show/competition organizers

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show/competition organizers

Is there anyone else out there who organizes or helps organize shows and competitions of various sorts? I'd love to exchange ideas on everything from keeping the competitors happy to getting good publicity!

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Latest Activity: Apr 23, 2012

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Comment by Jan Jollymour on July 1, 2009 at 9:33pm
Hi, Barb:

I have been the show/entry secretary for the Canadian National Dressage Championships, the 1982 North American Young Riders' Championships, the MREC and Mrs. "T" Three Day Events, as well as various National dressage and breed competitions.

I'm not sure where to start...keeping the competitors happy is a big one, as without them there can be no competitions! Some of the following things matter a lot: quality organization, willingness to accommodate reasonable requests, solid stabling and stabling management, well posted information, warm greetings, hot coffee and good food available early and late, good quality parking near stabling areas, knowledge of the governing rules of the competition, the best judges you can find/afford, good footing in both warm-up and competition rings, access to warm-up and competition areas at reasonable times and for reasonable amounts of time, knowledgeable ringmasters, stewards, TD's, easy access to washrooms, quality feed/bedding delivered on time, access to water in stabling areas, wash racks or equivalent areas/water access for bathing, lighting in stabling areas, structuring of classes so as to maximize cometitors' timelines/requirements, scheduling lower level dressage tests (Intro and Training) late in the day in the heat (they don't work as hard, and they benefit from hanging out all day) and upper level rides starting the day when it's cooler, interesting and helpful items in competitor packages, etc.. I think prizes matter least to most of the competitors - the bottom line is that only a few will win them, and the whole experience is most important to more of the competitors who enter the show. It's really important that ALL competitors feel welcome and important to the organizing/management staff.

Publicity is another big one - e-mail helps a lot. We fan out e-mails to every horse person to whom we have access, and request that they pass along the information. Writing press releases for local radio and newspapers helps greatly - if they don't have to dedicate a staff person to do that they're usually willing to use local news/advance publicity. If you can provide them with pictures all the better, especially good ones of local riders and/or horses. Local area (can be province or state-wide) equine publications are also a good bet, again, if you provide pictures and write-ups they'll usually use them. Well structured and readable results provided to local media are often used as well. Interviews with local riders can add local interest, especially for spectators.

We try to schedule freestyles/kurs around noon, as we've found we have the most drop-in spectators and competitors around at that time. When we run larger competitions those are usually scheduled in the evening, but you need lots of publicity to get that to work well, as well as good lighting in warm-up and competition areas. Musical quadrilles, demonstrations, etc. also work well to pull in spectators if adequately publicized.

Gotta run, but let me know if there's more you'd like to know, and/or if you have questions about what I've said...
 

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