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Event Guidelines and Rules

General Guidelines: To be followed in all series.

• We are judging each team’s ability to handle both trial and test scenarios.

• Competitors, judges, and participants should demonstrate the highest degree of sportsmanship at all times. The World Retriever Championship is a celebration of the best of our retriever sports. Please imagine that every moment in the holding blind, at the line, or in the chair, you are on worldwide television broadcast and conduct yourself accordingly.

• Training will not be permitted by any team, (handler or dog) on event grounds (Flint Oak) on or after April 1, 2006.

• There will be no training on the grounds during the event other than a hand thrown bumper or two to loosen retrievers up prior to running.

• No retriever shall wear a collar while in competition.

• Wearing of electronic collars on any dogs on the trial grounds shall not be permitted, regardless of any dog’s competition status.

• Corrections or the use of corrective training devices on the grounds shall be prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of whips, quirts, canes, prods and electronic collars.

• A retriever will walk to the line at heel, off lead and under control from the last holding blind.

• Handler will signal when ready to judges before each series begins.

• The handler should consider the judges as companions, and may ask questions, but this does not relieve the handler of his/her responsibilities concerning marks or blinds.

• If a handler perceives a discrepancy following a run and would like to have his/her score reviewed, it should be brought to the attention of the marshal immediately.

• The World Retriever Championship shall consist of a minimum of ten series. All finalist retrievers will have come to the line on at least ten occasions. (“Tie Breaker” series are allowed, but unexpected. Ten series should be enough to determine a winner.) Eight of these shall be “marking series” (blind retrieves may be incorporated into any of the marking series.) Of these eight “marking series tests” four will be “hunt test style” and four will be “field trial style.” The series will alternate between hunt test and field trial setups. A coin toss at the Handler’s Dinner on the eve of series one will determine whether the final series is “camo” or “white coat.” The first series will be the opposite of that determined by the coin toss. The other two series to make up the total of ten shall be “blind retrieve-only” series (multiple blinds are permitted in these series.) The two blind-only series will take place between series three and series nine, at the judges’ discretion, with the hunt test/field trial alternation continuing in the same order after the blind-only series. (For example, If a hunt test series preceded the blind-only series, a field trial series must follow it, or vice-versa) The final series may not be blind-only and will be that determined by the coin toss.

• Distances on blinds and marks for both trial and hunt test series shall be in accordance with those typical of traditional events.

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Field Trial Series Guidelines:

• No verbal cues or commands are permitted by the handler after he/she has signaled as being ready to the judges. Once a handler signals for the marks, he/she may not give any verbal cues or commands to the retriever until so directed by the judges. Commands given after signaling for the marks, and before being directed by the judges, may be grounds for elimination.

• While under judgment – once the dog has been sent and before the retrieve has been made – any commands should be used judiciously, re no excessive or training communication is allowed.

• White clothing is permitted on handlers for the Field Trial Series.

Hunt Test Series Guidelines:

• Camouflage clothing is required to be worn on the torso (shirt or jacket) by all handlers during the Hunt Test Series. Dark or camouflage trousers are required on all handlers during the hunt test series. Gloves are not permitted to be worn during hunt test series unless weather conditions warrant their use. Suitable “slipover” clothing will be available at the line should a handler arrive ready to handle in unsuitable hunt test series attire.

• Pointing out the location of gunners or bird stations, prior to signaling "ready" to the judges is prohibited in hunt test series.

• Judges have the option of allowing moderate, verbal commands while the marks are falling in hunt test series. This is at the judges’ discretion and will be communicated prior to the start of each series.

• Handlers and/or dogs may be required to run from a boat, flooded timber tree stand, ground blind, or other hunting structure typical of the hunt being simulated.

• Retrievers may be required to be placed in a remote location a distance from the handler. A physical barrier such as a holding blind or other hunting apparatus may be placed between the handler and the dog during this type of test.

• Handlers will be required to safely handle, shoulder and fire a pump shotgun during one or more hunt test series.

• Judges may require that handlers await verbal direction before releasing their retriever to pick up the marks, or they may allow the handlers to send their dog after the last mark has fallen. This is at the judges’ discretion and shall be communicated to the handlers prior to starting each series.

To download a printable version of the rules in a Microsoft Word document, click here.

To see the judging score sheet, click here.

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