"Rastus" - BIS Ch.
Barcon´s The Avenger
Pictured here winning
BISS at the Trenton, NJ ALAC Specialty in 1974
What a Dog! For anyone who
has had the pleasure of gaiting a really good moving animal, you understand
how exciting it can be. "Rastus" was one such animal. While
I handled many great Champions to exciting wins, I've never had anyone
compare to this dog moving!
The striking winning team - Joan and Rastus went
on to win 11 Best In Shows!
Rastus was such a well-balanced
dog around 11" in height, and not an over-abundance of coat. The
noted Afghan Hound breeder and judge Kay Finch awarded him Best In Show
- clapping her hands in excitement over a small dog that could move
like the wind. She commented on the fact that his coat lay smoothly
allowing his beautiful outline to be seen when moving.
days of the "big promotions" were yet to come. Rastus
did his winning with a minimum of advertising and hype. He was
used very little while being shown, but he did produce a pretty
little gold bitch by the name of Ch. Orlane´s Brandywyne
(dam of Intrepid) out of heavily linebred Sparky stock. Brandy
was the image of her father, on the smaller scale. Same color,
same structure, but not as happy in the show ring as her dad.
In fact, she really disliked showing. She was nine years old when
she did attain her championship after numberous reserves to majors
and that was a lucky break!
I think Rastus was
ahead of his time. East coats breeders were shocked when Barry
Tomkins bred to Sparky, considering the fact that he was not of
"pure" bloodlines. They were even more shocked when
Rastus began winning Best in Shows around the midwest. One of
the true stories about Rastus involved Jerry Edwards, big handler
from Michigan, who was looking for a top Lhasa winner. He had
just made our own Ch. Orlane´s Good as Gold into a top BIS
winner in the US and Canada (including Group 3 at Westminster)
and wanted something special. I told Jerry about Rastus, said
I really liked the looks of this youngster from the photos that
Barry had sent me and thought he might be a "flyer".
Rastus was just 7 months old, but he had a great outline and style.
Ch. Orlane´s Brandywine - Avenger´s daughter and
Avenger as a seven months old puppy
knew I had a pretty good eye for a dog, so he asked Barry to send
him the dog for a possible weathly client. Well, Barry was enthusted,
packed Rastus off to Jerry and we waited to see what he would
say. His reply wasnt long in coming. He was extremely disappointed
with this big, gangy puppy with sparse coat. How could I possibly
think this dog could do serious winning, he was TOO big, kind
of shy, just not what he wanted!
I was sorry Jerry
didnt like him, but Barry was incensed! He named him the Avenger,
and vowed to give him a chance in the ring and wanted me to take
him out right then. I advised waiting until the dog was about
11 months old to have more coat and mature a little. We decided
to begin his career at Florida circuit and entered him at six
shows.Barry sent him to me about a month ahead of the shows to
give him a chance to acclimate to me and be trained. He still
didn´t have floor lenght coat, but was nicely bodied up
and carried himself beautifully. I didnt know what to expect from
him in the ring, he seemed a bit "soft" but I knew you
just dont know what a dog will do until you get him in the ring
a few times.So off we went to Florida shows.
must remember, this was a lot for a youngster that hadnt´t
been much of anywhere to be plunged right into hot competition,
ready or not! The first show was an education for both Rastus
and me. He was so happy with himself, with the other dogs, with
the excitement of the ring. i couldn´t settle him down enough
for the judge who expected a bit more decorous behavior. By the
time I got him smoothed out a little, with all four feet on the
floor, it was too late, but we still got reserve to a major. Still
i was happy with his enthusiasm and while I didn´t want
to hold him back too much, knew we had to work together a little
I got Rastus in early
for the next show, and we worked out a bit before ring time, practicing
on moving with me and not trying to investigate every dog. Stacking..
well, he wasnt big on that so I just showed him on the loose lead
and let him show himself off. Since he was such a sound, well
constructed dog, he couldn´t put a foot wrong and just stood
there looking gorgeous. He showed like a trooper, just a little
rambunctious and was Best of Winner for a major, and I was getting
excited about this pretty puppy.
Well, he finished
in the next four shows and we never looked back from that time
forward. I felt he was still immature for specialing, so sent
him home to grow up a little. Later that summer, Barry wanted
him out, and I didn´t have a special, so we decided to give
it a whirl. I entered him in three shows - Council Bluffs, IA,
Sioux City & Sioux Falls, So. Dakota, figuring there wouldn´t
be much competiion there. Wrong! Porter Washington with Ch. Flakee
Sweepstakes was there, the Dalmatian Ch. Coachman´s Chuck-A-Luck,
and the big winning Bulldog. Wow, some really heavy duty winners!
We won the breed all three days and wonder of wonders, two Group
seconds and a Group First! Three weeks later Rastus won his first
Best In Show under Kay Finch and we were off running!
A beautiful head-study of Rastus!
This was a dog that loved
the competition of the big rings and he could outmove almost everything
in the Group ring except the Standard Poodle and Dalmatian without really
exerting himself. Rastus went on to become No. 1 Lhasa in National Competition
for two years, winning BOB at two ALAC National Specialties, 11 All-Breed
BIS and numerous Groups. After a short two years, he went home to be
a beloved housepet of Barry and Connie Tompkins in Syracuse, NY.
Jerry very graciosly later
told me turning that dog down was one of his biggest mistakes ever made
in dogs! Just goes on to show that you gotta have faith, right?