If we're worried about the pro knocking the amateur out, easy solution Limit on # of dogs any single handler can run @ a test or at a stake. The Pro would be more prone to run the dogs they knew were ready, rather than pushing entries because it's a double master, and you leave the spots open for Amateur Handlers. Realistically thought in AZ they ended up having 5 spots open each day, for their double master, with everyone pulling out after limiting out way in advanced.
The entries are becoming so large that the club can't support enough grounds, equipment, workers, and last minute judges. It's better to limit entries than to cancel the event due to its own over popularity.
The ratio of dogs versus humans at a hunt test has become way too low for the sport to be healthy. Who would have thought having too many dogs at a hunt test would cause a problem?
So... Now that we've had a few months to see just how many clubs would take advantage of the new rule allowing them to limit Master entries, I'm curious as to what others are seeing.
It seems more clubs, than not, are imposing 60 or 120 dog limits.
Master stakes are filling up weeks or months before the official closing date.
Junior, Senior and O/H Qual entries at those tests tend to be much smaller than in non limited tests.
With the fast approaching Master National qualification deadline (July 31st), it appears that many entries were for insurance purposes and as dogs get qualified at other tests, handlers are scratching out of future tests that were limited out. In some cases they are doing so before the close, thereby opening a spot for someone else, in others, it's post closing and clubs are losing out on those entries and giving partial refunds (in accordance with their scratch policy).
Many handlers still needing a pass or two to qualify can't find a test to run, due to limits.
Handlers moving up from Senior to pursue a Master title are finding it difficult, in some cases to find Master tests to run, since most are filling up so early.
So, although the rule is beneficial to clubs with limited grounds or help, are you seeing any other positive, negative or unexpected consequences in your area?
My club is a very small one, and our grounds are quite limited. If we ever had to split we would be in big trouble, LOL.
I don't see that limiting entries is a problem for the volunteers... if they are waiting until the last day to enter they are taking a chance just like anybody else. When I want to enter a limited test, I know darned well that if I want to ensure my ability to enter I need to do it early.
Setting limits makes things easier for the club, they know ahead of time what they have to provide. The problem of volunteer help is, in my view, a separate issue.
It has to be very difficult to arrange for extra judges, land, throwers, ducks, etc. in a matter of a few days. The limits will make it easier to set up good tests...no doubt. On the other hand, limits will, without a doubt, cause someone to get shut out of a HT. The unintended consequences are yet to be discovered. We have SEVERAL HT's within a reasonable distance but we also have several conflicts that make it difficult to enter enough tests. This spring, one was cancelled because of Easter and on conflicted with the Grand. This fall, one conflicts with the MN and one with the Grand. In addition, the number of tests available to tune up for the MN and get started on next year's MN is limited. The early date for the MN and date change of one test from mid-Sept. to early late Oct. has left one HT within reasonable distance to get ready for the MN. Take a look at the entries for the Kansas City RC test in Sept. and see the result. I think the limits will make for a LOT less stress on the committee members and better tests but I'm not sure what can be done to allow adequate access to everyone.
It's poor planning to asume that your help is going to come from the participants. It's one thing to have something come up during the event and I've seen just as many pros step in as AM's. Other areas of the country may be different but we don't sign up a test then sit back and hope enough "volunteer" handlers sign up.