RetrieverTraining.Net - the RTF banner

What is your opinion about the current health of field trials?

  • It is healthy the way it is now.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,234 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
There seems to be some disagreement over the general health and welfare of field trials.

My impression, what I have been told by the experienced FT people I know and respect, is that there is serious need for new blood. (With the possible exception of Texas where, I am hold by these same people, the sport is flourishing.) These people have been in the game for decades, and travel all over the country judging. Could they be mistaken?

They tell me that the average FTer is getting older; that there are fewer and fewer younger people to hand the reigns over to, and fewer and fewer people to come out and work.

The number of trials is still up, and generally growing. The number of dogs entered is still up and generally growing.

Let's not let these discussions degenerate into the "reasons why." Let's stick to the facts and opinions about "how it currently is."

What are your impressions about the current health of the FT sport? Does it need new blood?

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,166 Posts
I don't have numbers at my fingertips, but I rather doubt the number of actual trials is increasing. Seems to me that clubs are holding fewer trials, or opting to go minor-stakes only, or folding up their tents entirely, as two clubs in my immediate area have done in that last year.

Lisa
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,234 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Lisa Van Loo said:
I don't have numbers at my fingertips, but I rather doubt the number of actual trials is increasing.
I was going by the general trends I have seen in the numbers printed in RFTN.

I don't remember us being in a decline, but I don't remeber for sure.

Someone might post up the figures.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,166 Posts
it has been my observation that volunteer organizations which do not successfully recruit new blood wither away.

i think the sport is in need of new folks.-paul
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,005 Posts
dogs

All Age entries were up in 2003. I would say the sport looks fine. If the entries got any higher, we would have to consider limiting entries. :lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,616 Posts
Re: dogs

Mr Booty said:
All Age entries were up in 2003. I would say the sport looks fine. If the entries got any higher, we would have to consider limiting entries. :lol:
I'd really like to see some stats on entries per per person. It is my theory that there are fewer people running more dogs, hence total entries are up but there are fewer handlers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,388 Posts
Ed

Most of the people that I know who have played this game a while share your belief - that is, there are more dogs, and less handlers. My off the cuff observation would be that is so.

Ted
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,005 Posts
dogs

Ed, if your hunch is correct, what is the problem? To me it would be like winning a stakes and complaining to my trainer that we won ugly.

All Age entries have been increasing over the years. Without over-analyzing it, I say, "great". I beleive the economy will dictate the FT entry numbers a any given time more so than average age of the handlers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,388 Posts
Booty

If the numbers are as Ed suspects, that means that there are more dogs entering trials, and fewer people to put on the trials. Witness Ed's last judging assignment.

Ted
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,940 Posts
IMHO the answer is really all of the above.
FT dog entries are up but like Ed et. al. I believe the # of FT handlers is on the decline. (Not to mention the average handler age)
The next decades will require new people with new ideas to solve new problems as FTs/RAC/AKC react to internal and external forces.

The questions are: Where will this new blood come from? Where do we need to go shopping to attract the next generation? Is the status quo sufficient to attract new people? If not what changes do we make to preserve the sport? (What I call preserve another may call ruin :wink: )

Tim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,005 Posts
dogs

I understand the issue. With large entries, a club should be able to hire good help. I was at SLRC weekend before last and probably go to Mobile this weekend. Two very different clubs in terms of active FT members. SLRC is loaded with help from members and they hire 12-15 high school ball players to help throw and do the dirty work. Plus they hire Garnett, M Smith's helper. The two most powerful folks in the club, usually through their demeanor intimidate most newbies, yet the club thrives. In Mobile, they there are only a handful of FT members. A lot of the folks pitch in and help them out. They do hire the help that they can.

I see new folks at trials all the time. Aperson that is going to get into the sport and stick, is going to no matter what. It is determined folks that are the backbone of the mechanics at a trial, new or oldtimer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,234 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Tim Carrion said:
The questions are: Where will this new blood come from? Where do we need to go shopping to attract the next generation? Is the status quo sufficient to attract new people?
Is that Kevin-one-note I hear warming up in the wings? :wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,005 Posts
Tim Carrion said:
The questions are: Where will this new blood come from? Where do we need to go shopping to attract the next generation? Is the status quo sufficient to attract new people? If not what changes do we make to preserve the sport? (What I call preserve another may call ruin :wink: )

Tim
Good questions. I've said before on this forum that Retriever Field Trials is the best kept secret among waterfowlers! From a marketing standpoint, I would label the efforts to expose FT's to a larger audience as "Sleepy".

