Keith Maready – Past President
205 Back St. Newport, NC 28570
I consider it an honor to serve the clubs in Region One as a Master National Retriever Club Board member. I appreciate the confidence expressed by my appointment and I’ll strive to be an asset and positive representation for Master National, Region One and the entire Hunt Test community.
From the early days on the family farm in very rural Chinquapin, North Carolina, we lived and survived on what the farm provided. Most of our fathers were off serving in some branch of the military, and, for the most part, leaving cousins, moms, aunts, Grandma and Granddaddy on the farm. With NO education, Granddaddy took the leadership role and lead very well with a simple plan.
Granddaddy Archie was a hard pusher in whatever the chore was and every day, for the first twelve years of life, in every chore I was reminded of Granddaddy’s simple plan to survive: “You gotta give to get.” You’ve got to give to the land to produce crops, you’ve got to give to the animals to produce meat, you’ve got to give help to the neighbors to get help when you’re in need and on Sunday you’ve got to give time and respect to God to get blessings when you’re in need. Granddaddy Archie lived a life of “give back” and his leadership to us, enforced a life of “give back”. Very simple, that’s why I try to serve the Hunt Test community.
Having had some type of hunting dog my entire life, it was natural to acquire a retriever and start duck hunting as my family migrated to the coast when my father came home from the Army. Hunting the big waters of Core Sound and Bogue Sound on the southern outer banks of North Carolina is challenging and thrilling. Having my lab to pick up birds is amazing.
From the late sixties through the early eighties, our dogs were thoroughly trained. Their training was, we’re going duck hunting get in the boat. They hunted with me and my buddies five to six times a week during the season and if they didn’t figure out the retrieving part, they didn’t get to go hunting anymore and we would buy another dog. We went through several and had some that would have retrieved an elephant — if elephants could fly and we could hit them.
In 1983, on the way home from a morning hunt we stopped by the newspaper / book store for a newspaper to see if a previous hunting adventure of ours had made the paper. Well, it did, and we kept a low profile for a few hunts. My buddy also came out with a retriever training book and that was the beginning of a bad thing for the dogs.
We managed to finally acquire a couple of labs that were tuff enough to overcome our vast knowledge / sheer ignorance and they became capable of doing some impressive things. If we threw a rock in the direction of the duck they didn’t see fall, they would go in that direction and not come back until they found a duck.
My wife Wendy and I now reside in Newport, North Carolina, overlooking Bogue Sound and the Intercoastal Waterway. We live there with our two yellow labs, Luke and Gabe. Upon discovery of how little I knew about a trained retriever, Luke, the old guy, and I went through a training program with a friend, neighbor and former professional trainer. That training program led me to the hunt test world. Thank you Richard Reese. Luke is grateful every day for your patience and determination to keep me from messing up.
The thrill of running hunt test, meeting wonderful folks, watching amazing dogs, and living life’s survival plan taught by Granddaddy Archie contributes to an amazing life, and I’m blessed to find myself as a Master National board member. I’m excited to serve and look forward to being a part of enhancing Master National and the entire Hunt Test community.