Interview with Carma Ewer – Chairperson of the Bonneville Basin Kennel Association Series of Shows
What is the name of your show/cluster?
Carma Ewer: We are technically not an official cluster, because our five days of shows consist of two days of Group Shows (Toy, Terrier, Working, and Non-Sporting) followed by three days of all-breed shows. So, we refer to ourselves as the Bonneville Basin Kennel Association (BBKA) Series of shows. Not too catchy, but it gets the ideas across.
Where are your shows held? When?
Carma Ewer: Historically, our shows have been held in Farmington, Utah, at the Legacy Park Event Center. Because of a construction project at the Park this year, we had to move our show to the Bastian Agricultural Center in South Jordan. Both are suburbs of Salt Lake City. The Bastian Agricultural Center is an Equestrian Center, and we held our shows in the Indoor Arena on packed dirt. We are held on the 37th week of the calendar, usually the second or third week of September.
Can you please provide a brief history of your club?
Carma Ewer: Our club is one of four all-breed clubs in the state of Utah. It is a small but mighty group of volunteers who are active in all things dog-related.
How are the following accommodated at your show/cluster: Parking; Grooming; Bathing; Hospitality; Vendors; Public Education?
Our show is located at an Equestrian Center, with RV hookups. We have our own Parking Committee, which is chaired by a club member and consists of additional volunteers, including handlers who help with parking during the event. Our day parking is free. Last year, we offered premium day parking close to the building, but it was a hassle finding enough volunteers to police that area. So, this year, we did not offer that.
In past years, we have had reserved grooming. During COVID, we offered free outdoor grooming with power. This year, in our new show site, we were able to provide reserved grooming in the stalls at the Equestrian Center; both interior stalls and outside stalls, with parking. Both barns had power available.
The Horse Barn had a bathing area on the end of the stalls that was utilized as a bathing station.
Because we were in a covered horse arena this year, we were able to rent drapes and enclose a portion of the arena’s viewing area with tables and chairs for our hospitality. This was a challenge, but our Hospitality Chairman was able to convert this corner of the arena into a delightful, cozy atmosphere; very private, with an area for judges, club members, show personnel, and stewards to sit, relax, and have breakfast or lunch each day. We catered all of our lunches and provided a continental breakfast, coffee, and juice in the mornings and afternoons. The area was close to the restrooms and also close to the superintendent’s tables to make things easier for our judges. We also provide hospitality to our superintendents, photographers, and anyone else helping with our show.
Our Vendor Chair/Grounds Chairman works with the vendors. This year, we tried to put them close together to encourage our exhibitors to support them and make shopping as easy as possible. We try our best to not double up on vendors and make sure that we have a variety of vendors attending, including local vendors.
Probably not our best feature, but we do offer a dog show tour conducted by a club member, and our Facebook page and Web Page had a number of inquiries, which myself and other club members monitored and answered as best we could. We also had two Meet the Breed booths put on by local exhibitors.
Does your show/cluster offer the National Owner-Handled Series? Junior Showmanship? 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy? Best Bred-By? Specialties?
Carma Ewer: The Group Shows offer NOHS as do the all-breed shows. The all-breed show has made a commitment to NOHS and has equal value trophies for Regular BIS & Groups and NOHS BIS & Groups.
Most of the Group Clubs offer Junior Showmanship, plus the three days of all-breed shows. We also offer a special Junior Showcase Specialty show one evening, usually on Saturday evening. This is a stand-alone event. We offer great prizes, a huge armband raffle where every Junior receives a significant prize, pizza, a Q&A with the AKC Rep, and even photos for every Junior. It is really a special “feel good” event for everyone.
We have two days of 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy competition, plus four Open Shows; two on Saturday and two on Sunday. We offer Best Bred-By, along with Best Puppy and Best Veteran.
How are judging panels decided? Who stewards at your show(s)/cluster? Who stewards?
Carma Ewer: Club Members and the Group Clubs submit prospective judges, and the Show Committee works to put together a panel that is agreeable to everyone. Who stewards? Anyone we can find: club members, friends, other exhibitors, husbands, and children of club members. We do provide lunch and pay $50/day for Stewards.
This year, we offered free, premium RV parking to anyone who would provide a Steward for the three all-breed shows. Finding Stewards is a huge problem. We don’t have many shows in our area, so members and exhibitors are unwilling to give up one of only four weekends in the state to steward. We have learned to use only one steward per ring, and this has been helpful.
Are Breed Seminars and Judges Education offered?
Carma Ewer: No.
How are your show(s)/cluster promoted? TV? Radio? Print Media? Social Media?
Carma Ewer: Our shows are promoted mostly on social media and with flyers, and by word-of-mouth.
What are some of the challenges that you’ve had to face as show/cluster chair?
Carma Ewer: Our biggest challenge is the competition for exhibitors. Because we are in the Mountain West, our exhibitors travel farther distances to shows than on the coasts. It is not unusual for an exhibitor to travel 400-600 miles on a weekend to attend an all-breed show. With AKC continuing to approve new clubs in surrounding states, we are forced to compete with multiple clubs for a small number of exhibitors. Shows in Colorado, New Mexico, California, and Washington mostly draw on the same exhibitor pool.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, what have you and your club members learned about putting on a dog show? What, if any, are the differences from previous years and how are you planning for the future?
Carma Ewer: I loved the entrance and exits to the rings, and I am sad to see those disappear. Also, we have learned to easily run a ring with one Steward. We had shows during COVID, but moved most everything outdoors.
The AKC Reps were helpful and important to keep things running smoothly. Larry Cornelius was our Rep and he really helped, answering questions, and helping exhibitors and the show committee. We really appreciated him.
We try our best to not double up on vendors and make sure that we have a variety of vendors attending, including local vendors.