by Karla Deithorn, Executive Field Representative
I pulled off the freeway, made the left turn as indicated on the directions and in seconds was pulling into the beautiful Canyon RV campgrounds where the Sierra Dachshund Breeders Club was holding their AKC Earthdog Test on Sunday, March 7, 2004. The campgrounds had shade for exhibitors although the Intro judge, Jean Dieden, was out in the sun.
The day started promptly at 8am with the Master class. Judge Carol Leutkens gave an excellent orientation and warned exhibitors to be prepared for the earth to move under their feet as they walked in the dry riverbed that was part of the walk-up. She was not kidding! The sand in the river bed was slick at times and if we had not been forewarned we would have been startled as it slid us around. The dogs did not seem to mind and they all hunted well. Most of the Master dogs extended their search from the dry riverbed into the lush banks on either side. One little Cairn trailed into the grass and found a small rat hole. He knew what he was there for.
The star of the show for me was the Silky Terrier, Rodi, owned by Nicki Myers, who qualified for a Master leg. He is 12 years old and it was only his second time in Master. I look forward to hearing he earns his ME before long.
Additionally, Joey, a six-year old Silky Terrier rescue owned by Suzanne Detwiler, got his second leg in SE.
At 9am Jean Dieden held her orientation for the Introduction to Quarry handlers. Then she proceeded to the den to judge the 31 entries which were a variety of Terriers and Dachshunds. She was patient with the dogs and encouraging to the handlers despite the sun and heat. It is always nice to see an Intro judge who leaves exhibitors with a desire to come to another test. And Jean definitely gave that to her exhibitors.
After the 10 Master dogs finished, Norm Row supervised the changing of the den and then held his Senior class orientation. He had a good time with the 18 Senior dogs and the spectators enjoyed the variety of recalls. Some were successful and some were not but all the dogs and exhibitors obviously enjoyed themselves.
Then it was time for lunch. As usual for a California Dachshund Club, SDBC outdid themselves with a catered lunch. We sat down to a meal of mixed green salad, quartered BBQ chicken, Ranch style baked beans, cornbread with butter and honey, fruit bars and assorted beverages.
I am sure everyone wanted to nap in the sun but it was time to change the Senior den for the Junior class. Betsy Fortman held her orientation for the handlers and then headed to the den to judge her 24 entries. By days end everyone was charged to head to another Earthdog test.
The layout of the dens at the site afforded a great view for spectators. The Intro den was out in the open and, while it made it hot for the judge, it sure offered a great view of the young and novice dogs learning what it was all about. The Master/Senior/Junior den was below the parking area and there was a raised spot for spectators to view all the dogs working, not to mention the always entertaining handlers recalling their dogs in Senior.
Excellent weather, organization, food and judges made the Sierra Dachshund Breeders Club a memorable Earthdog test. The club can be proud of their accomplishment.