Here are some impressions of the National Cavy Show I wrote quite a few years ago now. I am including them here in case anyone is thinking of going and wondering what it would be like.


I wondered this myself on the 4 hour drive to Narrandera on 18 August. This would be my second National Cavy Show, the first time I went was in 1999 as an interested spectator and to buy some cavies. This time, for my sins, I had entered two pigs and I'd only been exhibiting for less than a year. I'd passed over the novice class thinking it was for people who were showing in their first year of membership of the NSW Cavy Club (this was my second year though for various boring reasons, I had been unable to show in my 'novice' year so was doing it tough in my second year. Steep learning curve? More like a precipice.) Only later did I find out it was for those showing for the first time at the National. Duh. Oh, well. The main reason I was going was to meet and talk to cavy people - I had enjoyed my chats last year - and to buy some more piggies.

I had a wonderful time. August was much better for the squeaks and I had no qualms about leaving them in the car overnight as the motel I was in does not allow animals in the rooms. There were about 600 cavies from all parts of Australia inside a large pavilion in the showground. And strangely enough, you didn't need industrial strength ear-muffs. They were remarkably quiet except when some prima donna gave tongue on her way to the judging table. It is divided into two parts. One hall is where the cavies in their cages are kept until called for judging - the National is a table show. The other part is where the judging takes place along two long tables on either side. At one end is a canteen ably manned by the local Apex. In this hall the results are posted on big sheets of paper and people avidly annotate their cavylogues accordingly sitting in a half circle of chairs. (It was fun dancing on the edges of piled up tables in order to remove these sheets at the end of the day I can tell you).

Mid-afternoon Vinnie's Fruitz came with lots of lovely fresh vegetables for sale and at rather less than you pay in supermarkets here. The cochons d'Inde really appreciated these. I was really impressed with the way the town seemed to be behind the cavy show. It had been a big week for them because the Olympic Torch had come through only three days before and they were gearing up for a camellia show. Quite a few shops in the main street had posters announcing they were sponsors of the cavy show, most notably the supermarket Narrandera Food Works which, as it happened, I patronised quite a bit as it had a lot of useful things I needed.

There were some stunning cavies on display but you will have to go elsewhere for the full results as I don't have them. I managed to distinguish myself by *not* hearing the PEW Boars being called so Paylex Paddy was somewhat en retard or fashionably late as he preferred to think of it. I then made up for it by being one of the first to arrive for the Self Blacks with Elysee Elijah. And there were friends to catch up with and new people to talk to.

The buffet dinner on Saturday at the Ex-Servicemen's Club was really enjoyable - good food and good company. Watching as winners in the various classes were called up to receive their certificates or trophies was a bit like the Oscars only more entertaining and it allowed you to put faces to stud names. Coincidentally, we were next to the table which had a lot of the winners - at one point they sent up a balloon to which was attached the message "Did anyone at this table not win an award in the Self Blacks?" It's certainly the closest I'll get to those trophies. Congratulations to Valerie and Dennis Howe of The Spinney Stud for winning Best and Reserve Best in Show. And congratulations to the NSW Cavy Club for a job well done in running the show for the past two years. The attractive posters and stickers from the Amos family added a touch of class and everything ran smoothly despite the change of time this year. Next year is the turn of the Victorians.

Below are some pictures from the show.

Hall with cavies on tables awaiting their turn

Rex being judged

Some finalists being judged

Elizabeth Hodsdon judging a Himmie


2001 National Cavy Show

I tend to regard exhibiting cavies in general and at the National at Narrandera in particular as a ticket to a good time - a day out with like-minded people and a lot of pretty piggies. To be a part of this, you've got to put a cavy or two on the table, so into the 4-holer went a Self Cream and a Dark-Eyed White, the Rex being at one of their iffy stages. In addition, the 3-holer, full of Self Reds for sale, was stacked in the back of the Festiva. Thursday had been gloriously spring-like - what lovely weather for the four hour drive to Narrandera, Yes, well, that was Thursday. Friday was a shocker, overcast with strong icy winds which made driving - interesting. I nearly got blown into the Sydney-bound lanes of the Hume Highway when entering it from the Barton Highway.

A word must be said for McDonald's, namely the one at South Gundagai. I am not a patron of these fast-food places. However, the Macca's at South Gundagai is very sensibly placed on the highway, not off it as so much is on the Hume south of Yass. Moreover, Macca's is consistent - you know what you are going to get, not a gourmet treat but something hot and filling and quick. This is unlike the Dog on the Tucker Box place on the other side of the highway which looks as if it might do a nice Devonshire tea (and did once, I think) but now dishes lukewarm tea bags in a styrofoam cup and soggy tasteless pre-packaged cakes of the type you can get in any petrol station.

