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Thread: Growout contests

  1. #1
    Jumbo sacicu's Avatar
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    Growout contests

    Koi growout contest are nothing new. In this post Ill enumerate the different kind of koi growout that I have come accross.

    The cheap tosai growout challenge. In this scenario the dealer offers cheap tosai that one can purchase, take the koi home, feed it. Grow it and groom it until a certain time you enter the koi in a contest where judges name all sorts of awards from best growth, best in varities, grand champion, best tategoi, etc. Hobbyist get trophies and plaques. The growout is designed for new comer in the hobby or those who dont care much on quality.

    The high quality tosai growout challenge. In this scenario the quality of the koi sold are higher and so are the prices. This gives incentives to hobbyist who look for quality and would likely keep the koi after the growout challenge. Again the awards are trophies and certificates and plaques.

    The cheap tosai growout for money challenge. In this scenario what are sold are cheap tosai marked up at a much higher price that its real value to cover for cash prizes that the dealer will give to the winners. In this scenario, the dealer may loose money if not enough participants or may gain more money. Participants take the risk of purchasing a poorer quality koi at a premium price. Some regular participants enjoy the challenge of winning something monetary for the effort of joining. Those who win in such contest feel not only they have won something monetary or of value but the koi they picked or groom is superior and worth the high price they paid. Those who did not win may feel they overpaid for their koi.

    The high quality tosai growout for money challenge. Similar to above but the dealer explains the tosai price is very high because there is not only because of the quality ( pattern, skin usually regardless of future potential, sex) while there is also a monetary incentive to the growout contest.

    The azukari growout contest. In this scenario, the dealer will be the one to grow the koi and the participants can only choose either by 1st pick or lottery. The dealer will say he will shoulder the azukari but will seldom guarantee if anything happens to the koi. In other words, its buyers risks. Incentives can be in form of cash, prizes, gift certificates, a high quality koi, etc. The dealer may offer high or low quality koi but usually koi would be of same value and quality to be fair.

    The azukari and take home growout contest. This gets to be more complicated as the dealer allows both azukari and take home to grow your koi. Dealer would charge extra for azukari but would never guarantee is something happens to the koi. This scenario targets both hobbyist who dont have pond space to grow their koi while allowing hobbyist who trust their own abilities to grow their own koi. Again there may or may not be prizes depending on the rules.

    The dealer/subdealer koi growout challenge. In this scenario the importer or top dealer would allocate certain number of koi to their subdealers to sell certain number of same quality koi after which the subdealers or their customers may enter their chosen koi in this growout contest. This form of growout contest gives incentives to subdealers and their customers to join in a particular growout contest. Again, there may or may not be monetary incentives given during the growout period and contest date itself to the dealers and to their customers. In some cases, such contest can be international in scope where a japanese koi dealer in cooperation with a breeder entice their subagents in other countries to join.

  2. #2
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    What we most often see in the U.S. are not true growout contests like Sacicu describes, but bulk purchases where club members select tosai offered by a dealer supposedly at a discount. The members are encouraged to bring their koi to a show the following year, but not required to do so, and most do not.

    I have participated in such bulk purchases in the past, but not in a true growout contest. There is a California dealer who has promoted growout contests, but I am not sure whether many of the participants actually brought their koi back for exhibition. Offering cash prizes would likely increase the number who brought their koi back, but the higher cost would reduce the number of purchasers. There would need to be a true competitive spirit to make it a real success.

  3. #3
    Administrator Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    What we most often see in the U.S. are not true growout contests like Sacicu describes, but bulk purchases where club members select tosai offered by a dealer supposedly at a discount. The members are encouraged to bring their koi to a show the following year, but not required to do so, and most do not.

    I have participated in such bulk purchases in the past, but not in a true growout contest. There is a California dealer who has promoted growout contests, but I am not sure whether many of the participants actually brought their koi back for exhibition. Offering cash prizes would likely increase the number who brought their koi back, but the higher cost would reduce the number of purchasers. There would need to be a true competitive spirit to make it a real success.

