2020 AKC National Tracking Invitational


Hosting clubs Cornhusker Kennel Club and Nebraska Kennel Club welcome you to our website for the 2020 AKC National Tracking Invitational! The 2020 AKC National Tracking Invitational will be held on Oct 24 & 25 at the Branched Oak State Recreation Area in Raymond Nebraska. We’re extremely excited to host this event and encourage you to explore this website for information and to contact us with any questions. For additional information about this event click here to visit the AKC website’s AKC National Tracking Invitational page.

Click here to join our Facebook Group! By joining our Facebook group you will receive updates on the event and can interact with other members of the Tracking community!

About the 2020 AKC National Tracking Invitational

The 2020 AKC National Tracking Invitational is a prestigious event, a celebration and showcase for dogs who have earned the title of Champion Tracker (CT) between 2011 and 2020. 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.

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How To Enter

As the name suggests the 2020 AKC National Tracking Invitational is a “by invitation” event that is limited to dogs who have earned a “Champion Tracker” title between 2011 and 2020. If your dog is eligible, sometime in the late summer of 2020 you will receive an electronic invitation to enter. If your dog is eligible to receive an invitation we highly recommend you sign in to the AKC website and verify your email address is correct.

A random drawing of all entries will be made and the first twelve lucky dogs drawn will be awarded an exhibitor position. The remaining entries will be assigned an “Alternate” status in the order drawn; if an exhibitor is unable to attend then the next alternate on the list will be offered the position. We plan to share the blind drawing via a “Facebook Live” event. We are in the process of finalizing the dates so please check back with us!

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A sailboat moves across the water against the backdrop of fall foliage one evening at Branched Oak State Recreation Area (SRA), Lancaster County. Fowler, Nov. 26, 2013. Copyright NEBRASKAland Magazine, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

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 2020 AKC National Tracking Invitational.

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The Hosting Clubs

The 2020 AKC National Tracking Invitational is 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 Ne, Inc 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  https://www.cornhuskerkennelclub.com/

We welcome everyone to the 2020 AKC National Tracking Invitational!

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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 are honored to have the following individuals as judges for the AKC 2020 National Tracking Invitational:

Jane Jonas
Fort Collins, Colorado

We started in Bassets almost 50 years ago. During that time we had ten Bassets. My original pairs 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 25 years there have been 5 Bassets and 1 Gordon Setter, and now my new breed, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen. All have taught me all I know and continue to do so. But equally important were my friends who shared the fields with me as we all learned together. Additionally, we helped three 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 2020 AKC National Tracking Invitational at Branched Oak State Park !

Sally Ann Nesbitt
Spring Valley, California

I am from San Diego, Ca. I have been involved in the world of dog training since I was 10 years old, so over 50 years. Dog training of all types are a love and passion for me.

I first became interested in Search and Rescue in the late 60’s and have been involved in tracking and all types of scent work ever since.

I am looking forward to judging at the AKC National Tracking Invitational. I love meeting new people and love watching dogs work and figure out the scent puzzle of following a track.


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.

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 competed in tracking 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 a CT on Obie, my male Weimaraner. Obie loved tracking and he loved working in partnership with me – to him, tracking was that thing we did together. As you handle the line, feeling a dog’s questions and then their confidence as they work out scenting problems 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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Travel & Accomodations

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.

Lincoln Airport Arrivals

To reach the event hotel from the terminal parking areas follow the signs to I-80 East. You will make a right turn onto Cornhusker Hwy, pass under the I-80 overpass, and then make a left onto I-80 East. From here follow the directions below to reach the Country Inn & Suites.

Omaha’s Eppley Airfield Arrivals

From Eppley Airfield follow the directions to I-480 / I-80. From the terminals you will take Storz Expressway north. Storz curves west and then south to the Hwy 75 / I-480 entrance ramp (left lane). Take I-480 south; after about 2 miles the right lane will split off and continue south to I-80. Take I-80 west all the way through to Lincoln, about 50 miles. In Lincoln follow the directions below to reach the Country Inn & Suites.


Official Event Hotel

The official hotel for the 2020 AKC National Tracking Invitational is the Country Inn and Suites, 5353 N. 27th St in Lincoln. To reserve a room please click the following link:

Country Inn & Suites AKC Tracking Invitational Reservations

If you wish to contact the hotel directly, phone 402-476-5353 and identify yourself as being with the AKC National Tracking Invitational. Reservations must be completed by Oct 10, 2020.

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.

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.

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

Chairpersons: Dian Quist or Shelly Rehmeier
Donations & Supporters: Sue Volkmer
Volunteers: Sharon Brewer
Merchandise: Ron Weaks
Website & Facebook: Joe Bradley
Photographers: Joe Bradley & Diane Hoy
Event Secretary: Mary Kramer
AKC Representative: Carol Ruthenberg

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