Last Thursday Marcel, Maya pedigree, Fletcher pedigree and I headed for Lovelock Nevada where the Bird Dog Circuit holds its Westgern National Field Trials. This is a 3 day Super Major BDC event, 1 of 6 in the US. It attracted teams from California to Michigan. Many of the best teams in the US were there and made their presence felt.
Marcel ran Maya (Hondo Bella) in the Top Gun Pointing Singles and I ran Fletcher (Rufnit Flecher) in the Top gun Pointing Singles and Top Gun Pointing Doubles (no more running in the Amateur division).
On Friday Maya and Marcel had a dificult time as did Fletcher and I. The weather was awful and storms and rain and wind shifting and changing every 30 minutes. Maybe it was nerves. The dogs did well but the hunters did poorly.
On Saturday Fletcher ran in the Double (one dog two hunters six birds). We had drawn the third run, the first team had done poorly, the second team did better. We went on the field and found and shot our first three biirds quickly and then NOTHING. We finished the run with only three birds. The next competitor had the same problem at which time the Promoteur realized that the people releasing the birds in the field were releasing the birds beyond the boundaries of the field. So a complete rerun was ordered. That was good news for me and Fletcher, I could not understand why we started so well and finished so badly. I was confident that Fletcher's stamina would hold since we are used to running hard for hours and an extra 20 minutes should not be a problem. He is great shape.
They put us in a different and much more challenging field. We started down in the gully and found no birds where there usually is one (Marcel later told me they had not released a bird there). We climbed up on the small plateau and found 3 birds quickly. Then moved to the back corners found one more, moved to the draws and Fletcher got scent on a bird, stopped but the bird wild flushed, I shot it even though we had not established point. That met that we would not get the 10 points for the Point. But it was a decision I had to make, we had already expended 12 minutes of the 20 and could not be sure that there would be an extra bird on the field, a tough call but as the Captain of the team it was mine to make. We continued and found the sixth bird and stopped the clock at 14 minutes.
Now the wait started until all the dogs ran. We took 2nd place in the field and earned 3 Championship points and qualified for the finals.
There is a big Prime Rib dinner event on Saturday night and a lot of drinking and partying for some people. To fill out the Finals there is an auction called Buy Back Dog. This allows an individual to "buy" they dog back into the Finals if they think they had bad luck that day. The "buy back" dog for the Pointing Double final (that Fletcher qualified in by taking 2nd place) was sold for $1,250. Remember these owners come from great distances and have spent a lot of money in travel expenses, training fees, professional handlers and entry fees. Entry fees for the Doubles were $250. This is the Professional division and there is a substantial amount of money involved in wining.
Anyway all had a great time, augmented by the drama caused by the reruns in the Double Pointing Division.
On Sunday the Finals started at 8 AM. The Single and Doubles Divisions were offset to allow for those team that had multiple dogs (some had Final qualifications in four divisions). Remember some of the teams have professional handlers handling their dogs and client dogs.
Fletcher Johnny and I had a good run and found all six birds in the 20 minutes allowed and score a 295 due to one poorly shot bird that went a very long way. It was the last birds and the clock was about to run out so we had to take a partial retrieve to get the rest of the points.
This put us in 4th place. We earned another 16 championship points and a check, wich added to the results of the Four Winds Trial makes us 5 times Champion BDC.