Arrived at the Gateway Motel in Narrandera's main street in reasonable time despite the head winds. This is less than five minutes by car from the Narrandera Showground and only a little further away from the Lake Talbot Caravan Park where a lot of cavy people stay. I went over there to the cabins to see what was for sale as I had a 'shopping list' for a rabbit breeder in Victoria who has cavies as a side interest. It was grey, bleak and all the while the wind went straight through you. Many breeders covered their cavy cages once people had made their purchases. There were a number of others on similar errands and we had a good time talking. Then the local veggie truck arrived but took a while to park while we waited patiently to buy treats for our squeaks. When it was finally ready, well converged and I said, "We've got to talk the talk" and went "Wheek, wheek, wheek!" with a couple of others.

My luck was out and the sort of cavies I was after for the other breeder had just been sold but I did pick up a nice baby Saffron sow for myself. Caught up with a number of NSW Cavy Club members - Jo, Trish, Gwen, Helen, Maria, Melanie, and others - then dinner with the Livingstons at the historic Star Hotel. They have won awards for their cuisine and feature local produce in modern Australian recipes (e.g. wattle seed pavlova roll).

Saturday Arrived at the Pioneer Hall, Narrandera Showground, around 8am. The Victorian Cavy Council (this year's hosts) were hard at work at their computers behind the admin. desks next to the canteen in the judging hall. They had several baskets of goodies as prizes in the raffle, one of which featured the no-mess type of guinea pig, a stuffed toy. Found my table in the adjoining hall after walking past it twice. The people on either side didn't turn up so Eveon (who was on the other side) and I spread out a bit. The numbers were down on last year: 468 entries as opposed to 596. There were about 90 scratchings as well. A look at the handsomely produced cavylogue (or guinealogue) shows that the numbers do fluctuate, often quite dramatically and prior to the mid-1990s, this would have been a fairly average number of entries. The highpoint was 1998 with 737 with the lowest being 228 in 1980.

As usual there was a display of colour-in drawings of guinea pigs from Narrandera school children mounted on the board on the stage at one end of the hall. They showed great imagination though not much regard for colours recognised by the ANCC. Lots of purple, orange (of the sort found in rabbits and cats but not cavies) and green pigs. Come to think of it, there was a green cavy in the hall and very nice, too, its pale green fur set off by a dark green ribbon.

The advantage of less people was that you could see so much more when watching the judging or trying to take photos of same. There was a very nice display of Dutch with markings any Dutch rabbit (which has the gene for it unlike cavies) would be proud of. Indeed, the undercuts on them were better than on the Dutch bunnies at our last rabbit show. There were some fine Shelties, too and as for the Rex - no wonder the sow, Bumbora Patrice, went Best in Show. (I went home and gave my Rex a pep talk, pointing out that they share the same father as Patrice - I bought him last National - and they Must Do Better), I spent some time watching the different long-hairs being judged as I have trouble keeping some of those breeds straight in my head. I was most intrigued with the, not having seen so many in the flesh.

I managed to sell two of my Reds, thanks to Trish who found a local woman who wanted a pair. Bought another metal cage from Gary, a two-holer this time, and an attractive poster of what cavies eat from the Amos family, the latter to be used at displays.

Didn't watch the final judging this year as by the time I got to it, it was hip-deep. Instead, I asked the nice lady in the pink for an extra broom to do the area around where I was sitting and ended up sweeping about a third of the hall having had lots of practice cleaning up after rabbit shows at Waramanga. Noticed the same problem, too: why is it the people with the messiest set up (cages filled with straw or loose sawdust/shavings) bugger off first and leave it to others to clean up? At least we didn't have to take the tables down this year as the Narrandera Show Society needed them up for another event.

So back to the motel for a shower, read a book and then walk to the Ex-Servicemen's Club for the buffet dinner and the awards presentation. The food was good (I particularly liked the lamb curry) and so was the company with conversation on our table ranging from rabbits to Ancient Rome to career opportunities in the kitchens of Westmead Hospital. The awards were sensibly grouped together by stud so each winner collected all the certificates at one time. The Narrandera Shire Council donated the Best in Show and Reserve Best in Show trophies, handsome silver bowls (could bathe a lot of cavies in them). Some of the cavy names provided entertainment, especially those with song names which set some people off singing, such as Letz Getloud (a Texel boar). Good name - they do, don't they?

All in all the show and the dinner were a very well run affair, a very worthy successor to last year's (and the previous year's) run by the NSW Cavy Club. Well done, Victorian Cavy Council. I'm looking forward to next year!


Satins being judged

Abyssinians being judged

Shelties being judged

Pink-Eyed Whites being judged

Sheba Mini Yaks being judged

Judge Jennie Johnston with Self White

Tri-colour being judged

Karen Nichols judging a Dutch

Eveon with a hairy friend

Cavy chat


 [NSW Cavy Club Southern Branch [The Pig and I]