Master National Retriever Club Foundation Report

Master National Retriever Club Foundation (MNRCF, Foundation)

Report on status of Foundation to MNRC Delegates & Members

 September 29, 2021

McCall, Idaho

This report is humbly presented in lasting memory of Bill T. Teague.

As previously reported, the establishment of the Foundation that functions as a totally separate, IRS 501 (c) (3) organization from the MNRC was approved by the MNRC board July 7, 2013 and chartered in the state of Tennessee, December 20, 2013. Its EIN is 46-3114401. The purpose of the Foundation is primarily, but not exclusively, to support the programs and projects of the MNRC. The Foundation received its Determination Letter from IRS stating the Foundation was granted a 501 (c) (3) code designation on September 17, 2014 in record time thru a newly approved IRS “online” application process. As such, the Foundation can receive Charitable Contributions and the donor can receive all the benefits allowed by that IRS Code. The MNRC is an IRS Code 501 (c) (7) and contributions to it are not a Charitable Contribution.

The establishment of the Foundation was suggested by an active supporter of the annual Retriever Hunting Test put on by the MNRC who wishes to remain anonymous. This donor provided a generous contribution that enabled the Foundation to become effective quickly and we are deeply indebted to them. Many people ‘talk’ a lot about providing this type of support, but this individual’s actions speak louder than words. While the donor’s gift was originally restricted to Awards, they have generously agreed to allow some of the contributions to cover Recognitions, establishment costs and some grants you’ll also hear about later in this report. We would encourage each of you to consider making a contribution to the Foundation; I know the original, anonymous donor would encourage you to do that. It’s easy, just make a check payable to MNRCF and provide to me or any MNRCF board member.

The Foundation hit the ground running and has approved several MNRC requests for financial support and the Foundation has underwritten AKC Advanced Judges’ Seminars hosted by MNRC member Retriever Clubs. If your club is interested in receiving this type support, the request should come thru the MNRC.

In 2015, the Foundation announced they had approved supporting three new Awards developed by the Foundation and suggested by the original donor. The Foundation has carefully followed the donor’s request. Details of each of the three awards are available on the Master National website.  This info has been shared with other organizations for publication in their venues!

The Awards are:

ü  Youth Handler of the Year Awards: There are two, separate Awards that represent handlers aged 8-12 y/o and 13-17 y/o. Details on the Awards, including criteria reviewed, are available on the Master National website. Nominees for this Award must be received by the Foundation within 30 days of the conclusion of this event. Each Award consists of a plaque and a check for $1,000. No nominations for either award were received this year

This next award Bill found personally embarrassing but very humbling and it is in complete compliance with the donor’s request.

ü  Bill T. Teague Handler of the Year Award: Details on this Award are also available on the Master National website. Nominees must be received by the Foundation within 30 days of the completion of this event. This Award also consists of a plaque and a check for $1,000.

In addition to the individual plaques received for each award, there is a “Perpetual Plaque” for each award that displays the individual’s name and year of the award.

The 2015  (first) “Bill T Teague Handler of the Year” Award was presented to Ken Vidrine  at the monthly meeting of his home club, the Lake Charles Retriever Club in Lake Charles, Louisiana; the “2016 Award” was presented to Bill Autrey at his kennels outside Bentley, Louisiana;  the 2017 award was presented to Bob Neipert, Lexington, Texas  at the monthly meeting of his home club, the Waterloo Amateur Retriever Club; the 2018 Award was presented to Lyle Steinman at his Castile Creek Kennels in Stewartsville, Missouri & the 2019 Award was presented to Sallie Sullivan after a retriever hunting test in Thomasville, GA.


