I am a member of several GMO’s but there is only one that I really love. So much so that about 10 years ago I become a lifetime member. These people have known me for years and are just so incredibly nice that it makes me feel good to be a part of their organization. Last week they had their annual awards banquet and I am so glad that I went! Normally I am not a fan of the awards banquet. Yes, I love ribbons, but $50 for a crappy dinner is just not that much fun when you don’t have a barn full of friend to share it with. I can understand why barns that show a lot like to go, it is fun to see all your barn mates dressed up! For someone like me though show doesn’t have a big barn it just isn’t always that much fun. Watching the same people win 10 awards gets old really quick and by the 100th name that is called for the evening I just want to go home.
My fun GMO has it down though. Just like at the shows they know how to have a good time! How do they make it fun? First off they have a DJ. From putting everyone at ease when they walk in the door to having everyone rock out to the electric slide after dinner it really gives the whole night a festive feeling. They also understand that we are not all millionaires! Instead of doing a silent auction they do a Chinese auction where you buy tickets and put them in cups. Instead of bidding hundreds of dollars on an item you can spend $20 and hope that luck is on your side. It was for me, I won a class entry to a show over the summer. Because it was so affordable almost everyone there got some tickets, which kept everyone there till the end of the night as they announced the auction winners!
They also broke up the announcing of the awards up. Instead of hours upon hours of names they do it in 20 minute chunks. They do 4-5 divisions at a time so everyone is paying attention to the winners instead of having the first few divisions go and then have people get bored and start talking so the people at the end can’t even hear their names. Sure, some people got many, many awards but it didn’t seem so bad because it was not so noticeable.
So, I must also admit that having booze available made this banquet even better. I enjoy a good cocktail so having a bar at the place was the best! I also had a great time because of who I sat with. There was no seating chart or assigned tables, but just as I was about to sit down one of the people from the GMO came over and said that they wanted me to sit at a different table. I didn’t care so I picked my stuff up and went over when I saw that they wanted me to sit with. I got to hang out with the only other person I really knew! The woman I showed against all year. The one who is really fun and who also kicked my butt! It was great though because I sat with her, her family and her trainer. They are so nice and fun that by the end of the night I actually felt like I was a part of the family too. The GMO people knew we would have fun together so they wanted us to sit together. That is how an awards banquet should be, you should always leave with more friends than you came in with!
I also have to say that this GMO had beautiful ribbons. They are not the biggest, but they are really pretty. The two-tone color makes me proud of my 7th place finish because it is so flipping pretty! The last, but certainly not the least, reason why I loved this banquet is because everyone is nice and friendly. It must be like a pre-requisite to be in the GMO. All night people were introducing themselves to me, smiling, congratulating me, and talking to be about their horses. Banquets can be a time when you see the worst in people…snotty attitudes and snide comments can feel like the norm. At this banquet though the whole atmosphere was just a night to celebrate how well EVERYONE had done, which is how it should be!