Interview with Clay Beegle
Judge - Sacramento Show #2
by Gary Tom
First published in the Pacific American Singer newsletter, volume 7, number 2, April 2000.
First off, Clay was way impressed with the welcome basket and the Thank You gift from CCBS. The expansiveness of the show venue was something he referred to as "only in California". Good or bad? He was very happy to be treated so well by both CCBS and PAS. We, in turn, were equally impressed by his very fine ears and willingness to share all he knew about American Singer song. Sitting with him in the judging room was a valuable lesson in song, breeding and regional sounds and color, body, type preferences. As with any judge, stay and listen as long as you can. Words of wisdom always spew forth sooner or later and if lucky, they'll even answer questions.
Clay got started in American Singers in 1992. His birds descend from Chester stock. He has since added rollers to his collection and considers them to be the most complex in song and listening appreciation. Incidentally, his third best in show, A-276-98, at the 98 National was produced from one of his homeline hens crossed to a very fine roller cock he bought off of someone else's show team. This bird had very remarkable tone that was rich and resonant. Clay cautions against purchasing any old roller as an outcross and says there are lots of rollers but very few great rollers. And you want great or don't bother outcrossing.
What he looks for in a song, number one, is tone, clear and ringing, not nasal. Secondly, freedom, without which he feels the bird's song is not worth the wait. Thirdly, he considers variety to be very important.
On regionality, here on the West Coast, we have a wealth of stock from all over and are lucky enough to have a variety of judges. We haven't a regional sound or look as yet and Clay feels this is good, diversity. As far as color, some regions are heavy into green, whereas in Jersey, you're more likely to find more white ground birds than anywhere else. Confirmation he feels is the same all over. He feels Maryland and Jersey favor a softer type song, Pittsburgh and the old Chicago song being louder and more vigorous. The Kemerer birds distinguish themselves with a lower tone and a more deliberate delivery.
On the future of American Singers, he feels the breed is well established in Canada, Detroit, and California. He feels that the rest of the country is tenuous at best. He'd like to see ASC Inc. initiate a program to provide funding for the sole purpose of offsetting show costs on the local chapter levels.
A testament to his very acute, astute listening capabilities, every one of his top ten were descended from Kemerer or Chester bloodlines or a combination of the two. Among the ten were a sire and two sons, a sire and one son, and two half brothers. The number two bird in particular sang a flawless song and he felt would only improve and be a real threat at future shows. The best in show went to G-808-98, who at the last show of 98 was second best under Judy Snider. Though the bird sang water, Clay admitted it was clear and the bird had great variety and was just singing his heart out for him, asking for it (the day before this bird had a no-song from Doria, go figure!). This bird also had the distinction of being the only blue and white to be put up best in show by him ever.
Clay admonished us for long nails and emphasized how important it was to breed for a clean song. One that is without rips, niets, and zips between musical phrases. Several birds he said had so much going for them, freedom tone and variety, but unfortunately were flawed by these sounds. It was our second show of the season and although more young birds sang for him on Sunday than on the previous day, he recommended utilizing an artificial lighting system such as Bill Summers light schedule in order to have the birds ready for show.
On breeding, he usually begins at the end of December and establishes his stud force, which is determined by the top ten winning birds of the season.
Thanks Clay for being our judge and providing us with such great insights.
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