A meeting was held on July 12, 1950, at the home of Mr. & Mrs. E.A. Klokke, for the purpose of forming a club to be know as The English Springer Spaniel Breeders and Fanciers Association. Founding members present were Mr. & Mrs. O.H. Parkening and Miss Lucille Parkening (Barblythe), Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Ford (Pembroke), Mr. & Mrs. K. Higuera, Mrs. A. M. Hamann and Miss Mary Lou Hamman (Merry-L), Mr. & Mrs. Vincent Paul (Rexford), Mr. & Mrs. K. M. McMcDonald (Kay-Emm), Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Hayes (Kenlor) and Mr. & Mrs. E. A. Klokke (Hunter's Hill).
By December of 1950 the club had received approval to exist from The English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association, the National Parent Club of the breed, and from The American Kennel Club. At that time the name was changed as The American Kennel Club felt that the prior name was too all encompassing. Gateway Cities was selected to represent the cities of Pasadena, Glendale and Burbank. Since then Southern California has grown and Gateways has grown along with it and now has members in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and San Diego counties and other areas.
On February 11, 1951 at Brookside Park in Pasadena, California the first sanctioned match was held. There were 28 Springers entered and Best In Match was Kenlor Cadet owned by Kenneth Hayes and Best of Opposite Sex was to Kay Emm's Flashing Emerald owned by Kenneth and Marguerite McDonald. Founding President was Dorothy Klokke, Vice President was Ralph Ford, Secretary was Mary L. Hamman and Treasurer was Anne Ketchum. Dorothy Klokke served as president in 1950,1951, 1952, 1953, 1957 and 1958. Other early Presidents were: Jay Thornton, Maurice Heise, John Breslin, William Pace, Edward Stapp, Lillian Stapp, Lorraine Hayes, Carl McLellan and Barbara Lowrie.
In 1953 the first Specialty Show was held and through 1965 Gateway's Annual Specialty Show was held in conjunction with a local All-Breed show. In 1966 the members decided to have their own independent Specialty Show. This show was held at the Orange Empire Clubhouse in Fontana and drew an entry of 65 Springers. In 1969 an Obedience Trial was added to the days events. In 1996 Gateways and the ESS Club of the San Fernando combined and formed a cluster on the last weekend in April of each year.
The club that these Springerites formed fifty years ago is still going strong and its purpose and interests have remained unchanged over the years. It is a non-profit group in the Southern California area whose objectives are to encourage and promote the breeding of pure-bred English Springer Spaniels, and to do all possible to bring their natural qualities to perfection; to urge it's members and breeders to accept the standard of the breed as adopted by the Parent Club and approved by The American Kennel Club as the only standard of excellence by which the English Springer Spaniel shall be judged; to do all in its power to protect and advance the interests of the breed by encouraging sportsmanlike competition at dog shows and performance events and to conduct sanctioned and licensed dog show and performance events under the rules of the American Kennel Club. If you attend local shows you will still see five or six people who were members of this club thirty-five years ago. They are Joyce Morin, Joyce Johnson, Jeanette McGinnis, Alice Thomas and Peggy and Vern Johnson.
Each year the club holds a Specialty Show and Obedience Trial and a Sanctioned Match for English Springer Spaniels. It has hosted four ESSFTA's National Specialty Shows; in 1960 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, in 1965 at The Saddleback Inn in Santa Ana, in 1978 at The Sheraton Beach Inn in Huntington Beach and in 1988 at the Fairgrounds in Ventura.
Club social events include an awards dinner in the spring, a barbecue in the summer and a Christmas dinner in December. At the Awards dinner each member completing an AKC title in the previous year is honored and given a plaque or scroll in recognition of their efforts. At the barbecue, an auction is held and all types of springer memorabilia and other treasurers are auctioned to the highest bidder with the proceeds going to help finance the club's activities. The Christmas dinner is "just for fun and friendship".
Our club members have more recently become active in Agility, Hunt Tests, Canine Good Citizen Tests and Rescue. At our Specialty Show this year we will hold our first Annual Rescue Parade for owners and springers who have found each other through the efforts of our rescue members.