How to Organize a Show

Goat Show Organization
by: Gail Putcher
Used by permission

Get workers who are willing to work hard and perform all their duties

Show secretary
Show chairman
Ring stewards
Ribbon Handlers

Show Secretary

Prepare and distribute show catalog

At least two months before the deadline for entries, prepare a show catalog (see attached suggested show catalog). Try to keep the catalog as short and as simple as possible. Be concise and clear in all the rules and regulations. If other shows will be held during National Show week, there only needs to be one set of AGS rules for all the shows. It is recommended that all the shows contain the same classes, and if they are all-breed shows, the order of show should be the same as the National Show. This makes for less confusion on the part of both exhibitor and show committee.

The deadline for entries should be set early enough to allow for all work to be completed, but late enough so that exhibitors will be relatively sure of which animals they will be entering. It saves on substitutions later on.

It’s a good idea to include a page of exhibitor etiquette and other miscellaneous items.


I highly recommend that a computer with a printer be brought to the show and used at check in time. Accurate official programs for the desk and ring steward can be printed before the show.

I recommend that nice programs with advertising be sold at a nominal fee. This makes extra money for the sponsor and pays for an extra special program with graphics and color, and may cut back on waste.

Just one program needs to be made up, with blocks for each show in the left columns. The shows can be labeled “A”, “B”, etc. or named by day or by judge, turning the text sideways to save room.

Set up page as landscape, since the entry form must be in that format. Take time to figure out the inclusive dates of birth for each class. It is useful when checking the classes for accuracy, and often the judges want to know the dates of birth when they are judging.

I highly recommend allowing substitutions ahead of time (the show secretary can set the date she is comfortable with) at no charge, but charge a substantial fee for substitutions at check in time. This really cuts down on substitutions, which take up a lot of time, and can bring in extra money for the sponsor if exhibitor chooses to pay extra for it. Our club charges $5.00 per substitution if done after a certain time.

I highly recommend that no post entries be allowed, including group classes. There is no excuse for not entering ahead of time, and every minute counts at check in time.

Most exhibitors like to see the names of the sires and dams on the program, but this is optional.

If there are going to be more shows (youth show/other AGS shows) associated with the National Show, one set of rules is all that is needed (not one set of rules for each show). Make the entry form usable for all shows so exhibitors only have to fill out one entry form. Make sure that the entry fee schedule is easy to understand (if discounts are given for entering all shows, make this loud and clear, with examples).

At least one month before the deadline for entries, send out show catalogs to all possible exhibitors, and give it to the webmaster to put it on the National Show website. If an exhibitor is not “on-line”, send a hard copy by mail.

Encourage exhibitors to send their entries by e-mail attachment. It’s much easier to copy and paste than it is to have to type in all the entries.

Send in application for sanction to AGS

Fill out application(s) and send in to AGS at least 60 days before the show date. Fees are waived for the National Show. Follow AGS guidelines for fees on associated shows. Attach two copies of the show rules. Ask that the AGS rosettes and paperwork be sent to you. Follow through to make sure the packet is sent well before the show.

When you receive the packet, go through it to make sure everything is there. Fill out all the report forms with as much information as you can do ahead of time (like name of show, sponsor, date, etc.). This saves time on show day.

Receive entries

As the entries are received, check them for accuracy (make sure the correct money has been enclosed or paid by PayPal/credit card, etc.). Place them in alphabetical order. Copy and paste the entries (or type them) into a database of your choice. If you are very familiar with Access, use that. I have found that Excel does a wonderful job.

With electronic entries, it is not necessary to check to make sure they are entered in the correct class, because you will do this later by sorting the data. However, if you receive hard copy entries, check each one to make sure the class is correct. If any discrepancies are found, advise the owner well ahead of time so they can make changes if needed (for example, if they have written down the wrong birth date).

Create an Excel file. We’ll call this file the “entry spreadsheet”. Type the column headings in the same order as your entry forms so you will be able to copy and paste correctly. An example is attached. For the time being, the owner column can be placed on the far right. The order and number of columns can be changed later.

Copy and paste the entries (or type hard copy entries) into the spreadsheet.

When all entries have been entered, do a sort by breed (ascending), then class (ascending) and then by date of birth (descending). This puts all the entries in the order of the final program. If any are in the wrong class, contact the exhibitor to make sure they wrote down the correct date of birth. If it is indeed incorrect, advise them of the correct class number so they can change their records ahead of time, not at the show.

Go down the list and check to make sure that all entries are in the correct class. This is where the dates on the show catalog classes come in handy.

Insert three rows between each class.

Open the show catalog file and copy and paste the class titles and inclusive dates of birth on the line above each class in the entry spreadsheet. Copy and paste the class titles for the group classes.

Enter the grand and reserve grand champion classes for senior does and junior does and junior and reserve junior, senior and reserve senior, and grand and reserve for bucks.

