The Minimum – I’ve seen writers who sit quietly or talk with friends until the judge says something, then they are ready to record the information. To me, that’s the minimum that a table secretary should do. There’s a whole lot more that he or she can do to help keep the show running smoothly and to eliminate as much downtime as possible.
For this section, we’re going to assume there is only one table worker. If you have more, the jobs would need to be divided accordingly.
Keep The Judge Informed – The first thing a judge wants to know is how many rabbits are in the first class. Don’t wait to be asked. Let the judge know. It’s very important for judges to know how many rabbits there will be and when the final rabbit is on the table. When there are few rabbits in the coming classes, it’s a good idea to let the judge know that, too.
Solve Problems – If there are fewer (or more) rabbits on the table than the control sheet calls for, then it’s time to spring into action and resolve the issue. Let the judge know immediately of any changes. If you tell the judge there should be eight, then seven show up, he or she will not be able to place the rabbits until the table is complete (unless they decide to close the class by placing first place). Oh, we had a scratch after the judge has been standing there is not very welcome. Keep the judge informed.
Keeping Track – When judges are dealing with large classes, the judge will sometimes ask assistance in keeping track of how many have been placed in holding coops, or how many still need to be placed. For example, if a judge has 20 in a class, he or she may wish to no-place rabbits until the tenth place is reached.
Directing Traffic – It’s great if the judge doesn’t have to sort out where the rabbits should be placed on the table when there are small classes and varieties. If there are two senior bucks, three second does, two junior bucks, and one junior doe, help the exhibitors know where to place the rabbits so that the judge knows where the classes are. It’s a good idea to skip coops between classes, if needed. Be willing to repeat the number in each class as many times as it takes for the judge to get the lay of the land.
You may need to get out of your chair between classes or varieties to help get rabbits settled. Most judges appreciate being able to focus on judging and having the logistics taken care of.
Clear The Table – If you see that rabbits are not being picked up and taken back by exhibitors, you can look into ears, find the owner, and see that the rabbit is taken off of the table. I’ve seen judges get senior does confused with junior bucks because no one came to pick up the rabbit in a reasonable period of time.
Staying On The Same Page – As the judge begins placing rabbits, it is a very good idea from time to time to make sure you are on the same number of rabbits, especially if the judge is saying “next” instead of “fifth.” Waiting until you have three cards left and the judge has two rabbits left is not the time to figure out something is wrong. It’s an especially good idea to make sure you are together when you hit five rabbits left, since these are the ones that earn points.
Matching Tattoo Numbers – It is the judge’s call on how readable a tattoo is. You will find all kinds of tolerance levels. Most judges want rabbits to be able compete and will welcome your suggests of tattoos very close to the one called out. Even with a fairly clear tattoo, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between V & Y, 5 & S, 11 and H, and so forth. Make sure you get the judge’s okay before you mark an award next to a rabbit with a close, but different tattoo number. From time to time, a tattoo will be totally clear and in conflict with the paperwork.
Also, some judges will fail to read the ear number of the first place rabbit, assuming it matches the rabbit that is left on the paperwork. Ask for confirmation. Sometimes, the rabbit left on the table was not entered or substituted correctly. Occasionally a senior buck is accidentally placed on the table for a junior – and of course he wins on maturity. Make sure the numbers match.
Some judges will choose not to look at the private ear number of the class winners. In that case, the rabbit will be brought to you to read and verify that it’s the one on the control sheet. Do not read the ear number out loud to the judge.