By Ben Neufeld
In my opinion you don’t have to be have OCD to be a good ring steward but it helps. In all the years I have served as a ring steward for many dairy goat shows I found that communication and organization is key to running a smooth running show. Everyone involved, goats, exhibitors and judges, enjoy a show but don’t want it to participate any longer than is necessary to award the ribbons and trophies.
It is helpful for all exhibitors to have a list of rules and know what is expected of them during a show. Starting times and breaks should be posted. Show classes should be listed in the order they will occur. Each class that is currently in the show ring should be posted so each exhibitor and the audience can know which class is being judged and also know which class will be next.
If possible it is helpful for the ring steward to check each entry into the show. This will help meet each exhibitor before the show and be familiar with them and their animals.
I encouraged each exhibitor to have their animals ring side that are entered into the upcoming class. This is helpful if they can tie the animals ring side or have nearby holding pens. A show really slows down if an exhibitor has to run back to a pen to bring their animal to the show ring. While the judge is evaluating the current class in the ring the Ring Steward needs to make sure the next class is ready to go into the ring as soon as the previous class exits. My goal was not to give a judge a rest unless they asked for one. All first and second place animals should be held ring side until the Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion is chosen.
A good Ring Steward should try to be as invisible as a good showman. Try not to distract or interrupt a judge’s view of the animals. Always try to be on the opposite side of the animal that the judge is on. The Ring Steward needs to collect the placing results of each class and give them to the show secretary. It is also helpful to keep a record of all the first and second place animals to know which animals will be returning to compete for Grand and Reserve Champion. Meeting the judge before the show and introducing yourself will help your relationship with the judge. Ask the judge what preferences they have on lining up the animals placing’s and how the competitors for Grand Champion should be lined up. Some judges prefer only first place animals in the ring for this competition but some want both first and second place animals in the ring.
Last but not least please have patience and remember “we are having fun!” I had t-shirts made that said, “I AM NOT BOSSY, I JUST KNOW WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING”