Your first Show
(Photos will be added after my next show)
Your first step will be to sign up for the show. Most shows will close about a week before the show, so you want to sign up in time. If you miss the deadline, you will not be able to take your cat. Almost all of the shows will have online flyers with links to a page to enter your cat. When you fill out the form, you will need to enter their name, their birthdate (or best guess), the class (hhp), their color and pattern (if you need help, ask), gender (spay or neuter if over 8 months), and your own information. There will be a place for agent, which you can ignore since you will be there showing your own cat.
Most shows will give you a single space with your entry fee. This is half of a double cage, so there is an option to pay extra for a full double cage. Some shows will offer the double cage space to first time exhibitors. Read the flyer and ask if you are unsure. There is also a space for benching requests. This is where you can ask to be next to somebody such as a friend or mentor. If you areat a NW show, you are welcome to ask to be near me, and I can help you out. If you are new and do not know anybody, fill in the blank with something like - new exhibitor, will need help. The entry clerks know who will be helpful and put you next to somebody good.
The show will provide a metal cage that you will need to decorate. You are required to cover the top, back, and sides. If you decide to continue showing, you can buy a pop tent, your cage (if it fits in the space), or cage curtains. For a first show, you can always use some sheets. And bring a blanket or something for the floor of the cage so that your cat is comfortable. A single cage space is basically a 2 foot cube. A double cage space will be twice as wide. You will also want to bring a cat bed or something yourcat likes as well as a litter box, food, and water. It is also good to bring paper towels, a grooming kit, snack food, drinks, etc. Many shows list no food, so be discreet with what you bring.
Show day will be busy, and it is usually a little stressful at your first show. So, arrive early,. The show hall typically opens an hour and a half before the start time, and it is best to arrive an hour early. This will give you time to get there, get checked in,and get setup. You will want some time for your cat to settle in and relax. Your cat will go to each ring during the day, so that is normally 4 -6 rings per day. Usually, the household pet class will be up first in one of the rings. So, you want to be ready at the start time.
When you check in, you will get a show catalog. The schedule is usually on the back cover. This is a guide. Since the household pet class is typically smaller than the other classes, it can be moved around to fit the needs of the various rings. If a ring has a particular class schedule next, but those cats are busy in another ring, they will call for something else. So, household pet can get called at any time. On rare occasions, you may go from one ring directly to another. And othertimes, you may have an hour or two before your next ring. You never know.
Also, in the catalog, usually near the back, will be the page listings for the household pet class. You will see a listing of all the cats with their entry numbers. Your entry number will usually beon the front of the catalog too, usually ona sticker. Remember this number. When they call the household pet class, they may say "household pet class to ring 4" or they may call the number range. "Cats 122-135 to ring 3". This is when you get your cat out, run a comb through their coat again, check their eyes, and carr them to the ring. When you get there, put your cat into the cage that has your cat's number. If you have a question, ask the ring clerk. They will usually be sitting at the side of the table.
During the class, the judge will take each cat out one at a time. Normally, exhibitors do not talk to the judge during judging. With the household pet class, it tends to be more relaxed. The judge may or may not talk much during the class. If your cat gets upset, the judge may ask you to come up. They may have you get the cat out of the cage and put him on the table. If so, stay close, and face the cat toward you. This way, if the cat decides to panic or attack, you are the target and not the judge. Most cats do fine, and the judge won't need any help. They will judge the cat and put him back in the cage. The will put up a ribbon that means they were able to handle the cat. These ribbons are not for the owners, so don't take them.
If the class is small, the judge will probably go through them all, and then do the placings. Most shows do rosettes. Some do toys. Some have placards that go on rosette that you recieve at the beginning of the show. The number of placings will vary. All shows do top 5 at least. Most shows will do top 10 if there are 10 or more entries. Some shows will do all placings up to 10 if there are fewer than 10 entries. So, a show with 8 cats may have 8 rosettes or only 5. If there are more than 10 cats, they may send some catsback and bring up more cats. Then, after judging all of them, they will have the final, which is the top 10 cats. So, you may actually take your cat up twice that ring. If they do it this way, the ring clerk will take the number on your cat's cage and lay it down, meaning it is okay to take your cat. When it is time for the final, they will usually call the final, and you need to look and see if your number is up.
If it is a two day show, you will leave your cage setup overnight, but don't leave anything really valuable. If you are staying in a hotel, take everything you need to the hotel room. If it is a one day show or the second day, you need to wait til the end to pack up. Wait until you see others packing, and try to keep it quiet if there is still judging going on. Leave the metal cage up. If you are at an ACFA show, they have a special ring at the end of teh show for the best of the best. This is the top 3 in each class (kittens, champions, alters, and household pet). They add up all the points from each ring and the top 3 will receive an additional award.
Most shows will have some kind of food available, though usually high priced. And some is better than others. Most people bring some lunch food and snacks. Most shows will have a raffle and vendors, so bring some spending money. If you buy raffle tickets, you do not need to do name, phone, etc. Just use your cat's number. It is much easier.