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Show Managers


Show Managers are a critical role in the cat fancy, organising and running the many cat shows that happen every weekend of the year in the UK.

The purpose of this page is to create a central place where all relevant information can be found, whether you are an experienced show manager, in training or just interested to learn more.

The Role of the Show Manager

The Show Manager is responsible for the co-ordination and running of the show. This includes, budgeting, booking judges and allocating classes, hiring a venue, booking vets, ordering rosettes, delegating people to do different jobs, liaising with those taking entries to ensure paperwork is on track and generally making sure everything is organised and the show runs smoothly.

It is a hugely important role, generally unpaid and what is most important is people should go away having had a good experience – friendly, cheerful, helpful faces will get you through any hiccups on the day and have people coming back.

How to Train as a Show Manager


Do you love exciting events like theatre shows, weddings and dinner parties? Do you find that you are a naturally organised person with a willingness to help your friends and family at small-scale events? If so, you might be interested in how to get into Show Management.

Being a Show Manager is varied and challenging, but it is also very rewarding as you will be responsible for setting up the show and ensuring it runs smoothly.

Cat shows are happening all the time. Most exhibitors turn up to these shows and leave without a second thought, a huge amount of planning goes into making them successful.

Whether you’ve thought about how to get into Show Management before or you are reading about it for the first time, this page has everything you need to know to get you started on your journey. You will find out more about what cat show planning is, what it requires, and how to get started.

What it requires to be successful

A good understanding of the Cat Fancy and ideally how events operate are important. With many shows now operating in part digitally, being proficient in MS Office, having excellent communication skills and being results driven are important.

A cat show manager’s role is varied. You need to have excellent organisational skills, communication skills, listening skills, and many more attributes including dedication and flexibility to be successful in the role.

  • Communication skills
  • A people person
  • A team player
  • Willingness
  • A flexible and positive attitude
  • Highly organised
  • Highly efficient
  • Budgeting skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Pride in work
  • Active determination
  • Stamina for long hours
  • Listening skills
  • Decisiveness

How to get started

  • Join one or more GCCF clubs relevant to your breed(s) or in your local area
  • Hopefully you already support the show by exhibiting but you could also offer help on show day to get some insight into organisation
  • Think about getting involved as a committee member to get more insight into show planning
  • Contact a qualified GCCF show manager to find out a little more about what it entails

Show Management Qualification

To qualify as a GCCF all breed show manager, a candidate will need to complete training at a minimum of three all-breed shows as an Assistant Show Manager.  Under the jurisdiction of the Show Manager, the candidate will complete all the required tasks to successfully run a GCCF show – pre-show, show day and post show.  The Show Manager will complete a form assessing the candidate’s proficiency in completing these tasks but also assess their skills and attributes to be successful.  Once a minimum of three all-breed certificates has been submitted to the GCCF Office, the candidate will gain approval.  A trainee Show Manager may also run a GCCF breed show on completion of three Show Management certificates (mix of breed and all-breed shows).  Running a breed show is an excellent way to gain vital experience in a less intense environment.

Current Show Managers’ Useful Information

Show Management Process

The belowtable gives some idea of the show management process:

