Showsight July 2020

LEARNING CLUSTER: THE Judges: How ‘OK’ Was Oklahoma?

My overall comments are that this was a huge success, and the new policies and procedures were easy to follow for me as a judge. The exhibitors seemed fine with everything too, and we were all just excited and happy to be back doing what we enjoy so much. I was asked to include my more specific comments and recommenda- tions: First thing as I entered the building, I was sent to the official photographer to have photos taken with all the ribbons and rosettes I would be awarding. We did this without a mask, and there was no one anywhere close, except the photographer who was six to eight feet away. He used these later to Photoshop me into the photos he took separately of the dogs. Again, handlers were allowed to remove their masks for the photos, as no one else was allowed close to them. This is a good process, and went smoothly, but I missed the per- sonal interaction with the exhibitors. I was surprised that there was open access to the building, with no screening. I expected controlled access with temperature checks, which I think would be a good addition to the process. Other than the above photo process, everyone in the building was required to wear masks at all times. Exhibitors were allowed to take their mask down briefly only when moving their dogs in the ring, which almost no one did. Judges were asked to leave theirs on at all times, including during the in-ring judging process. I would like to see us progress to judges being able to take their mask down while not examining dogs, and not close to anyone. Part of the rea- son people like showing to me is that they can see how much I enjoy it from my face and expression, and with the mask this was not pos- sible. For the time being, we kept them on to convey the concern for the highest level of safety possible, so I was happy to comply. I missed handing out the ribbons, and having a personal interac- tion with the exhibitors. Everything was very impersonal. Again, a precautionary safety measure. It worked well here as we had very experienced stewards. They were required to place the ribbons on their table for the exhibitors to pick up as they exited the ring. In the past, there have been many shows that I have judged where the stewards frequently pulled the wrong ribbons for me. This is going to be a difficult issue for the future with the revised process in place. During the individual exam of the dogs, I found many more dogs than usual being resistant, and some spooky. This is very rare for me, as I have a friendly, gentle approach and process. I believe this was probably because of the masks which, of course, we will need to continue, so exhibitors need to use masks in their train- ing and get their dogs used to it. Exhibitors are required to show their dogs bites/mouths, so be prepared for that. This is not new, but there are still many that are not able to do a good job with it. If I have to assist to see what I need to, then I have to sterilize my hands. At these shows, the committee was unable to find antiseptic wipes, which I prefer to bottled products. We only had a watery pump bottle on our table, which was messy and clumsy to use. My preference would be to disinfect between each dog, which for me is only practical with wipes. Show committees need to do their best to provide wipes for future shows. These are truly minor issues, so again overall, I’m delighted to be back judging. I have a number of other shows coming up through the end of the year, and am greatly looking forward to them. I personally am not nervous or scared about the travel. I have a wonderful mask my wife made me with a highly efficient filter, so am confident that will keep me safe during air travel. Best wishes

1. When did you decide to judge the shows in Oklahoma? 2. How many days were you judging? 3. How far did you travel to get there? 4. How well organized was the show in regards to COVID-19? 5. Were rules noticeably enforced?

6. Did exhibitors practice social distancing? 7. What was it like to judge without spectators? 8. How “clean” did you find the facility overall?

9. Was everyone wearing a mask? Did your dog(s) react to them? 10. Were you pleased with the ring set-up (separate entrances and exits)? 11. How would you rate your experience overall? 12. Would you say that the shows set a good example for other clubs to follow? 13. Is there anything that could have been done differently? 14. Are you planning to judge other shows that are held this year? 15. Do you have a message that you’ d like to share with the dog show community? FRED C. BASSETT It was my great pleasure to

judge the fourth day of the “Learn- ing Cluster” dog shows in Guthrie, Oklahoma. First of all, kudos to the entire Onofrio Team for spearhead- ing this venture, and doing such a great job with it. The 1,200 dog limit each day was reached within four hours of opening entries, and exhibitors literally came from all areas of the USA, anxious to be back showing and checking things out. Awesome!


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