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Article on Planning a National Dutch Show

by Fran Shettler and Kevin Hooper

Every year Dutch clubs from across the country host one of the largest exhibits of Dutch rabbits in the world. Yet every year, there are members in other clubs wondering what it takes to put on a NDS. Well, here are some things to consider before proceeding:
  • Do you have a club or group of people large enough to perform all the work that will be necessary?
  • How many rabbits do you expect with open and youth combined? This estimate will help you with some of the following answers; how much revenue will this number of rabbits generate?
  • Is there a convenient location a reasonable distance from a major airport large enough to house the cooping, show tables, booth space, food space, and raffle space, plus the youth contests?
  • Is the facility clean and in good repair, priced reasonably, and available for either of the last two weekends in April of whatever year you are considering?
  • Is there adequate parking at the show room and adequate motels nearby?
  • Can you obtain sufficient cooping, feeders, waterers, and show tables at a reasonable cost?
  • Can you obtain needed supplies such as shavings, feed, awards, etc at a reasonable cost?
  • After making some estimates of revenue and costs, can you afford to have a show?
  • Is there someplace convenient to the show room or hotel for the banquet?
If all of these questions are answered in a favorable manner, then here is a listing of some additional details that you will need to know:
  1. Find a location to hold the show. The building should be large enough to have at least 900 coops, preferably only double stacked. Ample room should be allowed for the judging tables and booth space as well. Square footage of around 15,000 or more is adequate. (Washington, PA was 17,500, Greenville, OH was 19,000).
  2. Secure cooping. At least 900 should be secured (more in the Midwest and East), less in the far South or on the West coast). Coops with doors that swing open are preferred to one that slide up and down. Coops will need to have bottoms that fit that size of pen. Legs of some type are needed for the cages. Coops should not be placed on floor level.
  3. Select a date - preferable in April. Most NDS are held the end of April. We have gone in mid April and into the first week of May.
  4. Notify the ADRC of your interest. (This can be done prior to the first three steps.) Then present your bid to the ADRC two years before your show. You can present later, but two years is preferred to give you enough time to plan and for the ADRC to find someone to host if no bids are presented.
  5. Secure some rooms at a hotel or two. Usually at least 60 rooms are needed. Block as many as they will allow. Keep in mind the location of the hotel as compared to the showroom and banquet location.
  6. Secure a location for the banquet. Expect around 180 or so in the Midwest and East, less in other areas. A caterer can be lined up at a later date, but get some information on different ones in the area.
  7. Assign duties to personnel. This includes show superintendent, a show secretary or two, youth show super, catalog committee/person, raffle committee (including someone to work at the raffle table), awards committee/person, set-up committee (the most important job of all!), tear down/clean-up committee, youth contest/royalty person, table controllers (one to work with each judge to do whatever is necessary to keep the judging going. These will sometimes be from other states.) Secure writers and people to carry rabbits to and from the tables.
  8. Judges should be hired ASAP. Use the list provided by the ADRC from those selected by the membership. If some of the judges are not available, then you may hire local judges. You will receive the ADRC sponsorship money just after the first of the year, providing you have your judges secured.
  9. A budget should be set up so that you have an idea of your expenses, then you can set your entry fee to match.
  10. The meals should be planned for the banquet, and a banquet ticket cost based on the cost of the building and meal.
  11. Secure judging tables. You should try for having enough tables to have at least 30 holding holes for each open judge and 20 for each youth. More is better here. It is ideal to have enough so that the largest class is all on the table at the same time. Holders should have wire tops!
  12. Coop cups - plastic has been used, but metal or aluminum is still preferred. If the coops do not have a method of fastening the cups built in, other fastening methods should be provided.
  13. Shavings should be provided - at least twenty bales of good shavings are needed.
  14. An article should be written with information on the show in each issue of the DR after the proceeding NSD. Donations for specials should be solicited at this time. Separate letters asking for donations work well.
  15. Catalog should be planned, compiled and out to the membership at least six weeks before the show. Judges should receive a copy of the catalog as well. Class judging assignments as well as detailed directions/maps need to be included in the catalog.
  16. Include an entry blank of your design/choosing with the catalog. Also, plan for remark and coop cards
The following is a list of items that are needed at the show:
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Poster board and markers
  • Duct tape
  • Masking tape
  • Hard top tables for the writers
  • Chairs for the writers
  • Food vendor
  • Tables and chairs for food area
  • 3-4 tables for ADRC publicity booth
  • 3-4 tables for secretary
  • 3-4 tables for raffle
  • Pens
  • Watering cans
  • Vinyl ties
  • Stack of cardboard
  • Utility knives to cut cardboard
  • Mats for judges to stand on while judging
  • Cage repair tools
  • Wire cutters/pliers
  • PA system
  • Person to pick up rabbits shipped in/breeders flown in to airport
These ideas, if followed, should make your well on your way to having a successful National Dutch Show!

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