The lure coursing rules of both the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) outline the responsibilities of the field trial chairperson (FTC) and field trial secretary (FTS), and, if you’ve read those, you already know that’s not quite how things are done—certainly not with MGA or any other club whose events you have attended. A name was never put to it, as far as I know, but MGA, for as long as I’ve been a member, has had an event planner, who is not necessarily either the FTC or the FTS. The event planner primarily performs the activities that result in the premiums for the year’s events.
The logic behind having a single event planner centers on economy and continuity. Given that our ASFA trial weekends are in May and October at Lake Erie Metropark, the effort to make arrangements with the park and put together the premium list for October are pretty minor if one is already doing the same for May (economy), and the park has a single point of contact with the club (continuity). That continuity of contact fosters relationships, and, when issues arise, relationships reduce the friction to finding a solution.
One person putting together judging panels for all of the year’s three lure coursing trial weekends offers a number of benefits over three separate individuals putting together a judging panel for each event. It’s easier to get a judge that you really want if you can give them a choice of weekends, it eliminates the communication that would be needed to ensure that a judge isn’t overused, it helps control costs by avoiding too many judges from too far away in a given year. More economy. And, the potential judges get fewer emails and only from one person (continuity). An event planner has a much better chance of getting that elusive judge next year, because they can make commitments for the future. The authority of a given FTC or FTS ends with their specific event.
The ASFA Annual Convention of Delegates (ACoD) generally puts a wrinkle into what ought to be in an ASFA premium. The May premium is usually approved before the ACoD, whereas approval of the October premium often gets tripped up by the new wrinkle. Continuity leading to economy—it’s easier to base the May premium off of last October’s premium and not the preceding May’s premium. The event planner would know this. The individual chairs and secretaries may not or—for that matter—have access to the same software to effectively reuse a previous premium.
So there. I’ve put a name to the function, perhaps for the first time, and summarized why I think it is important enough for me to have devoted my time to it for the past decade. Before I get into the details of how I go about event planning for MGA, we’ll take a little trip down memory lane and discuss the AKC’s Corresponding Date Table—something everyone should know.