Introduction to the ABC Top 20 Invitational Event 

The Top Twenty Invitational event is a competition held in conjunction with the American Bloodhound Club National Specialty. This invitational event is not however, an official American Kennel Club (AKC) event, which means the winner shall not earn AKC points.

The Top Twenty Invitational was introduced at the 2005 American Bloodhound Club National Specialty hosted by the Pacific Rim Bloodhound Club. Extensive research into how other AKC Parent Clubs conducted a Top Twenty event became the basis for what has been developed by recognized Regional ABC Clubs to showcase the top winning dogs in our bloodhound breed.

The Top Twenty event was conceived as a way to recognize the achievements of bloodhounds, breeders, and owners whose dogs were ranked in the Top Twenty Bloodhounds according to AKC breed points. It is also an educational opportunity for fanciers, breeders, exhibitors and judges to see top dogs from all over the country and it provides a forum for the top winning dogs to be shown at the ABC National Specialties.

The Top Twenty catalog is a critical component of this event. The catalog provides an invaluable historical document of the top winning dogs every year.   It contains statistical information of previous events, winners, owners, breeders, pictures, pedigrees, win records, breeder’s information, owners, contact information, and a short biographical piece about each dog.

ABC FINANCIAL SUPPORT & OVERSIGHT 

The American Bloodhound Club shall provide the following support to the hosting regional club for the Top Twenty Invitational:

  1. Payment of fees charged by AKC to obtain a maximum of three status reports preceding the event up to $300 per qualification period.
  2. Upon request and approval of the ABC Board, the ABC may provide “seed money” for the Top Twenty event in the amount of $500. This money is considered a loan and is to be repaid to ABC prior to the final financial report being completed for each year’s National Specialty and Top Twenty event.
  3. The ABC Board shall appoint a Top Twenty Invitational Director and an assistant Director who shall serve in the capacity of advisors to the show giving club. The Director and assistant Director shall act as liaisons between the National Event Chairperson, the ABC Statistician and the Historian to obtain the relevant statistical information each year as required.
  4. A budgetary plan for the Top Twenty Invitational Event shall be included in the preliminary financial plan submitted by the National Event Chairperson to the National Event Coordinator (NEC) at the time of application to the Board for permission to host a National Specialty Event.
  5. The official Score sheet used for the Top Twenty Event shall be provided by the Top Twenty Invitational Director. The score sheet was developed from the AKC Bloodhound Standard and cannot be modified or changed without prior approval from the ABC Board.

Top Twenty Invitational Regulations and Procedural Guide 

Section I         Qualifying Criteria: The statistics are based on the official American Kennel Club (AKC) conformation show results, which reflect the number of breed points earned from each “Best of Breed” win during the qualification period. Points are accumulated from *July 1st of the previous year through June 30th of the current year for a total of 12 calendar months. In the event of a tie for the Top Twenty, all finalists shall receive an invitation. Spayed or neutered Bloodhounds who are finalists may compete. If they qualify, the previous year's winner is eligible to compete again or they or may choose to participate as “exhibition only”. If the previous year's winner does not qualify, they are still eligible to participate as "exhibition only." There is no fee for “exhibition only".

If a date for an upcoming National is approved that does not allow the above qualification period to be used, the Top Twenty Invitational Director shall work with the hosting club to establish a relevant qualification period. (Exhibitors work very hard to get their dogs qualified and they need advance notice if the qualification period is going to change). A minimum of three months from the end of the qualification period to the date of the event shall be required. For example, if a National were approved for May 1st, the qualifying period for that Top Twenty would be from February 1st of the preceding year to January 31st of the current year’s National. The change in the qualifying period shall be published in an ABC Newsletter a minimum of six months before it goes into effect.

The primary owner of the dog shall be in good standing with the AKC. If the primary owner is a member of the American Bloodhound Club, they shall be in good standing with the ABC. The definition of “primary owner” shall be as follows. "The primary owner shall be determined by whom the dog has lived with during the qualification period. This person shall also have been listed as an owner on the AKC registration papers during the entire qualification period.

Section II        Invitation: In traditional situations, the finalist list will be not available from AKC until approximately July 15th each year. The primary owner of a finalist shall receive a formal invitation to compete in the Top Twenty Invitational within 30 days of the release of the finalist list from AKC. The invitation shall include a premium list outlining the Top Twenty Introduction, rules and an official entry form. 

