Belgian Sheepdog Club of America
Belgian Sheepdog Club of America
Belgian Sheepdog Club of America

Chapter 3 Major Considerations

BELGIAN SHEEPDOG CLUB OF AMERICA

National Specialty Guidelines Book

Chapter 3

You’ve Won the Bid!

Major Considerations

There are several major commitments that should be finalized as soon as possible once the bid has been awarded. This section will discuss in detail the major considerations for the National Specialty.

Section A AKC Paperwork/Requirements

Historically, there was an AKC “Red Book” that contained all the information regarding AKC paperwork for the National Specialty. This mysterious book has been MIA for many years (as of 2009) and the AKC has since updated their process, making the ‘Red Book” obsolete. Below is the revised process for filing paperwork with AKC for the various events:

1.At the conclusion of the current year’s National Specialty, the AKC will send the closing paperwork to the BSCA Corresponding Secretary. At the same time, AKC will set up the exact same events for the BSCA at the exact same venues for the corresponding dates the following year. The assigned event numbers for the next years show are pre-assigned by AKC and will not change. It is NOT necessary to file completely new forms as the paperwork from the AKC allows space for changes to all the information. AKC will only send blank judging assignment forms. The forms required to change the dates of the events are available on the AKC website. Examples are in the appendix.

 

2.AKC will mail blank judging approval forms for the next year’s events to the BSCA Corresponding Secretary. These forms should be mailed to the BSCA Treasurer. It is the responsibility of the Treasurer to work with the local group to gather the necessary information to complete the AKC paperwork on line. AKC WILL NOT PROCESS ANY PAPERWORK OR UPDATE THE WEBSITE WITHOUT FIRST RECEIVING THE APPROPRIATE FEES! The information provided on the forms should include the new dates of the events and the new locations.  Across the top, write “FOR ON LINE PROCESSING”.   Once the AKC receives the appropriate fees, they will process the application and post the updates to the On-line planning website at www.AKC.org. This planning site may only be accessed and maintained by an officer of the BSCA, i.e. President, V.P. Secretaries, Treasurer. Once the website is updated, a BSCA officer (typically, the Treasurer) MUST review all the information to make sure it has been entered correctly and is accurate. Experience has shown that even though Emergency Disaster Plans are submitted with the original paperwork, AKC does not update that information on the website, so the person checking the site should be prepared to enter all Disaster Plan information. Additionally, processing of agility events requires two check outs, which is different than all the other events.

3.Once all the events are checked, corrections made and missing information added, the event should be ‘checked out’. This process sends an automatic notice to the Event Plans department to begin the event approval process.

NOTES: Experience has shown that AKC sends form letters at each phase of the approval process. These letters are sent to the listed Event Chairs and show superintendent and no one else. It is imperative that the event chairs communicate with the board member updating the website to make sure things progress as they should. The first letter states that they have received the application, but it cannot be approved until the judging panel is approved. A separate letter then arrives approving the judging panel. If the AKC checks the website to see that everything has been completed, they will then send a letter approving the event. If not, they will send another letter saying it can’t be approved for whatever reason. (Missing disaster plan has been the most common) These final issues are quickly resolved with a phone call to the BSCA’s event plan representative in North Carolina, if the website has been appropriately updated. In some cases, the AKC revises these procedures without notification!

Section B National Specialty Headquarters/The Host Hotel

It has become increasingly difficult to find hotels that are willing to accept dogs and shows in their facilities due to, whether justified or not, past abuse or the reputation of abuse by dogs and their handlers. In light of this, the BSCA will take appropriate action against exhibitors or guests that abuse hotel facilities and risk the loss of a site for future use.

Section B.1 Guest Accommodations

The BSCA recommends looking for the following in a hotel/location:

1.  Rooms, grounds and indoor public areas should be clean and well maintained;

2.  Room rates should be reasonable or comparable to those offered to the general public. In many cases, for events that draw a significant amount of people the hotel will offer a discount for people attending the event. (Please reference the Statistics section for historical room nights for past Nationals in your area of the country. This helps the sales manager at the hotel determine the amount of discount.)

3.  In many instances, hotels charge deposits or fees for guests to have dogs in their rooms. The preferable arrangement is for the hotel to charge a refundable deposit upon check out room inspection. Fees per dog/per night in many cases can be prohibitive to many of the BSCA exhibitors and every effort should be made to avoid properties that wish to charge for dog accommodations in this manner.

