What Are Youth Field Trials?

What Are Youth Field Trials?

Youth Field Trials are non-sanctioned events for pointing dogs handled by junior handlers. Unlike sanctioned field trials, the dogs’ wins are not recognized. The purpose of youth field trials and training events is to introduce kids and young people to the sport of field trialing and hopefully maintain their interest. There are several field trial clubs in parts of the US with much experience conducting youth trials. Most active have been clubs in Alabama who have been hosting youth field trials for over 30 years. Run under Gundog standards for junior handlers up to the age of 17, the Alabama clubs award an annual Youth Handler of the Year college scholarship of $1,000 as well as a Runner-Up trophy. Several Georgia clubs followed suite in 2019 offering a slate of youth stakes recognized by the Dixie Trace Field Trial Association that also award a college scholarship to the winningest handler. This year (2023), a new club was founded in North Florida, the Pinewoods Bird Dog Club that will host two youth trials in the fall and spring, both recognized by by the Dixie Trace Field Trial Association. North Florida also boasts the popular Butch Bennett Memorial Youth Field Trial run in March on the beautiful quail-rich grounds of Old Meridian Plantation. Alabama, Georgia and Florida have done much in the last several years to increase the number youth stakes and training events. How clubs conduct their youth trials and stakes differs based on many factors. What’s most important is getting kids involved in our sport in whatever ways clubs can best manage to do it as part of their field trial program. We hope this website will encourage field trailers around the country and in Canada to host trials, add youth stakes to their regular roster of events and to put on training days to help kids prepare to run dogs in trials. The website also aims to connect individuals and clubs new to hosting youth events to those clubs with more experience.