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Banana Joe: 2013 Westminster Best in Show

Our Shih Tzu, Gobi, was a treasured member of our family. For almost 14 years she happily went where we went and brought joy to all she met.

With all of the recent news regarding the fallacies and failings of the sports stars of today, I thought it was time to push the envelope for February and find a star that has no skeletons in their closest. We look up to our sports heroes and when they fail us it’s hard not to wonder if fame and fortune are changing these individuals or simply masking who they really are. With the likes of Oscar Pistorius, Lance Armstrong, the Penn State Football program, Manti Te'o, and Tiger Woods all leaving us scratching our heads, sports fans everywhere have good reason to wonder if there are any true sports hero’s left out there.

Top Dog - Banana Joe

Top Dog - Banana Joe

So, for February, 2013, I have decided to go in a different direction. If you are not familiar with Banana Joe V Tani Kazari, then you have not been paying attention to the news lately. Banana Joe, as he is otherwise known, competes on the field just like any other athlete. The only difference is that Banana Joe competes on four legs and is a dog. Banana Joe is the most recent winner of the Best in Show at the prestigious 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show held in New York. For his surprising and unexpected victory, I have decided to award Banana Joe the title of Athlete of the Month for February, 2013.

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show - Madison Square garden

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show - Madison Square garden

Banana Joe is a five-year-old Affenpinscher. Despite his small stature, he is large in personality and pulled off a stunning upset over his six larger competitors and the favorite, Oakley, a German wire-haired pointer. Banana Joe worked his magic with all of the charisma that his little monkey-like face could exude. With the victory, Banana Joe will now retire from competition and return to the Netherlands, where he was born and bred. Talk about going out on top.

Banana Joe is the first Affenpinscher to ever win the Best in Show at the Westminster Dog show. For those of you not familiar with the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, it‘s the Super Bowl of dog shows. Only the top dogs from around the world compete here and the competition is fierce.

The Affenpinscher breed is most likely not very familiar to many of us, at least it wasn't to me. They measure only about nine to twelve inches in length and generally weigh no more than seven to thirteen pounds. They are a toy-breed and can trace their origins back to Germany in the seventeenth-century. The term "Affe" is German for monkey, and these little dogs do have a monkey-like look to their face. While Banana Joe has a shiny black coat the breed can be grey, silver, black, beige or a mix of colors.

The Affenpinscher is known for its lively and affectionate personality, which is certainly very evident in Banana Joe. They enjoy being around people and also get along with other dogs and even cats. They are adventurous and active little dogs with a very playful and fun temperament. The average lifespan is about eleven years, but they can live as long as fourteen years.

Banana Joe

Banana Joe is a five-year-old male and was born on March 30, 2007. He has been competing for a number of years and has over 80 Best in Show titles to his credit. In 2010 at the Purina National Dog Show in Philadelphia, one of the three major U.S. dog shows, he reached the Best in Show Round.

In 2011 and 2012 at the Westminster Kennel Club Show, Banana Joe was named as the best in breed for Affenpinschers, but never made it to the Best in Show round. In 2013, however, his fortunes would change as he finally broke through and made it to the Best in Show round. With trainer Ernesto Lara leading Banana Joe around the ring it was clear that Banana Joe was on his game. With a bounce in his step and seeming to know that he was on the biggest stage of his career Banana Joe did not disappoint. When Judge Michael J. Dougherty selected Banana Joe as the Best in Show, Lara raised his little star into the air to the cheers of the packed Madison Square Garden.

Banana Joe with trainer Ernesto Lara

Banana Joe with trainer Ernesto Lara

Banana Joe V Tani Kazari or simply Banana Joe

Banana Joe V Tani Kazari or simply Banana Joe

Having gone out on top, Banana Joe reveled in his latest victory as he made the rounds on the morning TV shows. The little star has certainly left his mark on New York City and his trip home had to be delayed to accommodate the demand for the little guy. His job done, Banana Joe is now off to retirement back in the Netherlands with owners Mieke Cooijmans and Zoila Truesdale, where I’m sure he received a hero’s welcome.

With all of the disappointing news lately from our fellow human sports stars it's good to see a story with a happy ending. I am quite certain that Banana Joe will not disappoint his fans with any skeletons in his closest. Way to go, Banana Joe.

© 2013 Bill De Giulio


Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 04, 2013:

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Hi rajan. Yeah, our 2 legged stars could learn a thing or two from Banana Joe. He's got all four paws firmly planted on the ground :) Many thanks for taking the time to read and the VU. Have a great day.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 04, 2013:

I can see that even with over 80 titles in his kitty Banana Joe is very down to earth. I hope our 2 legged stars take a leaf out of his book and stop having a closet so that there is no place to hide the skeletons. Lol.

Voted up, Bill.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 01, 2013:

Hi Eddy. Thanks so much for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed it. He's certainly an amazing little guy. Appreciate the vote, share, etc.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 01, 2013:

Hi Alicia. I had never heard of the breed either until reading about his win at the Westminster Dog Show. He does have a cute face and a lively bounce to his step. Hard not to love this little guy.

Eiddwen from Wales on March 01, 2013:

I loved this one and I vote up,across and share all around.


Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 28, 2013:

I loved this hub, Bill! I have never heard of Banana Joe or of his breed. He's a beautiful dog, and he has such a cute face.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on February 28, 2013:

Hi there KatsMeow. Wasn't it great to see an underdog win! This little guy has so much personality and bounce in his step. He was a joy to watch. Thank you for the vote and nice comments.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on February 28, 2013:

Hi Carter. Seems like everyday there is another athlete in the news because he did something wrong. This was refreshing for me too. It's great to see a champion win and expect nothing more than a cookie and a scratch behind the ears. Have a great day.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on February 28, 2013:

Hi Joe. Glad you enjoyed this one. I really enjoyed learning about Banana Joe. Maybe our four legged friends can teach some of these high profile athletes of today a thing or two. Many thanks for stopping by to read.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on February 28, 2013:

Hi Carol. Well put :)) He leads a clean life and he's cute to boot. I wish him a long and healthy retirement. Many thanks for the visit.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on February 28, 2013:

Bill. Couldn't agree with you more. I almost decided to ditch this series because I just can't believe what I'm hearing on the news every day. The Oscar Pistorius case was the final straw. I'm sure Banana Joe won't let us down.

Katee Shew from Canada on February 28, 2013:

I watched this years dog show and was pleasantly surprised when I saw Banana Joe had one, great article on a very interesting subject! Voted up!

Mary from Cronulla NSW on February 28, 2013:

Well this is a bit refreshing Bill!! At the moment we are going through another drugs in sport scandal over here and I'm sure I share the sentiments of many when I say "I'm over it". Great read Bill like everything else you write..VUFI & shared..cheers

Ps had never heard of the breed either btw

Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on February 28, 2013:

Bill, I got hooked by your lead paragraph, and I congratulate you on skillfully composing it. I found this article to be an awesome hub on several levels, and I certainly celebrate the fact that the world finally has a hero athlete without any fact, Banana Joe doesn't even have a closet! Great work here, and I've voted it up and across, and--in just a few seconds--will do the social media thing as well as share it with my followers. Thanks for a superb hub, Bill!

carol stanley from Arizona on February 28, 2013:

I love Banana Joe and never heard of him of course because he does not abuse drugs, run around with women or get in trouble behind the wheel etc..He is a clean living athlete. Thanks for a fun and great read.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 27, 2013:

Considering the fact that I am fed up with professional athletes and their egos, I can applaud this choice. :) Well done, Bill, and long live Banana Joe.

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