Beginning in 2016 the NGSPA began holding two Invitationals: the Open Shooting Dog Invitational (OSDI) which was first held in 2012, and the Amateur Shooting Dog Invitational (ASDI) first held in 2016. Both events provide a unique qualifying standard for the GSP Shooting Dog. In June 2018, the NGSPA Board approved the establishment of an All-Age Invitational with a format along the same lines as the Shooting Dog Invitationals except for the Call Back which would be a 90-minute stake instead of 60 minutes
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 and the all age GSP. They are not intended to identify a champion performer, but to establish the “best of the best” from a field of champions.
To fulfill 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 for shooting dogs and three and a half hours of performance over three days of competition for all age, 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 GSP 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.
- 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.
- Shooting Dog Invitationals dates will be in late November or early December.
- All-Age Invitational dates will be in the late 4th quarter or the first part of January.
- 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 prepare without 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.
- 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” “.
- Shooting Dog Invitationals the duration of the heats for all three days shall be one hour. All-Age Invitational the duration of the heats for the first two days shall be one hour. The call-back will be 90-minute heats.
- Drawing and bracing is unique to this event. First-day dogs are drawn as usual. The 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 on a course that will not be used again that day. In this case the bitch in season plus two more bitches must be drawn for the same half-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 is given to show the dog is according to normal Championship guidelines.
- If a handler pulls out his tracker or puts his dog on a lead at any point in the running before the judge's call time, then the dog is out of contention for the entire trial. The dog shall not be returned to judgment.
- 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, the judges shall decide whether to postpone the running and for how long. If during the running of a brace, then they may decide to either rerun the brace or wait out the weather and restart the clock. If substantial time is lost so that the running cannot be completed in a day, the running schedule may be adjusted, but any accommodations made will not cause any dog to run two one hour heats in one day.
- Dogs called back by the judges will run the third day. These will be the best dogs in their judgment, not necessarily “perfect” dogs. A minimum of four call-back dogs is recommended, but the number is up to the judges.
- As with the first two days, interference should be the only reason for ordering up a dog during the third day. The standards of running and the weight of the third day’s running shall be the same as the first two days. A flawless three-day performance of pedestrian quality should not be favored over one that, although imperfect, thrills with the magnitude of the effort. The Champion will be named considering all three performances.
- Judges should pay particular attention to the stamina of the All-Age dogs which ran in the 90-minute call-back. The endurance aspect of this Invitational is extremely important to the breed.
- All ties which have a possibility of affecting the invited dog lists will be broken by a random draw conducted by the NGSPA Board while in session at their June meeting or conducted by assigned disinterested Board member(s) if circumstances warrant.
- A Runner-Up shall not be named.