The Supreme, the biggest cat show on the GCCF calendar. I got up at 4.30am and Bruno – the reason for all the upheaval, rose reluctantly at 5am. We’re all in the car and we are on the road – my stomach is in knots, I am so nervous that I keep mentally listing everything I have packed and turning around to check that we have (in no particular order) the pen curtains, the vetting in slip, the tickets, the cat – has anyone ever forgotten to take the cat? I need a coffee, some toast and to stop asking myself if I have clipped Bruno’s claws, I suspect that my husband would like some earplugs.
It will be no surprise to anyone reading this, that this is my first time at the Supreme.
Why the Early Start?
Having been warned that vetting in is busy and to get there early, we arrive for 7.30 and get in line, with almost 1000 cats entered in the show, queues are long but fast moving and everything goes smoothly. Bruno sails through vetting in and we go through to the halls to set up. I attended the Supreme last year as a visitor but I think it’s impossible to appreciate how big a space it is when the halls are full of people, at 7.50 in the morning there is a quiet hum as stalls are set up, cats are brought in, organisers walk around and the show manager’s months and months of planning, hard work and attention to detail begin to come to fruition.
Although I have shown before at regular GCCF shows, this will be my first taste of ring judging and it’s a format I am looking forward to experiencing. Bruno is my five month old chocolate pointed Siamese sidekick, it’s his first show and I am hoping that he takes it all in his stride. While I set up the silver drapes for my pen he trots in quite happily and sets to work ensuring that there is an even scattering of litter across the satin before taking a nap. One of the unique features of the Supreme is the decorated pen competition, each year the theme changes and this year it’s Fairy tales – looking around I can see a painstakingly elaborate gingerbread house, some sleeping beauties and a whole host of other weird and wonderful pens – there is certainly no shortage of effort and imagination, something that I am sure the younger visitors in particular will find appealing.
And so it Begins
Judging is due to start in the next half an hour which makes this a good time to walk around and greet the other cats, in the pen next to Bruno there is an exquisite apricot pointed boy gustily testing out the acoustics in the hall and I am struck by a particularly beautiful black oriental looking out from a fittingly elegant set of drapes. The Judging starts and it’s great, I mentally run through the standard of points in my head as I watch and try and guess the winners but I definitely need more practice at this!
What I also find interesting is that as a visitor you move around the hall a lot taking in the stands, the talks from insurers, cat food manufacturers and veterinary practices – it’s a busy, exciting place and for a cat lover there is a lot to do as well as see. As an exhibitor you can still do all of those things, but for me and I suspect many others, the majority of the day was spent sat next to my pen keeping a nonchalant young Siamese company, the great thing about this is how friendly people are, there are lots of questions, lots of people just wanting to say hello and you become privy to some very interesting passing conversations – my favourite was the lovely lady who had brought her mother to the show to surprise her with the news that her house warming gift was to be a much longed for Siamese kitten.
A Fond Farewell
I had entered Bruno into the fun kitten competition just after lunch and he enjoyed that too, coming second in his little group in the centre ring where he took his place with a Sphynx and a Russian Blue among others. Finally, after the best of variety winners had been decided (and where Bruno’s show day ended) visitors and exhibitors gathered to watch the Grand finale and the presentation of the very well deserved Supreme winner -Supreme UK Olympian Bronze Imperial Gr Ch Gemkin Starwind, thus closing the 2013 Supreme. It was a long, long day and exhausting but such great fun. We met lots of lovely new people, caught up with friends and I am thrilled that Bruno seemed to take everything in his stride – he came home with a second in the kitten class, BoB, a 1st and I couldn’t be happier with his show report. I take my hat off to the show manager, organisers, judges and stewards for providing a fantastic show with a great atmosphere. I know we will be back.
Hours later when we finally get home, Bruno’s Burmese companion is grudgingly, noisily pleased to have her friend back while Bruno appears to be under the misapprehension that today was actually his coronation. I am relieved to see that nothing has changed!
Guest article by novice cat show exhibitor, Kate Baker.