This article is being written in the hopes that it will educate or re-educate that portion of the fancy that desperately needs to know how to participate in a show or to run one.
There are so many responsibilities which need to be shared by all concerned. Having served as a specialty club secretary for over 30 years, I feel I have some experience behind me to share with you on this topic.
The hobby that we all love so much needs constant attention and nurturing to allow it to grow. One of the greatest assets we have to build upon, are our shows. These shows need to be organized and well run to make it a place that will lend itself to be a meeting place for exchange of ideas, birds, camaraderie, competitive spirit, and just some plain old fashion fun.
The problem, as I see it, is that many fanciers don’t even know how to go about showing their birds. If you want to participate in a show, it is the responsibility of the exhibitor – you – to seek an entry blank and a set of show rules from a sponsoring club.
In the back of this monthly journal is a list of show dates that will take place in the near future. Just write or call the show secretary of the desired show to receive your entry blank. As a courtesy, once on the list, you will usually receive an annual entry blank. Is this a guarantee? -NO. Therefore, show your birds and keep current. Did you move? If so, send in an update on your address. Can the show secretary change? Of course! Did they miss your name on the old list? Maybe – they are human too. Don’t allow yourself to be left out.
If the deadline for the closing date is near at hand, call your show secretary with the information and get your entry fee in. These entry fees must accompany the entry blank. Remember this is your reservation to show your birds. You are paying the fee to reserve cages in your name so that the cages can be set up and prizes can be ordered for the show.
After you receive the entry form, read it. List your breed(s) to be shown on the entry form and check off all the necessary information. Record the band number, color, sex, age (young, yearling, old). It is necessary to do so because the show secretary and his/her committee need to work out the classes for judging and awarding of the trophies, plaques, rosettes, etc., for the show. You should keep a copy of your entry form so that you won’t forget which birds you entered in the show to take with you on your big day.
Once the show secretary receives an entry blank they will record your entries into their records. On the day of the show, after checking in with the show secretary you will receive back your entry blank with your assigned cage numbers. Let the show secretary know of any changes. (Birds left home, minor substitutions, etc.). The birds you registered to show will then be placed into their reserved cages (“holes”) and your name, band number, sex and color of the birds must be recorded on the cage card (“coop card”). When your bird is removed from the cage to be judged it will have to be returned to its cage. This facilitates the job of stewarding. How can the person who is “running” the birds back to their respective cages from the judging cages, find the right cage without this necessary information on them? This procedure will also help to keep any birds from getting lost in the show hall.
The rest is easy, just relax and have some fun. You have done what is expected of you as an exhibitor. You may choose to help out with club activities, help to run birds, buy or sell some birds, support junior members, chew the fact, talk medicines, breeding, watch the judging or buy feed. The major responsibilities now fall on the shoulders of the show committee.
I have recently visited many big shows and noticed that they are fully computerized. This is a tremendous advantage to the exhibitor. The entry deadlines are usually earlier for these shows because the data has to be entered into the computer program. Your cooperation will allow you to receive a complete exhibitor listing and you will find your cage cards listing all your information on them. This is a real bonus for your thoughtfulness and cooperation. This “new” concept makes it much easier for the exhibitor, but causes a great deal of work for the show secretary. However, judging can be started sooner and gives some spare time at the show to address any special needs.
The show committee needs to do a great deal of planning before the show comes into being. A few suggestions: Of course, you must set a show date. Watch for conflicting dates with other shows. After careful attention in this regard, request to have your date added to the PureBredPigeon listing. You might consider taking out an ad in this periodical also. The ads are very reasonable in price and should be considered part of your regular show costs.
Show rules need to be updated periodically with membership input. The entry blanks and coop cards can be ordered in advance from your supplier. Don’t forget to thank them for this service.
The picking of the judges is such a very important factor. This single item alone can make or break a show. The exhibitor deserves the very best judge available. If possible list the judges in advance for the various classes. I believe that a judge should be honest about whether or not he/she really knows the breed to be judged. This would avoid any disappointments that could result. Remember, it takes all year long to produce the show specimens. It is unconscionable to allow a judge to destroy all and any confidence in a club or show. If you are not familiar with the breed or qualified to judge a given breed, say so and step aside.
A cover letter, set of rules and entry blanks, possibly a map, need to be assembled and placed in addressed envelopes for early mailing. If you are well organized, this can take place months before you actually need them.
A little consideration and support of the show secretary will benefit all of us. Let’s get out to the shows and have a good time. We deserve it! Enjoy a great show season!