Running a Trial

Show Checklists

Pre-Show Checklist

There are certain jobs that absolutely, positively, without question, need good, responsible, conscientious people.

First is Chief Course Builder. Refer to the Stewards page for Bud Houston's description of this job, which is right on the money. This needs to be an experienced agility competitor, with a good concept of spatial arrangements. (An "unemployed" judge would probably be excellent!) The CCB also needs to be someone who can direct people to move the equipment efficiently.

Second, you need a really conscientious Chief Ring Steward. The main job of this individual is to develop the schedule of workers for the various jobs around the ring and make sure everything is covered. For our trials, we set up an Excel spreadsheet for the three levels, and show who is doing what for what classes. This schedule needs to be sent out to everyone who is helping well ahead of time, so they can make sure that they are comfortable with their assignment. And, the day of the trial, you should have a large copy of this schedule posted in a prominent place so it can be consulted and everyone know what they're supposed to do.

It should go without saying that you need a super efficient Trial Secretary. This person is really the key so making sure that all the little "paperwork details" that no one else thinks of are taken care of. These are really the most important jobs. Here are some other things that need attention.

  • Make sure that your show site is contracted for and that everyone is clear what dates and times you will need it for. If it's a dirt floor, make sure someone is responsible for dragging and/or rolling it. If it's grass, be sure it's going to be mowed and raked.
  • Order ribbons well ahead of time so that your awards person can check them over and take care of any errors or omissions. It really leaves a bad taste in every one's mouth when the show-giving club runs out of ribbons -- it does happen, but a little attention to detail should alleviate this situation.
  • Assign one person to be judge liaison. It will be their responsibility to make sure that the judge is picked up from the airport (if necessary), has company for meals (if desired), is transported to the show site, has lunch, drinks, snacks, etc. And be sure there's a chair at the show that is exclusively for the judge.
  • Make sure your equipment is in tip-top condition. If your club has its own equipment, have a work party a week or so before the trial to paint-up and fix up anything that needs attention. If you have a trailer, make sure that the person bringing the trailer is going to be there in plenty of time.

Checklist of miscellaneous things you need for the trial.

  • Tool kit for on the spot equipment repairs.
  • 100 foot tape measure
  • P.A. system (very helpful for the gate steward in lining up exhibitors)
  • Dry Erase board and easel
  • whistles and stopwatches
  • Stick-on non-skid (like for stairs) and a magic marker or two make good impromptu contact zone "fixers"
  • Cloth tape in various colors for markers or to fix equipment
  • Measuring device for dogs and, if you're outdoors, a large, level sheet of plywood or a door for the dogs to stand on to be measured
  • stapler, push-pins, etc. for posting scores
  • paper clips, post-it notes
  • little plastic baskets for "in" and "out" scribe sheets
  • extra scribe sheets and blank labels for armband numbers
  • large felt tip marker and poster board -- somebody always needs to make a sign for something!

(Jo Ann Mather)

Pretrial Checklist

1 person books trial date and site. Try to make sure it doesn't conflict with any other dog events in the area if possible. Judge needs to be booked and confirmed. Once confirmed, need to send the judge information on ring size, equipment the club has, list of classes to be judged and the order you wish the classes to be judged. Ask judge of food preferences and what they like to drink while they are judging.

Show secretary: prepares premium list and mails two months prior to trial does all paper work for the trial, check-in, armbands, scribe sheets, score sheets, gate steward sheets, cataloges and any other forms to be done.

Ribbon orders, early to make sure everything is there. Put all ribbons on peg boards for each class. It is easier to check what you have than to cover the boards. They are then ready for the trial, sorted and ready to display.

One person does the schedule of workers. You may want to include a box on our premium lists for people to check if they are willing to work. You don't want people to have to work more than 2 classes a day. Put a list with everyone's entry at the trial. It usually works well, only need to change a few things when people move to a different class.

Finally, you need an equipment person. responsible for making sure that equipment is in shape and ready for trial, make sure there are things available for ring barriers. Responsible to bring tool box and anything needed for equipment repairs.

Trial supply list

  • Measuring wheel
  • Measuring tape for broad jump
  • Dog measuring device
  • 2 stop watches
  • 2 whistles
  • Elastic bands for arm bands
  • Tape for the ground markings for gamblers and pairs exchange box.
  • Clean up equipment, including disinfecting spray for soiled areas garbage containers on site, garbage bags.
  • Poop bags for those who forgot to bring some
  • Chairs and tables on site
  • tables: Scorekeeper, check-in, ribbons, raffle
  • chairs: timer, judge, scorekeeper and whom ever
  • Whisk broom if on dirt or hog fuel to help keep equipment free of dirt
  • Out doors: Are there any shady area for dogs waiting outside ring or out of the rain? Try to find three tents for outdoor trials. One for scorekeeper, check-in, Ribbons and prizes. One for outside the ring - dogs waiting area. One for timer and scribe if possible.

