Wednesday September 12, 2018

Updated: Thursday 8:15 pm
 
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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 doesn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm of these elite retriever athletes. They’re pumped and ready to go on the water blind. There is a brisk wind 22 km/h NW which is supposed to switch to North for the rest of the day.
 
Mark showing off his fancy new duds



It’s ccccold


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For the water blind we have returned to the back end of the Mead property where Test 3 water marks were run, but not using the same water. The water blind is 190 yards long through a narrow pond. The tendency will probably be for the dogs to want to go down the middle where they are most comfortable. The line to the blind starts over 2 logs and parallels the right hand shore. There is a point about half way out that the dogs should catch the end of. With a downwind slightly crosswind from left to right the dogs resist the temptation of letting the wind push them to shore. The all important cast off the point is into the wind. After exiting the end of the pond the dogs must drive up hill to the bird. A small orange stake marks where the duck is 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 progresses the wind has picked up to 26 km/h gusting to 40 km/h and the temperature has dropped to 2C. There is no one sitting in the gallery but a few brave souls are standing trying to keep warm. The rest are 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 is being run at the end of the Test 4 water blind pond. Actually, where the bird was planted for Test 4 is slightly to the right of the line to the gun station for the centre mark, about half way out. The test is being run due West and the wind in coming across the test from right to left. 22-35 km/h N. The birds are being thrown clockwise, left to right. The left and middle birds are converging with the left mark thrown uphill into heavy cover. The middle bird is a huge throw from right to left across a road into a clump of higher cover. A white ribbon has been tied to the middle bird to improve visibility against the trees in the background. There is a large slough on the line to the left mark. A road crosses between the left and middle marks, and another road passes behind the right hand go bird. The line to the go bird crosses the pond and therefore the line to the water blind in Test 4. Distances to the marks is 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 have fallen and we still have 10 more dogs to run. For the most part, the dogs are doing 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, is for the Workers. This is the celebration where the workers can kick back and enjoy themselves. The Silent Auction finishes up with contestants and workers can 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, donates 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 have worked tirelessly all week, and their job isn’t done yet. Next, thank you to stand in Gun Captain Sharon van der Lee, who just happens 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. I hear the judges commenting they will be going home a few pounds heavier. Thank you to Dennis Jabs who has thrown 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 have fed them so well. The Alberta hospitality is unequalled.
 
Scenes From the Night