Birmingham & West Mids - Grow & Show!
The Birmingham & West Midlands Koi Society held their annual 'Grow & Show' event, and they invited me along for a nose.
(There was food - I couldn't refuse!)
Last year the members made their selections from a number of tosai kohaku bred by Sakuma Koi Farm (supplied by The Koi Collection). Seven koi returned to compete for the top spot and nab their owner a prize or two! Before the winners were announced, the first question on everyone's lips...
"How many bacon and sausage baps can I squeeze in?"
But in all seriousness - HOW MANY!?
Next year's competition was prepared and ready. 'A Class Koi' had supplied the club with a great selection of hi utsuri from Hirisawa Koi Farm. It's worth noting they worked hard to keep costs down for the club members, as good looking nisai hi utsuri don't often come cheap, so credit where it's due.
Numbers got drawn from a hat, and the members took turns making their selections. For added flavour, there was even a time limit! Each participant had a mere three minutes and counting, although the koi were available to view from the start of the morning. So it wasn't that barbaric!
The koi were placed in a bowl, and a photo taken with the owner as a record. A club tradition. Here's a shot of James taking a shot of Kevin. Just because...
After the koi were bagged, it was time to announce the winners of this year's competition. I had sneakily judged the competitors whilst all the club members fixated on the hi utsuri selection. Up there for thinking, as they say...
3rd - Chris Fox
I picked this koi based on the pattern. Jokes, I chose this koi because despite being one of the smaller koi returned, the skin quality, body shape AND pattern were all on point. It shone.
2nd - Paul Green
This koi was the largest returned. I later learned it was grown 'in the kitchen' (in a 100gallon tank). A real achievement. Strong body, nice skin, the beni was a little stretched but still a worthy 2nd.
1st - Jason Rudge
Apologies about the photo, as bubbles were rife. This koi was sizeable, had consistent beni, great skin, good refinement and a nice body.
The club had put together a raffle for the members, and after the triumphant few had selected their prizes, it was time to wrap up. A lovely afternoon, with great company, in a beautiful setting. And (once again) proving that koi clubs like this are the grassroots of the hobby. Strong roots at that! Passionate koi keepers, doing their best to spread positivity for a hobby they love whilst providing a haven of knowledge and 'been-there-and-done-it' understanding.
If you can find negativity in that - you'll probably need a doctor!
If you would like more information on the BWMKS or fancy joining here are some useful links:
More shots from the day. Enjoy...