4.  A separate wing of rooms for guests with dogs away from mainstream guests is preferable, but not a requirement.

5.  A large, mowed grassy exercise area close to the exit doors of the majority of guests with dogs should be large enough to accommodate the waste of the expected dog population over the course of the week so as not to produce or leave a lingering odor. The area should be large enough to allow room for people with a couple of dogs to find walking room among the permanently placed exercise pens of handlers and larger exhibitors.

6.  Good eating facilities that are reasonably priced at the hotel. In those cases where the hotel and the restaurant are owned/managed by the same company, event attendees may also be granted a discount in the hotel restaurant.

7.  Other nice, reasonably priced eating establishments nearby to offer variety to the guests.

8.  Adequate number of rooms for everyone wanting to stay at the National Headquarters, including but not limited to judges, exhibitors and other guests. In most cases, a hotel will provide a certain number of free room nights if an event generates a pre-set number of total room nights used over the course of the events. These free rooms should be allocated for use in the following order:

a.  Hospitality Room (Unless already included for free in initial negotiations)

b.  Judges

c.  On Site Show Chairperson

In no instance should these free rooms be given to individuals for any reason. This is a benefit that all the members of the club generate and these should be used to reduce the cost of the National to all the membership.

9.  Transportation: it is preferable for the hotel to provide transportation to and from the nearest airport, but not a requirement.

10.  With the growth of Internet hotel sites, it is a good idea to check the discount rates offered by hotels in the area. This will provide a reference point for room pricing. In some cases, guests who make reservations through internet services do not count toward the room nights for the event. This is also something to ask the hotel about. This can be an issue if the on-line price for a room is significantly cheaper than the contractual price.

11.  Make sure to ask for a multiple night discount in addition to an overall event discount. Those people staying for the whole week should get a cheaper rate than those who only stay for a night or two. Also ask about a quad rate, a discount for 4 people in a room.

12.  Never agree to an inflation factor or a service fee percentage in the contract either.

 

The headquarters hotel should be selected as soon as possible after the bid has been awarded. The board representative and the board must review the contract prior to execution. The ideal timing is to have the contract signed somewhere between one to two years prior to the event, depending upon the area of the country. In many areas, hotels of the size required for the National book events at least a year in advance.

Section B.2 Meeting & Catering Facilities

The BSCA holds the annual banquet, the annual membership meeting and two board meetings, all of which will require a meeting room. Below are the specifications and order for each of the meetings:

1.  First Board Meeting: Room size to accommodate 9 board members and any members who may wish to attend. On average 5-10 people come to the 1st board meeting to present ideas or topics for presentation at the annual meeting. Equipment needs are a long meeting table for 9 people to sit around, adequate electrical outlets for computer equipment plug in and water and glasses. If the meeting must be held through dinnertime, dinner is to be provided to the board. This may be as simple as ordering a pizza to room service from the hotel restaurant. The President will let you know the date and time set for the board meetings.

2.  Annual Meeting: The annual meeting is one of the highlights of the National and the most important meeting for the club. Room set-up and equipment needs are as follows:

a.  Sufficient seating for roughly 100 people.

b.  Straight table for 9 board members at the front of the room, NON-ELEVATED, available electricity.

c.  Auditory equipment, microphone at the board table, at least one on the floor for membership.

d.  Plenty of water/beverages for everyone for the duration of the meeting.

e.  Appropriate climate control for the room/area.

3.  Second Board Meeting: same as the first meeting.

4.  Annual Awards Banquet: This is the last event of the National and is a formal sit-down dinner for an average of 100-125 people. The show is over and it’s a time to relax. Equipment needs are a podium and microphone at the front of the room for speakers.

PLEASE NOTE: BSCA does NOT purchase or serve alcohol of any kind. Any alcohol service should be done on a cash basis by the hotel provided bartender.

Section B.3 Hospitality Facilities

Many larger hotels have special rooms as dedicated ‘hospitality rooms’. These rooms are larger than the average room or may be a large suite. The purpose of the hospitality room is to function as a meeting place for BSCA members, guests and friends to congregate, meet, relax and socialize. It is important to provide accessibility to the hospitality room as often as possible, but naturally, it is closed during the main events of the National. In many cases, the hotel will provide the hospitality room free of charge or it may be included as one of the free rooms when the club meets the minimum room night commitment. The equipment needs of the hospitality room are a long table to hold snacks & drinks, a refrigerator, bathroom, working telephone for local calling only and enough room for comfortable seating.

