World Championships

The World Grooming Championships took place in Kortrijk, Belgium on 1st October 2017 with 20 countries taking part, ranging from all over Europe and from as far away as China and Australia. The atmosphere was electric; the room filled with vibrant colour from all the teams’ flags and uniforms and the noise of cheering supporters resembling that of a football game rather than a grooming competition!

The team members – Peter Ensell, Amy Manser, Lesley Harpham and Denise Westbrook along with our fantastic photographer Peter Hulance – had left the UK on Thursday to make the journey by car with their dogs and support team.  Having visited the Groomania competition in Kortrijk as part of their team commitments previously, they were well prepared for their stay in the lovely Park Hotel.

Friday and Saturday were taken up with the Groomania competition with more competitors from England taking part than ever; English grooming had many successes in the ring. Julie Lalou Simpson achieved a 2nd place in both Champion Hand Strip and Clippers only classes with beautiful Welsh Terriers; Sue Pratt gained 2nd Place in the Workshop class with her lovely Labradoodle and Becki Ensell received the Best Makeover award of the show with her Lakeland.

The ultimate prize of Best in Show and the Richard Barker award were taken by Groom Team’s very own Amy Manser (Pictured above) who absolutely stole the show with her stunning American Cocker, Twist. This was the highest entry ever for a grooming show with almost 400 entries over the 2 days with groomers from all over the world competing for the title. The English support team were delighted to say the least!

Friday evening was spent at the gala dinner where all the teams could socialise in a relaxed atmosphere, with a buffet dinner and wine flowing freely and the most amazing live band, a great night was had by all.

Sunday morning arrived with an early start and preparations for the presentation of each countries competitors at 8.00am. Joanne Angus as Team Captain headed the English team carrying the St. Georges Flag high and they took their place with the other 19 teams for official photos. The red and white Groom Team England uniforms, sponsored and made by Top to Tail clothing, really stood out amongst the crowd. With the dogs having coordinated handmade collars and leads, courtesy of Jo Silk – Smith, the team and dogs looked more than impressive.

The parade of teams waving their country’s flags was an amazing spectacle filling the room with colour, and the enthusiasm of the cheering crowds was infectious motivating the teams all the more and encouraging them into fight mode and ready for battle. The competition was on!

Lesley and Pete were up first with Bisto the Norwich Terrier and V the Kerry Blue. The floor was awash with a variety of Terriers and Pure Breed Scissor dogs and after an incredibly quick two and a half hours the first stage of the competition was finished. Lesley and Pete had done their bit for the team and could now only wait.

The afternoon session began with Amy and Denise taking centre stage with Boris, the American Cocker and Gandalf, the Standard Poodle. There were Setters, Spaniels and Poodles of all 3 sizes to keep everyone engrossed with the sculpting and shaping taking place on the competition floor in front of them. Two hours 45 minutes later and it was all over. The competition was finished and the fate of the team was in the hands of the judges.

The judging took place and the judge’s scores were given to the jury to calculate the points awarded for each individual and the combined total for the team.

All 20 teams lined up on the grooming tables so the audience could capture the photos of the expertly groomed dogs on show. The atmosphere was amazing with music playing, whistles and horns blowing and flags waving. The dogs were fantastic and coped brilliantly with all the noise.

Finally the results were ready – would we be in the top 6?? We all held our breath as the teams were announced in no particular order and to our delight the English team were placed!

The teams were announced in reverse order with France coming in 6th, Belgium in 5th and then England were announced in 4th place; we proudly took our place on the stage for the trophy and medal presentation and official photos.  Having previously gained 5th, 3rd, and 6th places in World Championships, this was undoubtedly the best result in the 10 years we have competed due to the amount of countries entered.

After a long and emotional day we made our way back to the hotel to celebrate. We organised a dinner for us all in a local restaurant where we all raised our glasses together to a great weekend.

The team spirit was fantastic all weekend with everyone looking out for each other and supporting each other’s ups and downs.

Thanks must go to all the sponsors of Groom Team England: Red Cape Grooming Supplies, Aesculap, Maude and Eddies Grooming, Wet Pets Conversions, Animology, English Groomers Group, PATS and Look North Grooming & Training Centre for their financial support as without them the trip would not have been possible. Thanks must also go to Peter Hulance who took the amazing photos and also all the groomers and public who support Groom Team events throughout the year. Contributions from these events are vital and go towards the cost of the World Championships.

The supporters who made the journey were phenomenal making the atmosphere a very patriotic one. Everyone dressed in red and white and with the England chants it made the whole event a memorable experience for all.

Final Results

1st     USA                                  215 points                  
2nd    Italy                                 205
3rd     Russia                             196
4th     England                     192
5th     Belgium                          175
6th     France                            165
7th     Netherlands                  144
8th     Brazil                              142
9th     Australia                        131
10th   Spain                              127
11th   Germany                        123
12th   Switzerland                  117
13th   Canada                          102
14th   Greece                           94
15th   Poland                           92
16th   Ukraine                         91
17th   China                             82
18th   Sweden                         56
19th   Portugal                       39
20th   Mexico                         28



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The next World Championships will take place on 1st October 2017 within Groomania, Belgium

The 2015 World Grooming Championships took place in Verbania, Italy

With an incredible 20 countries taking part, ranging from all over Europe and from as far away as China and Australia, it made this year the largest entry yet at this ever growing event. The atmosphere was electric; the room filled with vibrant colour from all the teams’ flags and uniforms and the noise of cheering supporters resembling that of a football game rather than a grooming competition!

The team members – Peter Ensell, Mike Wildman, Lesley Harpham and Linda Barker along with our fantastic photographer Peter Hulance – had left the UK on Wednesday to make the long journey by car with their dogs and support team. Despite Lesley‘s nightmare of 3 flat tyres en-route, they arrived on Friday to the beautiful town of Verbania on the edge of Lake Maggiore. The team took time out to recover from the journey and unwind, including the dogs that took this opportunity to enjoy chasing the ducks and geese!

After a good night’s sleep and the day before the main event, 1 of the English team members Mike Wildman, along with 5 other English groomers, headed to the venue to compete in the grooming competition for individuals. Mike was delighted to receive 2nd place with his Cocker Spaniel in a strong Spaniel Class, only beaten by the eventual Best in Show winner. A great result and well deserved.

Peter and Linda took this time to prepare their dogs for the following day being lucky enough to borrow a salon from an Italian competitor to get them ready, whilst Mike and Lesley chose to prepare their dogs in the comfort of the hotel room. Finally the dogs were ready for the main event. Bring it on!

Saturday evening was spent at the gala dinner where all the teams could socialise in a relaxed atmosphere. Although the English team had one of the biggest tables, the Spanish were by far the noisiest singing and cheering throughout the night! The food was never ending and great value and we all left feeling full and ready for bed.

The next morning brought warm sunshine and nerves and an early start for the presentation of each countries competitors at 8.30am. Mike headed the English team carrying the St. Georges Flag high and they took their place on the stage with the other 19 teams for official photos. The red and white Groom Team England uniforms, hand made by Audrey Cunningham, really stood out amongst the crowd. With the dogs having coordinated handmade collars and leads, courtesy of Julie Howarth, the team and dogs looked more than impressive.

The parade of teams waving their country’s flags was an amazing spectacle filling the room with colour, and the enthusiasm of the cheering crowds was infectious motivating the teams all the more and encouraging them into fight mode and ready for battle. The competition was on!

Lesley and Pete were up first with Bisto the Norwich Terrier and Rogue the Kerry Blue. The floor was awash with a variety of Terriers and Pure Breed Scissor dogs and after an incredibly quick two and a half hours the first stage of the competition was finished. Lesley and Pete had done their bit for the team and could now only wait.

The afternoon session began with Mike and Linda taking centre stage with TJ, the Cocker Spaniel and Ebony, the Standard Poodle. There were Setters, Spaniels and Poodles of all 3 sizes to keep everyone engrossed with the sculpting and shaping taking place on the competition floor in front of them. Two hours 45 minutes later and it was all over. The competition was finished and the fate of the team was in the hands of the judges.

The judging took place and the judge’s scores were given to the jury to calculate the points awarded for each individual and the combined total for the team.

Finally the results were announced – would we be in the top 6?? We all held our breath as the teams were announced in no particular order but to our shock and devastation the English team were not placed!

The award ceremony took place for the top 6 teams, with the Italians being victorious on home soil receiving first place and the Winner’s trophy.

The results sheets were finally made available for the Team Captains and it soon became evident that a mistake had been made during the transferring of data and the final points were wrong!!!
The news filled the team with hope and excitement once again. Could this mean Groom Team England were in the placings after all?

After much deliberation and upset at the mistake made, the European Grooming Association Chairman, Umberto Lehmann, announced the true placings:

Italy 1st, USA 2nd, Spain 3rd, Russia 4th, Brazil 5th and yes! England 6th. With the realisation that all the hard work had paid off after all, the cheers from the English Team and supporters filled the room. To say we were ecstatic was an understatement; the feeling of getting 6th place amongst the best in the world was fantastic. Unfortunately we missed our podium moment but we had the placing and now only needed to collect our trophy and medals from the Russian team who had unfortunately already left.

After a long and emotional day we made our way back to the hotel to celebrate. We organised a dinner for us all in the restaurant next door to the hotel where the Brazilian team were also celebrating and we all raised our glasses together to a great weekend.

The team spirit was fantastic all weekend with everyone looking out for each other and especially with a sickness bug catching up with some members.

Thanks must go to all the sponsors of Groom Team England: Red Cape Grooming Supplies, Aesculap, Maude and Eddies Grooming, Wet Pets Conversions, Animology, English Groomers Group, PATS and Look North grooming & Training Centre for their financial support as without them the trip would not have been possible. Thanks must also go to Peter Hulance who took the amazing photos and also all the groomers and public who support Groom Team events throughout the year. Contributions from these events are vital and go towards the cost of the World Championships.

The supporters who made the journey were phenomenal making the atmosphere a very patriotic one. Everyone dressed in red and white and along with the children in curly wigs and the England chants it made the whole event a memorable experience for all.

Final Results

1st     Italy                     208 points
2nd    USA                     191
3rd     Spain                  179
4th     Russia                175
5th     Brazil                  174
6th     England         170
7th     France               161
8th     Japan                 128
9th     Belgium            128
10th   Switzerland      125
11th   Canada             121
12th   China                 106
13th   Australia          103
14th   Netherlands     97
15th   Ukraine             96
16th   Sweden             95
17th   Germany           93
18th   Hungary            71
19th   Poland               57
20th   Greece               52