Harry Williams, Port Orchard, Washington
There is something special about the relationship of a hunter and their retriever. It’s more than the joys found in the marsh in the morning. More than the excitement preceding opening day. Kind of like a sunset over a majestic mountain range. Or the satisfaction and prideful feeling one gets when their hard work and dedication turn into an accomplishment long sought after. As simple as a retrieve to hand is, it’s the epitome of a growing boys daydream come true. One step at a time, one day at a time, one year at a time. Within those times are opportunities for memories to last forever.
I am honored to be judging the 2018 Invitational in Virginia. Thank you to the Founding Fathers of the North American Hunting Retriever Association. This is my 31st year since becoming a member. I had no idea what laid alongside the path but it has been a scenic and wonderful journey thus far.
To the handlers placing their dogs under judgement, you should be extremely proud of your efforts, your commitment and the accomplishment. I respect that very much. My wish is that you thoroughly enjoy your time at this event. I’ll reiterate my opinion of what is important as my job as a hunting retriever judge (kinda my motto): Be fair to the dogs, be fair to the handlers and be fair to the standard.
See ya in the field!!! Harry Williams
Dick Ofstedal, South Haven, Minnesota
My adventures with field-bred dogs started when I was searching for a “dog-world” retirement project, specifically for hunting. My search ended when Dan and Patsy Hove sold me a wonderful dog we named Chase. They also got me involved in NAHRA’s Four Points Retriever Club. The FPRC folks mentored me for many years as I progressed in how to train for hunt tests while producing a quality hunting dog. My first hunt test experience was at Larry Willson’s Ranch where I messed up my handling at the Started stake with Chase and later drove a winger carabineer through my hand. From that beginning, the journey has been focused on getting better as a handler, trainer, and eventually as a NAHRA judge.
My first trip to an Invitational was to Baldwinsville, New York in 2009. My dogs and I have only missed one since that time. Much to the chagrin of my lovely and supportive wife, Kathy, we now have four dogs that have or are receiving training for the NAHRA game. The latest addition, Mieka, should be ready to run NARHA events this summer.
Because of the training my dogs receive to participate in NAHRA events, they have become conservation champions and sought after hunting companions with my non-NAHRA hunting friends. Their skills also provide me with the fun experience of guiding pheasant hunters at the Lindskov Family Firesteel Creek Lodge in South Dakota. This year, the dogs and I put in 41 days of guiding, and then came home for a little goose hunting in Minnesota. What a great life!
It is an honor to serve as a judge for the elite NAHRA dogs and handlers at the 2018 NAHRA Invitational. I look forward to judging with Tom Moore and Harry Williams, two of the longtime great gentlemen of the NAHRA organization. Together, we will provide a realistic and fun series of tests for the dogs and handlers to experience.
As with all NAHRA folks, we love our dogs and the fantastic people of our NAHRA family. We will continue to add to the positive memories of those partnerships while we enjoy the hospitality of the Eastern Shore Retriever Club. Good luck to each dog and handler as we participate in the premier event in NAHRA.
Tom Moore, Vincentown, New Jersey
My name is Tom Moore. I’ve been playing this game for 20 plus years and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I’m not a man of many words, but I would like to thank the NAHRA organization for putting on a great program and selecting me to be part of the Invitational.
The NAHRA family has been my second family for many years, so a big thanks to my wife and kids for allowing me to do this. And a big thank you to all the workers out there for helping out, because if it wasn’t for you we wouldn’t be able to do this. I really feel honored to do this. Thank you