Q & A
From the May/June 1998 Rat & Mouse Gazette
Q. MEMBERSHIPIf you join a chapter of the RMCA, you're in the national group, too, and will get the Gazette and any national mailings, right? Or do you need to join both?
A.When you join a chapter of RMCA other than the original RMCA (national), you are only entitled to that chapterís benefits, whatever they may be. To receive the Gazette, you must subscribe to the Gazette. Membership in the original RMCA (national) is included at no additional cost and entitles you to the RMCA Big Book which contains bylaws, show rules, standards, a listing of clubs around the world, recommended veterianarians, and the national membership list. Members who belong to a chapter and do not subscribe to the Gazette are not listed in the Big Book.
Q. ENGLISH/AMERICANAre only English mice able to be shown in RMCA standards classes or can American mice be shown as well?
A.Any mice meeting the standard may be shown in standards classes. English mice most often have an advantage over American mice because they have been worked on for so many years and are much larger and have better features, for the most part. Breeders who are working hard on American mice have been able to come up with some outstanding show mice and are taking home ribbons as well.
Q. SHOW BREEDERSIs it mostly breeders or pet owners (or both) who attend show? Is it worth bringing any non-show quality or rescued rats who need adoption for purposes of adopting them out?
A.There are probably more pet owners than breeders at each show, but most breeders are also pet owners. There are always lots of baby rats for sale or for adoption at the show, but itís definitely worth it to bring rescued or mismarked rats in the hopes of adopting them out. There are never any guanantees that you will find the right adopters at any event, but itís worth trying.
Be very careful about people you do not know or people off of the street who really arenít rat people and have come looking for free food for their reptiles. This has happened in the past, unfortunately. Ask questions of any person you do not know or cannot get a recommendation about from more experienced people at the show. Make sure they have the proper cage, are feeding the proper diet, etc... If the person is not on the up and up, by asking the right questions, you will probably be able to pick up on that and not allow them to adopt one of your rats.
Q. DUMBO RATSAre Dumbo rats still unstandardized?
A.As of the November 1997 RMCA show in Southern California, Dumbo rats are standardized. In fact, it was a Dumbo rat who won Best in Show at that show. Whether or not RMCA chapters choose to adopt the standard or wait and standardize it themselves when they have enough animals being shown is up to them, however, so check with the local chapter you plan to show with.
Q. ENTRY QUESTIONSWhat do you do if you have a rat or mouse you want to enter in the show and you donít know if itís standardized or not?
A.If you have any doubts as to which category to enter your rat or mouse in, check with the Show Secretary before making your entry. If you cannot find out prior to mailing in your entry, fill out the show paperwork including as much information as possible, but put a question mark next to the entry youíre not sure about. Be sure to include the entry fee for that animal as well. The Show Secretary will only partially fill out the judging card and will finish it at check in when the question can be answered by looking at your rat or mouse.
Q. SHOW BOXESHow big is a "mini" and a "medium" kritter keeper or comparable show box. Do you need to buy or rent one for every animal you are showing, or can you just have one and then switch the rat or mouse for the different sections?
RAT IN SHOW BOX: Photo by Ellie Mastropaolo
A.The size of these boxes are standard from manufacturer to manufacturer, so you will be able to look at the label and see which size is "mini" and which size is "medium".
It is recommended that you have as many show boxes as your largest class entry. For example: if you have four rats in "Best Pet", one rat in "Standard Self", and three rats in "Tailless Shaded", then you need to have four show boxes.
If you rent boxes at the show, be sure not to punch out the bottle holder in the lid or you will have to buy it from the club. If you buy your own show boxes, be sure not to personalize them in any way. Itís best not to bring your animals to the show in the show boxes. Bring them in other carrying cages and only put them into the show box when the class is called.
The bedding in each show box must be the same as all other show boxes on the judging table, and most often the club hosting the show will provide it to ensure that this takes place. There can be nothing else in the box - no food, treats - nothing. The idea is that the judge cannot tell who the animals on the table belong to. For example, if the hosting club has provided Sani-chips for use in the show boxes, and an exhibitor puts his/her boxes on the table with CareFRESH in them, the judge is likely to see that exhibitor remove one of his/her boxes from the table at some point during the show, indicating to the judge that any animal showing up in a box containing CareFRESH belongs to that exhibitor. This can also be misconstrued by other exhibitors if that person wins several classes as being "fixed". Anonymity is very important at the judging table, which is why no comments should be made by exhibitors standing around the judging table, and no questions should be asked of the judge until after the show, not just the class.
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