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Marty Knibbs - Canada

My interest in dogs began some 29 years ago, working for a pointing dog trainer from Missouri during the summer months. This summer job was the spark needed to begin a great hobby that became a career. Since that time a lot of pigeons have passed through the coop.

I have had the opportunity to train and handle some really great spaniels in my career. With them I have had numerous memorable moments including a Canadian National win in 1993 and 2002 and several National placements. I have also achieved the High Point Canadian Dog title on 3 occasions. I have had the honor of judging the Open National and the Cocker National in 1998 and the Canadian National in 1999.

I am honored to have been chosen to be one of the judges for the 2003 Amateur National Championships. I look forward to having the best seat in the house to view some of the best dogs that the Nation has to offer. I would also like to congratulate all the competitors for qualifying to compete and wish them all the best luck in performances to obtain the National Amateur Champion title.

To one and all good fliers, good retrieves and good luck!

John Leininger - Ohio

Needless to say, I am extremely honored and humbled to be chosen to judge our U.S. National Amateur this year. Before I move into my background, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for placing your confidence in both Marty and me. Wow! What an honor this is.

I, like a lot of others in the Field Trial game, became involved with field trialing while looking for a hunting dog. On numerous occasions, my wife and I had passed a farm on Route 42 outside of Lebanon, OH and had noticed the infamous bicycle flags in the field. On one particular jaunt, I decided to stop and enquire as to the use of the flags. It was explained to me that they were a Field Bred English Springer Spaniel Kennel (Turtlecreek Farms) and that they trained Springer Spaniels in that particular field. After my asking 9 thousand questions, I was invited to their next training session (the giant sucking sound). The next Saturday, I attended their training session and was in total amazement as to what these little guys could do. I was most impressed with their athleticism and how much they liked what they were doing. I immediately purchased my first Springer.

My first desire was strictly hunting but as we trained, people kept telling me what a good pup I had and that I should try trialing him. I did and became hooked. As I attended trials, I became more involved with other people and about three years into the game I began training with Ben Martin, a local Professional, whom probably most everyone knows. Ben took me under his wing and probably worked as hard training me as to the proper way to run a dog in a trial, shoot a trial and judge a trial as he does working with the dogs. During a training session with Ben not only are dogs being trained but people are also being trained. We are constantly discussing judging and gunning situations when they arise in training. This is how I have learned most all I know about this crazy game. I cannot thank Ben enough for all the help, guidance and support he has given me over the past several years. It is often said to learn this game “go train with a Pro.” I cannot agree more.

To all of those competing in this year’s National, I look forward to seeing each of you. I wish each of you all the success in the world and I know Marty and I will do everything we can to make every series as fun and successful as possible. Remember “IT’S THE NATIONAL, STRUT YOUR STUFF.”

Good luck and have fun.

John Leininger