Copy and paste the classes to put the spreadsheet in the order of show of the National Show. If there are other all-breed shows held during National Show week, they should be in the same order.

Delete the columns containing the registration number and date of birth, since it isn’t needed any more. Move the exhibitor column to the right of the name of the entry. Adjust text format so it looks good (not too close together). If you like the look of a table, keep the grids. If not, delete them, but you’ll need something in the left columns for entering placings of the class. Keep the “X” in the boxes of the shows where the animals are not entered.

Make sure each class’s entries are in order of the exhibitor.

Go into page break view to see if each class in complete on a page. Some classes are very large and must take up more than one page, but if at all possible, adjust the space between classes and use page breaks to keep classes from being separated on pages.

Add page numbers on the bottom right.

Add fancy lettering, graphics, etc. as desired and make a cover.

Make up the advertising and when printing, place on the reverse side of the program or between pages if you are not utilizing both sides of the paper.

Make an exhibitor list (see attached) and add to the program.

Either print the programs yourself or send to the printer.

When the programs are completed, go through the entry forms and see how many each exhibitor has ordered. Write their name on the top of the program, and put their programs behind the entry forms so that you can give them to them at check in time.

Keep statistics of both finances and show (see attached spreadsheet)

Make an exhibitor data sheet, using formulas to do the figuring for you.

Wait until right before the show to print the programs, in case someone calls with a last minute change. Print enough for all that have been ordered, and print extra ones for sale during the show(s). The amount is optional and can be decided by the show committee.

To make it easier for the ring steward and show secretary, make up a desk program from the exhibitor program. Delete the columns for sires and dams, since you won’t be needing them. Increase the height of the rows and the spacing of the blocks for entering the placings.

Insert at least six rows between each class in case there are substitutions (there will be many). Put one class on a page so that when the ring steward has obtained the placings he can just hand you the sheet and you can put it aside for figuring the totals for the official show report. Keep the breed pages separate. Insert enough rows by the grand champions and group classes for each show. Enter the name of the judge or show by each one so you’ll be able to enter the placings for each show.

Print two copies at the last minute in case of late changes. Write “desk” on one and “ring” on the other or you could even print them on different colored paper so they don’t get mixed up on show day.

Check in exhibitors before the show

It’s a good idea to have at least one or two helpers at check-in. As an exhibitor arrives to check in, check health papers first. Then find their entry form and program(s) and give them the program(s). Have them show you each animal’s registration paper. It is only necessary to see that the name and the breed is the same and the date of birth on the entry form is correct (this makes sure she/he is in the correct class, and that the breed has been reported correctly). There is no need to go over the entire registration paper.

If there are any changes, have the exhibitor enter them on the entry form in RED INK, so that it stands out. If they do the work you can go ahead and check in someone else. Keep three folders of entry forms. #1-Awaiting check in. #2-Checked in with no changes. #3-Checked in with changes.

If you are NOT using a computer at check-in, as time allows, enter the changes on one of your official programs (desk or ring). Do not delete or cross off an entry that has been scratched or substituted. Enter “SCR” in the blocks. Make sure the exhibitor is making the changes for ALL of the shows, and advise them that once a change has been made, they cannot change back to the original. When check in is complete, enter the changes on the other program. If you ARE using a computer, enter the changes right in the computer. When check-in is completed (there should be a time limit set), put “SCR” in the blocks of the entries of those who have not checked in yet. If they later arrive, you can always take out the “SCR”.

If you are using a computer, print out two new official programs. Take them with all the report forms, certificates and rosettes to the show desk. To save time, you can count the amount of entries and exhibitors and classes, but do it in pencil and do not write anything on the report until that section of the show is over. Animals often get scratched at the last minute or disqualified, so your counts may be off. If you count it up ahead all you’ll have to do is subtract any missing entries from you original totals. The animal count is easy, but the exhibitor count can be daunting. This is why I recommend that each class be put in exhibitor alphabetical order. It makes counting the exhibitors much easier.

Preside at show desk during entire show

Get out the packet of show report, certificates, etc. for the show being judged. Have it handy when the judge chooses the GCh and RGCH.

As the ring steward gives you the page for the class that has just been judged, enter the placings on the desk copy. If the count has changed for the class, change it (write it on the title of the class).

When the GCh and RGCh have been chosen, the judge will read the tattoo. Write it down on your program until you can check the registration papers to make sure it is correct. Most judges want to check it themselves, so have the exhibitor bring the papers to the desk. If the breed judged is miniature, the judge will also measure. Enter this measurement on the show report.

Fill out official show report

Enter the names and registration numbers and the name of the owners of the winners on the show report from the registration papers. It must match exactly. Enter the tattoo after checking to make sure it is exactly the same as on the registration papers. If it isn’t, have the judge re-read it. Try to keep the winning exhibitors at the desk until they can check and sign the report. They must sign the report before the next show is judged.

