Come back soon to read about Judith and Kate's experience at the 2012 Judges Seminar!
In March 2010 Andrea and Judy decided to take the plunge and attend the annual WES Judges Seminar. Having heard so much about it from Judith (who's a qualified WES judge) they thought it was about time that they got to grips with the rule book. They approached the weekend from different perspectives - Andrea's an experienced western competitor and wanted to understand more about how classes are judged, whereas Judy's an experienced judge's scribe and event manager and wanted to learn more about the technicalities. Anyone who knows them will also no doubt realise that they both wanted to have a fun weekend at a lovely hotel in the country - possibly treating themselves to the odd gin & tonic and glass of port as well. Needless to say they had a great time and would recommend it to anyone who's serious about developing their knowledge and understanding of western competition.
The event was held at the Southdowns Hotel in Hampshire, just down the road from Bob Mayhew's facility at Wye Oak. For WES members not taking the judges test it cost £45 plus accommodation at the special rate of £70 per night. The full seminar (for existing judges and those wishing to become judges by taking the formal test) began on Friday morning. Andrea and Judy joined the group on Friday afternoon and stayed until the very end of the event, early afternoon on Sunday. The agenda covered:
introduction to the WES rule book
rule book sessions and videos covering each class
video judging and
live judging (at Wye Oak).
A consistent message over the weekend was that judges are not there to catch you out or to try to find any excuse to mark you down. Two memorable quotations from Bob are:
"... judging is a positive evaluation of whatever you've got in front of you..." and
"... we [judges] are not sheriffs, we are painters of pictures..."
So, if you you want to gain a better understanding of your sport, why not attend next year? It'll be advertised in WES News and we'll remind you that it's coming up. In the meantime, just for a bit of fun, why don't you try the rule-book test to see how much you really know? N.B. please don't send your completed test in to Mick Carder!