Mid Staffs Grow & Show '23
After missing out last year due to conflicting schedules (which I was not happy about), I returned to the friendly Mid-Staffs Koi Keeping Society for their annual 'Grow & Show' event. It's a format used by koi clubs worldwide and proves very popular. It starts with the club sourcing koi via a dealer (usually the same size, variety and breeder). Members wishing to participate make their selections via a lottery-style draw to keep things fair. Over the following 12 months, club members raise the koi to the best of their abilities before returning them to an event day (much like this one), where winners are awarded, and prizes dished out.
The Mid-Staffs have been running the event for many years, and this year the variety of choice was tancho goshiki, which were once again kindly supplied by Kevin Powell of 'Koi Carp.' It's worth mentioning that Kevin always goes the extra mile to support the club, something the members really appreciate. After being reminded it was tancho goshiki I would be ranking, I felt my collar get a little tight as I knew it would be a challenge. The organisers seemed to find this rather amusing (the rotten so and so's!), but I was then swiftly reminded by member Tony Barker that the variety selection was my fault. I suggested that the tancho goshiki Kevin had offered "could be a great learning curve." I'd conveniently forgotten I'd said that - DOH! I think around 17 koi were returned to compete for the prizes, which was a great turnout and as usual, the Mid-Staffs don't mess about.
1st prize was £300
2nd prize was £200
3rd prize was £100
I started looking over the entrants and was already regretting my support of the tancho goshiki idea! As usual, there was a wide range in sizes as some hobbyists heat and some do not, but the condition across the board was good. Some had now turned to kuro goshiki and made for very striking fish, whilst others had remained lighter in colour but developed beautiful robing. The mix of styles made the comparison more tricky, so once I'd selected the contenders, it came down to a process of elimination.
1st place owned by Richard Randall
2nd place owned by Dave Stevenson
3rd place owned by Paul Dolan
Among the day's activities were the selections for next year's event, Izumiya sanke (Supplied by Koi Carp). With the help of Deb and Sam, Colleen had put together a great raffle which raised £185 for the club. Kevin Powell (Koi Carp) also kindly auctioned the remaining sanke, raising a further £400 for the club - a fantastic gesture. Jo and Rob Burgwin hosted the event this year and put on a lovely spread of refreshments (which I may have sampled). I visited here in June '21 when the event was held a few doors down. The fish house was under construction then, so it was nice to see how the project had developed. I also saw the progress of their Gin Rin Kohaku, which won Young Champion and the Jimmy Morris Award at last year's Mid-Staffs Koi Show. She has progressed well, and (who knows) we might see her compete again this year.
It's great to see koi clubs starting to enjoy the arrival of the koi season, and I'm sure there will be plenty of activities organised up and down the country. So keep your eyes peeled. If you wish to join a local club/section, more details can be found here:
Here are a few shots from the day of shenanigans, enjoy...