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All comments and ideas expressed here are those of the person credited with each comment. The Sultans of Sand, Rich Varano et all, do not necessarily hold the same opinion of those represented here. Anyone may contribute to this dialogue, or start new ones by sending their information here. Items should be specifically requested to be included here. Please limit your comments to related ideas in general, and avoid personally attacking any particular individual(s).

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Subj:  2001 Hours of Work
Date: 12/9/00 8:35:43 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: (Bob Bell)

Hi you all and Merry Christmas!  We are working on the development of a 50-hour, doubles category and would like some feedback if you have time.   One proposal is to have the Teams work their standard 100 hour schedule; have Solos work 21 hours from Tuesday afternoon until Thursday evening and then start a 50-hour doubles (2 persons) early on Friday morning.  Your comments would be appreciated.

.  How might this affect time-off from work, your travel costs, etc. ?

Of course the Solos would be welcome to participate in all the evening meals throughout the weekend.

thanks for your input and happy holidays.  Bob


Paul Dawkins
Subj:  Re: 2001 Hours of Work
Date: 1/11/01 8:57:11 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: (Paul Dawkins)

Hi Bob
I like the back to back solo and double category that Quebec uses in their contest  and so did most of the other sculptors in Quebec.
The only complaint that I know of was the sculptors needed a rest in between the two events.
Quebec said they would give the sculptors a day of rest for next year.
Harrison has the most professionals of any contest and  the professional sandsculptors will take the time to incorporate any decent schedule that you present.  That means you will get two big weekends of promotions and awareness instead of one.
Paul Dawkins


Edwin Moore
Subj:  Re: 2001 Hours of Work
Date: 1/14/01 10:56:32 PM Eastern Standard Time
Hi gang.... early September is a very busy time of year with fairs and festivals.  Also,  those of us that have other jobs or working spouses could find the extended schedule harder to be there for the entire event.  One of the benefits to Harrison is seeing so many sculptors at one time, visiting, working and competing together.  I would hate to see something that would divide the group into separate schedules and maybe cause some sculptors to see only "finished" work instead of work in progress.  Or worse yet, not even meet some sculptors because they left after finishing their work or arrive to later to compete after someone else had to go back home early.   Harrison is a great social event as well as the best contest, lets keep that in mind when considering schedule changes.
Edwin Moore


   Date:  Tue, 16 Jan 2001 22:47:28 EST

     Since I first received the idea of proposed changes at The World Sand Competition, I and other sandsculptors have been discussing it at some length. Since the committee at Harrison is still in the discussion stages about this proposed new change, many questions remain unanswered. As you know, (last year) the Quebec "International" Competition tried the back to
back solo/doubles competition and it seemed to work out quite well (I had Fun). Our only major suggested change there was a day of rest between competitions. This suggestion is going to be honored at this years competition. This "day of rest" was suggested for the new proposed changes at Harrison. The first answer was no, then yes, and now, no again. To make a long story short, I am against the new proposed changes at Harrison (this year). I feel the committee should work out this idea more and present it at this years competition. I think input from all attending sandsculptors and committee members should be heard. As it is now, I've only heard what sculptors with Internet access have to say, this leaves out to many voices that should and want to be heard.
    I also want to thank the World Sandsculpting Committee for giving us the chance to voice our thoughts on this subject, and not just suprising everybody with it in this years entry form.
                                                     Aloha, Joe Maize


Commentary by Rich Varano

Hello All,
 I hope your New Year/Mellinnium is shaping up nicely. It has been a good year for me, and I hope to see you all sooner, as opposed to later.

Regarding the "Doubles" category proposed  by Bob Bell, as I understand it, at Harrison Hot Springs, please consider the following:

   I think as the organizer of the event, they (at Harrison Hot Springs/ the World Championships)  have every right to set up the event however they please, and leave it up to the prospective participants to decide if they want to enter based on the parameters outlined in advance. As an organizer of five annual events myself, I think this is good.
  That input from the prospective players is asked for in advance,  is even better. So here is my two cents, for what it's worth.

