History of the Formation of the Canadian National Master Hunt Test
Hunt tests were first established in Canada in order to promote the natural abilities of retrievers. Dogs and handlers are tested against a standard, not against each other. It has become clear, however, that an additional challenge was necessary for those people who have achieved their Master Hunter or Grand Master Hunter. Like the AKC, we were aiming to offer an opportunity for those people to compete in a national event which will bring together the best hunting dogs in Canada.
The Master National Hunt Test initially had no affiliation with the CKC. Testing will be closely based on current CKC Master rules but every effort will be made to utilize very realistic hunting scenarios and equipment on both land and water and in the upland test. For the first year only (2005) any CKC Master Hunter, AKC Master Hunter, UKC Hunting Retriever Champion and NAHRA Master Hunting Retriever is qualified to enter. Qualifications for future Master Nationals will be based on achievements within the CKC and AKC programs only.
The first Canadian Master National Hunt Test was held September 6, 7, 8 and 9th, 2005 at Luther Marsh, Grand Valley, Ontario. Grand Valley is located north of Toronto, west of Orangeville and east of Arthur. The Horseshoe Hunting Retriever Club hosted this event. The three judges were Ray Bester from Ontario, Ross Peden from the West and Clifford Romain from the US.
The second Canadian National Master Hunt Test was held August 30 to September 4, 2006 at Hullett Marsh, Clinton, Ontario. Clinton is approximately 3 hours west of Toronto near the shores of Lake Huron. Judges were Susan Taylor from the West, Walter Vessey from the East and Peter Wyckoff from Ontario. The host club was the South Western Ontario Retriever Training Club.
The third Canadian National Master Hunt Test and the first offically CKC sanctioned event was held September 16- 21, 2007 in Brighton, Ontario. Judges were Sue Endersby from the West, Garry Taylor from the Prairies and Brian Dempsey from the Maritimes. The host club was the Eastern Ontario Labrador Breeders Association.
When we first started the ball rolling towards having a sanctioned CKC National Master Hunt Test Stake, we asked clubs if they would be willing to be "Charter Members". This was a one time "offer" designed to show national support for the idea of a National Master. Charter Members will always be listed in the annual program as such, and on the web site. The $100 fee for Charter Membership was used in many ways to deal with initial expenses - club mailings (we're hoping to work strictly through email from now on to save money), conference calls, meeting rooms, incorporation, the fee for the Canadian Master National Club to join the CKC, seed money for the host clubs of the first two National Masters which were needed to show the CKC and the Retriever Council that the event was viable, etc. We have 40 Charter Members - clubs, individuals and OnLine. As with the National Retriever Club of Canada, we are now asking CKC hunt test clubs to join the Master National club for an annual fee of $50.00. This money will be used for purchasing rosettes, bird bands, conference calls, CKC annual club dues, etc. A complete financial statement is available from Joe Bourgeois, our Treasurer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In order to become a CKC national club, we needed to have Directors from across the country. We were pleased when Brian Dempsey from the Maritimes, Terry O’Reilly then Sue Taylor from the Prairies and Anne Everett from BC agreed to become Directors. In the past year or so since we have expanded, we have been able to get national input which has been essential in forming a national club. But, going forward, we all wanted the Canadian Master National Club to be truly representative of CKC hunt test clubs and their members, the "grass roots" if you will, and be elected, not appointed. It may be that hunt test clubs from across the country will ask the people who have been involved so far to stay on as Directors. We do need additional people, though, as each zone will have two Directors. As well, input from all member clubs is welcomed at the Annual General Meeting. In this way, starting in 2008, we will have a truly democratic club that will reflect the wishes of hunt test people from across Canada.