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CoonTICA cat show – Easter Purrade – 14/15 April

26 April, 2007

VickiRosette1

(Vickie Shields, TICA AllBreed judge, signing a winner’s rosette at the Easter Purrade show on 14 April, 2007.  Photo used by kind permission of Vickie Shields.)

I had the time of my life at the EasterPurrade cat show, organised by the CoonTICA cat club two weekends ago.

As you’ve guessed, CoonTICA is a Maine Coon cat club affiliated to The International Cat Association, though the club is open to all whether you have a Maine Coon or any other breed of cat.  Similarly the Easter Purrade show (like most TICA cat shows) had all breeds of cat being exhibited.

For a number of years I’ve visited shows as a visitor, and once with my cats, and although I enjoyed admiring the beautiful cats and chatting to fellow breeders and satisfying my cat-toy addiction, I’d never really felt a part of the show.

This time, I volunteered to help out, and Ros and Martin Wood kindly offered me the position of ring steward in one of the show rings.

A TICA show has several show rings, in which holding cat pens are arranged on 3 sides of a square, in the centre of which is a table where the judge does her judging.  A ring clerk sits next to the table recording the show scores.  In front of the ring are rows of chairs for people to sit and watch the judging.  Cats are brought in my their owners and placed in the pens and the judge takes out each cat and places it on the table.  The ring steward’s job is to disinfect and clean the pens after the cats have gone back to their permanent pens in the benching area.

Being a ring steward is not a difficult job, but you need to be quick cleaning the cages because of the fast turnaround of cats in between classes.  As it was my first time, I was dead nervous, but I was lucky to be placed under the wing of Martin Wood (of Woodycoon Maine Coons), a highly-respected breeder and one of the founder members of CoonTICA, who was recording the scores as ring clerk.

The ring I was allotted was the Congress ring, and the judge was Vickie Shields from the US.

I tell you, I learnt so much that day.  Vickie was so generous and approachable, she talked to the audience, and shared her experience with them and myself.  As I was literally seated next to the judging table, I could see up close what a good cat was like.

And there were so many great cats!  Many of the top cats in the UK were at that show and the standards were very high.

I’m going to post some more on what I learnt that day, but in the meantime, if you want to have a great day out at a cat show, CoonTICA are organising another show, JustFur Cats, on 9 and 10 June at the Wood Green Animal Shelter in Cambridgeshire.

Better still, if you’re a cat breeder and want to learn more, get involved.  I know I shall – I’ve been bitten by the show clerk bug!

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