Several topics concerning our national come to mind as we close out another eventful year. While our memories are still fresh, it’s time to take a break from the hectic round of shows. But don’t look here for show results, which you can find on the Internet. I look forward to the day when the judges’ critiques are on the Net before we check out of the hotel the next day.
Dog shows are rarely scheduled during the Christmas-New Year’s holiday season. I wonder whether this time-honored tradition will eventually come to an end as an increasing number of clubs vie for a decreasing number of available show dates and sites.
The Bulldog Club of America is organized into eight divisions or regions, and each year’s national is hosted by a different club within one of the regions. The BCA executive committee must approve all national dates and sites, but the host club is relatively free to select a site and date, providing it is in September, October or November. Departing from its usual scheduling during the week of Thanksgiving, this year the Music City Bulldog Club chose September 24 and 25 for their show in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Bulldoggers who also breed or show French Bulldogs had to choose between Pigeon Forge and Kansas City, the site of the Frenchie national on the same date. I don’t know what effect this unintentional conflict had on the number of entries at either show, but I hope the two parent clubs coordinate their show dates in the future.
Due to the scarcity of motels and hotels large enough and willing to house more than 350 Bulldogs and to cater a banquet for up to 500 people, host clubs can find themselves locked into dates and sites that might not be their first choice. That may have been the case for Division 8, which organized the 1997 national, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi, which has five specialty clubs, are in Division 8.
Nationals held during Thanksgiving week have generally attracted larger entries than those held earlier in the year. The 1998 BCA national will be held during the week of Thanksgiving in Oklahoma City. The host club, the Oklahoma City Bulldog Club, is in Division 4, which also includes Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. The 13 clubs located in the eight states supporting the ’98 national may produce a record number of entries at the BCA’s 104th national. The record of 381 entries was set in 1995 by Division 7, which has just five clubs in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and the District of Columbia. But a new record is not likely if it costs $25 per entry at the national or the two companion all-breed shows.
With the ever-escalating costs of travel, lodging and meals, some exhibitors say they can’t afford to support the national as they did when fees were lower. Costs such as site and ballroom fees, judges’ travel and lodging, and catalog and premium list printing and mailing are higher than ever, but the primary purpose of a national should not be a make a lot of money. The show shouldn’t lose money either, if it is carefully planned. The host club should be able to submit a detailed budget that justifies the amount of the proposed entry fee and also allows the club to realize a small surplus after expenses.
A luxury hotel that can accommodate a dog show as large as our national can charge premium rates for the guest rooms as well as for the banquet, exhibition and grooming facilities. Some exhibitors can afford to pay these rates for five or six days; others, especially if they’ve brought their family, can’t. It’s more convenient and comfortable to show and stay at the same hotel, but the total cost can be prohibitive for some of us. When the costs of hosting a show require high entry fees, clubs should explore less expensive alternatives, such as the facilities of nearby fairgrounds or college field houses.
- William Andree, 204 S. Beach Dr., Monticello, IN 47960.