Rabbit shows need many volunteers to function well. The biggest category of volunteer may be the writer or table secretary, as it is called in some parts of the country. Writers sit beside the judge and record comments and keep track of placements. Anyone can volunteer to write for a judge at a show, including you! We always need more writers, but often we hear that folks would write if they were sure they wouldn’t mess things up.
These pages are intended to help you become comfortable with the various tasks performed by writers so that you can volunteer without that fear of “messing up.”
If you are new to showing rabbits, this section will be somewhat confusing. We suggest you check out the basic how-to-show rabbits articles first!
Different Configurations of Writers and Ramrods
Rabbit shows vary quite a bit by region. Some areas have mostly pre-entry shows; others offer mostly day-of-show entries. Different ways of doing the paperwork need slightly different configurations of writers.
A Lone Writer – Here in the south, we have few day of show entry shows. There is little need for comment cards, though they are not unheard of. In a smaller show, it is possible for one person to take care of the table secretary’s duties, assisting the judge, keeping rabbits on the table in front of the judge, and completing the control sheet.
Writer And Ramrod – Especially with larger shows, it is beneficial to have a separate ramrod. The ramrod’s job is to call rabbits to the table and make sure that the judge never has to wait before judging the next animal.
Comment Card Writer And Writer For Control Sheet – For pre-entry shows with comment cards, you may find it helpful to have one person find the comment card and complete it, while another person completes the control sheet. This pairing allows the judge to continuing giving comments on rabbits without waiting for the writer to switch jobs and complete the control sheet after the comment card.
Comment Card Writer and Creator Of Control Sheet – For day of show entry shows, there won’t usually be a control sheet (you may find exceptions with small specialty shows). So one person completes the comment cards while the other person writes down the placements on a blank form. Some clubs may want all placements, some the top ten, while others only want the top five recorded.
Ramrod, Comment Card Writer, And Control Sheet Writer – This is a deluxe set-up with separate volunteers for each separate job. Generally this combination is reserved for large shows. This is the combination we use at Convention (though the control sheet writer is not behind the judging table for Holland Lops, anyway.) Coordination and working together is important. The last thing you want to do is be at cross-purposes. Any time you have a separate ramrod, you have to share information. Writers must not only assist the judge, but also assist the ramrod, so that he or she can be effective.
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Ramrodding – this job may or may not be part of your job as a writer. You may decide to ramrod only and let someone else be the writer.
Completing The Control Sheet – different control sheets may look different, but they basically work the same way. Once you’ve learned the basics, you should be able to figure out any control sheet the club provides for you.
Filling Out Comment Cards – sometimes this job is the writer’s and other times it is a second job.
Dealing With Those Scary Specials – which are Best of Group and which are Best of Variety? How do I do Netherland Dwarfs? You’ll find the answers to those questions and more in this section.
Assisting The Judge – the best writers are proactive rather than just recorders of the information. Find out what you can do to help the judge and keep the show on track.
Common Errors – show secretaries find certain errors are made over and over again. Learn from the mistakes of others in this section.