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Rule Change Clarifications

Coonhound Advisor

October 1, 2018

Source: Allen Gingerich

As published in the October issue of Coonhound Bloodlines.

The following changes, as they apply to UKC Field Operations programs, are effective January 1, 2019. Further clarifications are provided here for each change as follows.

1) Registered Category and Champion Category

Dogs that have not earned a NITE CH, FCH, or WCH degree are drawn out and will compete in the Registered category. Champions and Grand Champions will draw out together and compete in one category in Nite Hunts, Field Trials and Water Races. This category will further be referred to as the Champion Category.
Note: Any portion of the World Championship (includes RQEs and Zones) and Youth Events will have all dogs drawn out together, regardless of category. Autumn Oaks is the only event where all three categories will be drawn out separately (Reg, Nite, Grand Nite).

Clarification: Instead of having three separate categories in nite hunts, water races, and field trials, there will only be two: a Registered category and a Champion category. All Champions and Grand Champions will draw out together and compete in the same category. This will also be true for Slam events where the Registered category will no longer be lumped in with the Champions and the Grands. All Registered dogs will be drawn out in their own category and Champions and Grands will draw out against each other in Slam events.

A dog that has a water race or field trial champion degree simply gets drawn out and competes against the Grands in water races and or field trials. If a water race or field trial Champion dog does not have a Nite Champion degree, the dog would be drawn out and compete in the Registered category in a nite hunt.

This change does not apply to UKC licensed bench shows. There are no changes there. Grands will be shown in their own separate division, just as they have always done.

2) Nite Hunt Degree Structure

Nite Champion, Grand Nite Champion degrees, and beyond earned as follows:
a. Five (5) cast wins to earn Degree of Nite Champion.
b. Eight (8) cast wins in Champion division to earn Degree of Grand Nite Champion.
c. After a dog has earned the Degree of Grand Nite Champion, each additional eight (8) cast wins will earn a Degree of GRNITECH2, GRNITECH3, GRNITECH4, and GRNITECH5.

A dog having earned a grand total of 50 cast wins will earn a designation of UKC Hall of Fame.

Clarifications: Effective January 1, 2019, 100 Championship points and at least one First Place win to earn the degree of Nite Champion is no longer the criteria. Now, Registered dogs will simply need to earn a total of five cast wins to earn the degree of Nite Champion. As always, a dog will be required to have a total score of plus points to be considered a cast winner.

After a dog has earned the degree of Nite Champion, they will move up to the Champions Category. In this category, they may in fact draw out and compete against Grand Nite Champions. Regardless, Nite Champions will need to have a total of eight cast wins to earn the degree of Grand Nite Champion. They are not required to have the highest scores in the category or place first in the category. A cast win is a cast win and will go on their record and count towards their Grand Nite degree. As always, a dog will be required to have a total score of plus points to be considered a cast winner.

After a dog has earned the degree of Grand Nite Champion, they will continue to be drawn out and compete in the Champions Category. After a Grand Nite Champion has earned a total of eight cast wins, they will be awarded the title of Grand Nite Champion2. After each additional eight cast wins, in the Champions category, they will earn the title of Grand Nite Champion3, and so on. After a dog has earned a grand total of 50 cast wins, they will earn the designation of Grand Nite Champion Hall of Fame. These 50 cast wins do, in fact, include the five cast wins they earned in the Registered category. That means a dog going from nothing to Hall of Fame would be a GRNITECH5 plus five more cast wins.

How about cast wins at events such as RQEs or Youth events, where all categories draw out together? Again, a cast win is a cast win and will count towards whichever degree the dog is working towards.

Its important to note and understand that the above clarifications apply to nite hunts only. In other words, in Field Trials and Water Races the current criteria to earn the degree of Water/Field Trial Champion or Grand Water/Field Champion remains the same. The only difference in water race and field trial events is that Champions and Grand Champions draw out and compete against each other.

On January 1, 2019, any placement currently on a dogs official record at UKC will be considered a cast win, regardless of what place it may have earned under the previous structure. For further clarification well use the following examples.

a. Kellams Joe currently has a First Place win and a Second Place win on his record. These two placements will equal two cast wins on January 1, 2019. Joe would now need three more cast wins to earn the degree of Nite Champion. In this case, it might be in the owners best interest to try and finish Joe before the end of the 2018 calendar year.

b. Kellams Jill currently has six different placements on her record and over 100 championship points but lacks that First-Place win to earn her Nite Champion degree. Simply put, on January 1, 2019, those placements will turn into cast wins, and Jill will be awarded the degree of Nite Champion. As you see, Jill would have a total of six cast wins in the Registered category and one more than the required five. So, what happens with that extra cast win? Unfortunately, that extra cast win counts for nothing in this case. In other words, it will not count toward her Grand Nite degree.

c. Swaffords Ace is currently a Nite Champion and has four wins towards Grand Nite Champion. Again, those four wins will turn into four cast wins on January 1, 2019, and Ace would need four more cast wins to earn the degree of Grand Nite. Here again, it might be in the owners best interest to try and get that last win on Ace before the end of the year and the new rules kick in.

