The iconic Beaver Valley Pointer and Setter Club, located in Rochester Township in western Pennsylvania, held its Annual Youth Trial and Clinic on Saturday August 14. This is the second year the club has hosted this event, and it has been a very successful event; this year was no different. Ten enthusiastic youth ranging in age from 5 years old to 17 years old attended and by all accounts had a fantastic time! After a slight delay in the start due to several roads being blocked due to a severe storm that had come through the area in the early morning, Meredith Mays started things off with a brief gathering of the youth, where she explained how field trials work. Accompanied by several volunteers and volunteer dogs, the “students” were given some basic ideas on how to handle a dog, along with some training tips from the professional trainer Mark Hughes. Then, it was out to the field with the dogs to see how this all works! Youth were paired off with volunteers and volunteer dogs, and with plenty of quail to go around, yard work was begun! The young folks, with their mentors alongside, figured out the basics in pointing dog behavior! Then, after a brief recap, it was back to the clubhouse for a filling lunch of hamburgers, hotdogs, potato salad, chips, and plenty of desserts. Special thanks to our resident “chef” Joe Camissa, who handled the grilling duties with plenty of food for everyone.
After lunch, it was time for the “field trial stake.” Running a 15-minute loop, each youth and their dog and adult mentor was braced with another, and after the birds had been planted, it was out to the hunt! Every dog had at least one bird, and there was lots of shooting of the blank pistols, and lots of whistle blowing (two favorite activities at these events!). After the last brace, the placements were announced, and everyone received some cool stuff to take home.
This was a great day. The weather was perfect, the dogs behaved (more or less!), and this reporter isn’t sure who had more fun… the adults, the youngsters, or the dogs! Let’s just say everyone really enjoyed the day, and the kids can’t wait to do this again. One of the participants whom this reporter “mentored” said “I can’t wait until spring when I can run my Viszla puppy in a real puppy stake here.” For everyone in the field trial community who has been scratching their heads wondering how we can grow this sport, I think that comment pretty much answered the question. If we want to keep bird dog field trials going, get your club to sponsor a youth trial. It’s worth its weight in gold.
This event could not have happened with plenty of volunteer help. First and foremost, Meredith Mays, owner of Double M Gaited Horses in Renfrew PA organized this event from start to finish. This was a huge task and Meredith did a great job. She was helped by club members and volunteers who planted birds, mentored the youngsters, volunteered to bring dogs, feed the kids, and the many jobs that must always be done at a field trial. Thanks to Mark Hughes, Chris Catanzarite, Norman Meeder, Joe Camissa, Mike Fox, Al Fazenbaker, Justin Mason, Jim Winnen, Bob Winter, Scott Patrick, Kara Thatcher, and TJ Stewart.
Last but certainly not least, the company sponsors. Purina Pro Plan, our steady rock in field trial support, was there. Joy Dog Food, another long time stalwart of the field trial world was supportive as well. Lion Country Supply, long time supplier of field trial equipment, was on hand. Both the Beaver Valley Pointer and Setter Club and the Oak Ridge Pointing Dog Club gave their much appreciated support. Certainly the Youth Field Trial Alliance, operated under the sanctions of Strideaway provided their support as well. Please support these organization as they have supported us!
Let’s hope we see more of these kinds of reports in the Field. If your club is interested in sponsoring a youth event, be sure to contact the Youth Field Trial Alliance; they will be happy to guide you through the process.
Al Fazenbaker, reporter
Youth Field Trial Alliance is proud to have Beaver Valley Pointer & Setter Club as one of our financial sponsors since our inception in 2019. Thank you.