Thursday, June 12, 2008

No Prizes for Beauty, But Pretty Durned Slick

My friend Ann, who has Brittanys (and a blog -- link to come later), sent me the link to today. Since I get my daily emails from Infodog, I wasn't sure I really needed another show information site... but I took a peek, just to satisfy my curiosity.

Holy Pup, what a great site! The design and user interface won't win any beauty prizes any time soon -- the looks are strictly Microsoft FrontPage circa 1996 -- but you can find, and sort, and save, and contribute to just about anything you could want. The list of Very Nifty Features is almost too long to mention, but I'll give it a try.

1. Everybody gets to play hurry-up-and-wait at one dog show or another. Just because your ring has a start time of 8:00 AM doesn't mean you do, especially if there are two breed entries of 25 dogs apiece before your breed comes before the judge. Showdays has a terrific feature that helps you calculate your actual start time, as opposed to your judging program's assigned start time.

2. Favorites, favorites everywhere! You can pick your favorite host clubs and sign up to get notifications when information on their shows is available -- and not just conformation and obedience, either. You can also pick rally, agility, herding, tracking, and other activities. ShowDays covers all of the show superintendents in all of the 50 states, so you can even put up all the specialties in your breed and get information.

3. Let's face it, there are only three types of dog show judges in the whole world:

  • a. Great judges. These are the ones who put your dog up.
  • b. Sucky judges. These are the ones who didn't put your dog up.
  • c. Judges you haven't shown to yet, but who will eventually end up as a. or b.

Showdays allows you to not only rate judges you've shown under and to see what other people thought (experts as well as regular exhibitors), but you can even pick your favorite judges and keep them on a short list so you can see where they'll be judging next.

4. Host clubs have lots of resources to promote their non-show events as well as their shows. There are forums, announcement boards, and even virtual "booths" where a club can promote matches, clinics, and so on. Our local kennel club's publicity chair is going to love that!

5. Entry Promises. They really should rename this Major Builder. Luckier people, who actually get majors in their breeds, can collaborate online with fellow exhibitors to try and build majors. Not that I mind asking around and then trying to guess who actually did (or didn't) follow through, but this feature could take a lot of anxiety and guesswork out of entries once enough people you know start using it for your breed.

I could go on and on and on, but just go have a look for yourself. The site supports itself by offering two levels of membership: Basic (free) and Advanced (paid). Really, how much fun can you have for $5 or less per month? That's still only two-thirds the price of Infodog, and you get to try out all the features for a month before you decide whether to commit.

Go on -- check out ShowDays. Tell the nice folks there that you heard about the site from Dog Show Newbie. I don't get any kickbacks for endorsing the site, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't accept any.

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