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Thread: The future of retriever clubs

  1. #41
    Senior Member mostlygold's Avatar
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    I belong to 2 clubs presently. A FT club and a specialty breed club that was orginally founded by field people, so that is still a primary focus. In order to get and keep new members interested in the field aspect of our breed, we changed the way our training sessions were run. We split the session with the morning group being experienced dogs/handlers so that big setups could be done and dogs anywhere from SH to FT level could run them. Experienced members would help less experienced ones with how to run the set up. It gave everyone the opportunity to work on what they needed to and get trial like experience (our training sessions generally run between 35-50 dogs). The afternoon session was for new members, members with very young dogs or members who just want to pursue a JH or WC with their dogs. The emphasis was on teaching the dogs obedience, setting up simple marks and explaining how factors like wind, hills, cover, etc could affect the dog's marking, introducing the dogs to holding blinds, boats, decoys, gunners in the field, etc and teaching simple drills to help with marking and basic handling. The handlers also learned how to handle a shotgun, set up a winger, help a dog when needed and run the line. Running and working lists were made up and emailed to everyone several days prior to each session. Pre-registration was required to help with flyers and running orders. Everyone who ran a dog had to help out either in the field or on line.

    This system has worked out very well. Our experienced members (many of whom had stopped coming) were getting to run their dogs instead of doing all the work. The new members did not feel overwhelmed or embarrassed by what they or their dogs did not know. Best of all, almost ALL of our new afternoon session members volunteered to work in some capacity at our HT. They felt comfortable working in the field and learned a lot by watching dogs run.

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  2. #42
    Senior Member 8mmag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chad Baker View Post
    I can tell you from a guy that runs a large construction company, Flea Mkt, redi-mix concrete company, and a car auction on Monday nights and has two small kids son 3 and daughter 6 Ft's are tough! My daughter is ranked 3 in the mini-hunter division with her Pony and she rides against mostly 10-14 yr old girls (don't have a clue why she would be competitive) and this daddy don't miss many horse shows! I'm going to be stepping away from Ft's except maybe 4-6 trials a year if that. I'm not going to miss my kids growing up. There will be time for Ft's after they leave home and grow up. Having a young family and finding time to train let alone run trials is tough but I have been able to this point to sqeeze it all in but that is coming to a end. I will support my club thru out but my family is going to be my first priority and that is the reason I see it so difficult for young people to be involved in Ft's. I may go to my second Ht next year and just see what they are all about and let the kids run the dogs and see if they want to get involved.
    Chad
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  3. #43
    Senior Member GoldenSail's Avatar
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    As young newbie I want to be more involved but I am limited at this time. Hopefully in a few years I can do more. It is a huge drag though to bring one dog and sometimes two people to help and get stuck volunteering for hours for those people who have 2,3,4+ dogs who then do not always help because they are busy running so many dogs. I really like the idea of signing up to volunteer for x amount of time or x task. Being able to participate and help out but at a level that is appropriate to involvement.
    Last edited by GoldenSail; 10-31-2012 at 03:45 PM.

  4. #44
    Senior Member bjoiner's Avatar
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    The one thing you can do to build members and get them involved is to call newer members individually and ask them to train. Just hosting training days once a month, etc. ain't going to do it. It takes making someone feel wanted and welcome for most people to become involved. A lot of times newer people feel like they are an inconvenience to training groups because their dogs aren't to the same level. Have them run your dogs and help out developing theirs. Take a personal interest in the new ones that show some interest and get them hooked.
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  5. #45
    Senior Member John Robinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chad Baker View Post
    I can tell you from a guy that runs a large construction company, Flea Mkt, redi-mix concrete company, and a car auction on Monday nights and has two small kids son 3 and daughter 6 Ft's are tough! My daughter is ranked 3 in the mini-hunter division with her Pony and she rides against mostly 10-14 yr old girls (don't have a clue why she would be competitive) and this daddy don't miss many horse shows! I'm going to be stepping away from Ft's except maybe 4-6 trials a year if that. I'm not going to miss my kids growing up. There will be time for Ft's after they leave home and grow up. Having a young family and finding time to train let alone run trials is tough but I have been able to this point to sqeeze it all in but that is coming to a end. I will support my club thru out but my family is going to be my first priority and that is the reason I see it so difficult for young people to be involved in Ft's. I may go to my second Ht next year and just see what they are all about and let the kids run the dogs and see if they want to get involved.
    Chad
    I have so much respect for guys like you. My long time training partner retired his six year old FC-AFC for exactly the resaons you state. I think it would be very cool to see a couple National Champions running some hunt test, more than cool, awesome.

    john

  6. #46
    Senior Member blackasmollases's Avatar
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    These clubs are for people chasing titles and ribbons not about having fun with the dogs.[/QUOTE]

    I just want to disagree with this statement. I am a hunter also. But my biggest enjoyment comes from working with and watching the dogs do their work. And doing it proficiently. I hunt wit some guys like you speak of and wish they would leave their dogs at home. Ribbons and titles are a bonus.
    Black as mollases, call name Strap

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  7. #47
    Senior Member BonMallari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Robinson View Post

    I am somewhat mystified at the old pictures of twenty and thirty-somthings that were competitive running field trials in the sixties and seventies, it must have been a very different game back then.

    John
    In many ways the game hasn't changed...Contrary to myth and folklore guys like Lanse,Roy McFall,and Marvin were not born old They were the young guns on the circuit, they were the brash upstarts challenging the status quo, they were the ones clamoring for change back then...

