Our NGSPA Board of Trustees has made one of the most important decisions in our history. We have decided to relocate our National Championships from Booneville, AR, to Grovespring, MO. We came to Booneville in late February, 2018, with high expectations. The reports from the fall trials were that bird carryover and grounds were the best ever.
We were shocked to find that we could use only one course which some described as a “race track”. It was so muddy that some proposed to cancel the OSD saying that riding was too dangerous. Additionally the birds rarely flew because they were so wet and unhealthy. There was a widespread sentiment that something had to be done. This was the worst, but the last five or six years were also problematic. Over 50% of the time we could only use two courses, and in the “good” years there were parts of courses 2 and 3 that were under water.
We have been happy with the work that Red and Brad have done to improve the grounds, but nothing can be done about the water and the negative impact it has had on the running of what we declare to be the best National Championship in the GSP world.
We reviewed available National Championship quality grounds and identified one that stood above the others, Grovespring, MO. We toured the grounds, met with the three person Board that oversees it, and we all agreed that this venue not only met, but exceeded our search criteria. There is no doubt in our minds that these grounds will test and challenge our dogs in ways that will lead to continual improvement of our breed.
There are three continuous courses offering a variety of groomed open fields with long tree and shrub lined edges that hold birds and show a dog well. Most of the turns flow nicely, but still require the dogs to go with their handlers. There are some hills, mixed cover and shallow creek crossings that add variety and challenge. The cover holds birds and the courses will challenge dogs, handlers and scouts. At the same time the best dogs will show well. The ground drains quickly and mud is pretty much non-existant.
In our search we found that the best venues were nearly fully booked with limited dates available for an event the size of ours. At Grovespring there were only two time slots, and the earlier one was not suitable. Our 2019 Nationals will begin on Saturday, March 30, and run through April 13 depending on entries (15 year calendar giving the Saturday start dates). The weather patterns should be good for running dogs with evenings in the forties, and days in the sixties or low seventies. Some possibility of rain but no snow or ice. Unlike the drive to Booneville in late February, it is doubtful that any attendees will encounter hazardous road conditions.
The biggest challenge will be that over the past 30 years, the dates of various NGSPA trials and individual training programs have been harmonized with the dates of Booneville. Our new dates will be disruptive in the short term, but in most cases reasonable options exist. We had no choice other than to remain at Booneville, and we considered this to be unacceptable. We trust you will agree.
We are excited to invite you to join us for the historical first break-away at the new home of the NGSPA National Championships in Grovespring, MO.
The NGSPA BOARD OF TRUSTEES