Getting ready for a goat show can be physically and mentally exhausting... cleaning and trimming the goats, loading the trailer, remembering all the essentials, like "Did I register that goat?", and being sure to pack all of the registration papers. But let's look at the other side of that show.
Showing is more than just you training, fitting, grooming and exhibiting your goat. Someone has to plan and put the show together.
First of all the person who attempts and actually does this has to be either an organized event planner or totally insane. The latter applies to me by show day. Having put on a show, and attending shows, believe me the attending is far more relaxing. But just in case you have the angst to put one on, probably because there just aren't enough shows in your area, this will give you an idea of what it takes.
First of all, select a location, date, association and judge that will attract show goers to attend your show. Great so far. Now compile your classes, rules, an entry form. Figure out what to charge for entry fees, pen fees, if you will have awards and what they will be. Pick a date at least 10 days prior to your show, more if possible, but I have found that 10-14 days is really the best. Charge a late fee for entries after that date. Also, very, important... remember to fill out the entry forms for your own goats.
So... you've written your rules and defined the classes. You're ready to mail them out, post them on the net, feed stores, purchase ads in magazines, etc. You have everything under control. The facilities, judge, awards, ordered the straw/shavings, just waiting for those entries
Finally, you have your first entries. You do a little dance, jump for joy at the sight of the entry form in the mail. You kiss it, hug it, show it off, open it up and "YEESSS I have an exhibitor"... and two, yes you counted right, TWO entries. You check your mailbox two days later. No more entries. Are you in panic mode yet? No, there are still another 4 days until the deadline. Besides, you haven't filled yours out yet. "Make note to get on that" you tell yourself.
Two days till the deadline. Open the mailbox and, "All Right!" You have three more for the show. Open those up and, yes, an exhibitor with 5 entries, another with 10 entries. "Houston... we have a show!" You open the last one only to find that they've written on their entry form "PLEASE TAKE ME OFF YOUR MAILING LIST" . Oh well, you have 17 entries and figured on 80. Only 63 more to go! (you still haven't done your entries yet... make note to do that.) Well, you decide, now is a good time to start posting the entries into your computer system. You decide that the Excel spreadsheet is as good of a place to start as any and you type them in. Save them, of course, and you wait for the next day.
One day before the deadline. No more entries. WHAT? Okay, panic mode starts to kick in. You start believing that everyone is out to get you. They hate you. They don't want to come to your show. You start second guessing the location, the judge, the date, your friends, your family, your goats, your life. "What did I do wrong?" Another post to the internet... "We are expecting a great big turnout for the BIG BANG SHOW and entries must be postmarked tomorrow. Get those entries in!" Now you feel somewhat better. Will it be a good show? Will they come? All the sudden your "You've Got Mail" bleeps, and bleeps, and bleeps. "RE: BIG BANG SHOW". You think, "OK!"
GOATRAISER1 - We didn't get any entry forms, can you fax them to me?
YIPEEGOATS - I lost my entry forms, can you email me them, and how much were you charging for late fees? Maybe I will have to not enter as many.
BUCKSAPLENTY: Gosh, is it that time already, I thought they were due next week. I still have some I need to register. How about if I send them out on Thursday, because I will be at on the beach all day tomorrow?
BLONDEGOATS: I, like, totally forgot. Will you, like, extend the deadline?
So now you are lost. They caught you at your weakest point. You are thinking, I have NO ENTRIES, except for the 17 - and, of course, mine that I haven't quite finished yet. So you post back to them, "BY POPULAR DEMAND WE WILL EXTEND THE ENTRY CUT OFF DATE TILL THIS SATURDAY" Of course, you think, you'll have more entries this way and there's always the weekend to type them into the spreadsheet. Feeling good about that, you hit the SEND button. And you get a great night sleep, knowing that there are people out there that do want to come to your show.
Friday arrives, and you have 20 envelopes in the mail for the show. And they are ENTRIES! They are EXHIBITORS. They LOVE YOU! Ecstatic, you begin opening them and seeing 8 and 9 entries on some pages. You see 15 on another, you start dancing, "I HAVE A SHOOWWW, EVERYONE LOVES ME... NA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NA."
Your kids think you are nuts, your husband just wants dinner on the table, and you are just gleaming from ear to ear, dancing and singing, "I LOVE YOU, YOU LOVE ME, WHAT A GREAT SHOW THIS WILL BE!"
