WARREN COUNTY, MS (WLBT) - Mississippi's mild climate in November and the availability of a large tract of land, have combined to attract a major dog competition. The National Championship of the National Retriever Club is being held on a 26-hundred acre farm southeast of Vicksburg, owned by Ronnie and Randy Lampkin.
This is the first National Retriever Club national championship stake to ever be held in state. Dogs from all over the united states, as far away as Alaska, are here with their owners and handlers. The contest runs the rest of the week.
The dogs, which can sell for up to $250,000 each, and come in vehicles with cages that can cost up to $100,000, including the price of the truck.
Bobby Smith of Madison, and his dog Pride, didn't quite make the cut to be in the national competition, but they were selected for what is known as the test dog role. That means Pride will run before each competition.
"The object of this competition is to find the best retriever in the United States" said Smith. "The judging is done from the most efficient retrieve of each bird, and there can be as many as four birds, that hit the ground before the dog is released to go get 'em."
It is amazing to watch how the handlers control the highly trained animals in the search for a downed bird. They use whistles and hand signals, which the dog has to trust, to be successful.
The dogs range in value from about $40,000 up to $250,000.
The winning dog and handler will be selected Saturday.
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