Show Secretary Guidelines

Preparation before the show

  • Ensure that the advert for Pro-rat-a has been sent to the editor in plenty of time for it to appear in the edition before your show, include as many details as possible including date, venue, judges, starting time, star rating, details of how you want entries to your show to be made (telephone and/or email) and the deadline for entries. If your show has a sponsor, agility, raffle, kitchen, entry fee etc. you will need to advertise this as necessary.
  • If you wish to take entries via email contact the webmaster for a NFRS email address as soon as possible, and certainly prior to placing your advert.
  • Contact the Show Sec Admin to arrange a show pack at least 3 weeks before the show.
    Check your show pack contains
    • Class Rosettes
    • Challenge rosettes
      3-tier: BIS, RBIS, BOA, Best Pet
      2-tier: Best Junior, Best Stud Buck, Best Novice, Best Agility, Best Adult Owned Pet, Best Juvenile Owned Pet, Best Breeders Pet.
    • Pet Special rosettes
    • Class place cards
      1st 2nd 3rd 4th
    • Challenge place cards
      BIS, RBIS, BOA, Best Pet, Best Self, Best Marked, Best Rex, Best Shaded, Best Russian, Best AOV, Best Dumbo, Best Stud Buck, Best Novice, Best Dumbo, Best Juvenile, Best Agility.
    • Judging critique forms
  • Contact the General Show Secretary to check the venue details. You will need to know where you need to go to collect the key or if a Caretaker will be opening up for you. Most venues are paid for in full in advance, but this isn't always the case so you need to check if there is anyone that needs to be paid on the day. The General Show Secretary may also be keen to get you to re-book the venue for the following event also.
  • Ask the General Show Secretary for contact details of your judges if you do not already have them.
  • Start a forum thread for your show on the NFRS forum. If you are unable to do this, contact the webmaster, who can do it for you.
  • Ask the Judges’ Training Coordinator for the names of the variety steward(s), if you do not already have them. Sitting-in appointments are also organised by the Judges’ Training Co-ordinator.
  • Ask the judge if they require a scribe and if necessary arrange for a suitable person to scribe for the judge.
  • The Catering Manager will ensure that one of the two kitchen sets will be at the show, as well as organising a kitchen manager on the day. It is always worth asking for kitchen volunteers on the forum thread. There are people well known in the fancy who are very accomplished and prepare great food and make a lot of money for the club via the kitchen, you can contact one of these or get your mates to rally round and make sandwiches and coffee on the day.
  • Find someone to run a couple of fun events, competitions and the raffle on the day, if you have a Show Manager they may do this for you. Hall Hire costs are rising dramatically and we need to find ways at all shows to raise funds to pay for the hall and the entries alone now rarely cover this. Quizzes; Guess the Rat’'s Name; Tombola and Pin the Tail on the Rat are games which could be set up
  • Ask the Pet Scheme Co-ordinator for the contact details of the pet steward and scribe if necessary. If the show entries are small, the steward will probably be able to scribe as well.
  • If you are seccing an Agricultural Show, make sure you have the passes in plenty of time before the event.
  • Make up some signs to place around the judging table that ask 'please do not poke your fingers in the cages'. If you are at a busy or popular show some NFRS info literature may also be good to leave lying around. You can find various useful documents to print on the NFRS forum.
  • Advertise your show, adverts on online rat fora often brings in the crowds as does contacting local radio and TV. Advertising it in free local “"What's On"” guides will also get the word out there about your event. A Facebook event will be set up for you.
  • Enlist some helpers for the day.
  • Contact the Cup Secretary to find out who needs to bring cups back.
  • Keep your show entry on the NFRS website up to date, contact the webmaster if you require any changes
  • Ensure that someone will be able to bring Hire Tanks and New Sale Tanks to the show.
  • Put together a show pack for the Pet Steward containing:
    • Best Pet, Best Adult Owned Pet, Best Breeders Owned Pet, Best Juvenille Owned Pet Rosettes.
    • 4 Pet Special Rosettes
    • 13 First Place (4 for the 4 Special Awards), 10 Second Place, 10 Third Place, 10 Fourth Place prize cards.
    • Best Pet Prize Card
    • Results rip off sheet
    • A sheet of Red, Blue, Yellow and Green sticky dots
    • Agility Results sheet
  • Ensure you have the following items
    • Red, Blue, Yellow and Green sticky dots for both the varieties and pet judges.
    • Red, Black, Green and Blue marker pens for tank labels
    • A supply of sticky labels for tank numbers
    • A book of raffle tickets
    • Float for show entries and kitchen
    • Plastic cash bags / small tins
  • You may also find the following items useful
    • Scissors, Pritstick, blu-tak, sellotape and Spare pens
    • Black bin bags
    • Duplicate book
    • Basic first aid kit
    • Spare water bottles
    • Wet wipes and kitchen towel
    • Plain A4 paper
  • Your show pack should contain relevant paperwork. If you need any more copies, print them from the forum. You may also wish to print the following documents from the NFRS Show Administration Forum / Website
    • A copy of the current varieties standards
    • A copy of the current New variety standards
    • Pet judging guidelines
    • Membership forms
    • Advice for beginners
    • Sales stock guidelines

