So you've got yourself an adorable little friend and you want to take them to a show but don't know where to start then this is the place to look. In these threads you will find the answers to commonly asked questions about showing and hopefully it'll give you an idea on what to expect.
Main Show or Pets?
A most of the hamster shows operated by hamster clubs affiliated with the National Hamster Council will run a main show which judges hamsters to a standard set by the National Hamster Council.
Most people tend to prefer to have a go at entering the Pet Class on their first show as you don't have to register in advance and you will not have to be at the show for the whole day.
To find out if the show you're hoping to attend has a Pet Class you will need to look at the show schedule.
How do I enter the main show?
If you've decided to enter your hamster in the main show you will need to register them in advance by contacting the Show Secretary. Their details will be on the show schedule.
When sending in your entries the show secretary will need to know the classes you would like to enter your hamster for (which you'll find on the show schedule), whether you will need to hire any show pens and if you're showing under a NHC prefix then it's helpful to include this too. To make things as clear as possible you will need one line per hamster and it's helpful if you list the classes in numerical order.
This is an example of one of what I'd written in one of Metallica Hamstery's show entries:
Hi (Show Secretary),
I'd like to enter my two for the Cardiff Show please, to be shown under the Metallica Hamstery Prefix.
D8, D14, D15, D19, D20
D8, D14, D15, D17, D19, D20
If you're sending your entry by post or email then it's also helpful to title your message with the show you are entering as a Show Secretary may have entries coming in for more than one show. If you need to hire pens plese mention how man of each type you will require when you send off your entry.
Most Show Secretaries will acknowledge all entries.
Entering Pets is easy as it's done on the day by going to the Show Secretary and telling them what you'd like to enter. They will tell you how much to pay and give you a label which you will need to stick on your hamster's carrier/cage. Once you've done that you can put your hamster with all the other pets ready for judging.
The Show Schedule
I've already referred to this several times and it really is one of the most useful things to look at if you're entering a show as it will give you the details of which classes are available, who to contact, the times of the show and the location including directions.
You can find all the show schedules online at: https://hamsters-uk.org/content/section/5/54/
but you'll also be sent them with your journal if you're a postal member of any of the NHC affiliated clubs.
What classes can you enter?
In the main show you will need to enter what is referred to as a ‘Straight Class’ before you are able to enter any of the duplicate classes. A straight class refers to your hamster’s colour and species and is a way of judging all the hamsters of that type against each other. Therefore in the ‘straight class’ your Normal Chinese will only be judged against other Normal Chinese.
The Duplicate Classes refer to different categories and the points that your hamster got in the straight classes are used to determine who wins each Duplicate Class.
Some example of duplicate classes include Novice (if you’re in your first year of membership of an NHC affiliated club), Small Hamstery (if you own less than 10 hamsters in either Syrian or Dwarf), Young Stock (hamsters that are aged 16 weeks or less) and Breeder (if the hamster was bred by the exhibitor). Clubs may vary as to what duplicate classes they offer so check that show schedule!
Free Members Class and Members Points Classes?
Clubs may offer their members to accrue points for each placing in this class over the year and at the end of the year a prize will be offered to the winners of the Annual Award. This prize varies from club to club.
You may occasionally see this special duplicate class on the show schedule and each NHC affiliated club should hold one per section each year. The judge will need to be an NHC judge and if your hamster wins this class they will receive a prize card and an NHC Diploma.
What are hamsters judged on?
Hamsters in the Pet Class will be judged on Tameness and Condition which can include how happy they are to be woken up, how they react to being picked up by a stranger and whether their environment is suitable.
Hamsters in the main show are judged according to standards set out by the National Hamster Council with regards to colour, type, size, condition, and eyes and ears. You will have received a copy of this if you have joined any of the NHC affiliated clubs but if not you can read it online: https://hamsters-uk.org/content/category/8/33/63/