Notes on Stewarding
1. Stewarding engagements can be arranged through the Show Manager (preferably of a show run by a Club of which you are a member). You should write to your Breed Club Secretary, who may be able to advise you further.
2. A good steward is of enormous help to a judge, but a bad one is a hindrance. Judges at shows are usually very busy and novices may be asked to act as second stewards on their first engagement. This should not be taken as a slight but will provide an excellent opportunity to learn as much as possible about the duties of a steward. Second stewards may be asked to pay for their own lunch, as Clubs cannot always afford to do so for more than one steward.
3. Stewarding is part of the training to become a judge. When stewards wish to find out more about the Judge appointment Scheme, the information is available from the GCCF.
4. If GCCF Stewarding Certificates, for the Judge Appointment Scheme, are being collected, the judge should be told before the start of judging.
General requirements for a steward
5. Physical stamina is needed as the work is hard and requires you to be on your feet all day.
6. The ability to concentrate on the job is very important, as the judge should be able to rely on the steward to be ready and alert at all times. The temptation to chatter to the judge, other stewards and particularly to bystanders must be resisted.
7. Stewards are responsible for other people's cats and must learn to handle them correctly and confidently, so that they are not frightened when they are removed from the pen. People who are nervous or hesitant when handling cats will not make good stewards as it is sometimes necessary to keep hold of a frightened cat in difficult circumstances. In the event of the cat causing an injury, great care should be taken to cover wounds quickly to prevent any possible spread of infection. If a show rejection has been received under section C or D, a person may not steward until a GCCF clearance has been received.
8. Stewards must be tactful and polite to the judge, to show officials and to exhibitors. An effort should be made to appreciate why the judge arrived at his or her placings in the different classes and the judge should assist their stewards in understanding the placings. Judges will normally give a verbal critique on each exhibit; these comments must be treated as confidential. If approached for information regarding the judge's opinion of an exhibit, a steward must refer the exhibitor to the judge, reminding them not to approach the judge until his/her judging has been completed.
9. The GCCF Show Rules should be studied carefully before embarking on a stewarding engagement and prior to each show any additional club rules should be noted from the schedule. Show Managers sometimes issue instructions to stewards on show day; these should be read carefully before the commencement of judging.
10. It is a GCCF Rule that stewards may not exhibit in an Open Class which is to be judged by the judge for whom they are stewarding. It is important to check this well in advance.
11. Show Managers appreciate notification from a steward when the booking has been made by the judge, giving details of the steward's name, address, telephone number and the name of the judge. Stewards should also let the judge and the show manager know immediately if they are unable to fulfil an engagement.
12. A steward should wear a clean white overall with pockets. It is useful to take a spare overall if possible and a small clean towel. All this equipment should be washed on return home to prevent the spread of infection. Additional equipment that may prove useful includes: several pencils with rubbers attached, a few sticky plasters; a spring clothes peg to secure the door of the pen if necessary and a pencil sharpener. Stewards are responsible for their own belongings during the day; the facilities in the Judges Room are for the use of the judges.
13. A ruled chart should be prepared before the show, to be used for recording the pen numbers of the winning cats in each class to enable a check to be made to prevent cross judging.
14. Judges are not expected to enter the show hall until it has been cleared of exhibitors and it is the steward's responsibility to make sure that the necessary equipment is ready for the judge. There should be a trolley, disinfectant and paper towels awaiting the judge and there may also be lunch tickets and other vouchers to be kept during the day. The judge's book should always be collected by the judge and NOT by the steward. The steward should listen to any messages given out over the tannoy system and should see that the judge hands in any paperwork required by the management when it is called for.
15. The judge relies upon the steward to take the cat from the pen and place it on the trolley for judging in a way which causes the cat as little stress as possible. The trolley should be placed as near the pen as possible in case the cat has to be returned quickly in an emergency. If the cat is sitting on a blanket it may be helpful to turn the blanket and draw it carefully to the pen door to enable the cat to be removed as easily as possible. When the cat is on the table do not let go until the judge has it safely held. Try not to let the cat see its neighbour during this time as this may upset it. Return the cat to the pen as soon as the judge indicates that they have finished judging it, settle it comfortably, check that the number and the pen number are the same.
16. When the class has been judged make sure that the judge has entered the results in all the sections of the judging book, including any certificates that are appropriate (Challenge, Premier, Intermediate, Merit or Grand awards). Make sure that the number of prizes offered have been awarded and that the judge has signed the bottom of all the slips. Enter the results on your cross judging chart and check that no two cats have been placed in relatively different orders in different classes (cross judging). Cats which have been judged in earlier classes are normally bracketed in the book (repeats) but DO NOT rely on this. When completed take all the outer slips (still attached together) to the "table" immediately; if there is more than one page fold over a top corner to keep them together. The judge's attention should be drawn to any mistakes in the paperwork before it is taken to the "table". It is vital that award slips are correct, as it is very difficult to correct errors at a later stage and much embarrassment and disappointment can be caused if mistakes remain undetected until after the results appear on the award board.
17. Best of Breed awards are offered at many shows and these results are normally entered on the open class judge's slips. Sometimes judges need to confer over these awards and a steward may be sent to find the other judge concerned. This award is offered in three categories: adult, kitten and neuter. Cats to be considered for Best of Breed shall be winners of the open class, provided that the certificate has been awarded, and cats of that breed that are entered in the "Grand" class but are not in the open.
18. During the day your judge may be required to hand in Best in Show nominations (not all shows hold a Best in Show); try to ensure that this is done as soon as possible. Cats of breeds in assessment classes may not be nominated nor may cats that have not won their open class or have had a certificate withheld.
19. When Best in Show judging is announced stewards whose judges have finished their engagement, or whose judge is taking part, should report at once to offer help. There are many different ways in which Best in Show is judged but if it is judged at a table, not in the pens, stewards should collect cats from their pens in their baskets as requested by the organiser, and bring them to the table. After judging has taken place all unsuccessful cats should be returned quickly to their pens and the winner should be placed in the correct Best in Show pen and a litter tray and blanket fetched for it from its pen.
20. When all the classes in the book have been judged and the judge has completed Best in Show (if involved), the steward should check to see if any special awards are to be decided. These awards often require consultation with judges who judged other relevant classes and are to decide on the winner of specific cups or prizes, e.g. for the Seal Point Siamese with the best eye colour. After this the steward should return the show equipment and collect any certificates for signing by their judge. When they have been signed and returned, collect the judge's catalogue and volunteer to mark any classes the judge requires from the award board. When this has been done, ensure that the judge has transport to the station (if required) at the correct time before leaving the judge.
21. Copies of the GCCF Show Rules, the Official List of Shows, the Judge Appointment Scheme and the Standards of Points book are obtainable from :