Ribbon Count
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How many ribbons should you order?  

Let's look at a one ring NADAC trial with five classes each day:  2 rounds of regular and one round each of jumpers, chances, and a non-jumping class (weavers, tunnelers, hoopers, or T&G) each day.

For each round of regular or jumpers we have five jump heights (8", 12", 16", 20", and 20+), three levels (Novice, Open, and Elite), three divisions (Standard, Vet, and JH), and two categories (Proficient and Skilled).  Skilled has only four jump heights (4", 8", 12", and 16").

For each round of regular or jumpers, there could be this many first place awards:

Proficient:  5 (jump heights) x 3 (levels) x 3 (divisions)  = 45
Skilled:      4 (jump heights) x 3 (levels) x 3 (divisions)  = 36

                                                                TOTAL      = 81

The non-jumping classes don't have separate placements for divisions, so there could be this many first place awards:

Proficient:  5 (jump heights) x 3 (levels)  = 15
Skilled:      4 (jump heights) x 3 (levels)  = 12

                                           TOTAL      = 27

Chances does not award placement ribbons (only qualifiers), so it isn't included here.

So, if you award up to 4th place, you would theoretically need this many placement ribbons PER DAY:

Regular & Jumpers (3 classes):  81 x 4 (places) x 3 (rounds) = 972

Non-jumping class :  27 x 4 (places) = 108

Total:  972 + 108  = 1080

WAIT A MINUTE !  Unless you're willing to run until midnight and hire 2 judges, a one ring trial won't have more than 500 runs per day.  How could we possibly need over 1000 ribbons???

Well, the fact is that you probably aren't going to have more than a handful of junior handlers, and you certainly won't have 4 at each jump height and each level.  Although there will probably be more vets, again they will be limited.  

In addition, many handlers (especially at the higher levels) don't take ribbons, or don't take placement ribbons unless they also Q.

What is comes down to is that there is no absolute formula you can apply to figure how many ribbons you need.  However, you CAN draw on the experience of other clubs and trial secretaries who have provided the following guidelines:

For a one ring trial, 5 classes/day, 2 days, 500 (max) runs per day:

200 1st place
160 2nd place
120 3rd place
70 4th place
20 5th place (usually awarded only in the Novice level)
20 6th place
350 Qs

You would not necessarily double this for a 2 ring trial, unless you are separating rings by handler (see the page on multi-ring trials).  In most 2 ring trials you'll have larger classes, but there won't be any more 1st place ribbons than in a 1 ring trial.  You probably will need more Qs and placements beyond 2nd:

200 1st place
180 2nd place
140 3rd place
90 4th place
30 5th place
30 6th place
500 Qs

Here are some other suggestions:

  • Don't put the trial date on the ribbon.  This way, you'll be able to use any left-overs at the next trial.
  • Don't put the class, division, etc. on the ribbon.  This makes it too difficult to keep them sorted and makes ordering more complicated.  Instead, print up small labels on a laser printer with the date, judge, event, etc.  Leave these out so that each competitor can peel and stick them on the back of their ribbons.
  • Flat ribbons are less expensive and easier to store than rosettes.  If you want rosettes, consider using them only for Qs and use flats (or double-flats, which are nicer) for the placement ribbons.  Or, since ribbons are usually more important for Novice handlers, you may want to order rosettes for placements at the Novice level.
  • Consider offering alternatives to ribbons.  Some clubs offer a choice between a ribbon or a coupon for 50 cents off on their next trial entry fee.  This benefits the club, as ribbons usually cost more than 50 cents, and pleases those handlers who prefer not to collect ribbons.  

Have fun !