Most of the competitions are breed standard type grooming contests. And of course, the big extreme creative class. Last year, they introduced the Abstract Creative Runway. You may remember...I tried to blog about it, but never quite finished. I'll get there!
Well, I went again this year. It ended up being a crazy weekend, for reasons I won't get into. I was supposed to use a friend's cat, since I was planning on taking Sara to the Mid Ohio Groom Expo. We're skipping MOGE this year, to my immense disappointment. With everything else going on, I just couldn't swing it. Hopefully, we'll make it next year. Things got tricky, as they do, and at the twelfth hour, I ended up taking Sara.
Nope, can't go. Playing!
Fine. Then I'll take Haiku instead. She'll be famous and you
can stay home and play.
That settled, I took Sara to my friend's salon and got busy. I had an idea that was based loosely on a metal wall hanging my father gave me. Actually, he forgot he gave me one, saw it at the store several years later and thought "Hey, I bet my daughter would really like this!" and gave me a second one. I do really like them, so I'm hoping for a third in the next year or so.
Almost finished...and look, Hobbes. Hi, Hobbes!
It was right about this time I noticed Sara start scratching her ear. A quick check revealed it was a bit swollen and unhappy. This is pretty normal for her, so I called the vet and they were able to see us that afternoon. Sara has rather small ear canals, plus she has lots of polyps in them. Just for fun, she also has some unusual bacteria that sometimes causes an infection to show up. Luckily, it responds really well to medication. Unfortunately, it's a sticky, waxy medication that makes a mess for the first few days. I'm very happy to report by the next day (show day!) all the swelling was gone - and so were the itchies. We love our vet!
Everyone at the vet thought she looked super cool.
I had a couple of activities planned for the hours before the show, and while the Hershey Lodge is a fabulous place and has hosted the Groom Expo forever, they don't really like pets roaming around the halls. So my husband was the kitty babysitter while I did my shopping, my socializing and got a private bathing lesson with the president of the NCGIA.
There was a lot of this...
Tiger declined to explore.
Since the contest took place during the fancy dinner, there was no actual time listed. So we hung out in the car. Got changed, got Sara ready, and hung out in the car some more. And hoped we weren't missing the contest.
Is it time to go yet???
Okay, Sara. Let's go.
Having finished waiting in the car, it was then time to wait in the hallway.
Wait, wait, wait.
We didn't get any pictures of the other entries, but if you check out The Good, The Bad and The Furry, there's a great write up over there. She didn't get it all either, so if I come across any other posts, I'll update it here. Abstract is really fun, the idea is a beautiful design is done in addition to a regular groom. Something that can be done in one day, for say, a regular client. Color should be minimal or not at all. The name implies that the design should be abstract....but mostly it's an elegant groom with a little creative polish on top. And rhinestones. For the loves of paws, you'd better bling it up for Abstract! Each competitor is introduced, walks down the runway and presents to the judges. I don't know how they judge the entries, and I usually dislike the ones that place. Unfortunately, the judges only took one, quick look at each entry. This is a bummer, because we all spent a lot of time and effort to prepare our grooms. And money. That entry fee was not cheap! I wish they would draw straws, or names out of a hat. I think it would make just as much sense and might be a bit more fair!
That grip over, I wasn't expecting to place with Sara. In the creative world, the white Standard Poodle is king. Just like last year, I was the only one with a cat. For the judging panel, this did not make us stand out in a good way. Being astute, I didn't go to win. I went to represent good cat grooming. I went to show everyone cats can compete. Cats can do creative. And that you don't need a white Standard to have a good time! I may have also gone because it's fun to stand out, and to poke at the status quo.
After dinner entertainment!
So Sara and I did our walk down the runway, got glanced at by the judges, waited through the awards, and then the real judging started. First, I found the NCGIA table, so I could show off to my friends, mentors and supporters. Then back out into the hallway for some pictures.
Why yes, I did put my perfectly groomed cat on a fancy piano.
I've always wanted to.
I've always wanted to.
I wish this picture had come out better.
It shows off her design the best and I love it.
There were A LOT of people stopping to get pictures of Sara.
Not as many as last year, but we had a solid
fifteen minutes of photo ops.
Can't forget Rowdy!
The worlds only
Certified Feline Master Groomer's Companion
Lots of talking to people at my favorite topics:
Me telling my husband I only get dressed up fancy
and pose the cat on a piano ONE DAY A YEAR
and that he'd better get a few good pics.
I don't remember what we're looking at.
I bet it was interesting.
Let me brag about my husband. Not only did he drive us up, but he hung out in the car all afternoon, cat sitting Tiger and Sara. He got us dinner (which we had to eat in the car). Then he drove us to my boss' hotel room to get changed. Zipped up my dress. Then drove me, the cats and my boss back to the Lodge. Hung out in the car with me some more. Then waited in the hotel with me. He never complained once. Never acted anything but cheerful and supportive. He didn't even annoy me while I was nervously waiting for it to start! Just sat quietly when I didn't want to talk, but chatted with me when I did. He was incredibly proud of me, my groom and my presentation. Boasted just enough to the folks taking pictures. Told me I was pretty, my cat was awesome and that we totally should have won. Then he drove us home in the pouring rain, getting back around midnight.
We got home late. So tired!
(Haiku didn't go to the Expo, but I did get
(Haiku didn't go to the Expo, but I did get
her a new bed there. She loves it.)
My husband is pretty fantastic. I couldn't ask for anyone better! I'm a very lucky girl.
Once again, we had a great time at Hershey Groom Expo! I hope that Sara and I were good ambassadors for cat grooming. For all the grumbles I have with the judging, it's absolutely something I knew going in, and did make the decision to compete anyway. Winning is wonderful, and I'd really like to get back on the podium someday, but competing is fun! Coming up with ideas and making them work is hard and interesting and frustrating and fun. All that fancy clipperwork makes me a better groomer, even for my regular ol' grooms. And it's fun being the only cat in a sea of dogs. I'm so lucky to have such a good cat, that can travel contently, wait around all day, doesn't mind loud noises (I think the music gets louder every year!), doesn't mind strangers petting her...actually, she loves competing! She loves having people come up and pet her, scratch her chin, tell her how pretty she is. She certainly doesn't mind being around all the dogs. Although she was really interested in the little Schnauzer. She really wanted to jump down and play with him.
Here's a tummy rub for being such a good cat.
Sleep well, little cat. Thank you.
I love you.