Kelli Riggs, Odessa, FL (WC/WCX)
My husband, Joe, and I have had flat-coated retrievers for 15 years. We got our first one from a local breeder to be our family pet and instantly fell head over heels in love with the breed. Joining the local flat-coat club introduced us to all the wonderful activities that retriever breeds can do and I wanted to give them a try. After being invited to watch a hunt test I immediately knew that is exactly what I wanted to try with my next flat-coat. The look of pure joy in each dog’s eyes as they watched the birds go down and the pride in returning back with the bird in a soft mouth was absolutely breathtaking. I knew then what “bred for purpose” meant. My next FCR was going to be a field dog!
Fast forward 10 years. I am a member of the Central Florida HRC and the president of Southern Skies Flat Coated Retriever Club. I have three titled field/hunting dogs. I run them in both AKC and HRC tests. All three of my girls have been 100 percent owner/handled and owner/trained. My youngest is 5 years old and just received her Hunting Retriever Champion title and has two master passes to date.
Although we participate in many activities such as conformation, obedience, dock diving and barn hunting, field work is my passion and true love. It has taught me more about myself than anything else in this life. Field training and the bond I share with my dogs has made me who I am today. This passion for the sport is why I became an AKC hunt test judge. I hope to spread my enthusiasm about the sport and be an advocate for owner/handlers who choose to enjoy this challenging yet fulfilling journey. I would like to thank the GRCA National committee for the invitation to judge your WC/WCX test. I am honored and humbled by the opportunity.