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Old 09-21-2007, 04:45 PM   #1
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Successful Contest Tabulation Strategies?

Ok, considering all of the drama associated w/ the tabluation @ Sycuan, and that other dance w/ the jacked up drum contest w/ an 8-way tie, and some other goofy stuff I heard about people winning in like 3 different categories at a dance in central TX.........

Why don't we all post contest rules and tabuation strategies THAT ACTUALLY WORK!!!! Or brainstorm some new ideas that will decrease the amount of contest drama!

What contest rules and tabulation systems create the fairest contest?

Straight point systems? (How do you distribute points for different powwow events - GE, exhibition, 1st, 2nd, 3rd place votes? hmmmmm?)

"Be in 2 of 3 Grand entries to conest" systems? (This one puts even more emphasis on the tabulators - if their system is jacked to begin with, this might only make it worse, but if the system works to begin with, this approach puts most of the emphasis on the contest itselt rather than spot checks or other random point-awarding activities....)

Brown-nose the tabulators and AD? (that was sarcasm in case you didn't catch that......)
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Old 09-21-2007, 05:15 PM   #2
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WhoMe actually did something similar to this when it comes to drum contests.... check out the threads in the Northern and Southern singing forums.

So... lets keep this thread focused on dancing contests.

I'll put my neck out there with a hypothetical set of rules and a hypothetical tabulation system..... here we go.....

Rules:
1. Register in only one category. Must be registered in the appropriate age group (no contesting in older or younger groups) and in the appropriate style (i.e. cloth, buckskin, straight, N tradish).
2. Contestants must be fully dressed w/ hair braided for each Grand Entry.
3. Contestants must be fully dressed w/ hair braided to recieve prize money.
4. Dropping any major article during a contest (from bells or jingles to aprons, feathers, etc) will result in disqualification. (small fluffs, hackle feathers, fringes do not count as "major")
5. Over- or under-stepping the last beat of a song will result in disqualification.
6. No drugs or alcohol or intoxicated people in the arena at anytime, contest or not - you got glassy eyes or stank breath from your beverage, then not only will you be disqualified, but your a$$ will be tossed in jail.
7. Point system is in effect! (see my hypothetical point system below!)
8. Contestants may not be judged by relatives by blood, marraige, or adoption. It is the Contestant's responsibility to alert the AD and head judge to any relatives that may be judging his/her own realatives, or risk disqualification.
9. other stuff @ committee's discretion - i.e. proof of tribal affiliation, waiver for publicity photos, etc....
>>> did I leave anything out from those rules?

OK, now my hypothetical point system..... stick with me here as I try to make sense.

Allways have an odd # of judges. We'll say 5 for our purposes here.

In the contest, we'll say we're paying 5 places. soooo, for each vote for each place, a certain # of points are assigned. Again, using odd #'s is good to help avoid ties....

1st - 9pts
2nd - 7pts
3rd - 5pts
4th - 3pts
5th - 1pt

So, say someone gets 2 1st place votes, one second, and 2 third.... their point for this contest go-round would total 35.

Now, we gotta do something about grand entry and exhibition, right? Here's where my idea gets pretty radical. Instead of assigning points for GE or exhibition, use these events as MULTIPLIERS.

So, if a powwow has 5 GE's (1 on Fri, 2 on Sat, 2 on Sun) and one exhibition, if the contestant makes all 6 of those events, their total points from contest would be mulitplied by 6. SO 35 x 6 = 210 There really shouldn't be too many ties using odd numbers of judges and odd #s of points to start off with.

If someone misses one of those GE's or their exhibition, their multiplier might be 3 or 4. They still have a chance to place if they are a bad-a$$, but they'll have to really jam in their contest, and the chance of them taking 1st is decreased. Of course if you get 0 votes in the contest, 0 x 6 is still 0.

This encourages people to SHOW UP to all GE's and exhibitions, and support the powwow committee. It discourages folks from showing up for 1 GE and their contest, and then winning on name alone....

Also, at the end of the dance, post every contest ballot (signed by the judge) and all of the tabulation worksheets publicly, so everyone can see how they did. Yeah, it's alot of work, but this keeps the tabulation on the up-and-up, and can keep drama and complaints to a minimum.

