Super Retriever Series competition tests waterfowl dogs’ mettle

MAYFLOWER – Pepper’s Pond, on Camp Robinson Special Use Area and owned by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, will again host to the Super Retriever Series/Arkansas Retriever Challenge Friday through Sunday, May 31-June 2.

This is the sixth annual meet of the SRS Arkansas Retriever Challenge. This year’s competition will host some of the best waterfowling dogs in the country, competing for an $8,000 purse.

Admission for the public is free, and a portion of the proceeds from the event’s registration fees will go to continuing the work and upkeep of Pepper’s Pond. Food trucks also will be available during the event to enjoy a meal between rounds.

Pepper’s Pond is a training facility for retrievers that was built by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Pin Oak HRC in 2001. A second pond was added in 2014 after a tornado ravaged the area.

The Pepper’s Pond facility is open and free to the public to train their own retrievers year-round.

Retrievers are especially important to hunters in The Natural State in bringing back harvested game that otherwise might not be found. While bred for the job, retrievers still require training before being sent out in the wild. That’s where a facility like Pepper’s Pond can help.

Shannon Nardi, who promotes and produces the series, also notes that Pepper’s Pond is “the first area the [AGFC] has ever named after a dog.”

The Super Retriever Series event puts the dogs through a variety of field tests over the three days. Nardi advises the public to bring lawn chairs and take in the trials. When entering the Special Use Area, she said, look for signs directing visitors to Pepper’s Pond.

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