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There are a whole lot of good judges and being an optimist I would say generally they generally are correct or at least I can follow some sort of logic in their selection. However there are some judges that have absolutely no business holding a license!
Recently I attended a show where the judge missed several, not just a few but several, dis qualifications. I could see the side sprigs from just looking at the hen, He then DQ a bird for having a red feather, it was a black bird, however there was no feather to be found, then he mis places some birds in the wrong classes etc. When I asked he laughed it off as just a fair. I had a couple birds for sale, he approached a person who as going to buy a bird of mine and attempted to sell one of his for $500!!!! What a guy!! But it is my fault for showing there, I knew he was't a judge that I wanted to show under prior to going, but my daughter really wanted to go to the fair with her cousin so off we went!

There are a lot of things we hear about, like the politcal parts of judging friends placing when they shouldn't or having an inferior bird win a show so the judge can find favor with the owner for some other personal gain etc. Sometimes these are just rumors, and I hope that is all they are because I can't stand a dishonest person. I can take a lot of things but not a liar or a cheat!

All I ask is that a judge is fair and does their best, if I don't agree at least I know that they have integrity.

And like I say I think judges are right or close and honest the vast majority of the time. If I don't agree at least I can see the reason they chose what they did.

What do you all think?
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Matt Lhamon
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 Re: Judges
Reply #1 on May 7, 2007, 8:52pm
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Wow, looks like no one will bite on this one so I'll give my 2 cents worth. Been at this hobby since a kid in 1972. It's been a long time since I seen a blatant dishonest judge and most of the ones I seen are dead. I have seen some that are incompetent and I basically do not show where they are judging. When you send your entries into a show, you are actually voting on how the show is run, judges etc. I think 99% of the judges working today are both honest and competent. Since I started judging, I have learned that you can not judge a class without handling the birds. What appears to be a good bird from the aisle, may deceive you when you handle them so I have learned to give the judge the benefit of doubt.(I did not always do that :-/) I have also learned 90% of the exhibitors do not own or understand the Standard for the birds they raise. They also do not understand the scale of points. If you have a issue with a judge, wait till he/she is done and has time to go over it with you. Make sure you know your breed and variety standard before you give them feedback. I have heard all kinds of things from exhibitors, most of their complaints about other birds are minor faults. They seem to be coop blind to their own birds when it comes to faults especially the major ones. Judging is a losing proposition, it pay's poorly and most of us would rather show than judge. We do it for the love of the hobby and a sour exhibitor can make you rethink your priorities.. Once again, just my observations from both sides of the fence.
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 Re: Judges
Reply #2 on May 8, 2007, 10:18pm
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I guess we will just have to e-mail each other Matt, no one else will take the bait! It'd be nice to get some meaningful posts going on here!
I know there are lurkers out there, step up and post something for all of us!
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 Re: Judges
Reply #3 on May 10, 2007, 7:08am
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I have my opinions on a few judges about their judging. But I also commend the judges out there that actually pick a bird for its standard and not because they know that a certain bird is a certain exhibitors.
Or in some cases, let's pick a bird because it is a solid color, to be on the safe side.
I applaud all of the judges out there that judge from their knowledge of the standard and not favoritism.