Section B.4 Banquet Facilities

There is one formal meal held in conjunction with the National. This is the annual awards banquet. The annual awards banquet is paid for by those attending the dinner, but is organized by the Banquet Coordinator of the National Specialty Committee. The host hotel must have a room large enough to seat 100-125 people and a kitchen and serving staff capable of preparing, serving and clearing the meal. A podium and microphone at the front of the room are the only equipment needs for the banquet.

Section C Show Sites

As previously mentioned, there is currently a division among the members about the selection of show site. Many feel it is imperative that the host hotel also be the main show site for the conformation and obedience events. Given the reluctance of many hotels to allow this use of their ballrooms, many clubs, including the BSCA, has utilized a show site that was not the same as the host hotel. The position of the BSCA is that both options are acceptable for holding the National Specialty. It is recognized that having the show site at the host hotel is more convenient; however each location and situation must be evaluated on an individual basis. An inferior show site should never be utilized based on the sole fact that it is the host hotel when other, superior options are available. If there are any questions, the board liaison and the entire board will be able to provide definitive direction.

Many show site minimum specifications are outlined in the AKC regulations.

Section C.1 Conformation/Sweepstakes Sites

At the Annual Membership Meeting held April 25, 1987, the membership voted that adequate indoor facilities be available, where possible, for conformation events in the case that inclement weather makes the preferred outdoor arrangements dangerous or untenable.

The following are general considerations for the show site, whether indoors or outdoors:

1.  The facility should be large enough to accommodate the expected entry. Please refer to the statistics section for past entry information for Nationals in your area of the country.

2.  Adequate parking for exhibitors, spectators, vendors and anyone else associated or wishing to attend the show.

3.  Any location must comply fully with the American with Disabilities Act.

4.  A large, mowed grassy exercise area away from the rings should be large enough to accommodate the waste of the expected dog population over the course of the week so as not to produce or leave a lingering odor. Facilities must also be provided for people as well.

Section C.1.a Specifics for an Outdoor Show Site

1.  Ring:

a.  Large, suggested size 50’ x 70’.

b.  As level as possible. No noticeable hills or holes.

c.  Grass mowed.

d.  Free of litter.

e.  A reasonable distance from roadways and general public areas.

f.  Waiting/staging area near the ring gate area to facilitate the entry and exit of classes into the ring.

g.  Tenting to provide protection from the elements of the waiting/staging area and a portion of the ring near the ring gate. Tenting is a requirement for all outside ring set ups.

h.  Unobstructed area around the outside of the ring to allow adequate seating for spectators. In most cases, spectators are responsible for their own seating.

i.  Sufficient trash receptacles in inconspicuous locations around the area.

j.  Note: ring set-up and related equipment is to be provided by the show superintendent and the specifics should be covered in the contract or discussion with the selected superintendent.

2.  Grooming:

a.   It should be stressed to exhibitors that grooming inside of hotel rooms is strictly forbidden and cause for disciplinary action as this is one reason hotels are reluctant to host shows on site.

b.  A bathing facility may be set up given adequate outdoor water supply. At a minimum the bathing facilities are a few hoses made available to exhibitors. In more elaborate areas, actual tubs and grooming tables may be made available. This would be at the discretion of the grounds chairman. Some hotels will actually offer one or two rooms for the express purpose of bathing and grooming dogs. Plastic sheeting may be required, if this is an option the local committee chooses to pursue.

c.  Tenting should also be provided to protect the grooming/crating area from the elements.

d.  Electrical hook ups in or near the grooming area is a nice perk, but not a requirement.

Section C.1.b Specifics for an Indoor Show Site

It may be possible to negotiate a reduced or no fee for the use of meeting rooms at a hotel given that the club meets a pre-set number of room nights with the hotel. While this situation used to be fairly standard in the past, it is not necessarily the case and should be broached with the hotel early in the negotiations. A site other than the host hotel will charge some type of fee.

