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Where to start as a new judge?


danleblanc
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I'm considering trying my hand at helping out with judging. My soon-to-be wife and I have been attending Fall Hershey since 2012 and can't imagine not going. In years we are not bringing a car, it might be nice to help out with judging and give her a break to go shopping with friends (she's more about the flea market than the car show).

That said, I know Cadillacs. The years I know most about are 49-53 and 61-62 and have a really good smattering of knowlege from 49-65 overall. I've judged in the Cadillac Lasalle Club before and will be doing so again, however, with AACA being a multi-marque club and my exposure being so limited, where does one start? How would my eye get trained to know what to look for on a 1929 Plymouth or a 1959 Rambler?

I know we all have to get started somewhere. What's the key?

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You simply need to attend a judging school at any meet. You will then be assigned to the apprentice team for your first judging experience. Generallly you can just show up at the judging school and they will sign you up for the apprentice team for that meet. I presume that the process for Hershey is the same as other meets, although Hershey is a bit out of the ordinary. You will have to pay $7 for the judging breakfast that you will attend on the day of the show. The judging school and apprentice judging will get you started in the right direction. You can then attend Continuing Judges Education sessions to learn a lot about different judging issues.

You will find that joining "the hobby within the hobby" is a great idea.

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It will definitely broaden your horizons. AACA puts judges where they are needed in a sometimes seemingly random process. I always request to judge '30's Classics but seldom get assigned to the classes I request. It's good in a way in that it forces you to look closely at cars you might otherwise pass by. I have judged everything from Mini Bikes to V-16 Cadillacs. To me judging is one of the more fun parts of the hobby.

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Look under Publications in the AACA homepage and download the Judging Guidelines. The Guidelines will give you a good idea of how our judging works. No one can be an expert on all makes and models, so AACA judges follow the guidelines and ask for documentation from the owner when there are questions.

Your first time judging with AACA you will be an apprentice. In other words we don't send you out without orientation.

As already mentioned, I've judged from brass cars to modern muscle and enjoyed every minute of it. Learn something new every time.

Edited by Phillip Cole (see edit history)
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One follow up to Phillip Cole's response. Reading the Judging Guidelines online or downloading a copy is great but you don't need to buy a copy. You will receive a copy for free when you attend the judging school.

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I judged my first meet last year and it was awesome. If you have the slightest inkling that you might want to try it I encourage you to do so. At the very worst, you'll gain a better understanding of the process. It doesn't take up all day/weekend so you'll still get to see the rest of the show.

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