I vote NO to the new doubles division if it means losing the two person teams category as it has always existed.

Because it was not clear to me from the original note Bob sent (see above) I will explain further.

 Why do I feel this way?
  I like more time to carve. I have fielded two different two-person teams at Harrison to get more personal carving time for myself. Two-person teams allow for 50 hours for each person to carve. I like that.  My team has done well in the medals each time I fielded a team there. I would hope the opportunity would always exist to continue to field two-person teams in the existing team division if I choose to. With two-persons, I get the most carving hours available in the entire contest, PLUS I can compete against teams of up to ten persons each.
 From the message that was sent to me regarding this (see below) it is not clear one way or the other if the two-person team format would be affected or not, from what it now is. So I am writing this just to be clear either way.

 If the idea is to take the two-persons teams out of the existing team category to create the new (shorter time) "doubles" category, I would not favor this. If however, you do continue with the teams format as it is and has been, and create in addition to this (and the existing solos format) a separate doubles category (with the shorter hours as outlined)  I think this would be good. I think that it would be supported as well by many sand sculptors getting into that category.
  But please do not take away carving hours already allocated to two-person teams in the past, OR the chance to compete in the teams division against other teams of up to ten persons.
  I am aware that two person teams are not as common as other numbered teams, but they do, and have, existed for years, and other two-person teams have been in the medals too. Not only the Sultans of Sand team. I think this is an important and telling factor to consider. That two person teams CAN be competitive suggest a valid reason to keep them in the team division. I see no good reason why adding a doubles category (with less than 100 man hours) could not supplement the already good field of competition that exists as it is. Unless space is a factor, in which case I would vote to maintain the status quo, whereby teams of two compete in the extant team division, as opposed to relegating the two person format to a doubles division with abbreviated be good. work hours from what has been previously established. For me, this would not be a good idea. This is not to say that I will always enter the two-person teams. I have been in the solos, and may do so again, and I may even possibly do larger teams, or this new "doubles" thing someday. I just think the chance should remain available to carve as a two-person team and still get 50 hours each and a chance to compete against even larger teams as well.
 That some people just do not want to carve for 50 hours, or possibly find the format otherwise arduous, or limiting because it is so long, (work schedules, etc.) should not detract from the validity that it is a competitive format and one that obviously is enjoyed by some people (the record also speaks to the fact that the viewing public has appreciated it too) Let those persons who would choose to avoid committing 50 hours to compete, carve in some of the other formats already available at Harrison. Or, do indeed create new formats in addition to what we have today. But I feel compelled to state that at least for me, I think taking the two-persons team out of the existing team division, for whatever reason would be a step down or backwards from a successfully implemented format that has worked well for so many years.
Thank you for the invitation to comment on this aspect.
Rich Varano


Judging Idea for Consideration At Harrison
Now, something that has not been asked for, yet something I want to share anyway, since it is related to Harrison, is this.
 Being this event is regarded as it is, as one of the premier events of its kind worldwide, with at least two separate contentions being held simultaneously, allowing for the occurrence of actual sand sculptors to judge other sand sculptors whom they are not directly competing against at the time, is a good thing.
But why then, do we limit this in the form of the judging currently in use, by having a mere handful of  "qualified" people decide what seems to be the very most important aspect of competition? That is, how the field of sculptures is rated and ranked.
 Why not get a more thorough reflection of what all the sand sculptors think? (aren't they all "qualified" if they are even entered in the event?) They are involved already, and they are all there. I would favor this even if it meant more time and work to implement. For everyone. The sculptors as well as the organizers. In fact, I think anything less than having all sculptor from the teams judging the solos, and all solos judging the teams, is just that.
 Less than completely accurate as a representation of the "qualified" players involved think,  and less than completely fair to the same people- the competitors. Now we all that enter the event, know the deal up front, and therefore choose to enter the contest or not depending on this and numerous other factors. But, compared to time and effort, I think the most possible accuracy and the most possible fairness should be included and prevail if at all possible.
Is this not possible to do?
That we are using sand sculptors as judges at all, is good because sand sculptors know the medium  itself, as well as just having their own personal opinions about what art is ( and heck, everybody and anybody has one of those).
But the problem as I see it with the system in place is that by having a selected few judges from each division judging all of the finished works in the other division, there is a scant few persons deciding what is apparently a pretty big deal. The alternative I propose here, would only serve to broaden the scope of judging in what I would believe to be a much more accurate and fairer system. I say this particularly because of the limitations of subjective interpretation that exists in each of us sand sculptors, as both creative artists of our own works, and as viewers (judges) of the works of our contemporaries. We have in the event, persons representing different genre of art, different cultural awareness, different levels of experience, and different modes of expression and technique in creating sand sculpture. If we only select six judges, only their interpretations will count to rate the works of all. This to me seems rather limiting and a bit of a crap-shoot so to speak, and the alternative of having every competitor in the teams judge every solo and vice versa, would allow that every persons tastes, awarenesses, preference for technique, genre, subject matter, etc., could be expressed and compiled into the total judgment of all participants. As it is, it seems likely that some aspects can be overlooked entirely by the luck of the draw of who is selected to act as judges each year. Considering what is on the line, should this continue to be the way we judge and are judged? We already have the people (all the sand sculptors that are competing) at the venue that can have the input at judging time to cover all bases of whatever criteria different sand sculptors may have about sand sculpture technique, as well as their unique interpretation of what is appealing as art also.
 Does anyone else think this would be a good thing? Does anyone wish to express why this would be a bad idea? I am open to changes if they work for me, just as I would guess you would be open for changes that would work for you. So what do you say? Of course, I respect those that wish to say nothing as their right also.
 So, I hope this idea may be met with the same respect and consideration accorded.  My question is, Why not utilize this "all sculptors as judges" idea? Is there a benefit to limiting the number of people allowed to express their opinions on what is good, bad, the best, or  the worst? Considering the variety of techniques and personal preferences for "art" it would just seem logical and fair to do it this way. If anyone has to do it, why not have everyone do it? To me this only seems the fairest way to all.
 That it may require more effort is the only reason I can think of to argue against this. To me this would seem an unfortunate reason to keep the judging system as limited as it is.
 Considering what this event is perceived and purported to be, I simply have to question on this fact alone, why it is not a requirement for all solos to judge all teams, and all teams members to judge all solos? Sand sculptors know what goes into creating sand sculptures, but each sand sculptor still has his or her own personal bias whatever it may be. We cannot discount preference for technique -such as hand stacked or soft sculpture - Vs. pounded up form work. Abstract Vs. representational work. Architecture Vs. Human form. Big and smooth Vs. small and detailed, etc., etc.  But, having a select few judges can cause some aspects to be overlooked or ignored, and can affect a lopsided representation of any one (or more) aspect or another. Limited numbers of judges allows for these perceptions to impact the entire show of all sculptures by ranking them in order of preference of a select few. It just seems obvious that when we as sand sculptors have to be judged by other sand sculptors that we should each have both the right and the obligation to judge everyone else's work.
 Let alone the fact that people can and do rank their own work above or below others does also exist. If not officially. I  happen to think that judging your own work should be included, but as a control of sorts that could be used by the organizers for comparative value. It would be telling indeed, and a good way to help understand the vagaries that are our individual interpretations.  But it is not unreasonable or unrealistic to consider that sand sculptors can say "my work is better than that" or My work is not as good as that"
  Whenever judges are used at all, you can, if you want to, "judge" the judges. This is something I do when I use judges in events I produce or direct. It is very useful to me as an organizer. I score the judges after they complete their judging work. That is, after the event is finished, and the judging is completed, I rate the judges in order of who came the closest individually to the actual tabulated totals that are presented as the final result.
You can have a separate contest if you want to see who can be the "best" judge, if you want to call it that. Which would simply reward the judge(s) who most closely reflected what all the judges thought as a group. This reward could also be considered an incentive. I have seen that done for sculptors choice.

