After an incredible year of intense scurry action, the top handlers and their dogs packed out the Midland Game Fair at Weston Park on Sunday 16th September for a nail-biting knockout competition. Everything was to play for as the talented handlers and their amazing dogs geared up for one last event.
Each of the finalist’s names were drawn from a hat and put against each other until only one spaniel and retriever were remaining to compete in the final round.
The course was set and the packed crowds at the Midland Game Fair gathered for the highly anticipated competition. The handler and dog with the fastest time in each round would progress until only one spaniel and retriever remained, the two would then battle it out to be crowned the Chudleys Gundog Champion 2018.
Emotions ran high throughout each round, which saw some costly mistakes by handlers that resulted in some disqualifications. Each round saw some incredible times and a demonstration of retrieving abilities. The competition continued until there were only four competitors left, Pete Rhodes was pitted against Brody Chequer in the spaniel class and Vicky Stanley took on John Berry in the Retrievers.
After another round of extreme skill and stamina, Brody Chequer with Dave and Vicky Stanley with Pip were able to score the fastest times and qualify for the final round of the 2018 competition. This would be Vicky Stanley’s second time in a row reaching the final round. However, she was prepared for an intense competition as Brody Chequer with Dave had been putting some impressive performances in throughout the season.
The audiences roared in excitement as both handlers and their amazing dogs put on incredible showcases of retrieving agility. The competition was close, it had been a long, challenging day for both Brody and Vicky, and all of their hard work had been leading to this moment. After a tense showdown it was Brody Chequer with Dave that scored the quickest time in the test and was awarded the Chudleys Gundog Champion title of 2018.
The winning duo went home with a staggering £2,000, a bottle of branded sloe gin, a winning rosette and an engraved trophy. It had been an outstanding year for Vicky, who not only received the runner up, she was also awarded the Pip Watson Memorial trophy for top lady handler in the competition. This year has seen a significant rise of female competitors, with almost half the finalists being women! This is a momentous occasion considering just three short years ago it was almost exclusively a male line up for the final.
Huge congratulations to Brody from all of us at Chudleys for this fantastic achievement! Well done to Vicky for an amazing performance and becoming the first winner of the Pip Watson Memorial trophy. We’d like to thank everyone who participated throughout the year and all the event organisers and volunteers for all of their hard work putting together another outstanding year of Working Dog competition.