Roy Wilce was judge of the Crufts Team qualifier and the Mini Agility class at Severnside on 29 August 1992. While waiting for Chris to finish judging in another ring, there was plenty of time to reflect on the day's events. Here are a few of his thoughts shared for the benefit of competitors, potential judges and show managers alike.
on... whistle starts
Thoughts on... electronic
I found my back-up timer Helen Dorman was essential. Apart from timing, she was also able to chivy handlers and tote their leads like no electronic timer I know. Several handlers were disadvantaged when the dogs passed the outside of the line and had to be brought back to stop the clock. A few crossed the beam themselves and were faulted, I think I might use a white tape or whitewash the ground lien for the finish in future for both the handlers benefit and mine.
Most people saw the logic of not running through the finish before the dog but I feel the criticism that electronic timing creates another obstacle may be true in many cases.
Nevertheless, electronic timing is bound to be more accurate when it does work. The electronic display is great for audience participation. Another advantage was for my scribe, Mandy Cooke, who was able to record the dog's time without having to confer with the timer. I am sure this played a part in the fast judging rate for this class, but of course, it could not have been achieved without the assistance and co-operation of the competitors and ring party. Maybe there is some mileage in putting the timing beam op top of the last jump. Whilst I am sure it would solve a few problems, no doubt it will create more. Let's give it a try.
The table is often criticised for being hard to count consistently and for slowing a class down. My compromise was to start the count form the moment the dog was on the table and not insist on a down. After all, a table features in nearly every final and top handlers and teams should be able to cope with it. At least in team events, any counting inconsistency is evened out, not compounded. The big disadvantage of a table is that it will show up a judge who has let his concentration wander. 'Huh, 3-1-Go' doe snot inspire confidence.
Weaves with dogs whizzing through candy striped poles with alternate striped poles will send you cross-eyed after five hours if you let them. Dogwalks are a pain to judge. A dog only to run it once, the judge must run it for most dogs and has to out-run them from a standing start. It is not impossible if positioned correctly but it is very tiring. Judges be warned, some of the fastest dog walkers are not collies!
In the team event, there were about 30 eliminations. Let's assume they were all eliminated on average at mid-point on the course. They would have stopped, loved or cussed the dog. Depending on their attitude, they would probably pass a few comments with the judge or their teammates and would walk back to the finish. The dogs, being unsupervised, will probably knock a jump over on the way. At best I would have saved 10 second per dog. That's five minutes on the day. Big deal! As it was only one person who had been eliminated did not look likely to finish within course time. They were asked to leave, which they did with good grace. However, the time saved was immediately wasted when the timing display did not rest.
on... Mini Handlers
on... Mini Dogs
Thoughts on... Why do I
Reprinted with kind permission of Roy Wilce & John Gilbert from Agility Voice (October 1992.)