Interview with Tom Pincus – Chairperson of the Houston World Series of Dog Shows
What is the name of your show/cluster?
Tom Pincus: The name of our cluster is Houston World Series of Dog Shows, formerly Reliant Park World Series of Dog Shows, and before that, Astro World Series of Dog Shows.
Where are your shows held? When?
Tom Pincus: The shows are held at the NRG Center, a 900,000 sq. ft. trade center. The facility is on one level, and drive-in is allowed for set up and tear down. The shows are held during the third week of July.
Can you please provide a brief history of your club?
Tom Pincus: We formed the cluster in 1975 and had our first show in 1976. I believe we were the second cluster approved by the AKC and we organized in response to the energy shortages. Over the years, we have reorganized the cluster as breed clubs drop out and new ones are added. In 2022, the all-breed clubs were the Houston KC and the Beaumont KC, each holding two all-breed shows. On Wednesday, we have Terrier and Hound Group shows and over 30 independent specialties.
How are the following accommodated at your show/cluster: Parking; Grooming; Bathing; Hospitality; Vendors; Public Education?
Tom Pincus: How do we accommodate various entities? The layout is designed to facilitate exhibitors, vendors, special events, and educational seminars. The events are spaced to allow one-way entry and exit during set up and tear down. Exhibitors and vendors have separate entrances and exits, so they don’t cross each other. We have several meeting rooms for breed seminars sponsored by the Dog Judges Association of America as well as health seminars. Also, we have exhibitor-only aisles that do not get crowded with spectators.
Does your show/cluster offer the National Owner-Handled Series? Junior Showmanship? 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy? Best Bred-By? Specialties? Supported Entries?
Tom Pincus: We offer NOHS, supported entries, Best Bred-By, and Best Puppy. We have also hosted national specialties.
How are judging panels decided? Who stewards at your show(s)/cluster?
Tom Pincus: Judging panels are based on member recommendations. The Board makes the final decisions based on balance across the Groups and the judge’s number of Groups. We will make accommodations for breed clubs requesting a specific judge.
Are Breed Seminars and Judges Education offered?
Tom Pincus: As noted above, the DJAA has been offering seminars for many years.
How are your show(s)/cluster promoted? TV? Radio? Print Media? Social Media?
Show Promotion: We have used most media outlets, but it’s “hit or miss” on the level of coverage we get. We are in an expensive media market, so we focus on social media and send out press releases to bring attention to the show. With our many sponsors, we encourage them to promote the show on their social media outlets.
What are some of the challenges that you’ve had to face as show/cluster chair?
Challenges: A significant amount of our revenue derives from public gate and vendor sales. There is an overall decrease in vendors due to retirement and on-line shopping. We try to replace these vendors with companies that have only a passing interest in dog shows. The public gate is affected by weather, parking charges, admission fees, and other summer activities. We emphasize that we offer a public event with hands-on activities such as Meet the Breeds and My Dog Can Do That. Barn Hunt and Scent Trials also offer the opportunity for a spectator’s dog to try it out.
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?
Tom Pincus: We are done with Covid. Our 2021 and 2022 shows did not require social distancing or masking.