Thank You Everyone!
The 2023 AKC National Tracking Invitational was held September 9 & 10 at Branched Oak State Recreation area in Raymond, NE. The Invitational was a great success and the hosting clubs Cornhusker Kennel Club and Nebraska Kennel Club would like to thank everyone for their effort. Thank you exhibitors, judges, tracklayers and volunteers! Thanks also go to the Boat House at the marina for their outstanding meals and the staff at the Country Inn & Suites for helping us host the Friday night meet-and-greet and the Saturday night banquet. And, special thanks to Mother Nature for providing us with cooler weather than what whas forecast.
For additional information about this event click here to view the National Tracking Invitational Informational Booklet. You can also visit the AKC website’s National Tracking Invitational page by clicking here. And don’t forget to follow our Facebook Group page to get the latest updates!
We would like to thank photographer Ule James for all the wonderful photos he took of the event. Click the links below to view photos from each day. To request a high-resolution version of a photo (suitable for printing) please contact Ule James at the email indicated on the photo.
About the National Tracking Invitational
The AKC National Tracking Invitational is a prestigious event, a celebration and showcase for dogs who have earned the title of Champion Tracker (CT) between January 1, 2012 through June 30, 2023. This elite group of tracking dogs have earned their CT and the honor of an invitation to participate in this event by titling in tracking events held in field (Tracking Dog and Tracking Dog Excellent) and in urban (Tracking Dog Urban and Variable Surface Tracking) environments.
For more information, visit the AKC website’s National Tracking Invitational page by clicking here.
The 2023 AKC National Tracking Invitational was a “by invitation” event limited to dogs who earned a “Champion Tracker” title between January 1, 2012 through June 30, 2023. A random drawing of all entries was held on August 12 to select exhibitors and alternates. CLICK HERE to view the results of the draw. You can also view the Facebook Live video of the draw by clicking this link: 2023 AKC National Tracking Invitation Exhibitor Draw.
Branched Oak Recreation Area
The Branched Oak State Recreation Area is located about 13 miles north of Lincoln Nebraska and most visitors should plan on traveling to Lincoln. The address is 12000 W Branched Oak Rd, Raymond, NE 68428. See below for Travel / Lodging information.
Branched Oak encompasses 5,595 acres, and includes the largest lake in eastern Nebraska with 1,800 acres of water. Camping and RV parking options include Full Hookups, Electric Plus, Electric, Basic and Primitive camping. Branched Oak also offers a wide variety of attractions including a marina, two beaches, hiking trails and an equestrian campground.
And it is an ideal location for AKC Tracking Tests! In fact the Cornhusker Kennel Club of Lincoln has conducted Tracking Tests at Branched Oak for many years. We are extremely excited to have this great location serve as the grounds for the 2021 and 2023 AKC Tracking Invitationals.
The Hosting Clubs
The 2023 AKC National Tracking Invitational was jointly hosted by the Cornhusker Kennel Club of Lincoln Nebraska and the Nebraska Kennel Club of Omaha Nebraska.
Cornhusker Kennel Club
The Cornhusker Kennel Club of Lincoln Nebraska was established in December 1945.
The Club Objectives are:
- To protect and advance the interest of all breeds of purebred dogs, and encourage sportsman-like competition at dog shows, obedience trials, tracking tests and field trials.
- To conduct Sanctioned Matches, Dog Shows, Obedience Trials and Tracking Tests under the guidance of the American Kennel Club.
- To educate the public with regard to training, breeding and proper care and maintenance of purebred dogs.
We currently provide weekly conformation classes to club members and the general public, conduct a yearly dog show combined with obedience and rally trials, and a yearly tracking test.
Monthly meetings are held where education, good sportsmanship, fun and encouragement about preserving purebred dogs take priority.
Our website can be found at www.cornhuskerkennelclub.com .
Nebraska Kennel Club
The Nebraska Kennel Club is proudly celebrating our 100 year anniversary this year! Founded in Omaha in 1923, our first recognized dog show was held in that year; a benched affair, we had three hundred fifty dogs. We joined the AKC in 1937.
In addition to our Conformation Shows we offer many other activities such as Tracking Tests, Obedience / Rally, Scentwork Trials, and FastCAT. We provide training classes in Conformation and periodically offer seminars in various dog-related sports and activities. Guest speakers at our monthly meetings have included experts on dog nutrition, breeding, a wide variety of healthcare related issues (dental care, eye diseases, etc) and representatives from the Omaha Police K-9 Unit (both species). We are also a social club and enjoy activities such as winery visits, movie nights (especially during the holiday seasons), picnics, and our annual Holiday Party. The highlight of our year is our Annual Awards Banquet each February where we recognize our members’ significant achievements from the previous year. Our website can be found at www.nebraskakennelclub.com .
We were honored to have the following individuals as Judges for the 2023 AKC National Tracking Invitational:
Grand Isle, Vermont
As a youngster my family always had a dog as a pet. As an adult I received my first AKC Labrador Retriever and since that time have had too many to count. An appreciation of the breed has kept me intrigued, everything from their intelligence to the versatility coupled with their great personality. No wonder the breed has remained at the top of the popularity list for so long. My first Labs were used by my family for duck hunting. Soon I discovered the world of obedience training, along with Rally, Agility and Therapy Dog work. One day a friend invited me to try tracking with my dogs and I was forever smitten with the sport.
