You have chosen your breed, bought your first rabbits, and decided to show them. What next? You could get the address of your nearest show from the BRC and throw yourself on the mercy of the secretary, but show secretaries are busy people. You will be asked a few strange questions about yourself and your rabbit, told when and where to turn up, and left to follow instructions you don't really understand. Much more fun to understand the system and do it yourself.
The article presents a plain person's guide to show-biz. Part One: Box or Star, Open or Specialist - a definition of the various show categories.
Shows, or show classes, come in three flavours: pet shows, non-BRC shows and BRC supported shows (catering for breeds recognised by the BRC and where the BRC offers rewards for winners).
Any rabbit, purebred or not, can be shown as a pet - it dosen't even matter if it has a ring or tattoo. The rabbit is judged as a pet, on health, condition and temperament only. However if you show it as a pet, you rabbit cannot also go in the BRC show classes.
Non-BRC shows are quite rare and are usually for a particular group of people (such as a box show where the rabbits stay in their travelling boxes, for club members) or a particular group of rabbits (such as all Giant Breeds). They are held for the enjoyment of the attendees, rather than to compete for higher awards such as championships, and are run under their own rules. You may need to ask the secretary for help to enter one of these.
this article is about the last category, BRC supported shows. To find the right show, you should first subscribe to Fur & Feather inc RABBITS, as you are reading this article you are on the right track. The show adverts come in their own shorthand, so you need to understand them and any BRC Supported show (the ones with the F & F advert headed BRC**Show), provided that both: You the exhibitor, are a member of the BRC and the rabbit's ring or tattoo number has been registered with the BRC in your name before you enter the show.
The Stars (from one to five of them) in the heading indicate the show rating, which depends on things like the number of classes, the type of venue and senority of the judges. You can enter in any of them, even the top five star shows, without being an expert exhibitorand without you rabbit ever having won before.
However there is more and stiffer competition in the higher rated shows, and lots more people there, all being very busy showing, so you may find it more comfortable to start with a one or two star show, where you and tour rabbit have a chance to learn the ropes.
BREED AND OPEN SHOWS
The next line of the advert is the name of the club putting on the show. This is where you need a bit of insider knowledge - if the club is a breed club (such as the National German Lop Club, or the Northern Silver Fox Club) then you can only enter rabbits of the appropriate breed(s) in the shoe - these are called breed shows. Otherwise the show is an Open Show, put on by a local club (catering for a location such as Medway Towns, or Rochdale & Oldham) or another organisation such as an agricultural society, and has classes for every BRC recognised breed.
How to tell? Once you are used to the breed and club names you will easily recognise a breed show, but at first you may want to check the club name in your BRC yearbook, where the different types of club are listed separately. Not all breed clubs have a breed name in the title (the Zele Club is for all New Zealand breeds, and the Rare Varieties Rabbit Club is for all rare, new and newly imported breeds) so do check the club name. the second line of the advert may also be a clue to the show location, but may not always. Some shows have had to change venues over the years, but kept their name (the most famous are the five star shows - the London Championship now held at Luton and the Bradford Championship held at Doncaster), so read on to find out where the show will be held. Together with the date of the show, this tells you if this is a show you want to enter.