Judges act as deputies of the Race Marshal. A judge must be familiar with the race rules and all the official forms. Have a copy of the race rules available for reference.
1. Arrive at the checkpoint early enough to record any incoming mushers. Legibly record official times of arrival and departure from checkpoints. Time is recorded when the lead dog’s nose crosses the official line.
Ideally, set your watch for 24- hour (military) time and record all times in that form. If you aren’t comfortable with 24-hour time, or if your watch doesn’t have that capability, then be certain to indicate a.m. or p.m. with the time and get the ham radio operator to convert it.
Important: All watches used for timing must be synchronized to the second, and recorded times must be accurate to the second. In one of the Iditarod races, the winner edged out the second place finisher by only one second!
On arrival and on departure, musher and judge must both initial musher’s time card and checkpoint time sheet.
The timekeeping job may be delegated to a Timekeeper.
2. For each team, count the number of dogs coming into the checkpoint, including dogs that are in the sled. Also, count the number of dogs in each team when they depart the checkpoint. All departing dogs should be in harness and traveling under their own power.
3. When a team first departs from a checkpoint, the departure time becomes official and cannot be changed. If the musher runs a short distance out on the trail, decides that the dogs are too tired, and returns to the checkpoint for a longer rest, then that extra rest counts as trail time, not as layover time. Inform Can-Am Central if and when a musher returns or departs for a second attempt, but do not record it as a new official departure time.
4. Actual arrival and departure times should always be recorded without adjustment. If a time penalty or credit is to be applied to a team, do not try to adjust a recorded arrival or departure time to reflect the penalty. The Race Marshal will apply penalties and credits where appropriate.
5. Inspect mushers' equipment. For the safety of the mushers and the dogs, Can-Am rules specify that certain gear and supplies must be carried at all times during the race.
At the pre-start gear check, flag the sled with distinctive flagging (polka dots or stripes) so that other checkers will know which teams have been done.
A gear check upon arrival at a checkpoint ensures that the musher has not lost gear on the trail or dumped gear to lighten the sled. Missing gear upon arrival results in a time penalty, to be assessed by the race marshal. Once the musher is in an appropriate area, do whatever gear check is required at your checkpoint. The checkpoint co-ordinator will advise you. Especially at the later checkpoints, the mushers will be tired. Disturb them as little as possible. When the bag is opened to care for the dogs, you will be able to check off many of the items without asking the musher. Equipment and vet check may occur at the same time.
A gear check upon departure from a checkpoint ensures that the team has the proper equipment for a safe and legal run to the next checkpoint. For reassurance and safety, the driver may request a gear check upon departure from a checkpoint, but you should also offer to do the check because the driver might forget. The driver has the option of refusing a departure gear check, except at the race start.
6. Carry out the instructions of the race marshal, checkpoint coordinator, and veterinarians in accordance with the rules. Relay complaints to the Race Marshal and/or Checkpoint Coordinator.