Taking Entries

  • Keep a notepad and pen by the phone, when people call you need to be able to take their entries quickly and efficiently.
  • You need to take the following information from each exhibitor
    • Their Name. If they have an NFRS stud name, they will enter under their stud name. Those who have registered as an NFRS Rattery show under their name and NOT their Rattery name.
    • Their contact details (ideally a mobile number that is contactable on the day as well)
    • If they are a juvenile exhibitor (under 16)
    • If they are an NFRS member (Note –non-members cannot win cups)
  • For each rat, you need to know
    • If the rat is male (buck) or female (doe)
    • If the rat is an adult (13 weeks or over) or a kitten (7 to 13 weeks)
    • The class to enter them in. For new variety and guide standard class entries you must take details of the variety.
    • If the rat is eligible for the Novice Award. A list of registered Ratteries can be found on both the NFRS forum and the website.
  • You will also need to know
    • If they need a hire tank
    • If they wish to advertise kittens at the show
    • If they wish to transfer/deliver pre-arranged kittens to other people at the show
  • Take the opportunity to ask them to bring a raffle prize or a rat to do agility with if you have this event at your show. Advise people that there will be refreshments and promotions if indeed these are also at your show and if an entry fee is required please let them know this at the time of entry also. If the show is tented or potentially warm remind them to bring a small water bottle for each tank.
  • Ask them to bring back any cups they may have where necessary.
  • When people ask to hire tanks, make sure you tell them to bring their own bedding as many people expect them to have fresh clean substrate in them or object to using shavings.
  • Entry Fees are £1.50 per rat for both adults and juveniles in all classes.
  • Hire tanks are charged at £3.00 per tank. Exhibitors may hire no more than two tanks at each show.

Processing your Entries

Every show sec processes their entries in a different way. This is just one way to do it.
  • First take your entries which have come to you via the mail, internet or telephone depending on what you have specified in the show advert, make sure that your 'scrawled in a hurry' phone entries are readable.
  • Enter each exhibitor's entries on the Show Schedule, recording for each entry the name of the exhibitor, tank number, whether the rat is a buck, whether the exhibitor is a juvenile and whether the rat is eligible for the Novice Award.
  • For New Varieties and Guide Standard entries also record the variety.
  • List each exhibitor's entries and their tank numbers for the exhibitor's reference. A duplicate book is useful for this purpose.
  • Write / Print out the tank labels. For New Varieties write the Variety Name on the tank label.
    The colours normally used on tank labels are
    • Adults - (odd class numbers) in black
    • Kittens - (even class numbers) in red
    • Pets - in green*
    • New Varieties - in blue*
    * other colours may be used as long as they can be seen clearly
  • Attach the labels to the corresponding exhibitor's reference copy.
  • On the rip off strips enter each of the tank numbers in class order for the varieties classes, remember to include the class name before each set of tank numbers. You need to put the tank numbers on both the Judge and the Show Sec columns. Make sure you leave enough room for the judge to mark the place each rat was awarded. Start each new section on a new rip off strip.
  • After the classes for each section on the rip off strips add space for the judge to enter the Section Adult, Section Kitten and Best In Section results.
  • Use additional rip off strips to list the tank numbers for
    • All eligible stud bucks (any buck in all variety classes except New Varieties)
    • Any juvenille exhibitiors
    • All eligible rats for the Novice Award
  • Take a copy of the show schedule with the exhibitor’s' information; this will help you on the day. You may find 2 copies beneficial.
  • Take a separate copy of the pet show schedule for the Pet Steward.