OK... discuss, critique, add your own system....
What works? What would your ideal contest tabulation system be?
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Old 09-21-2007, 05:41 PM   #3
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Not a bad idea using the multiplier..... not bad also ENFORCING the fully dressed and really ENFORCING the Alcohol and "glassy eyed" rule. People don't want to rock that boat.



I read a lot of these things on here the drama last year with "spud Mr. Drama brown" and such.

But seems like there are a lot of people WHO SAY, they just love to dance. Well then why not have a contest, old style?

Pick up your number the night of your contest.

2 contest songs, then finals, then call then just call the winners. Those that REALLY want to dance will. The next powwow you be the judge for yourself of those there for JUST the $$$$.

Seen quite a few dancers only dance their contest.....That's it...opps come into grand entry just half dressed no spirit or pride when they come in. But come contest time, they all that.... hahahahahaha I don't get it.

I do like the multiplier idea.
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Old 09-21-2007, 05:53 PM   #4
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Thumbs up

1. why do people only get to register in one category? what if they have two outfits eg: jingle and fancy? maybe even 3... tradish?

i agree with everything cept the first one...


(their own outfits ...not borrowed...)
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Old 09-21-2007, 06:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by middle of the sky View Post
1. why do people only get to register in one category? what if they have two outfits eg: jingle and fancy? maybe even 3... tradish?
This has more to do w/ age categories.... Like I've seen teens compete in the adult categories and kick butt, but they shouldn't also compete in the teen category. However, the reason I bring this up is because of the dance in TX I mentioned. They had no rule like this, so several people placed in 3 categories - golden age (70+), seniors (55-69) and adults (18-54). Just greedy.

As for the multiple outfit thing, I personally couldn't pull it off. Takes me an hour to get dressed, and another hour to get undressed and pack my gear neatly. So between categories, I'd need 2 hours! The whole powwow's supposed to stop for lil ole me? Just so i can get a lil more $$$$$$$? BUH!

There are plenty of places that have all-around contests that are designed for people who dance more than one style. But the whole point of contests is to draw people to your dance - where they'll ideally dance intertribals, specials, two-step, visit w/ aunties, cousins, etc, and did I mention DANCE? It's hard to do that when your out in the parking lot changing clothes all the time. Powwows are about perpetuating culture through dancing, and contests should support that idea, not detract from it. Hence, that's why I asked for ways to minimize contest drama....
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Old 09-22-2007, 04:25 AM   #6
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Ok, I've said it before but it obviously bears repeating so I'll say it again...
IT AIN'T ABOUT THE TABULATION...It's the Judges. You can have the best dancer out there hit every grand entry, exhibition, spot check and if the judges don't put that person's # on the ballot, it won't matter who, how or which you add up the points. AND it doesn't matter if that person is the "best" dancer out there, if they didn't party with, sleep with, owe $$ too or give a ride to one of the judges, they probably won't get picked.

That being said: Pow Wow Judging is jacked up. I've been ranting about this for all the years I've been on this website-so this isn't new territory-every couple of months someone brings up tabulating and we have this discussion*sigh*...Pow Wows are one of the only "contests" that I know of where all the contestants in one category compete at the same time and are ranked 1,2, or 3 at the "line up". It just doesn't make any sense, gymnastics, ice skating, the Olympics-all have a standard set of rules and OBJECTIVE judging criteria. PowWows don't. Dancers are supposed to be judged on...Appropriate Outfit, Appropriate Dance Step, Not over stepping/understepping, dancing on beat, sparkly, flourescent, old style, contemporary...Does anyone know anymore?????? My tabulating partner and I once thought of making a list of things to judge the dancers on and taping it to the back of the clipboards that the ballots are on so the judges would have a guideline, but it still leaves so much of the judging as subjective

SO, i think the tabulation discussion is a waste of time...too many powwows with all their own rules and beliefs, but a discussion about pow wow judging would definitely have validity
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Old 09-22-2007, 04:49 AM   #7
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Cool

Wow....I'm impressed SB5.....sincerely. U bring up many good points. I've often thought about the "pie in the sky" idea of having computerized/robotic judges....where we could feed the criteria into the computer with some high-tech cameras that could somehow decipher/sort out all the stops, timing, originality, degree of difficulty, ----I mean all of it....that would be purdy kewl!!

I've also thought about videotaping our contests @ ESID---Fort Washakie, WY and having the committee serve as the judges and watch the videos over and over after each session....to sort out the stops and all the other criteria. What would add to the fairness is having the dancers kinda blurred out so we can't recognize them and pick our own personal favorites. Now.....are these some CRAZY ideas or what????
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Old 09-22-2007, 07:31 AM   #8
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...hmmm, I cannot say anything about this subject because I am no dancer...just maybe about a judging system that I think is cool...

usually there are more than 5 judges...
the best and the worst judgment just do not count.

Example....7 judges...dancer x gets these points:
1
5
5
6
5
4
9
just cut out 1 and 9.

Last edited by indian-heart-beat; 09-22-2007 at 07:34 AM.. Reason: keyboard put y for z lol
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Old 09-22-2007, 02:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skybird5 View Post
Ok, I've said it before but it obviously bears repeating so I'll say it again...
It's the Judges.... It doesn't matter if that person is the "best" dancer out there, if they didn't party with, sleep with, owe $$ too or give a ride to one of the judges, they probably won't get picked.

Pow Wow Judging is jacked up.
I absolutely agree with you 100%.... but.....

Quote:
It just doesn't make any sense, gymnastics, ice skating, the Olympics-all have a standard set of rules and OBJECTIVE judging criteria. PowWows don't. ..... it still leaves so much of the judging as subjective
Seriously, I've thought of the figure-skating analogy too, but how often have we heard in recent olympics about politics or nepotism entering into those supposedly "objective" competitions? People swap votes, Russian judges used to vote against US skaters and gymnasts - and vice versa - purely out of politics.

You're right, though - committees and ADs/head judges need to define clear judging criteria and pick judges that will follow those. BUT, at the end of the day, it's all gonna still be subjective! That's why powwows have CONTESTS, not COMPETITIONS. Competition implies some objective standard - reaching the finish line first, doing the more difficult triple axel jump, etc. CONTEST suggests the arbitrary, subjective nature of the event....


Quote:
SO, i think the tabulation discussion is a waste of time...too many powwows with all their own rules and beliefs, but a discussion about pow wow judging would definitely have validity
Again, I agree with you that a major discussion of judging needs to happen (I'm not holding my breath). Nepotism, favoritism, politics, all that bs shouldn't be a part of these dances..... but like I said, I'm not holding my breath. However, I think if committees started posting all ballots and tabulations, some of the nepotism would get reigned in a bit (again, I'm enough of a realist or cynic to know it won't dissappear).

However, I don't think discussing tabulation strategies is a waste of time at all. After all, even where committees or ADs/head judges can't stop the politics in judging, THEY CAN CONTROL the basic math of the situation.... After all, the issue @ Sycuan wasn't about the judges (maybe they were crooked as he!!, maybe they were the fairest judges to ever grace a powwow!). Instead, the issue there was clearly the tabulation! LIkewise, the dance in TX i mentioned - the issue wasn't the judges, but rather the committee haveing an utter lack of any meaningful rules for the contests. If contests are ever gonna approach any kind of objectivity (yeah right), then rules (i.e. judging criteria) and tabulation have to be clearly defined and above suspicion.

Also, it wouldn't hurt for ADs generally to grow a set of nads and enforce the committee's rules and pick the fairest judges they can.... but too often that gets right back to the nepotism thing.....
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Old 09-24-2007, 10:41 AM   #10
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I've noticed using.....

odd numbers for your ballots works.....I.E. 15, 11, 7, etc.....
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Old 09-24-2007, 11:18 AM   #11
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I don't know about 2/3 because alot of people come in with out braided hair and still get their pts..some dancers come in w/out their headroaches or something major missing..so I don't think the tabulators are paying too much attn to dancers just gettin numbers? You can have all of the rules written down but when you get judges how many of them know the rules? Do you show them the rules before they go out there and judge or do you just assume that they should know what they are doing? I agree with using the odd numbers....sometimes I think that when registration is closed it is closed and sometimes dancers will register and come in one or 2 ge's and still place? maybe dance in one contest. I don't know how that can be resolved..about dancers just there to contest..I guess thats part of the mixture..some love to to dance and some are just there for the contest, ge and exhibitions and thats it...
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Old 09-25-2007, 01:34 PM   #12
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What if you don't have all your teeth in during grand entry.
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Old 09-25-2007, 01:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndnpaint View Post
What if you don't have all your teeth in during grand entry.
If it's a golden age man w/ out his falsies, dock him some points! hahaha.....








