Today marks the beginning of the annual National Championship for Bird Dogs, held every year at the hallowed Ames Plantation outside of Grand Junction, Tennessee. For bird dog, field trial, and hunting enthusiasts, it's the biggest two weeks in the sporting dog world, pitting nearly 40 of the nation's top dogs against one another.
For the uninitiated, pairs of dogs are released in three-hour "braces," where they are tasked with finding as many quail coveys as possible. Of course, the number of "bird finds" is important, but so is the style that each dog exhibits while coursing over the 6,000 acres of open fields, hardwoods, and pine trees. The dogs' handlers chase these big-running English pointers and English setters on horseback, followed by a gallery of hundreds of spectators, also on horseback. It's a stately procession, one that's been repeated at Ames since 1915.
Of course, Garmin is a big supporter of the National Championship, by providing Astro GPS tracking systems for the dogs, in case their handlers lose them and are no longer eligible to compete. The winning owner and trainer also receive Garmin and Tri-Tronics gear. We're also very active in the the Bird Dog Foundation and the National Bird Dog Museum, which help preserve the tradition of field trials with sporting dogs.
You can follow along with a brace-by-brace synopsis here. And for those of you wanting another fix of bird dog and bird hunting action, come visit us at the 25th annual Pheasant Fest, hosted by Pheasants Forever, on February 15-17 in Minneapolis. Garmin's gone to the dogs!