About UKC

Field Operations

Show Operations




Contact Us

Posted on 01/11/2006 in Notes From The Field.

Share this page on Facebook! Email this article to a friend!  RSS Feed!     Print this article:     Print this article!

By: Wallace A. Huey

If you are a new club or a person who wants to have a Field Trial, here are some thoughts which might help make this seemingly high mountain into just a rise in the road. First, a local club or group of people desiring to sponsor a field trial must have organized and been approved by the United Kennel Club as a UKC approved gun dog club. At that point, the UKC will consider a request to sanction a field trial. Recently as president of the French Brittany Gun Dog Club of Georgia, a recognized UKC club, a suggestion was offered to let’s have a Field Trial. I had thought we could have a Test of Natural Ability (TAN) without a lot of problem, but a Field Trial, this was another thing. I had never seen a Field Trial and had only heard some of the horror stories. As it turned out, with the help of someone who had done a trial before and a good judge, it was a real enjoyable and a learning experience. The following are some steps which were found helpful in organizing a Field Trial/TAN for the first time.

ORGANIZING COMMITTEE/FIELD TRIAL SECRETARY: An organizing committee/trial secretary should be selected as soon as possible. The organizing committee/Field Trial Secretary must decide on a date and location which must be cleared with the UKC Pointing Dog Division. Once a date has been selected and cleared, your club must make official application to the UKC for this date and send the necessary fees to cover the application. Once received, the UKC will provide you with an event number and other supporting materials and instruction for the event. When the UKC has cleared the date, a judge needs to be selected. Many times the date of the event will be dictated by when you can secure a judge, so this might be one of the first things you pursue. Permission must also be obtained from the State Wildlife Division where you are located. Be sure to receive permission from them to eliminate a fine and make sure any required permit is in hand prior to the designated date for your event.

Once the date has been set be sure to notify the French Brittany Gun Dog Club, attn: Katy Dillon and the UKC, attn: Todd Kellam with the date, location, and contact names for the event. This information will be put on the various internet sites. This is a good advertisement for the event, due to the exposure. We had numerous phone calls from people who had used these sites.

FIELD TRIAL LOCATION: Have someone on the organizing committee assigned to work with securing the trial location; this person will work with the property owner to select the sites where the event can be held. In selecting the locations, some consideration, where possible, should be made for those that would like to observe. There are also specific rules from the UKC on the number of times you can run the dogs over the same land.

SOME LEGALITIES/RULES: 1. Release and Waiver of Liability: The UKC Rules require that each entry form be signed by the owner and designated handler before that dog can run. A parent must sign for a minor. This is because each person must agree in writing to the written release and waiver of liability which protects the club. The rules also require each handler/person on the actual courses where the heats are run to wear safety orange. 2. Liability Insurance: The UKC also requires each club to secure liability insurance insuring the sponsoring club in an amount not less than $300,000.00 per occurrence prior to holding a trial. This insurance must also list the United Kennel Club Inc. as an additional insured as sanctioning entity and may also cover any landowners at their request, for a small additional premium per event. One source for securing this coverage for gun dog clubs hosting field trials is through the Sportsmen’s Insurance Agency Plan, Inc. of Cape Vincent New York 13618-0799. Their telephone is (315) 654-2068. 3. Registration of Dogs: Each dog entered must have a UKC registration number, limited privilege number (LP) or temporary listing (TL). Your club will undoubtedly have persons try to enter a dog which does not have the correct registration as some people do not understand the distinction between UKC registration and registration by another registration body. It is important to enforce these rules, but the Field Trial Committee can and should assist a prospective entrant in securing proper registration in order to help, rather than discourage or preclude persons from entering their dogs.

GET THE WORD OUT: The trial secretary is responsible for getting the word out to as many people as possible. A decision should be made as to who will be allowed to participate. Determine whether this event will be limited to club members only, potential club members, special guest, one breed of dog, or multiple breeds. Once this has been decided, preparation should begin on the necessary application forms and Premium. You can handle this process one of two ways. One, you can send everything at once including the liability release/entry form, instructions for applicants, and the premium which has all of the information concerning the events. Secondly, you can send just the instructions for the applicants and the liability release/entry form. Doing this the second way will mean you have to mail out the premium to those that enter. This could be the best way, as you have to send a second mailing anyway with the participants/dog’s schedule along with any maps or other instructions.

TRIAL PREPARATION: Once the word is out and the entries begin coming in, preparation for the next tasks begins, preparing for the drawing of places. In making the schedule an Excel spreadsheet was used to keep record of who entered showing the time for the entrant to run, handler, dog’s registered name, arm band number, and results. This information can be taken directly off the entry forms but was easier for me to create the worksheet for field use. When all have entered according to the set deadline, the trial committee will meet to draw times for those entered. Using the spreadsheet, it is easier to move people about, keep a count of who is in which event, arm band number, and result. This sheet can be mailed out on the final mailing and also used to compile your final report form which you receive from the UKC along with your judge’s sheets.

Be sure to complete as much of the information on the judges sheets as possible to reduce the time and efforts of the judge. Completion of these forms allows the judge to spend time on only recording the result. It has been suggested to the UKC that some of this record keeping and forms be placed on the UKC internet site for reporting purposes and to simplify the preparation of this paperwork.

