The Timer is responsible for recording the official time as they compete on an element. (NACSW Rulebook).
I’ve been at Nose Work trails where none of the volunteers wanted to be the timers. Serving as timer is perhaps my own favorite volunteer position.
You have one job, time the trial element. You push the button to start the stopwatch and when the trail run ends, you push the button again to stop the watch. Then, once the handler team has left the trail space, you share the time with the judge who fills it in on the score sheet. Once recorded, you push a button to clear the time.
In between those button pushes, you get to watch all the dogs work. And, I love to watch the dogs work. It may be one of my favorite things ever! No, seriously, I love to watch dogs play the nosework game.
Sometimes the spaces are tight where the searches happen. The timer (and the judge) is always in the room.
There are two pressure points. The first is, as a courtesy, timers call a 30-second warning 30-seconds before time will run out. Sometimes you forget. Sometimes, handlers don’t hear you. I’ve encountered a few moments of non-sportsmanlike behavior over this issue. But, the rules state that this call can be given, but isn’t required to be given.
The other pressure point is, well, getting the time right. We all make mistakes and there are times that the times get missed or screwed up. There is a backup timing ability because there’s also video being captured. And, well, we do the best we can.
Not to jinx anything, but in the hundreds and hundreds of runs I’ve time, I’ve only screwed up twice. Both times they were able to use the video to recapture the run and thus the timing.
Personally, I feel that volunteers should rotate positions so that everyone gets a chance to do (and learn from) all the positions. But, if you don’t want to run the stopwatch, give me a call and I’ll be happy to do it!