Many people, including cattle exhibitors, judges and those who are contemplating both, ask what rules cattle judges follow?
The answer is simply - there are none. But over many years a procedure or etiquette has evolved which Agricultural Show Societies expect to be followed. Showing cattle is a very personal activity. Breeders spend many years and months preparing their entries. To them their exhibits are the best. No wonder emotions are charged - win or lose - when another cattle man is asked to select one out of a grand bunch. Hence the need for rules to ensure that the competition is well organised, technically sound and competitors are treated as people and not catalogue numbers.
With the help of Mr D Tyson, a former Member of Council and an experienced judge, the following notes have been compiled.
It is a great honour to be asked by an Agricultural Society to be a judge. Invitations should be answered quickly, for the organisers have to produce catalogues and entry forms well in advance of the Show Date. When the big day comes punctuality is essential together with appropriate attire. For men a dark suit, and at some shows, a bowler hat.
Even though many of the exhibitors will be friends, the urge to walk down the cattle lines before judging, must be curbed. If time allows competitors often welcome the judge. Cattle breeders are constantly seeking knowledge and hints which will enable them to improve.
The Judge is in charge and will be blamed if the organisation goes wrong; so planning is essential.
HELPFUL HINTS FOR JUDGES
Examine the ring and work out a strategy beforehand.
Notify the steward of your intentions.
Entry of exhibits into the ring
Look at the animals individually, walking towards, away and alongside you.
Place your hands on the animal’s loin, tail head, testicles, hocks, rump, etc.
Big heavily muscled cattle soon tire in the show ring. Prevent them having to trail round and round.
Is it necessary to identify the bottom animal in a class of say 20? It may be more tactful to just find the best 12. Judges should give encouraging positive comments to those not selected. The exhibitor’s feelings should be considered kindly as they are rejected.
In a large or difficult class a pyramid system sometimes helps i.e. instead of pulling the animals in order, line them up and select as below.
Always try to dwell on the positive points rather than the negative ones.
Judge the animals on the day as they are presented to you.
It is normal practice having chosen the champion, to have the second placed animal of the same class brought into the ring before judging the reserve champion - consult your steward. Be prepared to give reasons over the public address system if appropriate.
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