Saturday September 15, 2018

September 10-15, 2018
Spruce View, Alberta

National logo


RDRC logo
 

Host Club

Red Deer Retriever Club
Field Trial Chairman: Stu Mead
Field Trial Secretary: Diana Mead
Chief Marshal: Doug Shepherd

Judges

Eastern Zone: Mark Laberge
Central Zone: Allan Lanigan
Southern Ontario Zone: Trevor Dickens

 

Winner
2018 National Retriever Championship
NFTCH FC FTCH AFTCH Taylorlab’s Sweet Cheeks

Owners: Garry and Sue Taylor, Handler: Sue Taylor

 



 

Finalists



 

Finalists

 
1
 
FTCH-AFTCH CASTILE CREEKS RIVERS RIPPLE
Owners: Daniel Shnitka & Birgit Juergensen
Handler: Daniel Shnitka


 
3
 
AFTCH ROUX'S VOODOO QUEEN OF NEW ORLEANS       
Owner / Handler: Ellen Mcneill


 
10
 
LIBERTY'S TRUE GRIT
Owner / Handler: Bill Mcknight


 
11
 
LICENSED TO CARRY
Owner / Handler: Merissa Hewitt


 
28
 
RAZOR'S CATCH ME IF YOU CAN JFTR
Owner / Handler: Nolan Nelkenbrecher


 
33
 
FC-FTCH-AFTCH TAYLORLAB'S SWEET CHEEKS QFTR
Owners: Garry & Sue Taylor
Handler: Sue Taylor


 
Brought to you by the National Retriever Club of Canada. Daily reports, drawings, and photos by Dona Martin and sponsored by Purina, Official Sponsor of the Canadian National Open and Canadian National Amateur Retriever Championships, and the Official Dog Food Sponsor and the Official Dog Food Supplier to the National Retriever Club of Canada

 

 

Opening Banquet

The 2018 National Retriever Championship, hosted by the Red Deer Retriever Club, kicked into high gear at the opening banquet. Field trialers from across Canada and our friends from south of the border, converged on the Community Hall in Spruce View Alberta, to renew friendships with old friends and make a few new ones. Sometimes this event is the only chance to catch up on how the family and dogs are doing.
Having a Good Laugh



Catching Up


 
After the head table was piped in, Jim Swanson stepped forward to “Pay the Piper”. For anyone who knows Jim, he is only too willing to help out the club and raise a glass with the piper.
Paying the Piper



Piping in the Head Table


 
The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Colette Prefontaine, who started off by introducing the Head Table. Stu Mead, Field Trial Chair, Diana Mead, field Trial Secretary, Judges Mark Laberge, Trevor Dickens, & Al Lanigan, Canadian Kennel Club Retriever Council Rep, Rob Littlemore, Chief Marshal Doug Shepherd and his wife Elaine, Dona Martin, National Retriever club of Canada Secretary / Communications Officer. Colette welcomed everyone to the 2018 National and asked Stu Mead to Toast the Queen and the Office of the President, followed by Colette offering grace.
To the Queen



Master of Ceremonies


 
Dinner was an excellent roast beef dinner with yorkshire pudding, gravy and all of the trimmings. Alberta is known for its quality beef and no one was disappointed. After dinner, Jim Swanson entertained the crowd with some tall tales and light hearted humour. Daniel Danforth, NRCC Director from Alberta, spoke on behalf of the NRCC President Graham Tyler. Dan welcomed the contestants and thanked the Red Deer Retriever Club for hosting the 2018 National, and especially thanked Stu and Diana Mead for being the driving force behind hosting this National. Next, Dan thanked the landowners without whose generosity in permitting the use of their properties, we could not hold these National events. Thank you to Stuart & Diana Mead, Allen & Janice Murphy, Robin & Shanna Mundell, and Joel & Ginger Christian. Dan went on to thank our sponsors. Nestle-Purina Official Sponsor of the Canadian National Open and Canadian National Amateur Retriever Championships, Official Dog Food Sponsor and the Official Dog Food Supplier to the National Retriever Club of Canada, Avery Sporting Dog, Garmin official e-collar supplier. Thank you as well to Ducks Unlimited Canada supplier of the finalist gifts, Zinger Winger official remote launcher supplier, and Animal Portraits by Connie Swanson for supplying portrait to the winner. Without these sponsors and donations from, local contributors and businesses catering to the needs of field trialers, National events like these would not be possible. Thank you. Dan then presented the judges Mark Laberge, Trevor Dickens and Al Lanigan with NRRC pins. Followed by NRCC pins presented to Field Trial Chair Stuart Mead, Field Trial Marshal Doug Shepherd, and Field Trial Secretary Diana Mead in recognition of their hard work in hosting this National. Dan concluded with wishing the competitors straight lines and fair winds.
 
