The anatomy of a show
It’s mid-day Sunday, 7th May 2000, the day after Beacon’s 13th Annual Show. Roy Wilce has just been soaking in a hot bath for over an hour. It's his first lie-in for ages. He is sitting on his patio in the sun with a coffee, and a collie lying at his feet. Life is good. The Show went well, but his thoughts about it keeping turning over in his brain like some demonic tumble-dryer. He thinks, 'Perhaps it will help if I unload everything on to paper.' For the benefit of the reader, he has expanded some of these thoughts.
Why me? I ask myself every year. How many years? I think ten as Show Manager, taking over from Tony Stackhouse back in year dot though I have helped on all the Shows. How did I get the job? As far as I can remember, it was because I was at the front when everyone else stepped back.
Am I suitable? Newcomers to the sport will not know me as I have not competed for several years, and some would question my suitability on those grounds alone. However, in the early nineties I was competing with the best of them and on some days I can say with conviction that me and my Altricia Wide Awake were the best in the world. As a successful competitor I had a few invites to judge and even got to judge a few finals. Okay, so I know a bit about the sport, but does that make anyone a good manager?
Thoughts on… Beacon Club
Thoughts on… Show Manager
Thoughts on… The Show
Thoughts on… The
on… The Run-up
on… Two days in the life of a Show Manager
Now it’s 3:30, time to go to our other store seven miles away to meet Jan and Robin, who has hired a van for the other equipment. By 6:00 several of the club members have turned up and the Ring Managers have set up their rings. The car parking bunting is hung out, and Club signage put up. By 8:00 we have gone as we can. Time to open the bar, the phone rings. A scribe and scorer cannot come tomorrow. Then the caterer rings. He is sending a substitute company. At 10:00 I leave Barry to lock up the Club. He is sleeping on-site; I am off home.
At 6:45am on Saturday the day of the Show, I am back on-site to unlock the Club and cancel the alarms. Experience tells me the first thing people want is the toilets. The show opens 8am for judging at 8:45 but the first competitor arrives at 7:01. Graham Taylor is on post, and I’ll help the car parking until there are enough Club members to take over. From then on it’s a case of staying near the Secretary’s tent to fill vacant posts and pass on knowledge and information to the Club members. The Show secretary will look after the competitors. A minor panic when a judge does not turn up until gone 8:15. All courses walking by 8:30 and the briefings out of the way by 8:40. The calls go out for competitors. Every year it’s the same. The judges are waiting the competitors are not. At last the Show is under way. From here on I flit from ring to ring to kitchen to bar to stallholders to score tents to competitors. Not that I go looking for trouble; if there is any it finds me easily enough. With small classes for Minis and Midis, we are able to give out a few trophies and rosettes during the morning.
A PC Flyball qualifier was a new experience for us. Fortunately, we had Daventry DTC to help us; help us? They almost ran it for us! What surprised me was the number of non-agility flyball competitors. Who in heck would bring a dog and not want to do agility at an Agility Show? By 12:15 we had the Flyball teams registered, and the draw done. Now time to close the rings and get the judges, their timers and scribes fed. In my exalted position, I get to eat the excellent lunch but as usual I have lost my appetite. I eat anyway because I’ll need the calories later.
By 2:00 all the rings are running again and I am beginning to feel more comfortable. Soon be time to start thinking about closing down. Collect in the traffic cones from the car park and parking notices. By 3:30 the first ring closes. From here on in the pace will quicken. By 5:15pm we have the last call for the last class. Everyone is clamouring for their rosettes. It’s hard to remember which class has had its presentation, which is still waiting for the final tally to come in, and which is ready for presentation but waiting for a judge who is still judging another class.
6:00pm the last competitor has gone and I am leaving the grounds with the van to return much of the equipment to store. By 7pm I am back at the Club collecting the road signs on the way. Barry is the only person left. Why does that not surprise me? We lock up the Club and grounds thankful the weather has stayed dry throughout both days. I stop off at the chip shop and by 8:00pm the car is in my garage.
Thoughts on… Show Highlights
A companion article to ‘Thoughts of a Judge,’ originally printed in Agility Voice (Oct 1992) and reprinted on Agilitynet in the History section of the Magazine.
Picture credit: Ginger Cutter's English Shepherd* Tam. All photos by Bill Newcomb.
* The English Shepherd is American breed, an active family and working dog, with legendary family loyalty. It has found great favor among pet owners, as an extraordinary companion which is very good with children and yet is instinctually protective.