NTI 2021 Saved Home Page

Thank You Everyone!

The 2021 AKC National Tracking Invitational was held Oct 16 & 17 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 the finest fall days we could ask for!

For additional information about this event click here to review 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!

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, 2021. 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 about the NTI, click here to view the National Tracking Invitational Informational Booklet.

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The 2021 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, 2021. A random drawing of all entries was held on September 18 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: 2021 AKC National Tracking Invitation Exhibitor Draw.

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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. It offers a wide variety of attractions and includes 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 AKC Tracking Invitational.

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The Hosting Clubs

The 2021 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:

  1. 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.
  2. To conduct Sanctioned Matches, Dog Shows, Obedience Trials and Tracking Tests under the guidance of the American Kennel Club.
  3. 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 was 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 Barn Hunt trials. 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 .

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The Judges

We were honored to have the following individuals as Judges for the 2021 AKC National Tracking Invitational:

Michele Anne Gillette
Hanover, Virginia

I grew up in an animal-loving household, and got a German Shepherd puppy for my sixth birthday. In 1978, while I was in law school, I got my first Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Rogue, who introduced me to the whole world of dog sports.

My legal career included work in the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney; in private practice concentrating on criminal defense; as Assistant Bar Counsel with the Virginia State Bar; and in the City of Richmond (VA) City Attorney’s Office. Recently I retired from twenty years as an Administrative Hearing Officer with the Virginia Department of Social Services, hearing appeals in Child Protective Services cases.

Bitten by the tracking bug after my first TD, I applied to be a judge in order to give back to the sport that I had come to love. In addition to Tracking, I have also titled my dogs in AKC Conformation, Herding, Agility and Obedience. I have been privileged to own and handle some incredible Pembrokes and I have met the most wonderful people along the way. The late Roger Caras was right, “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”

It’s an honor to judge the AKC National Tracking Invitational.

Jane Jonas
Fort Collins, Colorado

We started with Bassets Hounds over 50 years ago. During that time we had ten Bassets. My original pair were fabulous family pets. Then, when our oldest daughter went off to college, so did I. I completed a Veterinary Technician degree when we lived in Missouri. Then I completed an Animal Science degree when we lived in Lincoln, NE. From those late in life educational experiences I also worked as a relief technician for 15 years at a small animal practice that had a focus on canine reproduction. It was there that I met those friends that drew me into Conformation, Tracking, Obedience, Rally, and Therapy dog work. I also bred and raised ten litters of Bassets over the 50 + years and am proud to have bred, trained and handled Bassets included in the BHCA parent club Versatility Program.

It was the Bassets that took me into tracking and kept me there. In a snowy field in January, 1995, I ran my first training track with my Hatty girl. I was hooked immediately and never turned back. Through those 26 years there have been 5 Bassets and 1 Gordon Setter, and now my new breed, Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen, of which we have 2. All have taught me all I know about tracking and dog training, and continue to do so. Additionally the Grands have also introduced me to Agility.

But equally important in my Tracking love, were my friends who shared the fields with me as we all learned together. Additionally, we helped four clubs get licensed for tracking, and helped another club resurrect their tests. I feel fortunate that so many friends allowed me to be part of their experiences and shared their dogs with me. Without them I surely would not have gained the background I needed to become a judge, considering I came to this as a totally wide-eyed newbie.

When I am not sharing my time with my dogs and husband, I can be found enjoying hobbies of needlepoint, landscape gardening, hiking, skiing, and short trips to explore our beautiful state of Colorado or visit family in the Midwest.

While I have many hobbies, tracking and sharing tracking fields with friends is probably my favorite activity of all. It never gets old, since each dog is a different bond. No two teams are the same. NO two days either!

It is an honor to be invited to judge this 2021 AKC National Tracking Invitational.

Vincent Ramirez
Bucyrus, Kansas

Awaiting our turn to trial in herding with my Danya, I overheard an exhibitor ask another what CT before the dogs name meant … they were browsing the trial catalog. Her friend replied that CT was a tracking title and that she tried tracking but “it takes a lot of time”.

I treasure the time spent teaching and testing my tracking companions, that time spent tracking with each dog at all levels is soo cherished that it is hard to quantify. The time spent becoming a tracking team builds the dog like few activities can. And yes that CT before the dogs name is a tracking title and that title means time well shared with your canine.

