Following the decision not to hold a Show in 2021 due to the possibility of increasing the spread of Coronavirus and the subsequent Government ban on gatherings, you will be aware the committee took the decision to hold a virtual show last January. The event – which was probably the first of its kind in the world – proved to be a success, with over 400 entries and having 5,400 visitors to the Show site from around the world, including Europe, USA, Australia and Iceland, as well as Jordan, UAE, Russia and China.
A further significant advantage of holding the Show this way is the fact that the Show now has its own dedicated website, which we can use to both boost the show itself, as well as keeping the fancy informed of our plans and providing information relating to future shows.
The 2022 show will be the 50th anniversary of the event: quite a remarkable achievement. In that time over £3 million has been raised for various charities, a proportion of which has been invested back into the sport through the funding of the BPFL Research Team, the Raptor Alliance and the RPRA initiative to encourage young people into the sport.
The show has become an institution whereby it is known purely as ‘Blackpool’ and provides a nucleus for the gathering of pigeon people from around the world, some of whom do not even visit the Show, but merely come for the occasion itself. During the 49 years to date it has raised the profile of both the town and the sport. To many it is an annual outing and a multi-generational event; we have stewards who are the fourth generation involved, and we have two stewards for whom this will be their 50th show! It would be interesting to discover if any of our visitors can recall the very first show in Doncaster. The committee would be delighted to hear from them, and any other recollections through the years; such experiences should not be lost.
Like so many events, the Show tries to maintain prices to make it easy for all who are involved. In 2020 it became apparent that increased costs were seriously straining the show and putting it at long term risk, unless something was done. We considered the options long and hard, trying to maintain accessibility for all of our visitors, but agreed that it was necessary to increase entrance charges by 50p per day and trade stand prices by £5 per metre. We feel that both of these increases are modest when compared to the increased costs the show has incurred since it last raised these prices.
It has also been necessary to review the cost of our Gala Evening tickets, and for 2022 these will now be priced at £18 each.
In all of these increases, concessions will be retained as they are currently specified.
Two years ago, the committee decided that rather than young fanciers having all of their entries free, they would only receive three free entries and pay for any additional entries. This raised the question as to whether they should be allowed access to the special classes, including Best in Show and consequently Supreme Champion. To avoid any controversy, I am pleased to advise that a private fund has been established to cover the cost of the young bird free entries, and thus all of their birds will be paid for, and consequently they will be eligible to compete for the specials. Once again, the show is being innovative in encouraging fresh ideas and initiatives to push forward pigeon racing and showing.
We are now planning for next year’s show to make it something special. We will shortly be announcing the acts for the gala evening and other attractions for the show itself. Please keep an eye on this website for updates, as well as the British Homing World and social media. And please do let us have your memories.
Chair BHW Show of the Year Committee