Leisha
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 Re: Judges
Reply #4 on May 10, 2007, 8:32pm
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I'll bite!
I think there are still a few judges that wouldn’t know a great bird if it walked up and pecked them, but I don’t think they are dishonest. I agree that you really need to handle the birds to place them but you can see that the champion of the show White Rock is YELLOW!
I doubt that the point system is actually used much these days but that’s not necessarily the judge’s fault. You Judges out there can correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t you typically given about 4 hours to judge about 400 birds? That’s not enough time to handle every bird and place all the varieties, breeds and classes. I also think that because of the time restraints, the judges get use to seeing certain types again and again and before long that type becomes the correct type instead of what the standard says.
I have to say that I’ve probably won as many that I didn’t deserve as I have lost to a lesser bird. After all isn’t it just a matter of opinion?
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 Re: Judges
Reply #5 on Aug 27, 2007, 10:41am
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This is one of my favorite subjects and I as a beginner nearly twenty years ago got crushed by a political judge. He’s not dead yet but not judging any shows that I know off maybe do to his age. I went to a show in north Alabama which was in Muscle Shoals Alabama. It was the Luther Vines Show It must have been a 400 mile drive and I went up their with a string of Large Fowl E W Reese large fowl birds and a few of my white rock large fowl. All the exhibitors said man you got this with many of your big Red Males. Tim Bowles said you are unstoppable. Well I went their to let judge Wilbur Stauffer from Ohio judge the large fowl but he rode up in the van with Tim Bowles and Tim showed two white rocks so Wilbur got a different group of bantams instead of the large fowl.. Well this judge gave me all the awards for the white rocks but when he got to the Large Fowl Reds he awarded an E W Reese Three year old cock bird best Rhode Island Red Champion American and Champion large fowl of the show. This bird after judging was looked by two judges and three master large fowl breeders and on condition alone he lost three points, one point for comb, he had a whole in his tail when you looked down from the top another two point cut and he just looked like he spent four months in a breeding pen. He was a great bird however just like my line in over all quality but not on the day my young boys came to the show. Why did I loose? The owner of the bird’s dad was the secretary of a major southern show and the judge who judged the large fowl wanted to get the assignment to judge this show next year. Sure enough the following year he got a job judging. The folks at the North Alabama show say that happens all the time around here with this judge. So that’s my story and believe it or not that has been a bad taste in my mouth to show my birds ever since. Gary Underwood had the same problem and it turned him away from showing for almost ten years many years ago. You just got to pick your shows and your judges sometimes or just go and do not worry if you get a fair shake or not just for visiting with the others guys and girls at the show. Another story was told to me by a master breeder from Oklahoma just a few weeks ago. I sold some white rock large fowl to Dustin Wilson of Wisconsin about five years ago and he got out of chickens so he sold about two trios to a young boy in Nebraska. He showed these birds plus some females that he hatched that next year. My friend told a fellow friend and exhibitor from Oklahoma did you see those white rock females? The boy from Nebraska is going to clean your plow with them. Well after the judging was over the young boy lost with his super white rock extended breast females to the other guy because the judge was PALS with the other white rock large fowl exhibitor. Boy that pissed off my friend from Oklahoma. He said he will never show again when this judge is hired. And he told this to his face. I am glad Matt is a judge. I tell people all the time that are looking for a judge to give him a call. He will be fair but he will turn right around and telling you why your bird may have lost. Steve Jones from Texas will be a good judge as well and a killer WATER FOWL judge in the future. Well that’s my story and I am sticking with it. Most of the crooked judges are dead. Some of the new ones are lacking in certain areas but that’s normal. You can only hope they will learn with time or the judges or show secretaries will assign them to their strengths and not their weakness. I clerked with Terry Britt at the 2002 Ohio National White Call Class. If you do not think that was a job. The largest class in the show. Over 60 young males where shown. I did not crap about what he was doing, but after three years of raising white calls I started to see what Terry was looking for and how he picked his choices. No one at that National Call Show was upset with Terry’s job that weekend. It takes years of experience as a judge to reach this proficiency. Any more stories to be told?
