By David Baglin
Could I please ask for some sympathy now? Not for me (especially) but for the poor old Show Secretary (figuratively speaking). Why you ask? Well, basically because the job of Show Secretary is not particularly easy in the first instance (Don't be put off by this, first timers!) and it can be frequently made less easy by people entering hamsters in wrong classes.
It is all well and good thinking about your entries and entering them willy nilly and then thinking "if they're in the wrong class they'll be transferred". This has several serious consequences.
First and foremost for the Show Secretary. This job involves a lot of time, a lot of work and a fair bit of stress. Re-classifying animals entered in the wrong classes messes up paperwork, adds time onto doing other jobs and makes shows start late and take longer. Changing entries at the start of a show is equally as bad, as this can delay the start of a show and can be most frustrating. Please think about the classes carefully. Read the schedule thoroughly beforehand.
Consequence 2. An animal in the wrong class may not get spotted by a novice judge or steward and could win a class that should have been won by the correct colour/coat typed hamster. This is unfair.
Consequence 3. The correct class for your animal may have already been judged and your hamster could have won a card or a first prize in that class. If the prize cards have already been written, your animal will not get slotted in to the top four (or seven depending on which club you show with) and may only go onto the duplicates having been given its points.
So......read the schedule carefully and bear in mind that some clubs have specialist classes for certain colours or patterns or coat types and others may not. For example The s.h. self class is for animals that are one colour all over (except for their eyes and ears) such as blacks, whites, creams, coppers and ivories etc. Plus they are short haired. AOC is for Any Other Colour (as long as it is a standard colour). A s.h. Golden class is for short haired goldens only. If you are not sure what colour your hamster is or if you are unsure of the class it should go in, please find out by asking someone. A set of colour standards is issued by some clubs as part of membership, and if it is not, a copy can be purchased quite cheaply from your club Secretary. This is worth the investment!! You can also see that if your hamsters colour is not fully described in the standards booklet it is a Non Standard and should only be entered in that class. Do not enter in a rush at the last minute. Put in your entries in plenty of time. If you have to make cancellations or changes the Show Secretary will thank you if it is done before the day of the show.
If you have made a few mistakes recently, do not worry, and do not think "He's having a go at me!" Just remember that with the above advice short or frayed tempers can be avoided. Just think a bit more carefully before you put in your entries. One day you may be a Show Secretary and you would not like it either!!! If everyone reads this article then mistakes will be avoided and the Show Manager will have no problems getting Show Secretaries.