The Sport, Weekend Events and National Events
The AKC program for Retriever Hunting Tests was created to provide a venue for those who wished to develop, train and showcase their hunting retrievers in a non-competitive venue. MARC will continue that tradition by supporting the amateur trainer and handler. By increasing support and opportunities for amateur handlers the sport should continue to grow, and the breeds benefit, as more individuals become involved.
The Master National will continue, unaffected directly by MARC. The Master Amateur Invitational will run in the spring and in 2 time zones behind the MNRC. So there will be no conflict in schedule and use of grounds. The MNRC will continue to establish its own qualifying standards independently of MARC. It is anticipated that MARC would have a positive effect on the number of participants at the MNRC as amateurs who qualify for both may elect to not run both.
MARC will hold an annual national invitational event, the Master Amateur Invitational. Qualifications will be earned by amateur handlers at regular weekend events. It is probable that weekend events will experience an increase in amateur handlers but no significant increase in total dogs entered. Dogs may only run once in any event so the total number of dogs participating will increase only as the sport continues to grow irrespective of whether the handler is an amateur or professional. Clubs should see some benefit with an increase in amateur handlers more likely to engage in and support local clubs with their volunteer effort.
MARC is not proposing the creation of a new weekend amateur only event. That would present an additional logistical burden on clubs and is not consistent with the concept of non-competitive testing against a common standard. It can be argued that an amateur only flight at weekend events might alleviate the pressure on limited entry events by allowing more opportunities for amateur handlers. That is not, however, a proposal that MARC is promoting.