The Importance of Ribbons
By Brandy Von Holten
Ribbons can motivate people and become a joyous reminder of achieving a sought after goal. Ribbons do not get enough credit for what they do for a person’s sense of pride. Through owning a trail riding facility that hosts numerous events throughout the year in everything ranging from horse shows, speed events, dressage, cooking competitions, and obstacles competitions, the way to a person’s heart is sometimes through something as simple as a ribbon. Join me as we discuss the unsung hero, the ribbon!
Participation ribbons have to be strategically used in situations. If your event is geared towards young children, it is important for everyone to obtain a ribbon. However, once that child is around the age of seven, you do not need to spend your money on a participation ribbon. Now, do not get me wrong, people still have great pride in having something such as a keychain, coffee cup, water bottle, bumper sticker, etc., to show they qualified/attended an event, but the participation ribbons need to stay in the younger children divisions.
The rosette of a ribbon is typically pleated or folded fabric around the button of a ribbon. If you have the funds available, I would highly recommend having a rosette on your ribbons. If you are struggling to make the event have a profit, see if you can at least make first place have a rosette. This will help your event appear more prestigious and will make competitors want to return.
Places and Colors
By my husband and I owning Von Holten Ranch which is an equine competition center and trail riding facility, it important to not put the event name on the ribbon. This helps keep the ribbons universal and useable for a variety of events. If this is an option for you, I would recommend not putting a specific year on the ribbon, either. You might end up with 30 extra 6th place ribbons that you will be able to use next year and cut down the cost of a future event. Make sure you use traditional colors for the main middle streamer and have the place on the ribbon.
Write on the Back
If you are awarding ribbons you should write information about the event on the back of the ribbon. This is often overlooked or purposely skipped, but when someone takes the time to write on the back of a ribbon it is appreciated more than you’ll ever know. I would highly recommend writing the date and the division. If you have time, write the person’s name. Please be extra cautious that you spell their name correctly. If you are trying to solidify relationships and loyalty to your facility and/or event, go the extra mile!
People love specialty ribbons! Talk to your ribbon provider/manufacturer and see if they have any ideas to really add some flash and flare to your event. They do this for a living and are able to draw upon a wealth of knowledge. I use www.horseshowribbons.com as our ribbon vendor.
Life After the Competition
Ribbons have such a lasting impression that people find ways to keep them in their life. Some people make new items with them such as pillows or blankets. Some people take all the rosettes off and place them in shadow boxes or glue them to vases. Some people place them in trophy rooms. In my office I have two ribbons hanging, a green 6th place ribbon and a yellow 3rd place ribbon. I have so much pride associated with those two ribbons. It does not matter that the ribbons are not blue!
If you ever thought a ribbon was not important, please reconsider. Countless hours and expenses went into winning that ribbon. Winning a ribbon really is a big deal!