NDSSC holds first cocker spaniel trial of the year

Published: Jun. 12, 2020 at 1:33 PM CDT
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The North Dakota Sporting Spaniel Club kicked off its first trials of the year this month. The latest competition was held Friday and had what directors say was a massive turnout.

Due to past COVID-19 cancellations, directors say this is the only cocker spaniel trial in the nation besides the national championships.

Participants made their way from all over the country to North Dakota with their trusted pheasant hunting partners by their side.

"We're here to have fun at a field trial-- first one we've been able to have this year," said participant Alan Wilson.

The trial brought out 59 dogs and their owners in one of the biggest events yet this year.

"It has very much to do with COVID. There's people that we wouldn't normally see from east coast, west coast," said Trial Chairman Tom Ness.

This year, the goal was the same.

"Oh it's outdoors. It's with your dogs. It's great fun. You have comradery with all the people that come from everywhere," Wilson said.

But, the method was a bit different.

"We're going to try and social distance. It's easier out here than it would be in town or doing something where we're all packed together in one spot," Ness said.

Not even a pandemic could put a stop to the perfect shot.

After all the walking, spotting, shooting, and retrieving was complete, the winners fetched their awards from a safe distance apart.

The trial is set to continue on through the weekend.

The first place team from the trial was Olivia Steele and her dog Patsy from Mortimer, Mont.

Second place went to Bill Conner and his dog Sage from Bismarck.

Third place went to Dan Murray and his dog Spiff from Bismarck.

Fourth place went to Kim Wiley and her dog Thor from Tennessee.

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