|Call Name: Joe
Owner/Handler: Mark Roberts
Breeder: Agneta Zastavnikovich
How did you get involved in retriever trials? In 2014, I retired with my wife Debbie to an acreage on Vancouver Island. As a young girl, my mother, Mary Elizabeth Roberts, had a black Lab named "Joe". I always liked the breed, so in spring 2015 I bought a puppy with a very good field-trial pedigree. Having no experience, and this being my first dog (first pet ever for that matter), I had to become a student of the game. It was hit and miss for a couple years, training with both amateurs and professionals, some excellent and some marginal – and a huge amount of solo training – learning the sport. The dog was clearly talented and carried me through many of the early qualifying wins. I sent Joe to Mike Taylor of Skyhigh Retrievers for three months in the winter of 2019. I figured if we were going to take it to the next level, we needed some 'top-shelf ' help. Mike polished the basics Joe and I had developed and built on his splendid natural ability. His sit became crisp. Poison birds and flyers became routine. His natural talent shone. And now he is in the record books.
What was Joe's most memorable win of 2020? Without question, the Alberta Field Trial Club Open in August of 2020. This was our first Open win. It was a classic Brian Griffin test (Brian and Gord Petite judging on the Kalbhen West property). Early morning started with a big land triple, down the hill, across the valley and up the other side, with the memory bird across a small water inlet. Then all the tests progressed one upon another. Everything was run from the same line. Blinds and poison birds across falls and gunner stations from earlier in the day finishing with a monster water triple, the memory bird 350+ yards with multiple water entries. We pinned the birds the entire day.
How have you kept your dogs in shape during the pandemic? Debbie and I have a wonderful life on an acreage next to the Oyster River. Joe has been worked on these lands and the river since he was a pup and has always maintained good physical condition with our daily routines. I sent him to Mike again for a couple months this past winter, and we look forward to having a bit more fun this season.