Question of the Week
Setauket, New York
I have my specialty ribbons in a box. I donate a lot to a vocational rehab program where they use them for arts and crafts. Trophies that don't have shows and dates on them I donate back to the Lab club to use – unless it's something special, like a duck!
Moses Lake, Washington
We donate the rosettes to grade schools. The teachers cut off or shorten the streamers to remove any lettering, then create a sticker to cover the center of the rosettes with any reward they wish to give out (best behavior, cleanest desk, most improved speller, etc.).
Port Reyes Station, California
As an organized packrat, I tend to keep (almost) everything ... Ribbons, especially rosettes, are effectively hung to keep the birds out of gardens, and are very colorful. (And are those award-winning vegetables?) I've never sewn them into skirts or quilts like I've seen done.
Trophies when possible are repurposed. A few (like my first group-placement cup) are cherished. Seriously, many bring back special memories and are displayed; many more are packed (but not thrown) away. I did sell many silverplate items at the flea market (with return enough to purchase something I wanted). Some of us remember the white-elephant trophy exchange that Pauline Waterman put on on New Year’s Day. The most outrageous trophy you won that year. Clubs, think about this when you offer trophies – decorative, useful, practical. Taking home that cement footprint of Texas was a doozie!? Though it is appreciated, what about a donation to Take the Lead?
I saw this on Facebook and gave it a try! I was happy with the results!
Kenny Saenz and William Miller
Ribbons: Recycle them as bookmarks for school students.
Rosettes: Place in ginger-jar lamps or in glass terrariums. Framed some with the win photograph!
Trophies and rosettes: Hand them to kids at dog shows!
I have a client who took all the ribbons that her dog won from the previous year and proceeded to glue them in a collage around the outside of a trash can. It was a creative work of art. Afterward, as she marveled at a job well done, she said, "This has got to be the most expensive piece of furniture in house."
Patricia Collins Briasco
We here at Aran Isle Staffords had amassed boxes of ribbons in more than five decades of showing in the AKC. Considering all the time, money, travel and effort responsible for these boxes, I had to do something.
I found an old curio cabinet cocktail table. I refinished it, illuminated it, and placed all the blue ribbons in it. All specialty ribbons and trophies are proudly displayed in the living room. All the others were crisp, discolored from age and recycled. My table stands as a reminder of all the years of devotion, passion and respect we have for our breeds and the sport of purebred dogs. Thanks for asking such a great question.
Old ribbons and trophies are typically displayed, reused or recycled. Rosettes that are important to me (national-specialty wins, group placements, WKC wins, National Championship wins, title rosettes) are displayed on my "ribbon walls.” Other wins and flats may be reused in ribbon art. I am rather crafty and will reuse ribbons to make fanciful rosette heads, cover shelves with them, or cover breed silhouettes with them. I also donate them to other crafters, the local 4-H chapter and the local community center. Trophies that are "trophy" type are displayed. Useful trophies – buckets, coolers, tumblers, towels, etc. – are used with pride and joy. Trophies that don't fit my taste, usefulness or are duplicates are typically donated or may appear at my breed club's annual auction as "ghosts from the past." Each and every one of them represents a special moment spent with these wonderful creatures that share my life. Every moment is important, but there is a time when there are too many moments piled up in a box after 40-plus years.
I used to keep group and BIS ribbons in a big basket. (The photo is from an article in Purina’s Today’s Breeder, Summer 1991.) I had framed pictures of national-specialty wins.
Now that I’m in an apartment in a senior living facility, the only framed picture and ribbon I have is the group win at Westminster. I do have paintings of Frigate and a few others.
Silver Lake, Kansas
I save the ribbons and sew them on a backing. It takes five panels and when sewn together makes a stunning crate cover.
I have also cut them up in squares and then with a screwdriver poked them into a straw wreath. Makes a lovely door decoration.
One other use: Run them through a paper shredder. This makes wonderful filler for gift baskets.
New York, New York
I have put many in hurricane globes and made them into lamps.
Another is a glass-top coffee table with the ribbons set inside. BIS ribbons are all in shadow boxes hanging throughout my apartment, along with the Rally, Obedience and Agility championships!
Some say I need another apartment; I say putting them on the ceiling is my next option.
El Dorado Hills, California
Having just moved to a smaller home to downsize, and with an accumulated 17 years of dog-show memorabilia, this is a timely question to which I just happen to have answers!
My old ribbons are chevron-clipped to remove the inscription on the ribbon. The center part that may have an emblem or seal on it is usually covered by the organization receiving the altered ribbons.
Altered ribbons are donated to the local Boys and Girls Club, or to the local Special Olympics chapter.
The generic (not specialty) trophies are donated to any dog club or other club as appropriate.
