Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Baystate Halter Live, should I or shouldn't I?

I have been struggling somewhat with a decision and I am still going back and forth on it. It concerns the live show I host annually in August, Baystate Halter Live. For awhile now I have been thinking about performance. I love performance showing and will fully and openly admit to being a performance junkie. I have only been showing in performance for a little over a year (maybe two, I lost track, lol) but I love it. I have very little interest in halter showing. Part of that I am sure is when I was showing almost exclusively OF's it was so frustrating because sometimes they do well and sometimes they don't. Now I have pretty much only AR's I show in halter but I have not had most of them long enough to see how they actually do as halter horses. I did exceptionally well with my Sencillo resin, Cranky Pants at region X regionals this year. He got champion in breed. I was judging OF breed at the time and he was being proxy shown for me and I totally forgot to get champ pictures. But anyway...
So I have been thinking about performance shows. I love them, I feel we need more of them, I feel I should hold one, etc. My first year of performance showing there was not an overwhelming number of performance shows or shows that at least offered some performance classes. Then this past year I nudged a couple of friends into hosting and though I probably can't take credit (blame?) for the snowball effect that followed we had a TON of new shows this past year. We actually had too many shows. I know it's almost blasphemy to say it but it is true. There were some months where there was a show every weekend. People had to decide which shows to go to so attendance was down at most shows.
Well not at Baystate. The first year we had a total of 32 entries (I believe) including judges that were showing. The second year there was about 42 I think and then for this year, the third year there was supposed to be 51 and 2 couldn't come at the last minute. So Baystate is growing. But except for regionals, Baystate is the largest all halter show in region. It was modeled after NEMHC, the show hosted by Nancy Timm, the first year and has changed and grown a bit since then. Nancy changed NEMHC to a CM and AR specialty show so as far as I know Baystate is the only all inclusive halter show left in the region.
My thought this past year was to make Baystate into a two day show like NESE used to be. NESE evolved into what it was but it was a show that was greatly loved by many people. Now the only 2 day show left is regionals though NEMHC has joined up with Factory Ponies Live and the China Buffet to make a showing weekend with something for almost everyone (the only performance is OF performance at Factory Ponies).
There is a point somewhere in all my rambling, I promise. The beginning of this year, 2009, I had been thinking of making Baystate into the two day show. But I figured 7 weeks before my wedding was a crazy enough time to hold a show, let alone add a day to it. So I figured I would wait on it and maybe do it for 2010. My dilemma now is I don't know if I should host the show at all.
This year I went through a lot of craziness surrounding my wedding. We had some people we considered good friends do some things that were anything but friend-like. There was a lot of stress and a lot of sadness to go along with the nicer parts of the day itself. I don't remember my reception very well because I spent all day working to make sure everything went smoothly so people would have a good time. And still people complained about this or that. *sigh* it's enough to frustrate anyone.
With BHL at least people are appreciative of the work I do. They know it is hard to pull together any show and a large show has bigger challenges. It is nice at the end of the day when people say thank you and tell me they had a wonderful time. That does in a way make all the work worth it. And I really do enjoy giving back to the hobby. But it is a lot of work. I think at this point we are up to needing 10 judges for the show to run properly. That is a lot of judges. There are not a lot of people volunteering to judge these days. It seems I end up doing a lot of last minute scrambling to make sure the judging spots are covered. The hall itself is $500 for the day and it is, in my opinion, a necessary expense. The hall I use is the Elk's lodge in my town and it is very large, very well lit, it has a ton of safe parking, the hall is handicap accessible (ramps are good for those luggage carts a lot of people use to bring their horses in), the people that run the hall are very accommodating and the hall is 5 minutes from my house. I wanted to have a show in my town, I figured it was a perk of being the hostess.
The awards are very expensive as well, totalling hundreds of dollars. The other problem is a lack of donations in the past 2 years. Yes I can get donations and the people that come to the show donate very generously, but it is very hard to get donations before the show. So many people say they can't afford to donate, don't have time, etc. I understand this because I get a lot of requests for donations and being a doll maker that is a large amount of time and money donated. I have only donated a whole doll to a couple of shows and those were hosted by close friends. I have been donating discount certificates because I don't like to say no when people ask for donations if I can help it.
Anyway, the long and the short of things is I am sort of burnt out on things. It is hard for me to get babysitters, especially for all day. The show costs about $2000 to run and that is a lot of money to come up with. People want shows but not many people want to judge. And I am tired. I guess I need to think some more on whether or not to hold the show this year. I still would like to hold a two-day show but I think I might have to wait another year or 2 to even really consider that. For this year I will think on it some more and maybe see if I can get some volunteers to help with the planning. For now here are some pictures from the first 3 years of Baystate Halter Live. Awards from the second year of the show.
The first year of Baystate Halter Live was held in a Mason's lodge. It was a tight fit but we worked it out and everyone seemed to have a good time.
The second year of Baystate in the Elk's lodge in Ludlow. I took this photo from the stage and it doesn't even show the whole room. We have much more space than the first year of the show.
This was the third year of Baystate and the biggest so far. We had 51 entries and still have room for more people. And even with more people everyone will still have space and be comfortable.
And this year we also had the addition of the novice division. There were 5 novices but they brought out some nice horses. Next year if I hold the show I think they should get more classes.

Now it's time to weigh the stress against the fun. Any comments or suggestions are welcome.


horsienut said...

Anne, you've done a great job with Baystate and the huge plus to this show is that we can show EVERYTHING - chinas, resins, CM's and OF's. Plus it's in a good location easily accessible from MA, NY and CT. I am not a huge halter shower either but I attend because I *can* show a little bit of everything. Splitting the show is a feasible option but we already have FPL/China Buffet/NEMHC in June - I wonder if there would be enough interest in another 2-day show that soon afterward. Especially because those people wanting to show *everything* would be faced with another weekend of hotel expense.

I don't think there is an easy answer. We are seeing a rise in specialty halter shows, maybe this will be a trend that will start to replace the general"bring everything" halter show - only time will tell. It looks like there will be plenty of halter shows in our region in 2010, as much as I would like to attend Baystate again I would understand if you needed a break, and I think others would too.

Field of Dolls Studio said...

Thanks for the comment Linda. I should point out that turning the show into 2 days would not be an all halter weekend but a performance day and halter day like NESE used to be. I think it would be fun and I think people might like it. Then again maybe not, lol. Thanks for the input :)

horsienut said...

A halter day and performance day weekend show would be awesome - have you considered possibly "joining forces" with a different host's performance show to make a weekend like FPL & NEMHC? If QVPO is held again that would be a logical choice since they are in the same hall. Because they are separate shows you could enter QVPO, you'd have the help of another person to aid planning (and possibly quantity discounts on awards?) Just a thought...

Field of Dolls Studio said...

Actually that would probably be the best idea and I think it did cross my mind once or twice. Joan has been thinking about what date she should use for QVPO if she holds it and that would make the planning of a weekend like that easier for me. But on a personal level I would still have problems getting a sitter. This will take some more thinking about and some idea sessions.

ShamrockFarmsInc. said...

This post is a great guide to LS hosting (I held one way back when) and is giving me good food for thought regarding a possible small local show! THANKS!