Invitational Information

The Invitational is NAVHDA’s premier hunt test, and is held annually in September. The Invitational is the ultimate test of both dog and trainer. In this test, dogs are required to: 1) run an hour field brace with another dog, point and retrieve upland birds, and honor its bracemate’s point and retrieve, 2) do a blind retrieve over water of approximately 100 yards, 3) honor another dog’s waterfowl retrieve, and 4) do a double marked retrieve.  You can find more details on the Invitational on our About the NAVHDA Testing System and Invitational FAQ pages. We are thankful for our many NAVHDA Invitational sponsors, without whom the Invitational would not be possible.

2024 Invitational

September 11-15, 2024
Hosted by the Hawkeye Chapter
Brownells Big Springs Hunting and Shooting Complex
Searsboro, Iowa

2025 Invitational

September 11-14, 2025
Hosted by the Hawkeye Chapter
Brownells Big Springs Hunting and Shooting Complex
Searsboro, Iowa

 

 

2023 Invitational Information

September 13-17, 2023
Hosted by the Buckeye Chapter
Mingo Sportsman Club
Bloomingdale, Ohio

2023 INVITATIONAL GEAR IS HERE!!

CLICK HERE to visit the Online Store and place your order before it closes on September 24, 2023.

2024 Invitational

September 11-15, 2024
Hosted by the Hawkeye Chapter
Brownells Big Springs Hunting and Shooting Complex
Searsboro, Iowa

2024 INVITATIONAL GEAR IS HERE!!

CLICK HERE to visit the Online Store and place your order before it closes on August 28, 2024.

2024 Invitational - Volunteer Here!!!
The NAVHDA Invitational would not be such a success each year without the support of it’s volunteers! If you would like to volunteer, please complete and submit the form below. The volunteer assignment chart will be posted toward the end March and will be updated on a weekly basis.
 
 
A few special instructions
1. If you are riding with another volunteer and need to be at the same locations, please make a note in the comment section of the application
2. If you are running a dog at the Invitational, please wait to sign up to volunteer until you have received your running day order
 
Thank you for your interest in volunteering to be a part of the 2024 NAVHDA Invitational team!
The 2024 Invitational Committee

2024 Volunteer Assignments
CLICK HERE to view the Volunteer Assignments for the 2024 Invitational.  (These are draft assignments which are subject to change.)
Please continue to check back for assignment updates and note the updated revision date on the bottom of the spreadsheet.
 
The current revision posted is dated 7/22/2024.
 
Email Annie Nuss if you have any questions regarding these assignments.
Volunteer Information and Job Descriptions

All volunteers must be members of NAVHDA International in order for the event to be properly insured.

Overall Test

Test Marshal.  The Test Marshal is responsible for the overall test on the assigned day.  The Test Marshal will directly supervise the Equipment and Electronics, Field and Water Marshals.  All overall test decisions and changes from the judging teams will be directed to the Test Marshal.  He or she will rally with all the daily volunteers before the start of the test to make sure the Field and Water Marshals get all their help, equipment, and birds for the day organized.  Any major problems will be addressed to the Test Marshal.  The Test Marshal will provide a list of workers to each of the SR. Judges at the top of each day.

Assistant Test Marshal.  The Assistant Test Marshal (Chapter Member) will act as a procurement agent and assist the Test Marshal. It should be a person from the host Chapter and very familiar with the testing grounds, knowledgeable of all the equipment used for the test, and have a vehicle available. He/she will be in direct communications with the Test Marshal, understand the test, and know how to contact property officials.

Bird Steward.  This person makes sure all sites have the necessary birds for testing that day. He or she will also make sure the birds are well cared for with food and water, have plenty of shade and are kept dry in rainy conditions. This person will ensure the birds are at each site before the test starts, will check supplies throughout the day and will make sure birds are picked up at the end of the day and housed adequately overnight. The Steward should regularly communicate with the Marshals at the Double Marked Retrieve and Blind Retrieve sites to coordinate the transporting of retrieved ducks from the Double Marked Retrieve site to the Blind Retrieve. He or she will also be responsible for making sure salvageable birds are being cleaned at the various venues (usually the gunners and/or bird planters are available to assist with this task). This person will have access to radio communications and will report directly to the Test Marshal and will be available to all Marshals.

Sales Table. Two people each day (1 chapter member and one volunteer) are needed each AM and PM shift to be sure that the Invitational and NAVHDA promotional items are displayed and sold to those interested.  These people will be hosts and representatives of the organization and report directly to the Test Marshal.

Equipment & Electronics Marshal.  Assembles and organizes all necessary equipment for each venue. Distributes materials to field and water marshals each morning and checks in materials at the end of each day. He or she is responsible for organizing materials for the next day. Distributes and tracks radios and batteries for each site and checks them in at the end of the day. Monitors radios to ensure they are working properly, checks fuel status of the generator for the antennae and base unit and addresses any issues throughout the day. May also have to be responsible for charging batteries for remote wingers if used during the test. This position will work closely with the Test Marshal and all site marshals to ensure efficient and accurate test conditions.

Judge/Volunteer Host.  One person is needed each day to work with the Assistant Test Marshal to be sure the judges and volunteers have refreshments, shelter, and food. This person must have access to a vehicle. They may also be responsible for reaching out to all testing sites and gathering numbers of judges and volunteers for a lunch count and delivering lunches or anything else needed depending on chapter needs.

Field

*** All field workers will arrive to the fields with all necessary equipment and be ready to go at least fifteen minutes before the judging team gets to the fields each morning. ***

Field Marshal.  A Field Marshal is assigned to each field. This person has overall responsibility for the field they are stationed in. He or she will make sure they have all necessary equipment (included in the daily equipment list), workers, water in the field if necessary, ATVs and birds at each site. This work should be completed before or during opening ceremonies every morning. The Field Marshal has radio access to the Judges and the Test Marshal to keep the test running smoothly. He or she will supervise the gunners and bird planters; will make sure all gallery members stay at a safe distance and are out of the line of fire, and that all persons in the field are wearing one or a combination of the following blaze orange garments: hat, vest, or jacket. They will make sure gunners read the safety rules on page 24 of the NAVHDA Aims, Programs and Test Rules book. They will be responsible for participants and dogs being ready to go in the field in the order they were drawn. They will answer directly to the judging teams and the Test Marshal. They are responsible for making sure the sites are picked up and secured at the end of each day.

Gunners. There will be two sets of gunners at each field site. Gunners should have experience and must have gunned at a NAVHDA UT test at a minimum. If you have not gunned at a previous Invitational, you must get a written endorsement from a senior judge and submit a request to Volunteer Coordinator.

Gunners must read safety rules at the beginning of each day from page 24 of the NAVHDA Aims, Programs and Test Rules book and agree to abide by them. Gunners will bring their own shotguns to the fields. These must have a break-open action. Twelve-gauge and twenty-gauge shells will be provided by NAVHDA. If gunners bring other gauge shotguns, they must supply their own shells unless otherwise advised by the host chapter. They may be asked to help clean birds if the field site is short on bird planters. Gunners will answer directly to the judging teams and the Field Marshal.

Bye Dog.  A previously named Versatile Champion and its handler must be available to be used as a bye dog in the field event. The handler of any Bye Dog must have previously handled a dog at the Invitational. It is necessary to have at least one female bye dog for Sunday in the event one is needed to run with a female in season.  Please note, E-collars may not be used.

Bird Planter.  There will be three bird planters for each field, totaling six or nine each day. Two are essential, and three is preferred for bird planter “breaks.” Bird planters will use ATVs and bird bags to plant birds. Experience with all-terrain vehicular safety and operation is required. Bird planters will help bird stewards to make sure the birds are sheltered from sun or rain and are well cared for and assist with cleaning birds when possible. Bird planters will also assist if we are short bird cleaners. Bird planters will answer directly to the judging teams and the Field Marshal.

Bird Cleaner.  This person makes sure salvageable birds are being cleaned at the various venues (usually the gunners and/or bird planters are available to assist with this task) and put in coolers (or right to fridge/freezer) on site.

 

Water: Heel & Double Marked Retrieve

*** All water workers will arrive to the site with all necessary equipment and be ready to go at least fifteen minutes before the judging team gets to the site each morning. ***

Water Marshal.  One Water Marshal is needed each day at the Double Marked Retrieve water site. He or she will be sure to have all necessary equipment, workers and birds at each site. As there are bird stewards, an assistant marshal, and judge/worker hosts each day, (see “Overall Test” descriptions) the Water Marshal will have direct access to these people at all times to keep the test running smoothly. They will have access to radio communications with a member of each of the judging teams and the Test Marshal. They will assist the Judges with the supervision of the duck wingers for their site. They will make sure that all gallery members stay at a distance where they are not a disturbance to the dog. They will be responsible for participants and dogs being ready to be tested in the order they were drawn. The Marshal should regularly communicate with the Bird Steward to ensure ducks are delivered on a timely manner. They will answer directly to the judging teams and the Test Marshal.

Assistant Water Marshal.  One person is needed each day to make sure the water site is set-up and ready to go for testing. This will entail making sure that dead birds, wingers, a table, and chairs, shotguns, blank shells, toilet paper in port-a-potty, etc. are ready at each site. This person will have access to radio communications and will report directly to the Water Marshal. The set-up work should be completed before or during opening ceremonies every morning. Throughout the day, this person will be responsible for getting dispatched ducks to the winger location. He/she is to be available to address any last-minute details as assigned by the Marshal. The Asst. Water Marshal will also make sure the sites are picked up and secured at the end of each day.

