Before we attended the event we had heard rumours about the magnitude and scale of the 3 day event. Nothing could have prepared us for the 200,000 people who attended over the duration of the show. The Royal Cornwall Agricultural Show really is an event to behold and at times it felt like the vast majority of these people came through the cage and aviary bird marquee.
The cage and aviary bird marquee (which also encompassed bird show with over 200 budgerigars benched, with best in show won by Keith Cocks with an Opaline Grey Cock, pictured) was a very popular attraction at the show. Many of the visitors to our section came because they had a genuine interest in birds and as such we were very well placed to speak with members of the general public about the virtues of the Budgerigar and the Cornish masses were certainly eager hear these virtues!
With increasing regularity at the events we speak to more and more people who have a personal interest in budgerigars and no more so than at the Royal Cornwall Show. Comparing this event to those we have previously attended we have never spoke to so many individuals who actually keep budgerigars. Many of these individuals kept budgerigars in outside flights and ornamental aviaries within their gardens, choosing to breed with them in a colony environment. Several of these individuals had taken the next step and started to selective breed – maybe one step away from selective breeding for exhibition purposes? A good example of this was one young lady, who at 20 years of age, had started to breed her budgerigars with much success on a selective basis. We spoke to this young lady at length and it seemed that luck and circumstance where certainly on her side on the day. During our conversation with her we learned that;
• She already owned several show cages and was eager to start showing in some form but needed some local assistance to get to this level. Luckily Brian Reese of Cornwall BS had given us some promotional leaflets from the society so we were able to give these to the young lady confident in the fact that Brian or another member of Cornwall BS would be able to mentor and advise her. She also did not know of the existence of the Budgerigar Society despite already having show cages and knowing of the existence of the exhibition side of the hobby. This of course was soon rectified and the young lady was made well aware of the society and went away with a large amount of literature including magazines, badges, calendars and the new society leaflet.
• She was interested in some general advice on the husbandry and feeding of her birds in order to provide them with the best possible care. This of course we were able to do in the same manner that we are able to at the array of other events that we attend.
• She was unsure of what birds she actually had and after some discussion we felt that this lady was breeding miniatures. Again fortune seemed to be smiling as current BS chairman and miniature aficionado Maurice Roberts (pictured below) had been judging the event and luckily was still in attendance at this time. We felt that no other individual was more suitably qualified to become a mentor to this young lady. Introductions where made and we feel that it is only a matter of time before she becomes a member of the society.
The Royal Cornwall show again offered us the opportunity to work in partnership with other agencies. We had the opportunity to once again work alongside the ZFS and also Brian Reese from the Cornwall Budgerigar Society. Our Society Chairman, Maurice Roberts also put in a full days shift with us after he had finished his judging duties. This collaboration, as with the London Pet Show was fruitful and the partnership helped to show a united front of the larger hobby of keeping birds.
The Royal Cornwall show was certainly a spectacle to behold and a range of events and activities took place over the 3 days including exhibitions of pedigree livestock ranging from farm animals to pigeons and cavies. But being one of only a handful of livestock societies with a promotional presence at the event, this not only showed the BS to be a professional society at the forefront of promotional activities, but also gave us the edge when it came to those who were interested in looking for a hobby within livestock.
What benefited us at this event was not only the exhibition of cage and aviary birds, but the addition of a sales aviary containing pet birds, that had been arranged by the organisers gave a focal point separate from the exhibition. As people looked at these birds we were able to speak freely with many of these people about their interest in birds, offer advice and of course extol the virtues of the society and make the public aware of the society and hobby at large. Overall we felt the event to be a massive success and we must mention the new society members who signed up over the three days, welcome to you all!!
From a personal point of view the hospitality we received in Cornwall was exceptional. We cannot thank Vic and Bev Wills, Arthur Piper and Brian Sweeting enough for their kind hospitality while we were in Cornwall and travelling to the event. Lynne Hooper for the tea and lovely cakes! And last but not least Brian Reese and Maurice Roberts for their assistance at the event t and of course Andy Pooley and his team of stewards for their help and invitation to the Show.