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Al Arthur of Sandhill Retrievers and his dog, Cropper’s Fire in the Hole, win the retriever world’s highest field trial honor, The U.S. National Open Retriever Championship.

Held in November 2020 at the National Retriever Club in Giddings, Texas, the competition featured the top retrievers in the United States, with Arthur and Cropper’s Fire in the Hole (call name Deep) winning the championship.

“To qualify for the National Open, a dog needs seven points in designated field trials,” Arthur said. “While dogs can accumulate the necessary points by coming in second or third place, the requirement to have a first-place win makes the process so challenging. While field trial cancellations made it difficult for dogs to qualify, nearly 70 world-class dogs qualified to compete in the 2020 championship.”


Deep, a nine-year-old Labrador retriever and veteran of the National, peaked perfectly over the course of the event.

Arthur continued: “The judges did an excellent job of challenging dogs in the water and on land. Deep, a nine-year-old Labrador retriever and veteran of the National, peaked perfectly over the course of the event. There were a lot of excellent dogs at the National, but Deep had plenty of experience. I’m thankful for the win, and proud to feed my dogs Eukanuba Premium Performance Sport 30/20, which undoubtedly helped provide a competitive edge for Deep.”

“The National is the Super Bowl of the retriever field trial world. All field trialers work hard, but Al’s work ethic is tremendous. His abilities and wins consistently rank him as one of the top five pro field trialers in the country. Al also won the 2015 National with FC-AFC Keeno’s Gizmo, and his knowledge of dogs, breeding and training is top notch,” said Brett Volmert, Eukanuba PRO Development Manager. “We are proud to have him on our Eukanuba Pro Staff and value his regular input into sporting dogs and their unique nutritional needs. Congratulations to Al on his significant win.”

retriever championship winner Eukanuba

The National is the Super Bowl of the retriever field trial world.

Awards impact many people, and Arthur’s National win is no exception. Deep was bred by Virginia’s Dr. Jack Waltney and owned by Katherine Simonds of Morrisville, Vermont. Retriever field trialers recognize the Simonds name, as both Katherine and her late husband Pete are members of the Hall of Fame. Their contributions to the retriever world are significant, but despite significant wins they had never won the National.

“The best part of Deep’s win was calling Katherine to tell her,” Arthur said. “She and Pete have given so much to our sport, so the win serves as an exclamation point to their incredible contributions. A tear or two might have been shed.”

To read more about Arthur and Deep’s retriever championship win and learn more about the achievements of Team Eukanuba, visit Eukanuba Sporting Dog.
 
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