Dan Danforth



Jim Swanson


 
Canadian Kennel Club Retriever Council rep, Rob Littlemore provided a little insight into the history of the Red Deer Retriever Club, recognizing the years of contribution by Don Pollock and thanking Stu Mead for picking up the torch and hosting his first field trial in the Spring and the National all in his first year running the club. Thank you and well done. Rob remarked on the calibre of dogs. Entries were small but they included the elite few.
 
Chief Marshal, Doug Shepherd provided the instructions from the judges and then thanked the setup crew for their hard work in the days leading up to the National. Thank you to Dick Curran, Kerry Curran, Jim Nichols, Brian West and Bill Young. We heard how tirelessly they worked and how Jim Nichols managed to get stuck in a field that has seen drought all summer. Unfortunately, Jim will be leading the caravan and parking for the week.
Chief Marshal



CKC Rep


 
 
 
 
 
 
Trevor Dickens spoke on behalf of the judges thanking Stu and Diana for their hospitality and the hard work put in by the setup team. He commented on the great grounds that allowed the judges to set demanding tests and wished all of the contestants good luck. The judges then excused themselves and retired for the evening. Judges cannot attend the calcutta, which immediately got underway with auctioneer Tim Kriel. Tim did a great job of convincing the handlers to part with their hard earned cash and make some money for the host club. At the end of the evening, dog #2 was selected as the starting dog. For that honour, Marg Murray received a large ceramic dog which she was thrilled to receive.
Judge - Trevor Dickens



And the winner is ...


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Table Talk



 





 

Brought to you by all of our sponsors

Purina logo  Avery Sporting Dog logo  Tri-tronics logo 
Zinger Winger logo Connie Swanson Animal Portraits Ducks Unlimited Canada logo

               
 
 
      
The 2018 Canadian National would like to thank our sponsors, Nestle-Purina Official Sponsor of the Canadian National Open and Canadian National Amateur Retriever Championships, Official Dog Food Sponsor and the Official Dog Food Supplier to the National Retriever Club of Canada, Avery Sporting Dog, Garmin official e-collar supplier, Thank you as well to Ducks Unlimited Canada supplier of the finalist gifts, Zinger Winger official remote launcher supplier, and Animal Portraits by Connie Swanson for supplying portrait to the winner.
 

Test 1 - Land Triple With a Retired Gun

Welcome to the 2018 National Retriever Championship hosted by the Red Deer Retriever Club in and around Spruce View, Alberta. After an overnight rain, contestants awoke to an overcast morning with the wind 7 km/h E and a cool 6C. A welcome relief from the blistering hot summer temperatures. Hard to believe it was 34C just last week. Contestants remained optimistic that the dog flu H3N2 was contained to the 6 dogs that were scratched. Started off with a big disappointment for some owners and handlers that were looking forward to competing against the best retrievers in Canada. Now the challenge for the judges with such a small field was to balance carrying dogs with setting national calibre tests.
As is tradition at our nationals, the signalling paddle is signed by the judges and then passed on to the next set of judges. Here, Daniel Shnitka one of the judges from the 2018 National Amateur, handed the paddle off to Mark Laberge, one of the judges from this National.
 



 
Test 1 was a land triple with 1 retired gun. The wind was coming across the test from left to right. The order of the throws was left retired, then centre and then the go bird was on the right. All of the throws were thrown flat with the 2 outside birds thrown right to left and the middle bird thrown left to right. For the long left retired mark, a drake mallard was thrown with white ribbon to make the bird visible against the variable treeline in the background. Distances to the marks were; long left retired 218 yards, middle 132 yards, and 178 yards to the right go bird.
 
The test was run in a cut stubble field dotted with round bales and surrounded by mixed spruce and poplar. With the white sky behind the treeline, it made for a difficult time picking out the long left retired gunners. The gunners blended in well with the gaps in the trees. The test took about 5 minutes per dog. At about half way, the wind switched and was now 4 km/h SW, coming across the test right to left.



 



 
Lois and Haley



Honorary test dog was NFTCH FC Road Warriors Lady Hawk owned and handled by Lois Aitken. After Haley won the 2011 National she was bought by Kippy Stroud Swingle and ran trials in the US before being retired and returned back to Lois. Haley at 12 1/2 year old showed us what great hearts these retrievers have. She was so excited to retrieve a bird once again, she broke.
 