When I had to move, I pulled out two black garbage bags full of "silver" mint dishes and trays I'd been keeping since the ’80s. I took them to a recycling center, as they were plated brass. Earned $20! My ribbons and rosettes went to the local Montessori school for crafts. I kept a few rosettes with good memories attached.
Temple City, California
I keep the meaningful ones … Westminster, National Specialty, Best in Show, etc. But since I’ve been doing this for way too many years than I’d like to admit, I generally have to toss many of them. Maybe we should try to create a state-by-state way to donate them for recycling? I hate throwing them out, as I’m one who tends to have an emotional attachment to these things, so finding a way to donate them would be wonderful!
Old ribbons eventually go to the round file, unless it was a very memorable or special win. Old trophies I have sometimes donated back to the original club. Or, if it was a very special trophy for a very special dog, I have sometimes used it to put the dog’s ashes in when the dog that won that trophy passes on.
Bruce Township, Michigan
Plastic hoop and ribbons make an extraordinary outdoor decoration … a windsock: Stitch a rectangle out of ribbons, fold over a wooden or plastic hoop, stitch/attach three sturdy strings equal distance apart and tie at the top.
Readington Twp, New Jersey
All ribbons won are distributed to their respective owners who want them. Flats generally end up in the trash. Rosettes we keep in a box, and once a quarter we take them to a Jim Rau show and they recycle the heads.
I give them to a lady, Jan Schreiber, who makes things out of them.
E. Walpole, Massachusetts
I have our winnings all over the house in the form of ribbons (make good bookmarks), champagne buckets, stained glass, clocks, glassware, pewter, artwork, etc. The number of trophies is based on getting addicted to dog showing with dogs from the leading breeder of my breed and having them shown by outstanding professional handlers. Covid and age have put an end to those days; however, I have wonderful memories of gorgeous dogs and long-lasting friends who share a place in those memories.
I copied what a big, very successful show kennel does, on a miniature scale: Instead of having one large glass container for Group 1st, three more for 2nd, 3rd and 4th placements, and of course a big one for BIS rosettes (I don’t think they even saved BOB ribbons!), I have a couple of empty aquariums (aquaria?), where I put the glitzy ribbons. It looks quite nice! The smaller ribbons I save as proof of win, in case AKC disputes this. (It has happened!)
Trophies worth keeping are put in a glass cabinet in the living room …
Mark Francis Jaeger
A decade or so ago, the American Brussels Griffon Association had "topiary" trophies made from ribbons appropriate for the win. Alan Ream and David McCollum (Arenada) did the work. They were quite impressive.
Denville, New Jersey
I encourage people to reuse them. I take all sorts of ribbons and rosettes and create new ones, and the leftover ribbons I use to make large Pee Wee ribbons at very little expense to the clubs!
Julie L. Mueller
Ribbons, I keep them all. I have always kept a record of every dog, the show they attended, who judged and the award(s) for that day. They are kept in large envelopes. Group ribbons are displayed at the kennel for a time and then go into plastic storage containers, except The Garden! Best in Show and specialty ribbons are displayed at the kennel and at my home. I especially like to display Best in Show ribbons in the front of the lobby/store at the kennel. They are signed on the front from the judge, and my employees and clients love seeing and reading them. Special trophies are displayed at my home, and I gift others to people who love our dogs. Austin loves his Best in Show chair from “Stewart.”
Then ... Kept the ribbons attached to points until I was sure we had it right, then chucked.
Now ... I have been unable to leash-train my 3-year-old Russell, so sadly no more ribbons.
Group ribbons hung around awhile, and my BIS ribbon is still lurking dustily in a corner, I'm sure.
Bluffton, South Carolina
I kept every ribbon my first Irish Setter won, from Best Opp Sweeps to Winners. We took show photos and kept those as well.
That was 30 years and around 90 champions ago. So as the years passed, I continued to keep win photos and large rosettes from Best in Specialties and National honors, most from specialing my champions.
Friends who kept their small ribbons created beautiful quilts. Not me, so mine were kept in a box for later. When later came and went, I stopped keeping them.
Over the years I custom-framed BIS rosettes, Top 10 National honors and specialty wins. However, I saved every dog-show photo of my dogs, placed lovingly in photo albums. Those save the memories of all my dogs for me, not the ribbons.
Santa Rosa, California
I only keep breed specialty ribbons and group ribbons. I used to keep them all.
I did look for people to donate them to, but I can't find anybody to take the regular ones now, so I just throw them away.
Hillsborough, North Carolina
I have saved them all! Starting with a second-place class ribbon from 1979 all the way to group and BISS wins decades later, I have them all neat and tidy in a few boxes. My plans? Since all but two of my dogs' cremains reside in my chest of drawers, it is my wish that the cremains as well as the ribbons and rosettes be tucked in my coffin when my time comes. That will be a very colorful and happy resting place full of GREAT memories!