Saturday September 11, 2021

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Opening Banquet

Welcome to the 2021 Canadian National Retriever Championship. With COVID-19 restrictions in place the opening banquet took a somewhat new format. After cancelling the 2020 National Amateur and National and the 2021 National Amateur due to COVID restrictions, the Manitoba Gun Dog Association was forced to cancel hosting this year’s National due to the drought in Manitoba. With ponds turning into mud holes, they had no option except to cancel. Luckily for us, the Labrador Retriever Club of Central Ontario was willing to step in to offer to host the event. Not only the venue was changed from Balmoral Manitoba to Brighton Ontario, but with the change in venue, 2 of our 3 judges had to be replaced at the last minute. Where there’s a will there’s a way. With COVID restrictions allowing only 25 persons to attend an indoor event, the banquet had to be moved outdoors under marquis tents.
While contestants were busy catching up with friends that haven’t been together since our last National in 2019, we were entertained by a live band, the Blue Rigbys with Eliot Huestis, Jesse McNeil and Kevin Huestis.

Bartender Chris Mason was all about service with a smile.

Party Pics


Master of ceremonies, Bill Kennedy introduced the head table.

After the head table were piped in and took their places at the head table, the evening quickly got underway. Judge, Gerry Burmaster led the group in singing the American and Canadian National anthems, followed by toasts to the Office of the President and the Queen, and Cheryl Ritchie offered thanks for the meal and the opportunity to bring friends together.

Left to right; Chief Marshal Dennis Harwood, Eastern Zone Judges Gerry Burmaster, Dave Wardle and wife Donna, Western Zone Judge Medie Robinson, National Retriever Club President Jim Andrew and wife Shiela, Field Trial Chair Dave Thompson and partner in everything retriever wife Jane.
After a moment of silence to honor those lost in the events of 9/11, Master of Ceremonies noted the recent loss to our Field Trial Community. Many will remember long time contributors, Cy Leclair, Gail Komadoski, Jacques Bourgois and Dr Tom Glen. Our condolences to family and friends.
NRCC President Jim Andrew

Next up, National Retriever Club of Canada President, Jim Andrew thanked our corporate sponsors, Nestle-Purina Official Sponsor of the Canadian National Open Retriever Championship, Official Dog Food Sponsor and the Official Dog Food Supplier to the National Retriever Club of Canada, Garmin Tri-Tronics official e-collar supplier. Thank you as well to Dakota Creek Retrievers, Kent Cartridge, and Canine Field Co. Jim presented the judges with NRCC pins in appreciation of their contribution to the success of the National. Western Zone Judge Medie Robinson and Estern Zone Judges Gerry Burmaster and Dave Wardle. Retiring NRCC Directors were acknowledged for their dedicated work over the years as their current term comes to an end. Thank you to Jim Swanson, and Dan Yeomans. Directors and executive whose terms come to an end this year and who have agreed to stand for another term, Dan Danforth, Charlie Ross, Jim Andrew, and Jim Ling. Hope Roberts has taken over the roll of Director for British Columbia, The Executive will remain the same for 2021/22. President Jim Andrew, Vice President Dan Danforth and Past President Jim Ling. On behalf of the NRCC, Jim Andrew thanked and presented NRCC pins to the people responsible for putting on the Naional. Thank you to Field Trial Chair Dave Thompson, Chief Marshal Dennis Harwood and Field Trial Secretary Darlene Broomhead.
The 2022 National will be hosted by the Long Point Retriever Training Club in Port Rowan Ontario. More business, the Field Trial Committee will be Chairman / Chief Marshal Dennis Harwood, FT Chair Dave Thompson, Eastern Zone Darlene Broomhead, Ken Crosby and Western Zone Dan Danforth. Jane Thompson then presented the Judges with gifts from the host club. Apologies for the lack of photos for the rest of the evening as darkness set in and we conducted the rest of the evening by candlelight. COVID restrictions meant we had to remain outside. Thank goodness for good weather. Speaking of luck, Donald Martin won the Garmin Pro 550 e-collar that was donated by Garmin, one of our corporate sponsors.

Chief Marshal Dennis Harwood indicated that setup went smoothly and provided the judges’ instructions for sending dogs from the mat and dealing with no birds. Thank you to the setup crew, Dave Gemmil, Donna Wardle, Scott Adams, Jean Richardson and Steve Bruce. The bitch check will be Sunday from 11:00am - 1:00pm. The caravan will depart headquarters Monday morning at 7:00 am and the 1st series will be a Land Double. Honorary Test Dog will be FTCH AFTCH Kapriver Ramblintozy owned by Mark and Sirkka Laberge and handled by Mark. Female Test dog will be I’ve Seen The Light, Mom Of Kaotic, owned and handled by Ann Steer. Male Test Dog will be Gahonks Loyal Patriot, owned and handled by Mitch Bertram.
Judge Gerry Burmaster spoke on behalf of the judges. The grounds crew worked hard preparing the tests, and the ground are great except for there are way too many hills. Thank you to Dave and Jane Thompson for going the extra mile in putting on this National on such short notice.
Once the judges were excused for the evening, the serious business of the calcutta got underway. Auctioneer Dave Thompson, got some serious bids from contestants that travelled from the east coast, the west coast and the United States. COVID has made it difficult for contestants to travel but diehard handlers travelled from British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Ohio USA. In past years more Americans have competed in our Nationals and hopefully they will return when COVID is behind us. Bidding was fast and furious and at the end of the night, the club benefitted from the generous bids.
To close the night the starting dog number was drawn. Dog 31 Sirmak Pippi Pitkasukka is the lucky dog to start the 2021 Canadian National Retriever Championship.