SSAA Stewartdale at Ripley in Queensland was the venue for the Working Gundogs Association of Australia’s 2019 Multi-Level Retrieving National Championships with a healthy turnout of almost 50 competitors from several states taking part.
The ongoing drought ensured conditions were dry and the dams low but the natural environment and terrain were still more than capable of providing a wide range of tests for dogs and handlers alike. Runs were held in multiple areas of sparse or thick cover, through undulations and gullies as well as across broad expanses of water in the main dam, thus simulating duck and rabbit shooting scenarios.
The first Retrieving Championship using the SSAA WGAA rule book was held in 2014 and while restricted to only the Open level, our highest competition level, that trial attracted sixteen competitors. Organisers were pleased with this, however, seeing a need to make the event more inclusive, the following Championship in 2017 was reformatted to include all 3 levels of competition:, Open, Advanced and Intermediate. Liking it to an A, B and C grade competition.
This saw entries increase to a total of thirty three dog and handler teams, and proved to be a popular rework of the old model. A decision was made to keep this format going forward and to rename the event a Multi-Level Championship.
Things got under way on Saturday morning after an introduction from WGAA national discipline chairman Jim Jeffrey, each level heading to separate areas of the grounds to start the day’s competition.
Retrieving trial championships require Intermediate and Advanced competitors to complete six runs with Open tackling eight runs across two days and as the weekend progresses, dog and handler teams drop out as judges introduce more and more challenging tests, leaving an elite group to fight it out for the major placings. The Intermediate section was whittled down from 13 to nine for day two, Advanced featured only six survivors from the original 17 and Open shrunk from 16 to seven.
When the dust settled the final placings were as follows. Open: 1 Laurelle Draper and Kai, 2 Ron Jackson and Rudy, 3 Rob Boodnikoff and Onyx, 4 Geoff Dawson and Denz. Advanced: 1 Ron Jackson and Daisy, 2 Denis Bullimore and Opal, 3 Trevor Davies and Magic. Intermediate: 1 Wayne Outtram and Harley, 2 Rad Miramon-Jeffrey and Luna, 3 Mick Allen and Sascha.
The event was voted an outstanding success by all concerned, testament to the dedication of the Queensland organising committee. Thanks go to all volunteers, sponsors and Logan City Cadets for operating the throwers all weekend and to all who donated trophies.
Pictures by Rad Miramon-Jeffrey