Exhibitors, welcome to your AKC National Tracking Invitational. I wish you all to enjoy each moment of your time well shared with your Tracking Champions.

Thank you to the officers and good people of the Cornhusker Kennel Club of Lincoln, NE, and the Nebraska Kennel Club of Omaha, NE.

Gretchen Stephenson
Fayetteville, North Carolina

Growing up in Mississippi, I was fascinated with how my grandparents’ farm dogs followed scents through the fields and woods. Then and now, watching dogs follow the intangible trail of scent is such a wondrous thing to me. I started tracking my first Weimaraner in 1996 but never entered a test due to a move to Germany. After returning to the USA, I jumped into competing with my dogs in various sports including tracking – putting several tracking titles on my Weimaraners including two CTs. My first CT was Obie- he loved tracking and he loved sniffing everything around the track as well. Once I fixed his focus issue, he turned into a great tracker and quickly passed his TDX and VST. Tani, my second CT, loves the partnership that we have together as she works a track – to Tani, tracking is that thing we do together. As you handle the line, feeling a dog’s question and then their confidence as they work out a scenting problem is one of the neatest partnerships, I think, one can have with a dog.

I am very excited to judge the NTI and I look forward to meeting everyone and watching some great teams track!

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Directions to Branched Oak State Recreation Area

Most visitors will first arrive at Lincoln, NE. Interstate 80 is the main freeway in Lincoln. To reach Branched Oak from I-80:

  • Take the Hwy 34 West exit. If you’re coming from the east, this is Exit 401, from the west it is exit 401B.
  • Continue on Hwy 34 West to Hwy 79 north, approximately 4-1/2 miles.
  • Turn right on Hwy 79 and continue north for approximately 5 miles to W. Raymond Rd.
  • Turn left on W. Raymond Rd and proceed about 3-1/4 miles. The Branched Oak State Recreation Area is on the right.


Airports serving Lincoln include the Lincoln Airport and Eppley Airfield in Omaha. Eppley Airfield has far more flight options and direct flights and many visitors find it more convenient to fly there and drive to Lincoln. It is about 60 miles from Eppley Airfield in Omaha to the Country Inn & Suites Hotel in Lincoln, almost entirely on Interstate freeways. The Country Inn and Suites is the official event hotel, 5353 N. 27th St in Lincoln.

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Camping and RV Parking

Branched Oak offers 305 camping pads with electrical hookups and 28 pads without electricity. Click here to visit the Outdoor Nebraska website for more information and instructions on placing reservations.

Important Note: If you are one of the lucky 12 exhibitors you may be limited to certain campgrounds, since tracks are often placed in the campground areas.

Official Event Hotel

The official hotel for the 2021 AKC National Tracking Invitational is the Country Inn and Suites, 5353 N. 27th St in Lincoln. We have arranged a discount rate for the AKC Tracking Invitational:

Promotional Code: AKCNTI

The discount rate is $99+tax per night with the pet fee waived. The discount rate is based on check-in either Thursday (Oct 14) or Friday (Oct 15), and check-out on Sunday (Oct 17; there are also a limited number of rooms reserved for check-out on Monday (Oct 18). Reservations must be made no later than September 25, 2021, after that date normal rates apply (NO EXCEPTIONS). You can make reservations online at the following link:

Country Inn & Suites (be sure to use the promotional code AKCNTI)

You can also make reservations by phone at 1-800-333-3333 or you can contact the hotel directly at 402-476-5353. Be sure to use the promotional code!

27th St is exit 403 off I-80 (from either direction), it is east of the Hwy 34 exit which leads to Branched Oak. After exiting I-80 head south approximately 1.4 miles to the Folkways Blvd intersection and turn right. The Country Inn is located just past the Folkways Blvd intersection.


T-shirts, backpacks, sweatshirts, coffee cups and more. Click here to view and order merchandise commemorating the 2021 AKC National Tracking Invitational!


Please contact any of the following individuals if you need more information:

Chairperson: Dian Quist
Event Secretary: Mary Kramer
Volunteers: Sharon Brewer
Donations & Supporters: Sue Volkmer
Merchandise: Ron Weaks
Website & Facebook: Joe Bradley
Photographers: Joe Bradley, DIane Hoy and Ulysses James
AKC Representative: Pamela Manaton

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