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 Re: Judges
Reply #6 on Aug 27, 2007, 8:34pm
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Can't stay out any longer :-]
I believe that many people think judging is much easier than it actually is. It's absolutely impossible to judge from the aisle-if this were not the case judges wouldn't be required to handle birds. I have seen many instances where a bird looked great from the aisle but when handled defects began to show. This, I believe, is a mistake many non-judge observers make-thinking the outward appeearance tells the whole story.
Another thing to consider is that a bird has a very short time to make an impression on a judge-maybe only a minute or 2. If the bird is tired, getting ready to lay, distracted or whatever it's time may pass. At a show in a very hot building a couple of years ago there was a Mottled Cochin Pullet I really liked the looks of-couldn't get her to stand up-she was just too hot. I made a Silkie I didn't like as well class champion and it bothered me for some time. But, what could I do. If a bird won't stand how can you possibly judge type and carraige?
Speaking for myself I assure you that judges make mistakes-I know I have and they bother me. I have replaced classes in my head many times when I wasn't sure of a decision I had made. However, I can honestly say I have never seen a judge make a decision based on obvious favoritism. Many times I've heard people complaining about a placing but when I've gone to look it was apparent why a judge did what he did.
I even hear allegations that judges are routinely bribed-so far nobody has offered me anything-THIS IS A JOKE BTW!!!
Someone said they doubt the point system is used much-you're right it's not or at least not in the same way it once was. It's used as a guideline but birds aren't scored individually like they once were. It's now more a comparrison style of judging and you're right time certainly is a factor in this.
To those who think a lot of judges are dishonest or incompetent I urge you to help us all out by getting your license. You may find out there's more to it than you thought. To those who are just curious try clerking at a show or 2-most judges don't mind talking sbout the classes and it may help you to see what all a judge has to consider.
Anyway, on the whole I think most judges do a pretty good job and I certainly believe that most try to be fair.
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 Re: Judges
Reply #7 on Sept 7, 2008, 3:03pm
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I sometimes judge fairs and shows that are not APA or ABA sanctioned.Clerking very often,so perhaps may go through all the trouble to one day get licensed.I am sure however it will never pay the travel expenses!!!!! I agree that you can not breed or understand showing/judging with owning and reading the standards.Many of the questions posted in website forums can be answered by getting a standard,much valuable information is among the pages.I know that politics and favoritism exists and I dislike it so much.I always want to see the best birds winning regardless.It might not get you hired back in some places but you can sleep nights and feel good about doing the right thing as you go about your daily chores.As a long time breeder with a good knowledge of poultry history,I would not have it any other way.Dishonest judges are doing no one any good including the assocaitions that gave them the privilege of a license.
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 Re: Judges
Reply #8 on Feb 18, 2009, 3:58pm
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Robert B good thing the judge you mention in alabama got old
he learned from one of the best political judges in the midwest.
have seen some pretty political judging back in the day
My belief is that the judges study their standards after getting their license.
They some times lose contact with the standard and rather than look not learned DO NOT take a standard to each show to refer to.
I would rather have a judge look up his thought he can;t recall than just wing it.
The political judge may not be in this time as judges who are judging now can only take so many shows in their area.
Price of gas and motels and food make a judge only able to go in his area as show officials can't afford to get a judge from east or west or north or south
Glenda L Heywood
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 Re: Judges
Reply #9 on Feb 19, 2009, 9:37pm
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From the outside looking in, it seems judges do just that, they judge all the birds?

