I had a really enjoyable trip to Rochester NY to judge rally and Novice obedience for DOTCORNY (Dog Obedience Training Club of Rochester NY). I judged rally both days (that's a lot of paper to cart on the plane), Novice B Saturday, and Novice A Sunday. This trip involved several first for me: first time to fly to an assignment just for the weekend (my Alaska assignment included a week of vacation beforehand with my husband); first time to judge rally and obedience on the same day; first time judging two days of rally in a row (two sets of courses to plan for); first time judging obedience two days in a row; first time all of my Novice A exhibitors (3 of them) Q'ed (that sure felt great!).
The trip didn't get off to a great start Friday. Before I ever left for the airport, I knew my flight would be delayed. We were scheduled to leave at 3:05, the expected delayed time was 3:50. The plane didn't even arrive until 3:47. We did board pretty quickly, but then sat at the gate for an hour or so as they tried to restart an engine :-(. When that finally happened, we then had to wait for de-icing. We finally got to Rochester about 6:30 (instead of 4 something), but as it turns out, another judge was due in about 7:00, so we waited for her to arrive and went out to dinner. Jane took us to a fine Italian restaurant whose name escapes me.
I hadn't judged obedience since May 2007, so I admit I was dreading the assignment the whole week before. As I got underway Saturday morning, I felt much more comfortable than I expected to. I even used a different heeling pattern for Novice B than the Old Standby L pattern. I didn't agonize nearly as much about NQing people whose dogs were not working with them. I only had one perfect 100 in Rally - I don't miss much :-) - but did have a bunch of well prepared handlers with a great variety of breeds. There is clearly some excellent rally instruction going on. A 15 year old junior handler won rally Novice A Saturday and got 3rd Sunday. Every time I'd do the A class awards, I wished I was showing because they gave out a custom embroidered towel or fleece throw of the appropriate color to match the placement ribbon. They were really cool. I will say doing 14 awards ceremonies over 2 days was a bit tiresome ;-).
My stewards were just great. Almost all were experienced, though not necessarily in rally. We had an excellent rhythm going by Sunday afternoon. The next dog was always ready thanks to my gate stewards. Jean and Stephanie handled the explosion of paperwork that is rally. I received several compliments on my organization. I have separate notebooks for obedience and rally with tabbed sections for each class and other miscellaneous papers needed. They do help to at least sort of contain the pile o' papers. Best of all, a club member who is a rally judge pulled all the signs and built all the courses, so all I had to do was tweak it. Boy, was that a luxury! Thanks, Penny!
I had a completely uneventful and easy flight home. It was nice and sunny at both ends. What was really fun was that Diane Propst (one of the other judges) and I had assigned seats next to each other - totally by accident - on the flight from Rochester to Detroit (she was going on to Kansas City), so the flight really zipped by. Betsy Horn Humer was the 3rd judge on the panel. I'd never met her before, but she seemed really nice. She, Jane Jackson, and I talked field training at the judges' dinner Saturday night :-). Betsy has had Chessies for years.
It was great to talk to Diane and Betsy about judging - they both judge all obedience and rally - and they answered a couple of procedural questions that came up. It's not what you know but who you know or if you know where to look it up :-).
My sincere thanks go out to DOTCORNY and Jane Jackson for hiring a provisional judge (that's me), to Terri Clingerman for her great hospitality, and all the behind-the-scenes club members who worked to make it such a pleasant trial. I think I'm actually looking forward to my next couple of judging assignments thanks to their trial!