With the 111th running of the National Championship for All-Age dogs due to start on Monday, February 8th, at the famed Ames Plantation I wanted to let folks know about Brad Harter's series of DVDs of the event.
While I largely field-trial vizslas and exclusively, for now, in AKC trials, I did get out to the American Field's Northeastern Open Shooting Dog Championship this past October and while only able to watch a single day did get to see the brace that produced both the winner and runner-up. In short, I like watching birddogs of all shapes and sizes run hard and find birds. Even if some of them are largely white and have long tails. And while it might be a while before I can get to Ames, I wanted to get a sense of both the location and the action.
While nothing can substitute for watching a performance in person, Brad has been documenting the Nationals on film for over 20yrs. (He has also served as the trial's official reporter for several of those years, too.) And between carrying his own camera and having others strategically positioned on the course, he misses very little of the birdwork and captures a whole heck of a lot of the excitement. While editing with the benefit of hindsight can certainly help frame a great performance, it was pretty easy to see that Gary Lester's Bud (Lester's Snowatch) had put down a heck of a race -- and therefore why, in judges' minds, Bud's total performance had eclipsed that of 2006 winner, Shell Creek Coin, despite one fewer find. The interview with Gary Lester at the end is a nice tribute to both man and dog.
With many of the contenders from 2009 -- Bud, Coin, Game Maker, and Strut -- nominated to run again next week, this year's National should be an exciting one. Unless you're lucky to get there yourself, in the meantime treat yourself to 90mins on the couch and not 9 days in the saddle.