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Starting a UKC Approved Club
Posted on 03/18/2013 in Full Circle.

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Q: What are the parameters for our club to become approved for UKC Field Trials? I am a member of an established club in my area where we host Beagle events licensed through another registry. Would UKC approve our club to also host UKC Licensed events?

A: The UKC has no policy in place that requires clubs to host their licensed events only in order to be approved. Matter of fact, we welcome any such established clubs that might be interested in UKC Field Trials to contact us, especially those in areas where UKC is not well-established. We’d be tickled to get them started. The same goes for individuals interested in starting a new club in any such areas. The same procedures to get started apply for both as further addressed below.

Contact UKC and ask them to send you a New Club Packet. Those that have access to the internet can also download the packet from UKC’s website from the Beagle News Page (click onto the link “Forms” on the right hand side. From there you’ll find the New Club Application at the top of the list), http://www.ukcdogs.com/Web.nsf/WebPages/Beagles/Forms.

The New Club Packet includes the following items:

• Requirements for New Clubs.

• Application to Become a UKC Approved Club.

• Constitution and By-Laws Guideline.

• 10 Sure-Fire Steps to a Successful Club

Requirements for New Clubs. This part of the packet addresses the importance of clubs having a good membership list. A strong membership that includes “active” members will obviously allow clubs to better conduct successful events without having to rely on outside help. Have you ever gone to a Field Trial and seen where the club didn’t have any available club member to guide their casts? Instead, they had to use non-member participants, some of whom may have had to drive an unreasonable distance to hunt. Not good, and the sign of a weak club. Strong clubs already have their guides in place prior to the day of hunt.

It addresses the mileage conflict policy between clubs. Each UKC approved club located within 100 miles is placed in a Conflict Menu in the new club’s file in our computer systems. This keeps UKC from allowing the new club any dates already scheduled for those clubs within a hundred miles from them. A new club is allowed three dates during their first year, which is also considered a probationary period. Unless there are any issues or concerns the new club may then schedule up to seven dates per year.

New clubs are strongly urged to use a Licensed Master of Hounds during their probationary period. An experienced official will usually allow for their events to go off much better. Fact is, participants will quickly pick up on procedures that are not being followed properly, sometimes to the point that they might not return of the club is too sloppy with procedures, etc.

Clubs not having a Master of Hounds available within a reasonable distance may request consideration to grandfather in a qualified individual from their club. New clubs should also consider having a few other qualified members apply for a Master of Hounds license for future events.

After the clubs probationary period, and although they’ll have the option of using a Hunt Director opposed to a Master of Hounds, the UKC will always suggest the latter is the better option. The Hunt Director acts in the same capacity with exception to ruling on a question that comes in from the field.

Application to Become a UKC Approved Club. This form simply requests the name of your club, location, and address as well as a complete list of officers and your membership. Easy enough.

Constitution and By-Laws. A set of By-Laws, drafted by UKC, are included in the packet may be used as a guideline by new clubs to draft their own, or they may be used in whole. Clubs already established would simply include a copy of their current By-Laws when submitting their completed application to UKC. Of course, it’s important that every club have this to lean on when it comes to all procedures being in place. UKC will not approve any clubs without it.

10 Sure-Fire Steps to a Successful Club. This form offers some great suggestions to have a successful club. Number one addresses the importance of clubs having strong leadership in place, to number 10 where it talks about having a customer “friendly” club that makes their participants feel welcome. Other suggestions include recommendations of having fewer, better events opposed to too many and burning out your membership. Others talk about holding judging seminars, appointing committees, creating newsletters and calendars, or tagging a special name to one or more of your events.

Notes. UKC’s Hunting Beagle Program is well-established and has seen a lot of success since the early 90’s when they first started. Several states are fairly maxed out when it comes to UKC approved clubs, while other states don’t have any. While the Hunting Beagle format remains to be the most popular, we also offer a second format known as Performance Pack. The most notable difference in the two is that HB utilizes a hunting judge and majority-of-cast scoring system, while PP utilizes non-hunting judges that “follow the hounds scoring system”. Clubs have the option of holding either format. UKC also offers an Incentive and Series Points Programs. Whether you’re interested in starting a new club, or seeking approval for an established club, I hope this answers some of your questions when it comes to being approved to hold UKC licensed events.