REMEMBERING – CONVERSATIONS WITH ELSWORTH GAMBLE
By E. M. Gilbert Jr.
Elsworth Gamble was an honest dyed in the wool dog man and judge. His in ring demeanor was kind to the exhibit, and his hands told a story. He was quick in his decision making process and he did not suffer fools.
When he was on a panel and I could make the show – I always spent some time watching Elsworth – as I felt he was just about the best judge in the sport. Plus you could learn about a breed just by watching him judge. He knew breed type and his breed specific judging told you what was important in that breed. His hands spoke volumes.
At one show, after he finished his breeds, I and several other judges engaged Elsworth in a discussion. Elsworth was asked why he put so many puppies to winners and breed. Elsworth asked in return – “What is the purpose of a dog show?” Then he stated – “to judge breeding stock, shouldn’t the next generation be an improvement over the previous generation?” What a lesson, and no preaching, just questions to make you think.
On another occasion, Elsworth was asked why he withheld so many ribbons, particularly in the puppy classes. Elsworth then told us a story.
“A breeder friend called him on the phone one day and asked if he (Elsworth) had some free time that afternoon. Elsworth replied “yes.” The friend said he would be over at 1 o’clock to pick him up, but he had a condition, Elsworth was not to talk, just come along for the ride and listen. Elsworth agreed to play his friends silly game.
His friend had a newspaper with the want ads. He drove to an address listed and they went around to the backyard and into a garage. In the back of the garage there was a glass counter case filled with dog show ribbons and behind the counter was a man. On the walls were many puppy photos. Elsworth’s friend said to the man: “According to this ad you have puppies that are show dogs for sale.” The man responded: “Yes, in fact I do – If you want I’ll go in the back and bring a great show dog out.” They stayed in the garage while the man went to the kennel runs in back and brought back a terrier puppy. The man placed the puppy on a table and stated “this one is a great show dog.” Elsworth thought otherwise. His friend asked, “How much for this show dog?” This was the 1950’s – “$500” was the response. His friend stated and asked – “I never paid more than five dollars for a dog, but I never had a show dog, how do I know this is a good show dog.” The man asked, “Do you know what a blue ribbon is? It means the dog has won – it is a show dog winner.” Elsworth’s friend responded, “Gee, I really want a show dog – but $500, I’ll have to go check with my wife.” The man responded, “Don’t forget with the dog you get all these blue ribbons he won.”
They went silently and got into the car – Elsworth said “no need to talk, take me home.”
Elsworth had a reputation for finding the future greats in the breeds he judged. He probably placed more puppies to winners than any other judge and he definitely withheld more placings, rightly so, than any other judge. His judging integrity to upholding the breed Standard and withholding when it was necessary is sadly lacking in the show ring world wide.
Elsworth Gamble, breeder, handler, judge, student, teacher, with breed knowledge, integrity, impartiality, and ethics of the highest order. Those that knew him, still miss him. He lives on in memory and his influence is still carried in many breed lines to this day.
“Integrity is doing the right thing, even if nobody is watching.”
ANOTHER REMEMBERS ELSWORTH GAMBLE
By Marcia Schlehr
I remember what might have been Mr. Gamble's last judging assignment. It was here in Michigan , at the State Fairgrounds in Detroit . He wasn't judging my breed, but another in an adjoining ring. We heard a flurry of activity in the next ring, and saw Mr. Gamble sitting calmly at the judge's table, while the entries waited and the ring steward was consulting with club officials. What had happened was that Mr. Gamble felt not capable of continuing to judge, and rather than do a hurried or poor job, requested that another judge be found to complete his assignment. This was done, and Mr. Gamble quietly left the ring on the arm of a club officer.
You could add dignity and true elegance to those superlatives.
Elsworth Gamble, breeder, handler, judge, student, teacher, with breed knowledge, integrity, impartiality, dignity, ethics of the highest order and true elegance.