Show Business – The Demonstration Class
How many of us have been to a show and seen a non-standard variety in an open class? Perhaps we’ve even seen a non-standard variety winning over a group of classes, beating the standard varieties. This puzzles and frustrates exhibitors.
Judges who understand the club’s requirements to judge to the Australian Poultry Standards may also be put in the awkward situation of needing to wrong-class an entry incorrectly put into an open class when there is no Standard for it. This leads to embarrassed exhibitors who may not understand why this has happened.
Our club shows run under the banner of the Australian Poultry Standards and FCAQI-affiliated clubs agree to this on joining the Association. On many club schedules, the reminder is there to be clearly read by those submitting entries – ‘Judged to the Australian Poultry Standards’.
When non-standard entries go into open classes it puts the judge in a quandary and can lead to disgruntled exhibitors. We should be seeing more use made of the demonstration class to cater for developmental varieties. They should not be entered or shown in open classes.
Before looking more closely at the demonstration class, we need to clarify the following descriptions which are currently in frequent use, but often misunderstood:
AORC – Any breed that is included in the current Australian Poultry Standards in a colour that is listed in the Standard for that breed, but where the colour is not individually catered for in the show schedule.
AORV – Any breed or variety of a breed that is included in the current Australian Poultry Standards in a colour or variety that is listed in the Standard for that breed, but where that breed or variety is not individually catered for in the show schedule.
AOV – This is an abbreviation of AORV and is intended to mean the same. It does not include breeds or varieties outside of the current Australian Poultry Standards.
AOC – This is an abbreviation of AORC and is intended to mean the same. It does not include colours outside of those listed for that breed in the current Australian Poultry Standards.
AC – This includes an entry of any colour that is listed under the Standard for that breed in the current Australian Poultry Standards.
The Demonstration Class
Where exhibitors would like to enter a fowl of a breed that is included in the Australian Poultry Standards, but in a colour or variety that is not listed for that breed, then the demonstration class should be used. This class is useful for breeders who are in the process of establishing a new variety of an established breed, or even for the demonstration of a breed that is recognised in another country and for which a reputable Standard exists. It is part of the process of gaining acceptance for these new varieties or breeds where examples are shown to the public and to the exhibition community. This class is not a class for hybrids or crossbreeds, but for new varieties or breeds that are currently not listed in our Standards.
Some of these new varieties and breeds may in time become part of the Australian Poultry Standards and clubs need to know how to include these entries in their shows in an appropriate way. This is necessary to adequately cater for the growing community of people who are working on projects like these.
Running the Demonstration Class
If a club is willing to host a demonstration class, including it in the schedule would help to inform exhibitors, but it is also possible for a club to simply respond to a request made by an exhibitor. The Chief Steward should confirm that the birds being entered meet the requirements of the demonstration class. Nobody wants to see cross-breeds or random experiments displayed at club shows. Entries should be genuine breeds. Exhibitors should be prepared to reference the existing Standard for the breed in question, whether that is in the British Poultry Standards, the American Poultry Standards or another country-of-origin’s Standards.
FCAQI clubs run their shows under the current Australian Poultry Standards. Anything outside of that Standard cannot be eligible for higher awards. Demonstration or developmental entries are therefore not eligible for higher awards. A judge may rank them within the class and comment on them in relation to the relevant Standard.
As a judge is not required to judge any class outside of the Australian Poultry Standards, the judging of the demonstration class should be a matter for discussion and agreement between Chief Steward and the Judge well in advance of show, either at the time of the appointment or at the time when it becomes known that there will be entries in the class. A judge that has been informed of these entries should prepare himself to comment on them in an informed way by obtaining a copy of the relevant Standard and becoming familiar with it. The club should assist with this if necessary.
It would be sensible for the demonstration classes to be judged after the completion of the main show but before the deciding of Champion Bird. The majority of the judging has been completed and with good management, the judge doing the extra classes has a little time to complete the task. This timing maintains the demonstration classes as a legitimate part of the event. At a suitable time after the classes have been judged, it would be helpful for the judge to have a discussion with the exhibitor about the strengths and weakness of the birds presented and possibilities for future development.
If clubs are open to the possibility of using the demonstration class for developmental or new breeds or varieties, it may help minimise the problem of non-standard birds being incorrectly entered into open classes.
Written by Cathy Newton