1.  Ring:

a.  Large, minimum suggested size 45’ x 65’.

b.  Non-slippery, adequate surface for running and jumping for both dogs and people.

c.  Waiting/staging area near the ring gate to facilitate the entry and exit of classes into the ring.

d.  Ample area around the perimeter for chairs, spectators, dogs and guests which allows easy movement of all.

e.  Adequate climate control in the area to prevent overheating.

f.  In some cases, plastic sheeting may be required on the floors and partially up the walls. Be sure to determine the facilities requirements for plastic protection as this can add significantly to the amount of set-up time required prior to the start of the events.

g.  Easy access to outdoor exercise area for dogs.

h.  Note: ring set-up and related equipment is to be provided by the show superintendent and the specifics should be covered in the contract or discussion with the selected superintendent.

2.  Grooming:

a.  It should be stressed to exhibitors that grooming inside of hotel rooms is strictly forbidden and cause for disciplinary action.

b.  In some cases, hotels may offer a room or two as bathing/grooming rooms, in which they have removed all furniture and allow exhibitors to bathe dogs in the rooms tubs and groom in plastic protected rooms. In other cases, a separate meeting room or area can be used for grooming. Be sure to determine plastic sheeting requirements.

c.  Adequate climate control in the area to prevent overheating.

d.  Easy access to outdoor exercise area for dogs.

e.  Sufficient cleaning equipment (brooms, dustpans, trash containers) to help exhibitors keep the grooming area clean.

 

Section C.2 Specifics for an Obedience Trial Site

At the Annual Membership Meeting held April 25, 1987, the membership voted that adequate indoor facilities be available, where possible, for obedience events in the case that inclement weather makes the preferred outdoor arrangements dangerous or untenable. In many cases, the obedience entry is of sufficient size to warrant a minimum of two rings, and hence, two judges. If the anticipated entry is very large, this may be increased to three rings and judges if space and funds permit.

The following are general considerations for the trial site, whether indoors or outdoors:

1.  The facility should be large enough to accommodate the expected entry. Please refer to the statistics section for past entry information for Nationals in your area of the country. Two rings are recommended.

2.  Adequate parking for exhibitors, spectators, vendors and anyone else associated or wishing to attend the show.

3.  Any location must comply fully with the American with Disabilities Act.

4.  A large, mowed grassy exercise area away from the rings should be large enough to accommodate the waste of the expected dog population over the course of the week so as not to produce or leave a lingering odor. Facilities must also be provided for people as well.

5.  An adequate area for Open Class exhibitors to go for the out-of-sight exercises. This area is subject to judge approval.

Section C.2.a Specifics for an Outdoor Site

1.  Rings:

a.   For outdoor show sites, AKC requires that the club provide separate rings dedicated solely for obedience classes.

b.  Rings are to be ‘closed’ or unavailable for use at any time other than during the actual event. A sign designating such should be posted on the outside of the rings.

c.  Recommended size 40’ x 50’.

d.  Ground as level as possible, no noticeable hills or holes.

e.  Grass mowed.

f.  Free of litter.

g.  A reasonable distance from roadways and general public areas.

h.  Waiting/staging area near the ring gate area to facilitate the entry and exit of classes into the ring as well as provide sufficient area for steward’s to assemble the class for the group exercises.

i.  Tenting to provide protection from the elements of the waiting/staging area and a portion of the ring near the ring gate. Tenting is a requirement for all outside ring set ups.

j.  Unobstructed area around the outside of the ring to allow adequate seating for spectators. In most cases, spectators are responsible for their own seating.

k.  Sufficient trash receptacles in inconspicuous locations around the area.

l.  Note: ring set-up and related equipment is to be provided by the show superintendent and the specifics should be covered in the contract or discussion with the selected superintendent.

Section C.2.b Specifics for an Indoor Site

Rings:

a.For indoor show sites, AKC allows clubs to make dual use of the rings. In other words, the rings do not have to be specially designated as “obedience only.”

b.Rings are to be ‘closed’ or unavailable for use at any time for obedience work other than during the actual event. A sign designating such should be posted on the outside of the rings.

c.Recommended size 40’ x 50’.

d.Floor surface should be either fully carpeted or some other non-skid surface. If mats are to be used, fully matted rings are preferable and they should be secured to the existing floor surface to prevent slipping or movement of the mats themselves.

e.Free of litter.

f.A reasonable distance from general public areas, if possible.

g.Waiting/staging area near the ring gate area to facilitate the entry and exit of classes into the ring as well as provide sufficient area for steward’s to assemble the class for the group exercises.