(Dee Gleed)

Miscellaneous Agility Trial Stuff

  1. Expect at least one of your stop watches to die, and have some back ups.
  2. Think about the types of whistles you buy...some are very hard for men to hear. Test some out with slightly hard of hearing men before you buy them. The cheap ones are actually easier to hear for most men. If you are running more than one ring, you may want to consider two different sounding whistles.
  3. You will want clip boards for the scribes (we found the 1/2 size ones work best) and regular clip boards (5 or 6) for all your course builders, chief steward, etc.
  4. You may want to use flip charts at the gate entry. That way you can post running order and everyone can easily see who is marked off and who is absent. It saves lots of questions and time for your gate steward. Don't forget big markers for the charts.
  5. Think about reflective vests for your gate steward. We use the mesh ones (from a highway safety store) to make our gate person really easy to find.
  6. Bring a tool box with everything you think you won't need...because you will. Include some nails, screws, duct tape, pliers, hammer, etc. Extra aluminum tent stakes always seem to come in handy.
  7. A good first aid kit for people and dogs is essential. Someone always needs a bandaid, quick stop, etc. Have a list of local vets, walk in clinics for people and hospitals which are easily accessible just in case.
  8. Small ice chests for each ring to hold water and drinks for your judges are very nice and much appreciated. You may also want to have Kleenex, hard candy, sun screen and insect repellant in a small basket for each judge as well. (The sample sizes work great here.)
  9. Golf tees and surveyors tape are handy to mark out waiting boxes, gamblers lines, flag off dangerous spots near the ring, etc. Extra sand bags usually come in handy too.
  10. If it's hot bring a hose, and a small kiddy pool is much appreciated.
  11. Extra calculators for the scoring table, extra pencils, scotch tape and a battery powered pencil sharpener are nice additions. Bring something for them to use as paperweights. We have used spray painted rocks (for color). When the wind comes up they will love you for it.
  12. Don't forget the shade for your scoring table and ring entry areas. Shade screens are sometimes helpful late in the day for the scoring table.
  13. Some clubs rent or own battery powered, two-way radios. Some are about the size of a pager. It's great for the gate steward to be able to ask the main PA to announce briefings, call for clean up, etc.
  14. Don't forget clean up products....just in case someone christens the tunnel.
  15. Remember extra TOILET PAPER...even if the site is supposed to provide it.
  16. If your club doesn't offer agility classes, you may want a list of local clubs who do and how to reach them. If you do offer classes, you may want to have class information and/or a list for interested people to sign.
  17. A copy of the ring signals is nice to post where spectators can check it. You can provide a handout for USDAA shows which explains what's going on, what the games are, and how they are played, titling, how to get involved, etc.

(Ann McQuillen)

Trial Checklist for Show Chair and Committee:

6 + Months in advance of show date

  • Select a show date and closing date
  • Obtain show site - handle lease and insurance binders for site
  • USDAA application for trial - penalty if not received 6 months in advance
  • Locate and schedule a judge (clear Masters judge assignment with USDAA by phone)

3 + months in advance

Finalize trial committee - KNOW who is responsible for:

  • Trial Chair
    makes sure ALL aspects of the trial are handled
    responsible for being sure all the following jobs are performed
    handles paperwork between club and judge and AKC/NADAC/USDAA/etc.
  • Trial Secretary (should be separate from chair)
    Handles entries and catalog
  • Head Ring Steward/Course builder
    Locates and trains stewards
  • Head Table Steward
    Makes out all score sheets from catalog PRIOR to trial date
  • Ribbons
    Orders ribbons and handles all placements on show day
  • Show Site and Hotels
    Coordinates issues related to obtaining and gaining access
  • Food - if offered
    responsible for obtaining health permit if required
  • Equipment
    verifying it meets specs and is in good condition
    Coordinate movement to show site
  • File show schedule and judging assignments (no later than 4 months ahead of time)
  • Send written letter to judge detailing information on show. Obtain approval from judge for order in which you wish to run classes. Verify that you understand the nature of all expenses that the judge is expecting compensation for (airline tickets, hotel, meals, airport parking, mileage to/from airport to home, others?).
  • Coordinate judges air travel plans.... If you wish to obtain discounted tickets, do so at this time - they will get harder to find