Before the Show

  • Advise your judges of the size of their entry the night before the show and check that all is well and that they know what time judging is etc. If the entry is particularly small and you have two judges, one judge may prefer to drop out and exhibit, or if you have a particularly large entry and one judge then contact General Show Secretary and she will try to find an additional judge if that is possible. It is generally felt that to judge more than 120-150 rats is too excessive for one person, so if your total entry comes in at around this figure contact your judge to see if they are happy judging this number in the time allotted, and if not then contact the NFRS General Show Secretary to request an additional judge.
  • Advise the Pet Steward and judge of the number of pet entries.
  • Count up the number of entries in adult and kitten variety classes, excluding those entered in New Varieties.
  • Fill out the critique forms for each of the entries, entering the tank number, variety, show date, show name and judge'’s name. DO NOT fill in the exhibitor's name. The critique forms have a carbon copy attached.
  • Fill out information on the star sheet, prize cards, judge's expenses form and treasurer's sheet etc, to save yourself time on the day.
  • Confirm you have enough Hire Tanks and New Sale Tanks available on the day.
  • Confirm you have a banner or standee which will be present on the day.
  • Confirm you have a have a kitchen set which will be present on the day.

On the day of the Show

  • Arrive as early as you can. The venue will need setting up in preparation of a rat show. If you can, put some signs up on roads in the surrounding area to direct people to the show.
  • Place yourself in a position that is accessible to the members, but close enough to the judge so that you can lend a hand in the proceedings if required. Make sure the judge'’s table is placed in the best light available; the more natural the light sources the better.
  • Arrange for the tables to be set up for the variety and pet classes and judges. Sort an additional table for raffle prizes.
  • If there are additional tables and chairs for people to sit on, ensure these are set up a suitable distance from the judges so that any noise does not interrupt the judging.
  • If you are bringing rats of your own to show also, make sure that once the venue is set up you lay out the tank labels in a prominent position. That way people arriving can bench their rats while you prepare yours, this will give you a little time to sort this out before your job swings into action.
  • If you do not have a Show Manager on the day try and locate and cajole a fellow trustworthy member who can give you a hand where needed and sit with the paperwork and money should you need to take a loo break or go off to have lunch. Delegate small tasks to anyone who looks as though they need something to do. A member who pretty much knows everyone else can be despatched to collect all the entry money and bored children love going round persuading people to buy raffle tickets.
  • If a member enters rats that need to be checked prior to being judged then they must tell you this when they enter. If this happens then these rats must be checked by a judge that isn't judging there on the day prior to the rats being benched for showing or by the officiating Show Secretary.
  • It is best to ask the judge prior to the start of judging how they would like to work. Some judges keep all their critique forms until the close of judging and then pass them all to the Show Secretary so that the exhibitor's names can be filled out. Others may let you have all the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and non-placed critique forms to fill out and keep the critique forms for the 1sts for their reference as they go along, and yet others may let you have the lot.
  • If an exhibitor notifies you that they will be unavoidably late you can postpone the start of judging for up to 30 minutes. You can also ask the judge if he/she will judge around the classes that the late person has entered in to give them more time. This is purely the judge's choice.
  • Throughout the day, take time to have a quick check around the building and ensure that there are no health and safety issues. Make sure there are no tripping hazards, fire doors are not blocked and that no-one’'s belongings or safety can be jeopardised. If an accident happens at a show, you are provided with an accident reporting form. Ensure this is filled out fully.
  • If a rat becomes sick or is disqualified during the day then ensure that the rat is placed in a clean dry place away from other rats in the hall and advise the owner immediately. It is not advised that rats are removed to cars unless the weather is moderate, rats can easily become chilled or overheated if left long periods in cars. Any disqualification slips must be sent to the Standards Officer within two weeks of the show.