You forgot that you promised to help your son with his homework and that you have a PTA meeting tonight. No big deal, make the meeting, come home in time to help with homework, and then realize that the wash is piled up. So, of course, you do a couple loads of laundry and set the entries aside. There is always tomorrow, and "I have ENTRIES!!" Feeding in the barn the next morning, you have a doe in distressed labor. You spend three hours with her only to have to call the vet out. Another couple of hours and you are helping the kids. You have to tube feed them and bottle feed them every two hours.
You get the mail. More entries. You start doing your dance, get dinner going, do more wash, and realize you were going to bake this morning for tomorrows bake sale but you spent all day in the barn.
The evening is shot in the kitchen and bottle feeding kids every two hours. Exhausted you hit the bed only to wake up at 2 am... 4 am... 6 am. Dragging into the barn you find another doe in labor. "Heck, I have entries to post! Now I'm stuck in the barn. Not that I don't just love kidding season but hurry up and get those kids out. I have entries to post."
The mail comes again. More entries. You are excited but aren't dancing too much. You realize that you must have more than 80 entries now, so you are a little relieved. You pile them up with the others, and get back to your chores. All of a sudden you realize that you need to clip your goats up a little more before the show. The entries will have to wait until tomorrow.
You put your favorite show doe on the fitting stand and, while you are touching up her feet, cut too deep. Blood is everywhere. She kicks and you have it across your face, in your hair, on your shirt, on the stand... everywhere within five feet. "What the heck." You dab some blood-stop on it and get her off the stand. She's limping, really limping. "Darn!" You knew you shouldn't do that but you just had to be sure it was perfect. "Yeah, perfect all right. Next goat!... Or should I find a replacement for her?"
Tuesday rolls around, the facilities manager calls you - He wants you to come out and do a walk through to be sure that everything is ready for you. "No problem, I can fit you in before lunch." You get to the facilities and they thought you said, "after" lunch. Great, so now you just walk the facilities looking over everything and realize that some of the pens on one side don't latch. And there are big water puddles from the rain the other day in a few of the other pens. Basically they are flooded. "Not a problem, there are plenty of pens", you think to yourself. You look over the ring area and think, "Gosh, I didn't order any shavings for the ring. Wonder how many I will need to make it look nice?" Just then the facilities manager comes up apologizing for being late. You walk through and he lets you know that the other pens that they were going to set up weren't returned and that what you see is what you get. "Great. But 90 pens should be enough for 80 entries. Shouldn't be a problem. "
What was that you were supposed to make a mental note of again? Oh well it will come to me. Open the mail. MORE entries. "These were probably the ones from Saturday... Let's see, no postmarked Friday." As you walk in the kitchen you realize that there is water all over the floor. The sink's leaking. No, not just leaking, the pipe is broken. There's water everywhere! Major emergency! Call the plumber, bail the water, you think to yourself, "NOT TODAY!"
It's Wednesday. You start typing the entries into the computer. You get halfway through the entries and think, "Oh, man, I didn't do my own entries yet." You get your papers out and start filling out your entries. You realize that you don't have all of the papers and phone the association. They don't have them even though you know that you mailed them over three weeks ago. They claim they never received them. "Darn... those are really nice kids; they fit so well into their age group. I can't just NOT show them. Besides, my husband will really freak." So you fill out the registration applications again. "Now, where are the registration papers on the sires?" You had them out for some reason or another a couple of weeks ago. Finally, the applications are filled out and you fax them to the association marked "RUSH". "Good. Done!"
Back to typing entries into the spreadsheet.
SUMMERHILL RED ACRES RUDIES FLUSH PUPPY. You stare at it. "Are you kidding me?" You type the name in. Next entry.
SUMMERHILL RED ACRES RUDIES UP THE RIVER. Again you type the entry. Next entry.
SUMMERHILL RED ACRES RUDIES DOWN THE RIVER. Can't people pick shorter names?
Your hands get tired. "How long have I been at this now?" "Finally, the last entry form!"
You go to tell the dog to shut up and discover he's barking at the mailman. MORE ENTRIES. Just when you thought you were done. A quick glace at the spreadsheet tells you that you have 225 entries. And that's without the ones that you just received. You gasp! "What!?! Did I enter in a couple twice? Did I skip down lines? No, everything is there."
Excited, you go online and post to your list BIG BANG SHOW – GREAT TURNOUT 225+ ENTRIES! THIS IS GOING TO BE ONE BIG SHOW! You hit the send button... it's off into the land of the Internet, sharing all of your great news with all of your friends who love you. You have a great location, a great judge, and a great day, and did you mention everyone loves you! You get an Instant Message from BLONDEGOAT: I really thought I sent my entries in. I had them ready for the mailbox but they are still sitting here on my desk. Is it too late? Will you still charge me the late entry?