Sallie Sullivan was selected by the Foundation as the recipient of the 2019 “Bill T. Teague Handler of the Year’. She was recognized for her exemplary performances over many years, including placing nine dogs in the Master National Retriever Club’s ‘Hall of Fame’. To enter the ‘Hall of Fame’, a dog must pass three AKC Retriever Hunting tests produced annually by the MNRC (MNRHT); she has three dogs with three passes, two with four passes, one with 5 passes, one with 6 passes and two with seven passes; an exemplary performance knowing she has trained and handled each dog as an amateur. In addition to her success at the MNRHT, she’s an active member of the Tallahassee Hunting Retriever Club, offers her beautiful, plantation property in Thomasville to others for training and hunting tests and has served as a mentor to many young handlers. She’s entered dogs in nearly every MNRHT since it began in 1991. She was the first woman to receive the MNRC’s Woman’s Challenge Trophy and becomes the first woman to earn the prestigious “Bill T. Teague Handler of the Year” Award!

Ms. Haleigh McKeithan, Wilmington, N.C. was selected for the 2019 “Youth Handler of the Year” Award in the 13-17 y/o category.  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) which began in 1991. Even with all her ‘extracurricular activities’, she still carried 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 & younger sister, Sadie.

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. The event is open to all American Kennel Club (AKC) Retriever breeds and is licensed by AKC. Haleigh has trained ‘Slam’, a black, male, Labrador retriever since he was a puppy and was assisted primarily by Pro Trainers Dave Ward & Ashley Kite. She has titled multiple dogs at all levels and also placed in an amateur and qualified. She was the youngest handler to ever qualify a dog at the Master National Retriever Hunting Test since the inception of the award. In 2017, Emma Simon, a 16 y/o from Monticello, AR, was the youngest handler to ever qualify a dog to enter the MNRHT since inception of the award but the dog did not qualify and get a plate at the MNRHT.

The “Humanitarian Sportsman Recognition” (Recognition). The 2019 recipients of the Recognition were Frank Barton, Marion, AR for his work with the wounded soldiers and Rody Best, Best Retrievers, Paige, TX, for his work with people and their animals during the Hurricane Harvey episode in Harris & surrounding counties. The Recognition was established by the Foundation in February 2019 to recognize individuals or groups within the Retriever Hunting Test (RHT) Sport that participate in the Master National Retriever Hunting Test program and provide humanitarian services to either those in the sport or outside the sport. The Recognition may not be given every year.  While it is expected members of the RHT sport will provide some humanitarian services, this Recognition is to recognize those who go ‘above and beyond the call’ to provide that service. Candidates for this Recognition must meet the tenets of the AKC Code of Sportsmanship and Master National Retriever Clubs’ Code of Ethics. This award consists of a personal plaque, name on a perpetual plaque & presentation of the plaques at the first Master National Retriever Club’s annual event following their selection. Nominations for the recognition will be received within 30 days after the close of this event and criteria for the recognition is available on the Master National website.

The Foundation board is exploring ways to financially assist youth handlers at weekend tests as well. The AKC regulations currently include an option for the club conducting the test to reduce, or eliminate, an entry fee for youth handlers and some clubs are offering seminars to youth without charge. The Foundation has begun a feasibility study to determine how it might assist youth handlers at weekend events to encourage new entries in the sport. If you have ideas on how these youth handlers could be supported at weekend tests, please let any of the board members know.   We’d love to hear from you. For example, the Wisconsin Amateur Field Trail Club has produced two youth seminars and the Foundation has financially supported both of them.

Since its inception, nearly eight years ago, the Foundation has supported its awards program, recognitions program, AKC Seminars for Handlers, AKC Seminars for Judges), the AKC Canine Health Foundation, the AKC Relief Fund.

We commend the MNRC for authorizing the establishment of this totally separate functional organization and the anonymous donor who conceived the idea of establishing the Foundation and the concept of the Awards. We hope you’ll make a charitable contribution to the Foundation while you’re here and send your nominations for this year’s awardees.

The members of the Foundation board are:

  • Jimmy Hughes, President/Treasurer
  • Gloria Mundell, Secretary
  • Jack Morris, Director
  • Keith Winch, Ex-Officio Director (bylaws are designed to include each MNRC President for their term in an attempt to insure close coordination & effective communications of the Foundation’s activity to the MNRC board)
  • Bill Teague, Founding President & Organizer
Post navigation
Scroll to top