Monday, 7 March 2011

New Class Structure for GCCF Shows.

The New Olympian Classes
Certificate Classes replace Opens
Assessment exhibits will be placed

The policy to remove Open Classes and replace them with a tier of Certificate Classes was approved at Council on March 2nd on the proposal of the Maine Coon Cat Club. There was some initial hesitation over whether to introduce a new Olympian Class for cats who already had an Imperial title, but as Show Managers realised shows would be less attractive to exhibitors with high flyers if these cats had nothing to aim for, by the end of the afternoon there was a demand to vote on the introduction of the Olympian title, and it was approved in the format that had already been published with the agenda. Exhibitors will see a third change as the new show year kicks off on June 1st as cats in Assessment Classes will be placed, as well as exhibits getting a Merit Certificate (if worthy). The first prize winner will be eligible to be considered for Best In Show, as long as the Merit wasn't withheld.

June 1st may seem a way off as we're still having frosts and dark evenings, but schedules for the summer shows will be published very shortly and, of course, they will include the changes. There's a notice on the official GCCF website about which Certificate Class to put your cat in. Look at this along with your schedule as you fill in your entry form.

Because these are major changes, the most dramatic for GCCF shows in a long time, it's anticipated there could well be the occasional issue. When did the introduction of anything new not have a glitch or two? What's important is EC want to be aware if a problem occurs so it can be resolved as soon as possible. Whether you're doing Show Management, judging, exhibiting or just think of something let us know. I'm the contact: but I'll be fielding things through to EC not doing a solo act.

Enjoy the new show format! From response to date it's what a lot of you have been wanting for a long time. Comment invited.


  1. Great Idea having cats only enter in the class they can enter e.g ch.Grand. imperial.
    Why introduce an Olympian Classes????

    Why the breed clubs cannot have these classes does not make sense and a makes a breed show second class club. Rendering the breed show as less of an option to enter.

    A suggestion of the existing Imperial class have usual 5 certificates for Imperial
    Then another 5 certificates from 5 different judges to make a double imperial
    Another 5 certificates from another 5 different judges to make a triples Imperial.
    This system would be more fare and all clubs could compete including household pets.

    ANOTHER SUGGESTION IS continue with; Cats still only enter the class they can enter.
    With the Olympian Classes, worked on a points system for 1st,2Nd,3rd for all shows and extra points for the number of cats in that class. At the end of the year at the supreme show the winner with the most number of points gets a plaque and a title for 1 year eg Olympic cat for show year 2011, runner up Olympic cat for show year..
    Include all house hold pets in the same system.
    That way people can compete year after year for the Olympic cat of the year?????? All imperial cats at all shows can enter.
    Kathryn Atkinson

  2. One practical question is, what happens if you enter say the Grand class, and then your cat is made up to Grand before that show? Closing dates for shows are often well before the shows, so there is often overlap - especially with double shows becoming more common. Strictly you would be entering incorrectly.
    Will there be some more flexibility and provision to 'upgrade' your class after closing dates if your cat has gained a new title?

  3. I am in favour of the Olympian Classes, however if the proposal for there being 6 sections (instead of 7) would it make sense for the sections to be grouped - so for the Bronze Olympian your cat is up against cats from its section and one other section.

    For the silver your cat would be in a class made up from 3 sections and for the Gold all sections would compete!

    This would increase the difficulty as you progress and not 'block' newly qualified Imperical cats!

    Just my thoughts!
    Lizzie Edge :o)

  4. Having checked a recent catalogue for an all breed show, there were 20 plus male neuters in the Imperial Classes over the different sections. If you require 5 certs at each level, is that not going to be an impossibility for some to achieve? Why could it not have been restricted to the relevant breed sections? It was when the Imperial was introduced.

  5. I like the idea of cats only competing for titles they need and do not already hold. Currently many a good cat is blocked - and annoyingly so - by, say, Imperial cats in the Grand, not because the blocked cat is not good enough for Grand but because it is not as good as the Imperial cat. We have to trust our judges to award or withhold certificates according to the quality of the cat and not according to the competition it has or does not have. I like the idea of further titles to aim for, nothing worse than a young cat "redundant" at, say 3 or 4 simply because it is a good cat. However, much as I welcome the change, I am sad that it excludes breed clubs, and, for that matter, household pets. I have seen the suggestion of a breed imperial and an HP imperial but feel that in the case of breed clubs that simply gives two levels of certificate to aim for and complicates matters and, in the case of the HP, cannot see the difference between that and the Olympian!! How about simplifying it and allowing the Olympian to be put on at breed shows and in the HP section but making those certificates worth half, so, for example, a pedigree cat needs any combination of 5 all breed certificates OR 4 all breed and 2 breed ones OR 3 all breed and 4 breed ones etc, and the HPs simply needing 10 per level? Just an alternative suggestion.

  6. I have followed the debate here and on the GCCF Yahoo group with interest. I assume that both proposals are hoped to increase entries - the class structure by encouraging people back who have otherwise been put off by always coming up against a titled cat in the Open or Grand, and the Olympian by enticing "retired" Imperials back. I am in agreement with most people in that the new class structure is a positive move and one I do believe will help to increase entries. However I am afraid that I remain to be convinced about the Olympian class. I agree that it is good to have new levels above Imperial and am all for that but, again like others, do feel strongly that the breed clubs and the HPs are disadvantaged by it. In the current economic climate, with ever increasing costs, not least that of fuel which is a major factor for most exhibitors, the majority of exhibitors are going to enter an all breed show where they have a chance of an Olympian certificate, rather than a breed show where they are not.

    Even at all breed shows I am not at all sure that a large number of additional entries will be generated and actually feel that many, if not all, of those will be offset by some breeds not entering. How many Siamese exhibitors will enter an all breed Olympian judged by a judge in the Persian, SLH and British section? Or a Persian in a class judged by a Siamese, Oriental and Foreign judge? I actually think that the Maine Coon Cat Club proposal, with a few tweaks, would have been a better bet, having a class for each section, even, perhaps, with an increasing number of certificates required above the 5 needed for Imperial, say another 6 for Bronze, 7 or 8 for Silver and 8, 9 or 10 for Gold, to offset the fewer cats entered, IF, indeed, fewer actually would be. The same could then apply for the HP section. Or, at a push, even still having the Olympian as decided but, as the previous poster suggested, extending it to Breed Clubs and HPs but with a lesser value for those certificates.

    Having breed sections would also ease the pressure on judges and show managers – especially as there are currently only 24 judges qualified to judge the Olympian? Factor that into the current 3 month/100 mile recommendation, cats needing 5 certificates from 5 different judges and the fact that as more cats reach Imperial there will be an ever increasing number of cats in that class and we could reach meltdown! Those 24 judges are going to find themselves out at shows even more than they already are, especially as effectively only 2 of them are not seen much at shows as it is.

    As a matter of interest there are currently about 55 all breed shows in the UK and Ireland compared to approx 84 breed shows, including Exemption shows which will soon disappear and assuming that shows such as the LH/SLH or the SHCS ones class as breed, rather than all breed. Do we really want a system brought in that puts almost two thirds of our clubs at a disadvantage? People like to support their breed clubs and often make sacrifices to do so but there is a limit and why should we try to push that limit even further?

    And finally, in the case of the HP section, IF the new class structure is to apply equally there (which, to date, no one yet seems to be able to confirm or deny!!)it will not help to maintain entries if it is not also in conjunction with a higher title above Imperial as many people will simply stop showing their Imperial titled non and pet pedigrees just for BOB and side classes.


