As I celebrated Groomania’s  tenth anniversary this past weekend, it gave me great pleasure to interact with  over a hundred attendees  from 18 different countries: some came as far away as Japan, the USA, Canada, Russia, South America, Spain, China, and most of the European countries were represented. Some participants come because they are fierce competitors looking to compete at the highest level, for others it is to collect extra groom team points, and for some it is just to visit and see old friends.

Everyone can always look forward to a top international panel of judges and speakers. There are lectures and demonstrations, all weekend, presented by some of the world’s finest groomers. The education is a state of the art program. There are amazing contests with excellent classes including the Richard Barker Award, Best All-round Groomer, Best in Show, Extreme Makeover, Beginner Class, Model Dog class.

Groomania also offers wonderful shopping with the latest and greatest products from around the world. Darren Cooke and Kitty Dekeersgieter, the longtime owners of Transgroom, is currently one of the largest, retail animal products vendors in Europe. Their staff is kind and knowledgeable about the products and have a smile for everyone.

One of my favorite classes is the model dog class which is open only to children under 15 years of age. The entry is free. Each child is given a yarn dog to brush out and then groom. The look of delight on these kids’ faces is unforgettable.

A show like this always depends on the support and sponsorship of many of the industry’s leading companies.  I find it so refreshing that even though many of these companies are in direct competition with each other, they have formed a very friendly rivalry, perhaps even including a little banter. They all work hard at their booths and yet they often have dinner and a beer together that night.

You could not ask for a better location to host an event of this size and prestige. There is plenty of parking. A beautiful bathing area equipped with two tubs is available and there are many drying stations. Plenty of room for everyone!

If I had to pick one word to describe Groomania, it would be “Family.” This event is filled with a whole lotta of love-you can feel the energy from the moment you walk in the door! Everybody speaks of how much fun this shows is:  seeing and spending time with friends from around the world, the shopping, the party.

There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into making the magic happen. They have built an outstanding team-such a friendly, hard-working, wonderful staff: From being greeted with a smile as you walk in the door; to the best darn lunch lady in the world, Brigitte, and then Pop, the most brilliant man who’s always making sure things are running smoothly, or running around with a broom sweeping up, or just finding out if someone might need a glass of water. Even Patje the lady that is washing all the dogs for the seminars is doing a great job and with pride.

I have asked myself what makes this show so successful. I believe the answer is that everyone involved cares so much about our industry. Every year the organizers host a party in the evening with dinner and a live band. For the last two years, they have had a new up-and-coming band, again supporting new artists such as “Cups and Plates” from Belgium, who won the Battle of the Bands 2014. They also make this a costume party and this past year was inspired by the classic 50s era. The room was filled with poodle skirts.  How fitting, I thought!

None of this would be possible without the Two First Ladies:  Kitty Dekeersgieter and Kitty Ponnet.
Congratulations on a fabulous 10 years ladies, and here’s to ten more!!!!

It has been a pleasure to report on the huge success of the Tenth Anniversary show GROOMANIA.

By Shaunna Bernardin