Junior Handler Receives MNRC Foundation Award

Congratulations to Haleigh McKeithan, the Master National Foundation’s 2019 “Handler of the Year”, 13-17-year-old category.  Haleigh is a 17-year-old Laney High School student in Wilmington, North Carolina.
The award consists of a personal plaque, her name on a perpetual plaque and a check for $1,000. She is only the second honoree since the award was established in 2015 and is the youngest handler to ever qualify a dog at the Master National Retriever Hunting Test (MNRHT) since its beginning in 1991.
Even with all her ‘extracurricular activities’, Haleigh still carries a 4.025 GPA. She is the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Michael McKeithan of Wilmington and has three sisters; twins, Kailyn & Makayla who are both retriever enthusiasts, as well as ‘baby’ sister, Sadie. The Foundation is extremely proud of Haleigh and delighted she is receiving this prestigious award, announced MNRCF President Bill Teague.
Haleigh successfully handled her dog, “Slam the Man”, MH, in all six series of the eight-day 2019 MNRHT held at the H. Cooper Black Sporting Dog Facility in Cheraw, South Carolina, October 17-27, 2019. There were 140 dogs in her Flight (A.) Slam was one of only 57 dogs who qualified in Flight A.
The Master National event is open to all American Kennel Club (AKC) Retriever breeds and is licensed by the AKC. Haleigh has trained ‘Slam’, a black, male, Labrador retriever, about six years old, since he was a puppy and has been assisted primarily by Pro Trainers Dave Ward, Tony Hartnett & Ashley Kite.

2019 Judges Lin Gelbman and Carol Johnson with Haleigh

Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the 2020 MNRHT was canceled. A formal presentation will be made October 1, 2021 at the MNRC annual business meeting in County Valley, Idaho at the 2021 Master National Retriever Hunting Test.
The Foundation offers three ‘Handler of the Year Awards’; an 8-12-year-old category and 13-17-year-old category and the “Bill T. Teague Handler of the Year Award”. These awards were established in 2015 to recognize exemplary performance of a series of criteria by handlers of dogs at the MNRHT. Each award consists of a personal plaque, the recipient’s name on a perpetual plaque and a check for $1,000. The “Humanitarian Sportsman Recognition” was established in 2019 to recognize individuals or groups within the Retriever Hunting Test program who participate in the MNRHT and provide humanitarian services to either those in the Retriever Hunting Test sport or outside the sport.
For further information on awards, recognition and the Foundation, please contact MNRCF President Bill Teague, ta9@hughes.net or 713-252-3918.
Foundation Board Members:
Gloria Mundell, Colorado
Jack Morris, Texas
Jimmy Hughes, Alabama, Secretary/Treasurer
Allen Dillard, Alabama (MNRC President, 2019-20)
Keith Winch, Colorado (MNRC President, 2020-21)
Bill Teague, Texas, President

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