The UK Game Fair, taking place on 22-24 July at Stoneleigh, is putting together the strongest and most inclusive set of working dog attractions you’ll find anywhere this summer – covering labradors, spaniels, terriers, lurchers and much more.
Competitions, demonstrations and breed showcases will all feature heavily, boosted by sponsorship in the gundog area from dog transport specialists Lintran and dog food company Albion Meat Products, and overall working dog media partnership from the Countryman’s Weekly.
“I have been given the privilege of working with a team to build an event for the people who enjoy the countryside – and more importantly the juniors, who are the future,” said Bob Pownall, director of gundogs at the UK Game Fair. “My wish for the show is that the mums and dads bring the kids along and have a great show, then go home with a smile and a memory that either lights a spark into doing more, or re-enforces what is already there. As Carl Cox of BASC used to say at every show, they are the future.”
Bob is able to confirm some of the events on offer at Stoneleigh this July, such as the 70m bale jump and a water retrieve scurry. The Lintran Five-dummy Pick Up will take place in a very large area, with the prize on each day being a voucher from Lintran for £250 – so start training now! Then there is Stoneleigh Mayhem, which is a team event that promises to be a lot of fun. Take three handlers, three dogs and 15 dummies – all at the same time.
“All the dogs are out together so it will be mayhem,” said Bob. “Dogs, whistles, voice commands, crowds cheering and a commentary. The clock starts when the gun fires and stops when the last dummy is hanging on the peg. This is open to any mix of team – you could have a family of mum, dad and junior. How about Team Spaniel – there’s a challenge!”
Each day Bob and his team will be running the Lintran Junior Challenge, a course which will be changed daily for juniors (aged under 16 on the day of the competition). The junior will be invited to run in a small working test in an area set aside for training and for this test they will be judged by a couple of experienced trainers on handling their dog. Howard Kirby, of Mullenscote Gundogs, and iShoot contributor Ian Clinton, of the Working Dog Company, will run the UK Game Fair’s gundog clinic, offering advice on any manner of training issues.
Whether you’re working on retrieves, or have a pup with a specific problem, Howard and Ian will be on hand to offer advice and help.
“If you are experiencing training issues and you want to talk about it, I can explain ways to overcome them,” Ian said. “I’ll be lending my expertise and experience, so visitors can come along and have a general chat, ask questions about dog training and if they’re looking to buy a new puppy, I can help them to make an informed choice.”
It’s all tied together by the Experience campaign, which includes working dogs as one of its key parts. Everyone with a dog – no matter how inexperienced – will be invited to take part in the scurries, while the breed tents will provide information and history on the varied breeds used for work in the UK.