I love our local(Detroit KC) benched show even though it's a royal pain in many ways... The showing part is similar to the unbenched shows, here's what else happens (at least from my perspective):
The day before you pack all your belongings into large bags that you can either carry or
fit in a dog crate. You will bring a cooler with a day's supply of drinks & food, reading
material, money for all the goody booths that only come into the area once a year, your
kennel photo book, your dog business cards, the handouts with basic breed information,
the change of clothes, a sheet to cover your dog if he/she is a barker, plus all the
regular stuff you bring to a dog show. Make sure those entry confirmations are packed,
you won't get in or out without them. Confirm travel arrangements with your friends -
you'd be foolish to try & unload alone, because they will NOT let you park in the
You get there at 6 AM regardless of when you show because otherwise the unloading
attendant is really cranky and it'll take at least two hours to get up the ramp to
unload and then go find a parking spot. (and my breed only requires about 15 minutes
worth of show grooming) If it's not snowing & you get there at 6 AM, you can get a
parking spot close enough to just pull all your stuff in on a dolly. After 9 AM,
it's REALLY slow.
- You get your hand stamped at the gate & find your benching. You put your dog's
crate on the bench, stick all your belongs on top/around/undemeath the assigned
space. Find a spot for your grooming table NOW before everyone else gets there.
Grab some of the hall's chairs for visitors. Locate the bathrooms, locate your
ring. At Detroit they now use the benching style where the handlers have one
section and the breed exhibitors have another which makes things easier for
everyone, because the handlers aren't hogging all the grooming space and
their dogs aren't sitting unattended on the bench.
- You settle in & get comfy. Have some coffee & those muffins you packed.
This will be your only rest period of the day. Take your dog to exercise,
groom him. Change clothes & go to the bathroom early - the bathrooms will be
- If you're lucky, you'll show early (before I I AM) and get back to the
bench before the crowds arrive. If you get a late show time, allow 30 minutes to get
to the ring. The people will be everywhere & they will all want to stop you & ask
questions. (I saw someone with a Mastiff stuck for an hour!) There will be a
zillion people, especially if the weather's nice. You will meet nice people
interested & appropriate for your breed. You will see your old friends who
haven't owned the breed in 10 years and their new spouses who can't believe
they ever did. You will meet people you don't remember who remember when you
showed in Jr. Showmanship. You might meet people you've corresponded with via
the Internet. You will meet idiots who should not own a dog who either want
to buy one from you or breed to your stud dog. You will meet people who think your
dog is funny looking & ask really dumb questions about them.
- Remember to weigh your dog before coming to the show, as you will be asked
this question frequently.
- Ask your fellow exhibitors to keep an eye on your dog while you shop &/or
see the special attractions. If you shop early, you can get the good stuff
before they do.
- If you win the breed, get in line for the bathroom an hour before you are supposed
to show in group. Touch up your dogs' grooming & head for the ring. If you are in the
first group, the ring will be running late and you will have to wait before entering
the ring. Concentrate on keeping your winner fresh while you try to remain polite to
the crowd of spectators that is asking you the same questions you've been answering
for the past 5 hours on the bench.
- About an hour before they let you out, pack up as much as possible. 1/2 hour
before the doors open, get in line. If you got there early & got that good parking
spot, pull your stuff out and you'll be home soon.
- If you didn't get that great parking spot or have too much to haul, it will
take at least an hour to get your car into the unloading zone (unless you sent
someone out long ago to get the car). The unloading guy will be REALLY cranky,
and it will take a while to get the stuff loaded & your vehicle out. Don't hit
the people pushing their stuff down the ramp!
- When you get home, unload the bare essentials, take a hot shower & collapse!
NOTE: The situation has improved over the years, grooming space is now right in
front of the bench and there are two days of shows, so you can do the hauling IN one
day and the hauling OUT the next, although you will be even more tired by the end
of Day Two!