In 1986 I was at the Wisconsin Amateur Field Trial grounds in the last series , amateur all-age looking out at a quad, that my dog had never seen before. He had to climb a old gravel pit through the water three times with a shot flyer off the side. He was completely amateur trained, non-collar, went on back, marks and blinds. I was shaking in my boots he climbed that hill three times through the water after he picked up the flyer. We won that trial, the first win we ever had. I dropped the trophy on the ground and still has the dent to this day. Tears came to my eyes with that win. Like Bill we had better dogs that did some nice things, but, I will remember that win forever.
Lets back up Shotzy a Golden Retriever male, was given to me as a three year old as a divorce settlement between my daughter and ex-son-in-law. I gave my ex a hunting dog and he gave me Shotzy. A bitch like name misspelled from his tours of duty in the Army in Germany. Al had been shot in the service and could only raise left arm half way. So Shotzy would only take good right overs and turned the same way. He was three years plus when I started to train him. Working odd shifts as a cop and limited funds kept us from the big time. Entered him in a Qual and got fourth place at 4 years old. Said what the heck and entered him in a open and we got a JAM our first all-age JAM ever. We got a bunch of green ribbons and after a couple of years of limited trialing got a second place in a amateur all-age, my first all-age placement and Shotzy's. He earned a MH along the way, why? and a CDX in obedience. Money got short and we dug into some household funds much to my wife's dismay. She said my priorities had to change or ? we couldn't afford to play this all-age game. Didn't listen and the training became all consuming sometimes we would call in sick, used all my vacation time up, created job problems with promotions. Took a promotion went from days to the midnight shift, whoopee more time to train. Then took a Lab puppy on in 1987, now we are running a old 8 year old in the all-age trying to title and running a derby dog. Of course that took away from running Shotzy. Shotzy was retired at age 10 short of his AFC, never got the extra few points and he received a JAM at close to his tenth birthday. He lived until age 16 and cancer took his life. Oh he was a siezuring dog and had to pick him up on more then one occasion at a trial as he could drown sometimes in the last series. This is my first all-age dog story, not as good as Bill's but hope entertaining. So we field trialers aren't all these rich guys you here about. That's why we perhaps chuckle at some of the hard luck stories that people post, about being dropped, driving many miles, spending maybe a thousand bucks in a year etc. It's all about how bad do you want it? and what are you willing to give up. Oh it got better started to sell dogs to run dogs. The problem you have to be willing to sell the best dog you might ever own. Then years later sit empty handed.