Wednesday July 18, 2012

Updated: Thursday 7:00 pm pm
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Hosted by the National Retriever Club of Canada. Daily reports, photos and drawings by Dona Martin

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Test 5 - Land triple with Retired Gun

After an evening of socializing at the club sponsored Western Night, contestants awoke to a light rain and 15C. The rain stopped by the time the first test dog ran. Wind conditions were variable from almost nothing to 13 km SW. With all of the rolling hills, it is impossible to set a test that doesn’t involve downhill, uphill and sidehill lines to the birds. Test 5 was no exception. Perched on a hill, the dogs had a good view of all of the throws. The order of the throws was centre long retired, left then right. Distances were 240 yards to the long centre retired gun, 190 yards to the right hand mark and 105 yards to the left hand mark. The right hand mark mark threw a cock pheasant and both the right and long retired threw a drake mallard. The left hand mark was a long throw downhill into the test from left to right. The right hand mark threw uphill from left to right, and the centre retired gun threw across the valley on a hillside opposite the gun station, from right to left. There was a tree on the uphill side behind the retired gun station. The retired gun station was brushed in to blend into the surrounding bushes on the horizon.
The female test dog was sent for the right hand go bird first and ended up retrieving the short left mark. When resent to the right hand mark, she did a good job. However, she had to be handled out of the left mark on her way to the centre retired. For the male test dog, the judges moved the running line about 10 ft to the right to open up the lines to the left and centre birds. The male test dog primary selected the left hand mark first and did a good job on the left and right marks. On the centre mark he hunted up the hill to the right of the retired gun station and then appeared to wind the mark and crossed over to the mark on the opposite hill. After the male test dog ran, the left gun station was moved left a few feet and the throw was shortened.


Judges Before the Test Begins

Handlers Before the Test

As the test progressed, the sun came out and the wind was less variable. Most handlers primary selected the short left mark and generally did similar work on the long retired gun by squaring up the hill to the right of the gun station. Some dogs had hunts on the right hand mark but didn’t seem to have difficulty with the left mark. Further into the test the wind switched and Test 5 became a downwind test. Handlers no longer feel the need to primary select, however there have been a few handles in close succession. The right and reired marks have become more difficult. Dogs are getting all the way to the area of fall for the retired gun bird and having difficulty coming up with the bird, whereas earlier dogs seemed to wind the bird from the gun station.
Gallery Watching the Test

Callbacks: 1,2,5,6,11,12,16,18,19,20,22,24,25,27,30,31,33,35,36,37,38,40,42,43,45,46,47,48. Dogs not called back to the sixth series; 7,13,34. There were 28 dogs were called back to the sixth series.

Test 6 - Land Blind with Silent Gun Station

Test 6 was a 315 yard land blind with a silent gun station. Keep in mind that distances are misleading and do not indicate how far the dog runs. The running line was set at the top of a very high hill and the dogs had to negotiate down the hill, up and over the hill where the silent gunner sat, down that hill and up another hill to the bird. There was a change in test dogs for this test. Bob James ran female test dog, FTCH AFTCH Ram River Spring Fever. She did a very good job with no gunner in the test. The male test dog was AFTCH Flatlands Locked N Loaded, owned by Bill & Connie Swanson and handled by Connie. The silent gun station was added when Ready ran. At first try he went way left of the gun station and was called back to start over. Connie kept him tight to line with quite a few whistles and he indicated that he could hear all of them. The wind came in from right to left, however with the hills it continually swirled and changed direction.
The first dog #33 was called to line at 1:55 pm. With the wind and terrain the way it was, getting a right hand cast to keep the dog in sight and on line was critical.


A number of dogs disappeared over the hill behind the gunner and were not seen again until they came out of the woods at the blind. There was no room for error on the left side of the blind. .
Callbacks: 1,2,5,6,11,12,16,18,19,20,22,24,25,30,31,33,35,36,37,42,45,46,47,48. Dogs not called back to the seventh series: 27,38,40,43. There were 24 dogs called back to Test 7.

Workers’ Party

The Workers’ Party was all about the workers without which we wouldn’t have Nationals. There are the those seen every day of the National, working tirelessly, and there are those working just as hard behind the scenes. So much preparation leading up to the National and every day with moving equipment and setting up the tests. The workers at this National Amateur were outstanding. Not only did everything appear to run smoothly, but everyone always had a smile and actually seemed to be have a good time as well. Kudos to the Red Deer Retriever Club and associates. More and more it’s becoming impossible for one club to host a National without the help and support of friends, family, and fellow field trialers. This National Amateur was no exception. Field Trial Chairman Don Pollock formed a team of workers that put everything into making this National Amateur a success.
Purina, our major sponsor and official dogfood supplier for the Nationals, hosted the Workers’ Party. Purina goody bags and dog food were presented to all of the workers. Contestants were only too willing to step up to gun, throw and plant birds. Marlene Benn did a superb job lining up the workers for each shift. With experienced gunners and throwers, “no birds” were practically non-existent.
Field Trial Chairman, Don Pollock presented his committee with their workers’ pins and Purina goody bags. Below are the key members of the team, many wearing multiple hats:
Don & Beth Pollock

Rod Spence, Chief Marshal

Assistant Marshals, Rob Littlemore & Tim Duhaime

Chief Gun Captain, Marlene & Gord Benn

Club President, Len Pugh and Bea Pugh

Field Trial Secretary, Marg Murray

Doug & Brenda Richmond

Glenn & Ilham Norton

Bruce & Gail Macdonald

Kerry & Dick Curran

Dan Danforth & Laura Jones

Lois Aiken

Ron Bischke

Lorne Lemay

Jerry Pugh & Brian West

Jim & Bim Nichol

Jean & Denny Brennen

Landowners, Jack & Gail Olson

For entertainment teams of two competed in a bumper toss for accuracy and a dokken toss for distance. The team of Jane Spearing and Brian Griffin won for accuracy and the team of Al Custers and Jim McFarland won for the distance toss although the dokken landed in the baseball diamond and had a huge bounce to carry it to victory. Here are some scenes from the events: