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Friday, March 18, 2011

2010 Budgerigar Society World Show

Show Hall 2010 BS World Show
It was an over cast day on our trip up to Doncaster England October of last year. I was trying to think about what it would be like to see so many birds at one place. This would be the 1st time for me to meet Steve Holland who become a mentor to me over the last several years. To date I don't recall seeing a picture of him and when we met he said to me. "I thought you were much taller". I laughed of course not knowing how to respond. As we approached the building Dave and Pam Collier ran into several acquaintances from their days in England 5 years earlier. Its here where we noted some last minuet stragglers carrying birds to the show hall. Maybe they were bringing birds for the sale. I noted a handle which could carry 4 show cages in one hand. It consisted of a handle with straps that attached to each handle on the show cages. Something new to me.

Moorhouse and Spruce
BIS Les Martin

As we entered the building and checked in receiving our credentials you could see a large round room filled with displays starting with the Budgerigar Society booth. Wrapped around the room were other banners.  The societies displayed awards won and pictures of winning Budgerigar birds of their shows. Numerous tables were filled with items that could be purchased to support the organizations. The 1st person of importance was George Booth the editor of the Budgerigar Society magazine. An article had been written about me traveling to shows here in the US. and so Steve Holland introduced us. True to an editor he asked for any articles that we would be willing to offer the magazine.

Daniel Lutolf

Steve disappeared and so I wandered off toward the booths of each club in the room making small talk. I noted Trophies they had displayed at some of the booths and asked about them. This is something I always enjoyed seeing and have often thought about using at a future Pennsylvania Budgerigar club I plan to start in the future. After some discussion with some winners of these trophies some have complained that after receiving the awards it took a great deal of work to maintain the trophies and they suggested using plated trophies not made from silver which become tarnished quickly.

Jeff Attwood right
Ghalib Al-Nasser

Moving on we were invited to head toward the show hall. It was a very large hall and instantly you could hear the familiar sound of budgies. I have heard about how the hobby has declined over the years. Some members have passed while others left, yet as I scanned the room it was immense. I'm told there were 1800 entries and with the sale birds approximately 2300 birds total. This is a far cry from the days when there were 6000 to 7000 birds shown in the hall. The thought was unfathomable. Here in the States at our national shows we only see up to 500 birds these last few years. Since the US has had 2 organizations we have suffered with the numbers as well.

Gren and Pat Norris

Best Opposite Sex - Young bird

Metal staging was used to display the birds I wondered how old it was. While we were waiting to be directed I decided that I would not move around and view the birds besides I don't think it was allowed. Then announcements were made and the judges were introduced.
Dave Collier our compatriot was judging the blues and so we were ushered over into that section. As I was waiting unsure of what to do Steve walked over to me and grabbed my arm, "you're coming with me" and I followed. He was working the next section over the Grays. Now I have not stewarded before and I was unsure of what to do and where to go. I think it must have been obvious and an older gentleman (I wish I could remember his name) working in our section asked if I would like to follow him and I did.

Best Young bird & Best opposite sex

He explained the different sections and how they were organized. Pretty soon I began to catch on and was busy taking birds back and forth on my own. The whole floor was busy but there was an optimistic impression in the air. Everyone seemed to move efficiently and before you knew it we were done. This was the first time for me to see the quality of birds here in England which I had heard so much about and seen in countless pictures yet I didn't have a lot of time to study the quality.

FA-1 Stud crew

Best Opposite Sex Any Age

Eventually, the best of the best were judged in the arena. Each judge had a vote, sure there was controversy but in the end it all was voted on and the top bird was awarded to Les Martin. He had a super Grey Green Cock with beautiful length and a head that I had not witnessed before. It was a truly outstanding bird. The Best Opposite Sex young bird went to Moorhouse and Spruce  it was similar to the BIS but a Sky Blue stunning in its own right. The Best Young Bird and Best Opposite Sex went to the Norwood Stud and the Best Opposite Sex any age was awarded to Freakly and Ainly. After the winners were announced there was a break and they were placed in the center of the show hall to be viewed by all a special roped off staging area.

Steve Hollands article in the BS magazine about me traveling to show

Standing with my friend from Pakistan Mobassir Sattar Khan
Mic Freakly left,Ian Ainly right with Mobassir Sattar Khan

Les Martins 2nd GGn in show

Finally, this gave me the opportunity to view what had been judged and as I went down the line one of the 1st birds which caught my attention was a very large Lutino. At first I thought it was a DF Spangle but after reading and seeing red eyes I could tell what it was. I'm amazed at how much feather the bird carried. I continued down the line taking pictures as something caught my eye. I wanted to get birds of high quality but even birds that you rarely see. Recessive pied, Texas Clearbodies, Crests the first I had ever observed in person. As I moved along the Champion row I spotted a Grey Green cock and after speaking to Steve Holland was told it was Les Martins and easily the 2nd best bird in the show. I think I took over 40 pictures. I knew I had to get it right and I wasn't going to miss this chance. When you're up there you really have to be  considerate of other people viewing the birds with you and I patiently and politely waited my turn. Was it ever worth it, simply amazing.


