While vacationing at Ocean Shores weathering crashing storms with friends, Marcia Gibbons emailed to say, “I always forget to call you BEFORE an event. At our recent 4-H cat show, I had presence of mind to ask one youth to gather quotes, while another took photos.”
The 4-H Club, Cat Tales, is affiliated with Kitsap County 4-H and meets at the Key Peninsula Civic Center. Most members live on the Key, some are from Gig Harbor, some from Port Orchard. Cat Tales learns about cats as well as leadership, public speaking, community service and more.
The club held its second annual cat show at the KP Civic Center on March 5.
4-H youth came from Pierce, Kitsap, King, Jefferson, and Clallam Counties to show their cats and demonstrate knowledge acquired in the program. Entrants ranged from first through 12th grade.
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The judge, Robin Van Dyke, a graduate of the 4-H cat project, came from Jefferson County.
Pierce County member Taylor Youk found it to be “a good learning experience, fun, nice to meet new friends.”
To Kayla Hunsaker from Kitsap County, “The cat show was interactive and fun!”
“We couldn’t have done this without community support,” Gibbons said. “The KP Civic Center lets us hold meetings there at no cost and gives a discount on rental of the gym for our show. Bayside Animal Lodge and Angel Guild helped purchase cages our first year and help pay for shows. Silent auction and raffle donations came from All Creatures Animal Hospital, Brookside Vet, Mountain Man Nut & Fruit, and SturdiProducts.”
At a 4-H cat show, youth are divided into four age groups: Primary (K-second grade), Junior (third to fifth grade), Intermediate (sixth to eighth grade), and Senior (ninth to 12th grade). Youth compete against other youth in the same age group. Each youth brings its cat to the judging ring, waits a turn to perform a Fitting & Showmanship routine, then shows the cat to the judge. They answer questions about cats and 4-H to demonstrate knowledge and are awarded Blue, Red or White ribbons, based on the Danish judging system. They are placed first through fifth place based on their scores with tiebreakers as necessary.
“One good thing about 4-H,” said Jefferson County’s Sam Smith, “is you can see friends growing as showmen and doing great.”
After participants finish showing cats, cats are judged on their own merits, their beauty, grooming and overall attitude.
“When all was said and done,” said Gibbons, “we handed out 10 trophies, 58 rosettes, and a whole lot of flat ribbons.”
“I had fun,” said Kitsap County member Kendra Hunsaker. “It was nice to get my cat around new people and other cats.”
For Alexis Perron, it was a “great show, the judge has a lot of knowledge and knows how to handle the cats.”
Cat Tales member Timmie Calhoun, also a member of KP Lions-sponsored Boy Scout Troop 220, said, “Our cat show was awesome and enjoyable.”
Wish I’d been there!
Hugh McMillan is a longtime contributing writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.