Meet Our Judges

Linda Syner, Ridgely, MD All Agility Classes

Linda is a well liked and respected agility judge on the East Coast, who designs fun, but challenging, courses and is a supportive presence in the ring. She has competed in agility since 1993, has been an agility instructor since 1996, and became a judge in 2012. During that time, she has titled many dogs in AKC, USDAA, and NADAC agility and has competed in 7 AKC Agility Nationals. Linda has bred and raised Norwegian Elkhound, Siberian Huskies and Pembroke Welsh Corgi's, obtaining Championships on over 20 dogs of various breeds and also competed successfully in obedience.

Thomas Bradley III, Watertown, NY Regular Classes, Best of Breed  - Not Judging due to health reasons

Mr. Bradley began his involvement in the sport in 1954 with German Shorthaired Pointers. He exhibited at his first point show in 1955 at the Adirondack Kennel Club in Lake Placid, New York.

Under his Luftnase prefix, Mr. Bradley has bred a number of sporting breeds, including Pointers, German Shorthaired Pointers, English Cocker Spaniels, and Labrador Retrievers. His last breeding produced a litter of four Border Terriers, all AKC champions. He counts among his career highlights as a breeder finishing five champions in his second litter of Labradors in the mid-1980s and being co-breeder of Pointer Ch. Luftnase Albelarm Bee’s Knees, the top dog, all breeds, of 1989, and whose record included capturing the Sporting Group at Westminster.

After 20 years as an exhibitor Mr. Bradley received his American Kennel Club license to judge German Shorthaired Pointers, German Wirehaired Pointers, and Weimaraners in 1965. Today, he judges the Sporting Group and Best in Show. His dog sport role changed in 1975 when he joined the Westminster Kennel Club. He held many positions within the club including communications director but is best known for his 15-year tenure as Show Chairman for the iconic dog show in New York City.

In addition to his position managing the main event during Westminster Week, Bradley is also a founding member and Executive Director of Take the Lead a charitable organization established in 1993 to support people in the sport with terminal or life-threatening illnesses. In 2016, Mr. Bradley was nominated for the AKC Lifetime Achievement Award.

This long-standing dog breeder, owner, handler and judge is also the former president of Thomas H. Bradley, Inc., a wholesale hardware company in Watertown, NY established in 1897 by his grandfather.

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Jim Irvine, Vbos Flatcoats, South Queensferry, Scotland Non-Regular Classes, Regular Classes, Best of Breed, Stud Dog, Brood Bitch

As one of the nominated Judges at the FCRSA Specialty being held in May 2018 I have been asked to submit a short biography.

I was born and currently live in South Queensferry on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Scotland, U.K..  I have been married for 51 years and have two grown-up daughters and four grandchildren.

I have been involved with Flatcoated Retrievers for 35 years and have owned/bred 7 UK Show Champions plus one with 2 CCs.  I also helped campaign another flatcoat to its title in 1994 for my late friend, Mr Jock Ross, namely Sh. Ch. Kintore of Rosenberg.

My first flatcoat was purchased from Miss Vilma Ogilvy-Shepherd in 1981.  Sh. Ch. Vbos Video (Ch. Falswift Apparition x Vbos Vilna), won 3 CCs and 6 RCCs and gained his title in 1989 at almost 8 years of age.

In 1985 I decided to purchase a second dog from Miss Ogilvy-Shepherd and he became Sh. Ch. Vbos Vervine (Ch. Bordercot Guy x Vbos Velmourn). Velmourn was a litter sister to Video. Guy was a Crufts Gundog Group Winner in 1987 and the Reserve Group Winner in 1985. Vervine won 4 CCs and 2 RCC and he also gained his title in 1989 at the age of 4 years.