Section III       Entry Forms: The official participant entry form shall request that the following information be provided for each finalist: Name of the finalist, AKC Registration Number, Date of Birth, Call Name of the Finalist, Name of Breeders, Name of owners and co-owners, a three (3) generation pedigree, a biography about the finalist (50 word or less), and a photograph. The photograph shall be cropped to the dog. If the photograph is emailed it shall be a JPEG at 300 dpi and measure 4 ½” x 3 ¼” maximum. All information shall be included in the catalog. The closing date for the Top Twenty shall be set at least four weeks or more prior to the actual event date to allow sufficient time to compile the required information to be collated for the catalog.

Section IV       Fees: Participation fees shall be determined by the hosting club. Payment of the participation fee shall allow; entry for the exhibit, admittance into the event for one owner or handler, a personalized rosette bearing the name of the dog, the date and place of the event, the American Bloodhound Club Logo, the official Top Twenty logo, the name of the Regional Club, a commemorative gift and one copy of the event catalog. All additional attendees shall require a paid admission. The price of admission shall include the cost of a catalog or, catalogs shall be available for purchase at the event.

If a finalist is unable to compete in the Top Twenty event, the owner shall be invited to include the dog in the Top Twenty Catalog only, at a reduced fee. If the owner chooses to receive, a personalized rosette and a catalog there shall be an additional fee to be determined by the hosting club. From a historical perspective, every effort shall be made to encourage all owners of qualifying dogs to elect to be included in the catalog.

 Section V        Deceased Finalist: In the unfortunate event that a finalist has passed away, the owner shall be invited to include the dog in the Top Twenty Catalog at a reduced fee. If the owner chooses to receive a personalized rosette and a catalog there shall be an additional fee to be determined by the hosting club. If the owner is present at the event, the dog shall be recognized and rewarded in the same way as all other one of the finalists for the event. From a historical perspective, every effort shall be made to encourage all owners of qualifying dogs who are deceased to elect to be included in the catalog in recognition of the dog’s accomplishment.

Section VI       Judges and Judging Forms: Three judges (AKC licensed Bloodhound Breed Judge,   Professional Handler Judge, ABC Breeder Judge) shall be selected by the hosting club. The identity of the judges shall remain anonymous until the beginning of the event. Members of the Top Twenty Invitational Event committee may choose to compete if eligible; however, if their dog is a participant they shall not be part of the judge selection process.

The judging form used in the Top Twenty event was developed from the official AKC Bloodhound Standard. A copy of the ABC Illustrated Bloodhound Standard shall be sent to judges for their review a minimum of two months prior to the event. 

Section VII      Ring stewards: Three ring stewards shall be selected, one of which may also be the official auditor. One ring steward shall be assigned to assist each judge. The ring stewards shall not be an owner or breeder of any of the finalists who are entered in the event. Ring Stewards shall be required to adhere to strict confidentiality regarding judges’ comments and scores on any of the Top Twenty Invitational Participants.

Section VIII     Auditor: The Top Twenty Invitational Chairperson with the consensus of the Top Twenty Invitational Committee shall select an official Auditor. The Auditor may also serve as one of the Ring Stewards at the event. The Auditor’s responsibilities shall be to collect the completed, signed score sheets of the judges from the Ring Stewards at the conclusion of the event. The Auditor shall tabulate the scores privately; place all of the score sheets into an envelope that is to be sealed. The Auditor’s results will be verified by the Top Twenty Invitational Director, or Assistant Director if Director is not present at the event. The envelope shall remain in the possession of the Auditor. Additionally, the Auditor shall write the name of the winner on a winner’s announcement card, place the card into an envelope that is to be sealed. The Auditor shall retain possession of the sealed envelope containing the winner’s name, until the time of the ABC National Specialty Banquet, when the Auditor shall give the envelope directly to the announcer. 

Section IX       Scoring:   Each eligible dog participating shall be examined individually by all three judges, and scored on their merit according to the Bloodhound Standard. Each eligible dog participating shall be judged on movement in any pattern predetermined by the judges. After the judging of movement has concluded for all of the participants, each judge shall complete and tabulate their scores for each of the dogs. Upon completing each dog’s score sheet, the judge shall sign, date and present it directly to the Ring Steward for immediate submission to the Auditor. No changes can be made to the score sheets after the judges sign and submit them to the Ring Steward or Auditor.

In the event that the judging is performed in two sessions, the judge shall complete a separate score sheet for each session. After the judging for the first session has concluded, each judge shall complete and tabulate their scores for each of the dogs, sign, date and present the score sheet directly to the Auditor who is responsible for maintaining confidentiality.