    1st Draft for comments

    Titled cats to be able to enter 2 classes (IF they so wish) - Class 1 for the level/title at which they are at & Class 2 for the level/title they are trying to achieve. This will help cats that may not necessarily get to a higher title status, but could gaining further accreditation by gaining Bronze/Silver/Gold at their current level. Best Of Breed will be as normal.
    OLYMPIAN – All breed
    Open to all pedigree cats that have achieved the title of IMPERIAL – one class covering all breeds at show**.
    **5 Certs gains the title Olympian.
    To progress to Bronze/Silver/Gold levels cats must achieve 5 more certs in each level.

    IMPERIAL - Open to cats that have achieved the title of GRAND or IMPERIAL.
    5 certs gains the title of Imperial.
    To progress to Bronze/Silver/Gold levels cats must achieve 5 more certs in each level.
    GRAND - Open to cats that have achieved the title of CHAMPION/PREMIER or GRAND.
    3 certs gains the title of GRAND.
    To progress to Bronze/Silver/Gold levels cats must achieve 3 more certs in each level.
    BREED CLASS - Open to UNTITLED or CHAMP/PREMIER Titled cats only.
    3 certs gains the title of CHAMPION/PREMIER.
    To progress to Bronze/Silver/Gold cats must achieve 3 more certs in each level.
    Do NOT need to be placed. Best Of Breed to be awarded as per Breed class (subject to cats being awarded Merit)

    ** With regard to non All-Breed Shows.
    As an alternative this could be structured as:
    Bronze awarded at Breed Show.
    Silver awarded at Multi Breed Show.
    Gold awarded at All Breed show.

  8. Dr Peter CollinFriday, March 18, 2011


    I would like to see the Olympian certificate available at breed club shows.
    We already allow extra Grand class splits and the Imperial certificates to be awarded at breed club shows so I cannot see why the same should not apply to the Olympian class.
    The only other alternative would be to continue to allow Imperial titled cats to compete in the Imperial class.
    If neither of the above are done then we may lose a significant entry at breed club shows. Exhibitors traditionally support the shows by bringing out their Imperial titled cats.
    I am show manager for the Burmese cat society show and we would have potentially have lost 10% of our entry at the last show if these cats were not entered. This would make the show non-viable.
    I know they can probably be entered for BOB only, and we could invent a fun class for Imperial titled cats, but realistically without a certificate to compete for then people are unlikely to bring their cats.
    Please consider allowing the Olympian title certificates to be awarded at championship Breed club shows. Preferably before my next show in December!
    Many thanks
    Peter Collin

  9. OK, been really thinking about this and the whole point of the change has been to try to find a way of satisfying those exhibitors who do not like titled cats in classes for titles they already hold, yes? Plus trying to attract additional entries by bringing back people who have given up due to constantly being blocked by a titled cat, which the new class structure does seem to address. Then there is the Olympian to give Imperial titled cats extra "shelf life", bring retired but young cats back. BUT, in its present format the Olympian will not, IMHO, actually do that, as I said, it may well put off as many as it attracts. I do feel, however, again as I said before, that more of these cats could be enticed back in an individual section Olympian class, and one that also, therefore, applies to breed shows and the HPs.

    The argument I have seen very strongly put against this is the cost of 64 rosettes as opposed to the 4 under the system now imposed upon us, plus the extra time taken and bodies needed to write out the extra 60 certificates. That is a valid point, but, how about this. Change the whole entry structure, instead of the traditional "Open plus 3" entry fee, have a "Title class plus BOB" one. Reduce entry fees by about one third, ie from £30 to £20, this reflects the reduction in side class rosettes needed. Keep side classes, however, but make people pay for these per class, maybe anything between £3 and £5 depending on your rosette cost. That way people who don't like side classes have no need to enter them and are not paying for clases they don't enter anyway, those who do will pay for as many as they want up to the individual show's limit - 3, 4, 6, whatever, It may also just persuade people to bring an extra cat and encourage newcomers who are being put off by the now common £30 "price tag".

