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.
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