Once everyone has a time slot, the arm bands can be made using 4”x 6” cards. These can be numbered in any manner desired. It would be a good idea to place reinforcement stickers around the holes punched at each end. These holes are used to put rubber bands through to hold the arm band around your arm.

Be sure to have maps for everyone and signs available to show people the way. The signs can be put out the morning of the event and if made using the club name only, can be reused for other club activities. You might use double sided signs with arrows, this way they can be used a variety of ways.

Decide on the arrangements for the meals if any are to be provided. A committee can be organized to coordinate food preparations and arrangements. You might consider having a quick lunch or no lunch at all depending upon the weather, number of entrants and events, and the time schedule. Be sure to have ample water for the participants, the dogs, and for who ever might require a drink of water.

A First Aid kit should be available during the event and the location of a vet available. It is also suggested that someone be present who can take pictures who is not participating. This way a pictorial record can be created. If you are a participant, it is difficult to do that and take pictures.

If you are using liberated birds, make arrangements for them ahead of time and be sure to assign someone the responsibility of putting the birds out in pre-selected locations around the course. Be sure that safe shooters have been selected in order to provide as much safety as possible. This is a better plan than allowing the individual handlers to shoot. They should be concentrating on handling the individual dogs.

There should also be a vehicle available to transport the next entries to the judge. A walkie-talkie system will facilitate this movement in a timely manner. By having the handlers available, this increases the chance that the judge will be able to stay on schedule throughout the event.

AWARDS FOR the EVENT: Once the number of entrants has been determined, a decision as to the number and type of ribbons and plaques should be made by the trial secretary. A good rule of thumb to use is to purchase at least a third to a half of those entering in the trial a ribbon for PASS and at least 75%-80% of those entering the TAN should have a ribbon. In distributing the ribbons, be sure to provide ribbons for those living far away first, as those locally can be presented later. In purchasing the ribbons, be sure to get the ones that can be changed out by changing the center ribbon. This will allow some flexibility, as the PASS ribbons could be changed to TAN and just the opposite for the TAN to PASS if needed. You might also consider a First Place plaque and a Reserve plaque. In purchasing the plaques, it is suggested that the plaques be changeable by using a small brass plate to inscribe the description of the award. That way if no one wins the plaque this year, the small plate with the inscription and date can be changed indicating the next year. A good resource for awards, if you don’t have someone, is Dulci Haggard at Winning Ribbons, 3676 Sagehill Drive, Stevensville, MT 59870, (406) 777-1913 or www.winning-ribbons.com . She was very knowledgeable and a great help in obtaining and selecting the awards. The order can be completed on line and given a reasonable amount of time, can be delivered on time.

DAY OF THE EVENT: Have the registration time at least thirty minutes prior to the first event, depending on the distance you have to travel to the venue. Have the armbands available, a check sheet/schedule set up on at least 20 minute intervals to be sure who is present, and coffee. Once everyone is present, a general meeting can be held to review the procedures of the day. Be sure to emphasize safety and the use of red clothing. This has been stated in the premium, but you must keep it in the forefront.

Maps may be used to direct people to the site of the trial or they may convoy in a group. Allow a time either at the registration or before the trial for the judge to address the group. This will allow him/her ample time to address any specific issues concerning the trial and its procedure. An opportunity to review the rules of the event will be helpful to all, as well as, a time for questions.

FINAL ACTIVITIES FOR the TRIAL: A final narrative report should be written indicating the winners in each event, where it was held, those involved, and any other pertinent information. This report should be sent to the French Brittany Gun Dog Association of America, Inc., attn: Kathy Dillon and the UKC, attn: Todd Kellam. Be sure to send these in by email to simplify the posting of these results for the various organizations. If you desire, contact the local newspaper with the same information. Any pictures of the winners should be made available to all at the time of notification.

The final report which you received from the UKC should be completed as quickly as possible (within 15 days) for the UKC indicating the winners. The judge’s signature is required on this report. A copy of this report along with a check equaling the amount of $1.50 per entrant should also be included with the final report. A copy of the winner’s report or one developed should also be sent to Kathy Dillon of the FBGDA. This information will be posted on the respective sites.

Be sure to write the necessary thank you notes to those that help make your event possible. Take care of any outstanding bills for the judge, birds, food services, signs, awards, shotgun shells for the shooters and photographer.

In an effort to help another organization and to recognize our judge, it was decided by our club to send a small donation to Bird Dog Museum in Grand Junction, TN in honor of our judge. Not only are we recognizing our judge, but are benefiting another organization which has an interest in French Brittany’s. The donation is kept reasonable and is just a means of recognition.

One of the really enjoyable aspects of this event was the opportunity to meet such a great group of people. Some came to just watch and became new club members. Others came to participate and became new club members. Others came and left looking for a French Brittany pup. This is truly a great activity but most importantly a time to participate and share the experience of working with our best friends, the Epagneul Bretons.

* Wallace Huey is a retired School Administrator who is a gun dog enthusiast, and lover of dogs especially Tessie, his Epagneul Breton and Sadie, his American Brittany. In his retirement, he has taken on the responsibility of helping to get the French Brittany Gun Dog Club of Georgia established and in good standing. He is a novice in Field Trial work, but enjoys the time working with the people and dogs of the French Brittany Gun Dog Clubs.