    I know it's too late for this year - though as the GCCF are already moving goal posts halfway through the game who knows - but would it be worth at least considering or would it be worth a club taking the idea, or something similar, to council? It would bring back the equality between the breed and all breed shows and between the pedigree and the HP sections, would hopefully not actually end up costing shows an awful lot more money than the Olympian already will, it could bring back more entries than the new system possibly will and it could build a few bridges between the GCCF and its ever increasing number of dissatisfied "customers". The only "problem" it does not address is the extra certificate writing but I am sure that could be managed by most clubs, especially as all 64 classes may well not have entries anyway, a lot of the current Imperial and Grand ones don't.

    Food for thought? Anyone willing to take it and run with it?

  10. I think if we are going ahead with the Olympian class we should increase the number of certificates that a champion and a Grand Champion should get to from 3 to 5 or we may be at risk of devaluing these certificates!

  11. Has anyone checked if the term OLYMPIAN has been copyrighted ? It would be really embarrasing if the GCCF fell foul of the Olympics Committee. Why not use the term CENTURAN CAT ? It is after all the year of the GCCF. Don't know what can be used when that runs out. It's a bit like Car registration numbers really.

  12. I would like to see the olympian put in the household pet section. In most cat shows we pay the same as the pedigree section so it only fair for household pets get the same not a stupid class called the green ribbon class

  13. I think the Olympian classes are not "performing", why not have a gold , silver and bronze award at each show as in the Olympics, and then when a cat has got 5 gold awards( doesn't matter however many silver and bronze it gains along the way, as in reserve tickets for grands and imperials)it can be called an Olympian, the way the classes are set up now I cannot see how any cat is going to get the top award, and the amount of money in entry fees is going to put a lot of exhibitors off, before they start.I would have thought the idea of say, ""my cat has, for instance, 2 bronze, 4 silver, and a gold award""that would be more appealing to most people than no award for the top cats that are being put forward at shows, and going home empty handed,it is something a little extra to try for, and better than having the awards withheld!!!which seems to be happening now to very well "titled" felines.

  14. i think that the pedigree pet section is quite unfair now as there are so many cats dropping out of the pedigree section if they are not good enough and entering the ped pet section i liked the idea of a pedigree pet section but i thought it would be for cat that have no papers what are NOT registered with the gccf as i feel this is a bit unfair on people like myself who have cats in the pedigree pet section which are not registered and i have a stray persian i show to in that section.the section is now becoming over run with registered pedigree cats which simlpy in one way or another are not quite good enough for the pedigree section its self. i feel there should be another section for registered ped pets which would be much fairer, as i am getting tired of competing against ex pedigree section cats at every show i attend now and some of them have vast experience at showing too.

    1. I do not agree some of us buy from reg breeders as we do not want to encourage back street breeders and these breeders are already reg we buy cats as pets and have never tried to show in pedigree clases we show because we are proud of our pets and enjoy meeting like minded people who show for fun andwe still take the best cats home no mater what they win or lose

  15. I also thought the ped pet section was for the Pedigree pet, Not for ex show cats & I do not think this should be allowed. There should be a new rule that it IS ONLY PETS in this section not cats that have been Previously shown in other sections. This is why the number of entries has decreased.

  16. i have a comment i think there should be a new open class introduced into the pedigree pet section for ragdolls and birmans because they are pointed or tipped and shouldn't be entered into tabby open class or the red/torti open class but they are because it is an easy way to get best of breed to go forward for best in show as the aoc open is very large at shows these days.
    i have 3 friends with ragdolls 1 was told to only enter in the aoc open class but the other 2 enter in the tabby open and the red/torti open how is that fair.i feel this needs looking into very much so.

  17. Having competed in the Olympian Classes many times with a longhaired cat and the Olympian judges all being judges of short haired cats I find it virtually impossible in fact one judge didnt even bother to put my cat on the trolley to examine
    him she just got her steward to hold him while she put one hand either side of his face didnt check his mouth at all and then told the steward to put him back while she proceeded to thoroughly examine the short haired cats !! I for one will not be showing anymore I complained to GCCF but got no where at all