    I think the most interesting type would be to have all the tosai sent out to grow in the same mudpond, and a breeder visits during the harvest to judge the results. Have price ranges for all the tosai offered, then after "best of" prizes in each of those groups, with of course the overall winner. Gives something for everyone of different means to enjoy and feel part of the larger event.
    Brian Sousa
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  4. #4
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    I think the most interesting type would be to have all the tosai sent out to grow in the same mudpond, and a breeder visits during the harvest to judge the results. Have price ranges for all the tosai offered, then after "best of" prizes in each of those groups, with of course the overall winner. Gives something for everyone of different means to enjoy and feel part of the larger event.
    That would show genetics and people's eye for selection. Most growouts put a big emphasis on owners care of tosai for a year. I have a friend that won and beat a growout contestant who kept his tosai in a mud pond, my friend's tosai was kept in a 500 gallon tank with other tosai.

  5. #5
    Jumbo sacicu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricshaw View Post
    That would show genetics and people's eye for selection. Most growouts put a big emphasis on owners care of tosai for a year. I have a friend that won and beat a growout contestant who kept his tosai in a mud pond, my friend's tosai was kept in a 500 gallon tank with other tosai.
    This does not surprise me. There is a lot of time, putting koi in mudponds does not necessarily translate to growth and growing tosai in 500gallon tanks inhibit growth. The former methods gives more emphasis on wider space and a less stressful environment to grow but small koi in a very big pond may not necessarily eat more as compared to ones placed in a small tank with automatic feeding schedules and continuous flow to remove any growth inhibiting hormones. Ive done the latter before growing several growout koi in a small pond with at least 25% water change a day and 12x feed a day. At the end of growout period I was surprise to see Ive grown the koi a lot more with exceptional skin as compared to other hobbyist who had much bigger ponds.

    I have lost interest in joining growout events though and prefer the relax method of growing koi more naturally (fed just enough with sunday no feeding at 3 to 4 x a day) which wont really win me best growth anymore. The way I see it the usually hobbyist who win best growth usually have problems with their koi once these koi become near jumbo or jumbo size quickly. If one though wants to aim the best growout koi, picking male tosai would be the best option which is something I dont want anymore because that would mean feeding the koi for less than a year, then take a chance of winning a trophy and then selling the koi at a loss or just enough to cover the keeping cost. I would prefer a much longer project on the koi that I buy so I can see and enjoy its long term development nowadays.

    In a small regional city, the dealer I talked to said people get more enticed to buy small koi and join koi growout annually when there is real money involved. We are talking here of at least 800 dollars plus trophy for the grandchampion and 200 dollars for each of the best in variety gosanke chosen. Entry koi price is less than 200 dollars for a 20 cm tateshita coming from a midsize japanese farm which will probably cost the dealer less than 30 dollars per koi to bring in. This event goes on annually and in fact there seem to be more hobbyist joining the growout compared to their organized open koi show which there is no money involve. What I find interesting is that quality of koi joining the annual koi never improve much in terms of quality and size. This begs the question whether such growout tateshita growout contest annually actually demotivates hobbyist to improve their quality eye when it comes to koi.

  6. #6
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sacicu View Post
    **** What I find interesting is that quality of koi joining the annual koi never improve much in terms of quality and size. This begs the question whether such growout tateshita growout contest annually actually demotivates hobbyist to improve their quality eye when it comes to koi.
    It would reward the person able to select for early maturation. The tateshita with the most potential could well be the worst to choose for judging just one growing season later. I doubt many hobbyists can identify 20cm koi that will not crap out after one season, but will peak that quickly.

  7. #7
    Administrator Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricshaw View Post
    That would show genetics and people's eye for selection. Most growouts put a big emphasis on owners care of tosai for a year. I have a friend that won and beat a growout contestant who kept his tosai in a mud pond, my friend's tosai was kept in a 500 gallon tank with other tosai.

    I think there's something to be said for both types. Some folks prefer to take a "hands-on" approach to raising their tosai, while others are more than happy to "farm" the job out. (pun intended) Growing a tosai out on your own, especially in a small tank like in your example really highlights the keeper's abilities and requires a high level of skill in feeding and tweaking the water. Mud ponds contain massive volumes of water with no man-made filtration and usually aren't prone to large swings in water quality, aside from things like heavy rains, agricultural runoff (if not bermed up) and algae problems that can take a lot of effort to remedy. That's not to mention the threat of predators from above and ground level. Mud ponds perform differently, even ones right next to each other.

    As you say, one way shows off your eye and the genetics (all things are pretty equal assuming all the tosai are in the same pond), and the other your keeping (but also selection) skills.
    Brian Sousa
    Koi-Bito Forum

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