Male test dog was up first. Storm Warnings Hellor High Water, owned by Dan & Laura Danforth, and handled by Laura had an excellent go bird. He went between the bales under the arc and went directly to the bird on the centre mark and had an excellent line to the left retired. Good job. Female test dog was Clubmead Str8 Piper, owned by Stu & Diana Mead and Handled by Sharon van der Lee. Piper had a litter of puppies 2 weeks ago and is a stand in test dog. She went right to the go bird and had a very good centre mark but blanked out on the left retired and had to be handled. With the background the way it was for the left mark, she may not have seen the throw.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sharon and Piper



Laura and Zap


  
 
 
 
 
Foxtail



At this time of year, one of the hazards we must be mindful of for the safety of our dogs, is foxtail.
 
Callbacks: 38 Dogs were called back to the 2nd series. Dog 15 was not called back. Dog 11 will start Test 2.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Test 2 - Land Blind

Test 2 was a land blind run in the same field as Test 1. The mat was moved to the left around the corner of the field so that the line to the blind crossed all 3 lines to the marks. The wind came around and was 11 km/h N which was crosswind to the test. There was a shallow ditch that ran along the road that made it challenging for the dog to hold its line without squaring across. The line to the blind crossed tthe ditch twice and didn’t actually cross the road, but ran along beside in the green grass. There were 2 prominent hay bales that framed the line to the blind and a point of trees to the right. A hen mallard was placed at an orange stake that marked the end of the blind at 375 yards. The bird planter sat in a Quad to the left and deep of the blind but was visible.
 



 



 
First up was female test dog Piper with Sharon handling. Piper started off unsure and required multiple whistles to keep her progressing towards the blind. Then she disappeared behind the point of trees and was picked up. Male test dog Zap with Laura handling ran next. Laura worked hard to keep him in the corridor but he still managed to disappear behind the trees and was called back into sight to complete the blind. At that point the judges decided to change the test. The stake was moved to the left along the side of the road and the mat was moved to the right to shorten the blind. Another test dog, Maplepond Zwingli of Ellismore, owned by Walter Ellis and handled by Sharon van der Lee was called to run. Zwingli had an excellent initial line to about 2/3 of the way out and then needed a few whistles to complete the blind. The first running dog #11, was called to line at 3:17 pm.
 
Kinda Cold (Judges left to right: Trevor Dickens, Mark Laberge, and Al Lanigan



 
Callbacks: 35 dogs were called back. Dogs 29, 35 and 37 were not called back. Dog 21 starts the 3rd series which is planned to be a water triple. Caravan leaves headquarters at 7:30 am.
 

Brought to you by Avery Sporting Dog, major sponsor of the National


Avery Sporting Dog logo

 

Test 3 - Water Triple With a Retired Gun & an Honor

The forecast for the day was for clouds. Unfortunately, it was wrong and the test was delayed an hour due to the sun rising behind the left gun station. Luckily the clouds moved in for the 2nd test dog and we were able to start. The first running dog, #21 was called to line at 9:10 am. Test 3 was a water triple with the right hand gunners retired. There was a serpentine pond winding through the test, with a small pond on the way to the right hand mark and one in front of the right hand mark as well. The cover was cut around the ponds but there are patches of higher cover that dot the field. The order of the guns was right retired, then left, and then the middle bird. The left hand gun station was 180 yards and was situated at the base of a big berm. A hen mallard was thrown left to right into the test along the berm. The go bird was also a hen mallard, thrown left to right onto a large peninsula. Distance to the go bird was 110 yards. The right hand gun station retired after the last gun was fired. A drake mallard was thrown into the test from right to left. With the trees in the background it was difficult to see the bird in the air so white ribbon was tied to the duck. Distance to the retired bird was 232 yards. There were goose decoys near the line off to the right side that do not appear to have any influence on the test. The wind was very light but changed numerous times while the test dogs were running. Very fickle. There were cattle grazing in the background behind the left mark.
 



