I had the good fortune to stop in Portland Oregon and visit the Northwest Koi and Goldfish Club's (NWKGC) seventeenth annual show on July 26th and 27th, 1997. I had heard from previous years' attendees that this was one of the nicest shows in the US and I was not disappointed! I was able to meet many new people and see a great selection of Koi and goldfish.
The NWKGC has a wonderful location for their show. The Washington Park area of Portland is a complex of outdoor parks and gardens that include a zoo and the Forestry Center. The show was held in an area next to the Forestry Center's museum; the goldfish tanks were in the same building that the seminars and the banquet were held in, and the Koi vats were under a big tent in an open concrete area in front of that building. Apparently the NWKGC's relationship with the Forestry Center is good enough that the needs of a Koi show were considered when the concrete slab and drainage were designed and installed.
I arrived at the show at about 10 AM on Saturday morning. At that point, the Koi and the goldfish judging were underway. The GFSA's chairman emeritus, Al Thomma, was the goldfish judge, with Scott Taylor assisting. The head Koi judge was a Dr. Tsai from Taiwan, who was assisted by two US judges who are pursuing their Koi judging certification.
While the judging was going on, the areas with the fish were closed to spectators. I spent time looking at the vendor displays and picked up some literature. The show program was a nice 44-page booklet with interesting articles including the history of many of the special awards. I also picked up a free AKCA booklet on Koi health that had good coverage and pictures of many familiar diseases. I met Jane Taylor, and had a nice chat with her while her husband was assisting Al with the judging. I also attended the tail-end of an informal seminar by a Koi vendor. By this time it was getting on towards lunchtime. I decided to walk across the parking lot to the Portland Zoo to see the sights there and have lunch.
The goldfish judging finally wrapped up about 2 PM. The Koi judges didn't finish until 4 PM. Asking around, I was told that there were 195 Koi entered and 86 goldfish. Once they opened the building with the goldfish display tanks, the area was flooded with spectators eager to see the fish. I was trying to take pictures of some of the prize winning fish and had a hard time of it. Even a news crew showed up to videotape the championship goldfish. I don't know if the show made the local evening news, but the Sunday paper the next day had a nice article.
The grand champion goldfish was a spectacularly veiltailed calico Telescope Eye (here is a picture showing this fish leading a procession of prize-winning eye-type fish). Reserve grand champion was taken by a big beautiful red Oranda with white edged fins. I was actually surprised at the variety of goldfish reflected in the 86 entrants; while I didn't see any rare varieties, most of the familiar breeds were represented (no Comets entered, though a few Sarassa Comets were auctioned the next day). The most unusual fish was probably a bronze Celestial with pompoms. I think there may only have been one singletailed goldfish in the show, but that was a very nice Bristol Shubunkin which took several honors.
For more about my visit, the full text of this article and additional photos and articles appear in the September 1997 Goldfish Report.