At least once a year I attend an AKC Midwest Association trial. This is a chance to evaluate my dogs in a format that is different than what I usually run. I can also see some of the dogs that are having success in the trials. For the second year in a row I went to Wurtland, KY and ran in the 15" male class at their Large Pack trial.
They had 22 entries and there were several nice hounds among them. I ran Chip and he made it through the first two cuts, but got picked up when they went down to eight. I was a little disappointed in his performance because he just didn't run up to his potential. He had a chance to get to the final eight but didn't get a big score or two when he needed it.
Dad ran Stubby and he ran well. He made it to the end, but didn't place. He had three of the last four checks right in front of us so I was pleased that he was still running well at the end. He ran like you would hope a mature 4 year old hound would run, showing independence at the checks and the ability to do the hard work. Depending on who and what the judges were looking at, he could have placed anywhere from 3 - 6.
Hot Head was a star for a while, and really had some nice checks. He got rough on a twisting, turning chase and didn't make the cut to 12. This was no surprise. He is really coming into his own and getting stronger all the time. At 2 1/2 years old, he shows a tremendous amount of potential.
I picked the first and second place hounds. Both did a lot of work throughout the day. Nate Harris and Joe Clark judged and I thought they did well. They judged on horses and a lot of the cover was thick sericea. It makes you feel good about the judging when you pick first and second place and it is the same as the judges.
Two of the final eight hounds really fell apart towards the end. They backtracked several times and blew up chases by barking in the checks. Somehow one of them even placed. It happened in front of the gallery, which was a shame because I thought there were some really nice hounds in the final 12.
It was a fun day with a chance to visit with friends and see some nice dogs. I wouldn't want to go to an AKC trial next week, but it was well worth it today. Nate Harris, Jamie Blair, Gary Harless, and everyone at the trial made us feel very welcome.