Sunday December sixth dawned cold and breezy. But that didn’t chill the enthusiasm of 21 dog and handler teams competing at the MDWFA’s annual Maryland Retriever Championship held at Lowe’s Ramble Farm in Trappe Maryland. Judges were Mike Kates and Justin Aimone, . Their task was to find the retriever and handler team who best displayed hunting skills that day. There were three series with about half the field eliminated after each.
The first test consisted of a cold blind preceded by a duck call/popper shot diversion. Then a double marked retrieve was done with a last bird flyer. Each mark was about 100+ yards. A second blind, halfway between the initial blind and dead bird mark, and deep to the woods line, completed this test.
Thirteen dogs were carried to the second series which was another double mark with a blind done before picking up the second of two flyers. Basically this was a poison bird blind. The temptation to retrieve the second flyer was great. Only 7 dogs were left after this series.They would compete for the championship
The final series was another double flyer but this time both birds were shot simultaneously, 50 to 75 yards across a pond. The starting line was on a knoll overlooking the pond. Dogs had to negotiate a small island to get either bird. The handler’s dilemma was to decide which of the two marks the dog actually saw. Once these two birds were in hand, the dog was sent for a long blind whose line ran between the flyer stations with the island in the middle.This blind, about 200 yards long, carried the pond and island, negotiated a field and ran almost to the far woods. It was a fitting challenge to decide whose dog was the 2009 MDWFA retriever champion!
Finalists included Jack Scanlon, with Gabe and Stella, Butch Chambers with Quinn, Phyllis McGinn with Louie and Frank Durham with Magic. The winner was
Marston Jones with Rex of Rainbow Farm. Rex, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, was perfect in the last series. By lining the blind Rex left no doubt about who won.
MDWFA, the voice of waterfowlers in Maryland, wishes to thank everyone who helped with this event. Great appreciation goes to Butch Chambers for putting this stake together and for volunteering the use of Lowes Ramble Farm for all series.