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What Do You Think?

Ask the Judge - April/May/June 2007


When it comes time to judge BIS, some clubs pick one judge to decide, some choose two, and I have even seen three judges picked to make this decision. Since several judges are at the show, it would make sense to use more than one. From the judge's standpoint, what is preferred?
From Briony Barnes:
I prefer one judge to pick BIS. I understand that it's often the club's intention to make sure the best rabbit is chosen by using multiple judges, and maybe to avoid whispers that the BIS judge purposely selected one of their own BOB winners for the top honor. But as anyone can tell you, judges' opinions can vary widely! It's not a very comfortable situation when two judges are having a hard time agreeing, particularly if you don't like any of the rabbits your "partner" is raving about or vice versa. And let's face it; some personalities can be intimidating which can defeat the purpose of a team choice. Even when two judges are trying to reach agreement, sometimes this results in a "compromise" rabbit being chosen that wasn't anyone's first pick. Last of all, it can dilute the victory for the breeder if it is obvious that one judge didn't really go for their rabbit. Whether the BIS judge is me or not, I'd rather only have one. After all, this is not life or death; it's just a rabbit show!

From Kevin Hooper:
As a judge, I personally like it when one judge selects.  This way you know the person selecting thinks the winner is the winner!  I have seen and been involved in the situations where three or more judges all like a different animal, and no one likes any of the others judges favorites. This leads to a consensus on which one they might each like as the second or third choice, which ends up being Best In Show, even though not one of them thought it was the best animal!  But, you can't please everyone all of the time, so I will do whatever the sponsoring club asks!
From Ray Brewer:
The most commonly asked question of me about BIS judging is: "With all the superb animals that are presented for BIS, how do you decide which one is best?" One aspect of the answer to this question relates to experience. Having done this for more than a few years, I am confident that I can find the best rabbit. Eliminating all but the best for minor faults and slight blemishes in condition, gets me down to 2 or 3.  I can then mentally compare them to the best examples I have ever seen for their particular breed. This process produces a winner!
    Call it ego or confidence, most judges (in my opinion as an observer of human behavior) believe more strongly in their own ability than that of another. I guess you have by now figured out that I would prefer to act on my own. I have enough arguments going on in my own mind without bringing in other opinions. Having given you my preference, let me say that I have had very few bad experiences when working in concert with other judges. Often we agree on the top rabbits; and with a little discussion arrive at a consensus BIS.
From Keith McNinch:
If there is time available and it is early in the afternoon, several judges could pick BIS.   If time is not available, than a single judge should be used.   Many times, the other judges are busy finishing youth and other shows, and are simply unable to participate.  
I personally have witnessed and participated in multiple judge selections, and when differences emerge, additional time is needed when straws are drawn or ballots are cast.   If it is late in the day and everyone wants to get home, it is better for the show committee to recognize the situation and have a single judge select BIS.   If judges can be open to differing views and won't become offended, the committee approach is probably better for the exhibitors. 

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