Author Topic: Gate Stewarding  (Read 3017 times)

Kyle

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Gate Stewarding
« on: February 11, 2014, 10:40:28 AM »
This should really be titled "What I Have Learned About Being a Gate Steward".   ;D  And it's being written because one of my favorite judges - Janet Ooms - gave me a little pat on the back that got me to hummin' around in my head about the job. I understand there's a whole lot of different styles folks use when handling this job, and I know that at a FunRaiser there is no Gate Steward. Actually, my favorite job at a trial is gating the Novice classes. I just love those folks! They ROCK! So keeping the Novices in mind, here's some things to help them along their way on to their runs.

There's 3 "biggies" to the job - making sure the Scribe knows what dog is about to run, easing exhibitors' confusion about when to run and getting the next dog on the line in order to save time.

The Scribe's job is one of the hardest (IMHO!), so to make their life a little easier and to make sure "Fluffy" doesn't get scored instead of "Floppy", we need to have good, clear communication with our Ring Crew team member! If there are scratches or a dog was originally listed in the wrong jump height, try to let the Scribe know before the class starts, during a jump height change or between dogs. Don't try to give "extra" info to the Scribe when they are concentrating on the judge's calls during a run.

When it comes to the run order sheets, also known as "Gate Sheets", I have a little different opinion than some folks who Gate do. I figure those lists are not for me to control, they are for the exhibitors to use. I usually stay out of the way after the walk through for the Elite folks to move their dogs around on the list for their ease in getting their second (or third!) dog in a comfortable order. I'll help the Novice folks out just because they *are* Novices.   ;)

When the class is running, I make sure to step way over to the *side* of the board, giving a clear 180 degrees of viewing to the exhibitors. I like to allow the exhibitors to be able to see the board themselves without having to cram up close, trying to look over my shoulder just to see the run order. If the gate is standing/hovering right smack dab in front of the board it can cause a dangerous situation. That forces handlers who want to check the order to crowd their dogs all together in about a 6 foot area in front of the board. Not a safe situation!

If you allow the space in front of the board to be clear, those of us exhibitors with short term memory (like all of 3 seconds in a trial situation!), can check the order as often as we like - from a *safe* distance. We don't have to keep asking the Gate...over and over...and feeling like an idiot every time we do! If you're not micromanaging the exhibitors, you then have the time to let the Scribe know the dog on the line and to get the next dog there when it's time.

Please don't call out 6 or 8 or 10 dogs names in order....none of us who are focusing on our course are going to be able to remember! (Half the time our dog's name is mispronounced so we don't "get it" anyway!  ???) Stick to just calling out the next 3 or 4. If you're gating Novice, a good thing to do is point at each dog as you do it. That's for the handlers who don't know all the dogs yet, won't remember the name of the dog in front of them but they *will* remember what it (or the handler) looks like! If a handler comes up and asks who the dog in front of them is, don't just say the dog's name, show the dog to the handler. That will relieve a lot of anxiety for our Novices.

Figure out the course you're gating for and find a good place on it to send the next dog to the line. Make sure you're not asking the next dog to be walking in when the dog running is coming *at* them. Usual good timing would be about 4-6 obstacles before the end of the course. The Novice folks *like* to be told at which obstacle they should head out to the line. So make a little "announcement" to the group that's waiting in line every once in awhile. It is your job to get that dog to the line in a timely fashion so your judge isn't waiting waaaiting waaaaaiting for the next dog. You may not be on your feet all day, but your judge is! Plus, don't we *all* want to get home before bedtime???

Handlers are pretty focused on their courses, making sure they are there in time and are *not* watching their dogs carefully! (Case in point: It was *almost* "Pomeranian vs. Pit Bull" last weekend until the old "group dog trainer" in me hollered "Keep your dogs 6 feet apart!!!". Couldn't help myself...I "reverted to original training"!) I kind of figure the line up area is up to me to make sure is a safe place for everyone. The handlers aren't usually thinking about it, so someone has to! Just keep your eyes open and say something when needed. Earlier is better than later....

In closing, there's no need to be a "Gate Nazi" (as a dear friend calls it). Smile! Enjoy the dogs! Enjoy the handlers! Be as stress free as you can, making it as stress free for the handlers (and dogs!) as possible. Don't forget - step AWAY from the board! My dogs and I will thank you!

Sincerely looking forward to seeing your run from the best spot in the house,
Kyle
Kyle
Leona Valley, CA

LeeAnne McAdam

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Re: Gate Stewarding
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2014, 03:23:17 PM »
Great information, Kyle!  Competent gate folks are worth double their weight in gold!
Lee Anne

MoabDiane

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Re: Gate Stewarding
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2014, 04:01:02 PM »
GREAT post!  This is one of my pet peeves - both doing it and listening to others do it! (or in some cases, not HEARING because they're not really calling out names where anyone can hear).

I do think that it's helpful to have an experienced handler gate for Novice, and novice people can gate for the more advanced classes, as those folks should have a "better" clue about what to do.
I also like gating for novice for many of the reasons that Kyle listed. The idea of standing to the side so people can see the list is SO important - and doesn't happen all too often.

I also think it's helpful to learn the dogs and people - so if Susie and Fluffy are standing by, you don't need to holler for them. I will often walk over to the next person (or next to next person), and say, "This is Fluffy, right? [Then they know that YOU know and you don't stand there hollering for Fluffy, when the person isn't paying attention.] You may go in when the dog in front of you finishes the XXX obstacle."  Then they also know that you are watching and helping them get ready.

I also like it when the gate steward uses a big fat pen to cross off the dogs that have run or are in the ring at the moment.  Then, I can see that, knowing we are the first 16" dog, that they are about halfway through the height before, and I should be ready! 

