Holding a Live Show is not as difficult as you might think, if you sit down and plan it all out well. Give yourself plenty of time to arrange the show – don’t advertise the class list and then leave it until the week before to arrange for prizes, ordering or making rosettes, sorting out tables for the hall etc, as this will give you a major headache, especially if the rosette company can’t get the rosettes to you until after the show! Remember that a lot of people will be driving a long way to your show, so look forward to it and try your best to put on a good show.
Most towns and villages have halls whether church halls, village halls, scout halls, etc., but remember that not all will be suitable for your live show. Check the size of the hall. Remember that you could get anything from 10 to 25 entrants turning up with quite a few models and trying to cram them all into a tiny hall is just asking for disaster; models could get broken if there is too little room in the hall.
When choosing the date for your show, it can be useful to contact magazines such as MHU that have ‘show diaries’ and can tell you which weekends are ‘free’. The BECF Diary of Events page is a great way to see when other live shows are being planned. It would be a disaster if your show clashed with another. Book the hall well in advance to avoid disappointment, and remember to include at least one hour before the show to set up and at least half an hour afterwards to pack up (people generally help to clear away tables).
It is also necessary to check that the hall has a sufficient number of tables. (This saves people bringing their own which can be a task and a half when you have a car full of models and you can just about get into the driver’s seat – never mind trying to find space for a large fold up table!).
Also check whether the hall has a kitchen and if you can use it to make tea or coffee or for setting food out in.
MOST IMPORTANT – check the car parking facilities. 10 boxes of models are very heavy when carried for a long distance and there is nothing worse than being hot and bothered when turning up to a show.
If you are running a show on your own or jointly and neither yourself nor your partner has much spare time, it is easier and less stressful to order your rosettes and/or ribbons from either a commercial company or from people in the hobby. Order well in advance of the show and check how your order is coming along to avoid an ‘awardless show’!
Make sure you cover the cost of the awards in your entry free.
You can have as many or as few classes as you want but if you have too few classes then you will finish too early, too many and the judging will still be going on at 8 PM. Shows tend to finish around 5 – 6 PM; this gives those that live a long distance away a chance to get home before midnight. If you are having Ridden classes, try and put them at the beginning of the show so that people can tack up their horses at home, which saves everyone time and stress! Bear in mind that colour classes tend to have an enormous number of entries, so can take an age to judge, and that it can be extremely difficult to find suitably knowledgeable judges for makes classes. Because of this, it can sometimes be easier to give these classes a miss and expand the number of breed classes instead.
If at all possible, it is best to split breed classes into Original Finish and Custom sections, so that like can be compared with like. Resin models have greatly increased in popularity in recent years, so many show-holders are now including a third section for OF and Customised Resins: however, this might be a little on the ambitious side for your first show!
Running a two (or even three) ring system is a very good idea, as it means you can have more classes in the time that you have available. Remember that some classes could clash – e.g. Foal class and Mare and Foal class – so make sure that they are not being held in ring A and B at the same time. You will also need to plan judges very carefully so that they are not judging two rings at the same time. If you are operating more than one ring, it makes life a lot easier if you can have one or two stewards to help you: this is traditionally the job of husbands/boyfriends – it makes them feel they are contributing!
When advertising your class list make sure people know the rules of the show BEFORE entering – for example, only 4 models per class, whether retouched models are allowed in OF classes, etc. This will save you sending entries back to people. Make your class list clear so that people can easily understand the classes and find the ones that bests suit their models. Give people a good variety of classes so that they can enter one model in more than one class.
It is a good idea to sort out who is going to judge which class before the show starts. Remember that some people may have models in the ring that they have customised, and may prefer not to have to judge them. If they are happy to carry on judging the class, they might like to have someone else as a co-judge.
Be at your show venue well before the show is going to start, to give yourself time to set out the tables and rings. Leave room between the tables so that they stand less chance of being knocked and models falling over. It is a good idea to have the tables against the walls and the chairs in front of them, facing towards the rings; this way, tables are less likely to be knocked by people walking past. Make sure that the rings are large enough for the classes (two tables might need to be put together) and that these tables have all four legs on the ground and are not wobbly. Tablecloths can save models from getting scratched should they fall over.
If you are running a show on your own or even jointly and you feel that providing food at lunch time will be too much of a strain, remember to put in the show advertisement that entrants should bring their own lunch. At most shows, drinks are included in the entry fee. Make sure that your entry fee is enough to cover the price of the hall, drinks, food if provided, awards etc. Entry fees for shows tend to vary from between £10.00 and £20.00. Also remember you will have to cover any costs you may incur. (A popular way of increasing your ‘show fund’ is by holding “Benefit Shows”, photo or postal, in the months preceding the actual Live show.) Alternatively, you could have an ‘invitation only’ show and invite whom you want to come.
Make sure you send out clear directions for how to get to the show venue: a link to a online map with the venue marked, plus a straightforward written explanation of how to get there will make it a lot easier for people.
Decide when you have written out your class list how you are going to identify the models in the judging ring. Some people do this with small tags with the model’s number on that can be tied to the model’s foot easily. This is the least confusing method, but shop around for tags as the price can vary enormously. (On the minus side, not all exhibitors will thank you for asking them to tie tags around the feet of fifty or more models!) Another way is to use raffle tickets, which are placed next to the models when they go in the ring. Once the judge has chosen the winning line up people are asked to write down their models’ names on the results sheet.
When calling the classes out, make sure everyone can hear you – call twice if needed or better still, get the ring steward to do it: men’s voices tend to be better heard!
After the Show, try and post a copy of the results out to the entrants as soon as possible.
Have a good time, socialise with as many of the entrants as possible, and if successful, do it again!