At the start of the second session of judging, the judge shall be given a second session score sheet with the judge’s name and participant’s armband number on it. After the judging for the second session has concluded, each judge shall complete and tabulate their scores for each of the dogs, sign, date and present the score sheet directly to the Auditor who is responsible for maintaining confidentiality. The two portions of the form shall be tabulated by the Auditor to establish the final score for each dog.

At a later time, the Auditor shall privately tabulate each of the judges’ score sheets. The totals of all three judges for each participant shall be added together and divided by three to determine an average score. The participant with the highest average score shall be determined to be the winner.

In the event of a tie, the highest scoring participant as determined by the Breeder Judge’s score sheet shall determine the winner. In the event of a tie by the Breeder Judge, the highest scoring participant as determined by the AKC Licensed Judge’s score sheet shall determine the winner. In the event of a tie by both the Breeder Judge and the AKC Licensed Judge, the highest scoring participant as determined by the Professional Handler Judge’s score sheet shall determine the winner. If all three judges have identical scores for the tied finalist, there shall be multiple winners.

The identity of the winner shall be kept confidential until the ABC National Specialty Banquet where it shall be formally announced. Once the winner has been verified and announced, the judging forms will be destroyed and no further information about scores or placements is to be conveyed to anyone for any reason by the auditor, Top 20 Director or Assistant Director.

The Auditor shall destroy all judges’ score sheets after the results have been verified by the Top 20 Director/Assistant Director. The Auditor and Top Twenty Director/Assistant Director shall maintain absolute confidentiality of the results permanently. No one shall be entitled to any information regarding the placement or scoring of the participating dogs under any circumstances.

Section XI       Ribbons and Prizes: Each Top Twenty finalist participant shall receive a personalized rosette to commemorate their accomplishment. The rosette shall bear the name of the dog, the date and place of the event, the American Bloodhound Club Logo, the official Top Twenty logo, and the name of the Regional Club.

At the ABC National Specialty Banquet, the winner shall be announced and shall be presented with a trophy and a special Best Of Top Twenty rosette that shall bear the date and place of the event, the American Bloodhound Club Logo, the official Top Twenty logo, and the name of the Regional Club. 

Section XII      Ring Procedure: The hosting club shall determine final ring procedure. When determining ring procedure for judging, ring location and size, lighting, spectators’ view of judging, weather conditions, and the sound system shall be considered.

Handlers and/or owners of each finalist shall be required to attend a pre-event meeting. Armband numbers shall be the same number as listed in the Top Twenty catalog. The judging forms used by the judges shall be pre-numbered with each finalists armband number, date, and judge’s name. The judges shall attend a procedural meeting prior to the event to ensure that they are familiar with the judging form, the ring procedures, and the need for confidentiality.

FOR INCLUSION IN THE SBR

OUTLINE OF DUTIES, QUALIFICATIONS, AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE TOP TWENTY INVITATIONAL DIRECTOR AND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

1.0   The ABC Board shall appoint the Top Twenty Invitational Director and Assistant Director.

1.1       The Top Twenty Invitational Director shall act in the capacity of adviser, taking primary responsibility for working with National Event and Top Twenty Invitational Chairpersons in the planning of Top Twenty Invitational Events.

1.2       The Top Twenty Invitational Assistant Director shall act in the capacity of collaborator to the Director and shall be responsible to complete specific tasks related to the event at the request of the Director.

1.3       Both the Director and Assistant Director shall have extensive knowledge of the Regulations and Procedural Guide of the ABC Top Twenty Invitational.

1.4       Both the Director and Assistant Director shall have experience serving as a Top Twenty Invitational Committee member.

1.5       Both the Director and Assistant Director shall act as a resource to National Event Chairpersons and the Top Twenty Invitational Committee, providing guidance and information in accordance with the Board approved regulations and procedures.

1.6       The Director shall obtain and provide the Top Twenty Invitational Committee Chairpersons with the Finalist List from the AKC in accordance with the time frames indicated in the Top Twenty Invitational Regulations and Procedural Guide, Section II: Invitation. 

1.7       The Director shall provide the Top Twenty Invitational Committee Chairpersons with copies of the   Illustrated Standard for distribution to the three (3) judges and all required forms including the official entry form and judges’ score sheets.

1.8       The Director, or Assistant Director if Director is not present at the event, shall verify the Auditor’s tabulation of the judges’ score sheets. After the results have been verified the judges score sheets shall be destroyed in the presence of the Director, or Assistant Director if the Director is not present at the event.

1.9      The Director shall work with the National Event Chairperson, the ABC Statistician and Historian after the event to obtain the relevant statistical information each year as required.

1.10      Both the Director and Assistant Director shall have the ability and means to attend the National Specialty each year as required.

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