h.Adequate climate control to prevent overheating.

i.Unobstructed area around the outside of the ring to allow adequate seating for spectators. In most cases, spectators are responsible for their own seating.

j.Sufficient trash receptacles in inconspicuous locations around the area.

k.  In some cases, plastic sheeting may be required on the floors and partially up the walls. Be sure to determine the facilities requirements for plastic protection as this can add significantly to the amount of set-up time required prior to the start of the events.

l.  Easy access to outdoor exercise area for dogs.

m.  Note: ring set-up and related equipment is to be provided by the show superintendent and the specifics should be covered in the contract or discussion with the selected superintendent.

Section C.3 Specifics for an Agility Trial Site

Agility has become one of the most popular events at the National as it is a venue where Belgian Sheepdogs naturally excel. At the 2000 Annual Meeting, the BSCA membership voted that all performance events at the National would be held strictly for Belgian Sheepdogs only. The following are considerations for an agility site:

1.  The facility should be large enough to accommodate the expected entry. Please refer to the statistics section for past entry information for Nationals in your area of the country. With the proliferation of agility classes as well as the growing number of entries, two rings are strongly recommended.

2.  Not more than 45 – 60 minute drive from the host hotel. An inferior site should not be selected over a superior site due to proximity to the hotel if both sites are within the specified drive time.

3.  Adequate parking for exhibitors, spectators, vendors and anyone else associated or wishing to attend the show.

4.  Any location must comply fully with the American with Disabilities Act.

5.  A large, mowed grassy exercise area away from the rings should be large enough to accommodate the waste of the expected dog population over the course of the event so as not to produce or leave a lingering odor. Facilities must also be provided for people as well.

6.  There are currently no BSCA policies requiring indoor or covered venues for agility due to weather conditions.

7.  Agility should never be held on a concrete surface. Ideally, a covered outdoor facility, such as a rodeo arena is ideal as it provides a soft, dirt jumping surface and is large enough to accommodate two rings.

8.  Recommended ring size is 8,000 sq. ft. to accommodate all classes. There should be adequate space available on the grounds for exhibitor set ups and room around the rings for observers. Observers are responsible for their own seating.

Section C.4 Specifics for a Herding Test/Trial Site

Herding is the premium performance event for the Belgian Sheepdog. The test and trial are representations of the main working focus of the Belgian Sheepdog. AKC currently offers three different courses for trials, A, B & C. Due to the space requirements and other considerations, course C is rarely if ever offered at a National. Course A is the most common as it is held in a standard rodeo arena, while course B requires more fenced acreage than is usually available. It is recommended to contact a local herding club or the board liaison to find the locations that have hosted herding tests and trials before. Detail specifications for arena size can be found in the AKC regulations.

Section C.5 Specifics for a Tracking Trial Site

Under construction

Section D Judges Selection

Due to the strong feelings surrounding the selection of judges for the National Specialty, the Board has created an independent committee, the Judge’s Selection Committee, to coordinate the nominations and voting for the Conformation and Sweepstakes judges for each National Specialty. As part of the formation of the National Specialty Committee, there will be a core group with expertise in each of the four major performance events to make recommendations on the performance judges. Consideration should be given to proximity of the judge to the specialty to reduce travel expenses to the club. Once the judge’s are selected, (person assigned) will be responsible for contacting each judge and formalizing the assignment with a contract. This includes the conformation and sweepstakes judges as well as the performance event judges. Copies of all contracts will be forwarded to the show chair for record keeping purposes.

Section E Contracts

Almost all major commitments related to the National will or should have a written contract between the BSCA and the vendor. It is recommended that an attorney review all non-standard contracts. All contracts MUST be reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors. A non-standard contract is considered one that is unique to that particular situation. Judge’s contracts are considered ‘standard’ as the same format can and has been used for many years. Please see the appendix for examples of previous year’s contracts.

If the committee successfully located a hotel willing to host the National Specialty through the local Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), negotiations with the hotel should run smoothly. Usually these hotels are experienced at hosting dog events and will rely on their past experience of what other clubs have done. Every effort should be made to contact the clubs for a reference on the property and management. The AKC show site locator is also another source available find properties and obtain references. Please refer to section B.1 & B.2 for specifics to include in the final contract with the hotel.