You would think each judge would hold a specialty, a certain few, judge a certain breed?

Seems being asked to judge all breed types could run into problems.
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 Re: Judges
Reply #10 on Feb 20, 2009, 2:13pm
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That would only be feasible if we had $10 to $15 dollar entry fees. Judges in the current system are required to handle 400 or so birds in an 8 hour period, confer on what is Champion with the other judges and explain any placings to exhibitors who want an explanation. $2 to $3 entry fees do not support all some fanciers want from a judge. Most judges are well versed in all breeds and are better on some than others. A few can judge it all. It's looked real easy to me before I started to do it.
MattL
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 Re: Judges
Reply #11 on Mar 2, 2009, 2:01am
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I agree with Matt L
judges sure are expected to be good at all birds at least they should know the birds they raise and breed
here are some of my thoughts on exhibitors and judges
About the point system and winning at shows

Fred Jeffrey while Sec of the ABA started the point system, and it was to get more memberships. It did that Both Bill Wulff and my self and others really went to shows and set up membersh tables for both organizations.. Grant malone was instrumental as was others in putting us on a membership committee and yes we did get lots of new members and with the free yr book the members joined. Soon The APA followed suit.

The point system has grown due to so many varieties such as Old English Bantams. Yes it gives people the inspiration to enter more birds. A lot of folks use the entry cage to sell birds after judging. What is wrong with that. I know of people who took 25 extra birds to enter if there was not 100 in the class. Thus both the ABA and APA and the chicken show host club won.

Also I know one variety of OE that one man entered 100 at every show he went to till he got his starred win. Then sold the birds in total and let his hired man go and went off to Florida and quit showing. Thus every one won. He had the judges, judge the birds fairly and cull for him. The other people got the cast offs reasonable. The variety flurished.

I also know of one man buying a OE for a thousand dollars only to undue the bird with too much spray etc and lose in competition. The bird was a very good cockerel and the owner got the bird back plus $100.00 for a older cock bird. The man never learned to condition or put them in the show in good feather quality.
So it wasn't the judges fault he was a wus at preparing birds. The cockeral went on to win and become a good stud bird.

With that said the judges do a thankless job and people never learn the proper way to pick good birds or have them in good condition or train them to show for a judge. These are VERY important things to learn.

Sore loosers ( who complain about dishonest judges) should go to a show and watch the top winners enter their best, condion the best, and prepare the best. You will learn how to be a good exhibitor. For instance in my day of showing Cochins the best were Ed Turpin, Larry Peterson and Ross Blandford and Bob Hughes. I never ever seen any one who could lay them in so deep in excellent condition as these me. I used to watch them and still not be able to do the job. I always never complained if they won. They deserved it.

I spent almost 20 yrs in South Carolina doing such and learned from the best how to clean up birds and loved doing so. Then learning how they slave over the birds daily sun or ice and always brought out excellent birds.
Chickens have been my love ever since child hood.

The judges only can judge what is in the best condition and shape and color and stance of posing for that day. so the judge picks the best of the best for that day
.
And take it from one who learned trying to take photos for the NPN what is best for birds to pose. And it isn't hitting on the cages or ripping across the cage wire.Talking to the bird in a low voice is excellent advice and the bird learns to trust you and your soothing voice.

First you keep show birds the week of the show up in clean show cages,A very good investment show cages. Handle them daily, ( they are not tree caught birds thrown into cages the morning of the show) A good thing is to get them to show by giving one small piece of gaines burger dog food. Not a big hunk
Using it to go up outside the cage with it between your fingers, to bring the bird to station.

If you keep your birds well fed, fresh feed daily along with fresh water daily, You will have better conditioned birds. Actually it starts with young birds taking the cockrels away from pullets at two months. Then they do not fight if kept together till first show and then by them selves each to a cage. You will have good conditioned birds, well trained for the judge to handle. This makes judges get them picked out as winners.

Did you ever watch a judge stand back and eye up a class of birds to be judged. He is picking the best bird in his mind so when he looks individually at the bird it will follow thru to be the best.

Give credit where credit is due. The judges DO NOT get paid enough to handle 400 birds a day at a show to be dishonest.Tired maybe! Maybe his friend has the specifications listed here to put in good birds. Yes on any given day a judge can miss one or two but not every show and every birds.

Yes I think more judges should carry standardsm and use them, BUT NOT to have the exhibitor give sarcastic comments about their being dumb. It takes one to know one. The prizes are not enough to have a low thought of your self or your fellow poultryman.

So do the best you can and make a habit of being a good fellow exhibitor. Chicken shows are really a privalige so enjoy them before the government men make up new ways of stopping chicken shows.

Glenda L Heywood
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 Re: Judges
Reply #12 on Mar 5, 2009, 5:21pm
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Judges are as good as their honesty, which most are, and their knowledge of the two standards
judges are very important to the hobby. without them it would not be a hobby
If judges try and keep in mind the facts in the standards and weekly if not daily study some part of the standard. which will keep them fresh in mind the different points to judge by
AND use a standard when at shows/
This will keep the exhibitors on their toes also.
one quick to say a judge is crooked doesn't think how many breeds judges need to know about
The exhibitor needs to put good conditioned and good typed birds in the show. then they got nothing to gripe at judges about.
Glenda L Heywood
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