My foundation bitch was Sh. Ch. Gayplume Fine Fashion of Dravidian (Sh. Ch. Kenjo Blackmark x Sh. Ch. Gayplume Dixie), born and purchased in 1993.  Bred by Mrs Chris Murray from Bedford, England, she won 14 CCs and 6 RCCs and was top bitch in 2000. Fine Fashion won the Bitch CC at Crufts in 1998 and gained her title the same year at the age of 4 years. She also had a Group placing at Championship Show level.  In 1997 I decided to mate her to Sh. Ch. Branchalwood Strathfinnan and this produced the bitch Sh. Ch. Vbos Lady From Louisiana, from a litter of 5 dogs and 3 bitches.  Louisiana won 14 CCs and 8 RCCs and gained her title in 2000 at the age of almost 3 years. Amongst her wins was the Bitch CC at Crufts in 2000 and 2004 plus the RCC in 2005.  In 2001 she was mated to the Sorcerer's Apprentice From Jaeva, which produced a litter of 7 dogs and 3 bitches. This litter produced 3 Show Champions, 2 dogs and 1 bitch.  Louisiana was Top Brood Bitch in the UK for 4 consecutive years.

From this litter, Sh Ch. Vbos Lady From Monterey was kept at home and gained her 3rd CC in 2006. She was mated to Sh. Ch. Branchalwood Strathybay in October 2005 and this produced a litter of 2 dogs and 1 bitch.  I kept the bitch puppy and she was registered as Vbos Lady From Sonora.

Sh. Ch. Vbos The Tycoon JW ShCM was owned by Mr S Chipperfield and Miss H Higginbotham. He gained his title in November 2004 and won a total of 8 CCs.

Sh. Ch. Vbos The Kentuckian was originally owned in joint ownership but reverted back to my name in December 2003 after the death of Mr Ross.  Jet gained his title in 2005 and in 2011 became the new breed record holder with 64 CCs, 59 with B.O.B. and 14 RCCs.  He is only the second flatcoat to win B.I.S. at General Championship Show level in the U.K..  His greatest achievement was to win B.I.S. at Crufts in 2011.  After a show career spanning 9 years it was decided to retire him from further competition after winning B.I.S. at SKC Championship Show in May 2011.

The Vbos kennel name was gifted to me by the late Miss Ogilvy- Shepherd and was transferred to my name after her death in 1994.  After the transfer I allowed the Dravidian kennel name to lapse.

I started to judge flatcoats in 1986 and awarded CCs for the first time in 1995.  I have now awarded CCs in the UK on 15 occasions, including bitches at Crufts in 2009.  My first Scandinavian/European appointment was in 1998 and since then I have judged in Norway, Holland, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany and Canada.

As a founder member of the Flatcoated Retriever Club of Scotland, I was actively involved in the administration of this Club for many years. I became their first Show Secretary in 1991 and held this appointment for 7 years.  I was Vice-Chairman for 2 years and Chairman for 3 years before retiring from active involvement.  In 2015 I re-joined the General Committee and Judges’ Sub-Committee of this Club.  I was also a founder member of the Northern England Flatcoated Retriever Association.  In 2001 I joined the Committee of Gundog Breeds of Scotland as the flatcoat representative and to date I am still actively involved with this Association.

I feel very privileged at having been invited to judge at your Show and I am looking forward to my appointment immensely.

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Theresa Kuchinos, Antrim, New Hampshire Junior Showmanship

Liz Saunders, Blazingstar Flat-Coats, Alberta, Canada Veteran and Puppy Sweepstakes

While I have stalked flat-coated retrievers since the age of 14 in the UK, my husband and I finally obtained our first dog 22 years ago. Piper was from Hans and Margareta Berin’s Prairielight kennel and we could not have asked for a better introduction to the breed. Together we learned buckets about retriever training, conformation and obedience. As flat-coats should, Piper excelled at it all, hampered only by his novice trainers/handlers. I clearly remember the day when I raced home from a morning obedience match so that Andy could dash out with Piper for an afternoon hunt – that was the day when we realized that we needed more flat-coats! Over the years Piper was followed by two more Prairielight bitches, two Swedish imports from O’Flanagan and Flatterhaft kennels and more recently a UK import from Bramatha. Those wonderful dogs formed the foundation of our Blazingstar kennel. We bred our first litter in 2004 and have produced 10 litters over the past 14 years.

