Last Saturday I attended my first Rose Show and I volunteered to clerk. Produced by the Nashville Rose Society, it was a wonderful education.
A rose show clerk follows a pair of judges and affixes ribbons to the roses’ identification cards based on the judges’ decisions. In my group there were three of us clerking for two judges. I carried the basket of ribbons and handed the appropriate ribbons to the lead clerk who did the stapling. Easy. Judges are not allowed to touch the roses, so when one of my judges noticed a bug on a bloom, he turned to me for insect removal. I was a hero for a moment.
Prior to the day of judging I received an email of do’s and don’ts. Clerks are warned not to engage the judges in conversation. Some like to talk with clerks, some don’t. I happened to have been assigned to friendly judges. As they were evaluating the roses, they took the time to tell me why one was “exhibition quality” over another. They also taught me tricks of the trade for grooming a bloom for a show. Another clerk told me she was assigned to less talkative and informative judges so I was grateful for my assignment.
I didn’t enter anything in this show for two reasons. Prior to Saturday I knew nothing about rose shows and I wanted to get a little education first. Also last weekend my roses fell into one of two categories: spent blooms that looked tired or tight buds that did not yet show color.
I really enjoyed the experience of clerking. It gave me a behind the scenes view of the show…and the confidence to enter roses at my next opportunity!