is on the live animals. But I kind of feel like, with the pelts, once you've seen it once, you've seen it.