The start of the show season is approaching! I know that for some exhibitors there was the Bradford Champs show a couple of weeks ago but we couldn’t make that one so that meant that we had a couple more weeks to get things sorted. Firstly I decided it was worth checking the show pens as stewarding has taught me that a poorly presented show pen can lose marks and can sometimes cost that exhibitor a first place. Thankfully I’ve not yet had that happen to me but I’d rather it didn’t.

Chinese Hamsters are shown in the brown dwarf pens so I wanted to make sure that they didn’t need re-staining before I did anything else. I came across two of my spare pens that looked like they’d been varnished rather than stained so to be on the safe side, I’ll take them out of use, sand them down and re-stain them to the correct colour. I have discovered, thanks to a blog post from Doric Hamstery that the correct colour should be Ronseal’s Deep Mahogany so I had to make sure that I’d got a supply of this before I got started. I’ve not actually done these pens yet and they’re still sitting in the garage waiting for it to warm up a bit.

The other pens need a proper clean as they’ve been sat around in the hamster room getting dusty and thanks to the rather enthusiastic ‘housekeeping’ efforts of one of the hamsters, seemed to be that much more dusty looking than they probably would have been. I’ve also numbered each pen so each one of my show hamsters will have an allocated pen. I’m still not happy with my show pen carrier but I’ve not got red paint in the right colour so that’ll have to wait… once that’s done I’ll redo the lettering. Hopefully I’ll find a way of doing it in the proper Metallica Hamstery font.

I’ve made sure that I’ve got sufficient woodshavings from the Guinea Pigs supply set aside for use in the show pens and plenty of dog biscuits. I know that the clubs supply these but I prefer to give the hams something to chew on during the journey and it helps if it’s the same type that the club use so that I can leave it in the pen after benching if they’ve not eaten too much of it.

The hamsters themselves get checked over and prepared for the show in the run up to the individual shows. James had hit some kind of hamster mid-life crisis at the end of last year so his place on the show bench looked doubtful but since switching all four of the hams on to a different food, I’ve found that he’s improved so I’m hoping he’ll be back on the show bench again.

With the start of this show year comes my thoughts about what I’d like to achieve this year. I already know that I will be taking on the Show Sec’s role for the first time in 2017 after being shown the ropes by Vectis last year. As I will be coming out of Intermediate in March, I will also be starting to enter the Breeder class with Matthew (who was born last October) and hopefully James will provide me with some nice pups too. I already have my name down for several stints as a steward but I’d like to take this further during 2017 and train as a Dwarf Hamster Judge.

Hopefully I’ll see some of you during 2017!