History of the Master Amateur RC
A Look Back and Forward
As far back as 2012, discussions were held by the Master National Retriever Club about an amateur division for the national hunt test event. That idea was included in concepts developed at a strategic initiative conference in early 2014, that and other concepts were circulated to member clubs for input. In the spring of 2015, MNRC Vice President Jace Tramontin, with the approval of the Club President, formed an exploratory committee to discuss the idea of an amateur division for the MNRC. On the committee were two former MNRC Presidents, John Blackbird and Dave Kress, MNRC Sec-retary Elaine Goodner, MNRC Directors Keith Winch and Bob Swift, along with Frank Prendergast and Bob Montler.
The committee began to reach a consensus in favor of an all amateur event and came to the conclusion that the best way to achieve that would be to form a new national club. Organizing documents were developed and presented to the AKC Performance Events Department. Following a posi-tive response from the AKC, the committee was tasked with appointing a Board of Directors for what would become the Master Amateur Retriever Club (MARC). The committee com-pleted its mission and disbanded in December 2015 and a new national amateur retriever club was reality.
In January 2016, MARC existed in name only. The club did not have a charter, final approval from AKC, any members, a communication portal to the retriever community, a process for identifying or recording qualifications for the proposed Invitational and did not have a bank account. However, by February of 2016 we had, thanks to our partners at Retriever News and Entry Express, a functioning website, an email newsletter that goes to over 8,500 recipients and a process in place for identifying amateur handlers for the qualifying year beginning March 1, 2016.
More importantly, we had final approval from AKC for the club and the annual Master Amateur Invitational. The MARC Board of Directors began planning for the Inaugural Invita-tional, reviewing the original Constitution and By-Laws and developing Policies & Procedures to guide the Board and its activities and establishing a base for the future.
In response to the community MARC instituted an individual membership program. What we heard from the community was a desire for greater engagement and communication on an individual level. The Charter Membership program was initi-ated at a per member cost of $500. A target of 100 members was expected and there are now a total of 174 Charter mem-bers. As of April 1, we have a total membership of 340 families, individuals, clubs and associates. We are growing and feel hon-ored and blessed to serve the amateur retriever community.
The response to the membership program is both grati-fying and challenging. It has provided MARC with a solid financial footing. More importantly, it has demonstrated a depth of support for our mission of supporting and promot-ing amateur involvement in the AKC Retriever Hunt Test pro-gram. Our challenge is now to move that program forward and deliver on our mission.
The Inaugural Invitational will be held in Cairo, Georgia be-ginning on Saturday, April 22, 2017. The 150 dogs entered and their amateur handlers will be establishing a new set of traditions for this annual event. On behalf of the Board Direc-tors, we wish them all good luck and safe travels. The Board is also grateful for the strong support and engagement by members of the retriever community from across the coun-try and in all venues.
Our friends and partners at Retriever News and Entry Ex-press have been invaluable with advice and support in all communications efforts and in tracking our amateur han-dlers. Our corporate sponsors, especially our Charter spon-sors Purina and Avery, have been particularly generous. We have been warmly welcomed by the folks in and around Cairo. Special recognition and thanks goes to the landowners of our Invitational sites, John and Mary Stracka, Ken and Bren-da Neil and Laurie and Glen Williams. Members of the local retriever community have been most generous in providing their world class properties for pre-Invitational training.
Looking ahead to 2018; Sedalia, Missouri has been se-lected for the 2018 Invitational with a late May target date for the event, MARC will continue to expand our outreach to the broader retriever community. We are happy to welcome the PRTA (Professional Retriever Trainers Association) as a Charter member. MARC will look forward to expanding and strengthening its program by reaching out to national clubs as we seek common ground for opportunities that advance the retriever community.
The Board of Directors recognizes the broad support and individual effort that has allowed the club to advance. We appreciate that faith and effort as we look forward to expanding the base by working with all of our sponsors and members to advance the mission. MARC recognizes we owe our success to our members’ desire for an amateur venue, to the support of AKC Performance Events as they endorsed the vision and finally to the many that have made all this happen.
May your marks be pinned and your blinds lined …