Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Harvest Fair 2011

Last Friday through Sunday, the Sonoma County Fairgrounds hosted the annual Harvest Fair. It's almost as fun as the big sister, the annual Sonoma County Fair, but smaller and more friendly, and less crowded. And obviously three days instead of three weeks or so! The main events are grape stomping, wine tasting, apple viewing and tasting plus the usual eats, drinks, things to buy and entertainment to see and participate in. Besides all that there is always a RESDA sheepdog trial in the Lyttle Cow Palace (covered arena) during the Harvest Fair. We had quite a few sheepdog trial fans who showed up, and many of them kept score right along with the judging, on our club leaflets!

In the RESDA system, all Open handlers who have run dogs for a certain number of years are called upon to judge their peers once during the year. Most years we have more judges than trials, and these assignments are drawn out of the hat at the February annual meeting. So, since last February I have known that I, Moi, Yours Truly, was to be in the hot seat of judging the Harvest Fair trial this year. I have judged AHBA trials before, but not RESDA trials. Under California State Fair rules, family members cannot judge each other, so in years past - having been drawn out of the hat first - my brother has taken on the family judging duty while I clerked for him. This year the role was reversed. Oh my! Since last February, I have been studying the RESDA by-laws and thinking through each possible scenario of what could happen with dogs, sheep and handlers in the Lyttle Cow Palace.

When the day finally came to judge I felt confident that I had prepared myself for every eventuality. Once we got going it was actually kind of fun. Jack had already provided me with all the paperwork and office supplies ahead of time. A wonderful team was in place to support my efforts in the form of clerk George, assistant score keeper Teri, announcer (brother), course hauler (another Tom), and we can't forget sheep provider (yet another Tom), sheep handlers, and sheep. Everything worked together really well and I felt like the trial went well. Nothing odd happened and there were a lot of really nice runs. The Harvest Fair provided a rainbow palette of various colored ribbons down to tenth place. So I got to do a lot of handing out of the "goods" which was fun. Western Farm Center provided the Champion with a nice plaque for the win. I'm glad it's over though!

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