Processing Show Results and Paperwork

  • Persuade someone else to help out with the paperwork.
  • When you receive the critique forms back from the judge, write the exhibitor’'s name on each sheet and then split the white and pink copies into 2 separate piles. The pink copies need to be given to the judge at the end of the show to write up their show report, the white copies to the exhibitor.
  • Do not make the white copies of the critique forms available to the exhibitors until the end of the show and don't leave them in a location where they can be easily looked at. There have been instances of them being read by "all and sundry" and complaints ensued.
  • The steward will return the results slips with the 1st - 4th place rats marked on it when the judge has finished judging. At this point you can finish writing out the prize cards by adding the exhibitor's name and tank number.
  • Keep all of the 1st prize cards in a separate pile for adding star labels where necessary.
  • Enter the tank number from the 1st of each class in the corresponding box on the star sheet, remembering not to put the exhibitor's name next to it. When the sheet is completed hand it to the judge to enable them to decide which rats to award stars to.
  • The judge will indicate that they have awarded stars to a particular animal by placing a ring around the chosen pen number and signing next to it. Stick a star label on the back of the prize card for those rats that the judge has awarded stars. Best in Show, Reserve Best in Show and Best Opposite Age automatically receive an additional star. Stud Buck, 3rd and 4th place in the supreme challenge may receive an additional star at the judge's discretion. If you do not have enough printed star labels you can write the number of stars on the back of the prize card, but remember to sign it.
  • Write the exhibitor's names on the star sheet for every class regardless of whether stars have been awarded or not.
  • On the rosette sheet write the tank numbers of the first place adult and first place kitten in each variety class. If there are entries in both kitten and adult classes, give the rosette sheet back to the judge to indicate whether the adult or kitten should receive the rosette.
  • For each rosette fill in the label on the back with the relevant details.
  • Pile each exhibitor's critiques, prize cards, rosettes and cups together ready for presentations at the end of the show.
  • Once the judging has been completed announce that the show hall needs to be cleared up and all rats can now be removed from the judging benches. This will also give you time to write up the last of the paperwork while the exhibitors clear up.
  • Awards should not be given out until the hall is cleared, cleaned and sparkling. The NFRS has been banned from venues on previous occasions, because exhibitors have left rubbish and dirty bedding behind, in halls, car parks, toilets etc.
  • Prior to the presentation ask all judges if they would like to present the awards or say something to the exhibitors. Most judges like to present the awards that they have made to the exhibitors while someone else does the calling out.
  • Each cup winner needs to complete the cup sheet with their current address and phone number. Cups can only be awarded to NFRS members. It should also be recorded whether or not the cup was available for presentation on the day of the show. If the cup is not present at the show, the winner should *not* sign for it.
  • Before you leave check that the venue is in the condition it was when you arrived and ensure it has been paid for in full if necessary.

After the Show

  • Return the star sheet, disqualification slips and pet points sheet to the Standards Officer within 2 weeks of the show.
  • Return all unused rosettes, prize cards and critiques to the Show Admin.
  • Return the pet points sheet and cup sheet to the Cup Secretary within 2 weeks of the show.
  • Complete the Treasurer's Balance Sheet and Judge's expenses sheet and return it along with all the money taken to the Treasurer within 2 weeks of the show.
General Show Secretary/Judges' Training Co-ordinator Lisa Grove
Pet Scheme Co-ordinator Lilly Hoyland
General Show Secretary’s Administration Assistant/Cup Secretary Rackie Powell
Standards Officer Ann Storey
Hon. Treasurer Ellie Cadman

All other addresses required can be found on the inside of the front cover to Pro-rat-a.

Please contact the General Show Secretary if you have any difficulties or queries, do not hesitate to get in touch.