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Tidewater Region Judging Seminar - 27 August 2016

Guest Mark McAlpine

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Guest Mark McAlpine

The Tidewater Region (TRAACA) held an informal judging seminar for our members on Saturday, 27 August 2016, to introduce inexperienced members with the AACA judging process & guidelines, provide a refresher course for members who are judges but maybe haven't judged in a while, familiarize members who aren't judges with what judges look for when they judge vehicles at an AACA Meet.  I'm posting this information to 1) let other regions know what great support National AACA Judging School Instructor Dain King provided us; and 2) to encourage other regions to consider holding an informal judging seminar for their members (if they're not already doing so).


First, I need to point out that we made sure our members knew that this was an informal judging seminar put on by our region, not an AACA National School--it didn't meet the requirement for AACA judges to attend a national Judging School every year nor did it earn them a Judging Credit.  We held this seminar because several members suggested we hold a session to educate members about AACA judging guidelines & etiquette before we hold our annual regional meet (our annual "Wings & Wheels" Show) on 24 September.  It was a great suggestion and we ran with it.  We were also fortunate that two of our members--Dewey & Maxine Milligan--generously offered us the use of their large garage for the seminar.  With an idea and a venue, we put together a presentation.  That's where Dain King comes in.


Dain kindly provided us a copy of the briefing slides he uses for his national Judging School presentation.  (Thank you again, Dain!)  We used some of Dain's slides and built some of our own--a total of 95 slides.  I provided the introduction portion of the seminar, which covered the AACA General Policy, Official Judging Guidelines, judging etiquette, and the judging process.  My wife Marion talked about AACA Competition ("points") Class judging and highlighted some frequently observed problems area in the Exterior, Interior, Chassis, and Engine categories.  Neil Sugermeyer educated our group about Historic Preservation of Original Features (HPOF) certification and the differences between HPOF and Original HPOF.  I then talked briefly about Driver Participation (DPC) certification.  (My thanks to Ken Farley, the National Chairman of DPC, for speaking with me on the phone earlier in the week and educating me about DPC certification and what the team looks for.)  Our seminar concluded with former AACA President Terry Bond speaking briefly about "Brass Era" vehicles and some considerations when judging components unique to Brass Era cars.  After the seminar presentations, our group went outside to look at members' antique cars and discussed thing to look for when judging at an AACA Meet. 


I'd be happy to speaker with AACA members from other regions who are considering holding their own judging seminars.  I don't claim to be the most knowledgeable judge in AACA (far from it--I learn more every time I judge, from every judge I get to work with on a judging team, every time I attend Judging School, and from every CJE I take (or teach).  However, I can share some lessons learned (the hard way):

    1) Always test your video equipment at least one day before.  (In our case, Murphy's Law struck:  we could not get either of our two laptop computers to sync with our video project.  We had to set up three laptops and display our seminar slides on the computer screens--not optimal, but it worked--our members were very patient.)

    2) Allow more time than you think it's going to take--if nothing else, to allow for questions.  (I estimated we would speak for about one hour or so, then go outside and look at cars and point out things to look for and consider--the presentation took over an hour and a half.)

    3) After you prepare your presentation, review it and cut out some slides.  (We had too many slides--important info, but we could have covered some of the info while looking at the cars instead of while sitting inside.  Doing/hands-on is always more interesting than listening.)

    3) Bring in lunch.  (Great suggestion Sandy Hall!  We held the seminar on a Saturday morning and had coffee & donuts, but it end around lunch time and you could hear grumbling stomachs in the crowd.  Next year we'll arrange to bring in pizza near the end of the seminar.)


Again, my sincere thanks to Dain King and Ken Farley for sharing their wisdom (and, in Dain's case, slides) with us.  My thanks also to Terry Bond, Marion McAlpine, and Neil Sugermeyer for serving as instructors and sharing their experience with us.  My thanks to Wayne Milligan for coordinating the logistics for the seminar and picking up the refreshments, and to Dewey & Maxine for hosting the seminar.


I strongly encourage other regions to consider holding an informal judging seminar for its members at least annually.  25 members attended the seminar (including AACA President & First Lady Bob & Dot Parrish).  Our members said they enjoyed and learned from it.  (I think they were just being kind.)  Best of all, we signed up 12 people to judge at our region's annual meet next month and I think convinced several of them to become AACA judges--we hope more will sign up to be national judges after they try their hands at judging at our annual meet.









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