FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS11) — Each year since 1941, the best retrieving dogs in the country compete for the title of national champion, and this year the "Super Bowl" of the competitive retrieving world is coming to Kentucky.
The event starts Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ West Kentucky Wildlife Management Area outside Paducah and continues through Saturday, Nov. 17.
Several thousand retrievers compete in American Kennel Club-licensed field trials each year, but only 100 or so qualify for the prestigious National Retriever Championship.
The event consists of a series of judged tests designed to challenge the dogs’ abilities on land and water.
“This event showcases retrievers doing what they were bred to do,” said Tim Kreher, public lands biologist with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “To have it on a state-owned WMA that also is open for other hunting activities is a significant accomplishment for our department.”
Kreher and other area staff have spent the past two months preparing the grounds.
“We have done a lot of mowing and we’ve worked on grooming around ponds,” Kreher said. “We’ve worked with our tenant farmers to have the right crops in the right fields; soybean stubble is worthless for these types of field trial events while corn stubble is of utility and more realistic retrieving.”
Mitch Patterson, president of the National Retriever Club, said West Kentucky WMA was chosen as this year’s host site for a variety of reasons.
“Because these grounds are so beautiful, because we have such an incredible relationship with the state and the people who work here, and the city of Paducah, it’s just the perfect place to hold a field trial,” Patterson said. “On top of that, the infrastructure is ideal for the several hundred people who will be coming and need to stay in motels and eat at restaurants. I think it is just an absolutely perfect spot.”
The event is open to the public and admission is free. Directions to the field trial grounds will be posted from the WMA office off KY 358 each day of the trial.