It was about a year ago that I first visited a hamster show and even though I wasn’t showing, it was still pretty scary to make that first move. When I went into the hall everyone seemed to be busy or chatting with fellow exhibitors. It was difficult for a newbie to make the first move but once I did, it was well worth it and left having met some lovely people. At the time though, the hamsters we had wouldn’t have been suitable for showing but it was nice to have a rough idea on the set up for when we would be able to enter shows. The first show we entered was Wootten Bassett later that year where we entered with Lord James and Lady May. I knew that they were adorable but I wasn’t expecting huge things out of either of them, I was just looking forward to the experience. Both placed bottom of their classes but for Lady May in particular, the fact that she was able to be judged was the sign of how much progress she had made since I bought her home. It ended up being the only show she entered as she crossed the bridge just two months later.

It wasn’t until Ferndown that I began to play a more active role in showing. Not long after I arrived, the show sec asked me if I wanted to have a go at Pen Stewarding. I’d never done it before but someone gave me a run down of what was involved. It was great to be able to get a closer view on how the hamsters were judged. It was here that I really began to understand the standards that I’d previously read. Since then I’ve stewarded at pretty much every show I’ve attended which is a great way to get to know people that I probably wouldn’t have spoken to otherwise. I’ve also been learning to look at hamsters in a more objective way rather than just looking at them all and being dazzle by their cuteness, hopefully the experience will pay off when selecting suitable hamsters for breeding purposes.

There’s a couple of people in particular who have helped me on my journey into showing and hopefully they’ll know who they are. I’m very grateful to them for the warm welcomes that they have extended to me and without them things would have seemed a lot more daunting. I hope that one day I’ll return the favour and help another new member on their journey into hamster showing because after all, who knows what that new member could have to offer?