A Tribute to Grande Marshall
By: Vickie Rounsaville-Millard



Maxx The first time I saw CH. Rochil's Grande Marshall, SOM, LOM "Maxx", I had gone to the Boomer Boxer Club Specialty in the mid 80's to visit with my mother and father (Harold and Velda Rounsaville, Har-Vel Boxers). I remember as if it were yesterday sitting outside the show ring when this gorgeous fawn was brought in. I had never seen him before or his handler (Michael Shepherd). He moved so gracefully around the ring that all who saw him were mesmerized. This dog knew he was great and seemed to relish drawing everyone's attention.

Growing up around boxers and show rings all my life I had never had a dog grab my attention as this one did. It was as if the dog and handler were one. Maxx seemed to know as did Michael what was to be done and when to do it. Not that many great handlers don't have that same type of rapport with their dogs; I had just not seen it done with so much grace and professionalism.

I turned to my mother and father and asked the usual who what where questions about this beautiful boxer. I noticed over my shoulder a crowd building up around the ring. This dog had the same effect on many people, as I was soon to find out. My mother and father were grinning from ear to ear as they proceeded to tell me that he was a product of one of their breedings and that they had just breed their female (Har-Vel's Imperial Gold a.k.a. Imp) to him. Immediately I told them or should I say demanded a puppy ... along with the usual comments children make to their parents when they really want something badly ... and yes, a lot of groveling. Of course Maxx won everything he was entered in, which was no surprise to myself or those who were watching him in action. After the awards, pictures kudos etc ... Maxx was returned to his home on wheels.

My mother and father had disappeared and I finally spotted them talking with Michael. Michael then disappeared and a few minutes later I looked up and it was almost biblical. The crowd parted and a hush came over the building as everyone turned and made way for Michael and Maxx. Here was this handsome young man and gorgeous fawn boxer coming in my direction. Maxx was wearing a hunter green robe, and sorry I couldn't tell you what Michael was wearing (no offense Michael). I really to this day do not know who was escorting whom. This dog projected the aura of "I'm Great" and everyone there felt his presence.

In a matter of moments this beautiful dog was standing in front of me. I was scared to even move or blink. My parents introduced me to Michael and to Maxx. Maxx had this look that could melt the heart of anyone in a matter of seconds. You just wanted to hug and play with this beautiful animal. I remember barely being able to ask Michael if I could touch him or look him over. In one graceful movement (by Michael) the green robe was gone and I was on my knees petting and hugging this dog. Of course the baby talking we all do to animals came out. Maxx looked up at Michael as if asking for permission to be a puppy again and the psychic bond between the two kicked in. A few seconds later it was kidney beans (the u-shape boxers make when baby talk is given to them) and slurps. I was in love with this dog and there was no hiding it.

Maxx The crowd had closed in around us, and as if instinct had kicked in ... Maxx became the true professional again. I swear it seemed that this dog would nod to the person whenever he heard how gorgeous he was. The same way a King or Queen would wave to his or her subjects. So began my great love and admiration for this dog.

Over the weeks, months and years to come I would always check with my parents to see if they had spoken with Sandi, Perry or Michael and where Maxx was being shown or what he had won. During this time my groveling had paid off ... I now owned a Maxx son (Har-Vel's Say Otay Spanky). Spanky was just like his father GORGEOUS. Everywhere we went people would stop us to admire him. Although I never showed Spanky (which I regret) he was every bit the champion. I have no doubts that Spanky would have been a champion in no time if I had shown him.

When Spanky was around 15 months I received a call from my mother that Maxx was going to be at the Boomer Boxer Club Specialty the following Sunday. I was overjoyed to be able to see this dog again, but amazed that I was to bring Spanky with me for Michael to see. The night before the show I bathed, groomed, primped and fussed over Spanky ... getting him ready to be seen by Michael.

The day had arrived and what had become the norm, Maxx had won everything again at the show. The show had finally come to a close and I was asked to bring in Spanky. The ooo's and ahs I had received when we entered ... and even more when Michael chastised me for not showing him shocked me. Michael went over every inch of Spanky along with 2 Multi-Breed judges that had notice us entering the building. The 2 judges proceeded to chastise me for not showing him also. I remember looking at my mother and father who were giving me the "I told you so" look. As I stated earlier I regret to this day that I did not show him, being a newlywed and adjusting to a new life, and (we all know what that entails) finances and time were just not available. I am proud to say Spanky lived out his remaining years with all the love and joy that could possible be given by myself, my husband and our children ... he was 11 when he went to Rainbow Bridge. To those of us that have his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren Maxx will live on through our Boxers of the future.

