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Derek and Scamp
Derek Tomlinson and Scamp
Kurtis and Ruby
Kurtis Bomgardner with Ruby,
Judges Givens and Bryan

concerned about the distance. We asked Derek to take old Rose out to test the retrieve. With very little handling, Derek got her across to the other side. Rose had to plow through muck and mud to find the bird, but she made it look easy. There was a slight crossing wind that would have been in the competing dogs' favor, but by time we got to the real test, the wind had died, and some of our young dogs were in trouble. We lost three of our qualifying Masters. With some smart handling, and the wonderful spaniel heart, four completed the blind retrieve. I think it's worth mentioning that on the next day, the dogs found that same retrieve with very little handling. Two of the dogs that had NQ'd the previous day completed the retrieve with great courage and intelligence. Special kudos to Kurtis Bomgardner and his springer, Ruby. They flew to Alaska for this test from Northern California, and those two showed us what team work was all about. Ruby qualified both days and Kurtis handled her with poise and grace.

Judges Maggie Lindsey, Joy Bryan,
Jason Givens and Cheryl Sligar

The second day judges were Joy Bryan, also from Alaska, and Jason Givens. Joy is a Gordon Setter hunting enthusiast and judge, but loves to watch the spaniels. Jason commented on how impressed Joy was with the Master Level dogs. It truly was a pleasure to watch trained spaniels work tougher conditions in the field that day, as the sun was coming out more often than not. The cover was dry and warm. The temperature was around 70 degrees, making for poor scenting, but the dogs prevailed. They lost a few dogs that had qualified the day before, and gained a couple of others that had not. Out of the thirteen dogs entered, seven passed. Of the seven Master dogs entered, five Qualified! Congratulations to all dogs and handlers. Even if they did not go home with a ribbon, they should all be proud of what they have accomplished.

As if they didn't have enough of us, on the third day, we all headed out to their regular training grounds in the Eklutna Recreational Area, about 30 miles north of Anchorage. Jason put on a wonderful seminar, taking each dog and working on specific things with them. He showed different ways to plant a Chukar, which is the most popular training bird in the area, and I must say that Jason was sure in his element. His patience and knowledge seemed inexhaustible, and I learned a few new training techniques myself!

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