    The status quo consisted of August/Louise Belmont, David/Gretchen Crow and the Wallace's and Murnanes of the world....except that Mr/Mrs Belmont and the Crows actually ran their dogs in the Open on Friday, yes they had pro help Mon-Thurs, but they were right there competing with you, and if you were very lucky, they would even take you to dinner on Fri or Sat night

    There probably wasnt as much of a class segregation as there seems to be now, and if there was the great equalizer was having a good dog that could compete and win

    The pros of yesteryear was a like a traveling carnival show..I will never forget a story told to me by Joe Schomer of how he used to literally carry the fold out sitting chair for one of his well heeled clients, until he was told where to place said chair under the shade of the nearest tree..

    the tests back then didnt have the length that appear now, but the terrain back then seemed to be tougher from the line to the bird

    The one occurrence that has all but disappeared from today's FT venue is the Sat evening tailgate party, it was at events like that where people actually talked and got to know their fellow competitor away from the pressure cooker of the trial,it was a lot like the RTF forum except that you actually faced the person and called bs to their face instead of cross country like we do now...training philosophy discussions were just as heated,gossip was thrown about who was involved with whom, the Rex Carr people all stuck together, they used the same terminology, and they tried in vain to dispel the half truths and the myths that came with that methodolgy

    So in many ways the game hasnt changed..only the players
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  8. #48
    Senior Member EdA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Robinson View Post
    I am somewhat mystified at the old pictures of twenty and thirty-somthings that were competitive running field trials in the sixties and seventies, it must have been a very different game back then.John
    As one of those thirty somethings I think I have a perspective which few currently active people have, and for anyone who thinks things have not changed review the winners of the National Championship Stake from the mid 60s to the early 80s, the winners were predominately amateurs.

    The game has changed significantly and the competitive balance is skewed due to a number of good pros running 15-20 dogs every weekend, this is a relatively new phenomenon which has emerged in the last 15 +/- years. From the perspective of a lifer with a talented 4 year old my chances for the dog to experience success in the Open are enhanced by having him run in the Open by a top 5 pro rather than me.

  9. #49
    Senior Member suepuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdA View Post
    The game has changed significantly and the competitive balance is skewed due to a number of good pros running 15-20 dogs every weekend, this is a relatively new phenomenon which has emerged in the last 15 +/- years. From the perspective of a lifer with a talented 4 year old my chances for the dog to experience success in the Open are enhanced by having him run in the Open by a top 5 pro rather than me.
    Ed, that's kind of sad....has the training changed that much over the years, dogs that much better, a combo of things? I would have a tough time with letting that go. I enjoy what I do with the dogs and what we accomplish. To think that in order to let a talented dog I own be competitive I'd have to send him off instead of doing the majority of the work myself is a little depressing....I don't mind sending a dog off, and I do, but the joy of the bond and working together towards a goal gives me that warm fuzzy feeling...sorry...girly thought interjected here.

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  10. #50
    Senior Member BlaineT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeOverby View Post
    There are a myriad of reasons the "young-uns" dont give as much as some of the "older" members and I won't sit here and make excuses for any of them. However, I will say that to truly be involved in this sport it takes more than just attending an event or two or joining a club. It is a lifestyle that we live. Many of my friends my age have young families, meager financial resources, and other "prioroties" in their lives. Our HRC club is comprised primarily of "young" board members and volunteers. Matter of fact, there are only 3 on the board over 40...our Prez, VP, SEC, Treasurer, and every single committee head is 35 or under. I hear every excuse under the sun at every single event we have as to why people cannot be in attendance. IMO, it is poor time management and poor prioritization...until I look at it from their shoes...that said, how do we attract and retain new blood? I don't know that its one thing in particular. Our club is comprised mainly of "our" training group. A bunch of like minded individuals doing what we love, sharing our time, talents, and other resources simply because we need each-others help, like one-another, and want to. Try putting some "younger" members in decision making roles. LISTEN to their thoughts and ideas. Believe it or not, we actually have some good ones from time to time. You want to attract and retain new members?? Easy, give them a reason to come and stay a while...give them a job....but don't boss them around. Make them an IMPORTANT part of the club's success and recognize them for their hard-work. IMO it's that simple...but then what the hell do I know...I'm one of these crazy retriever game fanatics....i just happen to be under 35.

    Joe is right on with our club. Somehow we just found a group of guys and a few ladies that enjoy training and working together. We have differing age ranges and of course differing levels of dogs. We have young guys new to dogs and a couple veterans that have been doing it as long as some of the guys have been alive. Fortunately we dont have the problem of guys not pulling their weights when we get together. No matter who shows up with whatever level of dog- there is someone that is willing to help him/her if they need it. We are all the kings of sarcasm so you better have thick skin but guys like Jim Hodges and Bruce Overby and Joe help all of us that need it. We'll set up whatever ANYONE needs for their dogs and let everyone have equal line time if they want it. working on concepts and training tips. And were constantly talking and planning the "next" hunt test and everyone has a JOB and is used to get the event pulled off. this was a small club that was struggling first few years but this fall we had over 300 dogs and 3 finished flights go off without a hitch all weekend, because everyone TOOK ownership in the Test, talked it up at other hunt tests and worked our tails off and had a great time.

    For those that are struggling to find a place. Heck do like I did. Find a pro somewhat locally to you that is involved with the club. Our local pro said- call or come by anytime (I'm NOT sure he thought I'd bug him as much as I do) when he first invited me...lol. But if they invite you- GO and don't get in the way and help anyway you can. I did it and now end up, up there just about every week sometimes 2 times a week.

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