Hello Fellow Bluetickers,
I am very excited about our upcoming Nationals.  Last year we voted in some changes to Thursdays events and i am looking forward to seeing how it works out.  The night will start with our membership meal.  I believe it will consist of smoked Iowa Pork loins and all the trimmings. 
All of the hunts are now one hour with the top scoring cast winners going back out for an hour.  The young guns is only one division now and the all blue hunt is a money payback.
The new Invitational hunt and the first ever Invitational show on Thursday.  The top dogs from the Winter Classic, Autumn Oaks, World Hunt, Nationals and the top dogs from each zone will compete for very special awards including the top prize of a Marlin 45-70 lever action octagon barrel with the stock and forearm special engraved by Kustom Kraft Laser Engraving!!!  The hunt also is one hunt with the top cast winners returning for another hour.  The show dogs will compete under a panel of judges.
The hunt and shows on Friday and Saturday will have huge awards also.  The King/Queen will receive a Ritz Board Flag, buckle and a Evans dog box.  We will also be giving away one dog box to the overall high scoring dog from the opposite breeds.
Every dog that places will also get a bag of Purina dog food and there will be many other awards too like engraved JC Coon Squallers, Crystal Lights, Embroidered hats and Ozark Awards!  We will have very special new shirts, hats and other BBOA items for sale on site thanks to Renegade Graphix!  Also on site will be Millingport Dog supplies to care of all of your hunting needs.  Laelaps GPS will also be here with their new collars ans system that works off of your cell phone.
The United Kennel Club will be on site taking pictures and taking care of any of your questions and concerns.  I am very excited to have them there with us.
There will also be a UKC licensed Field Trial and Water Race both Friday and Saturday.  
Saturday we will have the meeting with nominations for new officers.  During the meeting we will be discussing some by-law changes and also the zone re-alignment. We have temporarily placed Illinois in Zone 4, Nebraska in Zone 3, Louisiana in Zone 6, Arkansas, Texas & Oklahoma into Zone 1.  We have not been able to get anyone to take over in Zone 7 so we had to do something to keep the states functioning.  
After the meeting is my favorite part of the weekend.  The awards ceremony where we will give awards to several very special people and two special hounds. This the part that reminds me about when I was very young and seen these special people at the hunts and shows.  They are the foundation to which our breed is set.   Please look at this list and do everything you can do to get these special people there: Elmo Overton, Robert McMillan, Jr, Rex Krough, Larry Starks, Charles Morris, JW Teasley Sr., Dale Parker, Claude Smith, Richard Casey, Jake & Joel Appel.
The local club has super kitchen on site with good food and plenty of it.  There is camping hookups on the grounds but they are limited to first come first served for $25 for the weekend.
Several of us have taken the week off work so if you want to come early and hunt or do some catfishing come on down.
The Bluebooks should be in your hands by now.  The ballot sheet in the back is incorrect.  We will mail out ballots to all the members after bluetick days and they will be due back by Autumn Oaks.  All ballots will be counted at the booth on Saturday morning.
I want to congratulate all of the Zones for a great year in 2017.  They have done a wonderful job in a thankless position to get you all quality hunts and shows in your areas.  Please take the time to thank your zone officers when you see them.   A few words of encouragement goes a long ways!
I look forward to seeing you all at Nationals or at Autumn Oaks!  Keep em'blue and in the woods


President Darren Batterson
17821 60th St. Ottumwa, IA 52501