We continue to hunt upland birds and waterfowl with our dogs and compete in obedience and conformation. I feel passionately that flat-coats should be structurally and mentally sound, plus possess the natural instincts that allow them to be shaped into excellent hunting companions. We currently share our home with four flat-coats, two veterans and a couple of lively youngsters. I served as President of the Flat-coated Retriever Society of Canada for four years and continue to be involved through the Society’s newsletter and assisting with our upcoming specialty.

In my professional life I am a scientific illustrator, writer and researcher, specializing in prairie species conservation. At times I have been able to combine my love of flat-coats with my art, designing logos and other artwork for both the FCRSC and FCRSA. We are fortunate to live on a large piece of native prairie and cottonwood forest along the Oldman River which serves as inspiration for my work and an idyllic place for our dogs to run, train and swim.

I am humbled and honoured to have been asked to judge puppy and veteran sweepstakes and very much look forward to this judging assignment.

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Neal Goodwin, Altair Flat-Coated Retrievers, Danbury, CT Gundog Sweepstakes

Photo by Nanci Hanover

First, I would like to thank the Society for honoring me with the opportunity to judge at our National Specialty.  The versatility of our breed has always been important to me, so I am very much looking forward to judging the Gundog Sweepstakes.

Little did I know how dogcentric my life would become that day in 1983, when I first saw Flat-Coats in the ring at the KC of Beverly Hills show in Los Angeles.  Once I saw this majestic breed circling the ring, I knew I needed them in my life.

From my first “pet, possible show” dog until the present has been an exhilarating journey, filled with Sporting group placements, JAMs at National Specialties and Eukanuba, and titles in Field, Obedience and Agility.

That first dog, “Bogie” (CH Omega’s Fame and Fortune CD JH WCX) was one of the first Flat-Coats to earn a JH, with one of the legs coming at the very first FCRSA Hunt Test held at the 1987 Ohio Specialty.

The FCRSA and the National Specialties have always been very important to me, so I have been happy to serve the Society for 10 years total as either an officer or board member.  I have also served at National Specialties as Field Chair and Agility Chair.

The 2018 Specialty at Hogwarts will be the 34th National Specialty in a row that I have attended, and I very much look forward to meeting your dogs that have distinguished themselves so admirably, doing what our breed was bred to do.  I hope you and your dogs will have a magical experience at our annual family reunion !

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Marcie Baer, Gambrills, MD Senior Hunter, Working Certificate

Marcie Baer has owned and bred Labs for 40 years and has competed and titled at all levels of retriever hunt tests since 1990. Over her 20 years of judging at all levels, she has had the pleasure of judging in Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Residing in Maryland, she works with humans and animals in the field of acupuncture and holistic wellness. Beyond work and dog training, Marcie also tries to carve out time for kayaking and wine tasting.

Dolores Umbridge

Denise Balides, King George, VA Senior Hunter, Steady Singles

It is a great privilege and honor to be asked to judge at the 2018 Flat-Coated Retriever
National Specialty.
About me: I have 25+ years owning, training, handling and hunting my personal dogs;
a dedicated amateur. I bought one of my first Labs out of the newspaper for $150 – the
ad read “heavy field trial background, sire retrieved 150 geese last season.” OK, that

sounded good, but I had no idea what that really meant. Who can go look at a litter of
beautiful puppies and not come home with one? So, I got hooked and since then have
taken 7 dogs through the NAHRA and AKC Hunt Test programs. I’ve recently begun to
train for and run licensed field trials – I enjoy all aspects of the retriever game. When
I’m not training or hunting I like to read junky mystery novels, swim and attend yoga
classes (deep breathing and relaxation helps before you go to the line!).
My philosophy: Problems that appear in training or testing only represent opportunities
to teach -- - they aren’t failures. You may not walk away with a ribbon, but you should
strive to learn something about yourself and your dog every time you go out.
I’m looking forward to the May field events hosted at Rebel Ridge in Elkton, Maryland,
the grounds are beautiful. But most of all I hope everyone has fun and celebrates their
wonderful FCR breed. I have had the great fortune to get to know many Flat-Coated
Retrievers through my training groups and admire their free/fun spirit (and GREAT
noses). See you there.

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Filler.

