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Website created & maintained by Andrea Shaw
Every year the HWA Field Nationals draws participants who come from as
far away as California, Texas, Ontario, Alabama and the Carolinas – and more.
Though the Nationals have many repeat attendees,we always delight in
welcoming newcomers ~ and puppies can learn to hunt with us!
HIGHLIGHTS ~ from our 2015 milestone event.
September 11th - 13th, 2015
We invite you to visit our facebook page ~ and visit our site again soon ~ as we will be posting more event updates, gallery photos & new Title-holder spotlights.
Please click here to visit our 2nd page
that features more photos and info
about the 30th Nationals.
"Kira" earned her Master Hunter
title at HWA's
30th Field Nationals!
She's pictured at left
with her proud
Michael Sites, and
& Kim Burrier.
"Kira" ~ our breed's newest MHF Title Holder!
The 30th Anniversary HWA Airedale Field Nationals was a long time coming – it took 3 decades to reach this milestone! In 1985 HWA began as a committee of our breed’s AKC parent club, the Airedale Terrier Club of America (ATCA). In 2007, HWA incorporated as an independent organization. This anniversary year it was wonderful to join again with the ATCA to have an ATCA Fur Test as part of this year’s Nationals. Though the Fur Test rules and procedures were the same as in past years, the symbolic significance of the two Airedale clubs working together for the good of the breed brought to mind a refrain we’d hear repeated over the weekend: “It came together well”.
We kicked off the weekend with our traditional Hospitality evening at our HQ hotel, the Quality Inn in Chillicothe. This year’s Hospitality was sponsored by Pamela Tanner and Mike Logsdon – to the appreciation of all – who enjoyed a good meal along with time to meet up with old friends, and to make some new ones.
Friday – Day 1 of the 30th Nationals
Our field events started as we headed out to Holly Hills Game Preserve, where our club has found a home for the past few years. The ATCA Fur Test had an entry of two Senior Test entries and nine Junior Test entries. Our judges were Lawrence Alexander and Chris Halvorson, with Kim Burrier acting as the ATCA Liaison for the Fur Tests.
Lucy sounds off & shows off her raccoon find
to owner/handler Isaac White, after she
qualified in the ATCA Fur Test.
While the Fur Tests entrants were running their courses, the Beginners’ Retriever Workshop brought together a good group of Airedales and owners ready to learn from professional bird-dog trainer, Bridget Bodine. Bridget was well-prepared to help those with no prior experience, as well as work with those experiencing problems or snags in their training. The workshop also reconvened in the afternoon.
The morning’s activities wrapped up with the Barkathon. The Airedale that barks the most barks in one minute wins a small prize, as well as the honor of being known as the biggest barker. In this fun event, any Airedale can take an individual turn barking & jumping at a safely-caged raccoon suspended in a tree. Other owners with leashed Airedales are nearby, and encourage the working dog, with group barking. This year’s winner was "Filson", owned and handled by Kate Ostrowski. Filson barked 84 barks in 60 seconds. That's a lot of barks! True Airedale people appreciate this feat, that's an innate "prey-drive" indicator in this breed that we love so well.
At left, "Keeper", owned & handled by Kim Burrier, works the caged raccoon in the Barkathon.
Airecraft Kira Stella Sites
Friday’s afternoon's events began with the Hunting
Instinct Test’s first group of pups & dogs with no
field training. Sherri Glass, an Airedale breeder who
has decades of experience assessing pups, was our
test evaluator. Spectators gathered on the lawn to
enjoy watching the pups go through their test experiences that included meeting and reacting to a live, caged raccoon and live birds; tracking and finding a dead bird; retrieving bumpers; testing prey drive by chasing a toy; hearing gun fire; and trying out some swimming.
Unexpected and comical antics are typical for Airedale puppies, and we can always expect a good laugh or two when observing them learning. For instance, one pup – who was just delighted with himself to find a dead chukar that had been hidden for him in the tall grass – had to progress to his next exercise: he was supposed to go to another part of the lawn and chase and retrieve a bumper. Several throws later (with a choice of three bumpers) the pup showed no interest at all in retrieving. Instead, he ran off - back to the tall grass where he’d found that first chukar. He found it again and proudly carried it to back to his owner, clearly saying: “THIS is more like it!”.
