Don't forget the 12 passes ASSUMES the dog qualifies at all of them. You gotta figure in a fail or 2. We are not only speaking of young dogs or 'new to master' game' (ie. from field trials), but any seasoned dog with mulitiple master passes can fail on any given day.
And there still is the issue of the greenness of the handler or handler error (or lack of experience) at any given test.
You know, that one whistle that was just a tad late and you lost your dog.
Agility does this at some of the various organizations and it works. But the AKC won't consider the MH, MH1, MH2 (or MHX) which works for obedience and agility, so why would the MN BOARD be different from any other stogy governing body in Field events?
I like the regional idea somewhat. If you had a regional qualifier, say a 3 or 4 day test, I might run that even though I would be unlikely ever to go to the MN even if qualified. The problem with the regional qualifier is that it adds more to the time and expense of that pewter plate with the qualifier and then the whole MN grind. Would probably limit the MN to the pros and retired.
Why not split the thing into several MNs? Have four smaller ones around the country? It is just a hunt, test after all, so it isn't like some folks would have an advantage by running against a weaker field. Plus, that would allow for more fact finding junkets for the MNRC powers that be, so they would be all over that :)