My name is Amy and I have been a member of Queensland Rodent Fanciers (QRF) since April 2017. I am also the current Website Editor. A new idea has been put forward for the club to do updates after each show from the point of view of one of our lovely members.
Next show is approaching fast but since we are between shows I thought to kick things off I would start and give you a little backstory into my time as a member of QRF.
As I mentioned above I first started showing my boys in April 2017 after being encouraged by Tenille. She is currently the president of QRF and very passionate about the club and anything rat related (or any animal really). Tenille is always at shows and you'll meet her on the day but she is a close friend of mine and one of the reasons I went from zero rats to 10 plus rats in just over 12 months and started showing my rats.
A little bit about my rats. I currently have nine bucks (boys) and six does (girls). Of my boys I have entered most of them at some point over the last year of showing. A couple I now no longer show due to health issues or age. One of my other boys always has what the judges refer to as a “waffle” meaning his chest sounds a bit rattly. This can sometimes happen on show days as the rats can be a little nervous or stressed out on the day (especially for rats new to the showing world). The judges generally are good at knowing what noises are stresses of the day or if they are health related. Of my other boys who have been to shows they have all won a variety of places from 3rd place to best in their category and reserve rat in show. At the May show my younger boys will also be entered in their first show.
In terms of my girls I have only had them since October 2017 and the February show this year was their first, as before that they were too young and then Christmas happened. So I can only enter my younger girls in the May show and it will be there first show. Of my older girls two are about to have babies. Yes Tenille also got me into breeding my rats. No I am not a regsistered breeder so I CANNOT sell my rats. My other older girl Denali has a head tilt, which is considered a health issue even if it doesn't cause them issues during every day life.
Leading into the show…
Entries are open for a week before the show and usually close the Wednesday before the show to allow for paperwork to be done. All my rats get bathed, nail trims and mite treated before the show. Baths aren’t 100% needed but are encouraged as they get marked down if they are dirty.
Rats also get marked down for having long nails. The judges are handling heaps of animals on the day. It’s not any fun for them if they have to worry about being covered in scratches at the end of the day. Mite treatments are so no one takes home any unwanted “friends” on the day.
A mite check is carried out before the show and any rodents with mites means the whole cage they are in can’t be showed. Which isn’t much fun. Once my rats are entered and prepared it’s time for show day!! :D
Now.. What happens on show days??
Well First.. You show up.. The hall is empty so everyone gets together to help set up tables and chairs for everyone. If you are showing your rats it is best to be there by 9:00am. I usually try to get there around 8.30am to help out more.
Once all tables are set up and payments are made for entries or memberships then the Judges move into their places to start the day. There is generally three judges. One for Pet Rats and Mice, one for Variety Rats and one for Variety Mice. Judging usually takes most of the day. This was something I didn’t realise at first. I thought it was a half day thing so my first show I was a little shocked to be there all day. But, as long as the day is, there is still plenty of fun to be had while the judges are working hard.
We often have cage displays. A theme is chosen and everyone gets right into decorating their cage and table. During lunch break (so judges can eat as well) there’s often some rattie related games. Sometimes Tenille offers a little lesson (if she isn’t busy judging herself) on various things. My first show she showed us all a little bit on what gets looked at during the judging process. Another show she showed us how to clip our rats nails.
Throughout the afternoon there will be some announcements on winners. There is also a raffle that happens. Everyone donates an item for the raffle table, not usually anything expensive just something fun that either a rat/mouse parent or rat/mouse will enjoy. This raffle is a fun way to raise some money for the club.
All throughout the day everyone usually says hi to one another, welcomes in new comers or visitors. And then once the day is done and ratties have won their prices everyone gets in together to help clean up the hall and put tables away. And then we all part ways having had a fun rat filled day! :D
So your next question is probably going to be about what the rats are judged on (or mice if you have those but I dont so can’t tell you too much about the mice).
So there are two categories (or classes) you can enter you ratties in Pet and Varieties;
This class rats are judged on health, temperament and condition. Rats entered in this class must be at least 8 weeks old to be entered. The Pet class is broken up into age groups and then judged by gender as well. They are:
Young Category (2-6 months)
Young Adult Category(6-12 months)
Adult Category (12-18 months)
Senior Category (18+ months)
This class is a little detailed. I find a lot more breeders tend to enter rats in here as they tend to know more about rats “looks”. And in this class they are judged on looks as well as on health, temperament and condition. So the colours and markings of rats are looked at a lot closer in this class than they are in pet. They aren’t judged on age or gender. Rats must also be 12 weeks old to be entered in varieties.
Rats can win in either pet or Varieties and can win anything 1st, 2nd or 3rd places. There is also a “Best” for each category (my Koda won Best Adult Buck for pets in the last show) and a “Best Reserve Rat in show” and “Best Rat in Show”. Basically these are the two rats in the pet class that the judge thinks are the best two rats :D. There is one of these for Rat and Mouse Varieties.
It’s really exciting when your rat or mouse gets an award or ribbon on the day. My Little won Best Reserve Rat in the last two show. Both my boys were rewarded with many cheerios.
I think that’s pretty much it. This has turned into more of a novel than I intended but I really hope it encourages some to come along because it’s a fun day surrounded by people who love rats (and mice). And a day surrounded by RATS!!!!
There’s a lot of QRF Members who have been showing for a lot longer than I have so have different stories and perspectives on everything. I am hoping to convince some of them to share their experiences too. But really the best way to find out is to come along yourself.
I hope to see you there :D