The Bramcroft Trophy is offered by the Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America, Inc. to honor the many significant contributions made by Mr. & Mrs. Homer Downing to the Flat-Coated Retriever, especially in the obedience ring. Mr. Downing bought his first Flat-Coated Retriever from England in 1953. The Downings, who had been active in dog obedience training and showing before acquiring “Doc,” introduced this intelligent and capable breed to the obedience ring in the United States. Pewcroft Perfect UDT and Atherbram Stella UD began the tradition of Bramcroft Kennel. For twenty years, Mr. Downing promoted the Flat-Coated Retriever and presented it to the public as the compete dog. Both Mr. and Mrs. Downing maintained an interest in the breed until their deaths.
The Downings were present in 1972 at a FCRSA Sanctioned Match when the first Bramcroft Trophy was awarded to Vernon Vogel. Vernon won from the Novice B class with Barbara Conner’s Ch. Wyndcroft Tamarack. The Bramcroft was thereafter awarded annually to the handler of the Highest Scoring Flat-Coat at the Chicago International Show until 1979 when it was moved to the National Specialty.
The Bramcroft Trophy was originally offered for permanent possession to a handler who could win it by winning HIT three times, not necessarily with the same dog. John Weiss retired the original Bramcroft in 1981 with Ch. Kernwood’s Renegade Ambush UD. Colleen DeVore retired the Bramcroft II in 1985 with Ch. Twin Oak’s Double Exposure CDX WC.
The 1986, the Bramcroft III Trophy was handcrafted by Bill Mader of Chardon, Ohio. This trophy is larger than its predecessors and has plates engraved with the names of the winners and their dogs. Due to AKC rules regarding perpetual trophies, the Bramcroft is no longer listed in the Premium List. It is non-retiring and remains in the possession of the Society, but a momento is given to the winner during the Awards Ceremony at the Annual Awards Banquet each year.