For nearly 50 years Bernie has been devoted to the Brittany, supported the American Brittany Club and field trialing. He continuously maintained memberships in many regional Brittany clubs. When he moved across the country for a business opportunity, he quickly joined a local club, became an active member and supported its activities. His dedication to the Brittany, field trials and the dual concept is still strong a half century later. Bernie has also been a major proponent and contributor to the Brittany Field Trial Hall of Fame.
Bernie grew up hunting everything there was a season for on his two grandfathers’ farms in western Oklahoma and northern Missouri. His youth was spent hunting behind setters but changed after a tour in the Army when a co-worker offered him a dog. He resolved himself to the problem of “what the hell happened to that dog’s tail”!
His little dog turned out to be a granddaughter of Ban-Dee so in July of 1972 he joined the American Brittany Club. His journey with Brittanys began. Bernie lost this little dog but his wife presented him with a new pup, a product of Ban-Dee and Gerald Eastland’s Ban-Dee granddaughter and thus his field trialing career began. Over the next four decades his dogs made their presence known on the major circuits in all but the East Coast region of the country.
Bernie has been a patron to the sport of field trialing and the Brittany. Over the past years he entrusted his Brittanys to pros Rosco Staton, Scott Rennick, Loyd Budd, Bob John, Jimmy John and recently Ed Tillson for training and campaigning. He always handled his dogs in the amateur stakes until he was sidelined as a competitor 8 years ago due to heart problems. He gave his horses, with a collection of gear, to two young men who couldn’t afford to buy horses so they could field trial. Despite his disability, Bernie has continued to field trial his latest dog.
Bernie has been president of the Missouri Brittany club since 2011 and was also a member of Neosho Valley, serving as President, and Wasatch clubs over the years. Each of these local clubs benefited from his participation as he served as Field Trial Chairman and Secretary from time to time as well as judging trials.
From 1985 – 1987, Bernie served the ABC as Treasurer and began the daunting task of analyzing and organizing the parent club’s financial and bank records. He has served on the ABC board of directors since 2015.
Bernie has been a strong proponent of Hour Championships. He and friend Mike Boydston initiated the Mo-Kan Brittany Championship in the mid 80’s. He judged a Pointer championship but no Brittany championships since he almost continually had a dog competing. He has judged trials in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri, and handled and scouted many dogs. During the 80’s and 90’s, he also judged GSP, Weimaraner and Vizsla trials.
Bernie accumulated and carries a storehouse of historical data on the Brittany thanks to his early start and friendship with pioneers of the breed such as Doc Busteed, Gerald Price, Nicky Bissel, LaReine Pittman, Dorothy McDonald and most of the long time Brittany Pros. He has begun donating historical information to our museum.
Very few Brittany enthusiasts have achieved more success with their dogs. Some of his personal field trial memories include:
Owning, handling and campaigning 2 dogs, both National Champions, and
already in the BFTHF - NFC/FC/AFC Jim De Bob’s Sparks A DanD and
NFC/FC/AFC Shambo’s Dark Shadow
Sparky also sired 2 National Champions
Only person who has had 3 U.S Open Championship winners -
Sparky, Shadow and Tequila Scorcher
Campaigned 3 other Field Champions -
DC BiMar Cheyenne Kit (1 pt short of AFC)
FC/AFC Milberger’s Ringo McYork
FC Don Ben Thruhere (placed in the ABC National Championship)
In total, Bernie has campaigned 6 Field Champions, most of which were also Amateur Field Champions, and attained a record unmatched for accomplishments. His enthusiasm for the Brittany and field trialing has never wavered.