 Jim Drager,  Chincoteague, VA Qualifying

Jim Drager is an executive in the firearms industry, having fun every day under the guise of working! A native of Eastern Pennsylvania, having moved back recently from Montana, he has been judging field events since 1989, including all levels of hunt tests and field trials. Jim is honored to be again judging the FCRS National Specialty (4th time!) and to see many old and new Flat Coat friends.

Jim’s dogs have been trained almost exclusively by himself on a very limited time schedule while having a professional career. Jim has competed successfully at all levels of field trials and hunt tests. Jim’s dogs have earned field championship points, ***, MH, UD, and even a Can. CH.  Jim still trains his own dogs and competes in hunt tests and field trials as time permits.

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Roger Everett, Elkton, MD Un-Steady Singles, Working Certificate

I have been training and handling Labrador Retrievers in AKC hunt tests since 2003. I have been judging AKC Hunt Tests since 2009 at Junior, Senior and Master level. I  was elected by East Coast retriever clubs to Judge the Master National Hunt Test in 2017 held in Texas.    I have bred and trained six chocolate Labradors to AKC Master Hunter titles.  I love to watch all breeds perform in the field and look forward to an enjoyable event with the Flat Coat Retriever Specialty.

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Joseph C. Eschert, Elmer, NJ  Junior Hunter, Working Certificate

First and foremost I would like to thank the Flat-Coated Retriever Club of America’s for selecting me to be one of its 2018 judges. It’s an honor and privilege to be chosen! I know it comes with great responsibility and accountability. I will show respect to every handler and their dogs. You have earned it! You can all expect from me a straight up marking test with well placed birds, no tricks. I want to wish all the owners/handlers the best of luck! I am looking forward to working with the Flat-Coated Retriever Club staff, my co-judge, the handlers, and volunteers. A special Thanks to all!

I am the owner and trainer of Wingshot Retrievers. I have been training, working, and hunting dogs since 1970. I established the Pinelands Retriever Club of New Jersey in 1992 and have been President of Pinelands and Hunt Test Chairman for the last 25 years. I have been the Gun Captain of the South Jersey and Shrewsbury River Retriever Clubs.

I do all my training in a motivational/conventional style which makes sense to the dogs and is more enjoyable for the handler. By training with this theory as my foundation, it makes for a more successful dog handler team.

I received my first hunting dog in December 1970. It was a Golden Retriever, a Tigathoes dog out of a Torch Flynn breeding. I started training dogs for Field Trials and successfully competed in trials in the 70’s and 80’s. I presently have 2 Chocolate Labradors and a Golden Retriever. My kennel has dogs that have won and placed in Field Trials, and many of my dogs received AKC Master Titles, and a NAHRA Senior Title. Some of my dogs have competed in Purina’s Incredible Dog Challenge.

I have been breeding Labrador Retrievers since 1997. My knowledge in breeding produces dogs that are physically sound, intelligent, have excellent temperament, and are truly dedicated working companions.

My training abilities have helped many handlers and their dogs successfully compete in performance events. I share my ideas and experience for the purpose of developing a better sporting dog.

I am an AKC Performance Judge; judging numerous Master, Senior, and Junior Hunt Test. I’ve judged The Master Stake at The Golden Retriever National Specialty, Chesapeake Bay Retriever National Specialty, The Poodle National Specialty, and I’ve twice judged The Super Retriever Series. 1 recently judged the 2017 Master Amateur.

One of my other interests is decoy carving. I have won and placed in the US National and World Championship Decoy Competitions. I won the New Jersey Ducks Unlimited Carver of the Year award in 1984 and judged that competition.

I feel very fortunate and it is so gratifying to be able to share my gift with so many wonderful people and dogs. It’s all about the dogs!

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Lisa Kane, Qualifying

Andrea Kinsler, Newark, DE Junior Hunter, Working Certificate

As an owner/handler and partner in Wingshot Retrievers, I have owned dogs all my life but started in hunt testing in December 2006 with my first chocolate lab, and I was hooked!  As a novice handler, I wanted to learn all I could about dog behavior and training techniques and realized that one dog was not enough, so soon came dog #2 and both earned AKC Junior titles and stared working on Senior.  Eventually Master tests were here and so were two additional dogs, and I loved it all.  Working all four dogs was a challenge as each one had to be trained just a bit different.  They each have their own personalities, just as they each held a special place in my heart.

