All-American Koi Show 2024 Roundup

Published on June 28, 2024

The All-American Koi Show sign

What a thrill! I attended the All-American Koi Show in Las Vegas in March. I got a call from Hector Mardueno from W. Lim Corp. late last year, who described what he and Shawn McHenry of Mystic Koi were cooking up.  

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I later had a sit-down with Hector, who filled me in. He originally wanted to do a water garden show, but that idea fizzled out. Hector has always been intrigued by koi shows and had gotten feedback from one of his international W. Lim clients that while the koi world in America had such huge potential, our industry was not very strong. There was a lot of negative talk about the koi game in America, and how COVID-19 destroyed our koi shows around the country. It was an easy decision to push hard for this national show, but first he had to figure out how to do it. 

Hector Mardueno (left) and Shawn McHenry

Hector reached out to the most reputable and well known koi dealer he knew, Shawn McHenry from Mystic Koi. Shawn has been his koi dealer since he got started in the business, and he knew that he dealt in high-end koi. He also knew that Shawn believed in good business and would truly want to better the industry. Having already committed to a date with the venue, it wasn’t difficult to convince Shawn to jump in, and the ball started rolling. They started planning and pushing hard. 

The show was really something. I arrived the afternoon before the show, and it was amazing to see so many tanks set up in the hotel parking lot. It was an astounding feat to set them all up, get the water and air stabilized and then add all the koi.  

The show drew a crowd of approximately 10,000 people over two days. Koi enthusiasts gathered their prized koi to be judged in the inaugural competition. As a bystander, you could experience the splendor of koi in an awe-inspiring exhibition where top collectors presented their most impressive fish to be judged. 

Judging and winners from the All American Koi Show 2024
(Left) Shinkokai USA members and Japanese judges gather to discuss AAKS judging categories and procedures; (Center) Japanese judges gathered around tub 17 for judging. (Right) Brian Fitzsimmons (left) and Andrew Sandler standing at the winners circle with Grand Champion “Jennifer Aniston.

How were the judges chosen? As told to me by Hector, Shawn has known the breeders since he was a teenager. He grew up with many of them before they took over some the farms from their parents. In January, Shawn and Hector went to Japan to meet with all the breeders, sat at their homes with their families, walked their farms and talked about how they were going to change the industry. Most of them did not care about money, costs or anything more than making a difference in the koi industry. They also wanted their name on the first All-American Koi Show. 

The  distinguished judges were: 

Shigeyoshi Tanaka (head judge) of Maryuju Koi Farm 

Takahiro Omosako of Omosako Koi Farm 

Yuki Kawakami of Torazo Koi Farm 

Takahiro Mizushima of Dainichi Koi Farm 

Takamitsu Sekiguchi of Sekiguchi Koi Farm 

Yoichi Taniguchi of Taniguchi Koi Farm 

Ryuichi Yoshida of Japan Pet Design (JPD) 

The mayor of Las Vegas, Mayor Goodman declared that March 23 was officially All-American Koi Show Day in Las Vegas and presented Hector with a plaque. Mark your calendars for March 29 – 30, 2025, and experience it for yourself!

1 thought on “All-American Koi Show 2024 Roundup”

  1. Great article and thanks to William Lim, Hector , Shawn and all the workers that made this great event happen! Don’t forget to attend the Koi Club of San Diego show 24-26 January 2025 at the Delmar Fairgrounds. The show and vendor chairman is Matt Rhoades and the entry chairman is Jack Chapman. More information is available on our website.
    koiclubofsandiego.org
    we hope to see you there!
    John Svelan
    KCSD

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