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Open shows:
Scottish clubs & show societies have their say

A recent Open Forum organised and hosted by The Scottish Kennel Club attracted over a hundred participants, representing most of the open show societies in Scotland.

The Scottish representatives on the Kennel Club Shows Council also attended and Kennel Club Chairman, Ronnie Irving, made the journey back to his home town of Musselburgh to hear, at first hand, the reactions to recent open show changes.

No change required in Scotland

Convener Robert Crawford conducted the proceedings, which commenced with a review of what is right and what is wrong with the show scene in Scotland. This resulted in a list of the expected negatives and positives, although there was general agreement that the problems of too many shows and low entries did not apply north of the border.

Secretary General Allan Sim summarised recent Kennel Club initiatives including the increase in the required class average to four before a second open show can be held. He suggested that few of the changes were needed in Scotland and others would have little effect.

SKC defends the present system

Many clubs had not realised that SKC had in fact defended the present show system in Scotland and had argued for a slightly lower class average. Irene McManus, SKC representative on the KC Show Executive Committee explained that the open show system worked well in Scotland, with SKC allocating show dates each year and ensuring that the policy of a fifty mile radius between shows was maintained. Shows are restricted by the number of dogs available and by the size of venues available.

Although only about a dozen societies would lose a second open show on a class average of four, they were important shows which filled the calendar at certain times. An average of 3.5 per class would have reduced this to four. Unfortunately, The Kennel Club had to treat Scotland as any other region for the purpose of the new regulations.

Clubs have their say

A number of clubs made short presentations on their points of view, after which an Open Forum was held. Increasing Regulation and lack of individuals willing to take committee positions were both cited as reasons for the pressures now felt by all clubs. A plea was made for SKC to come up with ways of assisting clubs and enabling them to spend more time on promoting their activities.

Remove minority breeds from class average

One idea on open shows which came forward was the suggestion that minority breed entries should be excluded from the class average calculation. This would allow clubs to continue scheduling these breeds and group societies, in particular, felt that this would allow them to continue fulfilling their responsibilities to these breeds, whilst still maintaining the class average generally.

SKC also agreed to look at how they would calculate the ‘two most recent shows’ of clubs to perhaps allow some flexibility in the system.

Changes to regulations and procedures

Clubs accepted the need for some form of regulation of shows; however it was neccesary to remove the fear factor from their administration. Improved technology should paperwork to be processed more quickly and clubs could be assisted by reminder systems for the various submissions required for shows. Discipline should also be applied in a more understanding way. The lack of committee members and helpers at shows arose in part from the worry of ‘making a mistake’ and this needed to change.

A worthwhile event was the general feeling of those leaving the meeting and more of the same was the unanimous view.

See The Friday Essay in Regular Features