Mid Staffs Grow & Show Event Day.
Well, once again a whole year has flown by and last Sunday it was time to get together with the wonderful Mid Staffs Koi Keeping Society for their annual grow and show event.
This is my third year attending the event wonderfully organised by Colleen Joynes - it's thoroughly enjoyable! The company is cracking, a lovely friendly bunch always willing to have a laugh and enjoy themselves! The backdrop to the event was just lovely...
The event day is centred around the 'Grow & Show Results,' this is where members bring along koi that were selected at last years event, after being carefully reared for 12 months they get judged by a bloke who pretends to know what he's doing!
Thrown into the mix is the selection of next years entrants, an auction, a raffle, a pond and garden tour, socialising AND great food!
What's not to like?!
As I arrived the group were in the process of selecting next years grow & show entrants. This is a very important and delicate process and I've learnt the only way to witness such an event is with a delicious sausage bap and cuppa in hand!
After swinging by the kitchen, I meandered over to the vat of tosai showa from Kase that were once again supplied by Kevin Powell at Koi Carp. As a little thank you to the club for asking him to supply the koi for the third year running he gave every entrant a free yamabuki from Izumiya - a really lovely gesture on his part!
A fair allocation process is always deployed and I watched the group as they closely studied the koi and made their selections. Always a fascinating process trying to discern what people are seeing in any given specimen. I even found myself weighing up which koi I’d be inclined to take home. All good fun!
The koi were then bagged and numbered and left floating in the collection vat ready for the end of the day.
It was then time to judge last years koi - Kohaku from Maruboshi koi farm.
Being honest, I always find this part a bit daunting, I’m by no means a trained judge and nor do I claim to be, I’m simply there as an independent and impartial pair of eyes. I try to use whatever knowledge I do possess, to pick what I think are the three best koi on the day. I’m always very aware that every hobbyist who has entered has put a great deal of time, care and money into the development of the koi they bring to be “judged.” This always adds to the pressure, as I hate the idea of upsetting anyone!
The prizes - well worth fighting for...
1st Prize £300 and Kusuri Food
2nd Prize £200 and Kusuri Food
3rd Prize £100 and Kusuri Food
Third place was particularly hard, but this Kohaku owned by Gary Wood just tipped the scales.
Second place went to this monster owned by Jamie Bromley. The koi had certainly done some growing being inches bigger than every other koi present. Whilst somewhat plain in regards to pattern, I felt the need to acknowledge the great achievement in growth and the overall condition that was maintained.
First place went to this delightful kohaku owned by Mark Rotton. The size achieved, the condition, the body and the pattern really stood out to me. Well earned.
After the presentation of prizes it was then time for another sausage bap and a cuppa...
- I was knackered after all that work!
After a short auction, the raffle then took place, another highlight of the day with great prizes sponsored by quite a few koi dealers! I purchased some tickets, but I’m convinced the whole thing was rigged… some club members struggled to carry the amount of prizes they won whilst my numbers didn’t get a look in! As my lovely nan would say…
”Some people have got luck shoved up their a*se”
We then took the invite to wander over to one of the neighbours. A large 24,000gallon pond being a serious focal point. The garden was also delightful, I spent a while snooping about.
The owners were also building two new ponds, fully enclosed in their own fish house… I think it’s safe to say they've definitely caught the bug! Club members had a good old nosey and spent time firing questions and making suggestions - the best thing about koi clubs is that you are surrounded by enthusiasts who can offer help and advice!
It was then time to head back to the event for a chinwag and yet another sausage bap!
I hadn't quite reached the stage of “uncomfortably full” - my favourite place to be!
Like any hobby or pastime, especially those where there is an element of competition, the koi hobby can (at times) be a bickering place of politics and nonsense. When these things do rear their heads, just remember...
This hobby is about the love of koi, enjoy it and enjoy the company of those that enjoy it too!
I have to say, this event really encapsulates that feeling for me and that's why it's one of the highlights of my koi keeping year. Despite everything Covid has thrown up the Mid Staffs are constantly striving to keep the flame burning. I said it last year and I'll say it again...
"It just goes to show that you can’t kill the spirits of true koi enthusiasts!"
I’m very grateful to the Mid Staffs for having me and to Ken Wilkie at The Koi Collection for putting me forward for the opportunity. Thank you.
For more information on the Mid Staffs Koi Keeping Society:
Alternatively contact Paul Dolan: