I would expect that normally clubs that are having shows, would give the club members a brief refresher course at the club meeting prior to the show. At least ours did, back in the day. (I no longer belong, because of an inconvenient distance. I may rejoin, though, and just plan on some overnight trips, and then a stop for a hike as I make my way home after the club meeting.)
One thing that I forgot to mention does not have to do with grooming, but with getting your blooms as big as they can be.
(This is actually important, because one of the things that is judged, iirc, is that the bloom size must meet the registered bloom size for that cultivar.) What was recommended at our club was that a week before the show, to "plump up" the daylilies by going to daily watering. This gets the blooms as big as they can be.
You do have to be careful with the watering, though, not to splotch the blooms (on those that are susceptible to that kind of damage). That'll get you a ding.
Another way to get dinged is if your bloom does not match the color description in the AHS registry. I gather that there has to be some
allowance for local climate and soil (this is where it may be helpful to have local judges familiar with the cultivar), but you can still get dinged. (I once got dinged for an entry of 'Scatterbrain'; when I asked one judge why (not complaining, but wanting to learn for the next show (it was only my second show)), I was told it was because there was green on the sepals. (I thought it was supposed to be that way.
And while I am thinking of it... not only must your blooms more or less match the description that is in the AHS registry wrt to size and color, they must also match the description in regards to form.
This is very important
. So if you have something that is registered as a single daylily, but which occasionally and typically throws polys or some double-type petaloids, you need to make sure to bring only blooms that are singles to the show. The judges may or may not be familiar (from personal experience) with that particular cultivar, and so they may not recognize that the petaloids or extra tepals are typically a sometimes feature. They WILL go by the official AHS registration data, which says that the cultivar is a single, and judge accordingly. (I think they are mandated to go by the registration data, regardless of their personal observations... but I was never an exhibition judge so I don't know that for certain.)
As an example... back at my very first show which was probably 20 years or so ago, I brought an off-scape bloom of 'Four Star'. The AHS registration (both then and now) has it that 'Four Star' is a spider double, which it is not. 'Four Star' is actually a polymerous daylily, but at the time of registration there was no polymerous classification. (I gather that the AHS registration data has not been corrected in all of these years since the poly classification came into being.) Moreover, the blooms on 'Four Star' were typically (in my garden, anyway
) something of an asymmetric mess. Anyway, I was excited about polys and not wanting to sacrifice the scape (because, seeds) I brought a single bloom to the show, for the off-scape single bloom class. As I recall, the judges did give out ribbons (maybe not official AHS ribbons and certainly no rosettes, but there were ribbons... at least that is my recollection), but I got either none or the lowest possible color ribbon for that bloom. (Being a newbie, and all excited about the polys, it was a bit of a disappointment.
) The bloom that I brought was very typical for that cultivar, being both polymerous (it ran about 85% poly in my garden) and asymmetric, but it did not match the registration data, so that almost certainly was why it did not do well.
So just ask yourself.... if you were a judge standing in front of an exhibit, and you didn't know the cultivar, and the AHS registration data said that it should be a spider double.... how would you
judge this thing?
Be certain that your bloom, in size, color, and in form, matches the AHS registration data for that cultivar.