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Saturday, 23 June 2012

Blackpool Closed

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JUST FOUR years after high winds had blown Blackpool show apart, the event has again suffered massively at the hands of the weather as torrential rain in the North West last Friday washed the show off the calendar in a deluge described by one judge as ‘a tempest’.

JUST FOUR years after high winds had blown Blackpool show apart, the event has again suffered massively at the hands of the weather as torrential rain in the North West last Friday washed the show off the calendar in a deluge described by one judge as ‘a tempest’.

With the weather agencies issuing an amber flood warning for the area, the portents did not look good for Steve Hall and his committee from the outset and on Friday morning as cars were being towed ONTO the show ground, the writing was already on the wall. Messages started to ping around the ether as mobiles became red hot and exhibitors started to post photos and comments all over the internet as the social network phenomena that had toppled governments in North Africa became awash with stories from the show.

As the wind and rain continued to batter the exposed showground on the Fylde coast judges and exhibitors struggled in vain against the elements, trying to prepare, exhibit and judge dogs in impossible conditions.

Photos from inside the wet weather tents were seen online and people started to ask the question, ‘will the show be called off?’ Meeting After various rumours and counter rumours the message eventually came out from the showground that after an impromptu committee meeting on site on Friday evening, the organisers had no option but to abandon the show, primarily due to the force of the rain and the fact that the car park had been rendered useless during the day.

We were told that the Secretary had tried to negotiate with a local farmer late on Friday evening to secure a replacement field for parking; this apparently came to nothing as the field in question had ‘large growing crop’ so that was a no go. With fears of car park chaos the next day the decision to abandon the show seemed inevitable and the message went out through a number of web sites and social network media to prevent people travelling to the show.

It seemed to work as Steve Hall told OUR DOGS that just three people turned up on Saturday to show and only five on Sunday, although some local visitors also arrived hoping to attend the show.

He confirmed that he spent most of Friday evening calling all the judges who were due to turn up over the weekend to prevent an unnecessary journey. Mr Hall continued “it !” was not the wind this time but the incessant rain. My heart goes out to exhibitors…I am an exhibitor myself so I know what its like.

On Saturday when I looked out of the window and saw sunshine, I wondered if we had made the right decision, but when I got to the showground and saw the car park I knew we had done the right thing….it was so wet and we couldn’t get a car park and that was the major reason” Many people on Facebook have asked the question about refunds, both for the trade stands and also exhibitors who had not been judged.

OUR DOGS put this question to both the Kennel Club and Mr Hall. The Kennel Club said: “The finances of all KC licensed shows are in the hands of the organising societies. The Kennel Club appreciates that prudent financial management is very challenging at the best of times never mind when unforeseen/extraordinary circumstances occur rendering it necessary that a show be cancelled.

And it is for this reason that the KC does not stipulate that full or part refunds must be offered to exhibitors/trade stand holders etc. Sad It is a sad that Blackpool Championship Show has suffered once again because of adverse weather and we sympathise with all those involved, particularly the show officials who have had, yet again to deal with a very difficult situation. We can readily understand the frustrations of those exhibiting and judging on the first day and would commend them for carrying on in very difficult circumstances.

In due course, as with all show cancellations a report from Blackpool Committee on all the circumstances surrounding the cancellation will be considered by the Kennel Club’s Show Executive Sub-Committee.” Steve Hall told OUR DOGS that he expects that the ground will cost the society something in the region of £33,000 to £35,000 to put right and that Blackpool would still have to bear the costs for tenting (£60,000) Benching (£33,000) and Catalogues, Schedules and all data handling and processing (£30,000).

However, some comments on Facebook wanted the society to think about the position of the exhibitors; one reader, Toni Westcott-Smith said “I think it was the right decision. But the committee really needs to sort out a better venue especially if they’re not going to refund entries. I had 2 dogs entered and had another 3 to handle on the day so I’m seriously out of pocket. We can’t get insurance to cover entry fees and lost earnings the show should be covered for adverse weather.”

OUR DOGS asked Mr. Hall some questions based on the many comments on Facebook and these follow together with his exact replies:

Q: Having abandoned the show twice now in a very short period, will you consider a change of venue?

A: No

Q: What has the committee thought about all the requests for refunds?

A: No Comment at this time as we have not had time to call a Committee meeting. However, I have had only 0.150% requesting a refund.

Q: Can you tell us what insurance arrangements are in place for a situation like this bearing in mind it has happened before?

A: When before did the heavy rain stop us?

Q: If you do not change venue what do you think this will do to your entry in future now people have lost money twice?

A: No one has ever lost money twice.

Mr Hall told OUR DOGS that many of the judges had not claimed expenses and one lady judge has promised to actually send the Society a cheque for £100 for a ‘recovery fund’. He said ‘I do not think there will be much money left’. He confirmed that the Society owns the field which is on the crown of a hill and even if they moved 10 miles inland the weather was so bad that it would not have made a difference and added “ Nobody died, nobody got hurt, come back it will get better” In the end it was all the messages sent out through ‘new media’ that saved the day.

Steve Hall seemed to have mixed feelings on this, calling Facebook “A lunatic Asylum” but then agreeing it had saved the day by getting the message out there and that it had “done them a favour”. The Societies own web site had an official statement online on Monday saying


Futher statements will be made once we have had chance to evalute the situation please bear with us at this most difficult time. (sic) Asked if anyone had complained at the show, Mr Hall said most people had been sympathetic and just one person in his own breed had complained.

Asked whether he had learned anything from the situation Mr Hall replied somewhat tongue in cheek, “Don’t hold a dog show on a wet weekend”. Others might say don’t print a schedule that says “Blackpool, the show that will blow you away!”
Read 4689 times Last modified on Monday, 12 September 2016

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