 



 
The first test dog was Ziggy, handled by Sharon van der Lee. When Ziggy ran, the left gun station was backlit and barely visible in the shadows of the berm. The arc of the throw could be seen breaking the horizon. There was no wind. Ziggy had a good line to the go bird and had a tight hunt before picking up the bird. Sharon sent her for the left mark 2nd. Perhaps she could not see the gunners, as she returned to the middle mark and had to be handled and then picked up. On the resend she had an excellent mark. For the right retired, Ziggy split the difference between the middle and left birds. Ziggy hunted short and to the left before having the gunners help. Next up were Laura and Zap. A cloud conveniently moved in and covered the sun so that Zap was able to pick out the left gun station and see the bird thrown. For the go bird Zap initially headed for the gunners and then squared across the last water under the arc to the bird. Laura chose the left mark 2nd. Zap took a little bit of the first water and cheated around the 2nd water which pushed him left. From there, he corrected his line all the way out to the bird. For the right hand retired, Zap split the difference between the middle and right birds, got even with the right mark and turned abruptly to go directly to the bird. Not sure if he got a whiff of the bird.
Before the first running dog ran, some high thistles were cut by Daniel Shnitka and Brian West using weaponry from Daniel’s box of horrors.



 
With some heavy rain and thunder storms moving in, the judges decided to call it a day after the water marks.
 
Callbacks: 34 dogs were called back to the 4th series. Dog 41 was not called back. Test 4 will be a water blind with dog 30 starting. The caravan leaves headquarters at 7:30 am.
 
Brought to you by Purina, Official Sponsor of the Canadian National Open and Canadian National Amateur Retriever Championships, Official Dog Food Sponsor and the Official Dog Food Supplier to the National Retriever Club of Canada


Purina logo

 

Test 4 - Water Blind

Contestants awoke to a cool overcast morning of 6C with a forecast high of only 8C with rain starting later in the day. The cool morning didn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm of these elite retriever athletes. They’re were pumped and ready to go on the water blind. There was a brisk wind 22 km/h NW which was forecast to swith to North for the rest of the day.
 
Mark showing off his fancy new duds



It’s ccccold


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For the water blind we returned to the back end of the Mead property where Test 3 water marks were run, but did not use the same water. The water blind was 190 yards long through a narrow pond. The tendancy was for the dogs to want to go down the middle where they were most comfortable. The line to the blind started over 2 logs and paralleled the right hand shore. There was a point about half way out that the dogs needed to catch the end of. With a downwind, slightly crosswind from left to right, the dogs resisted the temptation of letting the wind push them to shore. The all important cast off the point was into the wind. After exiting the end of the pond the dogs must drive up hill to the bird. A small orange stake marked where the duck was planted.
 



 



 
First up was male test dog Zap, with Laura handling. Zap started off heading down the middle of the pond so Laura put a whistle on him to tighten up his line to the right shore. He overcast and had to be handled out. He got on the hard point and took a few casts to get back in the water. From there he took a good line to the end of the pond, needed a whistle to put him on line as he exited and one more to the bird. Next up were Ziggy and Sharon. Ziggy also headed for the middle of the pond and needed multiple casts to change her mind. When Sharon finally got Ziggy on line at the point, she disappeared and had to be brought into sight to handle off the point. She took a good cast and essentially carried it to the blind.
 
As the test progressed the wind picked up to 26 km/h gusting to 40 km/h and the temperature dropped to 2C. There was no one sitting in the gallery but a few brave souls stood trying to keep warm. The rest were hiding in their trucks.
 
Gallery Shots





 



 
Callbacks: 28 dogs called back to the 5th series. dogs not called back 13, 16, 36, 39, 43, 45. Dog 42 will start Test 5 which is a land triple.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Test 5 - Land Triple With 2 Retired Guns

Test 5 was run at the end of the Test 4 water blind pond. Actually, where the bird was planted for Test 4 was slightly to the right of the line to the gun station for the centre mark, about half way out. The test was run due West and the wind was coming across the test from right to left. 22-35 km/h N. The birds were thrown clockwise, left to right. The left and middle birds were converging with the left mark thrown uphill into heavy cover. The middle bird was a huge throw from right to left across a road into a clump of higher cover. A white ribbon was tied to the middle bird to improve visibility against the trees in the background. There was a large slough on the line to the left mark. A road crossed between the left and middle marks, and another road passed behind the right hand go bird. The line to the go bird crossed the pond and therefore the line to the water blind in Test 4. Distances to the marks was 255 yards to the left, 296 yards to the middle, and 118 yards to the right hand go bird.

 



 



 
First test dog was FTCH RHR Belmont’s Sweet Baby Surprise, owned and handled by Kevin Hill. Texas had an excellent go bird. Kevin chose to send her for the middle bird second. She had a good line all the way out, under the arc and over to the bird. For the left mark, Texas started off left and then corrected her line through the slough, went a little wide to the right, deep and then hunted her way back to the bird. Good job. Male test dog was Nighthaven’s Bulrush Max, owned and handled by Ron Bischke. Max didn’t have any trouble with the go bird. For the left mark, he headed out on a good line then seemed to falter and it looked like he was going to head for the middle bird. In the end he corrected his line and cut across to the left mark. He did not go through the slough. For the middle bird, Max carried his line right of the holding blind all the way out and then hooked around to the bird. Another good job.
 
