| sanctioning bodies by visiting with AKC,
UKC, NKC and even briefly looked into forming an NSTRA Registry.
None of these options seem to be the right answer so in the summer
of 2001 the National Officers, while at a meeting in Plainfield,
held a conference call with Bernie Matthys to again explore the
possibility of having NSTRA Champions recognized on the AF pedigrees.
I appointed Tom Candles to speak on behalf of the officers.
Officers present at that meeting were myself, Ray Hopkins, Tom
Candles, Rick Story, and C.L. Mitchell. We had a preplan of asking
Bernie Matthys again to place the NSTRA Championships on the
AF pedigrees even if it meant NSTRA bearing the expense of incorporating
our database to the AF database in a compatible way so that AF
would have records of all NSTRA Championship points (the lack
of NSTRA records was always one of AF reasons why they could
not recognize NSTRA Champions as they did not record NSTRA trials
in the AF database).
Tom introduced our intentions of this call to Mr. Matthys and
we had a very brief discussion with Mr Matthys going through
his list of reasons that he was unwilling to do this. We explained
to him that for the amount of dollars we were spending with him
each year we felt we needed to get something in return. At that
point Mr. Matthys brought up the idea of Sanctioning our 30 Regional
Elimination trials as AF Championships and do this instead of
sanctioning each local weekend trial. This is all history now
and I won't waste time revisiting this issue except to say that
by making this move by an almost unanimous vote of the NSTRA
BOD we have had record participation in the Regional Elimination
trials in 2002 and 2003. We followed up this phone call with
Mr. Matthys with a letter addressing each of the points made
during the call. In subsequent
| communications by phone and letter Mr.
Matthys again addressed several issues he considered as below
standard, one of which was shooting birds. Once this program
of Regional Championships was kicked off however our communication
with AF substantially reduced and had the appearance of business
The next time we heard from Bernie Matthys was the letter you
have all seen dated July 3, 2003.
I have had many calls and emails from NSTRA members and members
of other field trial organizations stating extreme anger, frustration,
confusion, and many other emotions toward the American Field
for taking this position. One magazine editor called and gave
me some insight stating that at a AF trial one handler put a
live round in his shotgun to substitute for a blank. When it
was discharged he almost shot a judge.
NSTRA has moved up in the Bird Dog world as one of the leaders
in the past few years. We are no longer viewed as "below
standard" or the "root and shoot" of the Bird
Dogs. The Magazine editor considered us the leading field trial
organization in the pointing dog world and thought we had been
for the past 2 or 3 years.
I hope this answers questions many of you had about how and
where this came about. I nor anyone else except for Mr. Matthys
answer all the questions as to "why". NSTRA
however will go on with business as usual. We can stand alone
as we basically have been for the past 2 years.
Birds, Guns, Freedom,
Don't forget to utilize the NSTRA pedigree service. It is a
very impressive tool.
Please forward to as many NSTRA members as possible.
Wes Barr, President NSTRA
Let's not start down that slippery slope.