UKC has nite hunt records on dogs that go back half a century. So how far will UKC go back to change placements to cast wins? It wouldnt make reasonable sense to go back to day one. For one, it wouldnt be possible through computer programming as any nite hunt history before 1984 was done manually and recorded on paper. It also doesnt seem reasonable to manipulate any dog records beyond those dogs that are no longer considered active or able to compete. Were better served to leave those records alone and consider the era and criteria in place those dogs were competing under. That said, UKC will not go back any further than to those dogs born in 2008 and beyond, when it comes to converting placements to cast wins.

As for current Grand Nite Champions who have Grand Nite wins on their record; due to programming still being worked out at the point of this writing, we will need to hold off until next month for specific details as it relates to their path towards the Hall of Fame title

3) Placing Dogs in Events

Each event will place up to three dogs, based on highest cast-win scores of both divisions (Registered or Champions). However, clubs may choose to place more than three dogs for further recognition and award purposes. Otherwise, any additional cast winners will be noted on the Event Report as a Cast Winner. Dog must have a total score of plus points to be considered a cast winner, unless otherwise noted.

a. Performance points are issued to the top three placements at each event. The number of points awarded is based on the total entry of both divisions (REG, CH/GRCH).

The maximum number of Performance points that may be awarded for each placement is:

a. 1st2 points.
b. 2nd1 point.
c. 3rd.5 point.

Clarifications: Currently we place dogs by highest score within the category. Beginning on January 1, 2019, dogs will be placed according to scores from both the Registered and Champions categories. Even though dogs will be earning their championship degrees via cast wins, well still need to place at least a few dogs. Event organizers may place as many dogs at their events as the choose to for award purposes. However, UKC will need to only have three dogs placed on the nite hunt event report for Performance Points purposes, provided there are at least three plus-point cast winners. Any additional cast winners (beyond three) will simply be noted on the event report as a cast winner. All event reports will be redesigned, and well cover some of those details next month.

The amount of Performance points awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, will now be based off the total entry in the hunt, opposed to the number entered in each separate category. Under this structure, fewer dogs will earn PRP points at each event but those earning points stand to earn more points.

It is noted above that dogs must have a total score of plus points to be considered a cast winner. That is followed by; unless otherwise noted. The word otherwise may refer to certain designated money hunts where that payout is designated for the winners. It has to go to participants. It cant go to the club or UKC. Any such details would be specifically noted in the event ads.

4) Hunt Time Options

Sponsoring club have the option of 60-minute, 90-minute, or 120-minute hunts, with exception to RQE and Youth events. All Regional Qualifying Events will be 120 minutes. Youth Events may be 60- or 90-minute hunts. Clubs to advertise hunt time at time of event scheduling and may only be modified on day of event to a lesser time, if within reason as it relates to foul weather conditions. Hunt time not noted at time of event scheduling will default to a 120-minute hunt.

Clarifications: This is one of those changes that allows clubs to choose what works best for them in their area. For instance, clubs in the south and many other parts of the country may stand to draw better entry numbers in the summer months with a lesser hunt time. Clubs will need to note their hunt time preference at the time their event is confirmed with UKC. That time will then be noted in the event schedule. As noted above, clubs have the authority to change their advertised hunt time on the day of the event but only for good reason as it might relate to weather. For instance, a club has a hunt scheduled to be a two-hour hunt. On the day of the event they have unpredictable torrential down pours, a snow storm, or things of that nature beyond their control that makes it a no-brainer to go with a lesser hunt time. Clubs will not have the option to change their hunt times to more than what was advertised.

Clubs hosting youth hunts may have a 60-minute hunt or a 90-minute hunt. Again, these hunt times must be advertised at the time their event is confirmed with UKC. Clubs hosting Regional Qualifying Events will not have hunt time options. All RQE events will be two-hour hunts.

5) Double Header Nite Hunts

A club may choose to schedule two separate hunts on the same night. The club will schedule two separate entry deadlines. The hunt time scheduled for each separate hunt shall be the same. Clubs will submit two separate Event Reports, one for each of the two hunts. The amount of Performance Points awarded at each of the two Double Header hunts is based on the total entry of each hunt.

Clarifications: Due to unforeseen programming complications, a change has been made for Double Headers. Otherwise, it could be a nightmare when it comes to a dogs record in UKCs computer systems for various purposes. Therefore, the announcement has been changed to the above as it relates to Double Headers.

In the original announcement it was noted that there would only be one set of placements, where double cast wins would be considered over single cast wins when it came to placing up to three dogs in the event. Secondly, it was also noted that the number of Performance points a dog would be awarded would be based on the total entry of both hunts. That will not be the case with this change. Instead, each separate hunt will have its own separate Event Report with up to three placements for each of the two hunts. The amount of Performance points awarded for each hunt will be based on the total number of entries of each separate hunt.