Handlers surveying the test



Kevin & Texas



 
At 5:00 pm a few flurries had started to fall with 10 more dogs to run. For the most part, the dogs did the test.
 
Callbacks: 26 dogs were called back to the 6th series. Dogs 17 and 24 were not called back. Test 6 is planned to be a land blind, and dog 7 starts. Caravan leaves headquarters at 7:30 am.
 

Workers’ Party

The Workers’ Party as the name denotes, was for the Workers. This is the celebration where the workers can kick back and enjoy themselves. The Silent Auction finished up so contestants and workers could take home the treasures they won. Thank you to all of our sponsors and contributors for their generous donations to the Silent Auction tables that help fund the National event. Garmin, one of our major sponsors, donated a Pro 550 which the Host Club raffles off. Thank you Garmin. And the lucky winner was Jim Swanson with the Jack of Diamonds.
 



 
After a long day outside in the wind and cold, it was nice to come into the warmth of the Spruce View Community Hall for a hot meal. Dinner was ham and scalloped potatoes, salads, and a delicious berry crumble. Everyone came away fully satisfied.
 
After dinner, Chief Marshal, Doug Shepherd, introduced each of the workers and presented them with NRCC Worker pins to acknowledge their contributions and to thank them for their hard work. First Doug thanked the Equipment Crew, Don Pollock, Ron Bischke, and Murray Murphy who worked tirelessly all week, and their job wasn’t done. Next, thank you to stand in Gun Captain Sharon van der Lee, who just happened to be the Treasurer as well. Thank you as well to Game Stewarts Lois & Mike Aitken. And don’t forget Colette Prefontaine Assistant Field Trial Secretary. Next Doug recognized the hard work the Setup Crew put in during the week leading up to the National. Their efforts did not go unnoticed. Thank you to Jim Nichols, Kerry Curran, Dick Curran, Brian West and Bill Young. Brian also doubled up on his duties with Traffic Control. And what National can succeed without the contribution from the ladies. Thank you to Beth Pollock for organizing the Banquet, Elaine Shepherd for providing breakfast to the judges each morning and Diane Murphy for feeding the judges dinner. Rumour was that the judges were heard commenting that they would be going home a few pounds heavier. Thanks also to Dennis Jabs who threw or planted blinds for every test.
 
Judge, Mark Laberge spoke on behalf of the judges in offering his thanks to Stu & Diana Mead, the setup crew and the ladies that fed them so well. The Alberta hospitality was unequalled.
 
Scenes From the Night





 
 





 
 



 
 
Brought to you by Purina, Official Sponsor of the Canadian National Open and Canadian National Amateur Retriever Championships, Official Dog Food Sponsor and the Official Dog Food Supplier to the National Retriever Club of Canada


Purina logo

 

Test 6 - Land Blind

This was what we woke up to. Snowing, -3C and white.



 
The judges called in the heavy equipment to chain harrow the field so that the paths wouldn’t be so obvious. The test was run on the land at the end of the pond used for Test 4 and was through the marks from Test 5, with the go bird to the right of the line to the blind. With the snow there wouldn’t be much if any scent left from Test 4 or 5. The test was run straight South with a slight breeze 8 km/h NW, down wind, left to right.
 



 
The line to the blind was through a cut hay field with rolling hills and 2 patches of heavy cover that the dogs had to go through. There were numerous instances where the dog disappeared out of sight and the handler had to re-establish the line once the dog came into sight. Distance to the blind was 355 yards. An orange stake marked the end of the blind, but was hard to see through the snow.
 



 



 
With the snow coming down hard at times, the handlers were opting to wear Black so they could be seen in the sea of White. First up was male test dog Max with his owner/handler Ron Bischke. Max had a few whistles up front and then carried his line about half way into the first cover and came out left of the line. He was handled right and overcast so that he had to be cast left and then right again. Next up was female test dog Ziggy with Sharon van der Lee handling. Ziggy wanted water from the get go and had to be handled away from the pond on the right. She carried her line wide left and disappeared into the high cover. She was out of sight for quite some time before reappearing even wider to the left. She could be seen intermittently bounding through the cover amongst the clouds of snow.
 
