I think we all can agree, the judge is a very important part of a successful show. All judges should be treated with respect and courtesy. The judge’s name is listed in the magazines and show catalogs and usually in pre-show publicity efforts. I believe all judges appreciate all of these and other amenities shown to them.
At least two other people are as important as the judge in a bird show, but they receive little or no credit for their efforts. I refer, of course, to the steward and show secretary. These folks work very hard in virtual anonymity.
While the judge may be having breakfast or a second cup of coffee the steward and secretary are well into their day's activities. It is their responsibility to check in and catalog each entry. The steward must check every exhibitors show entry form for accuracy. This includes cage tag numbers, the class number, section number. After checking the form he initials and returns the exhibitors copy for their records, and turns the show copy over to the secretary. After sealing the show tags the steward must store the cages according to division, section, and class for bringing them up to the bench for the judge’s view. The cages are counted and the tags are again checked for correct placement. While working with the secretary they determine that the cages are all accounted for and the class numbers as well as the section, and division numbers agree with the show tag count. Many times the steward is interrupted to help novice exhibitors fill out the show tag correctly and reclassify an improperly cataloged bird. When all of these important and necessary tasks are finished the steward then must arrange the birds for the judge. The first class of the first section is placed in random order and as the judge makes his choices the steward must move the cages as ordered by the judge. This same procedure is followed through section and division judging.
At the end of a sometimes very long day the steward should see that the show cages are returned to the rightful owners before he can call it a day.
The show secretary’s job is equally as important, although less physically demanding. The secretary must work with the steward when the birds are checked in. The correct cage number must be recorded and logged according to class, section, and division. A manual count by class, section, and division must be made and the count should be the same as the numbers recorded from the entry forms.
As the judge makes his selections it is the job of the secretary to record the cage numbers in the order that the judge decides. When the class winners are returned to the bench for section judging the secretary should confirm with the judge or the steward that the proper cage number is being judged.
Most bird clubs furnish the forms needed to keep the records of entries. The ACS furnishes the form for the top bench judging. All ACS Judges have these forms and turn them over to the secretary. The secretary must fill in all of these forms and double check to assure that all entries are benched at the proper time and are seen by the judge.
Over my years of judging I have had the pleasure of working with many very good stewards and secretaries and they made my judging experiences most enjoyable. I would never attempt to name them, but I would like to use this means of expressing my gratitude to you all. THANKS!