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Field Trial Clubs of Illinois Summer Meeting

By Brian Sheehan | Aug 05, 2019

The Field Trial Clubs of Illinois (FTCI) held its annual summer meeting and Dog of the Year Awards banquet in Jacksonville, Ill., on Saturday, July 13.

The General Membership Meeting took place at Hamilton’s Banquet Hall at 1:00 p. m. The meeting was called to order by FTCI President Chad Chadwell who began the meeting by asking for a moment of silence for field trial patrons who passed during the past field trial season. After the moment of silence, he introduced special guests who were in attendance at our FTCI general meeting. Those guests included Colleen Callahan, Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), Terry Musser (IDNR), Terry Trzcinski, representative from Nestlé Purina, Jerry Johnson and Brad Hargis of the Quail and Upland Game Alliance (QUGA), and Dick Moss of the Petersburg Merchants Association.

Chadwell discussed in his President’s Report that FTCI currently has 35 member clubs which conduct approximately 100 field trials and championships annually in the State of Illinois. The 2018-2019 field trial season was a success even with the challenges of inclement weather this past winter with extreme cold and snow throughout the state causing the cancellation of several trials. Even with these challenges, Chadwell was pleased to report that there would be a full slate of awards to be presented at the banquet to well-deserving owners, handlers, and dogs.

President Chadwell then updated the attendees at the general membership meeting on several of the significant projects that the FTCI has been participating in over the past year. He updated the gathering on the progress of the construction of a building at the Jim Edgar Panther Creek (JEPC) site. A donor agreement between the State of Illinois and the FTCI has been signed. Plans are being made to construct a field trial staging/ storage building adjacent to the horse barn on site. Chadwell also informed the membership that he and his wife Nancy had donated a flagpole on behalf of the FTCI at the Pyramid field trial site. Finally, Chadwell announced that 20th Century funds had been secured to help with course improvements at JEPC and Pyramid field trial sites.

Meeting business was conducted as usual with the approval of the winter meeting minutes and treasurer’s report.

Chadwell then called on Mary Jo Trimble, member of the FTCI board of directors, to give the meeting participants an update on current state legislation that affects our sport. Mary Jo has been extremely busy this year working on a task force with key stakeholders in Pyramid State Park, the State of Illinois, and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SUIC). The task force was charged with putting together a strategic plan for the future of the site. Task Force members worked to create a Vision Statement, Mission Statement, and created five strategic goals to help with the procurement of funds and management of Pyramid State Park. Mary Jo stressed the importance of taking the time to participate in surveys about our sport and contacting our local representatives and senators to discuss legislative matters that affect field trials in Illinois.

Chadwell then turned the floor over to IDNR Director Colleen Callahan. Director Callahan introduced herself by telling the membership of her early years growing up on a farm in Iroquois County, Illinois. She told of the days when her family hosted hunters visiting from the Chicago area during hunting season and the fond memories of those days.

Callahan addressed the challenges that the IDNR faces from funding to flooding in the state. She stated the 2020 Illinois State Budget does allow for more hiring of staff throughout the department. Director Callahan noted that along with hiring more staff, the department would focus on improvements at Illinois State Parks more than major projects. Callahan brings a refreshing attitude to her role; she stressed the importance of communication, collaboration, and making connections in her role as the IDNR Director.

After her presentation she entertained questions from FTCI members in the audience. The FTCI is grateful to Director Callahan for taking time from her busy schedule to attend our general membership meeting. Director Callahan was presented a plaque from past FTCI Presidents Mark Johnson, Terry Trzcinski and current President Chad Chadwell commemorating over 55 years of cooperation and collaboration between the Field Trial Clubs of Illinois and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The next order of business was the discussion of old business, including the grounds report for each of the seven Class A field trial sites in the State of Illinois along with a championship report for the Continental breeds, Brittany, and Pointer/Setter groups which are FTCI members. Weather again played a significant role this past field trial season; however, member clubs in the FTCI played host to almost double-digit championships/ classics this year. Grounds reports and following discussion focused on ways to maintain our state’s field trial grounds. Several of the heavily used field trial sites in our state benefit from not for profit organizations made of user groups of the site. These groups work together to make improvements in coordination with IDNR personnel to ensure grounds and facilities are maintained.

IDNR representative Terry Musser was on hand to provide updates, seasonal reminders, and to field questions from members of the FTCI. Terry is a strong advocate of hunting and wing shooting. He currently is the head of Illinois’ Controlled Pheasant Hunting Program. Musser informed the membership that he is working with QUGA to develop habitat at JEPC and several other field trial sites in our state. FTCI would like to thank Terry for his continued friendship and support of field trialing in Illinois.

Chadwell then turned the floor over to Mark Johnson who gave an update on the Amateur Field Trial Clubs of America (AFTCA) meeting in Nashville, Tenn., in June.

Mr. Dick Moss of the Petersburg Merchants Association was on hand to review the merchants’ program with FTCI attendees. Moss informed the membership that currently the association has eighteen merchant members signed up to participate in a program. This program returns a percentage of money spent in Petersburg by field trial attendees from JEPC. Moss reported that since the program took effect three years ago, the Petersburg Merchants Association has donated back approximately $800 to the FTCI.

Sean Patrick and Maeve Derrig briefed the members on the current status of the FTCI’s Facebook page. They stated that they were pleased with the first year of the site’s running but encourage all member clubs to utilize the site to post running orders for trials, results of trials, and pictures of the events.

A discussion of the successful FTCI youth training video contest took place and it was stated that another contest would take place in the fall.

The last item on this year’s general meeting agenda was new business from members present. Without any new business from the floor, a motion to adjourn the meeting was presented and seconded. Members had ample time to prepare for the Dog of the Year Awards Banquet.

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