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  • Joe Shoemaker

Drafting the Premium for the May ASFA Trials

The brain work is pretty much done at this point, so it’s time to crank out a draft of the premium. I will focus on the functional process and, for the most part, dodge the technical process, as the latter will be quite dependent on the hardware and software that one possesses. And, I am by no means an expert in productivity software.

First thing is to select a starting point. For the May ASFA trials, I will generally begin with the premium from the previous October ASFA trials, as this will be closer to correct from an ASFA Scheduling perspective than the previous May and will still have all of the same attributes (i.e., directions, veterinary care, and camping instructions). At this point, that “premium” is just the Word document that contains the initial pages, including the course plans—typically just a couple of two-column pages. (You may want to follow along by locating that October premium, as I'm not going to post pictures in this article to avoid "publishing" the premium prior to official approval.)

To avoid missing anything, I try to work my way through the premium changes sequentially. The first section deals with location—accommodations, camping, veterinarians, directions, and other site notes. It’s a new year, so I will take the time now to check the web for the existence of the motels and veterinarians. I figure everyone has their preferred hotel chains and can find them on their own these days, so I just put down a handful of choices that are pet friendly and differ in name and location. The Sleep Inn in Flat Rock has turned into a Baymont, so I do need to update that with the name and phone number. Everything else on that side of the first page looks ok.

The right-hand side of the front page has fees, dates, and a phone number. I’ll leave the fees as they are; otherwise, here’s where it pays to be methodical in editing. Use search and replace as much as possible. I make less mistakes if I replace the entire date rather than targeting just the month, day, or year. “October 9, 2019” becomes “May 6, 2020”, and my phone number (I was the chair in October) is changed to Matt’s phone number everywhere.

The left-hand side of page two is club, judges, committee, and some trial information. I need to change the treasurer this year for the club. I need to list the judges alphabetically with their city and state and replace the image of the judge assignment table. I’ll use the city and state information that is published in the ASFA judge list (or the CKC judges directory). Change up the committee members, especially the chair, secretary, and lure operators, and this side of the page is done.

The right-hand side of page two should be fine unless ASFA has made some rule changes. Just need to change the images of the course plans. Bonus! Those actually fit, and I didn’t need to fiddle with their size.

That taps out my skill with Word. I save those two pages as a PDF and will then add PDF attachments to the end. The two that are required for ASFA are the entry forms and the certification form.

For the entry form, I need to check that the version on the ASFA web site, matches the version that I used in the previous premium. It does, so I can reuse that Word document, change the date and secretary information that was added at the top, convert it to a PDF, and attach it to my draft premium. There’s an entry form on both sides of the page, so I still rely on find and replace to ensure that I don’t miss any changes.

Nothing is added to the certification form, so I’ll just download the latest version in PDF form and attach it. As, I don’t need any other attachments for this trial, the draft is done.

I firmly believe in no less than two sets of eyes on everything, so I’ll send the draft to the FTS and FTC for review, letting them know when I need a response to avoid being late in sending it to ASFA Scheduling for approval. To indicate that I did send it to them (well, the FTC in this particular case because I’m the FTS), I mark the “Draft premium and solicit comment” item on the event planner sheet with a small circle. When I get the responses back—and I did by the time I added this paragraph, I can incorporate or negotiate any of the comments—neither this time—and check that item off the list. The next item on the checklist, “Submit draft premium”, is as simple as sending the draft premium to ASFA Scheduling, seeking their comment or approval. I’ll also mark that with a small circle for the time being until I get a response. Wouldn’t hurt to jot down the date either.

While that item may not be completely checked off just yet, the milestone date associated with has been met. Ensuring that sufficient ribbons, prizes, and forms will be at the event is simplified by the fact that all of the existing supply is here with me, but, in case they weren’t, Caren and I had a rough inventory of those consumables from the fall when our 2019 event concluded. I ordered the ribbons and rosettes to get us through 2020, so it’s too late to talk about my thoughts on that activity—next year. I’ll need to ask Caren about prizes, but I know the club has plenty of the ASFA forms—record sheets, judge sheets, and draw order sheets. In any event, the next milestone date on the checklist is 9 April for the “Announce premium”. I certainly should hear from ASFA Scheduling by that time, so I’ll shuffle this event planning sheet back into the heap and we’ll see what’s now at the top in the next post.