Above: Could the Club Show be moved so that the show hall and hotel are under one roof, asks Brian Reese? 

The Budgerigar Society’s Club Show always generates discussion, and this year’s was no different. BRIAN REESE and ALAN PEARSON give their two different perspectives, as a Club Show stalwart and an enthusiastic first-timer.

LOTS of discussions have taken place within the budgerigar fancy, both during and after last month’s Budgerigar Society (BS) Club Show. The general view is that it is still a great weekend, but the show has become something of a routine and needs a rethink.

First up with some suggestions is Cornwall champion and BS judge BRIAN REESE. Brian has revolutionised Cornwall BS with his local team in recent years, so he speaks with understanding and authority.

The venue at the Dome serves its purpose, but I would like to see the Club Show move to a new venue with everything under one roof. Doncaster and the Dome have become more of a habit than an exciting weekend away.

A new show hall with meeting rooms and a hotel, plus full catering and bars onsite, could be a wonderful experience. If we achieve that, we could offer a package deal where members could move freely at no extra cost. At a venue like that, we could organise much more and people could drift in and out of what’s on offer, such as a variety of meetings on the Sunday morning.         

Renewed enthusiasm would come with a move, and fanciers and visitors would attend to see what’s new and exciting. Several people I spoke to on the Saturday afternoon this year told me they had seen everything they needed to, and had decided to cancel their hotel rooms for the Saturday night and go home a day early. That’s not good to hear!

The gala dinner might be a thing of the past. I know lots of people enjoy it, but the image of a gala dinner is old-fashioned. With only roughly 120 people attending, perhaps it’s time to relaunch the Saturday evening activities, make it a bit more inclusive and take the evening forward into modern times.

Incentives are talked about, but nothing has really happened. We need to get more members exhibiting. I wonder if the show committee has looked at the idea that has been put forward before of a raffle ticket given for every bird benched. Fanciers don’t show for a small amount of prize money, so let’s put it all into a raffle prize where real money can be won, with a first prize of £500, second of £300 and third of £200.

The sales section is tucked away upstairs at the Dome and I would like to see it incorporated into the main show hall. It would make the whole show look busier and bigger. I am sure lots of people miss the sales with it being out of the way.

People love to watch the judging and we should be able to organise that without any real problems. There will be a way to manage the situation. They do it overseas, so we need to see it happen here.

Has the auction served its purpose? What about a “blind auction” for any donated birds, with a reserve? Some people are reluctant to put their hand up in front of others.

Publicity for the show and the society for the weekend is lacking. The members might know what’s happening through the schedule, but little more is being done to attract non-members or even locals. When we were at the racecourse it was almost a welcoming sign to see that huge banner displayed at the gates telling people about the Club Show that weekend. Could a celebrity present the major awards? This would attract the local press and hopefully the local TV.

As a minimum we need to offer a weekend admission ticket rather than two separate day tickets. Why are we asking people to pay twice to enter the show hall?

New fancier ALAN PEARSON from Coventry kept birds decades ago and, like many, he has made a return to budgies this year. His observations as a newcomer are of particular interest.

I liked the venue because it’s easily accessible, clean, has good parking and is generally quite inviting. But really I did not know what to expect.

The birds have changed: it’s all head, face and shoulder now at the expense of almost everything else. I did wonder if some of the birds had actually been prepared for the show because there were lots with masses of pin feathers and dirty heads.

I thought the new show rules said that flecked budgies should not win any specials – so why were there flecked, and quite badly flecked birds, winning Challenge Certificates? In addition, many birds were not on the perch and were hiding on the floor instead. Had they been trained in a show cage, or had they been in a cage too long?

There was a very friendly atmosphere and most people were happy to talk and chat. I found the trade stands valuable, though I thought there could have been more. It was great to chat with BJS of Worcester about cages and Sunrise Aviculture about LED lighting.

From my memories of decades ago, I recall a huge difference between the birds in the beginner and the champion sections. This time there was not such a difference. Is that good or not?

I also took a good look at the sales birds. The quality was lacking but the budgies were not expensive. Perhaps some information on the cage, such as the actual colour/variety and some individual details, would have been useful. Could this be added to cages after judging? It would be helpful to potential buyers.

Representation from the clubs was limited and it was not always obvious what any of the area societies were offering. I couldn’t find anything from local clubs or any information about them. I would have thought that at such a large show there would have been an information desk with a panel of experts able to answer questions, offer advice and information about where the good clubs might be around the country.

I did enjoy the show and I’ll be attending the whole weekend next year!

Brian Reese and Alan Pearson were in conversation with Fred Wright.