It is a Kennel Club requirement that judges should have stewarded at least twelve times. Whether this be at Open shows or Championship shows, it does not matter, neither does it matter if you have stewarded for your own breed or a different breed.
You may find that you love it, and you may hate it, but it certainly gives you an opportunity to be in the ring, with a birds eye view to dogs, to watch dogs, especially movement, seeing the difference in movement in different breeds.
Study the Kennel Club’s “Instructions for Stewards”, and keep a copy with you. K.C. Regs F.123 say at least one steward must be in the ring whilst judging is in process.
Ring Stewards are responsible for ensuring the smooth progress of judging in their ring.
Although the judge should be in overall control, the stewards should be there in the background guiding the ring procedures, trying to ensure the judging is completed in reasonable time and that the Kennel Club Regulations are followed.
If you have never stewarded before, when offering your services to Show Secretaries, say you would prefer to work with an experienced steward in the first instance. You may have to ask several show secretaries and work at their shows before your name is known as being someone willing to steward. At open shows an invitation to steward is very often by word of mouth, either in person or on the telephone. You may wish to offer your services to a small Open show society to get you started, in which case you will probably be assigned to ring where several breeds will be judged in that one ring, by one or more judges.
If you want to steward our breed at our club shows, again, work with an experienced steward in our breed, even experienced Ch. Show stewards of note, can find it a bit of a challenge, at our club shows, when you have colour classes, and extra classes for the smooth coat variety.
If you are lucky enough to steward at a large General Society Champ. Show this will be by formal invitation, usually by letter, you should reply in writing, or return the slip provided, you may be asked what breeds you would like to steward, but be prepared to accept any breed as it is not always possible to allocate everyone their choice. Again it is your first time or you are not too experienced, then please ask to be put with an experienced steward.
He or she will show you the ropes, and most probably they will do the paperwork, and you can call in the number of exhibitors to each class, and when the judge has made his final decisions and placed his dogs, then you can hand out the award cards, and rosettes if there are any. Watch how the more experienced stewards work, and take a note of the system.
Keep in mind the steward has no authority to disqualify or refuse any exhibitor the right to show their dog, once judging commences the judge is the sole authority in the ring, even if you know the judge is wrong, the judge makes the final decision.
Most stewards start out by helping out when a show asks for volunteers. A simple kit is always handy to have with you.
A carrier bag containing a clip board, 2 pens, Tippex, in case you make a mistake, 2 pencils, they will write in the rain, when the ball-point pen fails, drawing pins (for out door shows with ring boards,) sellotape, large elastic bands, old ring cards, (for the exhibitor who has left theirs on the bench or the other side of the hall in their show bag, a felt tip pen to write their number on the back of the ring card, jumbo bulldog clips to hold award slips together, or a clothes peg. If a hot sunny day, sunglasses, a small scarf to place around your neck, it is surprising how sunburnt your neck can get if stood or sat in more or less one position all day.
On arrival at the show, report to the secretary or Chief Steward, arrive at least 30 minutes before commence of judging. You will collect from either the Chief stewards or secretary’s office, the prize cards and rosettes and maybe ring numbers if at a small open show, the awards board poster, and a catalogue. If you are stewarding breeds that are measured or weighed, you will need to check if the measures and scales are in your ring. If at a small outdoor open show, check where the wet weather ring will be, If at a General Society Ch. Show, this will be listed in the front of the catalogue, The Ring number for the breed, the Wet Weather ring number and also the Benching area.
Locate your CO-Steward, and liaise with them as to who will be the ring Steward, (calling exhibitors to the ring and handing out awards cards, and who will be the Administration Steward, doing the paperwork. Go through your breeds in the catalogue and if there are any puppies entered for the first time in a higher class, normally junior or novice, mark the catalogue accordingly.
Check to see if the judge has arrived and proceed to the ring.
Check the ring for debris. Set the table in the best position, for both judge and stewards.
Display the awards poster, either on the awards board or a wall if indoors and ring boards have not been provided. Place it a position where people can see to read the results easily, so that they do not have to step into the ring. Only the Judge, stewards and exhibitors with their dogs are allowed in the ring. If you are judging a breed that goes on a table, check that it is firm, and has a rubber mat on it. Assess the ring layout, if it is possible give the ringsiders the best view of the dogs and final line up, but check for sunlight, the judge will not want to have the sun shining in his eyes, and look for the best part of the ring to move the dogs.
