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We at MASI in St. Louis hold 4 auctions and only 1 swap per year. We have a core of volunteers who work every auction and always a few guests who also help out. I would think clubs the size of GCCA who have more members would have plenty of volunteers to run an auction more than twice a year. I don't attend the swaps in Chicago because it is a 4 hour ride up there and not worth the trip to only buy a few fish. When i come i want to fill several coolers with fish to make the gas expense be spread over more items. MASI also limits the numnber of items that any person can bring to 20 no matter what it is (fish, plants, drygoods) which keeps the length down to 5-7 hours. The 20 limit also makes people bring their best stuff and package it in larger quantities. I'd like GCCA to have more auctions and fewer swaps. I'd come up more often.
Speaking about booking far in advance, something MASI does to allow us to book a year in advance is avoid the large chain hotels, they cost too much. We book our events into a smaller "fleabag" hotel with an auditorium/large banquet room. The one we use is frequented by truckers and auto assembly workers. The hotel really likes our business. Do the fish really care if the rest of the hotel is substandard as long as the room is warm enough and large enough?
MASI Auction Chairman
. . . . do we really need to work around bears games? if getting a bigger room or booking a year in advance causes us to miss a bears game is it the end of the world? we can just tivo it or put a TV in the entrance area with it on to keep us updated.
Ray is right. We do occasionally have conflicts with events put on by other aquarium societies. That includes clubs in surrounding states such as Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Iowa. We do greatly appreciate the support of everyone who travels to our events and many help out at auctions and our Cichlid Classic.
As for more auctions, I doubt that is going to happen. It takes 15-20 people to run an auction who have to commit an entire 16-hour day. Afterwards, it takes three people most of a day to balance all the purchases and write the checks. I'm fairly certain we are going to stick with 4 swaps and 2 auctions per year.
The Greater Chicago Cichlid Association — GCCA — is a not-for-profit, educational organization, chartered in the state of Illinois, dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of information relating to the biology of the fishes in the family Cichlidae, with particular emphasis on maintenance and breeding in captivity. We are simply cichlid hobbyists who love cichlids.