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WELCOME to the Official Blog of the 2014 Master National Hunting Test, October 9-19, 2014, brought to you by the Retriever News and written by Tina Styan and Gwen Jones. We hope you enjoy these daily updates on the 2014 Master National, held this year in and around Corning, California.


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Friday, October 10, 2014

Meeting Snapz

The original "Pinterest" – Where are you from?


Mandatory Handler's Meeting

Janet Wood, MNRC President
The mandatory Handler’s Meeting began at 1:15 pm when MNRC President, Janet Wood took the stage. She began with some important “housekeeping” issues

First, we are under a major “fire watch” for the next three days and extra rules will apply. Driving and parking will only be allowed in disced areas. Second, we have been asked to honor the 15 mph speed limit within the Clear Creek Sports Club. Third, the handler bibs have not arrived – they are in a container somewhere, lost due to a teamster strike. Contestants will be given numbers at their test site tomorrow that are currently being made by volunteers out of paper and tape. Janet smiled when she said, “These are destined to be collector’s items!”

Next, the Judges were introduced. Following the introduction, our Chief Marshal, Jace Tramontine, took the microphone. He gave the following instructions. 
1. Please dispose of dead birds properly, by using the grey trash receptacles by the Clubhouse.
2. Parking: Please follow the directional signs, the road has been made one-way areound the Clubhouse.
3. Watch both your dog and yourself for heat. Bring umbrellas for when you are in the gallery.
4. Dress appropriately for a hunting test.
5. There is water in many of the tests because of the heat. So, don’t be surprised if you see water in a land test.

The Judge’s instructions were given by Mike Collson, representing all eight judges. 
1. Shoulder the gun like you were going to shoot it, “Stand tall.”
2. Challenge the line to the blind. If you see a hazard on the way to the blind, we put it there, so challenge.
3. If you have to handle on a mark, handle all the way to the bird, not just to the area of the fall.

Judge’s pairings:
Flight A: Blake Lemish and Michelle Love; “Donut,” a land/water test
Flight B: Megan Baker and Allyn Foster; “Lakeside,” a land/water test
Flight C: Mike Collson and Corrine Clavey; “Valley,” a land test using all pheasants
Flight D: Bill Blochowiak and Mike Jespersen; “Rifle,” a land test using all pheasants

Flight A: Blake Lemish and Michelle Love 
Flight B: Megan Baker and Allyn Foster

Flight C: Corrine Clavey and Mike Collson

Flight D: Mike Jespersen and Bill Blochowiak

The first handler in each flight came to the podium to receive their hats that stated that they ran first at the 2014 Master National – #128.

Hunting Test Secretary Frank Barton

The four starting dog/handler teams – Lucky #128 (x4!)

The following scratches were given by Hunting Test Secretary Fank Barton:
Flight A: 74, 76, 78, 105 and 114
Flight B: 4, 6, 10, 17, 22, 103, 122 and 136
Flight C: 2, 10, 46, 57, 68, 72, 75, 98, 100, 108, 111 and 142
Flight D: 150

There are a total of 25 scratches
Rotation was presented as follows:
128 – 2 – 27 – 52 – 77 – 102

Next, Gloria Mundell came to the podium. She is the head of safety and introduced veterinarian Becky Malphus, DVM. There will be a safety chairman at each stake. Dip tanks will be at every station and you are encouraged to dip your dog before and after it runs to ensure its well-being. 

Chief Marshal Jace Tramontine and Safety Committee Becky Malphus, DVM
Airing grounds – Please drive only on the firebreaks. Do not drive on the grass.

We had a fifteen minute break so that all of the participants would have an opportunity to go to the Marshal of their respective flight and sign up to work different shifts.