When the judge arrives to the ring, discuss the ring layout, although you may have checked the best possible positions to stand the dogs new and old, and the position of the final placing, it is the Judge who will have the final say, but remember the final placing of dogs to be when the awards are handed out, should be from LEFT to RIGHT facing the judge, even some judges do not realise, this placing from left to right is a Kennel Club requirement. You could ask the judge to face the winnings dogs so that the majority of the ringside can see them.
When judging is about to commence, if there is no tannoy announcement, then the steward should announce that judging is about to commence, somehow like this : "Could we have Class 1, Minor Puppy Dog in the ring please".
Check that the exhibitors are wearing the correct ring number.
When the judging is in process, check for late arrivals who did not check in, and you may have marked them as absent.
Ensure that seen dogs are clearly separated from new dogs, but brief the judge on the placing of the seen dogs, I.E “this dog was 2nd in Junior Dog, and this one was 1st in Novice, but they haven’t met".
*** DO ***
Remember to have your copy of the K.C. “Instructions to the duties of Stewards” (Annex C to F Regulations F(C)3.73 with you.
Arrive early and report to show manager or secretary or Chief Steward.
Dress Appropriately, (remember wet weather gear) in case it’s needed.
On arrival to your allocated ring check the area for anything on the ground and around the ring that might injure or detract the dogs and remove any said objects.
Check the table is steady for table dogs and obtain a mat if available.
Check the awards board can be seen by exhibitors.
Check where the benches are located.
Introduce yourself to the judge.
Look after your judge, he or she is the most important person there today.
Check if judge would like hot or cold drink bought to the ring, and if they wish to break for lunch etc.
Check how the judge would like the ring run, where do they want their “seen” dogs to be positioned and the new dogs, and if the judge requires them to be in number order.
Announce each class clearly by number and name, i.e. Class 142. Minor Puppy Dog.
Check dogs to catalogue, and call out the numbers of the missing dogs, you or the other steward could go to the benches to call for the missing numbers of dogs.
Tell the judge that all are present or so many absent in each class.
Take a note of the absents, and mark, judges book, and awards list, stewards card, and catalogue.
Confirm with the judge that the placements are final before you announce and hand out the award cards.
Whilst the judge is writing his critique, usually the first two dogs in each class, the ring steward can call in the next class ready for judging as soon as the judge has completed his write-up. After each class, check the judges book to agree the ring numbers of the dogs awarded prizes, check with the awards slips, and stewards card, and that the judge has signed all the awards slips. Remember you are responsible for the accuracy of the paper work.
Remove the result slips from the judge’s book at the end of each class and display the ring board results slip on the awards sheet, or ring board. The secretary’s and general award board slips should be retained safely in a bulldog clip until collected by a runner.
At some large shows, it may be required to write the awards on blackboard for all to see.
Keep a complete record of all awards, so that you can check the dogs for the challenge, (i.e. all unbeaten) for the final line up, usually the dogs are placed from left to right, OPEN class down to MINOR PUPPY class.
If at a championship show, ensure the judge awards the Challenge Certificate, before the Reserve Challenge Certificate, and also ensure the Reserve Challenge Certificate is not awarded if the Challenge Certificate has been withheld. When this arises the steward must collect a Best of Sex in Breed and a Reserve Best of Sex in breed card from the secretary.
Should the judge withhold an award ensure the judging slips are annotated to this effect, and where a THIRD place is withheld, the subsequent awards must also be withheld.
Keep the ring clean.
Help the exhibitors in any way possible.
Always refer to the Chief Steward for anything that you feel that they should handle, or if at a small show with no chief steward, refer to the secretary or show manager.
After all judging, return all Ring Equipment to Stewards Office or Secretary.
*** DO NOT ***
Smoke in the ring.
Walk across the ring whilst judging is in process.
Allow any interference from outside of the ring.
Get involved with any discussion that will be seen to be detrimental to the well being of the proceedings.
Ever lose your temper.
Get involved with Kennel Club rulings, always refer to the appropriate official.
Interfere with the judge, always ask their permission.
Happy Stewarding !