Test Dog- Double Marked Retrieve.  Test dog must be a reliable retriever. Previously named Versatile Champions are most desirable, however UT dogs are suitable as well. Must be available immediately following opening ceremonies.

Duck Winger – 1 & 2.  There will be two duck wingers needed each day. The wingers should have the strength to consistently pull back a winger repeatedly (up to 36 times per day) or throw it by hand, depending on the request of the judges. It is possible that the person(s) throwing ducks may be stationed in a boat in the water. If this is the case, they must be able to throw well and swim well (just in case). They will have access to radio communications with the judging team and the Water Marshal and will answer directly to the judging team and the Water Marshal. The duck wingers should wear camouflaged or dark shirts in the event they are visible to the dog and handler. The winger operators may want to bring their own hearing protection as numerous shots will be fired at this site daily.

Distraction Gunner.  This person will fire a blank from a single-barrel break-action shotgun at the command of the Judging team. They should bring hearing protection as they may have to do this up to 36 times a day and numerous shots will be fired at this location daily.

 

Water: Blind Retrieve & Honoring

*** All water workers will arrive to the site with all necessary equipment and be ready to go at least fifteen minutes before the judging team gets to the site each morning. ***

Water Marshal.  One Water Marshal is needed each day at the Blind Retrieve water site. This person has overall responsibility for the water site they are stationed at. They will make sure they have all necessary equipment, workers and birds at each site. As there are bird stewards, field set-up workers, and judge/worker hosts each day, (see “Overall Test” descriptions) the Water Marshal will have direct access to these people at all times to keep the test running smoothly. They will have access to radio communications with a member of each of the judging teams and the Test. They will supervise the duck handlers and the honor dog/handler team for their site. They will make sure that all gallery members stay at a distance where they are not a disturbance to the dog. They will be responsible for participants and dogs being ready to be tested in the order they were drawn. The Marshal should regularly communicate with the Bird Steward to ensure ducks are delivered on a timely manner. They will answer directly to the judging team and the Test Marshal.

Assistant Water Marshal.  One person is needed each day to make sure the water site is set-up and ready to go for testing. This will entail making sure that birds, wingers, a judge table, judge chairs, honor dogs, shotguns, and blank shells, are ready at each site. This work should be completed before or during opening ceremonies every morning. This person will transport ducks to the Duck Handlers as needed throughout the day. This person will have access to radio communications and will report directly to the Water Marshal. He/she is to be available throughout the day to address any last-minute details as assigned by the Marshal. This person will also make sure the sites are picked up and secured at the end of each day.

Test Dog- Blind. Test dog must be a reliable retriever. Previously named Versatile Champions are most desirable, however UT dogs are suitable as well. Must be available immediately following opening ceremonies.

Duck Handler-Blind Retrieve.   The duck handler at the blind is responsible to make sure there are enough ducks ready at all times during the test. He or she will drag dead ducks from the shoreline to a specified (by the judging team) location away from the water, will leave the bird and quickly retreat to a hiding spot where they will remain hidden. The extra ducks will be kept in a cooler a good distance from the site so this worker must be in good enough physical condition to hurry back and forth to get the duck ready for the next dog. The Duck Handler for the blind will have radio communications with and report to the judging team and the Water Marshal.

Duck Winger-Honor Segment.  The Duck Winger for the Honor Segment will toss a dead duck into the water (possibly from a winger depending on the site and how the judging team designs the test) in front of the honoring and retrieving dogs. The Duck Handler for the blind will have radio communications with and report to the judging team and the Water Marshal.

Duck Handler-Honor Segment.  The duck handler at the winger station is responsible to make sure there are enough ducks ready at all times during the test. He or she will work directly with the winger operator and judges in regards to delivering ducks to and from them as needed. They are to deliver the bird and quickly retreat to a hiding spot where they will remain hidden. The extra ducks will be kept in a cooler a good distance from the site so this worker must be in good enough physical condition to hurry back and forth to get the duck ready for the next dog. The Duck Handler at the winger station will work with both the winger operator as well as report to the judging team and the Water Marshal.

Retrieving Dog at the Honor Site.  There will be a minimum of three retrieving dog and handler teams available at the Blind Retrieve water site each day. These teams can either rotate throughout the day or switch at the half-way point. The dog must be extremely steady and be a reliable and obedient retriever. Dogs that already have passed their Versatile Championship are ideal. Dogs need to have a UT Prize as a minimum to be used for this segment. These handlers will answer directly to the judging team and the Water Marshal. There should be at least one female retrieving dog on Sunday in the event any of the participating dogs are in season.  Please note, E-collars may be used.

 

NOTICE TO HANDLERS:

The following jobs require volunteers to actively participate in the test and could be interpreted as violating the standing rule that handlers can’t train on or run on the grounds until they’ve completed testing. Therefore, handlers will not be allowed to hold these jobs until they’ve completed testing.

In the field:
Bye Dog in the field

At the Blind and Honor Site:
Test Dog

At the Heel & Double Marked Retrieve and Heeling Site:
Test Dog

For the same reasons, Invitational Judges who are handling dogs must run their dog before they judge a water segment of the test.

If you have any questions on volunteering, send an email to:

 

2024 Invitational Running Day Assignments

Please CLICK HERE to view the 2024 Invitational Running Day Assignments. (Revision 07/18/2024)

Thank you for submitting your entry to run your dog in the 2024 NAVHDA Invitational Test.  Two hundred dogs are entered to run in the five-day test to be held on the 11th-15th of September 2024 at Brownell’s Big Springs Hunting and Shooting Complex near Searsboro, IA.

Please note the following:

  • Running days were assigned with preference given based upon the date the entry was received. While every effort was made to assign you the running day you requested, there were many entrants who requested Wednesday and Thursday, therefore the date of which entries were received played a key role in the assignment of running days.
  • If you were not assigned one of your preferred running days and would like to be placed on a wait list, please contact Elizabeth Anton via email at with your alternate preference(s) of running day(s) as soon as possible. Those on the wait list will be notified as openings occur.  Requests will be considered up until September 1st.
  • Please inform Elizabeth if you will be traveling with someone to the Invitational. We will do our best to accommodate your needs but cannot work with more than two handlers traveling together in the same vehicle as keeping a group of handlers at one site for too long will back up all of the venues.
  • Females in season during the Invitational are automatically assigned to the last testing day of the event and will also be the last dogs to run at each venue. Females in season will be quarantined to a specific area throughout the test and changes to the running order may be warranted.  If possible, it would be best to not bring any female in season to the grounds until Sunday.  Please contact Elizabeth as soon as you know your dog will be in season during the test so we can adjust running days accordingly.
  • Braces will be revealed to handlers prior to the opening ceremonies on each day of testing.
  • Should severe weather cause the cancellation of part or full day of testing, a “make-up” test will be held Monday, September 16th. Although this is unlikely, it would be prudent to keep this in mind when making return travel plans.

Test entry refunds will be made for MEDICAL reasons only.  Requests for refunds must be submitted in writing and accompanied by a verifying statement from a physician or veterinarian before the Invitational test begins. Fifty percent of the entry fee will be refunded for approved requests. In the event of the death of the handler and/or dog, 100% of the entry fee will be refunded.  Questions pertaining to withdrawals or refunds should be directed to the Invitational Program Manager Deb Stott via email or phone (920) 265-5334.

Volunteering at the Invitational is a fun and productive way to see great dog work and is an outstanding way to learn more about the test.  The Invitational is an international event, which means each of us plays a part in its success.
We can’t stress enough of how important it is to volunteer at least ONE day!
It requires an army to ensure the Invitational runs smoothly. So please volunteer to support the volunteers who are supporting you on your big day!  We are asking everyone who wants to volunteer to complete the application form posted in the “2024 Invitational – Volunteer Here!!!” tab below.

The fields and water sites which will be used for the Invitational are off limits to all training from May 1st until Monday, September 16th or in the event of a “make-up” test, until Tuesday, September 17th.  If you have any questions as to the location of these sites or any other questions pertaining to the Invitational grounds, please send an email to the Invitational Grounds Committee at and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.
There will be a walk-through of the test grounds Tuesday, September 10th at approximately 3:00 p.m. for any handlers that would like to attend; more information on the meeting location will be sent as we get closer to the Invitational.

On the day you are running, please note the following:

  • Plan to arrive at the test grounds and be checked in no later than 6:30 a.m.  When you arrive at the grounds, go directly to the Handler Sign-In Tent.
  • If you are running a female, even if she is spayed, please bring her with you to the check-in area and proceed to the Female Check-In Tent after you have signed yourself in. A check of all females must be done each morning before the test can begin.
  • Opening ceremonies will begin promptly at 6:45 a.m. with testing beginning immediately thereafter.  Please feel free to bring your dog with you to the opening ceremonies, as there will be a placard (with your name as well as your dog’s name) to stand next to. This can be a great photo opportunity for such an exciting event! If you do bring your dog with you, please always be observant of both your dog and those around you.
  • If you are running on Sunday and have a female in season, we ask that you do not bring her to the opening ceremonies as to not interfere with other dogs running that day.
  • All scores will be read at the end of each test day at the Invitational Headquarters. The timing of reading the scores is dependent upon many factors which occur throughout the day and therefore can be unpredictable. As a rule of thumb, we recommend you return to Invitational Headquarters no later than 4pm. If you would like, you can bring your dog’s pedigree to the test as the judges will be more than happy to sign it and indicate the test score your dog received that day.

