Writen By Frank Barton, Hunt Test Secretary
For those that run their dogs at the Master National event, the designation MNH means a great deal. It is difficult to qualify for the event and even more difficult to pass a Master National. The MNH designation indicates that a dog has passed the prestigious event three times. It is no secret that when the AKC voted to officially recognize the MNH title that interest in running the Master National skyrocketed. At the same time AKC decided to award the MNH title, they also voted to recognize dogs that have passed 4 or more Master National events with designation MNH4, MNH5, and so on.
Up until 2021 only three dogs had successfully passed 9 Master National events and have the title MNH9 attached to their names. But this year, for the first time in MNRC history, two dogs were entered in an event that had the designation MNH8. BIG MAMOU’S RUN FOREST RUN MH MNH8 (Gump) owned and handled by Joe Perron and Stellars Proud Mary MH MNH8 MAH (Mary), owned by Bob and Nancy Neipert and handled by Bob. There was an undercurrent of excitement throughout the course of the week with participants wondering if MNRC history was in the making. We all know now that it indeed happened with both dogs passing the 2021 Master National event.
The MNRC history of these two dogs begins in 2012 at the event in Demopolis, AL. They were both in Flight A. Both dogs were very young by Master National standards. Mary was only 2 ½ years old. Gump was only 11 months her senior. The average age of dogs entered in the 2012 event was 5 years 6 months and the reality of the event was that it was very difficult for young dogs to navigate their way thru the challenging series. Of course, both passed that event and continued to pass every Master National event that followed.
In 2013 it was in the prairie area of Fall River, Kansas. In 2014 both dogs traveled to the west coast for the event in Corning, California. In 2015 the event was at H. Cooper Black in Cheraw, South Carolina. 2016 found the Master National at the Busch Wildlife area in the Greater St. Louis, Missouri area. In 2017 the Master National made a return to The Big Woods at Tennessee Colony, Texas. In 2018 the west coast event was held in Roseburg, Oregon. In 2019 it was back to Cheraw, South Carolina. The 2020 event was cancelled and the 2021 just concluded in Valley County, Idaho. During the course of these past events, 18 different judges had the privilege of watching and judging the performance of these two spectacular dogs.
In addition to that first event in 2012 these two dogs were in the same flight 3 other time: 2014, 2015, and 2016. Those that watched Mary and Gump no doubt knew that they were very good dogs, but probably had no idea how truly special these two were destined to become.
We asked both Bob and Joe to say one thing about their dogs that they wanted the MNRC family to know. Bob responded,”One thing that stands out to me is
Mary’s ability to think things out. She isn’t the best marker but she has been the best we have had to figure things out and do a smart hunt. Mary, whom Nancy did all the young dog work through FF and beginning handling, always wanted to please. She had very little negative training/corrections throughout the years. A loud NO is a big correction to Mary. Her team player attitude, always wanting to please you and always trying to be good really stand out to me.”
From Joe Perron, “I think that the one thing most people probably don’t know about Gump is that we picked the breeding/pedigree when we decided on a pup. He was the last pick and when we received him, he weighed a whopping 6 lbs and some odd ounces so I am pretty sure he was also the runt. I know a lot of people want the first pick. A jewel in the rough can come of some of those last picks. Gump is also a real couch potato in the house but has a lot of drive in the field. I wasn’t worried this Master National about his marking or blind work. I did worry that he might break for the first time in the fourth series. Great to see our older guys have that kind of enthusiasm. It hasn’t diminished with age.”
In the history of the Master National, there are now only 5 dogs that have achieved the distinction of having MNH9 attached to their names. We can only wonder what might have been except for the cancelled 2020 event.