A repost from this blog, circa December 2005.
The picture, above, is from a Fell & Moorland digging competition.
Now there's a fun thing to bring to American terrier shows and trials in the U.S.!
But how would we organize it?
Would the women compete head-to-head with the men, since a badly skunked dog in a hole needs to be rescued fast regardless of gender?
Or would we divide the competition by gender, age, height and weight in order to maximize the ribbon count? That would seem the best American way to do it.
Then there is the mechanics of it.
Would people be required to bring their own shovels? If so, perhaps we could get a tool company to sponsor it, as a lot of new tools will have to be bought. That seems like a marriage of expediency and capitalism!
Would jumpsuits be provided so that the people in their fine clothes would not get too dirty? That seems only fair --- but it will get very hot with two layers of clothing being worn! Perhaps we could hold the competition inside and turn the air conditioning way up?
If we do move it indoors for the air conditioning, however, there is the problem of the floor. How are we going to dig through the floor of the hotel where the show is being held? Perhaps the answer here can be found in a few hundred bags of fine potting soil purchased at Home Depot?
But what about the people that cannot dig at all -- the physically infirm or old, or those that have a heart condition? It would be wrong to exclude them. Here's a thought: We allow people to show dogs they did not breed and let those dogs be handled by professional handlers ... why not do the same thing at the digging competition? We could have professional diggers brought in just to win the ribbon. It's all very historical -- after all, it's not like the Duke of Beaufort was digging the dogs himself, was he? He had kennel men and earthstoppers for that. So too did John Russell, who was past 50 when he really got to chasing fox at South Molton.
Yes, the only real way to do it is with professional diggers, and perhaps a small side prize for "amateur diggers" who will do it themselves, with classes broken out by gender, age, height and weight. Everyone will get a ribbon!
Excellent! A new American trial sport is born!