EXHIBITORS ON DISPLAY
By S. Robert Powell
It’s not only the birds at a poultry show that are on exhibition, the owners of those birds are also on display. Like their birds, some exhibitors are well bred and “show” real well and are a credit to the fancy as a whole. Others are not.
At most shows, the careful observer can identify at least four primary categories of poultry exhibitors:
Chronic Squawkers: These are frequently the most visible and audible of the species. These are the folks who always complain about the quality and competence of the judges, unless of course, the judging team should select one of their birds as champion. Even then, the chronic squawker is likely to say: “Yea, he picked the cockerel as class champion, but he should have picked the pullet he placed second.”
Chronic squawkers think nothing of cooping out early, especially if their birds didn’t win big. Nothing is ever right: the aisles are too narrow, the bantams are stuck off in the darkest part of the building and you can’t see them. The waterfowl pens are too big or too small. There’s not enough shavings in the cages. The lighting in the show hall is terrible. The coffee at the food stand is bitter. The parking lot is not paved. “This is the last time I’ll ever show here” they frequently proclaim. And on and on it goes. You get the picture. These folks regard themselves as always right.
Moaners and Bellyachers: These folks are not quite as unpleasant to be around as the chronic squawkers, but after awhile they can really get on your nerves. These folks are frequently members of the club hosting the show, but they will not lift a finger to help out in any way. They sit around and say such things as “This show isn’t what it used to be” or “Why don’t they have a junior showmanship contest here anymore” or “this show would be better if they had a banquet” or “This show used to sponsor 2 shows a year and there were always lots of homemade pies for sale at the food stand”.
Moaners and bellyachers are found in all age groups and come in all shapes and sizes. Like chronic squawkers, they regard themselves as all-knowing.
Good Sports: This is where most of us fit in. We get our entries in on time. We don’t interfere with the judging. We congratulate the winners and are gracious in defeat. We participate in the clubs 50/50 raffle and Chinese auction. We have lunch at the clubs food stand. We remove coop tags and water cups from our show cages at the end of the show. We support the vendors (poultry supplies, poultry books, poultry jewelry, etc.) who set up at the shows.
We play the game honestly and fairly. We are pleased that others are interested in our birds and sell eggs, chicks, and adult stock at reasonable prices. We promote fellowship among exhibitors and visitors to the show halls. We don’t coop- out early. We subscribe to the poultry periodicals and support them with adds and articles. Many of us are members of the national poultry organizations. Good sports are always winners, whether or not their birds are on champions row. Good sports are a credit to the fancy.
Friends of the Fancy: These are the folks who go the extra mile on behalf of exhibition poultry. They are show secretaries, the sponsors and organizers of youth groups and junior showmanship classes, the people who serve as state representatives, and district directors and officers of breed clubs and national poultry organizations and who contribute to the success of those organizations.
Friends of the fancy are the exhibitors and their families who volunteer to help a club tear down the show before they head for home, the breeders who make quality birds available to junior exhibitors at a nominal cost (sometimes for free), the people who are on the lookout for new exhibitors in the show room and who make a conscious effort to make them feel part of the group, the people who make an effort to preserve rare breeds and varieties.
Friends of the fancy are the people who teach others, especially junior exhibitors, what they need to know in order to win big. Friends of the fancy know the meaning of the words integrity and honesty. They see the whole picture and not just their own needs and desires. Friends of the fancy are the people who really make a difference because their words and their deeds guarantee the survival of the hobby.
At the next show you attend, take a look around---also hold a mirror up to yourself---and see what’s on display, not only in the show cages, but in the show hall itself.