Greene County Success Stories

Family-Run Resort Marks 5 Years of Saint Bernard Shows

Family-Run Resort Marks 5 Years of Saint Bernard Shows

The largest regional AKC specialty-show cluster for Saint Bernards happens over 3 days in May right here in Greene County, NY.  Beginning in 2019, the North East Grand Slam has been produced at Wolff’s Maple Breeze Resort in the Town of Catskill, and hosted by the Mansey family who have owned and operated Wolff’s for three generations.  This year, from Friday May 10th through Sunday May 12th, over 50 of the top Saint Bernards in the country will be exhibited and judged every morning and afternoon – and the public is invited to attend for free!

Situated on 150 beautiful acres in the Town of Catskill, Wolff’s Maple Breeze Resort has been a go-to spot for family vacations since 1932. And since 2019, it has been home to a unique regional event with national recognition that has effectively added a ‘bonus weekend’ of revenue before the resort is officially open.

When Saint Bernand Club of the Finger Lakes Vice President Mark Gustavson asked the Mansey family about holding the North East Grand Slam at the resort, they were a bit skeptical at first, said Lauren Mansey, who runs the resort with her parents and brother.

“We thought it’d be a little chaotic, but it was totally the opposite,” Lauren said.  After the first year went so smoothly, they decided to continue hosting.

“We weren’t sure how the dogs would do but it actually worked out great,” Lauren said. “All the participants loved the grounds. It’s very fitting for us and for them.”

Unlike other shows, where exhibitors would return to a chain hotel at the end of the day, the North East Grand Slam is an all-inclusive experience. After spending the day showing, attendees will gather around the campfire and break out their guitars, Lauren said. Breakfast and dinner is also included in their stay.

Back in 2014, the New England Saint Bernard Club hosted a baseball-themed set of specialty shows, which proved to be very popular. Exhibitors and judges traded out their more formal ‘show clothes’ for baseball jerseys of their favorite teams.  In 2015, the New England Club partnered with the Saint Bernard Club of the Finger Lakes to bring 4 specialty shows, over 2 days to one Great Northern Catskills location. By 2021, this set of shows had become the top regional destination for AKC Saint Bernard Conformation competition in the entire country!

“For exhibitors, the beauty and hospitality of Wolff’s is just the beginning” notes legacy breeder/exhibitor Nancy Nosiglia. “We load in all of our grooming gear and show crates on Thursday, and don’t have to move anything until we load out on Sunday.  Everything we need is right here, and we can really concentrate on making our dogs look and perform their best.”

In 2022, the Northern New Jersey Saint Bernard Club expanded the weekend by adding 2 more shows on Friday, thus, the North East Grand Slam (Extra Innings) is now 6 shows over 3 days.

“The hospitality at Wolff’s is absolutely incredible” says Dr. Victor Dingus, an esteemed breeder-judge who has travelled from Tennessee three times for the event, “I especially value this opportunity for fellowship with my friends in the breed from across the country and around the world.”

At 120-180 pounds, Saint Bernards can be a bit intimidating for some, but Lauren quickly learned that was not the case. “Having the dogs is fun,” she said. “I’ve never really hung out with Saint Bernards before. They’re super gentle giants.”

The dogs are always on leash, quiet, and well-behaved, Lauren said.

Not all of the dogs stay in the resort, Lauren said, adding that they do not typically allow pets in the rooms.

Some exhibitors bring their own vans with AC, water, and bathing stations for the dogs to stay in. For dogs that do stay in the rooms, the exhibitors are required to bring their own linens and the rooms are professionally steam cleaned after the event, Lauren said.

Saint Bernard enthusiasts from all over the country come to the show – from Tennessee to Florida to Virginia to Utah to North Carolina, Lauren said. Sometimes a person will bring just one dog, while another person will have 15. Sometimes the dogs are shown by their owner, and sometimes by a hired handler.

The 2024 North East Grand Slam begins with a morning show at 8:30 AM on Friday, May 10th, and closes with an afternoon show on Sunday, May 12th.  Four additional shows are scheduled for Friday afternoon, Saturday, and Sunday morning.  The show grounds at 360 Cauterskill Road, Catskill, NY, 12414 are open to the public, and admission is free.  Attendees are advised to bring their own folding chairs, and an umbrella (just in case).

After the show has concluded, the resort will kick off its 92nd season. Throughout the summer months, Wolff’s Maple Breeze Resort has nightly entertainment such as bands, DJs, karaoke, bingo, and game nights. With access to all of the resort’s amenities, guests are never short on things to do. There’s fishing, mini-golf, tennis, basketball, softball, ping pong, cornhole, horseshoes, shuffleboard, bocci ball, a pool, a driving range, darts, and a video arcade room.

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Topics: Success Stories