Monday, June 26, 2006

BKKS Koi Show 2006

This weekend I visited the British Koi Keepers Society national show. This was their 31st annual koi show now, something I hadn't attended for over fifteen years. The weather was fantastic and driving up to the Newark showground meant I was going to miss England play Ecuador in the World Cup....This better be worth it I thought.

I hadn't consciously avoided koi shows for any particular reason , like some who feel that its elitist or not in the best interests for their koi , just that it didn't really seem to apply to my hobby. Appreciating my own koi and the work put into my own pond. But every serious koi keeper likes to know what others are doing and how their koi might fair. A koi show provides the perfect opportunity to become like a nosey gardener looking over the fence comparing results.

Having taken a wrong turning that took me to a fishing tackle show (I thought this was fish keeping not fish catching....can you combine the hobbies?) I eventually arrived at eleven and it was already obviously busy as a short queue at the gate had started to form. I made my way straight to the koi to get some photos before it got too crowded. The show was laid out in the now customary way with the koi on show in the centre in their blue vats with suppliers marquees surrounding the arena. This seems very sensible, allowing maintenance and judging in the centre with people allowed to freely flow around the outside, something you don't always see in japanese koi shows. The koi had been judged and their places displayed on their boards helped most to distinguish the best from the also rans.

Without going into every detail of the day I have to say I was simply blown away. Not only by the overall quality of the koi , which has improved over the years, but also the care and professionalism in the way the show was run. Every step was taken to ensure the koi's health and welfare. I saw regular water chemistry testing and water changes performed. Cross contamination between vats, fish and people was avoided by keeping to strict procedures. This was reassuring for owners that they wouldn't be taking anything else back home with their koi. The presence of stands offering products and services on bio-security tells you this is something that all serious koi keepers need to know about in this day and age. The BKKS have a dedicated Health Standards Committee (HSC) whose very presence at the show I am sure, would convince anyone doubting whether to show their koi to give it a go.

While many things have changed, it was nice to see that the British Koi Keepers Society is still a very friendly club with down to earth members. They have true enthusiasm for their hobby and this shows newcomers that its not all about winning trophies. The true awards are the koi themselves. This proved to be great event and showcased some of the best koi together in Britain, if not the world. Congratulations to all the winners and the BKKS. It was a great advert for koi and the club. I like many who attended shall be joining and who knows maybe next year entering my first show ?


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