Show administration
  • Ensure show licence applications are made each year to GCCF
  • Ensure show accounts are submitted as part of the Club returns
  • The show is required to send in its returns to GCCF within three days of the show, and there are several elements of paperwork which need completing on the show day which will be sent back, e.g. duty vet log, vet records, biting certificates, early passes, fees, certificate returns etc.
Show information
  • Channels to consider are:  Club websites, social media, emails and telephone.  It’s useful to have one place to publicise all relevant content and useful information
Find and book a suitable venue
  • Considerations include car parking, location, ease of access, space and available rooms e.g. use of kitchen for refreshments, logistics re. set up, access for penning and trade stands, first aid provision, seating for exhibitors, proximity to local amenities
  • If the club is considering catering themselves, not only does there need to be kitchen facilities and equipment, then planning around helpers and purchasing of provisions which should not be underestimated
Setting a budget, role of the treasurer
  • Show management should work with the club committee and officers to understand club and show accounts and, therefore, what budget is available for the show
  • There should also be an understanding what funds are available to cover any losses should the show not break even
  • A show account should be available to pay bills before and after the show. If only the treasurer has access to the account, they should be flexible and accessible to check and make payments
  • Show entry fees and other prices e.g. membership need agreement of the club committee in advance
  • An important role on show day is the treasurer to make payments, manage cash in and out and start to create show accounts
Arrange Vet
  • Find suitable vets and vet nurse to vet in and do Duty Vet services
  • Allow 1 vet per 50 – 75 cats
Create draft hall plan
  • A draft plan may be required for larger shows to show space for trade stands, including power, place for tables and BIS pens plus access for penning and traders
Plan classes and schedule
  • It is prudent to invite judges 3 – 12 months in advance
  • Check judges’ availability for show date to understand other judging engagements that clash
  • Review schedules for shows immediately surrounding the show date so not to allocate same classes/contact other show managers
  • Rough draft of schedule can be completed using previous year as a template
  • Requirement to check judges’ suitability to judge classes against information on the GCCF website
  • Offer classes to judges and expect to allow a few weeks for confirmation or rejection and reallocation
  • Once classes are confirmed, allow two weeks minimum to get them added to draft schedule and check loadings
  • Publishing and printing off schedule allow 2 weeks
  • Any Judge changes that happen in advance of show day should be published on the GCCF Website
Show Planning programmesMain choices are GCCF STAR system or Kopikatts
Taking EntriesGCCF STAR system
  • Developed in 2018, this system combines GCCF’s bespoke online system and database with the expertise and management of Show Managers. More information can be found later in this section.
  • Exhibitors can enter themselves directly or show manager/assistant show manager can complete the same procedure to enter cats online
  • There may be queries from exhibitors and cats which cannot be entered without some intervention from the GCCF office, so time will be required to allow exceptions
Create catalogue
  • Once the show has closed using GCCF STAR, the show catalogue will need to be produced which may include exhibitor adverts or other things
  • It will take at least 2-3 weeks for ordering and printing of the catalogue
  • Enough catalogues should be ordered for exhibitors, judges and table workers
Order certificates
  • When the catalogue is finalised, certificates should be ordered from the GCCF office
Book sponsorship
  • Most requests for sponsorship should go out at least three months prior to the show
Book trade stands
  • There should be a process to book trade stands and will need to link to hall planning
Book penning
  • Needs to be booked minimum of 3 months prior and include rough idea of requirements and layout
  • Full specification, catalogue to be shared on show close, to cover numbers, splits by pen type and BIS requirements etc
Order rosettes
  • Many rosette companies are available with different pricing and lead times to order
  • Engage rosette supplier at least three months before the show
  • It is typical to do a part order one or two months before the show, with the final order on the closing date of the show
  • Prize cards, if required, can be ordered at close of the show, as it is a quick turnaround
Show day considerations
  • For an all-breed show, the set up should be the day/evening before and will take a minimum of four hours
  • For small shows, they can be set up on the morning – it should take about two hours, but will be hard work
  • Vetting in procedure and location needs to be considered
  • The club will need to have table workers for the day. Table workers should know the typical system of receiving the slips from the judges and processing, so that rosettes, certificates and correct recording of winners for Best of Variety are all done
  • It is also possible to record all class winners in the GCCF system from open and title classes all the way through to Best of Variety and Best in Show
  • Refreshments and lunches need to be considered for table workers and judges and their stewards
YES! Young Exhibitors’ Scheme
  1. The forms for Judges to complete for the YES! Presentations should be obtained from the GCCF Office when applying for Show Certificates etc. Some candidates have now reached Advanced/Intermediate status and Show Managers will need to order the appropriate forms for this level as well as the Novice form for beginners.
  2. There are 3 copies of the form in each set …. The judge keeps the bottom copy and the top two copies are given to the candidate. One is for their file and the other for their Administrator.
  3. Rosettes for the YES! Presentations are obtainable free of charge from Richardson Designs.
  4. If you have any queries regarding the YES! Programme please refer to the website which has full information regarding the Scheme and the way it can be supported by clubs and Show Managers

Show Planning Information

Introduction to STAR (Show Technology And Resources)

Developed in 2018, this system combines GCCF’s bespoke online system and database with the expertise and management of Show Managers. Brief outline of managing a show using STAR:

  • The Show Manager sets up the framework of fees, classes, judges and opening/closing dates in conjunction with the Office
  • Exhibitors enter their cats using their GCCF online account. The Show Manager/Entry Clerk can enter cats instead if this is not possible
  • STAR processes the entries
  • The Show Manager resolves any issues e.g. non-payment of fees, judge changes etc
  • STAR provides many useful reports to help a Show Manager manage the show, e.g. judge loadings
  • STAR can provide the Show Manager with a full pack of paperwork for show day. However, a Show Manager can print their own show paperwork from STAR reports if they prefer
  • Additionally, the Office can print schedules and catalogues incorporating STAR reports, or the Show Manager can use STAR reports and create their own
    For more information about using STAR, contact the GCCF at
  • STAR Manual – this is accessed through your GCCF online account under Show Management
  • STAR Pricing Schedule



Show Day Documents

Veterinary Matters

In this section, you will find links to useful veterinary matters:

  • List of Veterinary Surgeons/Nurses for Vetting In – this is obtainable from the GCCF Office

Registration and breed matters

In this section, you will find links to useful registration and breed matters:

STAR Contact Details

Liaising with the GCCF Office about STAR is easy, there is a direct email address and a direct phone line is planned

Office hours Monday – Thursday 8.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and Friday 8.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.

There is after-hours and weekend service when staffing permits.

STAR email:

Other useful contacts

GCCF website for show calendar publication

Marcia Owen


MF Penning
Tel: 0118 988 2406

Bella Penning
Tel: 01902 850 567

Ross Hepburn
Tel: 01592 720740

Show Traders (Large Traders)

Crystal Clear
Tel: 07712 648739

Launmeadow Pet Products
Tel: 07479 928364

Tel: 01304 828609

Tigga Towers
Tel: 01932 481524


Royal Canin


Burns Pet Foods