GC, BW, NW Clowntown’s Shining Silver Mystery

BY HOWARD WEBSTER
Clowntown Cattery
Published June 2014

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CFA's 12th Best Cat In Championship for 2013-2014 is a stunning shaded silver American Shorthair appropriately named GC, BW, NW Clowntown’s Shining Silver Mystery, bred and owned by Howard WebsterThis unusually colored American Shorthair is a history-maker in his breedHe is the first of his color to be a breed winner and the first shaded silver American Shorthair to be a national winner in CFA.

This is Mystery's story . . . a story of love and devotion that is dedicated to Mr. Wayne Park, the father of the Shaded Silver American Shorthair. 


GC, BW, NW Clowntown’s Shining Silver Mystery
CFA's 12th Best Cat In Championship for 2013-2014
Photo by Chanan

The Shaded American Shorthair

My name is Howard Webster.  I have been breeding cats under the Clowntown cattery name since 1971.  My breeds include Balinese, Siamese, Orientals and the rare and unusual shaded silver American Shorthair.

I first saw a shaded silver American Shorthair in Chicago in 1979.  The color was unique, but the cats were not very impressive. 

It wasn’t until I met Wayne Park and his glorious shaded silver, CH Norpark’s Mai-Tre-D, that I fell in love with the color and the breed.  Mai-Tre-D was a beautiful cat, and I enjoyed grooming him every time I saw him.  It wasn’t until 1996, ten years later, when Wayne produced one of his nicest shaded ASHs in a long time, that I got started in the breed.  With the purchase of GC Norpark’s Cortez of Clowntown, I began the long journey of breeding a top shaded silver American Shorthair. 

Many breeders have bred shaded silver ASHs over the years but most have moved on to other colors or breeds.  Extremely rare and beautiful, the shaded silver ASH are now nearly gone.  This wonderful color of American Shorthair that has graced show benches and pet homes for more than 40 years is now on the edge of extinction.  Carol Johnson of Melodygarden and I are almost the last breeders working with this luminous color of American Shorthair.

A Mystery

GC, BW, NW Clowntown’s Shining Silver Mystery is the culmination of 17 years of breeding, with some of the top tabby lines in his pedigree. 

His mother, Clowntown’s Silver Mystery, is a silver ticked tabby.  Being a ticked tabby, she could not be shown in CFA as the color was not yet accepted in championship.  A beautiful girl, she was bred back to her uncle, GC, RW Clowntown’s Shining Silver Dollar. 


Mystery's sire: GC, RW Clowntown’s Shining Silver Dollar
Photo by Chanan

She gave birth to five robust kittens — but Mystery was the biggest kitten in his litter.  Shaded kittens are usually born dark and then they lighten up as they get older.  Three of them had great color, but Mystery was the best. Right from the get-go, I knew he was special.

Mystery granded in March 2013, then he stayed home to grow up.  Shaded silvers are a little slower to mature than their tabby counterparts so Mystery needed more time to grow up. 

The Run

At the start of the new season, I brought Mystery back to competition at the Superstition Cat Club show in Phoenix, AZ.  He looked great as his weight, coat, just everything had come together.  The judges concurred with me and Mystery did well at the show.

Diana Heinzen of TNT Perfect Persians who came up to me at the show and asserted, “That is a national quality cat”.

I just laughed and said, “Right, a shaded silver.”  You see, there had never been a shaded silver American Shorthair that had been a national winner in the entire history of CFA.  There had been national winning silver tabbies, brown tabbies, blue tabbies, cameo tabbies and even a calico, a tortie, a black and a bicolor over the years — but there had never been a shaded silver American Shorthair that added the title of NW to its name.

But even as I smiled at how unlikely it was that an ASH of such an unusual color could reach the highest goal in CFA, somewhere, deep down, I knew in this moment that Mystery’s run for the roses had begun . . . and so we hit the campaign trail.


Mystery Head Study
Photo by
Chanan

We went to some of the biggest shows and competed against some of the best cats in CFA . . . and Mystery held his own. 

A Trooper

Not only did Mystery do well, he was a delight to show.  He enjoyed being in the ring and loved all the attention.  A national campaign can be long and tiring but right up to the last ring of the season, Mystery was still playing on the judging table and being a real ham.   

Mystery loved staying in the hotels too and would snuggle up with us on the bed.  He would wake me up in the middle of the night just to have me pet him.  He liked to lick my head — not a pleasant experience if you are bald!


Mystery shows off his figure
Photo by Chanan

A Team Effort & History Is Made

Showing Mystery was a team effort.  Myself, my other half, Thomas Rowley, and our friends all pulled together to get the job done.  Mystery was shown in all seven regions in the US.  Thom took him to the shows if I couldn't make it.  Mystery even crossed the Atlantic Ocean when Cherylee DeYoung of Derry Downs took him to Italy for a show.  Geez . . . Mystery got to go to Europe, and we didn’t even get a T-shirt!   Ciao kitty!

By the end of the season, Mystery was a national winner — and a breed winner!  CFA's 12th Best Cat in Championship for 2013-2014 was GC, BW, NW Clowntown’s Shining Silver Mystery.

The Firsts

It was a season of firsts. This was my first attempt to campaign a cat to national recognition.
It was the first time a shaded silver American Shorthair earned the title of national winner in the history of CFA.
It was the first time that a shaded silver was the Best American Shorthair of the season.

So many firsts . . . but Mystery and the shaded silver American Shorthair was not my dream; it was Wayne Park’s dream.  After Wayne passed away on March 6, 2003, it became my dream as well.

During the campaign, as the rosettes began to pile up, I had the feeling Wayne was with us.  I don’t know how many times the judges who knew him said, “Wayne would be so proud. I know he is looking down and smiling.” 

So, this is for you, Wayne . . . Your dream of a national winning shaded silver American Shorthair has become a reality. 

It has been my pleasure and my honor to continue your work, and, hopefully, help the shaded silver American Shorthair be here for many more generations to come!  

Howard Webster
Clowntown Cattery, Established in 1971
clowntowncattery.com



Wayne Park

The Future Of Shaded Silver American Shorthairs

Wait . . . one more thing . . . as of May 1, 2014, the ticked tabby American Shorthair have been accepted for championship competition in CFA.  Now, hopefully, more people will become involved with this wonderful color of ASH. The acceptance of ticked tabbies will help expand the gene pool, and more shaded silvers should be seen in the show ring in the coming years.  Our breed desperately needs more fanciers to work with this color if it is not going to disappear.

Already I have been delighted to be able to help several newcomers in Kansas City begin showing and breeding shaded silver American Shorthairs.  Their enthusiasm makes me optimistic.  I sincerely hope that while Mystery is the first American Shorthair of his color to be a national winner, he will be soon be joined by others. 

The dream continues . . .

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GC, BW, NW Clowntown’s Shining Silver Mystery

Shaded Silver American Shorthair Male

CFA's 12th Best Cat In Championship 2013-2014
CFA Southwest Regions 2nd Best Cat In Championship 2013-2014
CFA's First Shaded Silver American Shorthair National Winner In Breed History
First Shaded Silver to be Best American Shorthair

Born April 28, 2012
Sire:  GC, RW Clowntown’s Shining Silver Dollar
Dam:  Clowntown’s Silver Mystery
Breeder/Owner: Howard Webster

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