Maybe instructors could pass on some of this info to their students, and being a GS wouldn't be so intimidating!
Thanks, Kyle!
diane

Becky Woodruff

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Re: Gate Stewarding
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2014, 08:42:22 PM »
Great post Kyle.
Thanks!
Becky
Becky Woodruff

Wild Terriers

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Re: Gate Stewarding
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2014, 10:01:57 PM »
Kyle - you rock!  And, your posts always make me smile - thank you!

Karen and the Wild Terriers
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James Bell

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Re: Gate Stewarding
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2014, 10:29:15 PM »
So, I've heard varying opinions on gate stewards calling out next 3 to 4. I've always used the "x is online (directed primarily at the scribe), y is on deck, z is in the hole, a be thinking about it." with variations ("course builders be thinking about it).  Too many years around roping events. :-)   Most Novice folks seem to be good with it, heck some of them are giggling about being in the hole or their dog thinking about it, but you do get the occasional folks who think it's an issue for noise sensitive dogs. Maybe it's just because my voice tends to carry. :-)
James Bell

Sharon Nelson

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Re: Gate Stewarding
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2014, 10:37:49 PM »
I love those trials that are well organized and have that amazing gate steward that you never hear once during the entire trial! No human names being yelled and no dog names being yelled.  Yet those dogs are right there, ready to walk in when it is their time to enter the ring!  Love it!!  I will go out of my way to attend trials with quiet gate stewards and tend to avoid any that have the "yellers" handling the organization of who's next in the ring.  Sorry, just MHO and it makes a big difference on where I will travel.

Sharon
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Alanna Leach

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Re: Gate Stewarding
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2014, 06:06:28 AM »
Totally agree with Sharon.  A 'yeller' at the gate affects the tone of the trial.

Alanna


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Linda W. Anderson

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Re: Gate Stewarding
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2014, 08:19:29 AM »
I had an interesting experience this past weekend while gating.  In the past, I have been accused of being a "yeller" and have tried to really tone it down.  I try to know who the next two dogs are and where their handlers are standing so I could make sure they went to the line at the right time. 

This weekend, I was told to yell out the names because people couldn't hear me by an exhibitor who wasn't even in that class. 

My suggestion to exhibitors would be to let the gate steward do their job.  Just because they aren't yelling out five or six names every time a dog goes to the line doesn't mean they don't know what is going on or that the handlers don't know when their turn is coming up. 

I do like the suggestion about using a wide marker to mark off the dogs who have already run and also to stand to the side so exhibitors can see the run order and will follow those suggestions next time I serve as a gate steward.
Linda
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Rsquared

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Re: Gate Stewarding
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2014, 08:36:17 AM »
Great post, Kyle!  I especially liked your observation about giving a wide berth around the board so that people could check the run order.  This past weekend I practically had to pry the gate steward off the board to see the order.  I remember wondering if I was guilty of the same thing and made a note to give more space in the future.  Similarly, whoever taught me to gate steward said I needed to be yelling out the dogs' names.  I will try to be less vocal in the future while still getting out the necessary info. to the scribe and competitors!

R2
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Gary Visintainer

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Re: Gate Stewarding
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2014, 08:38:16 AM »
Great post Kyle, thanks.

Pam Kaye

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Re: Gate Stewarding
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2014, 10:37:49 AM »
Long ago, we used to trial with a dog named Ace.  Richard used to love to gate steward so he could say "Ace in the hole".

Simple pleasures...
Pam Kaye
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Richard Wolfe

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Re: Gate Stewarding
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2014, 12:12:20 PM »
Anecdote about Gate Nazis and why I don't like to attend trials with 2 simultaneous ring.  This is from 7 years ago or so.

I have always run 3 or 4 dogs and mostly ran them all in every run.  I was nearing a milestone with Sparkle and needed the Regular run very badly.  Regular was in the priority ring.  I had taken Sparkle out to do business and warm up and she wasn't cooperating about getting her job done.
The gate steward for the non-priority ring came outside and started yelling for me.  I answered and she said we need ???? in the other ring.  I told her that I was due up in the priority ring shortly.  She yelled, "we need you down there now."  I repeated that I was due in the priority ring.  She said, "were getting ready to change the course and need you NOW!!"  I said that I needed this run and told her to scratch the run in the other ring and she said,  "WE'RE NOT GOING TO DO THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  I just shook my head and said, whatever.  I went in and promptly butchered the Regular course because after obstacle 3, which was obvious, I had no earthly idea where the course went after the previous exchange.     Thankfully, that problem has gone away.   ARGGH!
Richard Wolfe
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LeeAnne McAdam

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Re: Gate Stewarding
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2014, 12:51:55 PM »
Long ago, we used to trial with a dog named Ace.  Richard used to love to gate steward so he could say "Ace in the hole".

Simple pleasures...

We have Sarah Fix and Fire in our neck of the woods...but the story is the same!
Lee Anne

runningmadly

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Re: Gate Stewarding
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2014, 01:02:59 PM »
Great explanation about gating.  This is a bit off the topic but one of the things that I find frustrating about gating is when a team will refuse to go to the line when asked. Gating is a great job and as Kyle said, it is the gate's job to get the dog to the line in a timely fashion - I feel like the handler should be at the line ready to take the leash and collar off as soon as the judge says good luck and not wait until the judge says good luck and then walk to the line.  There have been times when I have asked the team to move to the line and they say no or they don't want to go in until the other dog is out of the ring.  These teams are definitely in the minority, most teams are great about it, but it only takes a few to really start to slow things down.  It is very helpful when judges brief how important it is to go to the line when the gate steward asks.

Pat Moloney-Harmon
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