The Minn-Kota Cat Show will be featuring its 60th and 61st annual competition on Saturday, April 3, and Sunday, April 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds Agricultural Building in West Fargo.
Organizers this year hope to have their usual 100-plus cats and kittens in attendance, representing more than 30 different breeds entered in a variety of competitions.
Linda Ferguson, an eight-year member of the club, is serving as show manager for the two-day run, which has different judges each day. She will also be showing a couple of her prize Maine Coon cats.
Last year the show was hindered by flooding and had to be postponed. Consequently, there weren't nearly as many entries as usual, and many people didn't know about the rescheduling, so attendance was down.
Ferguson said this year the hope is to have the numbers back up to normal for both days. "It is Easter weekend, so it would be a great afternoon family outing for all ages!"
In fact, she is encouraging everyone who has an affection for cats and kittens to stop out and enjoy and learn a little bit more about the various breeds by asking lots of questions. "If it's your first time to a cat show, it can be confusing, both entering and watching. We are happy to answer any and all questions. Please ask the owner before petting any of the cats as some cats may be new to the show hall and be startled." She noted that some people will allow petting their cats, but others may tell you not to. "It's nothing personal, just for the comfort of the cats."
For those of you wondering how the actual judging takes place, Ferguson said there are four rings with four different judges each day. Every cat entered (purebred and household pet) will be seen by every judge during the weekend.
There are four separate classes and the cats are called up to the judge's ring according to the class they are entered in: adult, for breeding cats; alter (for spay and neutered cats; kitten; and household pet.
So if the kittens are called to ring one, each will be brought up by their breed, for instance Siamese, and compete against others of the same breed, with each judge examining the cats individually. The judge will select their Best of Breed and 2nd Best of Breed, then send the Siamese kittens back to their benching cages. The judge will then call up all the Persian kittens, and award Best and 2nd Best, with this continuing through all the kittens. The judge will then call back his/her top 10 favorite kittens from all the different breeds and award Best through 10th Best Kitten. At this point, the kittens have now earned points toward a regional or national award at the end of the year.
Then the judge in ring two calls up the kittens in the same manner and repeats the entire process. The kittens who won in ring one may or may not win again in ring two. While they are all judged against a written standard for each breed, each judge interprets the standard and kittens individually, so entrants never know how things will go from one ring to another.
Admission will be $5 for adults, $3 for children through 12, and children under six will be admitted free. Onsite concessions will be available throughout the show.