We expect that you will provide safe and comfortable housing for your dog throughout the day.  Dogs are to be leashed or kenneled when not testing to prevent dangerous situations or interference with the test.  Please do not approach other dogs without the owner’s permission. Instruct your children to stay out of the testing areas and away from other dogs.

There will be a designated field training area available on the grounds; signs will be posted with directions.
More information on availability and ordering of training birds will be posted soon on the NAVHDA Invitational webpage and Hawkeye Chapter website.

If you have any Invitational questions which have not been answered above, please contact Deb Stott via email at

I wish you the best of luck with your training and safe travels to Iowa this fall.
Deb Stott – 2024 Invitational Program Manager

2024 Invitational Travel and Lodging

See below for host hotel information as well as the airport and other lodging in the area.

CLOSEST AIRPORTS
The Des Moines, Iowa (DSM) is approximately 75 minutes from Searsboro.
The Cedar Rapids, Iowa (CID) is approximately 90 minutes from Searsboro.

HOST HOTEL
Country Inn and Suites
1710 West Street South, Grinnell, Iowa
Phone: 641-236-9600
Rate: $119 per night single or double
Booking link: https://www.choicehotels.com/reservations/groups/GC64V1
Pet fee is $10 per night.
Booking code is NAVHDA
Complimentary continental breakfast with hot items is available Monday through Friday from 6:00 am-
9:30 am and Saturday/Sunday from 7:00 am-10:30 am.

SECONDARY HOTEL/ADDITIONAL BLOCK OF ROOMS
Comfort Inn and Suites
1630 West Street South, Grinnell, Iowa
Phone: (641) 236-5236
Rate: $119 per night single or double
Booking link: https://www.choicehotels.com/reservations/groups/XO80A7
Pet fee is $10 per night.
Booking code is NAVHDA

OTHER AREA HOTELS
Quality Inn & Suites
1902 West Street South, Grinnell, Iowa
Phone: (641) 325-4120

AmericInn by Wyndham
2210 West Street South, Grinnell, Iowa
Phone: (641) 328-5225

Super 8 by Wyndham
2111 West Street South, Grinnell, Iowa
Phone: (641) 812-2051

CAMPING FACILITIES
Rock Creek State Park
5627 Rock Creek East Street, Kellogg, Iowa
(641) 236-3722
7 miles from Grinnell, electrical sites, modern rest rooms & showers, daily fee is dependent on the site type.
Reservations can be made 3 months in advance

Diamond Lake Park www.poweshiekcountyparks.org
4896 Stagecoach Road, Montezuma, Iowa
Electrical and primitive sites, shower facilities, pump station
Self register on-site. Daily fee is dependent on site type.

Fun Valley Recreation www.funvalleyrec.com
1066 500th Ave
Montezuma, Iowa 50171
(641) 660-5668 or (641) 660-2251
Approximately 10 minutes east of Big Springs Shooting and Hunting Complex
12 full hook-ups which include water, electric and sewer
3 sites just electric but within walking distance of shower house
Daily/weekly fee is dependent on the site type

2024 Invitational Eligible Dogs

Click here to view the list of dogs that are eligible for the 2024 Invitational.

2024 Invitational Test Entry Form

CLICK HERE for the 2024 Invitational Test Entry Form

The 2024 Invitational entry submission procedures are as follows:

Entries will be accepted beginning January 1, 2024, and the deadline for submitting your entry is March 1, 2024.

Due to rising costs to run the Invitational, the entry fee for the 2024 Invitational has increased to $550.00. The entry fee is to be paid to NAVHDA in US Funds and must be submitted with the official Invitational Test Entry Form.

Entries can be submitted with a credit card via facsimile to NAVHDA’s Central Office at 847- 255-5987 or emailed to https://www.navhda.org/submit-forms-securely/. They can also be mailed to:
NAVHDA
Attn: Maria Bondi, Invitational Entry
P.O. Box 520
Arlington Heights, IL 60006-0520

Entries submitted by email or fax must be received by midnight March 1st, 2024; if submitted by mail they must be postmarked by March 1st, 2024. A confirmation will be sent to the owner within a month after receipt of entry; please contact the NAVHDA Central Office if you do not receive a confirmation in the mail.

Once the test entry application and payment has been received, the refund policy (see below) goes into effect.

Refund Policy
Requests for refunds must be submitted in writing to the NAVHDA Central Office, accompanied by a statement from a physician or veterinarian verifying that either the dog or handler is unable to participate in the test for medical reasons. NAVHDA must be notified prior to the day the dog is scheduled to run and letters of documentation from veterinarians and physicians must be received no later than 15 days after the last day of the Invitational. If the handler is unable to participate, the specific medical condition should NOT be provided. Fifty percent of the entry fee will be refunded for medical reasons only.

 

2024 Invitational Banquet

The 2024 Invitational Banquet will be held on Friday, September 13, 2024 at The Elks Lodge in Grinnell.

For complete information on the banquet, including payment options and making reservations, click here to view The Hawkeye Chapter’s webpage.

2023 Volunteer Assignments
CLICK HERE to view the Volunteer Assignments for the 2023 Invitational.  (These are draft assignments which are subject to change.)
Please continue to check back for assignment updates and note the updated revision date on the bottom of the spreadsheet.
 
The current revision posted is dated 09/11/2023.
 
Email Annie Nuss if you have any questions regarding these assignments.
2023 Invitational Daily Test Scores
2023 Invitational - Volunteer Here!!!
The NAVHDA Invitational would not be such a success each year without the support of it’s volunteers! If you would like to volunteer, please complete and submit the form below. The volunteer assignment chart will be posted toward the end March and will be updated on a weekly basis.
A few special instructions
1. If you are riding with another volunteer and need to be at the same locations, please make a note in the comment section of the application
2. If you are running a dog at the Invitational, please wait to sign up to volunteer until you have received your running day order
Thank you for your interest in volunteering to be a part of the 2023 NAVHDA Invitational team!
The 2023 Invitational Committee

2023 Invitational Photographers

Below are the photographers and their schedules during the Invitational.
Handlers/Owners can email the photographers directly for photos that were taken of their dog.

Nancy Anisfield: 
9/13 – Blind
9/14 – Field B (two braces)
9/15 – Double Mark

Charlene Cross:
9/16 – Field A
9/17 – Field A

Charles Coulter:
9/14 – Double Mark
9/15 – Field A (Brace 6)
9/16 – Field B

Terry Ann Fernando: 
9/14 – Field C
9/15 – Field A

Waylon Lunn: 
9/13 – Double Mark
9/14 – Field B
9/15 – Field C
9/16 – Blind
9 /17 – Field B
Hero shots everyday

Ted Wentink:
9/13 – Field C

Jennifer Kellogg:
www.buckwoodphotography.pixieset.com
9/13 – Field A
9/14 – Blind
9/15 – Field B
9/16 – Double Mark
9/17 – Field C

Erik Raynes:
www.eraynes.com
9/14 – Field A
9/15 – Blind
9/16 – Field C
9/17 – Double Mark

Kaytlyn Heesacker:
9/13 – Field C
9/14 – Double Mark
9/15 – Roaming
9/16 – Blind
9/17 – Blind

2023 Invitational Test Site Maps & Pictures

For a closer look – Click on the images below!

2023 Invitational – Site Map

2023 Invitational – Blind Retrieve Map

Blind Retrieve Site

Double Mark Retrieve – Send

Double Mark Retrieve – Start of Heel

Field

2023 Invitational Running Day Assignments

Please CLICK HERE to view the 2023 Invitational Running Day Assignments. (Revision 08/31/2023)

Thank you for submitting your entry to run your dog in the 2023 NAVHDA Invitational Test.  One hundred and ninety-four dogs are entered to run in the five-day test to be held at Mingo Sportsman Club in Bloomingdale, Ohio, September 13-17, 2023.

PLEASE NOTE, the fields as well as the water sites which will be used for the Invitational are off limits to all training until Monday, September 18th or in the event of a “make-up” test, until Tuesday, September 19th.  If you have any questions as to the location of these sites or any other questions pertaining to the Invitational grounds, please send an email to the Invitational Grounds Committee at and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

Running days were assigned with preference given based upon the date the entry was received.  While every effort was made to assign you the running day you requested, there were a large number of entrants who requested Wednesday and Thursday, therefore the date entries were received played a key role is assigning of the running days   If you were not assigned one of your preferred running days and would like to be placed on a wait list, please contact Mike Neiduski directly via email at with your alternate preference(s) of running day(s) as soon as possible.  Those on the wait list will be notified as openings occur.  Requests will be considered up until September 1st.

Please also inform Mike Neiduski if you will be traveling with someone to the Invitational.  We will do our best to accommodate your needs but cannot work with more than two handlers traveling together in the same vehicle as keeping a group of handlers at one site too long backs up all the venues.  Braces will be revealed to handlers prior to the opening ceremonies on each day of testing.  Should severe weather cause the cancellation of part or full day of testing, a “make-up” test will be held Monday, September 18th.  Although this is unlikely, it would be prudent to keep this in mind when making return travel plans.

On the day you are running, plan to arrive at the test grounds and be checked in no later than 6:30 a.m.  When you arrive at the grounds, go directly to the Handler Sign In Tent.  If you are running a female, even if she is spayed, please bring her with you to the check in area and proceed to the Female Check In tent after you have signed yourself in. A check of all females must be done each morning before the test can begin.

