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HI ALL! (Happy Thanksgiving)
Eric raises a very good question about the subjectivity of judging.
First the good news is that often the variation in points is a matter of
which judge is working the class. Years ago three of us visited a
Michiana event (actually the club bowl show which evolved into the
annual February Killie Carnaval.) We were asked to judge the 70 some
bowls (an utterly amazing number of killies for a general society bowl
Because I'm such a softie, my scores on the fish were consistantly
higher. One of my compatriots was in the middle of the range and the
third of us (probably the best informed of the triumverate) was
positively brutal. However most of the scores if put on a graph would
have followed the same pattern for high and low fish.
There was considerable grumbling in the crowd so Bill Fackert, one of
the hosts, cheerfully introduced me to the crowd and mentioned that I
would now explain why we had so thoroughly trashed their fish. As I
approached the podium he smiled and thanked me for trying to stop the
riot. I thanked him in less certain terms.
The explanation given the assembly was that they had great killies, but
that the vast majority of them were still quite young fish andthat with
so many great killies they should organize an AKA sanctioned show for
the next year. This sort of mollified the crowd, we made our get away
and Ron Coleman & Bill organized the first Michiana killie show. By the
way Michiana gave them permisson to risk $500 of their own money as seed
Now the down side. Judges, especially senior judges like myself, on
judging day need to be well rested, sober and updated on what is being
judged. I'm not sure we always are. A few years ago at a Cleveland
national I pulled myself from a class because there were a bunch of new
lampeyes totally unknown to me. Sometimes though that is not always
possible at a show because there a only so many people available to
A related difficulty is that often (and this is even more severe a
problem in general clubs) those best qualified to judge a class have
fish in that class. In some instances people will even place a
"defensive entry" in a class so that they will not have to judge that
big mother of a class.
While some efforts have been made to deal with subjectivity, it will
always be with us. I have been stunned to see a large raggedy biv win
its class simply because it was larger than the others - some judges are
dazzled by size. In another instance I accidentally dumped two female
Apl. spilauchen in a bag and rushed out of the house to a show. A most
experienced judge gave them second place among ten entries! (And Brad
Higgins will tell you that I haven't the faintest idea how big a
The lessons? We have a LOT yet to do to keep our judges current. Recent
class certification procedures should help.
Personally it may be best to philosophically view shows as expositions
and be glad when the judging actually does what it is supposed to. In
time one (1) will get an award when deserved, (2) will not get one when
deserved and (3) will get an award when not deserved! In a wierd way, if
trophies are a priority, things will average out.
In the meantime enjoy the company and killies.
All the best,