2023 Judges BIOs
Eastern – Fred Collins
I am honored and would like to thank the MARC board for asking me to judge the 2023 MAI in Giddings, TX.
I am from south Florida and reside in Jupiter, FL with my girlfriend Stacey and our three Labs Tito, Jake, and Sky. I started judging in 2006 and over the years I have been running and judging both hunt tests and field trials. I have also judged the Master National in 2016 and 2018.
I wish all the participants safe travels and most of all may your birds land belly up and the wind always be on your side. Remember this is a team sport and most of all, have fun!
Central – Richard Gravely
Congratulations to everyone who qualified a dog for this years’ event. I’m extremely humbled to be asked to judge the event and really looking forward to seeing everyone in Texas.
How many people do we meet at different hunt tests that start with a conversation with “I just wanted a dog that would go out and pick up my ducks?” I, for one, said that exact same thing in 2006 when I got my first lab. Little did I know what a dog was truly capable of doing until I attended a hunt test in 2009. I still vividly remember the look on my wife’s face while watching a Master series and telling her I wanted a dog that could do that. A couple of years later, we had a two MH dogs laying in the living room with us.
Spending a lot of time at the Forever Wild Field Trial Area while qualifying a dog for the 2012 Master National, it was apparent that giving back to the sport was necessary for everyone to have a quality event. I decide to start judging that year and stayed judging Junior and Senior until 2018. Also, during that time, I served as club president, secretary, chairman, and every other assignment needed, including gofer for multiple tests in Alabama and Mississippi.
The lasting friendships and relationships that have been made while hanging out in the gallery, manning the flyer station, and judging mean a lot to me. Several people I consider to be my best friends have come from watching dogs run, throwing birds for each other, and traveling together.
I wish everyone the best of luck this year’s event and look forward to shaking your hands at the closing ceremonies.
Western – Mike Collson
My name is Mike Collson and it is an honor to have been selected to judge this year’s Master Amateur. I live with my wife Dee, and two black Labradors: MH Cricket and a 17-month-old up and comer, Wren. We live in the small community of Ridgefield, WA located in Southwest Washington along the Columbia River.
I began the retriever game in 1996 when I purchased a puppy with the intent of creating a retriever that could pick up waterfowl better than I could wading into the Columbia River. Well, we did that and a lot more along the way. I had the help of a professional trainer with force fetching that first dog. He suggested that maybe she had the skills and definitely the desire to compete in AKC Hunt Tests. I had no idea what that meant or what all that would entail. Here we are 27 years later and we’re still playing the retriever game. We’ve made lifelong friendships, traveled countless miles and had more fun than I could have ever envisioned.
I have had the privilege of being the president of the Oregon Hunting Retriever club for the past 21 years. It is a collection of the best people I know; they are selfless and dedicated in growing our sport and spend countless hours putting on four hunt tests per year on Sauvie Island outside of Portland OR. I have also served on the Master National Retriever board and am the current Past President. I am anxious to get to Giddings, see old friends and meet new ones. Be sure to enjoy this journey your four-legged companion is taking you on, meet new people, try new things, and take in the sights along the way. It will enrich your experience and create lifelong memories. I look forward to seeing you all in Texas.
Western – Patricia Polish
Let me begin by saying I am deeply honored to have been selected to judge the Master Amateur Invitational. I wish to thank the Master Amateur Retriever Club and my peers for this opportunity. I would also like to thank my husband, Michael, for his support of my dog activities.
I was born and raised in Reno, Nevada. I have always loved the outdoors. From the time I could walk, my father took me fishing on the Truckee River and at the age of five I was given my first puppy, a Labrador retriever, who I named Midnight.
In high school I was introduced to chukar hunting and I was enthralled by my friends’ black Lab. Upon graduating college and securing a job I bought a Lab and a book, “Gun Dog”, by Richard Wolters. I was on my way to creating new adventures – chukar hunting, dove hunting, pheasant hunting, and duck hunting.
The next year a National Championship was held in Genoa, Nevada. It is here where I saw a bunch of people in white coats with their dogs. And wow, it was amazing what these dogs were capable of doing. My boyfriend and I went to take a closer look and we met folks from the Sierra Nevada Retriever Club. I thought to myself what a great way to keep my dog active in the off season. This led to running monthly picnic trials, and a few Derby and Qualifying stakes. Then the Hunt Test program began, and since then I have had four Master Hunters. One made it to the Master National in Carnation, Washington.
I love working with my dogs. They have an unconditional love like no other. They are always happy to see you and are hopeful that when you go out the back door that you will take them
training, to an event, or hunting.
I am a 44-year member of and currently serve as the President of the Sierra Nevada Retriever Club. I am also a member of the Monterey Bay Hunting Retriever Club, the Las Vegas Hunting Retriever Club, and the Umpqua Valley Retriever Club. I am a past Pacific Representative on the AKC Retriever Hunting Test Advisory Committee. I currently serve as the Region IV Vice President for the Master National Retriever Club. I think it is important to give back to the sport, either by volunteering to work or to Judge as it takes a small army to put on a weekend event or a large army to put on a national event.
I wish success to all handlers, and I hope you all have a great time in Giddings, Texas.