Opening ceremonies will begin promptly at 7:00 a.m. with testing beginning immediately thereafter.  Please feel free to bring your dog with you to the opening ceremonies, there will be a placard with your name as well as your dog’s name to stand next to.  This is an exciting event and can be a great photo opportunity.  If you do bring your dog with you, please always be observant of both your dog and those around you.  If you are running on Sunday and have a dog in heat, we ask that you do not bring her to the opening ceremonies so as to not interfere with other dogs running that day.

Females in season are automatically assigned to the last day the test will be held and will also be the last dogs to run at each venue.  Females in season will be quarantined to a specific area throughout the test and changes to the running order may be warranted.  If possible, it would be best to not bring any female in season to the grounds until Sunday.  Please contact Mike Neiduski as soon as you know your dog will be in season during the test so we can adjust running days accordingly.

There will be a walk-through of the test grounds Tuesday, September 12th at approximately 3:00 p.m. for any handlers that would like to attend; more information on the meeting location will be sent as we get closer to the Invitational.  Please visit the NAVHDA International website https://www.navhda.org for photographs and directions to the sites which will be posted as the information becomes available.

We expect that you will provide safe and comfortable housing for your dog throughout the day.  Dogs are to be leashed or kenneled when not testing to prevent dangerous situations or interference with the test.  Please do not approach other dogs without the owner’s permission.  Instruct your children to stay out of the testing areas and away from other dogs.

Lunches (at a cost) will be made available on the grounds Wednesday through Sunday for handlers and the gallery. The banquet will be held on Friday night; more information on the banquet, including a link to purchase tickets will be posted on the Invitational webpage soon.

There will be a designated field training area available on the grounds; signs will be posted with directions.  If you have questions on availability and ordering of training birds, contact Steve Smith at .  More information will be posted soon on the NAVHDA Invitational webpage and Buckeye Chapter website.

PLEASE NOTE:  The speed limit is 10MPH on the main entrance to Mingo.  Please always be cognizant of your speed while traveling on this entrance and allow yourself plenty of time to travel to each field and water site.

All scores will be read at the end of each test day at the Invitational Headquarters.  The timing of reading scores is dependent upon many factors which occur throughout the day and therefore can be unpredictable. As a rule of thumb, we recommend you return to Invitational Headquarters no later than 4pm.  As Sunday will could be a shorter test day, scores may be read earlier in the day.  If you are running on Sunday, we recommend you return to Headquarters as soon as you have completed testing at all sites.  If you would like, bring your dog’s pedigree to the test as the judges will be more than happy to sign it and indicate the test score your dog receives that day.

Volunteering at the Invitational is a fun and productive way to see great dog work and an outstanding way to learn more about the test.  The Invitational is an International event, which means each of us plays a part in its success.  Please consider volunteering to support those who are volunteering to support you on your big day!  If everyone who handles a dog would volunteer to work at least ONE day, there would be enough workers for all days.  We are asking everyone to volunteer using the form posted on the Invitational page of the NAVHDA website.

Test entry refunds will be made for MEDICAL reasons only.  Requests for refunds must be submitted in writing and accompanied by a verifying statement from a physician or veterinarian before the Invitational test begins. Fifty percent of the entry fee will be refunded for approved requests.  In the event of the death of the handler and/or dog, 100% of the entry fee will be refunded.  Questions pertaining to withdrawals or refunds should be directed to the Invitational Program Manager Deb Stott via email or phone 920-265-5334.

I wish you the best of luck with your training and safe travels to Ohio this fall!

Deb Stott
2023 Invitational Program Manager

2023 Invitational Training Bird Order Form

The Buckeye Chapter will have training birds available for purchase the week of the Invitational

  • The email for ordering birds is
  • The Chapter Contact for Training Birds is Steve Smith.
  • There will be Chukars available at a cost of $18 dollars per bird. PayPal is preferred for bird purchases.  If paying by check please use American Currency.
  • Upon ordering at the above email address, payment information and contact information will be provided including Steve’s cell phone number.
  • The deadline for ordering birds will be Friday, September 1, 2023. No orders will be accepted after that date.
  • There will be no refunds on cancelled orders. No exceptions.
  • Handler will be responsible for having a bird pen or a bird bag for their Training Birds.
  • Training Grounds will be open for use on Tuesday September 12, 2023. Training Birds will be available that morning at 8 a.m. for pick up.  Handlers will also be able to pick up their Training Birds at the Campground each morning from 8am to 9am on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the Invitational.   If that time is not convenient, Steve will be available throughout the day to try to get your birds to you.  However, since Steve will be assisting with the event on a daily basis, bird pick up will have to be flexible.
2023 Invitational Eats!! (Banquet and Daily Food Truck Information)

Invitational Banquet

The banquet will be held on Friday, September 15, 2023 at 6:30pm at the Mingo Sportsman Club.
The meal will be served as a buffet and will include the following:

  • Tossed Salad
  • Prime Rib
  • Romano Chicken
  • Penne Pasta w/Alfredo or red sauce
  • Roasted red potatoes
  • Green beans w/bacon & ham
  • Sheet cake
  • Iced Tea and Water
  • *Cash Bar

The cost will be $50.00

Reservations and money are due by Sept 1, 2023
You can email reservations to
Please make check/money order payable to: Buckeye NAVHDA (US FUNDS ONLY)

Send your check to:
Kelli Christian
170 Gumps Lane
Wintersville, OH 43953

 

Daily Food Truck

2023 Invitational Travel and Lodging

See below for host hotel information as well as the airport and other lodging in the area.

CLOSEST AIRPORT
Pittsburg International Airport (PIT) – approximately 45 minutes from the Mingo Sportsman Club

HOST HOTEL
Holiday Inn Weirton
350 Three Springs Drive
Weirton, WV 26062

Please click on these two attached fliers for information on BOOKING A ROOM as well as RENOVATION INFORMATION
coming in 2023.

NAVHDA Invitational Participants – request group code to receive group rate
Group Code: NIP
Group Rate: $130.00 per night
One King Bed or Two Queen Beds
Dates: Group rate available September 11th – September 17th 2023

Reservations: Book Online HOLIDAYINNWEIRTON.COM or call the hotel directly 304-723-5522.

Please note: If booking before the renovations are complete, the rooms will show as one queen or two doubles
when booking on the website and in the confirmation email but will be one king and two queens by the
time of the Invitational.

NAVHDA Invitational Pet Policy/Fee: CLICK HERE to view the flyer for more information regarding the pet policy
and $100 per stay fee.  This fee will be in effect during the Invitational due to the large number of dogs
participating in the Invitational and the amount of intense cleaning required by housekeeping to prepare
the rooms for the next guests. Please note the hotel reservation confirmation received may indicate a
lower fee, however, the $100 fee will be in effect during the Invitational.

OTHER HOTELS IN THE AREA
Sleep Inn & Suites by Choice Hotels
875 University Blvd.
Steubenville, OH  43952
Booking Link
Hotel Phone: (740) 282-1800
Group Name: NAVHDA Invitational

 

CAMPGROUNDS

Mingo Sportsman Club – primitive
Contact Chris Frantz

Fernwood State Forest – primitive
740-733-7941
11 Township Road 181
Bloomingdale OH 43910

Friendship Park
740-266-6021
Friendship Park Rd
Rayland OH 43943

Austin Lake Park and Campground
740-544-5568
1002 Township Hwy 285 A
Toronto OH 43964

2023 Invitational Test Entry Form

CLICK HERE for the 2023 Invitational Test Entry Form

The deadline for submitting your entry is March 1, 2023.

2023 Invitational Eligible Dogs

CLICK HERE to view the dogs that have qualified for the 2023 Invitational

2022 Invitational Daily Test Scores

Click on the dates below to view the daily test scores.

Thursday 9/15/22

Friday 9/16/22

Saturday 9/17/22

Sunday 9/18/22

2022 Invitational Photographers
Below is the schedule of photographers during the Invitational.
Handlers/Owners can email the photographers directly for photos that were taken of their dog.

Thursday:
Double Mark – Waylon Lunn
Blind – Albert Watters
Field A – Ted Wentink
Field B – Tyler Sladen
Filed C – Chris Nellos

Friday:
Double Mark –Nancy Anisfield
Blind AM – Tyler Sladen
Field A- Waylon Lunn
Field B (Brace 1-5) – Charles Coulter
Field B (Brace 4-5) – Tyler Sladen
Field C – Chris Nellos
Floating – Albert Watters

Saturday:
Double Mark AM – Charles Coulter
Double Mark PM – Tyler Sladen
Blind – Nancy Anisfield
Field A (last two braces) – Charles Coulter
Field B – Waylon Lunn
Field C – Terry Ann Fernando

Sunday:
Double Mark – Chris Nellos
Blind (last few dogs) – Waylon Lunn
Field A – Waylon Lunn
Field C – Albert Watters

Charles Coulter
Tyler Sladen
Waylon Lunn
Nancy Anisfield
Terry Ann Fernando
Chris Nellos
Albert Watters
Ted Wentink

 

2022 Invitational Travel and Lodging - New Mexico
Closest Airport

Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ) – approximately 49 minutes from The Ranches

 

Host Hotel

Western Skies Inn and Suites
Phone: (505) 865-0001
2258 Sun Ranch Village Loop SW
Los Lunas, New Mexico 87031
Rate: $84/night; $10 pet fee, max 2 pets

