Taking Care of Judges
by Carol Delsman
You've trained all winter and it is now the middle of trialing
season. The club has put in many hours to assure that the facility is
up to AKC standards and the stock provider has made sure the livestock
is appropriate. You are well on your way to a fantastic event. But what
have you done for your judges?
Herding judges for the most part do get paid a fee but no one is getting
rich doing it. For a one day judging assignment, the judge took 2 days
getting ready to go and 2-3 days away from home in order to allow for
travel. It probably meant getting up early to catch a flight and getting
If you have gone to all of the work to hold a good event, it is to your
advantage to have your judge in a good state of mind. Here are some helpful
hints to make the whole experience positive for the judge and the club
1. Make sure you have a contract that covers everything from dates to
mode of transportation. If you cover everything in your contract, then
there aren't surprises for either of you.
2. Get the judge there in plenty of time. Red-eye flights might be
cheaper for the club but do not usually give your judge adequate rest
before the event.
3. Transportation to motel and site should be comfortable for your
judge. They are probably tired and hungry when you pick them up and
while you love your dog dearly, most judges don't want your dog
in their lap. Also make sure they don't have to wait for long
periods of time while you wait for another judge.
4. Feed your judges well. Find out in advanced what they prefer for
meals. For some judges a donut for breakfast is fine but if they are
going to spend the next 4 hours judging, they may need more. Most airlines
no longer feed people and many motels don't have restaurants so
a hospitality basket in their room might be appropriate.
5. Good housing is imperative to a good night sleep. If a judge is
going to be alert and ready to score runs all day, it is important that
they get a good night rest. Clubs who look for the cheapest motel are
often short changing them selves as their judge couldn't get a
good night sleep.
6. Judges also need a good support team. Train the scribes before the
event. It distracts judges if they have to keep watch on their scribes.
7. It is now possible for judges to judge 50 runs a day but if you
have judges scheduled for many courses and several types of livestock,
this could lead to 10-12 hours of judging and in some cases even longer.
While 50 Course A duck runs is reasonable, 50 Course B cattle runs are
8. Getting the judge to the site is important as judges are required
to check the facility and livestock before they start to judge. They
also need to familiarize themselves with stock handlers, scribes and
timers. If you are using different judges for morning and afternoon,
consider not picking up your afternoon judge until later. If you pick
them up at 5:30am and they are not judging until afternoon, it makes
a long day for them.
9. Judges are there to judge, not fix fences, treat livestock or set
up courses. That is for the course director and their crew.
10. It is important that the judge is taken care of during the day.
Shade should be provided in the hot sun and a chair to sit in between
runs is nice. Protections from such elements as wind and rain are also
imperative. It's hard to think clearly when your hands and feet
11. Make sure that during the day, your judges needs are met. Bathroom
breaks, snackes, and drinks are all things to keep in mind.
12. Most judges like to go to a judge's dinner but again use
common sense. Try not to make it too late a night if you need to get
them to the site early the next morning.
13. Once the event is over, make sure you don't forget that you
judges are still under your care. Have they eaten, do they have a ride
to the airport?
While not of the above are required, it is to your advantage to have
your judge in a proper state of mind. Your judge is there to give you
their expert opinion on the dogs exhibiting under them.
Judges' Stand gives judges a bird's-eye view.
Judge Debbie Pollard is given a comfortable place to judge
with a good view and great help.
Willamette Valley herding club provides judges with chairs
and a good view of Course B Cattle.
Judge Linda Rorem taking a break in the shade.
Judge Carol Lucero gives our awards in shade on a hot day.
Judge Bob Ewing being thanked by exhibitor Lynn Leach.
Florida club offers a great location for Judges' Seminar.