I'll start at the top. The folks on both the NRC and NARC boards, the RAC and fine folks at RFTN are all obviously wonderful, dedicated, salt-of-the-earth people. Promote the sport? They seem to be lost on a big hunt out of the area of the fall. I would say that RFTN is one of the few speciality publications without a TV show! Want to attract more interest in the sport, put it on the tube. That goes back to who is more popular in America, Mike Lardy or Mike Stewart? I'd bet the latter. When was the last time a club secratary invited the local outdoor writer to come out and watch, maybe shoot some flyers and have lunch on the club?

FC AFC represents the highest level of retriever work, yet receives the least amount of media attention compared to the other retriever games. I'm sorry, but there is something wrong with that picture. We should be leading the way instead of riding in the trunk! There has to be more vision from the top.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,279 Posts
Excellent point

That is an excellent point Mr. Booty.

Are you tired of hearing the question..........so you do that stuff like I see on ESPN?

What are some of the ways that trial people can make the sport appealing to shows like ESPN?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,005 Posts
Re: Excellent point

Ken Guthrie said:
What are some of the ways that trial people can make the sport appealing to shows like ESPN?
I would think that RFTN needs to lead the way. Afterall, they are the keepers of the gate and responsible for all Public Relations for the two national clubs.

They could do what other publications due. Create a TV show and handle it as a profit center. It would cost about $250,000. to $300,000. to shoot, produce and air 12 different shows, replayed several times a year. That includes the cost of buying the airtime from one of the two fulltime outdoor channels. Too expensive trying to get it from JM Productions which owns the block-time outdoor time slots on ESPN. With as large a amrket as there is for retriever related products, there should be no problem in selling $300,000. to sponsors annually. Don't forget that Labs and Goldens are one and three in term of popuality in America. The residual benefits would be increased advertising in RFTN, increase in subscriptions and other benefits. They could raise their ad rates! They could use TV to drive more folks to their website increasing banner ads. There is a ton of stuff they could do if they thought there was a need for it. Least of all, it would help keep the sport popular and help insure its future.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
I feel one of the problems is that the number of real outdoorsmen (hunters) is declining, therefore our sport declines. We are not PC and neither is hunting. The new members we see coming into our club are hunters, I think I am the only person in our club who has never hunted, though I do buy my license. Even here in Oklahoma the number of hunters is down. Our club is hoping to sponser a hunter safety class this year for that reason. Though we still host 2 ft and 2 ht each year. I fit the catagory of a newbe (wannabe) as I got my first dog 4 years ago and joined a club. I have since then worked every event we have had, chaired 2 hunt test and been field trial secretary. But i guess I am a little crazyas I was last in the sport in the early 70's out in CA and wish it hadn't taken 30 years to get another dog. And worse yet I really believe this dog I have can be competitive as an all age dog. I do think that the clubs that adapt and seek out members will survive. Those that don't, in the long run will fall. But I think the slowdown we are seeing is part of the overall slowdown in outdoor activities (consumptive) we are experiencing in our country.
Art
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,388 Posts
I think Art brings up some excellent thoughts.

Hunting is not politically correct.
Retriever sports involving the shooting of live birds is not politically correct.

To this, I would add

There are fewer and fewer places on which to train or test dogs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
Ted,
I met you at the Tulsa field trial at Crook's last october during the amateur. You didn't seem overly arrogant to me. I was the one who had the son in the hospital who broke away from there to go help. Are you coming for our spring trial? I will be running the qual for the first time in 30 years.
Art
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,005 Posts
dogs

In making progress on an issue, one can only direct their efforts to things they can control. We can't control the economy, political correctness, or the age of someone who becomes serious about Ft's. However, an organization can control its visabilty in the marketplace. A business or organization can die like a lamb or live like a tiger.

There are a lot more FT clubs around today than there was 25 years ago. If some of the clubs fail, then there were too many clubs serving the market. Supply and demand basics.

All businesses and organizations have leaders. Are our leaders doing an effective job or are they just good retriever folks? I don't know the answer, maybe someone could tell me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,388 Posts
Art

Yes, I remember meeting you last Fall. Your club put on a nice trial. The coffee and donuts were a nice touch. I was running around like crazy that weekend - 2 dogs in the Open/Am, 1 in the Q, and 1 in the Derby.

I wish that I could be there to defend Ace's Amateur win - BUT - I have to earn my keep.

Good luck in the Q

Hope to see you this Fall at your trial.

Ted
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top