Other Area Hotels

Days Inn By Wyndham, (505) 312-5062
1919 Main St. SW, Los Lunas, New Mexico 87031

Quality Inn, (505) 865-5100
1902 W Street South, Los Lunas, New Mexico 87031

Baymont by Wyndham, (505) 273-9450
2110 Camino Del Llano, Belen, New Mexico 87002

RV Sites

La Vista RV Park, (505) 966-6585
2300 Camino Del Llano, Belen, NM 87002
20 minutes (north)

Topspot 191 RV Park, (505) 864-1919
2200 Camino Del Llano, Belen, NM 87002
20 minutes (north)

Corazon RV Park, (505) 306-4363
2285 Roldan Dr, Belen, NM 87002
20 minutes (north) – 2 dog maximum

Cottonwood RV Park, (505) 440-2487
1703 Main St NE, Los Lunas, NM 87031
35 minutes (north)

Isleta Lakes RV, (505) 244-8102
4051 NM-327, Albuquerque, NM 87105
43 minutes (north)

Park Las Casitas RV Park, (575) 740-8417
1 S Alamillo Rd, San Acacia, NM 87831
18 minutes (south)

2022 Invitational - Volunteer Here!!!
The NAVHDA Invitational would not be such a success each year without the support of it’s volunteers! If you would like to volunteer, please complete and submit the form below. The volunteer assignment chart will be posted toward the end March and will be updated on a weekly basis.
Thank you for your interest in volunteering to be a part of the 2022 NAVHDA Invitational team!
The 2021 Invitational Committee

2022 Invitational Test Site with Pictures
The 2022 Invitational will be held September 15-18, 2022, near Albuquerque, NM at the New Mexico Boys and Girls Ranch, known as “The Ranches” and will be co-hosted by the Zia Chapter and NAVHDA International.

Plan to arrive in the area a day or two prior to your running day to give you and your dog time to acclimate to the altitude and the terrain.

The fields and water sites which will be used for the Invitational are off limits to all training until Monday, September 19 or in the event of a “make-up” test, until Tuesday, September 20.

Click on the photos below to enlarge and see the typical field cover you will encounter at the Invitational.

Updated Field Site

Representative Fields

   

 

Double Mark Retrieve Site

Blind Retrieve Site – Please note that the send site appearing in both the picture and the diagram below may be altered at test time at the discretion of the attending Senior Judge.

         

       

 

Things to keep in mind for this year’s Invitational:

  • Handlers may need to walk into the mesquite to flush the birds as they will be seeking shade;
    as such, it is advisable to wear chaps when running your dog in the field.
  • Contrary to what you may have heard, there is very little cactus in the fields.
  • As this is a Boys and Girls Ranch there is no alcohol allowed on the premises; as such, we respectfully
    request that you do not have any open alcoholic beverages while you are onsite. We also ask that you
    keep away from the horses and have no contact with any of the occupants of the Ranch.
  • Please also note there is a 15MPH speed limit on the grounds.
  • Trucks/SUVs are recommended due to some two track sand roads.

 

 

2022 Invitational Hospital and Vet Information
Hospitals & Urgent Care

UNM Hospital (Level 1 Trauma Center), (505) 272-2111
2211 Lomas Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
(49 minutes from test site)

Presbyterian Urgent Care, (505) 864-5454
609 S. Christopher Road, Belen, NM 87002
(20 minutes from test site)

Duke City Urgent Care, (505) 814-1995
1044 Main St. NE, Los Lunas, NM 87031
(32 minutes from test site)

Presbyterian Socorro General Hospital, (575) 835-1140
1202 Highway 60 West, Socorro, NM 87801
(35 minutes from test site)

Emergency Veterinarians

Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center (24 hour),  (505)884-3433
4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109
(50 minutes from test site)

Yucca Veterinary Medical Center, (505) 864-6001
1837 Camino Del Llano, Belen, NM 87002
(19 minutes from test site)

Los Lunas Animal Clinic, (505) 865-4604
575 Highway 314 NW, Los Lunas, NM 87031
(32 minutes from test site)

Animal Haven Veterinary Clinic,  (575) 835-3545
1433 Frontage Rd. NW, Socorro, NM 87801
(28 minutes from test site)

2022 Volunteer Assignments
CLICK HERE to view the Volunteer Assignments for the 2022 Invitational.  (These are draft assignments which are subject to change.)
Please continue to check back for assignment updates and note the updated revision date on the bottom of the spreadsheet.
The current revision posted is dated 9/12/2022.
Email Annie Nuss if you have any questions regarding these assignments.
Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility
All dogs receiving a prize one Utility score between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2023, are invited.

Posting of qualified dogs

All eligible dogs will be posted on the NAVHDA website in January after the last test is recorded. If your dog is eligible, and is not listed on the web site, contact the NAVHDA office immediately. Names of dogs will also be printed in the Versatile Hunting Dog magazine.

Membership and DNA Certification
Effective with the 2005 Invitational, the primary owner and handler must be a NAVHDA member in order to qualify for entry. Also, for all entries, DNA information must be on file or applied for with NAVHDA by the closing date of the entry period. If you are planning to enter this year’s Invitational, be forewarned that it can take six to eight weeks to get your DNA results back. If your DNA sample is submitted through NAVHDA, we will consider this submission as completion of the requirement.

Order DNA test kit here.

Refund policy
Once the test entry application and payment has been received at the NAVHDA office, the refund policy goes into effect.  Requests for refunds must be submitted in writing to the NAVHDA Central Office, accompanied by a verifying statement from a physician or veterinarian excusing the handler or dog for medical reasons. NAVHDA must be notified before a dog is scheduled to run; letters of documentation from veterinarians and physicians must be received no later than 15 days after the last day of the Invitational. Fifty percent of the entry fee will be refunded for medical reasons only.

Dams in season
Dams in season may still run in the Invitational, however they will run on the last day of the test. If you think your dam may be coming into, going out of, or will be in heat during the test, please note this on the top of your entry form. There will be a bitch check each morning immediately following the opening ceremony.

Training/Running on Invitational Grounds

No participating dog is allowed to train on the grounds after May 1 through the completion of the test. Invitational entered handlers and their dogs may participate in other sanctioned testing events on the Invitational grounds during that time frame. There will be a designated training area available for use during the test.

Running orders
Running days are primarily assigned on a “first come, first served” basis but please note that many other factors are taken into consideration when compiling the final list. Handlers will be notified which day they are running no later than April 30. Braces will be revealed to handlers on the day of testing.

Test results and plaques
All handlers will receive an official test record after the test, at no cost to the owner. It is imperative all member and dog names be correctly recorded on the entry forms to avoid errors. Co-owners will only be listed if they are listed on the dog’s record in the database. Adding a co-owner on the application will not be recognized unless it is listed in the dog’s record. Each owner who passes the Invitational will receive a plaque to commemorate their success.

Photographs 
NAVHDA will have photographers on premises to take pictures for NAVHDA and the VHD. These photographers will be allowed access to all test grounds. Please note these photos are for NAVHDA’s sole and absolute use and are not available for sale through NAVHDA. To purchase copies of the photos you must contact the photographer directly. The Invitational Photographers receive direction from NAVHDA on what and who to photograph. Any individual requests to the Invitational Photographers will be handled after they have completed their assignments for NAVHDA first.

Photographer information will be made available at and after completion of the Invitational. Due to the number of dogs and size of the grounds, not all dogs will be photographed and not all photographs will be available for purchase.

As with all NAVHDA tests, it is ultimately the handlers’ and judges’ decision whether or not to permit a photographer to walk along.

Policy for entrance acceptance

    1. A dog must earn a Prize I Utility score within the qualification period, which is the calendar year prior to the test.
    2. Entries must be postmarked by March 1.
    3. Dogs entered must be NAVHDA registered or a completed application must have been received for NAVHDA registration (including appropriate payment) prior to the deadline for test entry.
    4. Entries must have DNA information on file, or applied for, through NAVHDA, prior to the closing date of test entry.
    5. The primary owner and handler, if different from the owner, must be a NAVHDA International member.
    6. Dogs that have previously passed the Invitational are not eligible to run in another Invitational.

How much does it cost NAVHDA (per participant) to run the Invitational? Click here to view a breakdown.

2022 Invitational Running Day Assignments
Please CLICK HERE to view the 2022 Invitational Running Day Assignments. (Revision 9/7/2022)

If you were not assigned one of your preferred running days and would like to be placed on a wait list, please email Mike Neiduski with your alternate preference(s) of running day(s) as soon as possible.  Those on the wait list will be notified as openings occur.  Requests will be considered up until September 1st.

Please also email Mike Neiduski if you will be traveling with someone to the Invitational.  We will do our best to accommodate your needs but cannot work with more than two handlers traveling together in the same vehicle as keeping a group of handlers at one site too long backs up all the venues.  Braces will be revealed to handlers prior to the opening ceremonies on each day of testing.  Should severe weather cause the cancellation of part of or full day of testing, a “make-up” test will be held Monday, September 19th.  Although this is unlikely, it would be prudent to keep this in mind when making return travel plans.

Plan to arrive in the area a day or two prior to your running day to give you and your dog time to acclimate to the altitude and the terrain. There will be grounds available for training beginning 2 days prior the start of the Invitational. If you would like to order birds and/or have questions on the grounds, please reach out to the local chapter contact Tony Bridgman via email or phone 419-779-2332.