As stated, I know that what I propose in having all participants act as judges is not necessarily the easiest thing. Obviously not as easy as having to tabulate only six judges per side (teams and solos). But again, considering what is at stake, should what is easiest even be a factor to be considered?  If so, I think that only serves to detract from what is most important when it comes to competing. To determine in the most fair way, a subjective interpretation of what is THE best, being there really is no objective measurement available.
 And certainly some would argue they simply do not want to judge, or they might refuse to judge completely anyway. But if the parameters are stated in advance, it is the participants call (in advance) if they want to sign up.

If it would be possible to have a call to vote on this- or just give input such as is being done with the idea of a Doubles Division, well. I think that would be just grand. Not that anything might change, but ideas and sharing them are a good place to start. It is also a good resource for deciding future events everywhere.

 It would be good here to note that while this system I propose is what I prefer, I am not saying that I disagree so much with the way things are now, that I will not participate. -Hardly the case. The way the system is now, is simply the way it is. I know what is being offered before I send in my registration fee. Everyone else has the same option, no matter what is being offered. We look at the parameters, then decide if we want to enter. Why not? The fact that the system is the way it is, only makes it easy for me to plan my contest strategies to do as well as I think I can. I have no complaints (or apologies) for winning whatever I do -whenever I do, but I do think the system I outlined would be -to my thinking, better overall and in general  than what is in place now. It is just my opinion.
But, you may consider (at least I do) that my track record at Harrison is quite good as it is. So why would I propose to change the system in place which has served me well unless I really thought it was a good idea?.

Thanks for the chance to contribute my thoughts. Any comments?


Bob Bell confirms that two person TEAMS can still compete as usual even if Doubles division exists
From: "Bob Bell" <>
To: <>
Subject: World Championships 2001
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2001 14:54:21 -0800
The two-person team will still be part of the 100-hour TEAM class.  The Doubles will have 50 hours and the Solos will have 22 hrs.  Doubles will run from Tuesday Sept 4-6,  Solos 7-9 with the team schedule the same as usual.
Bob Bell

Joe Maize reply to judging Idea
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2001 00:33:50 EST

    As to your proposed idea in the voting at the World Competition (that all sandsculptors judge). As it is now, about 6 (selected and/or willing) solo master-sandsculptors judge the teams, and vice versa with team's judging
solo's. The judges receive judging sheets with the criteria and point distribution for each, each subject in the criteria must be judged and the points given accordingly. This process is quite extensive and time consuming, and when you think about all the sculptures you have to judge (29 solo's last year) and that you've got about an hour to do it, well......To top it all off, you've just finished giving your all (rain, storm or shine) for the past few days, digging, packing and creating your sculpture. Now, you've got to drag your tired,dirty, sweaty self (fighting the crowds) from sculpture to sculpture and start judging. I can see why many master-sculptors turn down the honor (I do). Now it's the committee's turn to count the votes, with 6 judges turning in their votes for 29 sculptures, that's 174 judging sheets! And that's just the solo's! Try doing the math if all the sculptors voted!
Thank goodness we don't have any "chads" to worry about!
 Once again, I think this idea and others should be brought up with all the Harrison sand-committee members and master sandsculptors at this years competition. I think all voices should be heard, and not just the Internet
                                        Aloha, Joe Maize