Bill Teague, Chairman of the RHTAC

Doug Ljungren, AKC Vice President for Sports & Events

At three o’clock, Bill Teague, the President of the Retriever Advisory Hunting Test Committee, took the stage and presented the RHTAC Report for 2014. See the report presented below:


Retriever Hunting Test Advisory Committee (RHTAC) Report
Master National Retriever Club’s Annual Event
October 10, 2014
Rolling Hills Lodge, Corning, California

On behalf of this committee, I express our thanks to President Janet Wood and AKC for the invitation to make this report. There are copies of the charge, responsibility and authority for the committee, its membership and this report available for you here today and we encourage you to communicate your ideas on how to improve the retriever hunting test program to any member of the committee. It is not designed to be a ‘gripe’ session but rather tries to look at the overall benefits of any potential change to the entire program. The committee has operated mostly by e-mail and telecoms this year and has received literally hundreds of submissions.

At this time, I’d like to introduce the committee members listed on the roster distributed here today and have each of those in attendance to stand.

You’ll note this committee is appointed by the AKC’s Vice President for Sports & Events, Mr. Doug Ljungren in consultation with AKC’s Field Director for Sporting Breeds, Mr. Jerry Mann. Doug and Jerry are here today, and both these gentlemen have been very supportive and the knowledge, guidance and support they provide is most helpful. Additionally, AKC representative  Mr. Russ Reavis, Executive Field Representative is here today and Mr. Joe Reinhardt; Contracted Field Representative may be here later in the event. Many of us remember Russ; he was MNRC president in 1998 and judged the 2005 event in Palestine, Texas. We welcome each of our friends from the AKC.

The committee will address submissions by any individual involved in the retriever hunting test program, any club that holds licensed AKC events or from the AKC. We’ve tried to keep everyone who submitted items up to speed on the results of their submissions, but if you’ve submitted something and haven’t heard from the committee, please accept our apology and let us know; your submission will be addressed. Only written submissions to the committee are accepted to reduce the chance of misinterpretations.

The submissions are discussed in detail and a committee decision is reached.  The decision may be by ‘consensus’ (all five agree) or by ‘majority’ (4-1, or 3-2 vote). Once the committee has agreed on a recommendation, it is sent to AKC. AKC can accept, reject, or modify the recommendations. Additionally, the AKC can implement changes in the regulations and guidelines without consulting the committee.

AKC made the announcement that this committee had been reorganized and activated at this meeting in 2010. Since that time, the committee has operated openly and sincerely appreciated each submission. I know our time on the program is limited, so if you have questions, any of the committee will be happy to discuss them with you later.

Submissions the committee has reviewed or is reviewing at this time include:
1.     Quality of birds used in tests, suggestion was to require all ‘fresh’ birds, no frozen birds;
2.     Amount of the fee charged to enter tests;
3.     Degree of difficulty of tests;
4.     Better definition of ‘the area of the fall’ on marks and stricter requirements on judges scoring ‘blind retrieves’;
5.     Better definition of ‘return to an old fall area’, including suggested scoring changes;
6.     Limited entries & associated ‘challenges’ in the Master Tests. The committee received ~ 130 suggestions from almost 40 submitters. The committee identified two distinct issues; “Equality” (does everyone  wanting to enter a test have a ‘fair’ chance at entering) and “Quantity”; how can everyone wanting to enter get to enter.  The committee made recommendations to both AKC and Entry Express on June 19. ;
7.     Alternate attention getting devices, i.e., propane tanks;
8.     Change regulation from requiring ‘3 series’ in a master test to a maximum of ‘2 series’;
9.     Adding new AKC title for dogs who pass multiple master tests;
10.  Judges’ qualifications, including requiring ownership of a dog for 6 mos before being able to qualify that dog for judge’s eligibility requirement;
11.  Ability for clubs to offer an ‘amateur’ and ‘open’ master test on weekend tests;
12.  Ability for clubs to offer master tests only for non-MH titled dogs;
13.  Require at least one flyer in every level of testing, i.e., Junior, Senior & Master; and
14.  Require at least one ‘clean’ (no handling) double in a senior test and one ‘clean’ triple (no handles) in a master test;
15.  Give owner/handler dogs priority in entering tests;
16.  Limit # of dogs run by one handler;
17.  Require any dog not handled by owner to earn JH & SH before entering Master tests;
18.  Once dog has qualified for the MN, don’t let that dog enter other Master tests that season; and
19.  Reserve 15% of entries for club determined dogs entered by club workers.
20.  E-Collar issues associated with the recent, national, news stories. All inquiries were forwarded to Chris Walker, AKC’s VP for Marketing & Communications.