On the day you are running, plan to arrive at the test grounds and be checked in no later than 6:30 a.m.  When you arrive at the grounds, go directly to the Handler Sign In Tent.  If you are running a female, even if she is spayed, please bring her with you to the check in area and proceed to the Female Check In tent after you have signed yourself in. A check of all females must be done each morning before the test can begin.

Opening ceremonies will begin at 7:00 a.m. with testing beginning immediately thereafter.  Please feel free to bring your dog with you to the opening ceremonies, there will be a placard with your name as well as your dog’s name to stand next to.  This is an exciting event and can be a great photo opportunity.  If you do bring your dog with you, please always be observant of both your dog and those around you.

Females in season are automatically assigned to the last day the test will be held and will also be the last dogs to run at each venue.  Females in season will be quarantined to a specific area throughout the test and changes to the running order may be warranted.  If possible, it would be best to not bring any female in season to the grounds until Sunday.  Please email Mike Neiduski as soon as you know your dog will be in season during the test so we can adjust running days accordingly.

There will be a walk-through of the test grounds Wednesday, September 14 at approximately 3:00 p.m. for any handlers that would like to attend; more information on the meeting location will be sent as we get closer to the Invitational.

We expect that you will provide safe and comfortable housing for your dog throughout the day.  Dogs are to be leashed or kenneled when not testing to prevent dangerous situations or interference with the test.  Please do not approach other dogs without the owner’s permission.  Instruct your children to stay out of the testing areas and away from other dogs.

Lunches (at a cost) will be made available on the grounds Wednesday through Sunday for handlers and the gallery. The banquet will be held on Friday night from 5:30-8:30PM.  Please note banquet tickets must be paid for in advance.  More information on the banquet, including a link to the Zia Chapter website for purchasing tickets, will be posted soon.

 All scores will be read at the end of each test day at the Invitational Headquarters.  The timing of reading scores is dependent upon many factors which occur throughout the day and therefore can be unpredictable. As a rule of thumb, we recommend you return to Invitational Headquarters no later than 4pm.  As Sunday will be a shorter test day, scores will be read earlier in the day.  If you are running on Sunday, we recommend you return to Headquarters as soon as you have completed testing at all sites.  If you would like, bring your dog’s pedigree to the test as the judges will be more than happy to sign it and indicate the test score your dog receives that day.

Volunteering at the Invitational is a fun and productive way to see great dog work and an outstanding way to learn more about the test.  The Invitational is an International event, which means each of us plays a part in its success.  Please consider volunteering to support those who are volunteering to support you on your big day!  If everyone who handles a dog would volunteer to work at least ONE day, there would be enough workers for all days.  We are asking everyone to volunteer using the form posted on the Invitational page of the NAVHDA website.

Test entry refunds will be made for MEDICAL reasons only.  Requests for refunds must be submitted in writing and accompanied by a verifying statement from a physician or veterinarian before the Invitational test begins. Fifty percent of the entry fee will be refunded for approved requests.  In the event of the death of the handler and/or dog, 100% of the entry fee will be refunded.  Questions pertaining to withdrawals or refunds should be emailed to the Invitational Program Manager Deb Stott or phone 920-265-5334

Best of luck with your training and safe travels to New Mexico this fall.

Test Instructions -- Field Work (Revised 5/1/2023)

A judge will meet you at the starting line. If you have any questions, this is the time to ask.  You are required to wear orange in the field and carry an empty break action shotgun. The use of a reflective collar will be allowed to more easily identify dogs that have similar appearances.  If you do not have any of these items they will be provided for your use. All rules established for Utility field work as posted in the AIMS, Programs and Test Rules book apply to the Invitational in addition to the following parameters.

You will be in the field for a minimum of one hour with a bracemate. Two approved gunners and three judges will accompany each brace. Although the handlers will carry break-open shotguns, under no conditions will handlers shoot at any time during the brace. The dogs and their handlers are expected to hunt together as a “team”. If either dog interferes with its bracemate by repeatedly stealing point or initiates aggressive behavior the handler may be asked to leash their dog, and cannot receive a passing score.  However, a minor encounter with no further aggression will not be grounds for ejection.

Dogs will be provided with multiple opportunities to find and handle game properly, which may include “stop to flush” situations. If the gunners have a safe shot on a wild flush or a bumped bird, the bird will be shot. If they don’t have a safe shot, they will shoot in the air.  You will be required to shoulder your gun on all handled birds.  In all cases your dog is expected to display steadiness through fall, as well as retrieve to hand.  When sending your dog on a retrieve, handlers are to respect their bracemate by using a light command. After your dog makes a retrieve, keep them under control as the other dog may still be honoring and/or be pointing its own bird. If the gunners miss a bird or are not able to make a safe shot, handlers will be expected to heel their dog out of the situation without touching the dog or grabbing its collar.

Backing your bracemate’s point is also evaluated in the field.  To receive a passing score, a dog is expected to back without command. The backing dog must be off wind or downwind a sufficient distance that, in the opinion of the judges, the backing dog stopped as a result of seeing its bracemate on point rather than scenting and pointing game. Dogs that require excessive handling to come in for a back will have their backing and/or obedience scores penalized which can result in a failing score. If the dog clearly avoids backing its bracemate, its cooperation score will be impacted in addition to their backing score. Judgment of backing ends when the dog becomes aware of the handler’s presence. Commands after an established back will impact the dog’s steadiness score and, if continued, can result in a failing score.

Should both dogs go on point on different birds, the dog that established point first will have its bird shot first.  The second dog will be expected to remain on point and steady during this time and will be expected to complete its sequence upon the completion of its bracemate’s bird.

There may be times throughout the field when you and your bracemate may be split up for various reasons, including having seen a sufficient number of backs from both dogs, you or your bracemate may need a bird to complete scoring of pointing, steadiness, or retrieve, or the judges may want to see how dogs react after being split up and rejoined to complete the hunt, particularly if they are concerned about potential interference or intimidation.  Any dog that leaves the field for more than twenty minutes is out of judgment and will not be allowed back in the field but will be allowed to participate in all other segments of the test. A bye dog will then be used in place of the ejected dog.

Test Instructions -- Double Marked Retrieve, Including Heeling and Steadiness (Revised 5/1/2023)

The Double Marked Retrieve sequence is summarized in the diagram below.

A judge will meet you at the starting line. If you have any questions, this is the time to ask. You will be handed two blanks and a double barrel break action gun to use so you will not need to reload in between shots. Off lead heeling begins at the designated marker and ends when you have positioned your dog at the water’s edge between the markers. The dog is expected to heel with only a single command at the start.  Any additional commands will lower your heeling score.

Once your dog is set you should nod your head to signal to the judges that you are ready to begin. Excessive time taken to get your dog positioned will affect your steadiness at the double mark score. You are not allowed to position or align your dog by grabbing it or its collar, or by moving or lifting it in any manner without being severely penalized.

When the first dead duck (memory bird) is thrown you will swing and fire a blank at the top of the arc. After the first duck hits the water the second duck (wiper, or “go-to” bird) will be thrown. The second dead duck “wipes” across the line of the memory bird, and at this time you will fire your second shot. The second duck will pass close to you and your dog. Your dog must remain steady through all sequences; if not, your steadiness by double mark score will be severely affected. After the second duck (wiper bird) has hit the water, pause to demonstrate steadiness before sending your dog with a line and/or a tap on the head or ear. The second (wiper / go-to bird) must be retrieved first. You may hand the gun to the judge after you have sent your dog on the first retrieve or you may choose to keep it through the entire sequence. You should tell the judges in advance what you intend to do. Once the dog has the wiper bird in its mouth and has turned back towards you, a diversion shot will be fired by a distraction gunner. If you chose to keep your gun throughout the entire sequence you may NOT mount and point the gun in the direction of the memory bird when the distraction shot is fired. After receiving the first retrieve you may hand the bird to the judge behind you before sending your dog on the second retrieve, or keep it until you have sent your dog and then hand it off. Again, let the judges know in advance what you will be doing.

Position or align your dog and send it for the second retrieve (the memory bird). You are not allowed to position your dog by grabbing it or its collar in any manner without being severely penalized. Heeling your dog to line its direction to the memory bird is allowed as is sending your dog with a line with your hand and/or a tap on the dog’s head or ear. Entry into the water should be direct; excessive running the bank and avoidance to do the task will result in the termination of the retrieve portion of the event.

Minimal handling is permitted on the second retrieve. Excessive handling and commands that are not obeyed will affect your score. After your dog has the bird in its mouth a single light whistle or verbal praise is allowed; harsh return commands will negatively affect your score.

After you receive your second retrieve you will hand the bird to the judge.  You are to keep your dog under control and in a heel position.  A single command is permitted. The gun will then be handed back to you if you don’t have it and you will heel your dog off lead back to the marker where you started the event. A single command is allowed but excessive commands to get control of your dog will negatively impact your score.

On mobile devices, the image below is best viewed in landscape mode.

Note that in this diagram heeling begins on the right and the memory and wiper birds are shown being thrown left to right. Depending on terrain, conditions, or other factors these directions can change.

Test Instructions -- Blind Retrieve & Honor by Blind (Revised 5/1/2023)

The Blind Retrieve sequence is summarized in the diagram below.

BLIND RETRIEVE (Revised 5/1/2023)
A judge will meet you at the starting line. If you have any questions, this is the time to ask. Your dog will be expected to heel off lead from the designated marker to the water’s edge where you will position your dog anywhere between two marked spots. You are not allowed to position your dog by grabbing it or its collar, or by moving or lifting it in any manner without being severely penalized.

