Event and Ring Scheduling

Scheduling the events for your Specialty will be one of the more time consuming and difficult tasks you will face. At first glance it seems like this isn't that difficult of a task. However, you will quickly find that there are not enough hours in the day to squeeze in all of the great activities you would like. It will be difficult to satisfy all the diversified interests of the people on your show committee. When you broaden that statement and look at all the people in our national club you will quickly realize that you will not be able to address everyone's interest.

Early in your Specialty planning it is important to determine what you will offer and on what days. This includes not only the normal judged events, but extra curricular activities as well - things that folks have begun to look for at Specialties. Things such as programs, health fairs, banquets, sight seeing, junior activities etc. You will need to be prepared for other special interest groups to also be requesting time on your already busy schedule, groups such as Bernergarde, Berner-ll and Regional Club Council to name a few.

In the early days of your planning it will be important to pencil in a proposed schedule of events. For all practical purposes you will need this information to also help determine exactly how many days your Specialty will cover, the committees you will need, what to put in your premium list, and what you need to include in your site contract negotiations. You will be asked by many people what the schedule is early on. A word to the wise, any schedule you publish should be clearly and boldly marked TENTATIVE. Until it is published in the judging schedule it is never final.

When planning your schedule there are many items you must take into consideration. Required events offered, extra activities offered, space needed for events and activities, as well as number of people participating. We also need to take extra care when planning judged events to make sure we have enough judges for the number of entries anticipated and enough ring space for them to judge. You need to be well acquainted with the AKC rules as they apply to each event.

In order to help facilitate this process an outline of various portions of a Specialty schedule are below. This includes a table that shows entries of the last several Specialties which should help you plan for number of exhibitors for required events. Traditionally, Specialties held in the East have had a larger number of entries. Entries have increased each year and even the Midwest Specialties need to be ready for large numbers.

Required Events

Judging, Ring and Space Requirements

Obedience rings are governed by AKC rules. The following is an excerpt from the AKC rules governing obedience rings.

Chapter 1 Section 31: If the judging takes place indoors the ring should be rectangular and should be about 40 feet wide and 50 feet long for all obedience classes. In no case shall the ring for a Utility class be less than 35 ft x 50 ft, and in no case shall the Novice or Open class be less than 30 ft x 40 ft..... At an outdoor show or trial the rings shall be about 40 ft x 50 ft long.

It is preferable to hold events and activities in tandem whenever possible. You will want to offer each event to the largest number participants as possible. However, with the increasing size and participation of our Specialties it will continue to become necessary to hold events in parallel. Each host club will need to prioritize their schedule to keep this to a minimum.

You will not be able to satisfy everyone, and you need to be prepared for complaints about scheduling. It will be important for the whole show committee to plan the skeleton of the schedule. It is also important for show committee members to understand all final decisions must rest with the show chairman who is responsible for the show in its entirety.

Please refer to the Schedule of Entries for Past Specialties and an Actual Ring Schedule worksheet. The superintendent can help you with these items, but in the end it is the show chairman's responsibility to make sure all schedules are approved and provide adequate time for judging and extra events planned. (You don't want your judges' dinner starting until the judge is done judging.) Computer software such as Excel or Lotus is a perfect tool to use when scheduling.

Please note when scheduling for team obedience it always seems to take longer than scheduled. Team Obedience is usually done in 2 obedience rings opened up.

Special Events

It is now required by AKC that any special events held during show hours be approved by AKC. A special program, a health clinic etc. Anything held during show hours and on the show grounds. This may seem like extra work, but it does provide you with one large advantage. If you are holding, for instance, a CERF clinic, any unentered dogs coming to the clinic will be legally on the show grounds.

Special events take special consideration. With your already busy judging schedule you will find it difficult to hold special programs unless it overlaps with something else going on. Health clinics are easily done during the day while judging is occurring. Guest speakers are a little more difficult. You of course would want to schedule a Speaker when the greatest number people would be available to listen. It is strongly recommended that unless a banquet/dinner is specifically set up for a guest speaker, that speakers NOT be asked to speak during dinners. Banquets and dinners have become the time for your guests to relax and catch up on visiting. You will find that any speaker speaking at this time will not be listened to very attentively. There is to be absolutely NO speakers at the Saturday night banquet. This is our annual meeting and awards dinner. This is another reason why early on in your planning process the show committee should map out the basic schedule. It is okay to ask for opinions and hammer out the basic schedule. The final say, however, belongs to the show chairman.

Last on the priority list will be the special interest groups that are asking for meeting times. If you can provide them with a room and space that is great. If you can find a time that is not too congested for their meeting that is fine too. It is much easier to give the special group your tentative schedule and let them decide when they would like to meet, making sure that they remember all schedules are tentative.

Schedule of Past Entries, Working Schedule, Printed Judging Schedule

These have been provided to help you do your planning. The Past Entries should give you some idea of how many dogs to expect. It should also help you with configuring how much ring time that many dogs will take. This will be imperative when calculating how many rings you will need and if you will require additional judges in your initial planning.

The Working Schedule is what was used in 97. It includes actual entries, with natural breaks for pictures and lunches. Keep in mind the judge has the final say for breaks. This Working Schedule is what you will need to do to decide what to print on your actual Judging Schedule.

Your Judging Schedule becomes your show bible. When times of classes are printed on the judging schedule and it is published you cannot alter your judging times. If any sector finishes early the next segment of judging cannot begin until the posted time. It is a balancing act to print enough breaks that exhibitors don't have to keep guessing when they will go in the ring, but not too many breaks that can interrupt the flow of your judging.

Use these printed examples to help you formulate your schedule.