Secrets to Successfully Scheduling Specialty Shows

by Candy Ardizzone

Recently, while sitting around after another break in judging, a few of us ‘regulars’ discussed how we like dog shows scheduled. Below are a list of requirements for a successful collie specialty.

First day dog shows

It really does help if the host club schedules the show to start as late in the morning as possible. It helps medium distance exhibitors by not having to have someone at home the night before the first show to take care of dogs; it helps exhibitors save on a hotel room; and even if the exhibitor does come in early that morning, it allows them better time to prepare their dogs. If there is to be a provisional judge or slower judge on the weekend, the first day or middle day, if it is a three-day weekend or more, is the appropriate day for this.

Last day dog shows

Exhibitors generally do appreciate the earlier ring times. Please remember that your attendees will be tired and want to be on their way home as soon as possible. The Sunday show should be judged by someone with experience, or, in other words, has their 2-1/2 minute examination down. This allows the day to stay on schedule and let your exhibitors start home early.

Setting up the judging schedule

Sweeps is first. Remember that sweeps judges are often learning, so they may take a little longer than the regular 2-1/2 minutes per dog. Still, schedule them with that timing in mind, and then the club should schedule regular judging to start around 15 minutes after the sweeps judging would have normally ended. That will allow enough time to get photos done and bring in the breed judge. If the Sweeps judge ends late, that will allow the club to start regular judging as quickly as possible to the scheduled time without the full break period.

If your breed judge is also judging Juniors, optimize the use of the ring by beginning judging with the smooth variety and going straight into Junior Showmanship. This way, there is no break in judging and the exhibitors have a chance to brush up their roughs during the Juniors judging. Most clubs experience a Junior Showmanship entry of at least two and we recently saw in Connecticut 14 juniors per day. That would give at least 5 minutes and more likely 10 to 20 minutes -- just as the clubs and handlers normally request for a break before rough judging starts. For the juniors, it also means that they have more people watching from the grooming area. If the Juniors judge is also judging sweeps, they should begin to judge Junior Showmanship immediately after Best in Sweeps. If there is a third judge judging Juniors, it should be held before Collie judging starts. Clubs should note: if junior showmanship is held in the beginning, people are still busy getting dogs ready and arriving. If junior showmanship is held at the end of the show, it is noisy because people are breaking down grooming set-ups to go home.

If the club has not offered juniors, there should only be a 10-minute break between the smooth and rough variety. Exhibitors with multiple entries have already done the heavy grooming and most likely only need a brush up. This will also allow smooth winners to get pictures so those not going into additional competition do not have to be re-groomed for a photo.

It is important for the club to have a major lunch break. The clubs often make money selling food and this break allows the average exhibitor to purchase it and have a little visiting time. For exhibitors with multiple entries, this is an important time period for preparing their next entrants. For an early weekend show (Friday, Saturday) the club should take 20 to 45 minutes for this lunch break if it feels it can. For Sunday, it is really important to take a minimum amount of time. 15-20 minutes should be enough and never should it be for more than 30 minutes.

If there is to be another break between rough bitches and Best of Variety, it should only be 5 to 10 minutes. Best of Variety should be followed immediately by Best of Breed judging.

Non-regular classes

Veterans classes should be judged within the regular judging schedule. Non-regular classes such as brood bitch, stud dog, and brace should be judged after Best of Variety or Best of Breed.

The exhibitor acknowledgement

The next important part of planning is to make the judging plan clear to your exhibitors. Entry acknowledgements tell the exhibitors the judging size, the entry within each level of competition and should provide the break information. Some clubs print their catalog in the same order so that it is easier for ring stewards and ringside observers to follow the show.

Example of the Collie Specialty Judging program:

Friday Show:

Noon Sweeps (9-10)

1:00 pm 17- Smooth Collies (5-8-3-2)

5 -Junior Showmanship

37 Rough Collies (13-17-4-3)

There will be a 30-minute lunch break after Rough Winners Dog, and a 5-minute break between Rough Winners Bitch and Rough Best of Variety.

Best of Breed.

** Note there are no times after the 1 pm start time.

Based on the information provided above, here is what we know:

Sweeps should be completed by 12:50 pm:
19 sweeps entries at 2.5 minutes per dog equals a projected completion between 1:45 and 1:50 pm (47.5 minutes to judge).

Breed Judging will start at 1:00 pm.

17 Smooth Collies at 2.5 minutes per entry will be completed by approx 42.5 minutes later. We would expect Juniors in the Ring a little before 1:45 pm. 5 juniors at approximately 3 minutes per entry equals 15 minutes of judging time. So this will be completed between 2:00 pm and 2:05 pm.

2:00 pm: 13 rough dogs at 2.5 minutes per dog means these will be complete by 2:33 pm.

30 minute break.

3:03 pm: Restart of judging with 17 bitches which should be completed by 3:45 pm. 5 minute break before BOV.

Restart judging at 3:50 pm. 7 Specials plus the 4 completing for BOB and BOS would mean the entire show could be over by 4:10 pm.

Candy Ardizzone has been part of the Collie scene since the '70s. Her kennel, Travler Collies, which she shares with her sister, Becky Tehon, and her daughter and junior handler, Bree, is located in Brewerton in upstate New York.

The Collie presents an impressive, proud picture of true balance, each part being in harmonious proportion to every other part and to the whole.

– from the AKC Collie Breed Standard

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