This past spring I was the secretary/chair for our club's Variable Surface Tracking (VST) test. This was my very first experience chairing a dog event and I was a little nervous about all the preparations and paperwork. I think I chose well when I picked the VST because it is SMALL and has limited preparations needed. Our club has a great relationship with the local community college, who lets us use the grounds on the weekend for free so I was set for venue. Judges were already contracted so I didn't have to worry about that. Paperwork wise, I created the premium, then entries started arriving and I kept track of those. Once the test closed, I contacted those that had made it in, those that were alternates and created the program to send to everyone.
The day before a tracking test is plotting day, when all the details of the tracks are figured out by the judges, walked by the judges and tracklayers, placing flags as reminders for the next day. Then everyone goes for a late lunch together once all the tracks are plotted.
The big day came, I picked up coffee and doughnuts and got there extra early to greet all the entrants as they arrived. Surprise, one of our tracklayers couldn't make it! I wasn't planning on being a tracklayer but I was prepared with spare articles and boots on so I laid their track when the proper time came. Then I followed along behind the dog and handler and judges, watching the dog sniff and snorf along the first leg, make the first turn only to struggle after that. That's when my job came in. As a tracklayer, you hope you never need to help but when the dog is no longer on the right track and gets whistled off, the tracklayer assists the team to get back to the right path and complete the entire track to find all the articles.
At the end of the day, we had no passes but that is not abnormal for a VST test. We all had a fun day together, watching each dog run, talking about training and trying to stay dry on a bit of a drizzly day. Afterwards, we went to lunch together and I gave the judges their thank you gifts: