I have been a part of this “thing” called NAHRA since January 1992. It has been a wonderful ride of joy and frustration. My fondness of hunting dogs started in my youth when I had the pleasure of hunting over Brittany Spaniels. Dad always had a Brittney. The dogs did extremely well especially considering what I know now to be a trained dog. Dad would take them to the game lands starting in August to get them “ready” for the season. That was it. We shot a lot of birds over those dogs.
For myself as a “dog trainer”, it all started for when I picked up the first dog of my own; a Golden Retriever named Sandy. I found a local club called Northern Piedmont, and they too were just cutting their teeth in this program. When I got Sandy, I wanted to hunt with her. This whole “testing thing” wasn’t for me. Little did I know how it would forever change my life. Hunt Tests, judging, breeding, raising puppies in our home, and 1,000-point dogs were never part of the original plan. And from those humble beginnings, NAHRA and Northern Piedmont have continued to challenge me to improve my dog work. I have been so fortunate to have stood at the line and hunted with some very good dogs. My how we have grown!
The NAHRA organization has always been a great environment for all. Everywhere I have traveled to train or test, I have always felt welcome. It has always been skewed toward everyone rooting for the dogs. I’ve made a lot of friendships over the years with people from all over the United States. My daughter Faith was active for several years in both running dogs and just tagging along. The NAHRA Family accepted her as one of their own. To this day, no matter where I go I still get asked “How’s Faith doing?”
I am an avid hunter of both upland and waterfowl, and the dogs live the hunting and training. Additionally, our current dogs and I provide guide service for a local Shooting Preserve. So many doors opened by simply wanting a practical hunting dog some 28+ years ago.
I am delighted to have the opportunity to watch some of the best canine athletes solve the puzzle that we are going to provide for you. Going from that little puppy you had, to qualifying for this event; the hardest part of this journey is behind you. I encourage each of you to take a moment and take in this event and reflect on your team’s accomplishments to getting to this part of the journey. You should be proud of your team’s efforts. Good luck to all, and I’ll see you at the line!