In the fall of 2010, I was driving on I-80 toward Colorado for a Field Trial. I whipped into a rest stop for a quick pee and to air my dogs for a minute.
There’s another guy there with a red rug doing the same thing and as he started over my way I’m thinking, “Crap ... here we go ... NO, I’d rather our dogs didn’t ‘play’”.
Turns out this guy was heading for the same trial I was, though it was clear it was his first trial and he didn’t know exactly what to expect. As we talked, you could tell how he dearly loved his dog and how much work he had put into him. His anxiety radiated and I felt really bad about the disappointment that was in store for him.
Well, you can guess, this guy was Ernie Hawkins and it turns out he WINS the freakin’ Derby!! We chatted a lot that weekend, talked about a lot of “what-ifs”, how much he loved training his dog, and how he hoped he could be successful but if not, it wouldn’t matter that much. He had some great help back home and was gonna go for it!
What a great story and what a great guy!! CONGRATULATIONS, Ernie!! I know you’re having fun!