Commonwealth Journal

September 26, 2011

Somerset Bichon Frise taking Asia by storm

Wins ‘Best in Show’ in Seoul, South Korea

Commonwealth Journal

— Lake Cumberland Kennel Club members Danny and Wendy Ball’s Bichon Frise, Al (Am GCh Ch BIS Wendan Out on Parole from Musicbox), is taking Asia by storm – winning Best in Show over 2,000 dogs Aug. 27 at the Asia Championship Dog Show in Seoul, South Korea.

The Seoul win was considered quite the upset over the top toy poodle in the world, ably shown by her Japanese handler.

Al is co-owned and handled by professional handler Rick Day, a good friend who has been showing Bichons for over 30 years and has received numerous awards from the Bichon Club of America, including Breeder of the Year.

With Day on the end of the lead, Al began his show career at the Houston Bichon Frise Specialty in July 2010 with a Best Puppy win his first day out. He followed that with a 5-point major (win) in Atlanta and two Group Firsts in the Non-Sporting Groups in Biloxi, Miss., and Knoxville, Tenn.

Al finished his American Kennel Club Championship out of the 9-12-month puppy class and has continued his show career as a Special in the United States, and now in the Orient.

The opportunity to travel to Asia came about when Day was approached at the Bichon National Specialty in Houston, Texas, by leading Bichon owner/breeders, Mrs. Lee Dong Lim (whose dog Am. Ch. BISS Risgae’s International Freedom- – “Free” – won Best Opposite Sex in the 2011 Westminster Kennel Club Show in New York) and her husband, Mr. Shin Kyoung Soo (whose kennel is DogNews), about purchasing Al.

While the Balls and Day declined to part with him, Day did agree to travel to South Korea to compete, to conduct a breed seminar and for Al to reside in Asia for a year, being shown and contributing to the DogNews breeding program there.

Wendy and Danny are both retired from the Kentucky State Police, he as a lieutenant and she as dispatcher supervisor at the Madisonville Post. Danny is program manager for The Center for Rural Development’s National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center, linking small rural agencies with assistance available to them through the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice. Wendy has devoted herself to community service, both in Somerset and in Nortonville where the couple also maintain a home – serving last year as president of Madisonville Noon Kiwanis Club.

What began as a retirement gift from Danny to Wendy – their first show Bichon – evolved into a labor of love and a new avocation – Wendan Bichons (their registered kennel name, a combination of both their first names).

The Balls have also volunteered with Small Paws Rescue, the largest breed rescue in the country with over 800 volunteers and over 6,000 members in 26 countries. Small Paws has rescued over 8,000 Bichons in the past 12 years across the U.S.

Perhaps Al will celebrate his great year in Orlando, Fla., in December where he has qualified for the AKC/Eukanuba Invitational Tournament of Champions. For a little dog, Al has accomplished BIG things in 2011!