It was about this time that I got interested in judging and have been doing so for about 5 years.  I have a great time judging.  You meet some wonderful people and outstanding dogs.  I try to keep in mind while judging how I feel when I am running a test; how the nerves can get to you, and try to make the testing experience a great one for the handler.  I want the handler and the dog to be a team out there and I want to see them work together.

It has been 11 years now that I have been training dogs, and even though the original dog that I started this crazy trail with has been gone for a few years now, I love this ride and continue to have a blast.

I have a wonderful mentor and friend in Wingshot Retrievers, Joe Eschert, who has helped from the fundamentals to advanced training, and I feel he has helped me become a better trainer and judge.  I also have a great friend, Karen Deman, who is my partner in crime with training and judging.  We are always working together with our dogs to get them to the next level.  It is unbelievable how much I have learned from so many other friends and training groups throughout the years as well.

I am the current Corresponding Secretary of the Pinelands Retriever Club of New Jersey.  I have been married to my husband, Ted, for 23 years, and have two daughters, Ashley and Kirsten, who all lovingly support my dog addiction.

Thank you for the opportunity to judge the Flat-Coat Retriever Society of America 2018 National Specialty.

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Bob Kurtz, Lovettsville, VA Working Certificate Excellent

I have owned Golden Retrievers for more than 30 years. I'm the past President and Vice President of the Potomac Valley Golden Retriver Club (PVGRC) and former board member of Golden Retriever Rescue, Education and Training (GRREAT). I have been field training since 2002, and enjoy an occasional quail hunt with my two Goldens, Parker and Merry. I've judged several WC/WCX events with PVGRC, and I love watching the enthusiasm and purpose of a retriever doing the work that he or she is meant to do. I especially appreciate the humor that Flat-Coated Retrievers bring to their job, and I'm looking forward to a great day in the field and lots of fun for you and your dogs!

Kevin McLaren, Crimora, VA Master Hunter

I can remember the day like it was yesterday, a cool crisp October morning standing in a partially cut cornfield with my friend who invited me on my first every goose hunt.  Along with us was his black Labrador retriever female appropriately named “Lab”.  About the time I was thinking this was a waste of time, the faint sound of a goose honk could be heard, getting closer and closer.  As the pair of geese descended into the field we were standing in, my buddy and I jumped up and unloaded our pumps.  Miraculously one of the geese immediately began losing altitude and glided to the ground several hundred yards from our position.  Frank yelled “fetch” and to my amazement Lab tore out across the field, under a barbwire fence and tackled the goose that was leaving the country on foot.

  Better yet, she promptly returned to us one very unhappy goose, never placing it on the ground.  Up until that moment I had no idea why retrievers were put on this earth, since that day I have not been able to envision a world without them.

My wife, Wendy, and I have owned Labrador Retrievers 32 years, coincidently how long we have been married.  Although it was a little over 20 years ago when I first became involved with hunt test program, primarily the NAHRA program at first, then later the HRC and AKC programs.  Wendy and I along with our daughter Kaylee and son Alec operate Morning Sun Retrievers in Crimora VA, were we have a small breeding program as well as train obedience, gun dogs and hunt test competition dogs of many breeds.  I have titled numerous dogs in NAHRA, HRC, and AKC hunt test programs as well the AKC Field Trial venue.  I also have served as a judge for both NAHRA and AKC hunt test program.

One of the main benefits of owning and training retrievers, is to hunt with them.  I enjoy hunting both for upland bird and waterfowl.  I have hunted in several of the big upland bird states in the west, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota but now my primary focus is on waterfowl where I am fortunate to spend a week or two every year in the Delta Marsh of Manitoba, and try to get a trip to Arkansas or the Chesapeake bay in the late season, always with at least one of my dogs at my side.  If I can’t take my dog, I don’t want to go.

It is a privilege and a pleasure to be asked to judge the Flat Coated Retriever National event, I look forward to seeing a lot of good dog work, fellowship with old friends and meet some new ones.

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Fred Perini, Indian Head, MD Master Hunter

Ron Reed, New Cumberland, PA Steady Singles

Ronald Reed (Ron) retired professional firefighter and Battalion Chief.  I got into purebred dogs via my wife, Ginny. we started married life with an Afghan hound named Rags eventually we transitioned to Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. Started judging hunt tests around 1986. Had the honor of Judging the Master National in 1998  in Carnation, WA. I have put AKC hunt test titles on dogs at all levels. I am an avid hunter, I have hunted ducks, geese, and pheasants from Alberta, Canada thru the Dakotas, Iowa, and states along the eastern shore of the US. I have had the fortune of being able to train with some of the best amateur and professional retriever trainers and on some of the best training grounds in the country. I have judged hunt tests for many of the retriever specialties. I'm a minor stake judge for field trials. belong to several retriever clubs and enjoy training with all my training groups. Good luck to all handlers and dogs.

 Virginia Reed, New Cumberland, PA Un-Steady Singles, Working Certificate Excellent

Virginia L.Reed, grew up in a suburban/rural area of central Pa where it was common to grow food and raise animals. My childhood was a time when most women were still in the home and did not wear pants/slacks in public. There were purebred dogs in the area owned by those with "extra money"- most were loyal family pets and/or serious hunting animals.I grew up learning to shoot and many relaxing days were spent target shooting. Life changes came quickly in the 60s and 70s suddenly women were wearing slacks in public and to work- gone were the Easter bonnets and Sunday dress gloves-most people seemed to have that extra money and dog games were not only for the "rich" anymore.

I met and married Ron, our first purebred dogs were Afghan Hounds.Our family grew and with Jessica and Sarah, I no longer had time to spend on an animal that needed daily brushing so I went to one of the loyal hunting dogs of my youth - The Chesapeake Bay Retriever. I was intrigued by Obedience Trials so I went that route training my dogs to CD, CDX, and eventually got out into the fields to see Retriever Field Trials. I can still remember seeing for the first time a dog taking directions in the water, stopping on a whistle- treading water- waiting for direction and once getting direction the dog going on and retrieving a bird. I was totally blown away a dog would and could do that- IN THE WATER, I was going to have a dog that could do that kind of work. And so it began our step into the Field events with Purebred dogs. Fortunately within a few years the AKC would develop Hunting Retriever Tests for the "hunter" to enjoy and keep their dog fit during the off season. We jumped in with both feet and have been busy enjoying this aspect of dog games since its beginning in the mid 1980s.

Today, retired from banking- I have the title of Grandma to 4 fantastic humans ranging from 17-2 yrs- our 2 Daughters have grown to be amazing women, and we currently have 4 Chessies we share our lives with- Lefty, Carley, George, and Shady. Lefty is our own bred Champion Master Hunter WDQ **, his littermate Carley is a MH too. George and Shady are our up coming challenges born Nov 2016- keeping us young- yet reminding us how much is involved to get that final finished dog. It has been a wonderful life- blessed with new friends, travel, and amazing opportunities since we "went to the dogs."

It is an honor to be asked to Judge for your National Specialty. I remember many years ago judging the JH in Cheltenham, MD, at that time not knowing your breed enjoyed a wallow in a mud puddle one was close to the line -unfortunately some did search it out to enjoy. oh those antics that bring a smile! Relax, enjoy, may your trained dog come to the line with you on testing day. Lets go have fun!

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Cheryl Pratt, Alexandria, VA Rally Trial 1, Open B, Utility A, Beginner Novice A & B

I became involved with dog obedience in the late 1980’s when our family brought home a Great Dane puppy.  Up until then I had always had small dogs.  Knowing this boy would outweigh me I found a local training club and enrolled in a basic obedience class.  Like most of us involved in the sport of obedience I was hooked.  Over the next 25 years I trained two more Great Danes, a Labrador Retriever and a rescued Greyhound from the track earning four more CD’s and two CDX’s.  I now have two  Vizslas.  One with an RAE and a UD.  I’m just starting to show my young boy.

