Master National event expected to bring more than 750

Those in Demopolis and the surrounding areas can expect a sizable influx of people in late October. The AKC Master National Retriever Club Hunt Test, an event that was initially expected to draw around 350 people to the region, will begin registration at the New Era Building in Demopolis Oct. 18.

“We were looking at originally about 350 members coming. But this is a national event. We’re talking now 750-1,000 people,” Jenn Tate, director of the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce, told the city council at its most recent meeting.

The event will begin with opening ceremonies Thursday, Oct. 18 at 5 p.m. Other Thursday activities include a social reception and a handlers’ dinner.

With the increasing number of participants, Tate and event organizers were forced to move the event kickoff from Demopolis Civic Center to the building that formerly housed the New Era Cap Company, a move complete with the approval of a temporary liquor license by the city council.

“They have to have a place to come in, register and get all of their welcome packets and things like that. We’re using New Era,” Tate said. “Some of these dogs won’t win and some might go home earlier than others. But there are three actual events that will be at New Era, the welcome, the welcome banquet and then there is a workers party. “

The New Era Building will be the headquarters for the Master National Retriever Club Thursday, Oct. 18 and Friday, Oct. 19. When the event begins Saturday, Oct. 20, it will take place at the M. Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial, formerly known as the Cattle Ranch, in Greensboro.

Demoplis will also play host to a “Dinner on the River” at the Civic Center for members of the Black Warrior Retriever Club.

“Also, at the Civic Center, we are going to have one event for about 350 people. It is just the Black Warrior (Retriever) Club, which is out of Tuscaloosa,” Tate said.

The actual competition will take place Saturday, Oct. 20, Tuesday, Oct. 23, Thursday, Oct. 25 and Sunday, Oct. 28.

“A lot of them are staying at Foscue. A lot of them have rented out cabins and homes. It has been, already, a blessing for some people around here. Most people wanted a place where they could rent and have running land,” Tate said. “For Demopolis, we should see a lot of income. So, we’ve got to make sure we’re welcoming. Just be aware and just be accommodating and know that you’re going to have more people the month of October than you’ve normally seen.”