National 2018 Organisation, Observations.

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National 2018 Organisation, Observations.

Postby Karl Britton » Tue 18 Sep 2018 8:36 pm

I would like to personally and publically thank the Victorian National RAFT Committee for this year’s exceptional efforts. Why on this site? Because I’m aware it is used by a lot of retrieving trial followers that do not have a social media account and were not at the event.

The planning for the event started some 18 months ago with a handful of volunteers who freely gave up their time. I was not competing for the first time in several years because I retired my dog due to a recently diagnosed injury, otherwise I would have volunteered my services earlier. None the less I was able to chaperone the two National judges throughout the entire event by Gun stewarding, which was a privilege. This was a great experience being on the other side of the fence, and watching both major events the Vic State and National come to fruition.

I’m not in the habit of commenting or making a post activity report of every event I attend however, this year’s National was exceptional with both the amount of competitors traveling interstate to compete in the countryside of Victoria around Alexandra. The avid followers of the event and most importantly the dogs themselves with 51 entries, 2 scratching’s leaving 49 starters. The organisation of such a large event was outstanding, with lots of donations, game given freely from clubs or donated, the liaison and securing of land with the property owners. The procurement of VIP’s at the event, the support of Field and Game and the stalwarts running around in the background throughout the year, chaperoning the judge’s to and from potential trial sites until the judges made their final selection was all free. The volunteering stewards who again freely gave up their time to help was nothing short of magnificent.

The Vic State was headed by possibly the two most senior judges in Australia a Father and Son Team, who put on a very technical test aimed at carrying through to the second day with as many competitors that they could, continuing to give them a great workout and identifying any areas of concern prior to the main event the following weekend. A great lead up trial.

The National was again equally marshalled by two of Victoria’s senior judges whom both have been involved in the sport for nearly 4 decades. They put their heart and soul into the job spending hours going back and forth from Essendon to Alexander selecting runs/reviewing, looking at the selection on different times of the day and constantly refined until the morning of the event. I was impressed about how serious they took the appointment and the professionalism they both showed in doing the right thing to ensure that every competitor/dog had an equally fair and equitable run as humanly as possible, right down to checking the positioning of the sun over a period of eight hours, and moving the firing point seven metres so the dogs who ran first thing in the morning to the dogs running at 1600hrs had the same run site picture and were not disadvantaged.

Tests where designed by both lots of judges to assess dogs for all aspects of retrieving and these would be shown on the scoreboard with the cream rising to the top. I was also equally impressed that judges had given a window of escape or opportunity for the handler to correct a dog and put it back on line or in the general area, if it had lost its way without diluting the overall standard of the competition. A well trained All Age dog would find these runs challenging without being ridiculous or unachievable, using all aspects of terrain, cover and water. All the runs of which I was able to observe on both the State and National had built in contingency for change of wind direction and nothing was pinched, in fact the judges where exceedingly generous which clearly articulated selection on the different concepts. To me as an aspirant Championship judge it was a model that I could only wish to emulate.

Consideration of viewing areas for none competing triallers, partners and interested followers, where positioned carefully, clearly marked with a great view of the run presented.
On the National of the second day on a difficult triple mark where your dog would be working out of sight the judge had clearly thought about what could occur. The judge stated to the competitors that you could select either of the first two birds to be collected and if the dog switched you would not be put out but it would be reflected on the score sheet. This to me made great sense because if your dog picked the wrong bird when out shooting, you would just send it back out to get the correct one you originally sent it for.

As most travelling handlers and competitors will agree it’s a pretty ordinary decision to be put out on something you can’t always control when your dog is working out of sight and hunting in an area with lots of wind and strong scent floating around, dogs can’t ignore their noses. I have yet to find a handler than can train a dog to do this!

It was fantastic to see that dog’s were not put out by a judge, quite the opposite the dogs that did fail was because of handler error. Judges were very fair and gave handlers lots of time providing dogs were still working and being obedient, nothing was rushed. This was evident with so many dogs finishing the runs and a full card of ten completing this year’s National of all abilities in both dogs and handlers.

The competitor’s, wives and partners I believe all generally enjoyed themselves and whatever happened and occurred when running a dog, they took it all in good spirits, the camaraderie and banter was true trialling at its best. Just like the judges who were exceedingly patient especially when the weather changed and took a turn for the worst. You plan for every eventuality within your control but sometimes the trialling weather gods get the better of you.

I have not personally named any one individual but it would be really reminisce of me not to name Mr Greg Playdon, who pulled all this together probably to the detriment of training his own dogs, his team spirit, excellent work ethic, coupled with his managerial skills, good leadership he provided to his small team was outstanding. A diplomatic approach with a great listening ear, the will to make everything work no matter what obstacles were thrown before him. A magnificent achievement. “Bravo Sir”, I take my hat off to you and publically thank you on behalf of all the triallers.

At the very end of the presentations the National banner was handed over to Team Tasmania, I listened to the 2019 National trial Manager and next year’s National judges on the future outline format. It sounds great with a fantastic location coupled with very challenging countryside and lovely historical scenic town of Ross near bye. I am confident it will be equally as challenging with the background committee doing the majority of the heavy lifting over the course of the next year and in the same breath the judges will present equally challenging championship runs with an equitable spread, equally across the board for all competitors. I’m looking forward to the challenge and will be in training with a young dog to get her ready for this most prestigious calendar trialling event.

Yours in trialling,

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Karl Britton
Posts: 59
Joined: Sat 01 Mar 2008 4:05 pm
Location: Happy Jack Creek Road, Ridgewood, Queensland

Re: National 2018 Organisation, Observations.

Postby Leanne O'Sullivan » Wed 19 Sep 2018 6:48 pm

Well said Karl. I thoroughly enjoyed my time up at Alexandra and it was great to catch up with all the interstaters. Well done to everyone on the organising committee for a very enjoyable time.
Leanne O'Sullivan
Posts: 152
Joined: Fri 28 Nov 2003 9:31 am

Re: National 2018 Organisation, Observations.

Postby Rick Johnston » Thu 20 Sep 2018 6:55 pm

Couldn’t agree more.
Congratulations to all the people that made the Championships such great events.
A special thanks to all the stewards and workers that came out to help!
Rick Johnston
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu 20 Nov 2003 3:37 pm
Location: Bush (Woomelang)

Re: National 2018 Organisation, Observations.

Postby Allan Bartram » Tue 02 Oct 2018 2:54 pm

Having just completed our 7600km round road trip across the Nullabour to Victoria for the State & National trials we can concur with you that these trials were fantastic and the organisation exceptional.
To ALL those who helped out a big thank you ..Karl summed it all up beautifully ..great trials, great sites, great competition AND great friendships.
Good luck Team Tassie you have a class act to follow but I know having spoken to some of your team that you are more than up for it !
Well done Victoria....Bring on 2019

Allan & Catherine
Allan Bartram
Posts: 257
Joined: Mon 04 Jul 2005 1:56 pm
Location: PERTH WA

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