I walked up to the featured winners in the roped off section. They seemed stressed but I leaned in looking for the right shot. I know I was pushing my limits but being taught as a photographer you shoot until told to move. I held my hand up trying to get a reaction from the birds, this must have caught the attention of other people yet no one said a thing. That is until Mic Freakly walked up and began to lecture me about how stressed the birds were and why the rope was in place. Of course he was exactly right but I had a job to do.

Chris and Mary Snell
I politely stated that I am not your usual photographer. It was then that he graciously offered to let me have any picture which he took for free that all I needed was to ask. Then he invited me into the back room where he was photographing the birds in a studio set up show cage.

Display of Trophies

I was quite enamored by the opportunity something which I felt was uncommon. We began small talk and frankly I felt intimidated. I tried to make my point and position as a webmaster but I'm not sure I got the message across. After all this was Mic Freakly of the FA-1 Stud and the BIS winner 2 years running. I had purchased and viewed their DVD on their experience up to the World show in 2009. Mic eventually introduced me to Ian Ainly who showed up. Many were patiently waiting to speak to him an apparent celebrity. He asked me to follow him out to the Budgerigar Society booth and the FA-1 booth and introduced me to Jeff Capes. What a humble gentleman I was duly impressed and felt out of my element.
The Norwood Stud receives their award
Brian Sweeting receives his award

That evening was the banquet. It was the whole reason that I packed a dress up suit for the trip. Why is it that those clothes never seem to fit? Our table was to the side of the room close to the door a keen exit could remove you from a reign of humiliation of the resident comedian who seemed to trash every person who stood up to walk out.  I only hoped that we wouldn't make eye contact as he was smack into his routine obviously this was a tradition but I was uncomfortable. Truthfully I thought he was cut rate, I just didn't get it! Maybe it was the cultural differences who knows maybe he just wasn't that good. We sat at a table of Canadians and Brian Sweeting and our small group of 5. I felt like I was sitting with royalty. I bugged out early before the dancing and I regret that. You see many of my friends and acquaintances that I had met to this date were there and I missed them.

T & A Luke Stud recieves their awards
A & D Woan

 Day 2
My focus of this day was to capture as many pictures as possible. It was pretty surreal for me to see some of the well known people who have written books and articles or who have painted the standard. I already met Eric Peake a man of artful words. I swear that man has talent for telling a story and a first rate world renown artist and lecturer. I was able to capture Les Martin in a conversation and later I met Mic Freakly and Ian Ainly for a picture. I took a picture of Jeff Attwood with a friend, Jeff a top author and lecturer with vast experience in the hobby, and of course Daniel Lutolf who is a statuesque figure and a dominating budgie breeder desired by many the world over.

However of all the people I met I saw Mobassir Sattar Khan walking through the isles and I called out his name but I wasn't sure I was correct. He turned to me and we struck a friendly conversation. I had met Mobassir through the Pakistan hobby which I have been following. It was thrilling to meet after numerous conversation over the web. Mobassir asked for my opinion of the birds as we walked along taking pictures yet I think he is more knowledgeable then I. To put a face to a name is like cementing a friendship.

I took the time to walk around the room because I wanted to meet some vendors that I could possibly connect with for items which are hard to get in America. I met the owner of the Bird Care Company among others. One item which struck me was a vendor that freeze dries vegetables. All that is needed is water for your soft food mix. What a great idea but they wouldn't ship to America. Then I met the Artist Roy Alpin and I bought a print of a Texas Clearbody. I left yet I didn't think to get his signature on the print.

At the end of the day the hall began to fill as the Society began to award the trophies. After yesterdays fiasco of picture taking I decided that this time I'd get permission to steak out a prime spot yet not be in the way of the official photographers. I believe in some ways I had the advantage of not carrying the pressure of capturing every official shot. Yet my shots looked as though they were natural from the side. As some award recipients passed me I was able to snap away only this time they were looking at their awards with pride. One particular picture of a gentleman showed all the emotion. I saw a tear in his eye as he walked by only to later find out that his year was difficult and tragic loosing his wife. Then there was a junior who walked passed except as he approached, he stopped for a picture. It just put a smile across my face and as he sat at his seat I captured a shot of his family viewing his award with well deserved pride. Then there was Mary Snell who after so many years giving to the hobby was finally retiring. As I edited the pictures later I could see the genuine appreciation of her years in the support she received from the audience. The English take seriously the awards they acquire recognizing the enormous effort and years it takes to be a winner.

If I was to sum up my experience at the show I would say that it made me want to come back. Next time I will take more time to meet people in person. I would like to do some interviews and it would be nice to have some quality video. Sometimes a picture just doesn't show a bird completely like a video.

When you cover an event like I feel I was doing you don't get to spend the quality time with your friends like you normally would. Steve Holland with his vast time in this wonderful hobby has been enormously helpful and encouraging to me. This trip would not have been the success it was had he not put in the time he did with the contacts and introductions. I am exceedingly grateful for his efforts.

Please feel free to leave any comment at the bottom of this article. Your words are cherished and open for all to see. Sincerely Alan


John Zerafa said...

Just a short note to acknowledge the value of such an article for those of us who have never been to such a premier show. Sharing some of your experience was both entertaining and to a degree educational.

Thank you Alan

Unknown said...

Very good report and very nice photos !
Congrats and thanks Andy !
From France

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Bader Nouman said...

Good work dear Alan
Super photography.
and love to see children taking interest in hobby. The future is in their hands.

Warm Regard
Bader Nouman
Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

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