Bowen was bred by Sheela “Mike” Cheatham of Southland Collies in Petersburg, Tennessee. His pedigree, almost artistic in its design, is a linebred blend of the finest daughters of Ch. Tartanside Th’ Critics’ Choice, ROM. Bowen was no accident, but the result of generations of judicious breeding.
Bowen’s success came quickly. After a few months of conditioning at Wyndlair Collies in Wisconsin, he debuted under Judge Dan Cardoza at the Collie Club of Kentucky, where Mr. Cardoza took the young puppy all the way to WD/BW/BOS/BOB to the incomparable Ch. Long Acres Pewter Angel for his first major. Nearly two decades later, Dan Cardoza still talks about that day he was truly excited about a young dog that stepped into his ring. Bowen followed that win up shortly after with another specialty major under Judge Ted Kjellstrom and a number of Best in Sweepstakes.
After an exciting puppy career, we knew Bowen was special, but we couldn’t have dreamed just how special he would become. After growing up for a year in Tennesse, Bowen returned to the ring at the 2001 CCA in Louisville, Kentucky, winning a large Open Sable Dog class as an elegant ‘teenage’ male. It was there he began to catch the eyes of many top breeders – a few who made some very big predictions for the young dog – predictions that we didn’t dare to believe. We were more concerned with making plans for how this special dog would someday become the cornerstone for our future breeding programs.
Bowen finished soon after winning the Open Sable class at the National. Our original plan was for Bowen to mature for a least another year before bringing him out as a special. However, fate intervened in our plans, and late in the Fall of 2001, Bowen moved back to his vacation home in Northern Wisconsin to begin his conditioning program. In late February we felt Bowen was ready, and we boarded a plane for the South Texas specialties. By the time we headed home for Wisconsin, Bowen has swept the Breeds under both Judge Carl Williford & Judge Pati Merrill. We couldn’t have been more pleased with our tune-up for the CCA which would take place a couple of weeks later in Riverside, CA.
The 2002 Collie Club of America National Specialty was the last national that was preceded by specialty shows. It was a beautiful setting showing in the grass in sunny Southern California. The entries were huge and it was a good opportunity to put Bowen up against the “Best in the West.” Each day, the variety came down to two of the greatest icons in the breed at the time, Ch. Shoreham Triumph Timeless – 2000 CCA Best of Breed, Ch. Long Acres Pewter Angel – 2001 CCA Best Opposite, and then there was the relatively unknown sable dog, Ch. Southland’s Bowen Island. “Mocha” & “Angel” split up the 3 Best of Breed awards that weekend, but we couldn’t have been happier with Bowen taking 3 Best Opposite Sex/Best of Breed awards.
Best of Variety judging at the 2002 National Specialty was a special day. The setting moved inside from the grass to the carpeted ballroom. Judge Marcia Keller worked through the specials in an organized and decisive manner. Bowen started making cut after cut. When the final group of specials walked into the ring, it was a sight to behold, with Bowen again standing next to the reigning breed icons, Ch. Shoreham Triumph Timeless & Ch. Long Acres Pewter Angel, along with a number of top winners of the day, including Ch. Edenrock Of Ages and BIS Ch. Highcroft Lode-Ark Legend – a future CCA Best of Breed winner & #1 Collie (All Systems). In the end, j. Marcia Keller pulled out Bowen, along with ‘Mocha’, ‘Angel’ and ‘Rock of Ages” for final consideration. Decades of dreams, effort & commitment were rewarded in the moment Judge Marcia Keller put Bowen at the front of the line for the final go-round. Destiny Realized – History Made!
It has been in the years following Bowen’s momentous win where his true impact on the breed has been felt. Our confidence in Bowen’s ability as a sire has been realized in spades. Bowen has proven dominant for many of his virtues, particularly his beautiful, correctly placed eyes, soft expression, balanced body type with depth of chest, length of body, and long, well-bent stifles & short hocks. Breeders from all lines have sent their finest bitches to Bowen, and the progeny will positively impact our breed for generations. Bowen’s outcrossed progeny have been as just as successful as his linebred progeny, for astute breeders realized an interesting fact about Bowen’s producing ability. As the pendulum has swung away from the ‘cookie-cutter’ sires, breeders that have outcrossed to Bowen have found that he doesn’t change their long-established type, but rather improves it by giving his progeny his timeless virtues. It has been said that timing is critical in the success of a stud dog. That certainly has been the case with Bowen’s siring career, at a time when the breed is looking for improvement in eye shape, eye placement & body balance. His impact on his Collie puppies is being felt generations later.
Even into his veteran years, Bowen greeted every day with his beautiful smile and the incredible zest for life. He is a Top 4 sire in breed history and still ascending.
Bowen’s Career Record:
- 2002 CCA Best of Breed
- 2002 Top Ten Winner (Hawkins System)
- 2006 CCA Award of Merit
- 2001 CCA Open Sable Class Winner
- Multiple Specialty Best of Breed Winner
- Register of Merit (ROM) Status
- 78 American Champions
- Multiple Top Sire of the Year Awards