I became involved with rally when it first started in 2005 after attending a seminar with a friend who convinced me to apply to be a judge.  Judging rally was so much fun that I decided to apply for obedience.  I am now a Novice and Open Obedience judge and a Provisional Utility judge.  I am a member of the Mount Vernon Dog Training Club in Virginia and currently teach the CGC class.  I am also the Assistant Training Director and the Trial Secretary.

It’s such a joy to watch a team having fun and working together in the ring.  I would like to wish everyone good luck, remember to breathe and make sure you hug your dog when you leave the ring.

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Teresa Walker, Flemington, NJ Novice A & B, Graduate Novice, Graduate Open, Versatility, Team

Thank you for inviting me to judge Obedience at the 2018 FCRSA National Specialty.  I can’t wait to see all the teams, all the ever-wagging tails, catch up with old friends and meet some new friends.  Judging the FCRSA National Specialty is such an honor and ranks among my top 3 favorite assignments along with Obedience at the 2010 Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America National Specialty and the 2015 AKC National Obedience Championship.

My mother, Elsie, began training and showing in obedience in 1967 and I followed in 1972 with my first dog “Pokey”, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.  “Pokey” and I earned our Companion Dog Title 14 months later with multiple placements and High Junior Handler awards.  Over the last 45 years I have enjoyed sharing my life with 10 PW Corgis.   My sister, Kathleen, also enjoys training and showing in Obedience.  She started in 1979.

Flat-Coated Retrievers came into my life completely unexpectedly.  My mom and sister rescued a cute 9 month old bitch from a breeder who needed assistance back in 1987.  No one in my family knew about Flat Coats.    A few months later one of her litter brothers needed re-homing and they took him in also.    I became intrigued by both of them.  They fit perfectly into my Corgi pack.  I started training them in obedience and fell in love.    5 FCRs have shared my life since 1987:

  • Heidihaus’ Poetic Justice UD, Can CDX (Justine)
  • Fortora’s Night Flight Am/Can CD (Jett)
  • UCDX, Am Ch. Whitland Hy Voltage UDX, RE, OA, OAJ (Buzz)
  • Hob-B’s Quest for Adventure UD, RE, NAP, DS (Quest)
  • Light-Foot’s Time Machine (Traveler)

Unfortunately my home is currently without a Flat-Coat but I look forward to the day I can bring home another one.  At the moment I share my home with 3 Pembroke Welsh Corgis (2 rescues), a Border Collie, a rescue French Bulldog, 3 cats and various chickens.

The sport of Obedience is my first love but I also enjoy participating in Pet Therapy, Rally, Agility, Field, Herding, Dock Diving, Tracking and Scent Work.  My sister and I began judging Obedience in 2004 and Scent Work in 2017.

Good luck to everyone!  Have a safe and happy National!  Enjoy!

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Nancy Withers, Wernersville, PA Rally Trial 2, Open A, Utility B, Veterans, Team

It's hard to believe how much an ad in the "Pets for Sale" section of our local newspaper in February, 1978 has changed my life!  From that ad I purchased my first Shetland Sheepdog who, along with three other of my Shelties earned their American and Canadian Utility degrees.  Up until recently I have only owned Shelties, but now I am also the proud owner of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, "Tucker" who under the expert training and handling of my good friend Amanda Nickle, earned his Herding Excellent title on sheep, with several all breed High in Trial awards. My Sheltie, Taylor is certified for tracking, but no luck in obtaining that title just yet!  Prior to becoming a judge I put obedience titles on a Pug, Kuvasz, Border Terrier, Golden Retriever & a Corgi.  Several other of my own dogs have also earned CD's as well as herding titles and a tracking title.  I judged my first AKC obedience trial in 1992, and am approved for all obedience classes in the U.S. and Canada, as well as all Rally classes.

I have been an active member of the Berks County (Pennsylvania) Dog Training Club since 1978, and have served in most every office and club position.  Have been a member of Interstate Shetland Sheepdog Club since 1980, and ASSA since 1984.  I've also been very active in both organizing and behind the scenes work in various tournaments and regional obedience competitions.

Enjoy the camaraderie of your friends, old and new, these next few days, and best of luck to all exhibitors!  Thank you for inviting me to judge!

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