The 5th AKC National Tracking Invitational (NTI) was held at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Clermont, Kentucky on September 17-18, 2011. This event was open to dogs that had earned the Champion Tracker title from January 1, 2005 to June 30, 2011 and garnered 46 entries; the highest number of entries ever received for this event. A drawing of entries for ten tracks was completed on August 18th at the AKC Operations Center in Raleigh, NC and exhibitors were notified they made it into the event.
This was the second year that the NTI was held at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Clermont, Kentucky. As with all events, this event is reliant upon many volunteers and we would like to thank the more than 20 volunteers who gave up their time to help facilitate this event. AKC would like to especially thank Holly Leale, owner of Argus Ranch Facility For Dogs in Auburn, Washington for her continued sponsorship and support; Susan Ritter, Marketing and Communications Officer at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest; the members of the Mid-Kentucky Kennel Club & Greater Louisville Dog Training Club; the Tracklayers without which the dogs would not have had any scent to follow; as well as the many Track Supporters and Well Wishers that made monetary donations to the event.
The National Tracking Invitational had a large gallery of spectators follow the dogs on track to watch them navigate a trail of scent across vegetated and non-vegetated surfaces on tracks of at least 600-700 yards. Two dogs passed the test this year; they were CT Eastern Waters’ Sea Zephyr VCD3 RE MXJ NF, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever owned by Doreen & Gary Palmer of Columbia, Connecticut and CT Montage Surfs Up VCD1 CDX PT, a Belgian Tervuren owned by Maura Hogan & Kathryn Madden of Syracuse, New York. Thank you to judges Herb Morrison, Carol Ruthenberg, Roy Fair and Sally Diess for their passion, enthusiasm and dedication to the sport of Tracking.
We would also like to thank the following staff members for their commitment to the future success of this noble sport: Diane Schultz, AKC Obedience/Rally/Tracking Field Rep and NTI Event Chairman; Lisa Strickland, AKC Project Administrator and NTI Event Secretary and all around go-to person to make the event happen; and also special thanks to Caroline Murphy, AKC Manager of Coonhound Events for designing the artwork for the commemorative event souvenirs.