When you are ready, you may send your dog by using your hand to line the dog and/or tap them on the head or ear. If your dog repeatedly refuses (often called a “NO GO”) to leave the shore, or requires excessive coaxing to do the task, it will result in the termination of the blind retrieve sequence, however you will still complete the heel and honor sequences. If a resend is needed and is taken, it can still result in a passing score. If the dog enters the water and turns to face its handler (most often called a “POP”) while crossing to the far shore, the handler can command or handle the dog without impacting its score providing the dog does not require several commands to reverse its course and/or does not “POP” several times. Handling is not penalized as long as the commands are obeyed and are minimal.

Avoiding the task and going on an extended search is also severely penalized. The handler may be asked to call their dog. Locating the duck by search is not the objective. Likewise, merely retrieving the duck does not automatically result in a pass as any number of the above scenarios can play a part in your score. Once the dog has reached the other side, handling is allowed if your dog requires it. As noted before, handling is acceptable as long as the dog obeys your commands and they are minimal in nature. Excessive commands to fetch the bird are penalized.  Once the dog makes the retrieve a single whistle or light praise is allowed. Multiple commands to get your dog to return will negatively impact your score.

The dog should make the retrieve to hand. You will then hand the bird to the judge while keeping your dog under control in a heel position. Giving a single command to heel at this point is allowed. You will then heel off lead directly to the honoring site marked for your dog. Additional commands used or needed for heeling during this portion of the test will affect the dog’s overall obedience score.

HONOR BY BLIND (Revised 5/1/2023)
You will position your dog by the marker at the water’s edge with a single command in a standing, sitting, or down position. Once your dog is set, you will position yourself behind the dog at the mark indicated for you.  Nod your head to signal you are ready to begin the sequence. Excessive time taken to get control of your dog and position it will affect your score.

The dog must remain in its place throughout the throw, shot and retrieve of the duck by the retrieving dog. Commands needed for the dog to stay will severely impact the honoring score.

Once the sequence is over you will be told to return to your dog. At this time a single heel command is allowed and you will heel your dog off lead to the end point which will be marked as well. Additional commands needed for heeling will be reflected in the dog’s overall obedience score.

On mobile devices, the image below is best viewed in landscape mode.

Blind Retrieve and Honor by Blind. As with the Double Marked Retrieve, the direction of heeling in and out and the direction from which the retrieve duck is thrown can be different depending on terrain, conditions, or other factors.

 

Invitational Hosting Requirements
The first NAVHDA Invitational was held in 1988 in Ontario, Canada, and, since that time, has been held in seven different states from Maine to North Dakota. Since 2009, the NAVHDA Invitational has alternated between two fantastic locations: the Buckeye Chapter in Ohio and the Hawkeye Chapter in Iowa. The grounds, hospitality, and chapter support at all locations has been amazing every year, and that tradition will undoubtedly continue this year in Iowa!

Invitational Hosting Requirements:

Grounds

Fields:  Three fields of at least 100 acres each. Cover sufficient to hide birds (chukars) with at least some areas that allow sight lines to judge backing sequences. Parking for fields that is accessible in any weather or mud.
Double Mark Pond:  At least 5 to 8 acres. Natural cover at the banks and open water marking area. Parking area and roads to and from.
Blind Retrieve/Honor by Blind Pond:  A body of water having approximately 100 yard long blind retrieve with no cover in water and a bank on the far shore that allows viewing of dog when it gets to the duck. The shape of the water is important. It must be longer than wider so as to not invite a dog to run around the pond instead of swimming across (ie: no round ponds).  The position for Honor by Blind must be approximately 50 yards downshore from the Blind Retrieve site. Again, there must be parking and roads to and from.
Exercise fields:  Minimum of two, not on official Invitational test grounds.
Headquarters:  An area for opening and closing ceremonies (standard setup, flags.) Electronics to run sound system. A building for setup of radio control station, computers, printers (solid building that can be securely locked at night.)
Airport:  A major airport not more than one hour drive to grounds.

Equipment

Field:  6 single barrel 12 gauge break open shotguns. 6 large bird bags, 3 sets of game shears, ziploc bags (large and small), hand wipes, 9 water tubs, 6 four wheelers or other atv, 6 coolers, 6 pop up tents 6 flash collars, 10 oranges vests, 12 chairs.
Double Mark:  2 wingers, hammer, extra bands for wingers, extra electronics for wingers, two 12 gauge break open guns, one has to be double barrel capable of shooting two blanks, 12 decoys, garbage bags, hand wipes, ziploc bags, boat, life jacket, 2 coolers, 2 tents, 6 chairs, duck dryer.
Blind Retrieve/Honor by Blind:  Winger, extra bands for winger, blind to hide winger, single barrel 12 gauge break-open shotgun, blanks, Bye dogs/Honor by Blind dogs: Must have at least 2 VC dogs available as bye dogs for the fields each day, and at least 2 UT or VC dogs available to retrieve the duck at the Honor by Blind each day. Also a test dog at each water venue and available for set up day.
20 clipboards, rubber bands and pens.

Hotel

Hotel with a minimum of 120 rooms to be the host hotel. Must allow pets and preferably be willing to provide an early breakfast option on the day we will be there. Thirty minutes to grounds or less.

Other

      • An on call veterinary clinic within an hour drive (max).
      • Chapters must be able to provide lunches for all workers, approximately 40-45 workers per day. A banquet facility to host dinner Friday or Saturday night, approximately 100-125 people.
      • A local bird supplier or suppliers that will contract for chukars and ducks at a reasonable rate ($7 to $9 for chukars and $12 to $15 for ducks.)
      • Sufficient signage to get participants and spectators to the different venues. Parking signs at venue. Signs to get people to and from exercise fields.
      • Signs to mark exercise fields. (A total list of needed signs will be given to any chapter that will be hosting the  Invitational.)
      • The hosting chapter may inquire about renting the signs and other equipment from chapters that have previously hosted the Invitational.
Invitational Contacts

Invitational EC Liaison: Angie Coenen

Invitational Coordinator: Deb Stott

Invitational Volunteer Coordinator: Annie Nuss

Invitational Test Secretary: Elizabeth Anton

2021 Invitational Training Bird Order Form
The HAWKEYE CHAPTER will have training birds (Chukkars @ $15.00 per bird) available for purchase the week of the Invitational.

  • The deadline for ordering birds is Wednesday, September 1, 2021. Orders will NOT be accepted after that date. Pre-payment will be required to process your order.
  • The only payment form that is accepted is via check (in US funds) made payable to: HAWKEYE NAVHDA
  • All orders are final. There will be no refunds on cancelled orders. (No exceptions)

Training grounds will be open for use on Saturday, September 12, 2021

  • Handler will be responsible for having a bird pen or a bird bag for their training birds.
  • Training birds will be available for pick up on Saturday morning at 8am in the parking lot between Fields A and B.
  • Handlers will also be able to pick up their training birds in the parking lot each morning from 8am to 9am on Sunday through Friday of the Invitational.   If that time is not convenient, Charles will work with you to arrange a mutually convenient pick-up time

To place your order, save and email this completed form to the Chapter Contact:  Charles Coulter

2021 Click here to Volunteer!!
The NAVHDA Invitational would not be such a success each year without the support of its volunteers.

If you would like to volunteer, make a change on your volunteer application, or have any other general questions regarding volunteering, please send Annie Nuss an email at .

The volunteer assignment chart will be posted toward the end March and will be updated on a weekly basis.  You will be able to find this chart under the 2021 Volunteer Assignments below.

Thank you for your interest in volunteering to be a part of the 2021 NAVHDA Invitational team!

The 2021 Invitational Committee

Versatile Champions 1988-2023

Please CLICK HERE to view the list of NAVHDA Versatile Champions, by year.

2021 Invitational Photographers
2021 Invitational Photographers and contact info. Handlers/owners can contact the photographers directly for photos of their dog. Click here to see where each of them was on specific days.

Derek Baune

Charles Coulter

Denise Heath

Michele Tantala

Waylon Lunn

Moishe Rageime

Nancy Anisfield

Terry Ann Fernando

2021 Invitational Banquet
Banquet Update

All attendees of the banquet are required to sign a COVID waiver.  A copy will be available upon entering the banquet facilities but please take a moment beforehand and read it here.

Banquet Details

2021 Invitational Banquet will be held on Friday, September 17, 2021
Cocktails will begin at 5:30 p.m.
Dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m.

Elks Lodge
720 3rd Ave.
Grinnell, Iowa 50112

Admission is $38 per person

Please email Charles Coulter to make your reservation.

2021 Invitational Travel and Lodging
CLICK HERE for site maps and directions.

Closest Airports
The Des Moines, Iowa (DSM) is approximately 75 minutes from Searsboro.
The Cedar Rapids, Iowa (CID) is approximately 90 minutes from Searsboro.

Host Hotel

Country Inn and Suites (641) 236-9600
1710 W Street South, Grinnell, Iowa 50112
Rate:  $119 per night single or double
Dogs welcome
Complimentary Continental Breakfast

Other Area Hotels

Comfort Inn and Suites, (641) 715-9752
1630 W Street South, Grinnell, Iowa 50112

Quality Inn and Suites, (641) 236-6710
1902 W Street South, Grinnell, Iowa 50112

Best Western Pioneer Inn (641) 236-6116
2210 W Street South, Grinnell, Iowa 50112

Super 8 by Wyndham (641) 812-2051
2111 W Street South, Grinnell, Iowa 50112

Camping Facilities

Rock Creek State Park (641) 236-3722
5627 Rock Creek East Street, Kellogg, IA 50135

  • 7 miles from Grinnell
  • Electrical sites, modern rest rooms and showers
  • Daily fee is dependent on the site type.
    Reservations can be made 3 months in advance

Diamond Lake Park
Electrical and primitive sites, shower facilities, pump station
Self register on-site
Daily fee is dependent on site type.

