What can An
Army of One do for your club?
If you have attended Southern Region shows this year, chances are you've seen
the black and gold An Army of One show drapes of the Army Feline
Exhibition Team. Many people are
curious as to what its all about. It all
started with Nikki Sanders and her husband, CPT Nelson Sanders. CPT Sanders is
an Army Recruiting Company Commander. He came up with the idea of using
drapes as a way to boost recruiting. Sphynx are one of the breeds most noticed by the public and he sought to use that novelty to benefit the Army.
It began small enough with simple drapes but due to the vast interest it
generated, CPT Sanders went to his own commander, Lieutenant Colonel Dougherty
of the U.S. Army Columbia (SC) Recruiting Battalion. The idea was a hit and the
Feline Exhibition Team was born. There was a special photo session for her cat,
GC Ltd Edition of Sphynxter (Lem), and Nikki found herself surrounded by a vast
inventory of An Army of One promotional items, and given a crash course in Army recruiting.
She remembers, "They sat me down and presented me with a Pocket Recruiter
Handbook and proceeded to instruct me on all of the Army's programs and
benefits. They trained me up and sent me on my mission."
Nikki then began using much upgraded An
Army of One
show drapes and having Army brochures prominently displayed on her cage. The
Army gave her as many supplies as she needed, and soon she was explaining
benefits and passing out brochures and Army lapel pins. The idea was a success
and a huge amount of press was generated. Lem was featured in multiple
and succeeded in several recruiting
Press releases began to be sent out ahead of each show to let the press know the
Army Cat was coming to town. With their success growing, Lem's Best Sphynx
Kitten award at the Southern Regional banquet was sponsored in the name of Army
Recruiting and the Battalion also donated hundreds of lapel pins, either Army
logo or American flag, for each person attending the banquet.
The Feline Exhibition Team expanded to include Jacqui Bennett. Jacqui is a
Navy veteran whose father is a retired Army officer. Nikki and Jacqui
frequently travel together and the set up consists of two to three cages of
black and gold. The Feline Exhibition Team currently consists of three cats;
Team Leader, GC Ltd Edition of Sphynxter (Sphynx), GC Low Country Sand Man (Ocicat),
and Bondi's Gladiator of Low Country (European Burmese). The cats are
informally referred to as the Hooah Kitties and there is a
Website set up at by the Army. There is an online store
with profits divided between Army Emergency Relief Fund and CFA Disaster Relief.
Due to his recruiting efforts, Lem was part of a special awards presentation by
the Army at the Huntsville Cat Club show, July 23. The local press and a
representative of the Mayor's Office were in attendance while SGT Legston of
Huntsville Recruiting Company presented GCLtd Edition of Sphynxter with awards
of Honorary Sergeant and Honorary Recruiter from US Army Recruiting. He is now
SGT GC Ltd Edition of Sphynxter! Additional awards were presented to CFA
President, Pam Delabar, and Southern Regional Director, Peg Johnson, for their
"outstanding support of US Army Recruiting and the Feline Exhibition Team."
The Huntsville show had many spectators who stated they'd come to see the Army
Cats, and several even wore Army t-shirts. Through the press releases, the show
was mentioned in at least two newspapers, a news station, and two community
calendars. The Huntsville Times featured a photo of Lem. The Mayor
planned to attend herself until she was called away last minute. She sent a
representative in her place to show her support. The representative in turn
loved the show and has stated that she intends to enter her own cat as a HHP
next year! CFA gained a great deal of advertising and support from local civic
leaders, and the Army gained three additional people wishing to interview with a
recruiter. Following the show, the Huntsville Cat Club was featured in an
article on the Website
About.com and it includes a photo of the Army cages.
The unlikely partnership
between the Army and CFA has blossomed into a mutually beneficial and unique
combination. If you are a CFA club and would like a special attraction to
increase gate, consider inviting the Feline Exhibition Team. You can be sure
that press releases will be sent out to all local media and the team brings with
them freebies for spectators. At the Huntsville show, they gave away bumper
stickers, Army stickers, lapel pins, cat toys, and for the kids, they gave away
patriotic rub-on tattoos and dog tags. The Feline Exhibition Team is proven to
attract gate and members of the press. They can arrange displays of pamphlets
and freebies, and, with enough notice, can even arrange for an Army Recruiter to
attend the show.
Contact Nikki Sanders for details.