When I decided to write this tribute to Grande Marshall, I had just finishing reading the article The Greatest by John Connolly, written about the Great CH. Bang Away of Sirrah Crest, SOM, LOM. All the time while reading it I thought about Maxx. I do not write as eloquent as Mr. Connolly, but I do believe Maxx to be one of the Greatest and should be written about. While doing research for my mothers web page article (Top Twenty throughout the Years), I contacted Sandi Combest on the phone. As with any proud parent Sandi was more than glad to supply me with any and all info I would need. I hope I do Maxx justice with this tribute.

CH. Rochil's Grande Marshall accomplishments through the years:

  • Completed his championship at 14 months of age at the 1986 ABC National Specialty Show
  • 1986 Best of Breed ABC Regional Specialty in Denver (career as a Special was born)
  • 1987 Kal-Kan Pedigree Award
  • 1987 - 1988 recipient of ABC awards for the dog winning the most Best of Breed, Group 1s and Best in Shows
  • 1988 ABC Award of Excellence
  • 1988 - 1989 Boxer Review named him Best in the South
  • 1989 First Top Twenty Competition Winner
  • 1989 Best of Breed Westminster Kennel Club Show
  • 2nd in the Group behind the Best in Show winner 1989 Westminster Kennel Club Show
  • 1990 Retired in the early spring, he still received enough Best of Breed wins to be named 1990 Best in the South
  • 1991 Maxx was represented in the Top Twenty Competition through a champion son and daughter.
  • Following his retirement, he was selectively shown in the Veterans class and won that class at the ABC Regional Specialties in 1991 and 1992.
  • 1992 Best of Breed at the Dallas Boxer Club Specialty (from the Veterans class)
  • 268 Best of Breed
  • 94 Group Ones, garnered under 63 different judges
  • 21 All-Breed Best in Show, garnered under 18 different judges
  • 18 Best in Show Specialty Wins, garnered under 18 different judges

The below was written by Sandi Combest for the Boxer Review February 1997

Maxx From an early age and before a name for him was decided upon, Maxx was already GRAND. His very special friend, Michael Shepherd was calling him TC (short for Too Cute), and for a while even after "Maxx" became his call name, he was affectionately known as "TC Maxx". But we really didn't know he was to be quite as grande and special as he was to become and to so many people, both in the Boxer breed and beyond.

In May of 1986, a young and relatively unknown handler in the Boxer breed and two brown dogs, "Maxx" and his sire, CH. Har-Vel's Gold Express, arrived at their first ABC Specialty. They came away with Winners Dog and "Maxx" was a new champion at 14 months of age. This was to be the beginning of an illustrious career for "Maxx" and Michael Shepard. Over the next 4 years, "Maxx" and Michael became a familiar sight at ringside. Together there were seen taking Best of Breed ribbons 268 times and in the group ring, they won 94 Group Ones and over 200 total Group placements. The All-Breed Best in Show ring became familiar territory as well and "Maxx" came away with the top spot 21 times. When competing among his peers in the Specialty rings, he was Best 18 times.

The Boxer Review honored him 4 times; he tied for the honor his first year as a Special and was sole winner the following three years. He received the ABC Award of Excellence in 1988 and won numerous ABC awards as the top winning Boxer from 1987 - 1990. Maxx was given the great honor of being the first to win the breed's premiere Top Twenty Competition, when 18 of the 20 top winning Boxers gathered before the National Specialty in May, 1989. And one of the most cherished wins of his career came at the Westminster when he was Best of Breed and he came in second in the Working Group behind the Doberman who went on to take Best in Show. But these wins were indicative of his public persona.

In private, to those who knew and loved him on a more intimate basis, he was truly an affectionate and gentle fellow, And after four years of tirelessly traveling and showing, he still loved to go to the shows and greet his public. Even after retirement, he won Best of Breed from the Veterans' Class and added one more Specialty win to his list.

He is the proud sire of 21 American champions to date, six Canadian champions, one Mexican, two South American and one Asian champion. He will truly live on around the world. To Michael, Nancy and Robert Shepherd, Laurie Craddock, Linda Tisher, Pam and Bob Rohr, Lori McClain, Sharon Steckler, Velda Rounsaville, Lillian and Tom Wainwright and countless others too numerous to list here and to all the fine judges who recognized his merits and rewarded him with top honors, Rochil Boxers will be eternally grateful for your love, friendship, loyalty and recognition of this great Boxer. To those who have his children and grandchildren, he will live on through your Boxers of the future. It is not what he won but what he was and what he has left us and as the words so poignantly express, "It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all".

As of May 1999 I am very proud to say Rochil's Truly Grande "Nikk" is a member of our household. Nikk is a Maxx son.

Thank You Boxer Review for including this article in the October 2003 issue.

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