I have not been running my dog in Pointing Dog Field Trials long enough to appreciate how much work goes into actually putting one on. Frankly, the ones I have attended ran so smoothly they seemed as if there was much effort behind it at all. Last weekend my understanding and appreciation changed dramatically.
Somehow I was volunteered into volunteering to be the Chairman of an upcoming field trial, with all the assurances the regulars would help and guide me through the uncharted territory.
For me, I like to work from To Do lists, and so with the help of www.akc.org, the previous field trial secretary, and the current field trial secretary this is the list I came up with.
Trial Approved by AKC
Ribbons & Plaques Ordered
Judges Hotel Rooms
Arrange P/U of Judges if needed
Horses for Judges
Birds Reserved (3/Entry)
Send out Premium
Porta Potty if needed
Water Troughs for dogs and horses
Tables for food
Captain of the Gunners
Field Trial Signs
First Aid Kit
Budget for field trial
All of which sounds pretty easy when in list form but each item can end up taking substantial time. Lucky for me the grounds had already been reserved so my first task was to find the judges with the help of some very resourceful club members, a half dozen or more calls and e-mails and in a couple of days I was able to round up the 4 judges we needed. Of course I then had to figure out what Stakes they were to judge, and as one judge was running dogs in 2 of the stakes he was place first and the rest fell into place.
So with the judges decided AKC had to be notified. The F/T secretary did that, but not before we decided the order of the stakes, whether they would be retrieving or not, and how much the entry fees would be. In the meantime the former F/T secretary was putting together the Premium.
All this information was submitted to AKC when it was pointed out to be I was charging the wrong amount, and the judges have been put on the wrong stakes. Again the secretary did a wonderful job sorting it all out, and then the Premium was able to be distributed after AKC's approval of the event.
Having spoken with the judges I knew their needs and made hotel reservations on their behalf. Fortunately they would all bring their own horses and transportation.
Someone along the way volunteered to take care of breakfast. I planned a lunch menu, and all the other tasks were systematically covered. All told to this point I had probably invested a couple of solid hours.
The day before the trial I would gather up all the necessary items to feed 25 people 2 different lunches as well as getting judges gifts and thank you cards. Including the prep time on the food I spent 5 ½ hours on this task.
The next morning I began to load up everything on the list. That took an additional 3 hours.
I had to drive about an hour out of the way to pick up 200 birds, which by the way made a very stinky mess of my trailer. And at some point I still have a 2 ½ drive to return the cages the supplier let us use.
Arriving at the grounds I inspected the course, set up what I had to set up, and waited for the help to arrive. This was another 1 hour process.
I started lunch both days around 10:00am. By the time I had cleaned up it was 2:00… so another 8 hours of lunches feeding 16 – 20 people each time.
I passed out ribbons, thanked folks, drove the dog wagon a few braces, and was the last to leave. After packing everything back up of course.
Too tired to unpack Sunday night I did it on Monday night, and that took another 2 hours.
The point is this. There is a lot of work that goes into a field trial. Volunteer to help. Thank the people that do. This experience has given me a new appreciation for the people that make this sport so fun. And special thanks to the following:
Terry Bomer – wonder woman, former secretary, bull dog, go getter, and invaluable.
Sarah Messer – thank you for acting as Secretary and doing your part to make it smooth.
Kirk Bomer – Thanks for the dog wagon, captaining the gunners, your advice and help, bird planting and everything else. And especially thank you for letting us use your trailer as base camp and the awning to get out of the rain.
David – thank you for such a great attitude, willingness to help, taking all the trash away, and just being you.
Chris – Thanks for showing up and being a part, driving the dog wagon, and awesome attitude.
Haley Killam – takes for the lunch dish and breakfast tacos.
Terry Bomer, Eric Sailors, James Messer, Ron Hudson – Thank you all for judging, for donating your transportation and other expenses, and for making the trial a surprising success.
Gene Mosley – Thanks for showing up and hosting. You are a tremendous asset to the club and to the sport of Field Trials.
If I missed someone let me know. I am not beyond adding to the list.
Happy Field Trialing.