On the Road Again


Barbara and Fred  -  On The Road Again

A little Color Commentary from the 2013 ACC National Field Trial Specialty

Wednesday Evening, October 30, 2013:  Musings 

It's been more than a few years since our last 'On The Road Again’ Color Commentary.  We are so pleased and impressed with this year's Specialty we have to comment. 

The venue the H. Cooper Black Jr. Memorial Field Trial and Recreation Area– is a gem of the State of South Carolina.  We are fortunate the Field Trial Committee was able to secure this site for the Specialty.  The bar has been raised yet again!  We have seen phenomenal dogs and handlers running stakes that were challenging but fair.  As always, we are amazed what dedicated owners, trainers, and handlers can achieve with our breed.  That of course is based on good foundation breed stock. 

In our week in the Carolinas, we encountered dozens of people and have consistently been impressed by not only the civility but the downright friendliness and politeness of everyone we have encountered.  Three cheers for the Carolinians. Thanks to the support of ACC members, the fundraising drawing was successful and in a first (that I can remember), all 4 prizes were won by ACC members, 2 of whom were present!  The logo clothing store was likewise successful and swamped with shoppers.  Marston Jones picked everyone's pockets at the Calcuttas and raised a boatload of money with the auction.  (Thank you to the donors of top notch items to sell!) As we were told to expect GREAT BBQ on just about every corner, in just about every gas station.  Hog heaven for BBQ lovers like us.  Being from the Northeast we don't get to Waffle Houses much and made a late night run for a snack.  It was just what we remembered. 

I will leave results reporting to others –those with more nimble fingers– but want to mention just 1.  The newly elected ACC-AKC Representative, Dr. Tim Carrion (MD), won the Open All-Age Stake and was awarded the ACC's oldest traveling trophy –in fact, the oldest trophy in retrievers– The Skipper Bob Trophy.  We saw Tim run his dog and the accolades were richly deserved.  All the competitors deserve a hearty round of applause. We enjoyed seeing our old Chesapeake friends from across the country and around the globe.  We saw friends from Idaho, Montana, California, Minnesota, Maryland, Virginia, Germany, Canada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Nebraska and on and on and on. We were particularly pleased to see an increasing gallery of spectators.  In some years, the 2 of us have just about been the gallery!  This year there were people from around the country and world, some visiting their first Field Specialty, others, checking out our breed or looking to connect with friends and breeders.  Growth and increasing support of field events is a good thing! 

Johnny Fogle and Mike Coutu, this year's Co-Chairs, George Marthinuss, Chris Locklear, and Robert Post are this year's Field Trial Committee.  They did the heavy lifting.  THANK YOU, gentlemen.  Plenty of other people volunteered too, from marshals to gunners.  Thanks to you all. A grand time was had by this couple and sooooo many others who were lucky enough to attend.  

Saturday Afternoon, November 2, 2013:  Afterthoughts 

We spent all of Thursday at the Amateur All-Age.  We've generally roamed around, coupla’ hours here, hour there, so this was different for us.  This year we sat through the Open then Amateur, from start to finish.  We missed action and excitement at the other stakes but experienced those 2 competitions –the dogs and handler teams– from start to finish.  While we've been going to Field Trial Specialties for 15 years, every trip reinvigorates our attachment to this breed and respect for these breeders/trainers/owner/handlers.   

Even after watching the test dog, it's still hard to visualize the marks/lines from the handlers' eyes.  Handle now?  Wait?  Will she drift right or left?  Did he commit?  Where's the wind?  Should've gotten the scent.  Darn.  From 25 yards behind the handler/line we watch and wonder.  But the handler has the best view and knows and has trained with the dog.  Got to trust the dog, … until you have to step in.  And once in a while, you have to pick up your dog.  Disappointment all around.   

By the very end, the crowd had thinned down, even some of the winners had left.  Besides awarding the remaining stakes winners, the very impressive group of American Chesapeake Club traveling field trophies were awarded.  Tim Carrion was awarded the Dual AFC Tiger's Cub CD Trophy (Best Amateur Handler).  The Sareks were awarded the Heller Trophy (Amateur All-Age Stake Winner), Marlene Drag (and Bruce Ahlers), Michelle Dunn, Ed Bahr and James Scroggins also took home traveling trophies.  Bravo.  Bravo.  Bravo! 

With all the old friends we saw and new friends we made, we missed others.  Some have moved, some have moved on from field trials or even moved on from dogs altogether.  We take a moment to remember those that were lost and those who can’t travel any longer.  What wonderful memories.  Happy trails to all.  Maybe we'll see you next year in Washington

Barbara and Fred, 'On The Road Again' 
ACC Field Trial Specialty, October 29 – 31, 2013, Cheraw, SC 29520



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