In the latter half of a warm Friday afternoon, Bridget Bodine resumed her Beginners’ Retrievers' Workshop at the pond for some water retrieving practice.
A spectacular, milestone event for HWA, all of our participants,
members, guests, spectators & judges had a great time.
By 4:30, we gathered back at the Holly Hills clubhouse for our HWA Annual meeting. Credit for making all the day’s events run smoothly and on time goes to Event Co-Chairs Patricia Nemeth and Kate Ostrowski, and their team of volunteers. Dean and Marsha Hatfield, owners of Holly Hills Game Preserve, are the unsung supporters of our event. Their approach of “whatever you need,” goes from supplying raccoons and birds, to fancy cakes and meals, as well as hands-on help and hospitality in whatever has to be done. As we left our Annual meeting for an evening to recharge our batteries for the following day's tests and activities.
Saturday, Day 2 of the 30th Nationals
Weather is always a factor at outdoor events, and we luckily “dodged” the cold front that blew through southern Ohio in time for Saturday morning’s tests. The breezy & cooler morning stayed rain-free and perfect for upland tests. This year we had six Junior Test entries (some running a test for the first time) as well as one Senior Test entry, and two Master Test entries. Our judges were AKC Upland judges John Dudash and Sam Stazzone.
After lunch the Retriever Test land series with AKC judges Ed Zawodny and Leslie Phillips took place in an open field just beyond the backyard, giving spectators an excellent and accessible spot for watching all the action.
The running order called for the two Master Test contenders to go first, followed by the Senior entry, and then five Junior entries. The Senior dog and two Junior dogs would get qualifying scores in the Retriever Test land series, though all the dogs and handlers put in a good effort.
A notable team in the Junior Retriever Test was Laser with owner/handler Linda Sorak. Laser is a 5-year old dog with multiple obedience and agility titles, as well as a Junior Hunter Fur (JHFur) title, but had no prior training for a retriever test. Linda had Laser entered in Friday’s Beginners’ Retriever Workshop. Laser’s practice sessions had observers telling Linda she should have entered Laser in the Retriever Test. As HWA rules allow for “walk-up” on-site entries under certain conditions, Linda put in a late entry that got her into the test on Saturday. We were glad she did, since Laser passed the Retriever Test land series – with enthusiasm!
Saturday’s schedule also included a second group of pups and young dogs doing the Hunting Instinct Test in the morning, and a late afternoon session of Bridget Bodine’s Senior/Master Skills and Drills Retriever Workshop.
The advanced workshop was helpful to Airedalers who need to acquire the training and handling techniques used by trainers who prep their Labs and Flat Coats for retriever tests.
We could have used more hours to practice those skills, but the day was coming to a close and it was time to get ready for the evening’s big event – our HWA 30th Annual Banquet and auction.
The picturesque setting at Holly HIlls Game Preserve
near Chillicothe, Ohio – where we are always warmly
welcomed – again was the perfect location for this event.
This year there were three qualifiers in the Junior Fur Test. The high-scoring Airedale running was Lucy, owned and handled by 14 year-old Isaac White. Isaac and his mother, Katherine, had started Lucy in a few prior HWA events. They were set to attend last year’s Nationals, when Isaac’s sudden cancer diagnosis forced them to switch plans and spend the past year with Isaac undergoing hospital treatments that would have daunted the strongest amongst us.
In 2014, the HWA Board dedicated the 29th Nationals to Isaac. This year, we were thrilled that Isaac was able to join in the 30th Nationals with a clear health report – and an Airedale set to go! Lucy made him proud, and we all beamed for Isaac!
tThe Junior dogs ran first, with some promising work from dogs and trainers just starting out. Though we had only one Junior qualify in the land portion of the test, they will all be strong contenders next year. Milo, owned and handled by Lawrence Alexander, gave a great demonstration of the bird finding, flushing and retrieving expected of Junior dogs. Milo’s performance made him this year’s winner of The Gunners’ Award as the dog the Upland gunners chose as the one they would most like to hunt over. By the end of the morning, Filson, owned and handled by Kate Ostrowski, had passed the Senior Test land series – and Kira (pictured above, at left), owned and handled by Michael Sites, passed the difficult Master Test land requirements. All three dogs would advance to the water series of the Upland Test on Sunday morning.
Click here to read about the happenings
that went on at HWA's 31st
Field Nationals (Sept. 2016).