Please note these are issues submitted to the committee, so please don’t leave here saying they are new regulations!

I take this opportunity to publicly express my heartfelt gratitude to each of my colleagues on the committee. They have diligently addressed each submission with the goal of improving the retriever hunting test program, and I’m honored to serve with them.

We also take this opportunity to express the committee’s appreciation to each of the submitters for their interest in improving the retriever hunting test program; the vast majority were well thought out and presented well. We also express our deep appreciation to Doug Ljungren & Jerry Mann at AKC and John Stracka at Entry Express for their superb collaboration on difficult challenges. Without exception, each has been open minded, progressive in their thoughts and strongly supportive of changes that will improve the program. While the committee understands AKC has no authority over Entry Express or their business programs, Entry Express has collaborated very well with AKC and those efforts are deeply appreciated.

The committee has provided recommendations to AKC on some of the above and to Entry Express on the issues related to the limited entry option for clubs. Clearly, we understand this is a complex issue and may take a while to implement new changes that enhance the program. The vast majority of the recommendations were for ‘no change’ in the regulations; for example the suggestion to regulate stricter scoring on dogs running blinds & the degree of difficulty of the tests were felt to be a judge’s decision and no further regulations were needed.

Recommendations to AKC ‘so far’ this year included:
ü   Approve the use of alternate attention getting devices, i.e. propane tank devices;
ü  Establish a new AKC title for Master dogs,  Lifetime Achievement Title;
ü  The 200 miles ‘non-compete’ regulation be revised to 100 miles;
ü  The ‘non-compete’ regulation be automatically waived by any club selecting the ‘option’ to limit entries;
ü  Add an option that clubs would be permitted to hold up to six (6) events {currently limited to four (4)} per calendar year. All other related regulations would remain unchanged.

Recommendations to both AKC & Entry Express to address the ‘equality’ (ability to have equal access to entering) and ‘quantity’ (ability for anyone who wanted to enter a test) issues related to the optional limited entries; to AKC:
ü  To Entry Express:
o   Open AKC Retriever Hunt Test entries no more than fourteen (14) days prior to the event;
o   Openings would only be on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday;
o   Openings would be at 4 pm ET for each event;
o   Develop a ‘stand-by’ list that accommodates entries submitted after the limited entry event was ‘full’. When entered dogs are ‘scratched’, dogs on the stand-by list go into the test in the priority they were added to the stand-by list;
o   If multiple dogs are attempted to be entered and there aren’t enough places for all of them, the available places would be filled and the remainder of the dogs go on the stand-by list.
The status of these recommendations are:
Ø  A new AKC title, Lifetime Achievement, was approved;
Ø  The option for a club to conduct six (6) instead of four (4) events per calendar year was approved & becomes effective January 1, 2015;
Ø  Entry Express has a team working to implement the recommendations* and hopes to have the work completed in 90 days from the date approved.
*Based on extensive dialogue between AKC, EE and others, modifications of the recommendations will probably be made, including a longer time (probably 30 days) and later time (probably Wednesday, 8 pm CT) for entries to open and the development of a selective entry system whereby local clubs posting the event on EE will have a priority to enter a certain number of dogs that would be handled by club workers. It should also be noted the opening date is determined by Entry Express and/or AKC.

NOTE: It is expected the systems will be used in good faith and good sportsmanship and not abused or used as not intended.

