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Round Table – Exhibitors and Judges Discuss the Sport

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126 – April 2017

by Odebt Massey

Odebt Massey has been a breeder and exhibitor of Champion Kerry Blue Terriers and other breeds for more than 40 years. She is also a semi-retired profes- sional handler, a life member of Colorado Springs KC and an active working member of Garden City Kansas KC. If you wish to contact her for more information about Round Table Discussions, you can email her at

The Garden City Kansas Kennel Club decided we wanted to start some conversations. We know that everyone has friends at the dog shows with whom we engage in conversations, but how about inviting strangers to sit down with each other? We thought…wouldn’t that be interesting? Wouldn’t it be a great way for people to meet each other over a subject of a shared interest? So we did it. We offered Round Table Discussions to be held shortly after BIS was judged. Then we thought, why limit it to exhibitors? Why not include some of our judges? How often do exhibitors and judges get to sit down and talk to each other? Hmmm….imagine that concept!

We chose six subjects, and we limited the tables to 10 people. We wanted to keep it intimate and manageable. We offered a meal since it was after BIS and though there was time to take care of dogs beforehand there wouldn’t be enough time for people to really eat a dinner. So we figured if we included food it would make it easier for people to partic- ipate and not have to find a meal late in the evening. We charged just enough to cover the food. To us, this was not a fundraiser, it was a way to help people connect with each other.

A sign-up form and description were put in our premium list. We asked the exhibitors to choose their subjects in order of interest. The pre- mium list included the 6 subjects, rules, the cost and contact information. We also put a deadline for sign-up in it, but we will eliminate that next time. We ended up opening up the sign-up at the shows and got more than half our attendees from each show. It helped that we were able to promote it in person at the shows. I think this is because it was such a new concept that people did not understand what it was from just reading the premium list (or they hadn’t read the premium). With electronic pre- mium lists a lot of things like this are not seen or read by the exhibitors.

As Show Chair I asked our judges if any wanted to participate. I was delighted with the positive responses and even the excitement expressed by the judges who volunteered! So now we were set to see if we got any responses from exhibitors. Our initial response was not as good as we had hoped and that is why we offered the opportunity to signup at the dog shows. At the shows we had a great response; four of our tables got a nice amount of participation. One table filled up to maximum. We had two judges at each table except our Obedience/Rally table where we had one judge. This worked out very well.

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126 – April 2017

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