2+ months in advance

  • Contact all hotels listed in schedule to verify that they still accept dogs
  • Double check directions to show site - have someone measure mileage if not easy to locate from landmarks
  • Finalize all details needed for Test Schedule (see sample schedule) - have reviewed by trial chair and others before mailing
  • Order armbands and score sheets. Count and then order extras.
  • Order Rosettes for all classes and don't forget Qualifying rosettes as well.
  • Complete mailing list - make sure Secretary has list (if kept by someone else in club, provide mailing labels if possible)

6 to 8 weeks in advance

  • Mail test schedule
  • Start getting nervous

1 month prior

  • Touch base with show site owner if there are any issues related to occupancy of location, ability for exhibitors to leave items on site, etc. Verify that all stewarding positions are being filled.
  • Conduct a ring steward training session (this can be a fun match for club members only if you wish)
  • Don't wait any longer to check your equipment.... is it OK and to standard? Measure EVERYTHING twice.
  • Start putting entries into computer as they arrive to minimize need to do this after closing

ASAP after Closing Date

  • Send acknowledgements to all exhibitors
  • Prepare catalog
  • Have catalog doubled checked against entries by at least two other people. Have one person with entry and two or more with catalog. Call out entry info and verify it against catalog. CATCH all catalog mistakes before copies are made.
  • Organize catalog for maximum efficiency at the table: Classes start at top of a page, places for score are clear at the end of each class. This will save much time and confusion on show day.

1 week prior to show

  • Get copies of catalogs made
  • Verify that all materials for show have been obtained (see attached list of items for show day)
  • Make SURE you have stewards assigned and trained in all key positions... timer, scribe, table, gate, stewards.
  • Have a nervous breakdown NOW so you'll be recovered by show day.

Day before show:

  • If possible arrange for judge to inspect equipment on Friday evening - be prepared to fix anything he/she wants altered - this means have TOOLS available!
  • If you have access to show site on Friday, move equipment and set up first course for Saturday (if judge will allow)
  • Make sure entries are packed to go to show site along with catalogs

Show day:

  • Thank exhibitors for coming and explain that the show will be run in catalog order - any request for change should be done with the Gate steward PRIOR TO THE START OF THE CLASS.
  • Relax some, the worst is over.
  • \Watch everything and make adjustments as required to expedite the trial.
  • Make sure the judge gets food, drinks, whatever he/she desires.
  • Make sure course builder has studied courses, and they are properly marked for building
  • Have course builders ready as soon as a class ends
  • Have stewards ready as soon as walk through is in progress
  • Give out ribbons while next course is being built... it'll save time.
  • Take a few minutes to talk with your exhibitors and thank them for coming.
  • Don't forget to walk your dog.

(Carol Burt)

Things to bring to show

  • Entries (in case of question about catalog)
  • Rule Book
  • Catalogs
  • Armbands
  • Rubber bands
  • Official USDAA approved measuring device
  • Surveyors wheel (for measuring course)
  • All Equipment --- double check from show list that you have what the judge expects!
  • Pairs baton (if pairs offered)
  • Collapsed tunnel cover (easy to forget - often not kept with barrel)
  • Ribbons
  • Tunnel Anchors
  • Obstacle numbers (typically on small cones like soccer cones)
  • Start/Finish markers (contrasting color cones or stick in ground poles)
  • 100' measuring tape yard sticks (for measuring long jump and spreads)
  • Surveyors tape- thin plastic strips(not adhesive) and/or lime for marking gamble lines
  • Surveyors tape and poles for forming course boundaries
  • Surveyor flags (small flags on wire) for course building
  • Hammer
  • Screw driver (cordless electric recommended)
  • Duct Tape
  • Scotch Tape
  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Score Pads and score sheets (already filled out)
  • Extra score pads and score summary sheets pens,
  • Pencils calculator (at least 2)
  • Extra paper
  • Extra armbands
  • Extra rubber bands
  • Magic marker
  • Storage box for score keepers materials and completed scoresheets
  • Stop Watches - several
  • Whistles - at least 3 clipboard for scribe and gate if needed
  • Chairs for gate stewards and ring stewards
  • Catalogs in ring binders for the table and the gate steward.
  • Clean up items - chlorox, bucket, rubber gloves, paper towels

All tools necessary for equipment repair during show:

  • Drill and assortment of drill bits (cordless drill if power not available)
  • Saw
  • Spare Chain and eye hooks for tire
  • Screws in all sizes used in equipment
  • Screwdriver (cordless power recommended)
  • Carriage bolts of appropriate sizes if used in equipment
  • Yellow paint marker - just in case
  • Tape - yellow and other color (in case judge wants additional stripes on poles or tire)
  • Graphite
  • Tent stakes
  • Electrical wire

And when it's all over --- remember to send thank you notes to each of the people who worked the show!
(Carol Burt)


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