The AKC will notify the Club ‘secretary of record’ of AKC decisions on new/revised regulations via e-mail. The committee reminds you that any regulation change implemented will be carefully monitored and, if deemed appropriate, additional recommendations will be made.

President Janet, thank you again for the opportunity to bring this info to the assembly and we wish you and the MNRC the very best.

Robert Rascoe
Rich Pyka
Keith Winch
Tom Quarles
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the RHTAC by Bill Teague, Chairman

The “Vision Award” was given to Russ Reavis, by Frank Prendergast. Russ’ greatest accomplishment was writing the “Policy and Procedures” manual for the Master National. It took him two years to write it and fifteen years later, it is still in use.

Russ Reavis and Frank Prendergast

Sam Furguson, 2015 MNRC President
Next, each Sponsor was recognized by Bill Teague by level of donation and what they have given to the club. 

The Treasurer’s Report was given and accepted. 

Nominees for vacant positions on the Board were given and accepted.

Sam Furgeson gave the Judges by region who would judge next year at Cooper Black in Cheraw, South Carolina. The event begins on October 15th, 2015. Michelle Love and Laurice Williams gave a short description of the Cheraw area. We were encouraged to eat grits, drink sweet tea and follow either North Carolina or South Carolina football.

Michelle Love and Drew Neubauer look on as Laurice Williams talks about the 2015 MNRC Event in Cheraw, SC
Bill Teague gave a presentation on the MNRC Foundation. See this report below:

Master National Retriever Club Foundation (MNRCF)
Established December 20, 2013

Establishment of the MNRCF (Master National Retriever Club Foundation) was approved by the Master National Retriever Club (MNRC) Board of Directors and its 501 (c) (3) Internal Revenue Code exemption Determination Letter was received September 22, 2014 and was effective July 7, 2013, EIN is 46-3114401. It is a ‘Public Charity’ under the 501 (c) (3) section and contributions to the Foundation are deductible to the full extent allowed by law. The initial board of the Foundation consisted of John Blackbird, Gloria Mundell, Jimmy Hughes, Bill Teague and Larry Kimble. The Foundation is a completely separate organization from the MNRC which is a 501 (c) (7) organization, EIN 54-1634926.

The purpose of the Foundation is to primarily support programs and projects of the MNRC and has fulfilled that mission since its inception. MNRC projects like the Advanced AKC Seminars, scholarships to Junior retriever handlers, etc. are supported fully or in part thru the Foundation. MNRC members are encouraged to support the Foundation and if you’d like to do that, make your check payable to MNRCF and mail to the contact below or give to any of the current board members. Be sure and note which project/program you are supporting.

If you have any questions on the Foundation, please contact any of the members of the current Board of Directors listed below.

John Blackbird
Gloria Mundell
Jimmy Hughes
Bill Teague
Janet Wood (2014 MNRC President)

August 5, 2014
September 22, 2014

Additions to the report are as follows:

•  At the organizational board meeting, bylaws were approved, officers elected, draft policies were reviewed and other organizational business conducted;
•  Officers & directors elected were: Jimmy Hughes, Secretary/Treasurer, Bill Teague, President, john Blackbird & Gloria Mundell, Directors and Janet Wood, ex-officio Director. Bylaws include the current president of the MNRC is an ex-officio member of the Foundation board for their term.

We were pleased to announce the Foundation board approved a grant request from the MNRC to support two, advanced, AKC Judges’ seminars (Umpqua Valley Retriever Club of Oregon & Western Montana Retriever Club of Missoula, MT) for a total amount of $1,200.


Master National Running Order

Flight Draw & Running Order

2014 MNRC Test Descriptions

Donut Hole


The Valley

Rifle Range

The Corner

Speed Bump




Meet Your 2014 Judges

2014 MNRC Schedule of Events

2014 MNRC Qualified Dogs

2014 Master National Training Grounds Guide