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NGSPA Shooting Dog Invitationals
Current 2017 Points (Updated 3/31/2017)

Beginning in 2016 the NGSPA will hold two Invitationals: the Open Shooting Dog Invitational (OSDI) which was established in 2012 by Hayley and David Killam and the inaugural Amateur Shooting Dog Invitational (ASDI). Both events provide a unique qualifying standard for the GSP open shooting dog.

By limiting the entry to twelve top performers from the previous year’s major trials, the NGSPA Invitationals become the “de facto” all-star events for the open shooting dog class. They are not intended to identify a champion performer, but to establish the “best of the best” from a field of champions.

To fulfil this purpose, the Invitationals feature a unique format intended to provide a fair and rigorous test for the dogs. By requiring three hours of performance over three days of competition, the Invitational format eliminates, to the extent possible, the “luck of the draw”, and requires consistency of effort rather than a single flash of brilliance. Further, the Invitationals are the premier endurance tests offered by the NGSPA and are intended to exemplify the endurance of the open shooting dog at its best. Our format is modeled after the American Field Open Quail Championship Invitational which was first held in 1941, and the AFTCA Invitational.

Standards for Both Open and Amateur Invitationals

The Shooting Dog Invitational Champions must demonstrate the requisite qualities of the shooting dog class at a high level. The invitational Champion must:

  • Hunt boldly and independently throughout the brace, and should not require excessive direction from the handler.
  • Demonstrate qualities of the finished dog by consistent coursing to logical objectives, responsiveness to the handler, and maintaining a forward pattern.
  • Exhibit strength, courage, and an unquenchable desire to find game regardless of cover or conditions, not simply choosing the easy path but hunting through habitat likely to hold game.
  • Exhibit style, speed and stamina in action.
  • Handle game correctly. Locate and point birds quickly and accurately, back if the occasion arises, and be steady to wing and shot.
  • Demonstrate extreme character and finish around game, exhibiting style, intensity, and polish.

The Invitationals seek to identify the epitome of the shooting dog class, an individual with strength, courage, intelligence, and “game sense” at the highest level. A flawless performance of pedestrian quality should not be favored over one that, although imperfect, thrills with the magnitude of the effort.

Format

  • The location, dates and judges will be selected by the governing Associations.
  • One day between events allows dogs in both to have one day off. No other special accommodations will be made.
  • The ideal location will provide neutral grounds where no other GSP Championship is held. Nor will the grounds be available for GSP training. They will offer excellent and challenging shooting dog cover and terrain. They will offer at minimum three one-hour continuous courses with each hour section offering comparable terrain and challenges to the other two.
  • Excellent infrastructure is important to conducting an event of this stature.
  • The dates will be in late November or early December.
  • The ideal judges will possess “best of class” reputations with a proven history of having judged top level Championships throughout the country. They will be judges with little or no experience adjudicating GSPs and GSP handlers. This is to mitigate even the appearance of partiality.
  • Twelve dogs will be selected from the 12 months beginning June 1 in year “X”, and ending May 31, in year “X+ 1”. This deviation from the normal calendar-year allows time to train and preparewithout allowing excessive time to lapse between qualification period and trial date.
  • The prior year’s winner will be the first dog invited. The remaining dogs will be invited based upon their appropriate“ Dog of the Year” points, adjusted to the Invitational 12 month cycle. The point structure is from the Handler of the Year Points System, but limited to all NGSPA Championships and Nationals. The dogs will be invited based upon the order of their final earned points with the highest point earner being invited first and so on. Dogs whose owners have declined the invitation will be replaced by the next dog in order, until there is a field of 12.
  • The ASDI dogs must be amateur owned and handled.
  • Sufficient birds will be released to provide numerous opportunities to locate and point game.

Running Guidelines

  • All three day’s performances will be evaluated by the judges to determine the Champion.
  • The judges will consider that some so called “accepted rules of performance” are merely guidelines and not rules. Examples may be :”two non-productives and you are out”, or “a bird taking flight during a relocation automatically means that bird was “bumped or knocked” “.
  • The duration of the heats for all three days shall be one hour.
  • Drawing and bracing is unique to this event. First day dogs are drawn as usual. Second day’s bracing will be made by the trial officials so that all dogs will have a different brace-mate, a different course, and those dogs having run in the morning will run in the afternoon and vice versa. The only exception being bitches in season which must be run the last brace of the day. Call-back bracing to be made by trial officials in consultation with judges.
  • After the second day’s running, the judges shall call back at least two dogs, or more as they determine. These will be the best dogs in their judgment, not necessarily “perfect” dogs.
  • Dogs shall not be ordered up in the first two days for any reason other than interference. The overall quality of the performance over the two days will be evaluated as the judges identify the “call-back” dogs.
  • A dog does not have to be seen at the end of the brace in the first two days of running. A brace is complete when the judges order the dogs up. The dog must be seen after the end of the brace on the third day. Time given to show the dog is according to normal Championship guidelines.
  • If a handler pulls out his tracker before the judges call time then the dog is out of contention.
  • Dogs shall be run in braces except for the possibility of a dog becoming sick or injured on the first day so as not to run the second day. Then one dog will run as a “bye” dog.
  • In the face of adverse weather or conditions, if a decision is made to run that day, then the running should continue until the end of the day regardless of how ”tough” it gets.
  • A Runner-Up shall not be named.
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