Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Idaho NSTRA Trial

The Judges and Winners

Cap, me, Paul (Trial Chairman)

Between the beautiful country, vistas that stretched to next week and the welcoming spirit of the club members, we had a great time at the field trial.  About halfway through the trip up to Idaho, actually Washington, we missed our last fight but our dog did not.  Cap spent the night in the Spokane airport being walked by the baggage people and watered and fed, too.  By the time we got to baggage claim at noon the next day, he was a rock star!  "Oh, Cap! Yeah, he's down there behind the ticket counter in his own room on a blanket!  It's my turn to walk him, you aren't taking him, are you?"  The Delta people were wonderful.  They called me on my cell (number written on the kennel in indelible ink and on his collar) the night he showed up and told us they had him and not to worry. It made for an exciting travel day, no doubt.

We got to the trial grounds, just south of Asotin, WA, early on Friday and met a few of the folks.  Then, we eased back in to Asotin just in time for the County Fair! That was fun, with animal shows, livestock auctions, funnel cakes, bands, roping, rodeo, cowboys and cowgirls, beauty queens and a tractor display.  Got to love America!

About 5 miles south of the fair, on top of the cap, at the end of 10 switchbacks and a fair climb, the grounds were ready for us.  Big, fairly flat with tall CRP grass, they were a lot different from what we see here in the southeast.  Cap ran big against the setters of the NW Region, but seemed to be getting acclimated each run.  By Sunday, on his 4th brace, he came alive.  We were running a nice setter with an experienced handler on their home field, but Cap decided enough was enough. He came off the line like a rocket, make a loop and locked up about 100 yards ahead.  The judge raised his arm and I started to him.  He stood like a picture...stretched out, head high and stubby little tail straight up.  I walked to his front and kicked for minute and had to turn him loose to re-locate.  He took 2 steps and locked up again.  I walked farther up an saw the bird running.  I kicked it up and dropped it and he retrieved to my hand.  Off again, he locked up again and another bird in the bag.  On the third bird, I missed, and the bird flew off the field and down in to a steep canyon.  I told the judge I'd wait a bit to see what would happen.  He rode his ATV to the edge, looked down, and yelled to me, "Hey, call your dog!"  Cap came up out of the canyon and across half the field and put the bird in my hand.  "Nice shooting, knothead!" he said, and was off again.   One more bird and we had 4 nice finds and moved into the lead.  At the end of the day, we were bumped out of first and took a second, and we were darn proud to do it!  They have some great dogs up there in the NW Region and we were lucky to get out of there with any sort of dignity.

I have nothing but fond memories of the visit, and, while I don't know about flying all over the country to run trials, we decided this was most definitely worth the effort.  Next up: Waverly, NE and a National Trial! Get ready Cap, here we go again!