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Trial Entry Mailing Tips

Jessica Brown is a frequent trial secretary who has some tips to help with the trial entry process.

It seems simple to fill out an entry form and mail it to a trial secretary, but entries can easily wind up being returned for arriving "postage due" because they are too heavy or because they are subject to a "nonmachinable surcharge." Don't let this happen to you!

Here are some tips for mailing entries:

1. If the entry is two pages, print on both sides of the paper.  This reduces weight and bulk in an envelope.

2. Fold entries in thirds (not fourths, or other creative folding techniques).

Since entries are standardized, if you fold it like shown in this picture, that should be in thirds.

3. If you have coupons, line them up inside the envelope in such a way to reduce thickness.  For example, I have 21 ribbon coupons for discounts on my entry.  If I lump them together, these have the thickness of 21 sheets of paper.  If I line them in the envelope in three sets of seven, I have the thickness of 7 sheets of paper.

Lining your ribbon coupons up like this will make your envelope thinner.

4. If in doubt, add an extra stamp.  A 2-ounce letter is currently $0.20 over the basic first-class rate.

5. Try to remove air from the envelope.

6. Trim the excess paper from your copy of height cards.

7. If the volunteer form is not an entire page, trim that as well.

8. Do not staple the check to the entry.  If it gets ripped from removal, your entry is not valid.

For more details on rules for mailing envelopes, please visit

The biggest myth about entering trials I'd like to dispel is this one: entering at the last minute does not get you a better position in the run order. The software that trial secretaries use randomizes the armbands.  I take this a step further and randomize each Masters/PIII and Tournament class. In fact, there are advantages to entering early. The earlier you enter, the less likely your trial secretary will make mistakes from being in a hurry. Plus, the earlier you enter, the more time you have to fix a problem with USPS delivery issues. First-class mail typically takes 2-3 days, but that is not guaranteed.  If you mail your entry 2-3 days before the closing date, it may arrive late.

Spend a little extra time when mailing your entry to make sure that it gets where you want it to go!

Jessica Brown lives in Queen Creek, Arizona, with her three rescue mixes, LAA-Gold PDCH-Gold Scout, LAA-Bronze ADCH-Bronze Bug, and Boo, a scruffy little white dog in-training.  When she's not competing, Jessica is a software engineer and a "sometimes" trial secretary.


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