Many steers set foot in Stadium Arena on show day at the National Western Stock Show (NWSS). The idea that one man can sort through hundreds of high-quality market steers can be intimidating.
On the exhibitor side, the amount of time and effort put into raising a competitive show steer is enormous and often takes many sets of hands to get the job done. Once these steers set foot in the ring, exhibitors have to remember that the results of the class are one judge’s opinion and the next day it could be different. However, there is an alternative option to encourage a consistent, non-biased system – the three-tier judging system.
The three-tier system has two official judges and each judge places the class individually. Next, both individual placings are compared and sorted to generate the official class placings. Many times there are disagreements in placing orders, so this is where the third judge steps in. Their placings are compared to the two official judges, serving as a tiebreaker.
Scott Johnson, NWSS Market Beef Tabulator, admits that it can be a challenging system to understand but it is a valuable way to place challenging classes.
“Most people don’t understand the three-man system initially,” Johnson said. “The main two judges are shown as Judge A and Judge B. Judge C only stands as the referee to break disagreements.”
Johnson created a computer program to efficiently enter and sort this data in a fast-paced manner to keep up with the quick transitions between classes. However, he says this way of judging has been around for some time.
“It has been around for decades,” Johnson said. “But it is much quicker and easier to use with the kind of technology we have today.”
Johnson says the three-tier system takes longer than having an individual judge but it is worth the extra time it takes to have more consistent placings.
“When you look at it, the strength is that you have more than one opinion to process a challenging class,” Johnson said. “It is designed to spread it out and people think that less politics are involved in the final placings. This way, it makes big shows like these more fun to show at when you are guaranteed a fair place in the class you are in.”
To see the three-tier judging placings and results of the junior market steer show, click here.
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