Gretchen Bonnie has been selected by U.S. Figure Skating to be a trial judge at the U.S. Figure Skating National Competition in January. She is one of only twelve that are selected each year. Congratulations Gretchen!
The trialing process is demanding and stressful. Gretchen will mark the assigned events and then will undergo a rigorous evaluation of her marks and explain them. In order to be appointed as a National Judge a candidate usually has to trial judge two and perhaps three years providing the results of the first competition are acceptable. Then there is a peer review process by National Judges followed by a written exam.
Trial judges at nationals, as well as trial judges at other competition levels and test levels, must pay their own travel, lodging, and meals. For nationals the trial judge must be at the event for about one week which then means that the individual must also sacrifice the salary for work or use vacation time. If successful the appointed National Judge continues to the serve the sport at all levels of competition without a salary for service. Only the travel expenses, lodging, and meals are reimbursed. U.S. Figure Skating is the only major sports organization that does not pay its officials.