The Amateur Field Trial Clubs of America (AFTCA) is an organization made up of individuals and clubs that volunteer, organize, compete, participate, and promote not only in our sport, but the complex relationships with owning and caring for animals and protecting, through conservation efforts, a healthy upland game population. The AFTCA is an organization that supports every facet of the sport, one that you can be a proud member by joining from the Become an AFTCA Member link in the top right on this website. In the past 12 months the AFTCA has accomplished much to benefit the sport. Recent highlights are:
20th Century Fund
This 501(c)3 fund donated $18,000 for upland bird habitat improvement in 2019. Over the life of the fund the AFTCA has donated well over $250,000 for upland bird habitat by working with member clubs. Learn about the 20th Century Fund.
Top Amateur Handler Award
Although the creation and promotion of Amateur Championships has significantly improved the quality of amateur competition, it has had the unintended consequence of bringing new participants into the sport significantly more challenging. While championship venues can be lengthy and go well into the work week, often requiring significant traveling, traditional Club trials were held locally and on weekends. They were planned and promoted with the idea of involving families and to enjoy the great outdoors with like-minded friends. Come Monday morning participants headed back to work, looking forward to another upcoming weekend event. In the most significant effort to focus and promote weekend trials, the AFTCA established the National Top Amateur Handler Award. Also recognized regionally, the competition is based on wins in 30-minute Amateur All-Age and Amateur Shooting Dog stakes. Whether walking or horseback, AFTCA, NBHA, ABHA, US Complete or AKC, all AFTCA Member handlers and clubs are eligible to participate in this program. It’s all explained here.
Standards to Field Trial Procedure, Judicial Practice, Handler and Bird Dog Performance
The premier booklet in field trials outlining practices and procedures for clubs and handlers was updated and republished this past year. This booklet is an absolute “must have” for field trial clubs and trialers serious about the sport or those who just want to learn.
Land Contribution Program for AFTCA Member Clubs
Bird dogs and field trials require ground to perform on — lots of it. In recognition of the contributions landowners make in donating the use of their private land for field trial events, the AFTCA, a 501(c)3 organization, now provides a $2,500 daily “In-kind Tax-Deductible Contribution” to landowners. Recognizing landowners for their generous contributions to the sport with this in-kind tax-deductible contribution is a significant step forward and a program that any AFTCA member club is eligible to participate in, whether hosting Open or Amateur events. Details and Application Form are here.
The AFTCA understands new participants (clubs or individuals) may want to dip their toes in the water first and for those the AFTCA is offering a free one trial season Pre-Membership. Junior handlers participating in Youth Trials are also eligible for free membership until the age of 16. Simply go to aftca.org and click on the Become an AFTCA Member link in the top right and follow the instructions. It takes less than five minutes to join and it’s free.
Welcome to the AFTCA!