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A Look at The Fun Show Judging



By David L. Howard

Judging has come a long way and the ability to critique it has come even further!

Due to a health issue, I was unable to attend the Fun Show for the first time in its history but thankfully I could watch the live stream provided by Dean Johnson on the Walking Horse Report.com and check the final placing and judge’s cards after the class. This is a wonderful feature but there is noting quite like being there in person.

With little to do but stare at the walls, I also had time during my hospital stay to check comments about the Fun Show on our site as well as several other sites.

In this new age, the judges are not only being critiqued by the people at the show, several of the folks viewing the live stream had very strong opinions about some of the ties.  While I enjoyed the live stream, there is absolutely no way to get a complete picture of the class and have a realistic view of who won.  Sorry…can’t be done!

Personally, I quit “judging” the judges a long time ago… after I became a Corporate Sponsor at The Celebration and was in center ring for several classes on the final Saturday night.

It is easy to sit rail side and tie the top three and quite a bit different to be in center ring and tying anywhere from 6 to 10 horses.  At a show like the Celebration, the crowd noise and pressure are intense beyond belief but passing judgment on other people’s horses at any show is pressure packed.  There is a lot at stake in every class…from lead line to the Championship Stake.

Having said that, I decided to do my own analysis of the Fun Show working just from the cards.  I am not sure what the analysis shows but I found it quite interesting.

There were a total of 51 classes at the Fun Show.  There were 25 unanimous decisions (49%); two of the three judges tied the winning horse in 21 of the classes (41%) and there were 5 classes (10%) where all three judges tied a different horse.  In other words, in 90% of the classes at least two judges were in agreement on the winner.

As far as the individual judges, Joel Weaver tied the winning horse in 44 classes (86%); Nathan Clark tied the winner in 40 classes (78%) and Brock Tillman tabbed the winning entry 36 times (71%).

Not having been at the show, I can’t venture an opinion on these three fine judges, but looking at the cards it seems they were pretty much in agreement and very consistent.

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