Monday, March 10, 2008

Survival Mode!!

National Red Setter Championship and Futurity
Run Under Grueling Weather
Picadilly named 2008 Champion
Her Ruby Red Slipper Futurity Winner

The National Red Setter Field Trial Club hosted its National Championship, Futurity and supporting stakes at the Central Kentucky Wildlife Management Area in Berea KY under some of the most adverse weather conditions in recent club history. At the drawing on Wednesday, March 5, Trial Chair Tim Hammons noted that the weather forecasters were calling for a significant reduction in weather quality on Friday, with the possibility of rain, sleet, or snow developing along with dropping temperatures. The weather forecast turned out to be correct on all counts.

Roger Boser flushes a quail during the Thursday braces

The National Championship began on Thursday morning, with pleasant temperatures and near perfect conditions for running dogs. Although the grounds were a bit muddy, the horses had good footing, and braces run that day had a good time of it, including the eventual Champion, Picadilly, owned and handled by Roger Boser of Seven Valleys, PA. After 6 braces on Thursday, however, things deteriorated rapidly. Friday morning found the judges and handled thrown into a driving rain, with falling temperatures and significant wind, making for brutal conditions for dogs, horses, and humans. Staying dry in such conditions was nearly impossible, and dogs and horses struggled over muddy courses now covered with water and sleet. Wind chill factors pushed the efforts into the danger zone. By afternoon, conditions had deteriorated to the point where the Board of Directors quickly met to decide a best course of action. With one brace of the Futurity completed, it was decided to call it quits for the day and see what the next day would bring. Meanwhile, the walking stakes, being run on another course east of the horseback courses, were fairing in similar fashion. The general membership meeting and awards banquet was held on Friday evening, and by the time the attendees had headed to their cars or trailers to rest for the night, a thick coating of ice had formed over the area. Temperatures plummeted to the teens, and sleet and snow pelted the grounds; later that night, snow covered the Kentucky landscape. Al Fazenbaker & Joe Edwards loading dogs into the wagon on Saturday

By Saturday morning, the grounds had received several inches of snow, and the temperature was holding in the teens. After a conference with the judges and Directors, the decision was made to make an initial attempt to continue with a brace of the Futurity, and from that, to determine whether it was feasible to move forward.

Gallery braves the elements on Saturday

Of greatest concern was the ability of horses to handled the frozen grounds, with a mixture of ice, snow, and mud making it potentially dangerous for horses to maintain their footing. The judges, Tim McClurg and CW Sheldon, were to make the call. After running the first brace of the day, it was decided to move on. The snowfall from the preceding night, coupled with the continuing snow, had provided enough insulation so that the ground, while muddy and sloppy, was not frozen, and horses were able to obtain good traction in spite of the poor conditions of the weather. The Futurity pushed forward, and was completed by around 3 pm on Saturday. Soout Roger Boser at the line with Futurity winner Ruby. Wind was gusting to 40 mph

Al Fazenbaker's "Her Ruby Red Slipper" won the top spot, running in continuing snowfall and subzero temperatures. With temperatures expecting to drop into the night, it was decided to run the puppy stakes rather than move into a protracted stake with the All Age and Shooting Dog. With only 5 puppies to run, the judges were heading to the barn by around 5:30 pm, with Flushing Whip Roger Ramjet taking the puppy blue for Al Fazenbaker. With clearing skies, the temperatures now plummeted. By Sunday morning, the sun greeted the red setter gallery with a balmy temperature of 8 degrees! Joe Edwards prepares to flush over his dog in the All Age stake on Sunday. Weather was still cold, but sunny.
But, with the clear skies and sun warming the earth, temperatures rose again, reaching the mid 40s by early afternoon. With the return of near normal temperatures, the All Age stake, won by Aiken (Roger Boser) and the Shooting Dog stake, won by Picadilly (Roger Boser) were completed by 5 pm Sunday.

And a good time was had by all!!
When the going gets tough, the red setters get going!!
Thanks to NRSFTC Board member Tom Norton for the great pics!

1 comment:

BlacknTan said...

Congratulations Al and Deb!

and to all the participants for dealing with the harsh conditions..

Good stuff!