Houston Kennel Club Tom Pincus | Houston World Series of Dog Shows Chairperson Interview by Showsight.
What is the name of your show/cluster? Our cluster is The Houston World Series
of Dog Shows.
Where are your shows held? When? Our shows are held at The NRG Center in Houston, Texas.
Can you please provide a brief history of your club? The Houston Kennel Club was organized in the 1930s. (Unfortunately, all of our club records were lost in a fire in the 1990s.) We were among the first clubs to organize a cluster show in 1977 due to the gasoline shortages at the time. We have held a cluster show annually, except for 2020 due to COVID.
How are the following aspects accommodated at your show/cluster: Parking; Grooming; Bathing; Hospitality; Vendors; Public Education? Tom Pincus: Parking is managed by the facility. We have separate lots for conformation exhibitors, motor homes, vendors, and companion activities. Parking attendants direct you to the proper lot using color coded dashboard placards. We have almost 200,000 sq. ft of grooming, allowing exhibitors to reserve as much space as they need. Exercise pens are allowed in the building. The reserved grooming fees cover the cost of the electricity. We provide ample free grooming. The NRG Center is also used by the Houston Stock Show and Rodeo, so each hall has animal washes. We provide bath tubs. We normally have around 200 vendors and 50 dog rescue clubs, which we subsidize. Since this show is open to the public, we have many vendors offering product that is not specifically dog-related. We provide public education by hosting Judges’ seminars that are managed by the Dog Judges Association of America (DJAA). We also have an active Meet the Breed, with over 100 breeds participating.
Does your show/cluster offer the National Owner-Handled Series? Junior Showmanship? 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy? Best Bred-By? Specialties? Supported Entries? We offer NOHS, and Best Bred-By. Our first day includes Specialties and Group shows, and we regularly have Specialties and Supported Entries at our All-Breed shows.
How are judging panels determined? Who stewards at your show(s)/cluster? Houston KC members offer suggestions, and the Board filters these requests based on availability and the number of Breeds/Groups the judge is allowed. We will hire breed-specific judges for Specialties or if the local Breed Club promises a certain number of entries.
Are Breed Seminars and Judges Education offered? Yes, organized by the DJAA.
How are your show(s)/cluster promoted? TV? Radio? Print Media? Social Media? Over the years, we have tried almost all promotional aspects. Social media now seems to be the cheapest and most effective. TV stations no longer have the budget to cover the show.
What are some of the challenges that you’ve had to face as show/cluster chair? The show runs smoothly, thanks to the Committee Heads who are all experienced and hard-working. The biggest challenge is promoting the show to the general public.
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? This year, we offered only Conformation judging and Judges’ Seminars. We downsized the space and rented only two of the five halls. Vendors were by invitation only, and we did not have any of our special events such as Meet the Breed, Disc Dogs, Free Style Dancing, Fly Ball, Barn Hunt, and the Mari Jon Filla Student Art Show. We looked at every opportunity to reduce our costs, since our two principal sources of income—gate revenue and booth rentals—were eliminated or reduced. I would like to thank Purina Pro Plan for their continued support of our downsized show. Next year, we plan on hosting our normal show.
Biography: Tom Pincus attended his first All-Breed dog show in 1969. In the 1970s, he and his wife, Nancy, were active Basenji breeders and conformation competitors. The couple joined the Houston Kennel Club in 1976 and have been active members since. Tom has worked almost every aspect of the show, and has been active in The Houston World Series of Dog Shows since its inception in 1977. Tom is currently the President of the Houston KC and their delegate to the AKC.