Fill out the statistics on the report (number of entries, time, etc.). Double check that all spaces are filled in and are correct. When all the sanctioned shows are completed for that report, check again for accuracy, sign it and have the show chairman and judge sign it. Give the judge his two copies with the provided envelope and keep the other along with the desk copy of the program with the results.

Fill out the certificates and give them to the winners.

Update official program with results and distribute to all exhibitors and other entities

As soon as possible, update the program with the results and send a copy to all the exhibitors, to the sponsoring organization, to the AGS webmaster and to whoever else wants one. Do it electronically to save on paper and postage.

Update the statistical spreadsheet, make sure it’s correct, and give that to the sponsoring organization and to the chairman of the National Show Committee.

Show chairman

Be responsible for building a website for the National show and all associated events

Either do it yourself, following the example given you by the National show committee, or delegate it to someone who will do a really good job. Put a downloadable version of the show catalog on it.

Be responsible for getting local business advertising for the show program

This can be delegated, but you are responsible to see that it gets done. Either have the ads sent to the show secretary or have them sent to you and you give them to her.

Be responsible for every detail about show

You have a big responsibility. You don’t have to actually do all the work, but you are the one who oversees everybody to make sure the job gets done.

Contact judges and be responsible for interacting with them (pick up at airport, motels, etc) and be their contact person Contact them well ahead of the show (even the year before if possible), using the approved list given you by AGS. Send them two copies of the contract and ask them to sign one and return it to you. You will be the contact person for the judges, solving all their problems and helping them.

Oversee entire show, and supervise all volunteers

You will answer questions, make decisions, and help anybody needing it. You will make sure all the workers have done their jobs.

Set up a ring large enough to comfortably hold the biggest classes, and provide a holding ring for the animals for the next class. Keep the holding area next to the show desk. Provide tie chains or fences or something similar so that exhibitors can tie all their animals for that show. This will save time by not having to take each goat back to the pen and get one for the next class.

Send announcements of shows to magazines, newsletters, etc. You can delegate this job, but make sure it gets done. The more advertising, the more people will enter.

Order ribbons

Count up all the classes for all the shows and breeds, and order ribbons with an approved logo well ahead of the show.

Be responsible for animal pens, and label them ahead of time

Make sure there are enough pens set up, and assign them to the exhibitors. Try to keep regions together to prevent the spread of disease to animals from different parts of the country that haven’t built up immunity. Label the pens so exhibitors will know which ones are theirs.

Put up clearly written signs showing the way to the show barn if the grounds are very large. It’s very annoying to drive for hours and arrive at the show grounds and get lost! Put up large, clear signs in several locations to show the way to the barns.

Have measuring stick for miniatures, bright flashlight for checking tattoos, and provide pail, water, soap and towels for hand washing Make sure you have an AGS approved measuring stick. Provide a very bright flashlight and hand washing supplies.

Ring stewards

Make sure that all entries for the class are present

Bring along a clipboard and fine pen. Get the “ring” copy of the official program. When the show begins, go the holding area and make sure all the entries for the upcoming class are present. Put a little check or dot by each one as you check them in to make it easier to keep track. If any are not there, get on the microphone and call for them. Allow a reasonable time (especially after the first class) for the exhibitor to arrive at the holding area, then close the class and allow the animals to enter. They go in clockwise and should follow the directions of the judge as to where to go.

If an exhibitor is taking too much time to bring his animals to the ring, tell them they are holding up the show and suggest a way to remedy it. Most exhibitors either tie their animals or have people hold them at ringside. Explain that if they aren’t in the holding area in a timely manner they may not be able to show in that class.

When judge has placed the class and is giving reasons, take down placings on official program

When the judge has started giving reasons for the second or third placing, go behind the exhibitor and ask for the name of the animal. Enter the placing in the appropriate block on the program. If the exhibitors start to leave the ring before you get the placings, you’ll have to stop them and ask them to remain until you have everything down.

Give the page of results to the show secretary.

If the judge reads the tattoos or measures the winners too far away from the show desk, write the results down as they are read and give them to the show secretary.

If the winning exhibitor does not bring his registration paper to the desk immediately, remind him that he needs to do this before the results are entered in the show report.

Help the ribbon handler with the correct ribbons, trophies, etc.

Ribbon Handlers

Organize ribbons ahead of time

If the person doing this job is an inexperienced child, he may need help from the ring steward, both putting out the ribbons and rosettes and getting them ready to hand out.

Hand out ribbons and awards

Go beside the ring steward when he is asking the exhibitor for the results. Smile and offer congratulations. Some exhibitors who have been showing for a while don’t want the ribbons, so just put them back on the ribbon table.

For Grand Champion, give out the show rosette (if any), the AGS rosette, and the trophy or award (if any). Do the same for Reserve Grand Champion. If there are rosettes for group classes, give them to the winner(s). If there aren’t any provided, give out regular ribbons.

Purebred DAIRY GOAT Registry