Handlers bundled up



 
With this miserable weather, the Avery Sporting Dog tent over the gallery didn’t see much action. Most of the competitors were trying to keep warm in their trucks. Avery is one of our major sponsors that donates their product to the Silent Auction to help the Host Club raise funds to cover the expenses of putting on a quality National event. Thank you Avery. Zinger Winger is another one of our major sponsors that provides items for the Silent Auction table. Without our major sponsors we would be hard pressed to afford the costs incurred when putting on the National.
 
Avery tent lonely in the snow



Zinger White on White


 
Nestle-Purina is our Official Sponsor of the Canadian National Open and Canadian National Amateur Retriever Championships, Official Dog Food Sponsor and the Official Dog Food Supplier to the National Retriever Club of Canada. The generous donation Purina makes to the National goes towards offsetting the high costs incurred in bringing in judges from across Canada, paying for their accommodations and providing dog food for the Winner and Finalists.



 
We finally completed the land blind. Field trialers must be a special breed, running in blizzard conditions which shut down the test for about a half hour to wait until visibility improved enough to run the last dogs.
 
Callbacks: 21 dogs were called back to the 7th series. Dogs not called back were; 6, 9, 14, 23, 38. Test 7 will be a Water Triple.
 

Test 7 - Water Triple With 2 Retired Guns

The start was delayed about an hour as the snow just got heavier and heavier. The gunners at the long station couldn’t even see the paddle when the judges signalled. Thankfully Diane Murphy took pity on us and cooked up a big pot of hot soup to raise spirits and warm everybody up. Thank you Diane.
Soup Kitchen



Hurry Up and Wait


 
Smile!



 
The snow finally stopped and the first running dog was called to line at 2:20 pm. The test took from 15-20 minutes. With 21 dogs to run, it took about 6 hours. Overheard in the gallery, “The test would go a lot faster in the morning when the ponds are frozen.” There probably wasn’t enough be time to run all the dogs in one day. Visibility may have improved but it was still very challenging to pick out the gunners. They had one gunner in White and one in Black at the left and center marks. The 2 gunners in the right hand boat bird were both in White. Test 7 had 2 retired guns, 3 if you count the gunners in White in the boat. The wind was 10 km/h N, making it slightly in and across from left to right. The judges called this their garden test because the line to the right hand mark was through Stu and Diana’s vegetable garden. The order of the guns was long middle retired thrown first, then the right hand boat bird, and finally the left hand go bird. For the go bird, a drake mallard was thrown left to right down the shore, landing on a road with no cover. The line to the bird crossed the back lawn, then angled across a small pond, exiting through some tall weeds to the road. The gunners were hidden behind a holding blind on the road. The right hand mark was thrown from a boat, left to right out of the test, The boat was on the left shore, throwing a hen mallard to land in front of an island with no splash. The line to the right hand bird was through the garden, across the corner of a small pond with very steep banks, across a road, into a small channel and another re-entry into the pond where the bird was thrown. The middle retired mark was a huge throw from right to left across a gap in the treeline. It appeared to land very near the area where the long retired mark from Test 5 was thrown, but from a totally different perspective. The gun station was brushed in, about 75 yards short of the treeline. A drake mallard was thrown for the middle retired mark. The line to the middle bird, angled across the first pond, angled across the road, angled through the 2nd pond and up hill into the field. Distances to the marks were: 92 yards to the left mark, 385 yards to the middle, and 175 to the right hand boat bird.
 



 





 

 
 
 
 
 
Just to give you an idea of what the dogs could see, here is a photo of the 2 gunners in White throwing the right hand boat bird.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 The first test dog to run this setup was Max. I’d say the water didn’t look all that inviting. Max had an extensive hunt on the go bird because it landed in heavy cover and not on the road, so he had to be handled to the bird. Ron chose to send Max for the right hand mark second. Max cheated to the right around the first pond and then to the left around the second pond which put him on land behind the boat. He hunted deep out of sight in heavy cover and then reappeared further left. He had to be handled into the water to the bird. For the middle bird, Max squared across the first pond, then squared across the road into the field between the middle and right hand ponds. He was handled left, into the pond, squared across and was again handled from right of the gun station to the area. Ron let him hunt the area so the handlers got an idea where the dog winded or saw the bird. From line, it looked like he got into the area of the old fall from the long retired mark in Test 5. Next up was Emmy Lou’s LA Express, owned and handled by Marlene Benn. For the left hand mark, Emmy took a good line across the pond and then hung a right to hunt the shore before going up onto the road and to the bird. For the right hand mark, Emmy also cheated to the right around the first pond and then carried that line across the channel and along the right hand shore of the 2nd pond before cutting across the pond, under the arc and then correcting to the bird. For the middle retired, Emmy squared across the first pond, squared across the road which put her right going across the middle pond. She exited and hunted a brush pile half way up the field before driving up to the brushed in holding blind and to the bird. Since neither test dog went through the corner of the first pond, it was difficult to know if a dog could actually get up the steep bank on the far side. Guess we’ll find out if any of the running dogs take the corner.
 