Of course, if it's a hot looking fancy shawl chick w/ no teeth, then she already got first place locked up!
GAW.... jus rugged ennit?
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Old 09-25-2007, 02:20 PM   #14
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Heyyyyyy what if my pushup bra came undone does that count?? ayeeeeeeee, kidding
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Old 09-27-2007, 06:05 PM   #15
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I fully agree with using odd numbers for a point system, and not getting an even amount of judges. Also, set up the tally sheets so that there are no names on them, just numbers.

Here are a couple ideas that are really good and have proven to speed up the tabulating process:

Assign numbers to specific categories. After grand entry registration will know exactly which category to go to and credit the dancers.

Tell dancers that they must dance in grand with their category or they will not receive points. This makes it really easy on registration also, so they don't have to jump around their books and make mistakes or get slowed down. Besides, dancers know when grand entry is and know that they should be ready for it.

After each session, carry forward the points so that the totals are current.

If you can do this you will know the results of a contest usually before the next contests 2nd song.

I have worked with people using both paper and MS Exel, both work out fine I think. If you use a spreadsheet program, just make sure that you are backing up your work and making hard copies.
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Old 09-29-2007, 01:24 PM   #16
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One other idea I have seen used is having an extra judge during contest. Then you only use that ballot if there is a tie.
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Old 10-01-2007, 10:32 AM   #17
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Judging is what it is, subjective.

I think a better solution is to start spreading the wealth to the grinders.

Why do we need only 4 places at a pow wow with over 500 dancers (common up here)? How bout having 8 or 10 places with 4 of those places being consolations at 100 or 200 bux apiece (for adults)?

Rocky Boy was awesome this year with Huge Bucks ($3000 for 1st) for 4 places and plenty of consolations (Total 10 places).

Either that or have those adult split age groups. 18-35 and 36-49.

Share the wealth!
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Old 10-01-2007, 11:46 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jed View Post
Judging is what it is, subjective.

I think a better solution is to start spreading the wealth to the grinders.

Why do we need only 4 places at a pow wow with over 500 dancers (common up here)? How bout having 8 or 10 places with 4 of those places being consolations at 100 or 200 bux apiece (for adults)?

Rocky Boy was awesome this year with Huge Bucks ($3000 for 1st) for 4 places and plenty of consolations (Total 10 places).

Either that or have those adult split age groups. 18-35 and 36-49.

Share the wealth!

I think this is a great idea........

This would give some of those dancers who are awesome (but can't get in when all the big names show up) a chance to get a pat on the back. And to get recognized.

Subjective judging basically means is all about who you know......
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Old 10-01-2007, 12:12 PM   #19
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It is not just who you know.

We all like the dancing of our friends and family. We like dancers that remind of us of others. We like and we don't like based on personal taste.

To expect any different is crazy.

There is no way to make everyone like the same things. Who would want to live in a world like that anyway.
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Old 10-01-2007, 12:20 PM   #20
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This is what I'm talking about.... some keen ideas that anybody can put to work!

Kneegrow (sheesh, i feel somehow typing that!) - the idea of grouping categories by number (ie cloth = 300-399, buckskin = 400-499) works great.... most committees who are on the ball about tabulating do it cause, as you said, it makes keeping track of things a whole lot easier.....

Kiyaanii mom - that's a great idea about having the extra judge's ballot on standby - shows a lot of foresight and planning..... don't know that it'd eliminate the ties all the time (if the extra judge didn't vote for either of the people in the tie) but it'd show the committee was on top of things....

And Jed, I luuuuuuv those dances with lots of places, even if they have 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and several consolations. You wouldn't even need to have big $$ to pay several places if the amounts were realatively close together, like 300, 250, 200, 150, 100, and 2 or 3 consolations of $50. You could pay a lot of folks and "spread the wealth" w/o having to come up will tons of money.... another goot idea....

Of course, i still gotta push my idea of posting all ballots and tabulation sheets after the payout to help keep the subjective voting a bit more on the level... Crooked judges might not be so crooked if they knew everyone would see just how crooked they were! hahaha

Keep the ideas coming......
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