Richard R. Maze
Guest columnist Marcie Dobkin is president and show chair of the Bulldog Club of Greater San Diego.
While still reeling from my job as show chair and secretary for a show complete with handmade trophies, an overbooked banquet, a parking area the police decided was illegal, raffles, catalog ads to return, etc., I ring-stewarded for a specialty of another breed. Their show had an entry of more than 200 dogs, yet they had no morning hospitality, no organized meals, plain flat ribbons and minimal trophies for only the top placements, The raffle was a few donated, used items and the rings were plain, but every one seemed quite happy and had a good time.
It was then I realized our small group of dedicated members was severely overworked to the point of not being able to enjoy our own show! Thus was born the idea of a generic specialty. It is within AKC guidelines to hold a second specialty, but no area Bulldog club ever tried because of the tremendous effort required to host our usual extravaganzas. The Bulldog Club of America board of directors agreed to a second show in October just for fun and to use our new obedience license.
Our theme (everyone knows I love a theme show!) was a generic or “brown bag” show. The premium list was done by a club member on her computer. The mailing list was small to save postage, with packages of 20 sent to local clubs to be distributed at meetings.
We rented a local park for a $50 deposit, hired local judges and used donated “Police Line – No Crossing” tape for rings. Ring markers were cardboard boxes and the armbands were brown paper bags! We had a one-item raffle, no overnight parking, no ads, no trophies and coffee with member-made goodies for morning hospitality.
The division was glad to do the lunch and also collect the profits. The entry fee was just enough to cover our expenses ($8). A friend agreed to be show secretary and had only to fill in the actual entries, as the body of the catalog was done by a member.
The result was a major-sized entry and enough dogs to qualify for a leg in obedience. People kept asking if it really was a point show, Much laughing and chatting was heard at ringside. Everyone appreciated saving on all the extra expenses. After the show we held our annual Bulldog costume contest. It was a great day of Bullie fun for everyone, even the show committee, the way a show should be – fun!
We are in our third successful year of generic specialties. Other clubs in the division are joining in the fun with one deluxe specialty and one generic. When the California economy improves we may return to full specialties, but we’re having so much fun we may not! – MD
In a letter accompanying this column, Dobkin wrote, “I started the generic specialty in 1992 after nearly killing myself and other members trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ despite a limited number of active, showing members.
“Our generic specialties are always on Halloween weekend which makes a great these and pumpkins make great ring markers. Although we make little or no money we all have a great Bulldog day in the park without the stresses and expenses of a show with all the trimmings. Maybe other small clubs across the country can try this style of event.”
Thanks, Marcie. What an excellent idea!
Richard R. Maze, 45 Carolane Trail, Houston, TX 77024-5120.