By and For People Who Shape The Sport Of Dogs







Dog Clubs & Symposiums

by Dany Canino


How many people does it take to put on Dog Shows and multi-breed judging Symposiums? Usually just a handful of dedicated club members, including the judges!


Dany CaninoYou know the old joke about how many people it takes to screw in a light bulb? Well, let's carry that a little further.


"How many people does it take to put on a dog show or a multi-breed judging symposium?"


I guess the true answer has a qualifier, which is: Just how successful do you want the dog show or the symposium to be?


If you are now a member of a dog club or have been in the past, you know that oftentimes the same 4 or 6 people take on all of the duties of putting on an event. It's not that they are workaholics; it's just that not every club member is willing to pitch in.


There are many duties to be performed in order to make a show run well. The chairmanship of the show, judge's transportation, judge's hospitality, show lunches, judge's dinners, chief ring steward, trophy chairman, catalog chairman, parking (both overnight and day of show) ...and of course there are other duties too.


If you are a judge you can certainly identify with what I'm saying. Many is the time when you might arrive at the show hoping to get a hot cup of coffee and a quick nosh only to discover that everything will be a bit delayed because the hospitality people are also doing double-duty in another area. Why? Because the club is short-handed.


Putting on a dog show is a very intricate, involved process that needs not only time to accomplish it, but workers to lighten the load for everyone.


I've adjudicated at many shows where every member within the club had a working hand in putting the show on. These are definitely the shows you want to remember and, hope to get to judge again. These people really care about their club's reputation. These people probably joined this club to learn, to socialize with fellow dog people, and to lend a hand at putting on a good dog show. They did not join the club just to see how many judges they can "hob-nob" with or to talk up the current dog they are showing.


Then there are those shows where only 10% of the membership helps out. Most of the burden is put on just a few people up until lunch and/or group time which is when all the other members come out of the woodwork to make it known that they are members of this "great" club. (Ask Duane Doll about the time he proposed to his all-breed club that the members not exhibit at their club's show; he figured that way, everyone could pitch in to help and anyhow, it was only one show out of the year they'd have to give up. He was almost lynched.)


Of course there are those situations when one person seems to handle the chairmanship on a yearly basis. This is not always because no one else is available, experienced, or just shy. Many times the chairmanship is repeated because that person really enjoys the challenge, or feels he has a good handle on things and is quite content to wear the hat on a permanent basis.


I'm not referring to the job of show chairman in this article; I'm referring to the members that could take up the slack from the chairman.


What about symposiums? How many members of a judge's group are involved in putting together the group's yearly symposium?


I don't belong to any all breed clubs because I just don't have the time to devote to the club. If I'm in town I'm willing to volunteer to steward or help out when I can. However, if I am unable (due to my work and judging) to do my fair share, why should I get the benefits of club membership?


I recently judged for a show outside of Sacramento that was terrific. Every single member had a job to do and each job was done. Every member approached the judges to see if there was anything the judge needed. This is a small club, but an efficient one.


Many judges have been heard to say "I can always tell when there is a judge as a member of a show-giving club because every detail is handled." While there might be some validity to that statement, I think that when things are handled properly, it means a club's members care.


Several clubs have a set policy that in order to become a member you have to participate in putting on the matches or shows that the club hosts. Other clubs use the plaque or free dinner at the annual meeting as an incentive to get members to help out. I guess whatever it takes to get help is a good idea.


Maintaining a club's reputation for quality shows is not easy. However, it is important to each show-giving club. I would hope that any readers out there that belong to a show-giving club will ask themselves two very important questions: "Why did I join this club" and, "Am I doing my fair share to make our shows successful?"


What a feeling of accomplishment each working member must experience when his club's shows are successful (and I don't just mean financially).


I salute all the hard workers of each club that are willing to do their fair share. I thank you all for making it easy for me to, "Rock N Roll."


Reprinted with permission, June 2001


Read Cany Canino's 2003 Interview    ~    Read Dany Canino's 2006 Interview EST 2005 Jan 2006-1612

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