LAST WEEK I asked for your thoughts about whether providing rosettes for the class places is money well spent. This time I’d appreciate your input on a subject which I’m sure many breed clubs would like to know how exhibitors feel.
The annual championship show for a breed club should be a really special occasion, the highlight of the year for exhibitors and members in the area. This applies especially for a ’national’ breed club where the show really ought to be the breed’s most important occasion of the season, comparable only with Crufts.
Yet all too many such events are in reality just another dog show in just another village hall or sports centre. How do you make them something special, so that exhibitors really do feel they are at the ‘show of the year’?
One way is to offer prizes for the successful exhibitors to keep as a suitable memento of the occasion. Breed-specific prize cards may help, especially if your breed is talented enough to have a talented artist among its number, who could be persuaded to design a custom card, possibly even a different design each year.
Rosettes, too – hopefully better than average ones with something appropriately spectacular for the top winners, something even the most hardened exhibitor would want to keep and display.
You may well be lucky enough to have sponsorship from a dog food company, in which case their product prizes are always welcome and much appreciated.
But beyond that, what else can a club offer? Particularly if it’s a special jubilee show?
I know this often causes debate at committee meetings, no one being sure what to offer for the best. Much depends on the budget, of course, and if it is a really special jubilee it may well be worth opening up the classes to sponsorship by individual enthusiasts, who are acknowledged in the catalogue, each donating a specific sum, perhaps in memory of one of their favourite dogs of the past.
So, what would you like to win? Would you prefer prize money, so that you can make your own decision? But the sum involved is hardly likely to be enormous, and in most cases you’d simply put it in your wallet and by the time you’ve bought fish and chips on the way home it’s gone.
What other ideas do you have? Some breed-specific memento perhaps, carrying the club logo, but what? Bear in mind that many clubs don’t have huge resources, and you don’t want to give something cheap and nasty. So where can you get a classy set of mementoes at a reasonable price? Preferably something where you can give a better version to the first prize winners than the second and so on?
Some overseas clubs commission an artist to produce a set of pottery for their show every year, with plates, tankards etc of varying sizes and a breed design. Would something like that be beyond the resources of most British clubs?
If any of you have attended a breed show where the prizes on offer proved unusually popular, I, and I suspect many club committees, would be really grateful to know more.