By Laurie Stroupe
Help out a show secretary – enter a show correctly
I’m entering data from a recent show. I’m about to pull out my hair. First of all, the program is extremely quirky and requires weird workarounds if you don’t behave exactly as the program means for you too. The other part of the frustration comes from the entries themselves.
Show secretaries are in short supply in some parts of the country. I’ve even heard of clubs that pay the show secretary because no one wants to step up and take on the job voluntarily (I can easily see why!) So, consider doing your best to help out your show secretaries. Here are some ideas:
Always include your address with your entry. It is also a great idea to include your phone number and the cell phone you will be carrying on your way to the show. I’ve had secretaries call me to clarify an issue (when I was first starting out). We’ve also had need to contact an exhibitor who was running late to make sure they were coming.
Do not email a form. Forms do not always come through the way you sent them. If you could see all of the code that comes through, the nonaligned columns, and the ear numbers mixed with variety, class, and sex, you would easily see why the forms aren’t a great idea. A simple, well-spaced column of information works great. Be sure to include breed, variety, class, sex, and ear number for each entry.
Although it is your right to enter some rabbits in A and others in B, just keep in mind that it complicates data entry.
I personally prefer a separate email for each exhibitor. When you are entering data and your eyes have to go back and forth between the online form and the entry, it’s easy to lose your place. If you also have to keep up with whose rabbits are whose, it makes it much more difficult.
For entries that span two emails, make sure you do your best to label them that way. You might put in the subject line “Entries for Saturday: 1 of 2.” If you are updating your entry “Entries for Sunday – Updated” will help avoid confusion.
If you need to make a change to your entry, I personally prefer that you repeat your entire entry so that the first email may be deleted. But please highlight the change, just in case your entry has already been entered into the computer and just the change needs to be made.
Use a Separate form for each exhibitor
Whether you are sending in your entries or entering day of show, definitely use a separate form for each exhibitor. It is very confusing to get a form with arrows showing these are my daughter’s, these are my son’s, and these are theirs together.
Check over your rabbits before you enter them. There’s no accounting for a rabbit that suddenly blows a coat or breaks a nail, but most of the time, going over your rabbits before you enter them will prevent changes at the check-in table. Changes and additions take more time than all of the regular entries put together. You can help shows start on time by making your entry as accurate as possible.
Entries made on the day of the show are the most difficult. Many, if not most clubs need entries and are not likely to turn you away. We’d rather you come and participate if you can, even if you couldn’t commit until the last second. However, enter as soon as possible, even if it is after the deadline. Making sure you bring a completed entry form with you helps too. If you don’t have software available to you, you can almost always find an entry form attached to one of the many show catalogs posted around the internet. Scraps of paper with jotted notes are very difficult to recognize and keep up with.
Editor’s Note: [For day of entry shows, print an ARBA entry form to fill out at home. This will help you when filling out the remark cards when you get to the show. I like to buy a handful of remark cards at the show and fill these out ahead of time. The remark cards are very cheap, and you can pick up blank ones to replace the ones you turn in.]
Everyone can help out by using good handwriting
Writers can help show secretaries by always writing their names down on the paperwork and recording the judge’s information. Most judges have a stamp you can use; you often have to remind them to get it out.
Even BOB and BOS can be confused when the ends of the S loop all of the way around. Pay special attention to O versus 0 (use a slash in the zero), 5 versus S (make the top of the 5 very flat), 1 versus l or i (use a capital L and use a dot on the I or make it into a Roman type I).
Always write down the reasons for disqualifications. Some disqualifications reduce the number in the class, such as when a rabbit is the wrong sex or variety.
The most important way you can help your show secretary is to be patient if there is an error or issue to be resolved. Oftentimes problems were beyond the control of the show secretary. Usually errors represent a very small percentage of the work done. Show secretary work is a time-consuming, volunteer job. Show secretaries do not deserve snide remarks or hostile attitudes.
Well, that’s all of the time I have. I’ve got to get back to data entry!