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Success in Central New York – The Labor Day Tradition Lives On

Posted on timeSeptember 23rd, 2013 by userFindRetrievers.com Admin


Little Falls, NY, September 2, 2013:

In a not-so-typical fashion, on September 1, 2013 an annual Labor Day weekend tradition in the retriever field trial world was completed with the revival and running of the Central New York Retriever Club (CNYRC) Fall Field Trial.

In existence for more than 50 years, with at least 30 of those years holding a licensed field trial on Labor Day weekend, CNYRC’s tradition was scheduled to end in 2012 due to financial difficulties and lack of suitable grounds availability. CNYRC’s cancellation for that weekend left a large hole in the  schedule for the Northeast Amateur and Professional handlers. The problem turned into an opportunity.

In July 2013, with the strong support and urging of fellow competitors, Jerry Wilks approached the CNYRC Board of Directors with an irresistible offer: The annual Labor Day Weekend Trial could be held and the Club would not be required to provide any manpower, nor money and they would realize a guaranteed profit. All this would be accomplished on new, beautiful, field-trial-groomed grounds; with confirmed, seasoned Judges; with dozens of committed non-Club volunteers to work the trial; and with Jerry Wilks’ commitment to act as Trial Chairman and Deb Wilks’ as Event Secretary. The only ask of the Club was for the use of their equipment. The Club’s Board gladly agreed.

In just six short weeks, Jerry and Deb, along with some key people such as the generous landowners’ Jenny and David Grasse; Amateur competitors Rex Bell, Art Alexander, Anne Marshall, Bob Willow, Alvin Hatcher; and Professional competitors Alan and Gwen Pleasant and Ed Forry assembled and coordinated all the necessary details to create the event. In addition, there were 29 volunteers from 10 states that signed up to work at the trial, and work they did.

The effort proved a huge success. Some of the Northeast’s finest dogs and their handlers got to compete on what would have been a lost weekend and it was held on the Grasse’s meticulously designed and groomed grounds. In addition, significant money was saved thanks to the help of the contestants themselves who volunteered and donated the use of vehicles and equipment, stepped up to shoot, throw, and plant birds, act as marshals, assist in set up and clean up, and host meals for the judges and volunteer workers. Unsolicited feedback from contestants was the overall feeling of a fun, well-run trial, with good tests and judging on beautiful grounds. They appreciated the ability to compete that weekend and to have the opportunity to help make the trial a success.

Finally, the Trial not only paid for itself but provided enough excess cash to alleviate CNYRC’s past financial difficulties and create a cash reserve for use with possible future trials and equipment upgrades. The Club is currently deciding how use this excess revenue.

While CNYRC has decided it will not be putting on another Labor Day weekend trial, they have graciously offered the date to Jerry and Deb Wilks who are now working with other field trial competitors to keep the tradition a part of upstate New York’s retriever heritage.

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