Volunteer Jobs at Trials
 *  Chief Course Builder  *

Chief Course Builder

Your job is to make sure that the courses are built accurately and swiftly. You will direct the members of the ring crew as to where each obstacle is to be placed.


  1. Make sure you have the build copies. Ask the Judge at the beginning of the day, if necessary. The build copies may be coded to indicate which obstacles stay in place, which obstacles are removed, and which obstacles are moved. If not, you may mark the build copies yourself.
  2. Get one of the ring crew to pick up numbers.
  3. Tell the ring crew which jumps to ‘collapse’, that is remove the bars from the jumps and put the jump frames together.
  4. Tell the ring crew which obstacles to take out. Generally it is okay to just put them at the edge of the ring.
  5. Get one of the ring crew to carry bars and follow you. Use the bars to mark the spot where obstacles go.
    1. A-frame, dog walk, teeter, ascending spread, chute, weaves – use 2 bars as a T. The top of the T is the beginning of the obstacle (down edge of teeter, chute entrance, low end of ascending spread, etc). The other line of the T is the direction of the obstacle in the course, that is where the dog is supposed to go.
    2. Table – use 2 bars to mark a corner of the table
    3. Tunnel – use 1 bar for each end of the tunnel
    4. All other obstacles – mark placement with 1 bar.
  6. Start with the contacts. Once they are in place it is easy to place the other obstacles.
  7. Keep as close to the course map as possible, but do not obsess over it. Remember the course map is a starting point. The ring could not quite be square, or the distance markers are not exactly 10 feet apart. The contacts may end up on a hill and have to be shifted.
  8. Some tips
    1. Try to place obstacles relative to the contacts. This can be quicker than using the distance markers.
    2. To get the correct angles of jumps, look at the course map and imagine a line perpendicular to the jump going from the jump to the edge of the ring. Note the nearest distance marker and have the jump face that.
    3. Look on the course map for obstacles that line up. Make sure they also line up in the ring.
  9. After the first placement of the obstacles, ‘walk’ the course and look for angles or distances that are not ‘right’. Make adjustments so that the course is as close to what seems to be the judge’s intentions. Also make sure the course is safe.
  10. Have one of the build crew put out numbers.
  11. The final touches:
    1. Make sure that the correct number of bars are on the ground beside each jump. They are not to be placed until the judge has tweaked and measured the course.
    2. Have the tunnel bags at the tunnels but do not fasten them.
    3. Have the spikes at the weaves, tire, and chute but do not hammer them in. Lay them down near the obstacles.
  12. When you are satisfied, inform the judge.
  13. With two other members of the build crew, walk the course with the Judge and move any obstacles the Judge wants repositioned.
  14. Once the judge has tweaked the course, make sure no one moves any obstacles.
  15. When the judge decides it is okay, spikes can be hammered in, and tunnels bagged.
  16. Jumps can be set once the judge has finished measuring. Ask the gatekeeper for the first height.


Along with the above, there are special considerations for the games.


Gamblers

  1. For the gamble lines use poles on the ground to mark strategic parts of the line. Alert the ring crew to not move those poles.
  2. Make sure the builders hammer the spikes all the way to the ground and tighten the ropes. This is to make sure handlers do not trip.
  3. When tweaking the course, it may be easier to move obstacles rather than the gamble lines.
  4. If the judge’s wheel is available, use that to check the distances between obstacles and gamble lines. Otherwise pace the distance and estimate what you can. The judge will measure this distance anyway.
  5. In Gamblers the judge does not wheel the course, so once the judge finishes tweaking, the builders can put the bars on the jumps.
  6. Do not forget to mark the start line.


Snooker

  1. Build the closing sequence first, then place the red jumps. The closing sequence is likely nested to some degree. Then it is easier to place the red jumps relative to the closing sequence obstacles.
  2. The judge will just check that distances between obstacles are legal and safe. There is no measuring here.
  3. Mark the Start/Finish lines.


Team

  1. Use bars to mark at least 2 corners of each of the team boxes.
  2. Make sure the spikes are hammered in all the way and the rope is tight.
  3. The team boxes do not have to be exact.

You are not required to manage the ring crew after the course is built. This is the job of the Ring Chief.


It is a good idea to PLAN the build of the next course so it can be done as quickly as possible. Some suggestions that you may wish to consider when planning a build:

  • compare the next course to the current course and, using coloured markers, identify the obstacles that remain where they are with ONE colour (even if the angle has to change a bit - still mark it as "stays").
  • Mark those obstacles that have to move, with another colour.
  • Write the name of EACH jump you want to position so when you start the next build, you can call for "the Maple Leaf jump HERE". This will reduce the incident of your willing ring crew grabbing obstacles that DON'T have to move!