THE LEARNING CLUSTER HANDLER Q&A
I usually would have because I did not have to wait for the judge’s schedule to work with mine. How would I rate my experience overall? The show was great! Everyone involved did a spectacular job. Would I say that the shows set a good example for other clubs to follow? Definitely. Is there anything that could have been done differently? I only saw one thing I thought could be different. I did not like that the rings were against a wall with people sitting directly above you. Also, this made it difficult to have a spray bottle or cool coat acces- sible since they did not allow assistants ringside to give them to you. There has to be a better way to keep your dog comfortable without crossing the ring or encroaching on someone’s six feet. Am I planning to attend other shows that are held this year? Absolutely. Do I have a message that I’d like to share with the dog show community? We can make this work—adhering to the current guidelines. There is no reason shows can’t be both fun and safe moving forward. I have faith the show world can make it happen. BARBARAMCNEILL When did I decide to enter the shows in Oklahoma? The news about the dog show was posted on social media by The Southern Handlers Associa- tion about three weeks before the entries opened. They announced we would have a “Learning Cluster” at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma, so immediately I wanted to enter. When I received the news entries were opened, I submitted my entries within 30 minutes. The show was full within 50 minutes of entries opening. How many days was I showing? The Learning Cluster was a four day show. I entered the entire show, but only showed three days. How far did I travel to get there? I was so fortunate that the Lazy E Arena is located 40 minutes from my house. How well organized was the show in regards to COVID-19? The superintendent for the show was Jack Onofrio Dog Shows, LLC. Their entire staff was on top of their game not only with masks, but poly shields surrounding the superintendent’s table, hand sani- tizer everywhere, and a pleasant attitude. The Southern Handlers Association (SHA) went above and beyond organizing the groom- ing area, “social distancing,” RV parking, and the unloading area. Were rules noticeably enforced? SHA oversaw unloading, setup, and explaining new ring procedures. We filed into the arena one at a time with proper distancing to set up. They placed signs around the arena to remind us of masks, distancing, and proper grooming area setup. They did a fabulous job with spacing out the grooming area so that we were all more than six feet apart with wide aisles. Masks were enforced by the superintendent as well as SHA all day long; they patrolled the grooming area to ensure every exhibitor was in compliance. Did exhibitors practice social distancing? Yes, they did. If you were part of a team, the team stayed together and [did not] infringe on other’s space. Single exhibitors kept their distance while waiting their turn in the ring. The hardest part was not being able to hug your friends or stand around chatting. What was it like to show without spectators? The exhibitors were able to sit in the arena stands with a view of all the rings, so it felt as if we had a few spectators. As for a cheering section from spectators, it was a very empty feeling. How “clean” did I find the facility overall? The Lazy E Arena was visibly on top of sanitation of all hard surfaces, and the signage was clear in the stands and grounds concerning social distancing.
Was everyone wearing a mask and did my dog react to them? Yes, masks were strictly enforced by the superintendent and SHA with polite reminders if exhibitors had their masks down. The dogs did very well, even the young puppies did not react to the new look of their handlers. Very few dogs had an adverse reaction to the masks. Was I pleased with the ring set-up (separate entrances and exits)? I personally loved the separate entrances and exits. The rings ran much smoother with this procedure. We did not have any log jams at the gate trying to get into the ring or out. Was I pleased with the armband and ribbon pick-up? They tried two different methods of armband pickup: The armbands were placed on a table at the entrance to the ring in order of ring times. This method was simple and efficient. The second was to pick up your armbands at the superintendent’s table. While it was simple, it was not as time efficient because you had to find the time or some- one to pick them up. However, if you had multiple entries they were all in one envelope. Do I have any thoughts about the procedure for taking win pho- tos? It was time-saving. You did not need to hunt the judge down to get a win photo. However, without interaction from the judge, it was a bit disenchanting. How would I rate my experience overall? My overall experience was of pure joy to be back in the ring with my girl. Abiding by the new rules was not difficult at all. Would I say that the shows set a good example for other clubs to follow? Absolutely. The entire weekend went smoothly, as an exhib- itor. The stress was on the superintendent and the SHA enforcing all the details. My sincere thanks goes to them for a job well done. Is there anything that could have been done differently? I’m sure there are a number of things that the organizers would like to adjust, but from an exhibitor’s standpoint I do not have any com- plaints [about] how the show was executed. Am I planning to attend other shows that are held this year? I will attend as many shows as possible [for the remainder] of this year. Do I have a message that I’d like to share with the dog show community? Please be grateful to the superintendent and the com- mittee that works diligently to create a show during this time. It’s done with high regards to the well-being of all involved. Remember to thank the superintendent as well as the volunteers. From the bot- tom of my heart, thank you! NICOLE TORRE When did I decide to enter the shows in Oklahoma? As soon as I heard about the cluster. How many days was I showing? All four days. How far did I travel to get there? 1,664 miles, all the way from California. How well organized was the
show in regards to COVID-19? I thought it was well organized, con- sidering we have never had a dog show in these circumstances before.
Were rules noticeably enforced? Yes, there were signs posted everywhere stating the rules and they were being enforced. I heard volunteers reminding people not to all stand around togeth- er. People were monitored when setting up crates, to make sure that every set-up was six feet apart and six feet from the rings. All grooming set ups were separated from one another. Ring Stewards also made sure that everyone stood [away] from the ring, went in the ring in order when it was their turn, and stayed apart from each other when in the ring. They also would remind people when in a large class to keep apart. Did exhibitors practice social distancing? Yes, for the most part. Every once in a while people would forget and get too close in the
148 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JULY 2020
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