Monday, April 28, 2014

Best Laid Plans

Before I post a full show report for Tornado Alley Goes Hog Wild, I'd like to post a little bit about the happenings leading up to these shows.

Originally, this was a double-show being hosted by Jacklyn Catena and Jessica Sneeringer as part of Jacklyn's "OkieMo" show series.  Jacklyn was planning on having a show in Oklahoma City nearly every month, many of them specialty shows.  But Tornado Alley/Hog Wild was going to be a full show with OF and CM/AR Halter and OF/CM/AR Performance.

Shortly before I learned about the OkieMo shows, I had seen a listing for Lemmonade Live, a show taking place in Magnolia, TX on April 26th.  Google maps told me it was about 7 hours away from Little Rock, which I figured was doable.  I marked it down on my 2014 Shows calendar.  Probably a couple weeks later, after being accepted in the OkieMo Facebook group, Jacklyn made the announcement that Tornado Alley/Hog Wild would be held.. the same weekend.  I replied that I wished I could make it, but I already had planned on going to Lemmonade Live that weekend.  Jacklyn left me several replies about how I'd be much better off coming to Tornado Alley/Hog Wild since a) Oklahoma City was only 5-5.5 hours away from me and b) it was a double-judged/double-show rather than a single show so I'd have double the chance at NAN cards.  As I hadn't paid an entry fee for Lemmonade Live yet, I decided to change my plans and attend Tornado Alley/Hog Wild instead.  When entries for the double-show opened, I paid in full.

Tornado Alley/Hog Wild wasn't until the end of April though.  In the meantime, there were two other OkieMo shows, one of which I planned on attending (the other was a Mini Halter only specialty show, so I was going to skip that one).  28 Days After Christmas was originally scheduled to take place in mid-February.  Again, I paid in full as soon as entries opened (they were limited and first-come-first-serve).  Shortly before 28 Days Later was supposed to take place, Jacklyn and Jessica both announced that they were withdrawing their NAMHSA membership status for all of the OkieMo shows.  By now, Lemmonade Live was sold out.  (Jacklyn eventually completely cancelled all of the OkieMo shows and then deleted the Facebook groups as well.)

Understandably, I was disappointed.  While model horse shows are fun in and of themselves, if I'm going to take time and money to travel to a model horse show, I'd like it to be a NAN-qualifier so I have a chance at earning some of those coveted pink, green, and yellow cards.  My entry fees were refunded for all of the OkieMo shows promptly, and the option to still attend them just for fun (and for free) was still on the table.  My disappointment didn't last long though, because Lyn Norbury stepped up to host both shows shortly after.  She announced this on February 10th, and announced that instead of being in Oklahoma City, the shows would be held in Owasso, OK.  Again, I paid my entry fee for the double-show early (February 11th), and sat back and waited.

On February 19th, Lyn announced that she had secured a showhall in Owasso, OK.  The show hall was in a Best Western hotel, and entrants could also get a special room rate of $74 per night.  On March 13th, Lyn announced that she had changed the show location, and the shows would now be held in at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center by Marriott in Tulsa, OK, where entrants could get a special room rate of $89 per night.

On March 26th, in the midst of a heated NAMHSA Database System debate, Lyn announced that she would be changing the format of the show from an EMCAT/tag show to a card show.  At this point, I was very frustrated with all of the changes, and not being a fan of card shows at all, especially not for such a large, DOUBLE show, I asked Lyn what her refund policy was.  (Meanwhile, Lemmonade Live had also moved to a bigger show hall across the street from its original location, and was open for more entries again.  I was thinking it might be a good idea to switch my plans and go to Texas instead of Oklahoma.)  Lyn said she would not be able to give me a refund until possibly after the show when she could see if she had made a profit or not, and even then, no refund would be guaranteed.  Because I didn't want to waste my $65 entry fee, and because Sheila Bishop made a generous offer to let me travel and stay with her for the show, I decided I'd still go after all.  After a few back-and-forth emails between Lyn and myself, we agreed to disagree about some of the issues and changes, and Lyn even asked for my input for some additional Performance classes which she added to the official class list on March 29th.

On Sunday, April 20th, less than a week from the show, Lyn sent out an email to (most of) the entrants to let us know that she had changed the class list.  The email stated that a "tentative" expanded class list would be put into use for all of the OF and CM/AR Traditional/Classic scale Halter classes (originally the classes were Stock, Sport, Light, etc but now they would actually be Quarter Horse, Paint, Appaloosa, Arabian, Part Arabian, Morgan, etc).  While it was a much better class list, it was another change, and very last minute at that.  I redid my class list and included quite a few more Halter horses to show.

Sheila and I left Arkansas on Friday, April 25th and arrived in Tulsa, Oklahoma in time for dinner.  We went to bed really unsure of how the show would unfold the next day, especially since there was still only one judge listed for the Performance division.  Being performance junkies and the Performance division being our main reason for attending the show, we were nervous about what it would mean to not have a second Performance judge on showday.  Luckily, a volunteer judge was found the next morning during the hour and a half set up time before the show.  There was also a last minute change to the judge's roster for the CM/AR Halter division - Tracy Rogalla, the original judge, was a no-show (she apparently forgot about the show?), but luckily Jessica Sneeringer stepped up to judge in her place.

By the time the show started, I thought there wouldn't be any more last minute changes.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.  Breyers and Stones were separated for the OF Traditional/Classic Halter division, and as the first Stone class was called, it was announced that instead of using the expanded class list for the Stones that was used for the Breyers, the original non-expanded class list would be used.  Because of class limits, this meant that I couldn't show about half of the Stone horses I brought unless I wanted to pay an extra $2 per horse.  If I had known that the Stone classes wouldn't be following the expanded class list, it wouldn't have been as frustrating - I just wouldn't have wasted the time and space to pack and bring them, and wouldn't have wasted the index cards and printer ink for them.

Although the show started promptly at 8:30am, we didn't finish until almost 10pm.  The whole day felt rushed and unorganized, but after earning three Reserve Championships and a stack of NAN cards, plus getting to hang out with Sheila, the weekend wasn't a total waste.
Pennyroyal won two Other Performance Reserve Champs

Full show report soon!

(and the tl;dr version : The show had many changes leading up to it - and on the day of - that added up to a lot of frustration for me, but in the end I had a good time and it was worth going.)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Quiet on the Blogfront

I've been pretty quiet here on my blog because I either haven't had too much that I felt was worthy of a blog post - or at least, if I did have something worthy, I didn't have the time (or energy) to post it!

I went to a double-show in Tulsa, Oklahoma this weekend and got back home at around 3am this morning, so I've been spending most of the day resting and recovering.  But hopefully soon, I will have a show report written up to post and share.  In the meantime, I'm starting to upload photos from the show to a Facebook album which you can find here.

Anyway, I'm going to make it a goal (among other things) to actually update this blog more frequently, even if it's just tiny little posts to check in here and there.