The original organization, the Vermont Retriever Club, was formed in 1965 in the Stowe/Morrisville area by locals Betsy and Bill Bernhard, Dinny and Peter Cummins, and Molly and John Gibbons. Some of the original members included Carlton Piper, Ron Boucher, Peter Rice, Pete Simonds, Jon Hall and Hanson Carroll.
We held some AKC fun trials in ‘65 and ‘66 and our two required preliminary (Sanctioned A) trials in ‘65 and ‘67. Our ‘67 trial was held at the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area with a lot of help from members of the Shoreline Retriever Club, who traveled up and showed us how to run an event. It was a two-day event with 149 entries in Open, Qualifying, Derby, Puppy, Novice & Gun Dog stakes. Dual (US & Canada) Champion Ridgewood’s Playboy won the Open and Tigathoe’s Mainliner Mariah, the Derby. It was a monumental effort, and we were then approved by the AKC to hold a licensed trial in 1968. Due to the fact that some of our key members moved out of the area, we “paused” while the club went through many changes, including the name change to The Lake Champlain Retriever Club, to reflect the many New York state and Canadian members. We finally held our first AKC licensed trial in 1981. For the first few years this event was held in the Fairfax/St. Albans area.
The National Amateur Retriever Championship was held in the Stowe-Morrisville area in 1984. It was at that event that several people, including Dick Wolters, Hank Miller, and Ned Spear, formed NAHRA (the North American Hunting Retriever Association). They had approached the AKC to launch a hunt test program but were declined due to the plan to allow mixed-breed entries. LCRC thus held one of the first NAHRA events. In the early days, these took place around the Milton/St. Albans area.
In 1985, when the American Kennel Club added its Hunt Test Program, we held one of the first AKC Hunting Tests, at Dead Creek in Addison. The 1995 Master National was also held at Dead Creek, the 1996 National Amateur was held for a second time in the Stowe-Morrisville area, and the 1997 NAHRA Regional took place at Stowe-Morrisville.
In 2003, the club celebrated the 20th anniversary of the NAHRA organization, held our largest AKC Licensed field trial ever (245 dogs entered!), and began the project of hosting a preliminary HRC/UKC hunt test, which took place over Memorial Day weekend 2004. LCRC hosted HRC tests for a few seasons.
For a third time, the Morrisville area was the site of the National Amateur Retriever Championship in 2008, co-hosted by the Colonial Retriever Field Trial Club and LCRC. With the New-England-and-far-beyond field trial community, LCRC hosted the National Amateur Retriever Championship again in June 2016.
2015 marked the 50th year of the Lake Champlain Retriever Club’s AKC licensed retriever field trials and hunting tests, licensed NAHRA field tests, and other activities.
Our newsletter, SIT & LISTEN, is “a semi-continuous publication since 1965.” Our events and activities are the products of our members’ generosity and love of this heritage sport, from start to finish!
If you are interested in meeting us or attending one of our events, please contact us. We’d love to meet you and your retriever.