A wonderful article by cat show manager, Mrs Joan Pounds which gives an incite into what goes on behind the scenes of a cat show. Joan is an active member of the cat fancy and in addition to being a show manager is also a newly qualified judge, a seasoned exhibitor and a successful breeder of Siamese cats under her prefix Jomese.
I sometimes think that some exhibitors turn up at a show and believe that the well run, well organised event that they take for granted, has happened by magic!
Are you the kind of exhibitor who turns up at a show, spends the day having a good gossip with your friends and moaning about the little things that might not have gone as smoothly as they should, packs up your bags ready for the earliest possible escape and are out of the building like a bullet from a gun when (or before!) the show closes?
Have you ever spared a thought for the hardy band of volunteers who have probably arrived at the hall on the Friday afternoon to help with the setting up of the show and who are back in the early hours of Saturday morning to open the hall, sort out the vets, make sure that signs are up telling everyone where to go, make sure someone is there to hand out envelopes, welcome exhibitors and judges and ensure that the day runs smoothly for everyone.
Organising the show will have started many months previously with the booking of the venue, arranging catering, inviting judges, booking vets and penning people, allocating classes to judges, preparing the schedules, taking and checking entries, answering queries, ordering rosettes and so on and so on.
On the day of the show the show manager and her trusty if diminishing band of helpers will have planned everything to the nth degree. They will have a time schedule they hope to run to and will aim to complete Best in Show as early as possible so that judges and exhibitors can wend their weary and hopefully happy way home.
Sadly the unexpected happens. A judge may call in sick on the morning of a show meaning her classes have to be reallocated and judges books amended, an incident on the motorway may hold up arrival of exhibitors and judges alike, unseasonable weather may occur, heating can break down, a judge may get bitten, an exhibitor or cat may be taken ill, fewer helpers than expected may turn up, the rosette or certificate order may be incorrect etc etc
Please, please just remember that the serenely smiling and outwardly calm show manager may well be paddling furiously below the surface whilst trying to deal with several differing problems at once!!!
At a recent show an irate lady arrived at the table demanding to know why her Grand Master Cat certificate was not yet on her pen. She was very rude and not prepared to listen when advised that not all the certificates had yet been put out. As she was storming off a fellow worker suggested to her that her certificate might arrive that bit faster if she was prepared to put out some rosettes or certificates herself. Suffice it to say that she found that idea completely unacceptable and stormed off.
A little politeness, patience and understanding goes a long way. Most show managers will do their utmost to sort out any problems, but may need to prioritise.
A huge amount of time and effort has gone into arranging your show day for you. Those of us who manage shows or regularly help with organising them do it because we love cats and want to provide a really good day for everyone where exhibitors can show off their much loved felines, judges feel supported and appreciated for the time and expertise that they so freely volunteer to provide, traders can tempt the exhibitors purse strings, and where everyone can go home thinking what a great day they have had.
There would be no shows without volunteers. None of us are paid for what we do – but we do it because we want to keep the cat fancy on its feet and thriving. We need you!!!
Please, the next time you go to a show, approach the show manager either beforehand or at the show and ask if there is anything you can do to help. Please don’t think that there is no point because you wouldn’t know what to do. There are jobs to suit everyone and we can always teach you what to do. You don’t need to spend your whole day helping – even half an hour or an hour can help. Best of all no show manager’s life would be worth living if she didn’t provide copious bowls of sweets for table workers to nibble on!
One last plea. When the show closes help is always needed with clearing up and tidying away. Your show management team will be on their last legs by then and really would like to get back home at some time to touch base with their long suffering families and cuddly felines – before starting all over again and planning the following year’s show.
YOUR SHOW NEEDS YOU. PLEASE CONSIDER HELPING.
WITHOUT VOLUNTEERS THERE WOULD BE NO SHOWS
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Ross is a UK Siamese & Oriental Cat Breeder breeding and showing his cats and kittens under the prefix Burnthwaites . He is the author of various cat related websites and blogs including 'Siamese Cat Breeder'. When not showing his cats he can often be found stewarding or judging at cat shows. He works as a Web Developer and specialises in small business websites and content marketing. He is also a blogger, amateur photographer and videographer and last but certainly not least husband and father.