A CLASH of dates brought about by Driffield Championship Show’s change of venue to Wetherby Racecourse could potentially bring huge difficulties to Belfast’s established fixture, so much so that Belfast secretary Jackie Stubbs is to lodge a formal complaint with the Kennel Club.
Driffield have had to bring their show forward by a week so there will be only a done-day gap between the two championship shows this year but in 2007, Belfast will finish on the Sunday and Driffield commence on the Monday, that situation exacerbated by the fact Belfast stage the working and pastoral groups (plus utility and toys) on the Sunday while Driffield feature working and pastoral on the Monday.
Clearly, hardened though exhibitors are, to do the two shows will cause extreme difficulty for those considering going to both as the ergonomics are hardly conducive for the welfare of dogs.
Jackie Stubbs, who has grave worries over the situation, said: "Belfast is seriously concerned over the ramifications of the new date issued to Driffield by the Kennel Club and we are to lodge a formal objection.
"To relocate their fixture to run straight after Belfast will cause a lot of hardship not only to exhibitors but to stallholders alike.
"We try to keep the costs down to make it easier for the exhibitors. The support of the trade stands allow us to achieve that yet enabling us to make a profit.
"Belfast was never approached about the clash of dates re the change. On the latest K.C. application forms we were never asked whether we would have any objections to the change."
The most serious concerns are for the stallholders, some of whom say they can’t now make Belfast.
"The trade stands are the lifeblood of the society," said Jackie. "It is the difference between Belfast making a profit or a loss."
But not only Belfast championship show will be affected. Many breed clubs hold their championship shows over the same weekend as Belfast to encourage bigger and better entries.
Jackie said: "Poms, Rotts, Afghans, Whippets, Westies, Dalmatians, GSDs, Dobes, Boxers, it’s not just one breed – there’s a stack of them held over the same period which makes it a worthwhile visit for exhibitors."
The clash also poses a potential tight schedule for several judges, as several could be involved in both exhibiting and the trade stands.
Many, with differing interests in the canine world, will be waiting with bated breath to see the outcome over this clash of fixtures, but there is no doubt that one day’s breathing space is insufficient.
Some trade stall holders realistically will only be able to attend one of the shows, and with the extra involvement of transporting equipment across the Irish Sea, Belfast could suffer, though some will, no doubt stay loyal to Belfast. But for some people, they don’t have a choice.
Bannerdown, who supply the benching for both shows, will have to make special contingencies and bring in extra staff to cover Driffield.