NAHRA - North American Hunting Retriever Association
Last Updated July 30, 2015
Plan Now for the 2015 NAHRA Invitational
From our President
My fellow members,
We are just about at the midpoint of 2015 and the testing season. I hope
that everyone is having a great start to the summer and that you have had
the chance to get those NAHRA dogs out to a few tests. I myself have had
the opportunity to attend a number of early tests this season as a handler
and also in the judging chair. As do many others, I find judging a
meaningful way to give back to the program that has made me successful in
producing some fine retrievers. I think I enjoy judging the lower stakes
the most as it gives me a chance not only to see what is in the pipeline in
NAHRAs future but also to relate to the junior handlers and their young
I think everyone should consider judging as I believe it offers a unique way
of observing dogs and their handlers at work. It provides a firsthand look
at how dogs work a given scenario and also the dos and don'ts of handling.
While for me it is sometimes difficult to watch handler and dog crash and
burn, it is more rewarding to watch them nail it!
I encourage all judges to keep current with the program by attending as many
seminars as you can. While one every three years is the requirement,
attending additional sessions will help you improve your skills and provide
valuable exchange with your peers. Furthermore, even if some of you never
plan to become a judge, attending a seminar can enlighten you as to the
expectations of judges in a testing situation. You will be better dog
handlers for it and your dogs will definitely benefit from your increased
knowledge of testing.
Speaking of Judges, congratulations are in order to Debbie Brennan who has
joined the 100 point judge club becoming only the 7th NAHRA judge to attain
that status. Debbie has been one of those people who is always willing to
pitch in and devote a weekend to our dogs. I have personally run under
Debbie many times and have also judged with her. She has been a fair and
consistent judge in our program for many years, a dedication which has
earned her a spot on the 2015 NAHRA Invitational Judging Panel.
Congratulations Deb, and thank you so much from all of us for your
generosity in offering your time to the NAHRA Program!
The 2015 NAHRA Invitational in New York is just around the corner with
entries closing June 29th. I am hopeful that all who were attempting to
qualify made it in the door and will join us in August. Even if you are not
running and have the means, stop in and check out NAHRAs elite retrievers
doing what they do best. The host club, Leatherstocking Hunting Retriever
Association, will throw a great time for all as they have done in the past.
And by the way, there is still time to support their raffle or donate to the
event. Just go to the Invitational Website and contact the committee.
The NAHRA BOD has rolled out several initiatives this year already and we
are anxiously awaiting to see what fruit they will bear. The Future
retriever program is doing quite well registering over 150 new NAHRA members
to date boosting our membership to heights not seen for over 5 years!
The Electronic Entry pilot year has come and gone and the BOD has decided it
is time to make e-entry a permanent NAHRA part of our business plan.
E-entry via Huntsecretary.com will become mandatory effective October 1,
2015. This is a change from our August target date to accommodate test
plans already in the pipeline. While there have been some growing pains for
clubs using the system, most have been worked out without incident and all
who have used the system seem to be pleased with the results. I will
repeat, e-entry will become mandatory starting October 1, 2015. No paper
entries will be accepted after that date. Late entries, as in the past and
conforming with the NAHRA Regulations, will not be accepted. Check out the
NAHRA Website for revisions to the e-entry process or contact the Office.
For over 30 years, NAHRA has charged a $5.00 fee per entry. This has
allowed NAHRA to administer the program and maintain records. Furthermore,
along with membership dues, this has been our principle source of funding to
operate the program. Unfortunately, I must announce that this long running
fee will have to be increased in order to maintain our current financial
status. Starting January 1, 2016, fees will increase from the current $5.00
for NAHRA members and $10.00 for non-members to $8.00 and $15.00 per entry,
respectively. This was a necessary and inevitable increase. The BOD felt
that increasing membership dues (which were reduced a few years ago) was not
in our best interest and that a user fee was the correct direction to
sustain our finances.
As you have probably already been following, NAHRA has established a high
point dog program to reward participants in each level of testing per
region. High point dogs for each region will receive a T-shirt indicating
that they are the "NAHRA High Point Dog" for the calendar year. So get out
there and get those qualifications! NAHRA has established a 500 Point Club
that awards all senior level dogs a certificate of achievement for earning
500 lifetime senior points. This award was established for those handlers
who aspire to achieve higher recognition beyond the GMHR level but may not
have the means to attain the GMHRCH title within the dog's lifetime. It's a
great way to stay in the game and to earn a special award for an already
NAHRA would like to announce a new product! The BOD has approved the
development of a new patch bearing our recently adopted logo. The patches
have been produced and are available from the NAHRA Office for $10.00. This
will allow our members to sport the new logo on the clothing of your choice
and hopefully advance the NAHRA name. The proceeds from our first stock
will be used to fund future garments that NAHRA will make available. A
special thanks to Alaska Regional Director Mike Hemmer for generously
funding the first shipment of patches that got the ball rolling!
A touchy issue but I believe it needs to be said. From time to time things
do not come together for whatever reasons and a field test event must be
cancelled. The BOD fully understands this but we must indicate that
cancelling tests can have other farther reaching ramifications than just an
inconvenience to some. Over the past several years, there have been some
cancellations that do not make sense given the numbers of entries that were
registered at the time of cancellation. While we understand that clubs
normally set a ceiling for entries to cover costs, in several cases, the
numbers were pretty reasonable. That leads us to speculate that maybe some
test formats may have to change to suit the current market for entries.
Clubs may have to change the way they present their weekend and focus
primarily on the field test. That is, maybe all the frills that we once
enjoyed might not work anymore. The BOD understands that some clubs hope to
make a profit through an associated banquet and raffle. Unfortunately, they
are not getting the support they used to get so clubs may need to turn to
alternative means of fundraising. There are several strong clubs out there
that might be of help to those who are struggling. Contact your Regional
Directors to see who they are and how they may help.
The most important thing to the club, the region and to NAHRA is that tests
be held and be the focus of the weekend. The most glaring example of how a
cancellation can impact the club and the organization is when a new handler
enters a test that is eventually cancelled. This can turn the new handler
in a different direction and they may seek to run another venue, especially
when this happens more than once. We have a lot of new members from our
Future Retriever Program and they will quickly lose confidence in us if we
are routinely cancelling tests. Think about what you can do to prevent any
further cancellations by talking to your RD or a member of the BOD.
As I indicated in an earlier message, this will be my last year on the BOD
and a new leader will take the reins and lead NAHRA into the future. A
successor has been identified so I feel better about leaving the BOD.
However, we will also be losing a couple other BOD members at the end of
2015 and new leaders will need to emerge. This is the point where you say I
don't have the time and turn away. I hope you won't do that and pitch in to
take care of this great program. Step up and take your turn, I have done so
for nearly 11 years, a period much longer than I had hoped (maybe others as
well) but I did my part. Now NAHRA and I need you to do your part!