Volunteering to work at a trial

So you are attending an agility trial and the entry form asks if you would like to volunteer to work. There are several good reasons to volunteer:

  • Trials are only successful because of the volunteers.
  • You are a member of the host club.
  • It is a great way to learn more about agility.
  • It provides an opportunity for you to meet new people.
  • There may be incentives to work. Which could include discounts on entry fees or coupons for future trials and in some cases beverages and/or lunch.
  • It might be a workers trial – so if you don’t volunteer you can’t enter (rare but not unheard of).

How to decide what to volunteer for

We have included basic job descriptions for the most common volunteer positions at an agility trial. If you are new to agility, consider volunteering for one of the following positions:

RING CREW

You will be responsible for jump setting, chute straightening and adjusting the A-frame. Jump setting includes replacing fallen bars and changing jump heights on all jumps: bar jumps, spreads, doubles, and the tire.

LEASH RUNNER

You will be responsible for taking the leash at the start line and placing it in a designated area at the finish line. This area may be in a container, or hanging from a designated holder, as determined by the host club.

SCRIBE SHEET RUNNER

You will be responsible for taking the results from the scribe or scribe assistant and promptly delivering them to the scoring table.

SCRIBE

You will be responsible for recording all faults signaled by the judge during each run and either recording the time given by the timer, or handing the sheet to the scribe assistant to have him/her do this task.

You must concentrate only on the judge and not watch what the dog and handler are doing.

You are also responsible for working with the scribe assistant to get the scribe sheets for the event and confirming the running order with the gate steward prior to the start of each class.

SCRIBE ASSISTANT

You will be responsible for ensuring the scribe has the correct sheet for each dog, organize the scribe sheets prior to the class starting and then remaining in communication with the gate steward to deal with conflicts or last-minute absentees.

The scribe assistant takes the sheet from the scribe after each run, and writes on the time as reported by the timer. Then he/she hands the completed sheet to the scribe sheet runner.

TIMER

You will be responsible for timing the length of each run and reporting it to the scribe or scribe assistant. This person will also time the walk through for each event and blow the whistle at a pre-determined time to signal that the course is closed for walking.

During events such as Gamblers and Snooker the timer keeps track of sequence times and blows the whistle at the appropriate time. 

GATE STEWARD

You will be responsible for keeping things moving by making sure the competitors are at the line ready to go when it’s their turn.

Also responsible for announcing height and course changes loud enough for all to hear.

You must check the job sheet prior to the event and make sure all of the workers are in place.

COURSE BUILDER

You will work under the direction of the master course builder and the judge to build the course. You will be responsible to move equipment on and off the course to the locations indicated.

You will help assemble and disassemble equipment as required. You will bring any concerns on equipment condition and safety to the master course builder or judge prior to the beginning of the class.

The job descriptions above are not intended to explain every aspect of each position. The intent is to familiarize you with what is involved should you decide to volunteer for one or more of these positions at an agility trial.

Please contact the Trial Coordinator to volunteer.