Katie Gammill, Showring Editor / April 2010
Multi-Group AKC Judge-Club Officer offers simple but critical guidelines for both dog show judges and the specialty shows and kennel clubs who hire them.
The phone rings - an invitation to judge. The judge pencils in the dates, a judging contract is coming. Months pass but no contract, no follow up.
During this time, a Specialty club contacts the judge. He/she turns the club down due
to conflict. Still no contract is forthcoming. The judge calls the club. The
response is “We were just checking to see if you were available."
All too often, the
first invitation didn’t materialize into an actual judging contract even though
a second judging invitation was turned down. Two judging weekends were lost.
The American Kennel Club, in the past, insisted breeds be listed on contracts.
Today, too many are “open ended” contracts. A Group may be listed but breeds
aren’t specified. When the Specialty club calls, under the assumption of doing
the Group for the prior club, the judge says no, can’t do that breed. Then, when
the first contract arrives, many of the breeds in the specified group are not
assigned to that judge. Therefore, judging the specialty WAS possible.
Problems ensue when breeds aren’t assigned until a month or so prior to the
show. Understandably, breeds are often held for provisional judges. Perhaps if
breeds had been assigned to that first judge, most judges would happily
relinquish those breeds if asked. Some judges will not sign an open contract.
Others want consecutive days to avoid “sitting out” a middle show. Some judges
take that as opportunity to catch a seminar. Clubs used to work together on
panels but that isn’t always the case and smaller shows have a tough time making
Today, the AKC allows the hiring of provisional judges to be considered as a
club educational requirement. Exhibitors at one time requested judges for
panels. That has changed. Today a judge is guaranteed a group due to AKC support
and networking. In the past, without support of the exhibitors, those
unqualified fell by the wayside.
What is the show club’s responsibility?
It should always be a club
officer who contacts the judge. Judging fees and expenses are determined. The
club follows up with a judging contract within a reasonable or specified time.
The judging contract should include The Three “A”s. Accommodations, Agreements
and Airport. If hiring a provisional judge, all details should be confirmed.
Some clubs consider a limit regarding a provisional judge such as 175 dogs at $4
a dog. Some judges may feel shorted but it wasn’t so long ago that a tank of gas
was a boon! New judges lived to get their hands on dogs, even at their own
expense. This was the price of learning and of doing business.
The show giving club
makes provisions for judge’s pickup. Bless those members holding signs to
identify themselves. Van drivers should carry a step stool. Realize some judges
cannot move to the back of the van easily. When leaving the judge at the hotel,
advise the judge whether or not a supper is planned.
payment prior to checking in. The desk MUST KNOW if the club’s credit card or a
personal credit card is to be used. If it is a personal card, the judge will
turn this in on his/her bill. IF a hotel charges two credit cards, it takes
months to correct. This can happen when clubs request a judge make their own
reservations. Most hotels serve breakfast. Most clubs leave “goody bags” in the
room. (Bless you!) A note on the pillow regarding pick up time is appreciated.
Upon arrival at the
show facility, direct the judge to hospitality. During show day, a golf cart is
handy for lunch break or if a judge moves ring to ring. Have a responsible
person collect judge’s bills during lunch. Club members make every effort to
insure judges are well cared for. Treat them nice!
What is the judge’s responsibility?
signed judging contract immediately. Honor the first contract,
even IF a better deal is offered. Advise club of arrival and
departure time. Most judges are hired for the DAY! Travel
arrangements should be convenient for the club as some locations
are miles from the airport. In case of illness, breeds may be
reassigned. Provisional judges may come and go. Book your flight
early to save club money.
receipts, contract and air flight with the bill. Determine if
meals are per diem, or expenses. When a judge uses air miles,
this comes directly from THEIR pocket and it does NOT relieve
the club of travel expenses. Once the judge is returned to the
airport, the club is not responsible for inclement weather
conditions or delays.
your ring thirty minutes before scheduled judging time. If you
need an observation, contact the AKC rep early in the morning as
they schedule their day. Follow up reviews come after judging,
therefore courtesy reigns anytime there is a question, contact
the AKC representative. They are there for you.
from different backgrounds and may see virtues and faults
differently. Ringside is not the place to discuss placements,
applications, or future assignments.
requests for pictures. Dress comfortable but remember, you ARE
officiating and judging IS a privilege. Give each dog allocated
time and be kind to exhibitors. Your ring steward is your best
friend. If questioned by an exhibitor, don’t feel compelled to
explain placements. The exhibitor paid for your opinion, they
got it! Do not allow yourself to be intimidated.
the show, make sure your check is the correct amount and is
signed. Be ready, coat in hand and luggage by your side when the
van arrives. Be kind to those club workers as four day circuits
are grueling. Courtesy and kindness make a great day for the
exhibitor, club and officiating judges.
evenings judges gather for dinner. Discussion regarding entered
dogs should be held to a minimum. Due to diverse opinions
regarding solicitation of judging assignments, be discreet. Even
though now “legal” solicitation should be done with tact and
consideration for those who don’t agree with the policy. Good
sportsmanship is the key to a successful show.
judge, club members, and exhibitors must protect and contribute
to this great sport. Only by walking hand in hand can we secure
the sport of pure bred dogs for future exhibitors.
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