This is a topic which will no doubt always be discussed as we are talking about a ‘hobby’ with The Poultry Club offering guidelines on many topics - but not having any ideals enshrined in tablets of stone. It thus falls upon show managers through their committees etc. to adopt different policies when guiding the judges at the end of a show.
The ‘ideal’ is to have a Championship judge - but only the larger shows could entertain this extra expense, plus at smaller shows (say 200-400 entries) how many judges (if available) would or could spend a day possibly waiting to adjudicate between say up to only 6 or so section winner birds?
There are faults and plusses with every system chosen but the fairest and most beneficial way to the Fancy and all exhibitors is to adopt the ‘Barnsley System’ for smaller shows where there is no Championship judge. In the ‘Barnsley System’ all section winners put up by the different judges are numbered say 1 to 10 if there are more than two judges. Each judge is given a piece of paper (without his name on) and asked to place the birds in order, with his or her choice starting from number ‘1’ being their first pick down to number ‘10’ being the last choice, discussion here is discouraged. The papers are handed back to the Show Manager who tots up the count and the one with the least number of points is the Show Champion.
Whilst obviously no system is perfect, the main advantage is this system gives every judge an equal say in deciding the Champion - not giving chance to the judge with the loudest voice or more persuasive character to override or coerce his or her colleagues with their sometimes biased or even ignorant opinions. The ‘Barnsley System’ does away with any unwanted domineering.
However, PCGB Council has taken note of member requests and from 1st October 2010 for a 12 month trial, at a Championship Show, judges other than the Championship judge will be able to show in sections they are not judging.