First Time National Winning Owners

by Lee Harper
Mockingbird Persians & Exotics

Published May 2002

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Each year, only 65 cats in all of CFA earn the coveted title of National Winner. Sometimes it is even less than 65 cats if one or two cats is a double national winner.

Every year many of the owners of those national winning cats are people who have successfully completed a national campaign before. Indeed, many of the owners of the NW cats are people who campaign cats to a national win year after year. This is familiar territory for them.

But each season, there is an owner or two who is is a "first-timer". These owners have never had a cat earn an NW before, and so everything they encountered along the campaign trail was new for them. They entered the "race" with no road map to follow... and they found their way to the top!

This season, there are three (Three!) members of who have piloted their cats to an NW for the first time - one in each category of kitty competition!

One woman is from Oklahoma and owns a Persian who competed in Premiership. One woman is from Virginia and owns an Exotic who competed as a Kitten. And the third winner is owned by a woman from Ontario, Canada, and bred and campaigned in Championship by his breeder in the U.S.

On behalf of, I wish to welcome Belinda Ernest, Nancy Pribble, and Madelaine Saunders and Laura Thomas into that exclusive club of first time owners of a National Winner. May there be many more for all of you!

GC, GP, NW Tanglebox's Sunnyside Up
Red Tabby Persian Neuter
breeder/owner: Belinda Ernest

"Sunny", a gorgeous red tabby Persian, was 3rd pick of his litter. My mentor, Maurice Ruble of Budmar, often told me "Just wait - you'll be surprised at how nicely he matures".

Sunny was only shown a few times as a kitten - he was all arms, legs, and ears at that age, but needed to be out and get show experience. Many other breeders were surprised I would consider keeping a cat who was still so immature at the age of 7 months, but I had faith.

Sunny then moved into Championship class, and took 6 shows to grand. After granding, I continued to show him, and he moved up into the regional standings. In February, ranked 13th in the region, I felt he was getting out of condition, and stopped showing him. Unfortunately, in just those 2 months timeframe, he dropped from 13th to 26th in the region, missing a Regional Win by only 50 points!

After a year's worth of breeding, and having some nice offspring of his to keep, I elected to neuter Sunny, and got him back into show condition.

He started his Premiership career the first weekend of May 2001, and after the first month of showing, was ranked 9th in the nation, which convinced me to keep him out and try for a National Win. Sunny was out all year, and consistently in the national standings, ending the season as 17th Best Cat in Premiership.

...............Belinda Ernest

GC, NW Heida I Luv Rock N' Roll
Black & White Van Male Exotic
breeder/owner Nancy Pribble

"Elvis"s' mother is GC Heida Bye Bye Love and his father is Mr. Bailey of Catsongs. There were three "spotless vans" in the litter, a calico van, a red and white male and of course, Elvis.

All three kittens were entered in their first show together but the red and white had been sold to be premiered at a later date.

His calico sister, Heida Hello Dolly of Desmin was high scoring kitten and Elvis was third high scoring. I was thrilled. It was decided to keep Dolly home while I try to run Elvis for a regional.

Elvis attended only 12 shows as a kitten. He was awarded 19 Best Kitten wins and lots of compliments from judges and fellow exhibitors.

On the first weekend of February, he became a five ring grand grand.

Then his sister Heida Hello Dolly of Desmin was taken out by Johanna Leibfarth and she was a two show grand and received many Best Cats. Dolly ended up as 23rd Best Cat in Southern Region having been only shown from February to May and is still only 11 months old.

Boy am I proud...

What makes all of this so meaningful is that all my foundation zots were gifts from friends and so was the Persian who is father to Elvis. And so my friends are also part of Elvis' accomplishment.

...............Nancy Pribble

GC, NW Purrinlot Arelikiss of Stepp'nstone
Copper-Eyed White Persian Male
owner: Madelaine Saunders
breeder: Laura Thomas

When I first purchased "Areli", his breeder Laura offered to show him as a kitten and grand him for me as I was just beginning seriously as a breeder and had little show experience. Shown by Laura, Areli was 4th Best Kitten in the Great Lakes Region and a one show grand!

Meanwhile, with Laura's guidance, I began to show a little and gain experience in the grooming I would need to present my cats well in the show ring.

Although the original plan was for Areli to retire after granding and come home to live with me in Ontario and sire babies, as we watched him mature and just get better and better, Laura and I felt he deserved the opportunity to try for a National title.

Well, the rest is history. Laura and I rode a roller-coaster of ups and downs together. We held our breaths when Areli blew his coat and had to sit out for a couple of months. We watched painfully as he slid from 6th to 28th position in the National standings. Then we watched in awe as in just five weeks, he climbed back up the standings to finish as 18th Best Cat in Championship.

I would like to thank the judges, breeders, and friends who supported Areli throughout his show career, but most of all thank you to Laura of Purrinlot. You made our dream come true.

Madelaine Saunders



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