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WHY DOG SHOW ENTRIES DECLINE AND CLUBS SUFFER - "VENDORS"
declining in both AKC and CFA shows. We as vendors (in case you haven't noticed)
are not participating at the smaller dog shows or one-day cat shows. Why?
Lawler © TheDogPress
November 2008 -
(Part 1 of 2)
drive all night, you set up early, you tear down and drive back late. So why is
this a problem? We can’t afford it! At one day cat shows, there’s little or no gate, i.e.
spectators and the same with small, un-promoted dogs shows. Exhibitors are busy
showing their dogs/cats and do not have time to shop the vendors. Most
professional dog handlers don't buy from the vendors, they carry their supplies
with them. But if you’ve lost your brush or coat dressing, you are desperate for
a vendor! Spectators, if they show up, like to shop too. So it’s simple; if the
vendors don't cover their expenses, next show venue they don't vend.
There is one thing AKC dog shows and CFA cat shows had better 'get'. No vendors,
no gate, no show, finished. Dog and Cat Shows are a spectator sport, it isn’t
all about comparing breeding stock. In addition to entries, it is the spectator
gate that all clubs count on. This is free money for the clubs. There is no
expense related to the gate. Spectators are extra income for clubs to offset
show expenses. And most dog shows charge handsomely for vendor space, which is
also extra income. But for Vendors, the gate isn’t “extra” income, they count on
spectators! That is where most of our sales come from.
Instead of solving the problems (I will cover the second in part two) some clubs
are not even putting on shows anymore. The first solution is advertise the show!
If they don’t know about a dog or cat show event, local spectators (gate) will
Exhibitors also need gate to show off and sell puppies/cats to people interested
enough to attend a show. Many people won't buy what they cannot see. PETA and
HSUS are doing their best to defeat us, including trying to sabotage dog and cat
shows and making breeders fearful of local advertising. But clubs can advertise
the show, thus affording vendors, exhibitors, and spectators the opportunity to
connect. For certain we are all facing difficult times in lieu of the ARist
agenda and now the economy but you won't have a show if you do not get
priorities straight. Advertising the show is a priority!
Spectators come to see particular breeds but with most of AKC dog shows, you
show your dog, you take your points and go home or onto another show the
following week-end. Since there are just a few bench shows left, potential puppy
buyers come to a show to see a particular breed but by the time they get there,
that breed is judged and the exhibitors are gone except the BOB winner tucked
away somewhere in the midst of the grooming area. There is nobody to talk to,
ask questions of and learn about that particular breed. Spectators rarely stick
around until Group judging because they don't want to see just one dog of each
breed, they want to see several.
Did I mention also that a lot of exhibitors are just plain 'rude' and too
'obnoxious' to take the time to talk to spectators? At least with the way cat
shows are structured, you are there until the very end, as you never know if
your cat will be called for a final. There is plenty of time to chat with the
'gate' and brag about your breed.
AKC could change the way dog shows are run and educating the public should be a
major concern of the show giving clubs. Putting out pamphlets is okay but first
you have to get the spectators there! Then you have to give them what they came
for – hands on time with dogs and dog breeders. Whether the clubs make it
mandatory that dog show exhibitors are not allowed to leave until after a
specific time and both AKC and CFA makes show approval dependant on local
newspaper ads, perhaps even the times a breed is to be judged. Spectator gate
and one-on-one educational opportunities are priorities and clubs should not be
allowed to hold a show the following year unless they provide what spectators
and vendors come for.
And speaking of what spectators come for, I have noticed that at the really big
shows like the Houston shows, you cannot get near the show ring to ask a
question or get a card from anyone coming out of the ring. What a joke that is.
A person pays to go to a dog show to decide about a particular breed they would
like to inquire about and they are practically BANISHED! They can only watch the
dogs “show off” in the ring and then the handler rushes off to the private
grooming section or to another ring just when the spectator thought they might
get a 'hands on' experience and talk to the exhibitor… well, guess what happens?
Next year when the show comes around, they won't even go. After all they can
order their shampoos and toys on line or go to the big box stores. They may have
decided to order their puppy or kitten online, at least they got to talk to
someone who is happy to answer questions.
Back to no gate, no vendors = no show clubs. I recently took issue about this
with the cat fancy. Although the cats and their breeders are much more
accessible to the public, cat show entries are also down and I suggested changes
be made there too. I bluntly pointed out that it was unfair to cat show vendors
to have people price shop on line and then comparison shop cat show vendors, and
then go to a dog show to buy stuff because it was cheaper! I found that
absolutely appalling as it is the cat show vendors, like the dog show vendors,
who support the sport.
I do not see dog show vendors recommending to feed a cheap dog food in order to
help cover expenses for the next show as was suggested by the one of the cat
fancy powers to be. She even went so far as to suggest buying Wal-Mart litter to
cut expenses. The problem with this is that two major corporate sponsors for cat
shows are Royal Canin pet foods and Dr. Elsey for litter. The corporate sponsors
for AKC dog shows pay a huge amount of money to the clubs. Many clubs count on
that corporate income offset the show expenses and the dog food companies bring
in tons of dog food, set up a booth and people buy like crazy. Even some show
people wait to stock up on food at the shows but some dog food sponsors no
longer support dog shows. Why? Because the clubs don’t advertise enough and
cater to spectators like they used to. They got too big on the income from
corporate “vendor” space and forgot why they held dog shows. So the gate dropped
off, corporate support went away, and, well you see what happens. Even if you
don't buy their dog food (we do not use the main sponsored cat food), please
stop by the vendor’s booth and let them know you appreciate them being there and
supporting the club.
Next we’ll discuss the second reason for declining entries. (part 2)
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