(Rich V responds to Joe M).
Interesting Joe, But I guess it has been a while since you have judged there? I have gotten tapped to be a judge twice in the last five years, so I can tell you from experience, that they have done away with the cumbersome method of both points and criteria. Telling us instead that "Sand sculptors know what to look for in a sand sculpture" We only had to rank our favorites in order, and only for the top place ordinals. If everyone did this, it would not be that hard to tabulate 174 (or more) score sheets. Even though you only rank your picks for the top ordinals, because there are so many different people judging if everyone does it, it rates just about the entire field anyway. This has been done at other events before, and it seemed to work well. Sure, somebody is always going to have something to say about the judges of any subjective competition, but do we really want the judging pool as exists today to continuously be from the same limited field of prospective judges? There are not that many teams to keep tapping from for judges to get new blood. And if it is a limited number of judges, is it good to see lots of familiar faces doing it? won't those judges get sort of desensitized to various artists works? It is good if the judges just judge the work on the beach, but all sorts of personal bias can creep in easily with "regulars" carrying the burden of the task. I know of several people who have been judges lots of times. Why not keep it fresh and varied by having all persons do it every time? Again I say, just because it would be more work is not a great reason to take the "easier" way, when something as important as "The World Championships" is at stake. Of course, we could alleviate that onus of having to judge after carving in contest mode by simply using all outside judges. :)

[TOP] wrote:
Aloha Gang!
     For those of you following or are involved in the Harrison's "New"
proposed change. Which is, to add a "new" doubles category, that will start 
and finish before the regular solo/team competition. I finally got smart and 
asked Bob why they were thinking of making this new change in the first 
place. I figured if I saw "the big picture," that everything would make more 
sense. Well, it does make sense (sort of), I can see where Harrison and the 
committee are coming from, and what's good for Harrison and the competition, 
is good for us (right)? Do you think that the committee should put this idea 
on hold (this year) and present it at this years competition, so that all 
sculptors (not just us Internet sculptors) can voice their opinions too? I 
know that the committee is still working on this idea and many questions are 
still unanswered, which is just one more reason to put this on hold for a 
year? What do you think?
                                                  Aloha, Joe


Subject: World Championship Doubles
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2001 10:29:20 -0800
From: "Bob Bell" <>
To: "Joe Maize" <>
 Hi Joe:  Three or four things come into the contemplation of having a "third" class.  One, there are a number of sculptors who would like to compete as doubles but are unable/unwilling to put in the 100 hours.  We are also faced with a declining number of team entries and need to look to the future of the event.  The creation of another class lets us spread out more prize money to more sculptors and last, but certainly not least, it allows us to create a media day on the Friday where there are some sculptures to shoot.  All of the TV crews who have been out here in past years are disappointed to only have pictures and interviews with sculptors who have barely started shovelling.  This may eventually lead to us being able to charge admission on Friday and create an event ticket of enough value to be of interest to outfits like TicketMaster, etc. Adding another day to Solo is no where near the same impact on size nor number of sculptures on the beach.  Bob


Rich V. responds to Joe

I think it is up to the event organizers to do it as they please, for whatever reasons. I like that they ask for input at all, and respect their decisions whatever they are. When they outline their plans, I think it is then up to the prospective participants to decide if and how they wish to enter the event.
 There are certain other changes that I would like to see be made there - apart from the doubles aspect and the judging  as I mentioned, but I do not expect that what I or really whatever anyone thinks, will ultimately matter. Because they can't please everyone, and they have to move forward as best they can.
-Rich V.

Subject: World Championship Doubles
       Date  Sun, 21 Jan 2001 15:56:16 -0800
      From:  Lucinda Wierenga <>

[Sandy] Feet's two cents worth:

Didn't they take an informal poll at last year's contest asking what people thought of the idea? Seems to me it got a warm reception. I say if our hospitable Harrison hosts want to come up with more categories to spread more money amongst more competitors, we ought to encourage that trend - not throw obstacles in their path. It is nice of them to ask our opinion before implementation, but as long as they reach a decision and publish details well in advance of the event, we are then all free to participate to whatever extent we wish.


ps I like Rich's idea of everyone judging


If you want to express a view related to any of these ideas, or other questions, ideas, themes etc., related to sand sculpture at all send it here
 I will publish your thoughts. But I would request that you please refrain from personal attacks. Thank you, Rich Varano Editor


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