You are so elated to be having a big show that you reply, "Just fax them to me. You can pay the day of the show since the mail is so slow, not a problem, we have all been there and done that." You hit the send button and swivel in your chair, spilling your coffee on the keyboard. Your computer goes from light to dark and freezes up. You groan... "Uuuugh!". Then it hits you. "I didn't hit SAVE. I typed all those entries in, and didn't hit SAVE!" You begin freaking out... Actually that is a very light way of putting it. You hit the keys. Nothing. Ctrl/Alt/Del nothing. It is totally frozen. You shut it off and reboot. Nothing. You call your computer man who can't get out until Thursday afternoon. He thinks you might be okay and that the files may have been written to a temp file, so don't worry too much. It relaxes your mind for the moment, but the show is only two days away.
He comes out and is able to replace the keyboard, opens the file, and there, right in front of you... . are the 17 entries. Yes, those great little 17 entries that you were dancing over last week. The ones you were ecstatic over. It is now 4 pm and you realize that you have 208 entries to enter in... plus the ones that you luckily didn't enter in yet. You begin typing, fiercely. As your husband walks in the door. You tell him by no means to even ask where dinner is, where clean clothes are or for that matter, what is the matter. You are on a mission. After each entry you hit the SAVE button, you relax a little and, after each entry, hit SAVE. When you start typing SUMMERHILL... .. you groan. All complete, you make one last SAVE and look at the entries... .266. "WOW!"
You take out a CD and burn the file to it, not taking any chances. "Amazing! Do I dare post this to the Internet?" Feeling confident, you make the post. Go back to your file, sort the classes, and when you glace at the clock it is now 2 am. Realizing just how tired you are, you retire to bed.
At 5 am.. you bolt up in bed. "Shavings for the ring! I forgot the shavings for the ring!" You lay there determining the size of the ring. Twenty bales should do it. Your mind starts to wander, and then you realize, you didn't add up how many pens you need. Back on the computer you go through the pen quantities. Your entrants have requested a total of 133 pens. The facility only has 100, counting the ones that were totally flooded. "How many were flooded? Pen chart. I don't even have a Pen Chart!" After feeding the goats and humans you head back to the facility to make a pen chart and determine how many are flooded and if they are any better. They aren't. The rain starts again. "So, now, how am I going to cram 133 down to 90? And shavings... I now need more shavings than what I ordered. The facilities manager walks up and asks how things are going for the show. With an exasperated look you blurt out, "I don't have enough pens!" He tells you that if you need more, and if you have a way to pick them up, he knows where there are some you could get. Once all that is figured out you start thinking about the pens whose latches don't work. Oh well, at this point, "not my problem."
Back home, more entries appear. On the computer, you have more emails. One person wants to know if they can't make it, will they get their money back. Another has 6 changes to the classes, can she make them now? Another didn't get his registration papers yet, can he still show?
This triggers your mind... "Registration Papers?" You didn't get yours in the mail; you had put a RUSH on those. You call the association. They never received the fax. "Are you kidding me? I faxed them. I KNOW I faxed them." You get the applications and tell her, more like yelling at this point, "Look, I faxed them to... " and read her the number. "That is an old fax number. We haven't used that one in 4 years." Your mouth is hanging open. "WHAT!?!" You fax them again; with a "RUSH" with a "FED-EX SHIPPING" and stand there listing to the fax answer on the other end before hanging up. Back to the emails. "NO REFUNDS." "I'll make the changes." Then the last one, "No Papers you can't show" but tell him that you had to put a RUSH on yours and they were coming to you FED-EX - he could ask if they could enclose them with yours.
Show day is here. People are complaining about the number of pens and locations; "Can't I just move over there?". Someone claims they mailed in their entries, "Are you sure you didn't get them?" BLONDEGOAT shows up scratching all but one and of course since she didn't mail in her check, is only going to pay for the one that she brought. FED-EX pulls up and delivers your envelope. You open it up. The other guy's papers are in there. All but one of yours are missing. The one you do have, is from the doe that you left home because you gouged her foot with the hoof trimmers.
The show starts. With the exception of a few people missing their classes because they couldn't hear the announcer, whom had called them over and over, the rest runs smoothly. Until the buck classes. Two classes were combined on the computer and you didn't notice until someone brings it to your attention after the class has been placed. And he expects you to fix it NOW. You explain that once a class is placed there's nothing that can be done. He starts making rumblings around the stands. It takes all that you have to smile and say to him, "Would you like to put this show on next year!"