Northcentral Region American Bloodhound Club Spring Trailing Trial

Reported by Janet Kelly

As in recent years, the Prairielands Bloodhound Club hosted an ABC mantrailing trial in conjunction with its Regional Specialty weekend.  The event site was Comlara Park in Hudson, IL, just north of the show venue and host hotels.  Comlara Park is a McLean County facility with varied terrain, wooded areas, campgrounds, picnic areas, boat launches, and stunning views of Evergreen Lake (900 acres of surface, 22.5 miles of shoreline).  It is a superb venue in which to hold a trailing trial.  Thanks to the efforts of Event Chair Don Ozee, the site was secured for our use on Wednesday and Thursday, May 26 and 27, 2010.

Judges, entrants, and interested parties came from far and wide to participate.  Each judge traveled many, many miles to support the cause of mantrailing bloodhounds.  Don, although from Illinois, still traveled hours to attend.  The other judges for the event were Karen Leshkivich (New York), Jan Rothwell and Beth Mares (both from New Hampshire), and Janet Kelly (New Jersey), who also served as Event Secretary.  Special thanks go to Jan and Beth for agreeing to share judging duties for someone who was unable to do so.

Our entrants also journeyed from afar—Wisconsin, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Maryland.  We appreciate the interest and dedication of these handlers—it is often difficult to expend the time, energy, and funds to travel these distances.

The weather, typical of the Memorial Day season in central Illinois, was hot and humid.  There were thunderstorms each afternoon that fortunately did not interfere with the trials—only with placing a few of the advanced trails.  The sun was shining ever so brightly throughout each trail, leaving many to wish for some cloud cover!  Despite these conditions, many of the hounds rose to the occasion and “gave it their all” in pursuit of an ABC mantrailing title. 

The ABC was honored to have two American Kennel Club officials attend the second day of the trial.  Mel Stewart, Executive Field Director, and Lisa Carroll, of the Performance Events committee, were able to follow along on several trails, see what the sport entails, watch the dogs excel at their natural abilities, review our rules and regulations, and spend time with us, conversing and learning about our breed and our Parent Club titles.  Both Lisa and Mel also traveled long distances to attend, and we appreciate their, and the AKC’s, interest and support.

There were twelve trails offered for the two-day event.  All trails were filled; unfortunately, one entrant had to withdraw.  Eleven trails were run, with six successful trails completed—a passing rate of 55%, which is average for most trials.  Each successful hound received an ABC Certificate and rosette for their efforts.  Each successful bloodhound was owner-handled.

Congratulations to the following new titleholders and their handlers:

New MTI—Ch. Huggable’s Fine Memory, TDX CD RE MT (“Lottie”)
handled by Judi Young (WI)

New MTI—Ch. Quiet Creek’s Tell Me No Secrets, TD MT (“Caleb”)
handled by Jan Rothwell (NH)

New MTI—Jo-Li’s Jacob Marley, Ghost of Christmas Past, MT (“Murphy”)
handled by Amy Binder (PA)

New MTI—Sherick M&M’s Finally Red Hot!, MT (“Fin”)
handled by Molly Nye (NC)

New MT—Ch. Boxford’s Bentley of Huntsalot (“Bentley”)
handled by Mike Gilbert (NC)

New MT—Wychway’s Heir of The Dawgg, CDX RE (“Cosmo”)
handled by Beth Mares (NH)

The MT (sixth title) gained “Cosmo” entry into the ABC Working Dog Hall of Fame!

Trailing trials are quite labor-intensive.  In addition to the judges, hounds, and handlers, other “support” people are required to assist as trail-layers, transport personnel, and hospitality.  A very sincere “thank you” goes to the following folks who volunteered to make our event a resounding success—Sheri Leyrer (honorary “bloodhounder”!), Carolyn and Don Whetstone, Earl and Amy Binder, Judi Young, Mike and Paula Gilbert, and Mike and Terry Bonnell.  Jan and Beth, in addition to judging and handling, did “triple duty” and also assisted as trail-layers.

Prairielands Bloodhound Club members Chris & Bryan Flessner and Nita & Joe Greenwell provided the hospitality—and we are most appreciative.

Not only was there camaraderie out at the park—the trailing group had dinner get-togethers each evening.  It was so nice to spend social time with good friends and celebrate achievements.

Trailing is a wonderful way to bond with your hound, get some exercise, and have fun!   It is terrific to see our breed “in action”, doing what they were bred to do.  It is a learning experience for all involved, even when the outcome of a trail is not successful.  Everyone is encouraged to attend a trailing trial, observe, and participate—guaranteed to be a positive experience for handler and bloodhound!

Until the next time, happy trails to all!

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