Open/Novice Trial Information
We have seen significant interest in our Region about holding some Open/Novice class combined trials since the concept was presented at the meeting at the February 2017 trial.
A couple of clarifications first: We have run exclusively "Open" class trials for the last several years. A dog of any experience level can run in the Open class if they want. Novice class dogs are restricted to dogs that have earned 3 total Open points or less and never taken any first place in an Open class trial.
An Open class dog is one that has at least 4 Open points of any kind OR has earned one first place in an Open trial and they can't run in the Novice class. This does not mean a dog has to be a puppy or young dog by any means, it is strictly based on points. The purpose of a novice class is to ensure that novice dogs are braced only against other novice dogs when running in the trial. The Novice class and the Open class dogs are drawn randomly for braces so Novice dogs might run against each other in any brace, not relegated to specific braces during the day. Novice class dogs are scored exactly the same way as the Open class dogs, their scores are kept on the same brace sheets and if they should happen to score high enough they CAN win the entire trial (or 2nd or 3rd or 4th) just like the Open class dogs. A Novice dog that does get an overall placement that earns Open points also DOES become eligible to run in the Regional but there is no Novice class at the Regional, only Open class.
A Handler is not restricted to running only Open or Novice dogs - the handlers experience level is irrelevant and a handler could run dogs in both classes in the same trial.
The advantage I see are that new members and members working with younger dogs can come out and run their dogs and be assured that in the Novice class they will run against a similarly experienced dog instead of potentially getting drawn against a multi-time champion.
We have been told by National that another advantage is that the computer draw can much more easily handle an Open/Novice draw with multi-dog handlers because of having two classes in the same draw pool and the way the computer logic works with that, hopefully making our life much easier with the draw system.
Things to know include:
Open/Novice trials are limited to a maximum of 4 trials in the spring and 4 trials in the fall, they can't happen at every trial. They will be published and announced.
YOU have to enter your dog as a Novice, we won't do it for you. When you enter be sure to specify you want a dog to run as a Novice.
We need an EVEN number of Novice dogs - if we get an odd number then the last dog entered as a Novice must run as an Open class dog if they want to run. (Hint: Don't delay if you want a Novice spot!)
Below is the information published in the NSTRA rulebook for conducting a combined Open and Novice trial:
Section 18 OPEN/NOVICE TRIAL:
18.01 All Open/Novice trials shall be run under National Shoot-To-Retrieve Field Trial Association all age rules. Each region may hold no more than eight (8) Open/Novice trials per year (four during the spring schedule and four during the fall schedule). Championship points shall be awarded as follows:
12-17 entries: One point for first place
18-23 entries: Two points for first place
One point for second place
24-32 entries: Three points for first place
Two points for second place
One point for third place
18.02 A Novice dog is one that has a total of three (3) Open points or less and none of the points are first place points. An Open dog is one that has four (4) or more points.
18.03 Entrants are responsible for assuring their Novice dog has three (3) points or less.
18.04 An Open and Novice dog shall not be drawn against each other.
All Open dogs will be braced together and all Novice dogs will be braced together. The draw will be done utilizing randomized braces.
18.05 In the event of an uneven number of entries in the Novice Class, the last entry received will be returned with fee refunded.
18.06 In the event of an uneven number of entries in the Open Class, a standby dog may be used. If unavailable, a Novice entry may compete in the Open Class if he so chooses.
18.07 An Open/Novice dog is eligible to compete in the Regional Elimination trial.
18.08 Established NSTRA sanction fees shall apply.