February 12, 2013
Following the 2013 National Field Trial Championship
By Chad Love
If lovers of gundogs have a Mecca, it is of course Grand Junction, Tenn. It is the home of the Bird Dog Foundation, which houses the National Field Trail Hall of Fame, the National Retriever Hall of Fame and the National Bird Dog Museum. Grand Junction is also the site of the legendary National Field Trial Championship at Ames Plantation.
Like many pointing dog fans, I love to follow the progress of the multi-day field trial as it plays out, and the 2013 National Field Trial Championship, which started yesterday, promises to be just as exciting as last year's. Will a pointer win it? Probably, just as a pointer has won it every year since 1970, but there are a few setters in the field I'll be pulling for.
Garmin is one of the event's sponsors, and Ted Gartner, Garmin's Director of Corporate Communications (who is a hard-core bird dog guy) has been at Ames for the past few days and has written a very good layman's explanation of the event on his company's blog. It's a good read if you're unfamiliar with the trial's format.
While I'm not a horseback field trial guy, and I'm sure most of you aren't either, I never understood the disdain some gundog owners have for high-level field trial competition, of both the pointing and retrieving flavor. I'm pretty sure most of us aren't professional athletes, but should that prevent you from enjoying pro sports? Of course not. These dogs are the canine equivalents of professional athletes; unbelievable performers trained to a level beyond the means of the vast majority of us. And I for one prefer to enjoy them for what they are, rather than criticize them for what I perceive them to be.
Is anyone planning on following the National Field Trial Championship as it progresses? Are there any other field trials (pointing dog, retriever, flushing, coon hounds, etc.) you enjoy following?