Black Warrior Retriever Club Selected to Host 2012 Master National at Forever Wild’s M. Barnett Lawley Field Trial Area

The Master National Retriever Club has selected the Black Warrior Retriever Club (BWRC) of Alabama to host the 2012 Master National event. This prestigious annual retriever hunt test event showcases the best hunting retrievers in North America. BWRC partnered with the State Lands Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) and the Chamber of Commerce of Demopolis to secure local support and the test grounds of Forever Wild’s Field Trial Area, which was recently renamed by the Forever Wild Board of Trustees in recognition of the Conservation Department’s former Commissioner M. Barnett Lawley, and the vision he had for supporting this project. Forever Wild’s field trial grounds are located at the former State Cattle Ranch, which is south of Greensboro in Hale County. Alabama was selected over retriever clubs in Minnesota and Wisconsin that had also vied for the honor of hosting the 21st annual premier showcase retriever event.

The event will be held in the fall of 2012. According to local event chairman Read Holland of Tuscaloosa, the competitions will likely have up to 500 dogs entered representing the retriever breeds. “The owners, handlers, and trainers of the dogs in this national competition will come to the area for two weeks. The economic impact of their spending for food, lodging, fuel, and supplies should be a significant stimulus to Demopolis and the region,” he said. “We could not have secured the Master National without the help of Forever Wild, ADCNR State Lands Division and the Demopolis Chamber of Commerce,” he added.

Jenn Tate of the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce is excited about the economic benefits the event will bring to the area. “We anticipate anywhere from 400 to 500 people and some will even come weeks before to train dogs so that they can get acclimated to the land here. Hopefully they will eat here, shop here and stay here,” she said. The chamber is helping to coordinate hotel rooms, a banquet and other festivities for the large group of participants and attendees. “We appreciate the help of our area landowners who are providing training grounds and additional lodging leading up to the event. This is a community effort. Demopolis and our surrounding area are well known for hunting and conservation,” Tate said.

West central Alabama is increasingly becoming a winter training area for many of the nation’s top retriever trainers and handlers. The State Cattle Ranch Forever Field Trial Area is a center of attraction for these wintering retriever trainers and handlers. “This national event will continue to accelerate this growth in our area. We are very fortunate to have the Forever Wild Field Trial Area, and the ADCNR State Lands Division’s commitment to hosting outstanding dog events,” Holland said.
State Lands Division Director Patricia Powell added, “Our staff has worked very hard since the Forever Wild Board purchased this tract. We have ongoing habitat restoration involving conversion of pastures back to native prairie, through a number of vegetation management strategies. Additionally, this past summer we started the process of changing the configurations for five ponds, adding points, islands and sloping the shoreline to make these ponds more structurally complex and conform with standard designs associated with this level of field trial events.”

The Master National Retriever Club is affiliated with the American Kennel Club and is a national organization dedicated to hosting one competition per year that showcases the best hunting retrievers in North America. More than 160 local clubs make up the Master National Club membership and the dogs qualify for the Master National event by receiving qualifying scores at the numerous weekend AKC licensed hunt tests held across the nation.

The Black Warrior Retriever Club is a non-profit corporation composed of retriever owners, handlers, trainers, hunters and persons genuinely interested in the retriever breeds and in working retrievers. The members are primarily from west central and south Alabama. BWRC is licensed by the American Kennel Club to hold retriever field trials and hunt tests and is also a member of the Master National Retriever Club. BWRC was organized in 1999 and now holds two retriever field trials and two retriever hunt tests each year and is one of the most active and dedicated retriever clubs in the Southeast. Persons interested in the BWRC should visit its website,, to obtain information about membership and scheduled events.

Forever Wild, Alabama’s public land acquisition program, purchased the State Cattle Ranch property in 2008. In addition to field trials, the property hosts occasional free fishing days and youth hunting programs. It is also contains a hunting area for people with physical disabilities.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.