When Leo Joseph, came to me regarding the fact that we should be doing something special for the owners at the SRS Crown Championship, I was all ears.
Leo came from the pleasure horse industry, and he proceeded to tell me how they introduce the owners of the horses at the Reichert Celebration. The owners were showcased in front of the crowd prior to the festivities, and this allowed them to be at the event and physically a part of everything. At the same time, we were discussing what a great thing this would be for retrievers, I had just returned home from a EUKANUBA Summit that was held in Kentucky at which we attended the Kentucky Derby. (My first time there, and yes, I wore a Big Pink hat!) Well, I guess it’s not going to take you very long to figure out how Big Hats and Bowties Owners Gala came to be. It was the perfect excuse to put on our Sunday Best, grab a Big Hats or Bowtie and show off our owners and their retrievers. It was a great lead-in to the week of competition, a perfect idea and we had to do it.
The first Big Hats and Bowties took place at the SRS Crown Championship in Natchez, Mississippi. Several owners came, we hadn’t suggested dogs come except I personally wanted the past Crown Champions, so they would be present for their send off and their “Signature Drink.” The First Signature drink year we had “The Roscoe” and “The Smoke”.
I spotted a few bowties, most said they were not going to wear one. The girls they were all about it, calling me and asking, “So I need to get a Hat right?” and this made them happy. It gave the girls a good excuse to go a buy a new dress and a BIG HAT. We had more hats than not, and we even had a few other dogs show up to the event. I believe Roscoe, the reigning open winner had on a bowtie. We produced a Live stream and put it up for all to see, to meet this years qualified owners along with their retrievers. It came together nicely, and our first Big Hats and Bowties Owners Gala was borne.
Jump ahead 3 years… Big Hats and Bowties is now a main stay event, everyone has on a Bowtie, the Big Hats are phenomenal and the dogs …… oh my…. the dogs. I would never have expected the owners “Puttin’ on the Ritz” with their dogs, but there they were, all decked out in their utmost finery. I mean these are the dogs in the duck woods we see statue pictures of with a lanyard of mallards in the tree next to them. These dogs are the same dogs that this fall will be bringing in their favorite thing to retrieve and give to the hand of their owners. The only finery we see here is a camouflage dog vest. But here no one cares, we are in the spirit of Big Hats and Bowties with our best retriever.
This year is the 5th Annual Big Hats and Bowties Owners Gala. I am so proud of this event and what it stands for. I love that it is a warm welcome to a highly competitive week. I love seeing the smiles and comradery ….and of course the dogs. Thank you all for drinking the Big Hat and Bowtie Kool-Aid, it shows that you love it too.
The stage is lit, and we are ready to kick off the week with our mainstay event.
Not much we can do to make this any better. So, grab that bowtie and take that deep dive into which is the best hat, oh and get one to match for your retriever girl too. 😉
Come walk the Eukanuba Pink Carpet, we look forward to seeing you there.