Bobby Wills and Colt earn top honors at SRS event
Posted: Friday, June 4, 2010 10:05 am
The pair was named SRS Crown Champions and the 2010 Avery Sporting Dog Team of the Year.
A professional dog trainer and owner of Lone Oak East Kennels of Greenfield, Wills qualified three dogs for the Super Retriever Series, Colt, Red and Roc.
Colt 45 II (Colt) is owned by Paul Wilson of Atwood and Tommy Smith of Henderson. Colt qualified at the 2009 Stuttgart Qualifier in April. The Outlaw Texas Red (Red) is owned owner Jamey Tankersley of Bells, and Rocket Man to the Moon (Roc) is owned by T.J. Leach of Nashville.
Wills, a former Union City resident, has spent many years working with retrievers, training them to make the best hunting partner in the field of hunting. He has traveled to a variety of events offered by the Super Retriever Series.
That dedication and hard work with his retrievers paid off last weekend.
To qualify for the Crown, a team must finish in the Top 3 at an SRS qualifying event. Red and Roc just qualified at Music City. Roc won the Music City SRS Qualifier just a couple of weeks ago and Red finished second to qualify for the 2010 Crown championship.Colt qualified at the 2009 Stuttgart Qualifier.
The SRS, which is now in its 11th year, offers trainers and the retrievers a chance to compete in very unique event that combines elements of traditional field trials and hunt tests with real world hunting scenarios to determine the best all-around retrievers.
The last day test was a scenario that had lots of distractions, including sim-ulating a early-morning hunt before shooting time with lots of birds (dokens) hitting the water and swimming, as well as a handler sitting there with the dog and actually throwing out decoys while another hunter was in a layout blind close by. With all of this going on, the handler has to keep the dog under control.
Wills said Colt’s win would be worth close to $20,000. In addition to Colt finishing first, Red finished fourth, to qualify for a check. With the win, it will automatically put him and Colt in next year’s Crown, which invites the top three dogs back.
Wills is part of Drake Waterfowl Elite pro staff as well as Frog Toggs, Enhance Dog Foods and others. He is also a member of Tennessee River Hunting Retriever Club which is based in Union City.
As an outdoorsman since he was 8, Wills developed a love of the outdoors that soon grew into a career shortly after receiving his first retriever in 1987. Loving the experience and work, he founded Moonshine Kennels in 1989. He is now a member of the Lone Oak Retrievers team, partnering with J. Paul Jackson of Dyersburg and turning Moonshine Kennels into Lone Oak East Kennels.
In addition to training dogs, he enjoys spending time with his wife of 30 years, Helen, and three children Jacob, Jenny and Samantha.
He also has four grandsons: Austin, Levi, Carson, and Carter. He said he is looking forward to the day he can introduce them to the outdoors.
Published in The Messenger 6.4.10