After the test dogs ran, a few hardy contestants sought refuge under the porch to watch the dog work. And with us always is Garmin, official e-collar suppler. Thank you Garmin for all of your support.



 
Heavy snow moved back in so the judges called the test at 5:00 pm. 8 dogs had run and 7 handled. The other 13 dogs had to wait til morning.

 

 

Brought to you by Garmin, official E-collar sponsor of the National Retriever Club of Canada


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Test 7 (Continued)



 
 
Test 7 continued the next morning with 13 dogs still to run. It was overcast with a temperature of -3C. There was barely a breeze 8 km/h SE that appeared to be swirling as the test dog ran. The day before, the wind was 10 km/h N. More importantly, with the new day, it was not snowing and visibility had improved. The morning test dog this morning was Ramblin Rose XI QA2, owned by Harry Bennetts and handled by Sharon van der Lee. Rosy was called to line at 8:00 am. She went under the arc of the go bird and went directly over to the bird. For the right hand boat bird, Rosy took too much of the first pond which took her backside of the boat and into heavy cover where she went out of sight. When she reappeared, Sharon had to handle her to the bird. For the long middle retired, Rosy had a good line through the first and second ponds. She then took a line to the road that was to the left of the bird and then hooked over to the mark. The road was far more prominent in the morning than the day before, because the snow had melted on the dark ground, and the bush that was so attractive on the way to the middle retired, seemed to blend into the landscape. Dog 38 was called to line at 8:20 am.
 
By 10:30 the last gunner change had been completed. In general the work was better on the second day but that’s not to say the judges weren’t getting answers. Luckily the gallery was sheltered from the wind to watch the test from the comfort of the Mead back porch.


 
Callbacks: 13 dogs were called back to the 8th series. Dogs called back; 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, 21, 26, 27, 28, 32, 33, 42. Dogs not called back; 5, 7, 8, 20, 22, 30, 31, 34. Test 8 will be a land quad.
 

Test 8 - Land Quad With 2 Retired Guns & an Honour

Test 8 was a land quad with the 2 centre marks retired. The honour mat was to the left of the line. Rooster pheasants were thrown at all 4 stations. Order of the guns was centre left retired, centre right retired, right and then the go bird which was on the left. Distances to the marks were; 85 yards to the left, 365 yards to the centre left, 216 yards to the centre right and 340 yards to the right hand mark, White tape was added to the 2 long marks to improve visibility against a dark background. There was a gunner in Black and 1 in White at the left, centre left and right hand marks. The gunners at the centre right mark were both in White. With the snow on the ground, there was a lot of White in the field, making it difficult for the dogs to pick out the gunners. The wind was coming in from the right hand gun station 16 km/h SE.
 



 



 
Ron and Max were up first. Max went directly to the go bird. Next he headed wide right of the right centre retired gun, and ended up hunting left of the right hand gun station before working his way over to the bird. Max had a very good right retired and went straight to the bird. For the long left centre retired, Max headed back to the right retired and had to be handled. He carried the cast a long way through the cover but was upwind and had to be handled to the bird. Female test dog was FTCH AFTCH Grousebusters No Fear No Mercy, owned and handled by Lois Aitken. Mercy stepped on the left go bird, Next she headed for the long centre left retired and broke down at the edge of the heavy cover but worked it out and drove back, left of where the gunners stood, and then to the bird. For the centre right retired, Mercy started out heading for the gun station and faded further left. She hunted in the heavy cover out of sight before hunting her way over to the bird. For the right mark, Mercy headed left and split the difference so needed to be handled to the bird. Dog 28 started with a no bird and had to go back and wait 3 dogs. It took 10-12 minutes per dog.
 
The Purina tent was a life saver for the judges during the week. With a few holding blinds protecting them from the wind and the Purina tent sheltering them from the snow, the judges were happy campers.
 



 
Jim Nichols & Setup/By Dog Tundra



Gallery on the Hill - Too Cold


 
Callbacks: 10 dogs called back to the 9th series. Dogs 1, 3, 10, 11, 12, 26, 28, 32, 33, 42. Dogs not called back; 2, 21, 27. Test 9 will be a water blind.
 

