So you want to be a…
So you want to be a …..
De-mystifying the trial committee
This is the first part in a two part series looking at different trial positions. The purpose is to help members, new and old, to get a better understanding of what some of these positions do and to provide opportunities for members to step up and try their hand at some of these jobs through mentoring, training, exposure and support groups. Part one focuses on the behind-the-scenes trial committee positions and what resources are out there to help someone be successful in performing these tasks. Part two will focus on the very important and highly visible trial positions that most of us provide our support in.
- Trial Chair
Summary: The paws start and stop here! This person is responsible for the overall coordination of the trial.
Don’t let the summary scare you away; the chairperson’s role is really one of delegation and asking for help. If you can get others to do things the way Tom Sawyer, convinced his friends to paint the fence then this is the job for you. The job of a Trial Chair starts about one year before the trial with securing the judges, the trial site and developing a trial budget. Next is finding a group of willing friends to make up the trial committee. The following positions all help the Chair coordinate each trial: trial secretary, chief ring steward, chief scorer, equipment manager, chief course builder and the awards manager. The Chair can also delegate duties to additional people such as taking care of the judges, site coordination, special awards and hospitality.Â The Chair’s primary responsibility is to make sure all their willing friends actually finish painting the fence; I mean, successfully manage the trial. The chair offers support, advice, and generally encourage all to have a wonderful time, because they know all the paws start and stop with their success.
- Trial Secretary
Summary: The royalty of efficiency and coordination. These people are responsible for developing and posting the trial premiums, processing the entries and for all the other paperwork associated with the trial.
The work of the trial secretary begins about three months prior to the trial with development and mailing of the trial premium. Then comes the important task of processing and inputting all the entries into the club’s computer and sending out the confirmations. Once the confirmations are out, the secretaries use the computer program to prepare all the necessary paperwork that you see at the trial, everything from running orders, to scribe sheets are printed and processed by the secretaries. At the trial, the secretaries ensure that check-in runs smoothly and that the dogs get measured and entered at the correct height (this sometimes mean last minute changes to everything, so flexibility and a good attitude are essential skills). The secretaries also set up the scoring boxes each morning after check-in is completed. At the end of the trial, the secretaries collects all the judges paperwork and scoring sheets and sends them to the sanctioning organizations along with the trial fee payment and trial records. Catalogs are sent out to neighboring clubs and to our own CAT library.
- Chief Scorer
Summary: As the title may imply, the scorer is the tops when it comes to record keeping, and ensuring that all those Q’s get submitted to the appropriate sanctioning organization.
If the secretaries are royalty when it comes to paperwork, then the chief scorer is surely high up in their kingdom. This person ensures that all the score tables operate smoothly throughout the trial. Their work begins about one month prior to the trial with the recruitment and training of scorekeepers and scheduling work assignments. At least one experienced scorer is scheduled at each table at all times to monitor accuracy and to answer questions. The Chief Scorer also makes sure that the trial scores/times are posted as quickly as possible, clarifies or corrects postings for participants as required and answers scoring questions. Once the trial ends, the Chief scorer signs off on all the post trial reports documenting their accuracy and verifying their completeness.
- Chief Course Builder
Summary: This job is for the person who is NOT spatially challenged. It is someone who can read a course map, and then direct setting up the equipment to match the course map.
The Chief Course builder is responsible for recruiting and training people to help build each course during the trial. They also work closely with the judges on the course layout. This is one of the key positions that keeps a trial on schedule. The course builders must be efficient and able to provide fast equipment changes including repairing last minute equipment failures.
- Chief Ring Steward
Chief Ring Steward
Summary: This position is a little like being a military recruiter at a college. You work to get people to join up, and then assign them a position and a report time.
Recruiting is the primary duty of the Chief Ring Steward. Recruiting for all the ring staff at each trial, and arranging their work schedules so they can run their dogs, help out the club, and have a great trial. This is a big job because the chief ring steward is trying to fill up to 600 time slots juggling up to 150 volunteers. Because of this, many chief ring stewards recruit assistant ring stewards to help at the trial. The chief ring steward also ensures that the recruits know how to perform their positions, know where they need to be and when they need to be there. This is most often accomplished through development of trial schedule. The schedule displays who works, where, and when, and is posted at each ring to help remind the recruits who’s up first. One to two weeks prior to the trial, the Chief ring steward contacts all the workers to ensure their availability, and to answer any questions about the positions they will be filling. At the trial, the chief then manages each ring ensuring adequate staff is available to keep the trial running smoothly throughout the day. This position requires flexibility, a cool head when the judge is yelling, where’s my scribe, and a good sense of humor to help with all the participants individual scheduling quirks (I will help, but I am running 8 dogs, and I can only help on the first Thursday of the 9th month from 1-3pm – But, I really want to help!). As you can imagine, the last minute changes and no shows by volunteers can keep this person running.
- Equipment Manager
Summary: The primary responsibility is to ensure the required equipment arrives on time, is in operable condition, and is all returned to the club trailer at the end of the event.
The equipment manager does exactly what their title indicates; they manage the necessary trial equipment. They ensure there is adequate equipment for each ring and course design throughout the trial. They need to coordinate its arrival and ensure the departure of all the equipment at the end of the event.
So there you have it.
A brief explanation of the key trial committee positions. Sound interested? Want to know more? Why not jump in and try it out by volunteering to serve on a committee. The following lists the 2002 trial committees. As you can see, many positions have not been filled yet. As one trial is completed, a new committee is needed for the next year’s trial. If you are interested in any of the positions contact the trial chair. If you are interested in becoming a trial chair please contact our club president.