The recent changes to regulations has in my opinion further confused competitors and is causing additional delays. As a result, I thought I would put my thoughts on paper regarding the specific impacts of the changes plus a wider treatise on the way I like events to be organised and controlled when I am judging. In future I will be briefing the ring staff and competitors on these matters prior to the event starting.
It has been my observation that the discussion pertaining to these matters is causing delays especially when the scribe is not immediately visible to the competitor when they are preparing their dog. To this end I now detail the scribe’s position on my course plan (usually in the centre of the holding area) and arrange the first obstacle in such a place that the competitor will be in direct line of sight of the scribe.
I will ensure that the event manager’s preference regarding confirmation of the dog’s permanent number is clearly spelled out both to the ring-staff and the competitors. All too often lately I watch as competitors struggle to catch the eye of the scribe only to find they get no response implying that the scribe is happy with the scribe-sheet in front of them and are not interested in further confirmation. Personally I like to see an organisation that utilises pads of scribe sheets or alternatively two clipboards (acting like pads) that get exchanged immediately following a dog’s run. The new pad or clipboard should be handed to the scribe with the number (and handlers name) of the dog already notated. There should not be more than one scribe-sheet in the hands of the scribe at any one time as this has also been the cause of great confusion on a number of occasions in recent months. My theory has received some criticism from organisers claiming that too many helpers are needed to staff a ring in the manner described. It is my experience that lead runners are necessary and that job and number taker can be easily be achieved by one person. After the new number (and name) has been notated this one person can deliver the next pad to the scribe as they pass carrying the pervious dog’s lead to the end of the course. On their way back to the next dog to start the pad that has just been used can be collected and filled in with the following dog’s number (and name).
I have long since held the view that is the judge’s responsibility to maintain a clear view of the handler even after an elimination has been scored. This habit I find has the benefit of ensuring the dog breaks the finish wand of the timers so that if this is not the case I can signal to the scribe that the timer needs to be manually stopped. I get asked at almost every event why a timer failed to record a correct time. I estimate that the failure to complete this simple check is responsible for the bulk of occasions when a correct time is not recorded. Personally I do enjoy when a club supplies ringside displays for a number of reasons. The biggest single benefit is to help in the situation when the dog does not trip the end timer wands but also many a time I would love to have known the time of an eliminated (almost perfect) run just for the sake of my own curiosity and I suspect many a handler would feel the same.