Brought to you by all of our sponsors

Purina logo  Avery Sporting Dog logo  Tri-tronics logo 
Zinger Winger logo Connie Swanson Animal Portraits Ducks Unlimited Canada logo

               
 
 
      
The 2018 Canadian National would like to thank our sponsors, Nestle-Purina Official Sponsor of the Canadian National Open and Canadian National Amateur Retriever Championships, Official Dog Food Sponsor and the Official Dog Food Supplier to the National Retriever Club of Canada, Avery Sporting Dog, Garmin official e-collar supplier. Thank you as well to Ducks Unlimited Canada supplier of the finalist gifts, Zinger Winger official remote launcher supplier, and Animal Portraits by Connie Swanson for supplying portrait to the winner.
 

Test 9 - Water Blind

For the final day of the 2018 National Retriever Championship, the weather forecast was not great. To begin it was foggy with a light rain falling and a temperature of 2C. A cold day to go swimming. Much of the snow had disappeared with the rain overnight, but at some in the day today the snow was forecast to move in again.
 
Judges with Chief Marshal Doug Shepherd



Test 9 was a water blind in a old sand and gravel pit. The line to the blind started with an angle entry down a steep slope. The true line was through some branches, strategically placed to cause the dog to deflect left or right early. There was a big bush on the first point that the dogs should be tight to either right or left. The dog should definitely be on hard ground for the 2nd point, and swim by the 3rd point. From the 2nd point the pond opened up to a big swim. Distance to the blind was 251 yards.
 



 



 
Analysing the Line



 
 
Female test dog was FTCH AFTCH Club Mead Rebel’s Ms Ruby MH, owned by Diana & Stuart Mead and handled by Diana. Ruby’s initial line took her right, so she needed a few whistles to get on line. She took the right side of the bush on the 1st point, and then onto the 2nd point. From There, Ruby wanted to go left towards the 3rd point and needed multiple whistles to keep on line. Luckily she turns right, away from the left shore and 3rd point. At the end of the blind Diana was asked to put a whistle on Ruby to ensure she could hear the whistle, see the handler and the cast. Male test dog was FTCH AFTCH Wingbusters Alabama Slamma, owned by Thomas & Margaret Murray and handled by Tom. Wrecks also took an initial line to the right and needed a few early whistles to get him on line at the 1st point. He then headed left towards shore and Tom played it safe with a few whistles to keep him out on the tip of the 2nd point. Wrecks also thought he should go over the 3rd point, and required multiple whistle to keep him on line, wide of the 3rd point. Wrecks turns left and therefore lost ground every time Tom blew the whistle. Not a blind for a left turning dog.
 
The test took about 10 minutes per dog. Dog 1 started and the last dog is running now.
 
Callbacks: 6 dogs called back to the 10th series. Dogs 1, 3, 10, 11, 28, 33. Dogs not called back 12, 26, 32, 42.
 

Test 10 - Water With 3 Retired Guns

Test 10 was a water quad with the long marks retired and only the go bird at the short centre left station remain visible. The left, centre right and right gunners retired. The test was run in the sand and gravel pit from Test 9. All lines to the marks crossed the line to the blind. The 2nd point in the water blind was actually the island where the go bird landed. Drakes were thrown at all the marks except the go bird, which was a hen mallard. The order of the guns was long centre right retired, then right retired, left retired and finally centre left go bird. Distances to the marks were 210 yards centre right retired, 198 yards right retired, 165 yards left retired and 106 yards to the go bird. The gunners for the first and second marks threw, and then retired when the gun went off for the 3rd mark so their movement didn’t interfere with the dog’s focus on the go bird. The air temperature was 2C and the water temperature was 4C. We could see our breath. A light drizzle continued to fall. The tamarack trees around the pond were already starting to turn yellow. The wind was coming across the test from left to right. The left retired mark was thrown right to left out of the test into the edge of heavy cover. The line to the bird was through dense brush at the end of a point on the near shore. The centre left visible go bird was thrown from shore to land with a splash between 2 islands. The centre right retired mark was thrown right to left, with the line to the bird, over the go bird. The bird landed at the edge of tall grass. If a dog hunted deep, they were out of sight. The right retired bird was thrown from left to right out of the test.
 



 



 
The 2018 National will go down in history as one of the most memorable. Who would have guessed that snow in September would play such a crucial role in a National. No one was prepared for how cold it got nor how to deal with fields that were white or snow that reduced visibility to next to nothing. But innovation was the key to success.