Fun Valley Event Center
1066 500th Ave
Montezuma, IA  50171
(641) 660-5668 or (641) 660-2251

  • Approximately 10 minutes east of Big Springs Shooting and Hunting Complex
  • 12 full hook-ups which include water, electric and sewer
  • 3 sites just electric but within walking distance of shower house
  • Daily/weekly fee is dependent on the site type
2021 Invitational Running Day Assignments
Please CLICK HERE to view the 2021 Invitational Running Day Assignments.

The current revision posted is dated 9/7/21.

Test Instructions -- Double Mark

NAVHDA’S expectation is that all dogs are well mannered and under control throughout the event.

HEELING, STEADY AT THE DOUBLE, DOUBLE MARKED RETRIEVE
A judge will meet you at the starting line. If you have any questions, this is the time to ask. You will be handed two blanks and a double barrel break action gun to use so you will not need to reload in between shots. Off lead heeling begins at the designated marker and ends when you have positioned your dog at the water’s edge between the two markers. The dog is expected to heel with only a single command at the start.  Any additional commands will lower your heeling score.

Once your dog is set you should nod your head to signal the judges you are ready to begin. Excessive time taken to get your dog positioned will affect your steadiness at the double mark score. You are not allowed to position or align your dog by grabbing it or its collar, moving or lifting it in any manner without being severely penalized.

When the first dead duck (memory bird) is thrown you will swing and fire at the top of the arc. After the first duck hits the water the second duck (wiper bird) will be thrown. The second dead duck, “wipes” across the line of the memory bird, at this time you will fire your second shot. The second duck will pass close to you and your dog. It must be retrieved first. Your dog has to remain steady through all sequences; if not, your steadiness by double mark score will be severely affected. After the second duck (wiper bird) has hit the water, pause to demonstrate steadiness before sending your dog with a line and/or a tap on the head or ear. You may hand the gun to the judge after you have sent your dog on the first retrieve or you may choose to keep it through the entire sequence. You should tell the judges in advance what you intend to do. If you choose to keep your gun throughout the entire sequence you may NOT mount and point the gun in the direction of the memory bird when the distraction shot is fired. Once the dog has the wiper bird in its mouth and has turned back towards you, a diversion shot will be fired by a distraction gunner. After receiving the first retrieve you may hand the bird to the judge behind you before sending your dog on the next retrieve, or keep it until you have sent your dog and then hand it off. Again, let the judges know in advance what you will be doing.

Position or align your dog and send it for the second retrieve (the memory bird). You are not allowed to position your dog by grabbing it or its collar in any manner without being severely penalized. Heeling your dog to line its direction to the memory bird is allowed as is sending your dog with a line with your hand and/or a tap on the dog’s head or ear. Entry into the water should be direct; excessive running the bank and avoidance to do the task will result in the termination of the retrieve portion of the event.

Minimal handling is permitted on the second retrieve. Excessive handling and commands that are not obeyed will affect your score. After your dog has a bird in its mouth a single light whistle or verbal praise is allowed; harsh return commands will negatively affect your score.

After you receive your second retrieve you will hand the bird to the judge.  You are to keep your dog under control and in a heel position.  A single command is permitted. The gun will then be handed back to you if you don’t have it and you will heel your dog off lead back to the marker where you started the event. A single command is allowed but excessive commands to get control of your dog will negatively impact your score.

On mobile devices, the image below is best viewed in landscape mode.

Test Instructions -- Blind Retrieve & Honor by Blind

in a NAVHDA’s expectation is that all dogs are well mannered and under control throughout the event.

BLIND RETRIEVE
A judge will meet you at the starting line. If you have any questions, this is the time to ask. Your dog will be expected to heel off lead from the designated marker to the water’s edge where you will position your dog anywhere between the two markers. You are not allowed to position your dog by grabbing it or its collar, moving or lifting it in any manner without being severely penalized.
When you are ready, you may send your dog by using your hand to line the dog and/or tap them on the head or ear. If your dog repeatedly refuses (often called a “NO GO”) to leave the shore, or requires excessive coaxing to do the task, it will result in the termination of the blind retrieve sequence; however you will complete the heel and honor sequences. If a resend  is needed and is taken,  it can still result in a passing score. If the dog enters the water and turns to face its handler (most often called a “POP”) while crossing to the far shore, the handler can command or handle the dog without impacting its score providing the dog does not require several commands to reverse its course and/or does not “POP” several times. Handling is not penalized as long as the commands are obeyed and are minimally needed.
Avoiding the task and going on an extended search is also severely penalized. The handler may be asked to call his dog. Locating the duck by search is not the objective. Likewise, merely retrieving the duck does not automatically result in a pass as any number of the above scenarios can play a part in your score. Once the dog has reached the other side, handling is allowed if your dog requires it. As noted before, handling is acceptable as long as the dog is obeying your commands and they are minimal in nature. Excessive commands to fetch the bird are penalized.  Once the dog makes the retrieve a single whistle or light praise is allowed. Commands to get your dog to return will negatively impact your score.
The dog should make the retrieve to hand. You will then hand the bird to the judge while keeping your dog under control in a heel position. Giving a single command to heel at this point is allowed. You will then heel off lead directly to the honoring site marked for your dog. Additional commands used or needed for heeling during this portion of the test will affect the dog’s overall obedience score.
HONOR BY BLIND
You will position your dog by the marker at the water’s edge with a single command in a standing, sitting, or down/laying position. Once your dog is set, you will position yourself behind the dog at the mark indicated for you.  Nod your head to signal you are ready to begin the sequence. Excessive time taken to get control of your dog and position it will affect your score.
The dog must remain in its place throughout the throw, shot and retrieve of the duck by the retrieving dog. Commands needed for the dog to stay will severely impact the honoring score.
Once the sequence is over you will be told to return to your dog. At this time a single heel command is allowed and you will heel your dog off lead to the end point which will be marked as well. Additional commands needed for heeling will be reflected in the dog’s overall obedience score.
Test Instructions -- Field Work

NAVHDA’s expectation is that all dogs are well mannered and under control throughout the event.

FIELD WORK
A judge will meet you at the starting line. If you have any questions, this is the time to ask.  You are required to wear orange in the field and carry an empty break action shotgun. The use of a reflective collar will be allowed to more easily identify dogs that have similar appearances.  If you do not have any of these items they will be provided for your use. All rules established for Utility field work as posted in the AIMS, Programs and Test Rules book apply to the Invitational in addition to the following parameters.
You will be in the field for a minimum of one hour with a bracemate. The dogs and their handlers are expected to hunt together as a “team”.   If either dog interferes with its bracemate by repeatedly stealing point or initiates aggressive behavior you may be asked to leash your dog, and can no longer receive a passing score.  However, a minor encounter with no further aggression will not be grounds for ejection.
Dogs will be provided with multiple opportunities to find and handle game properly, which may include “stop to flush” situations. If the gunners have a safe shot on a wild flush, the bird will be shot. If they don’t have a safe shot, they will shoot in the air.  You will be required to pull up your gun on all handled birds and follow through.  In all cases your dog is expected to display steadiness through fall, as well as retrieve to hand.  When sending your dog on a retrieve, handlers are to respect their bracemate by using a light command. After your dog makes a retrieve, keep them under control as the other dog may still be honoring and/or be pointing its own bird. If the gunners miss a bird or are not able to make a safe shot, handlers will be expected to heel their dog out of the situation without touching the dog or grabbing its collar.
Backing is also evaluated in the field.  To receive a  passing score, a dog is expected to back without command. The backing dog must be off wind or downwind a sufficient distance, that in the opinion of the judges, the backing dog stopped as a result of seeing its bracemate on point rather than pointing game. Dogs that require excessive handling to come in for a back will have their backing and/or obedience scores penalized which can result in a failing score. If the dog clearly avoids backing its bracemate, its cooperation score will be impacted in addition to their backing score. Judgment of backing ends when the dog becomes aware of the handler’s presence. Commands after an established back will impact the dog’s steadiness score and, if continued, can result in a failing score.
Should both dogs go on point on different birds, the dog that established point first will have its bird shot first.  The second dog will be expected to remain on point and steady during this time and will be expected to complete its sequence upon the completion of its bracemate’s bird.
There may be times throughout the field you and your bracemate may be split up for various reasons; such as, sufficient backs have been accounted for, you or your bracemate may need a bird, or the judges may want to see how dogs react after being split up and rejoined to complete the hunt, particularly if they are concerned about potential aggression, interference or intimidation.  Any dog that leaves the field for more than twenty minutes is out of judgment and will not be allowed back in the field but will be allowed to participate in all other segments of the test. A bye dog will then be used in place of the ejected dog.
2021 Invitational Photographers

2021 Invitational Photographers and contact info. Handlers/owners can contact the photographers directly for photos of their dog. Click here to see where each of them was on specific days.

Derek Baune

Charles Coulter

Denise Heath

Michele Tantala

Waylon Lunn

Moishe Rageime

Nancy Anisfield

Terry Ann Fernando