I went down to Ventura, CA for the weekend (almost 400 miles south). The Seaside Feather Fanciers club was hosting the APA National (in the poultry world this is a BIG DEAL) so I decided to go and take whatever birds looked good and also take my little art display to remind people that I exist and hopefully help cover some of the show expenses.
There were about 2700 birds there (chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, pigeons).
I had a good weekend, had a great time catching up with friends I hadn't seen for a long time, and meeting new friends too. But it's really just way too much work trying to pack all that into one weekend. It takes about an hour and a half to set up the booth (well no, more than that actually, I just do half the work on Friday night) and it's only there for a few hours before I them have to spend another hour and a half taking it down, and a lot of people never have time to stop by anyway (you would not believe how busy a person can be at a poultry show). So honestly I'd be really happy to not bring the artwork anymore, it makes the weekend too stressful.
I never even made it out to the beach! You could throw a rock and hit the beach practically from the show room but I never had time to walk out there or to have a sunset walk on the pier. Boo.
The birds did pretty well. I took 11 pullets (8 Black, 3 BBRed). They are young and have never been shown. It was a good class of birds with several from out of state, quite a few exhibitors. I took best and reserve of breed but they did not go any farther in the class. I am pleased with how they did, although my favorite among them did not place, so it just goes to show you never know...
The whole weekend really kind of reinforced how much things have changed for me in the poultry world. I mean, this was the national! I should have been insanely excited. Don't get me wrong, I was definitely looking forward to it, but it wasn't that long ago I would have felt a lot different about it and would have put a lot of work into getting my birds ready and coop trained. The birds felt a bit like an afterthought this time, and my relationships with various people have changed a lot in the last couple years. The Rosecomb federation is due to put its own National somewhere in the Pacific time zone for 2009, and it's largely my decision (as district director) where it ought to go. I'm entirely at a loss, because I just am not into it like I used to be, and at this point I don't have the foggiest idea what shows I will attend next year. Nothing out of state, that's for sure. There are some very nice fall shows but this is really too early in the season for Rosecombs. Unless a person hatches birds really early, the males are nowhere near ready. January and February are best for my males. What would have once been the logical choice for a host show no longer is, because I won't show there anymore. So do I pick something I'm not sure if I'll be able to attend, or something a little smaller than normal, or a one-day show, or what. I'll have to think about this.
My next show, probably, is in January. Definitely not before that, unfortunately.