So I’m super excited to watch the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship on the 4th! Four days of dogapalooza collapsed into two hours- it’s a tall order. I have some fun posts/giveaways planned for next week to lead up to the air date, but in the meantime I wanted to give you a little glimpse into the behind the scenes cogs of a show this size.
What can I say? I live for behind-the-scenes stuff. Dogs galore, camera crews, obedience trials, police dogs, Super Dogs, conformation, agility, and exhibitor booths all in one big conference hall running simultaneously? How does that happen without anyone getting bitten or run over? And when you send in an admitted agent of chaos such as myself to document the process, does that help or hinder the outcome?
Fortunately there was an ace crew of veterans there to oversee both the show and the bloggers, who, if experience is any indication, are always a bit of a wild card.
Crashing the Mrs. America pageant happened offsite, OK? (I voted for Mrs. Colorado, myself.) What are you going to do. We’re a handful.
This is Jen. In addition to her role as Blogger Wrangler Numero Uno, she is the social media manager for Eukanuba. Jen spent a lot of time in the War Room (ie command central) pictured here, dealing with frantic blogger concerns such as malfunctioning wifi, procurement of schwag, directions to the nearest Haagen-Daaz and provision of the ever-vital pink pashminas.
Because you can’t go to a show like this without wearing rhodamine. It’s part of the deal. Also useful for covering up evidence in a hurry, should the need arise. Not that it did. *shifty eyes*
And then there is dear Bev, social media manager for Iams. I love Bev. Bev is the Julie McCoy of the outfit, never without a smile and her camera.
Which is a good thing, because I spent a lot of time hanging out in the War Room asking her to take pictures of me with whatever props I found laying against the wall, such as the big honkin’ 50,000 check:
And the half-assembled Championship trophy:
Because those are the sorts of things that bloggers do, you see. Get the inside scoop. Keep the crew on their toes. Test the security of the outfit.
We got to do lots and lots of things the general public didn’t get to do, like get inside the ring during the World Challenge for an up-close and personal photo op:
The beautiful boxer under the US flag is the winner of the Breeder’s Stakes held earlier in the day, by the by. Ahem.
And more behind the scenes glimpses: this is External Relations Manager Jason Taylor in the production booth, listening to the producer direct which of the six cameras was live at any given moment. His job, as far as I could tell, was to be everywhere, at all times, overseeing everything. The Eukanuba Overlord, if you will.
And this vision in gold is Event Manager Vicki Seiler, who has the same job description as Jason, except she does it in stilettos. Like, always. This is why she is delicately perched on a scooter, because let’s face it, there’s a mileage limit on walking in designer heels. Be everywhere, at every moment, making sure people are happy and where they need to be, and looking immaculate every step of the way. The bar was thusly raised for the lazy people like me.
But the Orange County Convention Center WAS huge, and covering that amount of square footage for several days straight is a drain even on those in flats. Which brings me to my most important point: To help with this issue, the convention center provided Segways for show use.
Have you ever been on a Segway? Me neither.
But as we watched Eukanuba staffers like Bud zoom effortlessly around the center (and the greater Orlando area) like urban pink gazelles on rollerblades, some of the bloggers began talking.
Over drinks. Eukatinis, to be exact. This is how ideas get hatched.
Which is how Susi and I found ourselves the next morning in the War Room with a Segway, begging for a little lesson and spin around the place. To get the true “show experience,” you see. They made it look so easy.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
To their credit, not one “Gee we should have brought helmets” joke was made. Until now, of course. (And to all you rumor mongers, there was no trophy in sight or path unless one of you hid it in that trash can.)