Posted 14 April 2009 - 11:57 AM
Finding your ring: The rings will either be labelled with the groups to be judged in that ring, or there will be a ring plan at the Secretary's Office. If you are not sure, ask at the Secretary's Office. You also collect your catalogue if you have ordered one from the Secretary's Office. Sometimes the "office" is a gazebo, but it should still be labelled "Secretary's Tent" or something similar. If not, ask someone to tell you where it is.
At the ring: The steward is the person, usually with a clipboard, organising the dogs in and out of the ring for the judge.
The steward will call your number (which you got on a card with your entry) when assembling dogs to send into the ring for the judge. Make sure you are wearing your number either in an armband on your left arm, or pinned to the front of your shirt with a pin on your left side. Listen for your call and respond, eg, “yes ma’am” or “here” and/or show them your number. If you do not respond when called, the steward will call again. If you do not respond when the steward calls for the third time, you will be called absent. If you are called absent, you cannot show and that decision is final. You will not get a refund.
Be wary of being caught chatting with other exhibitors when you’re just about to go in as you can be distracted and miss your call. You can extricate yourself by saying “great to chat, I have to go now or I’ll miss my call” and walk away.
The steward may also ask your breed to start getting ready as the previous breed judging is winding up. If you have a Pug and hear the steward say “Pugs getting ready please!”, start moving towards the assembly area and let the steward know that you are there, eg, “I have number 73”. If the steward is busy with the judge, wait for them to return to organising the exhibits again before talking to them.
Buy a catalogue when you enter and watch the progress of the judging so that you know when you will be on. Time visits to the loo, getting changed into show gear and preparing your dog so that you won’t be caught out. Be aware that if a couple of exhibitors who have entered a lot of dogs don’t show up on the day, you can find the ring has skipped ahead much quicker than you were expecting. That said, don't hang around the ring entrance unless you are just about to go in or you will be in the way. See if you can find a spot away from the bustle of the ring entrance where you can see what is happening.
Watching will also show you what the judge is doing with the exhibits. For example, he may be running them around the ring once, then asking them to set up in front of or on the table, then asking them to go out and back. Or she may ask the exhibits to go straight in and set up immediately and then do a triangle. If you watch, you will feel more confident about what to do when you go in. The steward will tell you when to enter the ring and start showing your dog.
On your first day, tell the steward that it is your first time. They should let the judge know and help you in the ring. If they don’t, or you are still not clear about what to do, ask the judge. You can always explain that you are new. Depending on how you went, you may have to go back in the ring. Will leave explaining all that for another DOLer (Sway?)
Finally, if possible, ask your breeder or an experienced friend or a generous DOLer to buddy up with you on the day for your first time, so that they can guide you through the processes.