Head Koi Judge Grant Patton and assistants Penny Patton from South Carolina, and Roger Phillips from California, judging Koi entrants in a "show bowl". They often give the exhibitors their opinions about the Koi's stronger and weaker features, and usually do so in a very supportive manner. However, when a Koi has been misclassified they will also point that out, and not consider the Koi for judging.
Some Koi can be entered in several different classes, i.e., Kohaku or Tancho, Bekko or Ginrin Bekko, etc. Picking the best class, i.e., the one with the least competition is something seasoned exhibitors consider. Some will even move their Koi up a size to a class with easier competition.
Usually each Koi variety is judged separately in each of the different size groups (sometimes as many as 16 different sizes), and then the overall variety winner is judged. After that the Show's Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion are picked, and then any special awards are made.
Many shows now follow the English model where Koi are kept separate in their own clean 300 gallon tanks, isolated from all the other Koi and Koi tanks in the show. Even the judging bowls the fish are put into for the judges convenience are rinsed with bleach, kept separate, and assigned to and kept in each Koi tank.
Nets, air stones and thermometers are scrupulously kept separate and not shared with other Koi tanks.
Therefore the chances of diseases being transmitted from one exhibitor's tank to another are greatly reduced, but not totally eliminated.
You still have visitors, especially children, putting their hands into one Koi tank and then into another, and sometimes even into their mouths. Even water testing is sometimes potentially contaminating when the same test vials are used in one tank, and then in the next, and so on.
Overall Koi shows are a lot of fun and a good learning experience for all.
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