I retired from the University of Vermont where I worked in medical research After retiring there was an abundance of time to work with my dogs in the sport I love. That is when my career as an AKC Tracking judge started. I can’t count the number of people I have introduced to the sport of tracking and to this day get goose bumps whenever I see a dog get the game of tracking right, whether its mine or someone else’s. I have trained and taught at all levels of tracking and have trained and titled 3 AKC Champion Trackers as well as holding several Canadian tracking titles. In rural Vermont there is an abundance of open grassland that call to me year round and there is never a lack of interested friends to accompany me. Tracking people are the friendliest and most helpful I have ever experienced. When not in the fields I enjoy quilting, crafting, mowing lawn. I also serve as a Water Commissioner in Grand Isle and have worked as a volunteer for several nonprofit organizations. When my daughter became an AKC Tracking judge we started judging together, primarily in the NE States and giving back to the sport became that much more fun.
I am honored to be asked to judge the 2023 National Tracking Invitational.
I came to tracking late in my life as a dog-lover. Even though I had a bloodhound as my first dog, I grew up in Costa Rica and at the time there didn’t exist a community of people who appreciated or cultivated this amazing resource in their pets. Later, while raising a family and working as an architect in Costa Rica and the US, I took an extended break from pet ownership. Fifteen years ago, that changed when my husband and I welcomed a Lakeland Terrier named Ziggy into our lives. And while I enjoyed entering Ziggy in dog shows and watching her achievements in activities such as Earth Dog, barn hunt, and agility, it wasn’t until we began tracking together that I felt we found our true calling. For the first time I wasn’t an owner watching my dog perform, but rather we came together as a team, understanding one another and learning about each other in a way the other canine disciplines often don’t. Ziggy went on to become the first Lakeland Terrier in the history of AKC to get a Champion title, and now – even in her golden years – still loves the sport. I cherish the rewards tracking has brought to me, and am grateful for this chance to judge at this special event.
Jeanne L Ramirez
I first got into tracking with a standard poodle that I was competing in Obedience with and Misha became a UDT. I discovered that working outdoors with my companion was a lot more fun than hammering out fronts and finishes. So, although I did pursue my passion of Obedience with Belgian Tervuren CH OTCH CT Zerimar’s Amazing Grace, I did continue tracking with my future dogs. My husband, Vincent Ramirez and I breed Belgian Tervuren which have taken over our lives. We have also had multiple Breed Champions, MACHs, CT’s, Herding Champions, a DC and a Search Dog. My current dog, DC Zerimar’s Fair & Square is the #1 Herding Dog for the Belgian Tervuren Breed for 2022. Our travels have introduced us to so many wonderful people thru the years that anywhere we go almost feels like home. Currently I judge all levels of AKC Obedience, Rally, and Tracking. It continues to provide me with great joy to share the experience of each exhibitor as they strive to reach their goals. We feel fortunate to be breeder, owner, handlers of our dogs. We also have raised a lovely family of children and are certainly enjoying our Grandchildren now that Vince and I are both retired.
Thank you to the Cornhusker Kennel Club and The Nebraska Kennel Club for the Invitation to judge for this exciting event! I wish each Exhibitor the very best of luck at your Invitational and may you enjoy the ride and memories you are forming with your Tracking partner!
My love for dogs and dog sports started early. The first titles earned were on my Shetland Sheepdogs in obedience when I was a junior handler. Since that time I’ve had many Shetland Sheepdogs and Labrador Retrievers. I enjoy competing in many dog sports, obedience, rally, agility, herding and of course tracking! After earning my first CT on my Labrador “Trapper” I applied to be a judge. Since then I’ve earned two more CTs on my Shetland Sheepdogs “Finn” and “Reid”. Two more shelties are in the wings working toward the same accomplishment. Throughout my assignments I’ve met wonderful people, seen amazing tracking teams and gorgeous fields. Memories of passing teams still make me smile. The tracking journey may be long but it is filled with great memories!
I am honored to judge the 2023 AKC National Tracking Invitational and I can’t wait to watch amazing teams take the field.
Official Event Hotel
The official hotel for the 2023 AKC National Tracking Invitational was the Country Inn and Suites, 5353 N. 27th St in Lincoln. We would like to thank them for their support!
Merchandise for the 2023 AKC National Tracking Invitational be viewed and purchased at the following link:
The Merchandise Store for the 2023 AKC National Tracking Invitational will be open until the end of 2023.
Please contact any of the following individuals if you need more information:
Chairperson: Dian Quist
Event Secretary: Shelly Rehmeier
Volunteers: Sue Volkmer
Donations & Supporters: Christie Brandt & Alycia Noble
Merchandise: Ron Weaks
Website & Facebook: Joe Bradley
Photographer: Ulysses James
AKC Representative: Carol Ruthenberg