The introduction of double header nite hunts is yet another option for clubs starting in 2019. Double headers may be a good drawing card for some participants where they have the opportunity for more than one chance to get a cast win on the same night. Those stronger clubs may benefit significantly by hosting a Double Header. In other words, clubs that need to send their casts a good distance to hunt will probably not be able to have two hunts on the same night. As all those stronger clubs know, kitchen sales are a big part of their event income. At most regular club events, handlers who dont win their cast generally dont go back to the club after their hunt. They head on home. With a double header most would probably be back for round two. And what is the first thing most hunters do when they come back in from hunting? Thats right; they belly up to the kitchen to get something to eat.

The license fee for a Double Header will remain $25 for each hunt. However, a Double Header will be considered as one event date when it comes to the total number of events allowed per year for all clubs. Again, clubs will choose their hunt times for a Double Header. Both hunts shall use the same amount of hunt time. We predict that most clubs will set their hunt times at 90 minutes or less.

The difference between a double header and a regular event is the club will complete and submit two separate Hunt Reports. One for each of the two hunts. They will place up to three dogs for each event, provided they had at least three plus-point cast winners. Any additional cast winners will be noted on the report as a Cast Winner.

Registered dogs winning their cast and having accumulated enough cast wins to earn the degree of Nite Champion may move up to the Champion category at the second hunt at a double header. It is the handlers responsibility to enter their dog in the correct category. Otherwise, they are not obligated to show any proof of win history to the entry takers. Entry takers should put the dog in the category it was entered in, based in good faith on the handlers word. Any dog entered in the Champions category that has not met the requirements to be in that category would not be eligible for a cast win.

6) Slam Events

Clubs may schedule any one or more of their scheduled dates as a Slam Event. Clubs have the option of $20, $30 or $50 entry fees. $20 and $30 entry fees pay out 55 percent of the total entry income. $50 entry fees pay out 75 percent of the total entry income.

Performance Points are awarded at Slam events. Dogs will be drawn out in two divisions (Registered and Champion/Grand Champion). Up to three placements awarded, based on highest first-round scores of both divisions, if Final Cast chooses to split cash award. If Final Cast hunts, dogs will place in the event according to scores in this cast.

Clarifications: Under current UKC policy, clubs were allowed up to three Slam Events per year. The main reason for that restricted number was due to the fact that UKC awarded up to four First Place wins to the event winners. With the Championship points structure now being based on cast wins, clubs may have an unlimited number of Slam events.

Clubs may schedule their Slam events as double headers. In this case both hunts would need to be Slams. Current Slam rules allow the top four high scoring dogs to split the payout or hunt in a one-hour hunt where the winner stands to earn a bigger portion of the purse. However, if a club is hosting a Double Header Slam Event, hunting it off will not be an option in either of the two hunts. The payout will be a mandatory split to the four highest scoring dogs in each hunt.

One other change with Slam events is that Registered dogs will now be drawn out separately and compete against Registered dogs only. Champs and Grands will be drawn out and compete against each other. This now also allows for Performance points to be awarded at Slam events.

Determining the top four winners of a Slam is based on the highest scores of both categories. Slam rules require the top four dogs to vote on whether to hunt it off or split the payout. Therefore, when it comes to placing dogs in a Slam event, it will depend on whether or not the Final Cast hunts it off or decides to split the payout, as follows.

If the Final Cast opts to split the payout, event placement is determined via the highest three scores in the first round.

If the Final Cast opts to hunt in a one-hour late round, the result of that Final Cast determines how dogs will be placed in the event. In the event of unbreakable ties in the Final Cast, previous round scores will be used to determine overall event placement. Note: Double Header Slams will not have the option to hunt it off. See notes above.

Final Remarks

Its no secret that entry numbers are dwindling in the sport. The local clubs have certainly felt the effect of this trend and its a concern when it comes to the direction the sport might be headed in. The local club has always been the backbone of our sport. We can debate this and that til the cows come home, but one thing for certain; we lose the local clubs guide support, there wont be clubs to put on events. That includes the major events.

There are a lot of varying opinions why numbers are declining. The fact is, theres likely a multitude of factors playing a part in it. At the end of the day, clubs and hunters are looking to UKC for answers. Well guess what? We dont have all the answers. We can sit around and do nothing about it and watch numbers continue on the same downward trend or we can get off our butts, put our heads together, and see if we can come up with something that will hopefully help. We chose the latter.

In my experience at UKC, we have never reached out to more active hunters for their thoughts and ideas than we have in the last year. This project began at the Winter Classic last February with a roundtable discussion with different active hunters. From there, we reached out and involved others as well for their thoughts and feedback, with the ultimate goal being to increase entries.

Some of these format changes are simply a part of the overall effort with this project. It starts with giving clubs more options to choose what may work best for them. Some of these changes are significant and different than what we have been used to for many years. The idea of implementing these changes now before the next coonhound rulebook comes out in 2020, will work in our favor. If we find that certain tweaks may be in order, well still have that opportunity. Thanks to all those who have expressed their support of this project and the changes coming in 2019. Watch for further details on these changes in the coming months.

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