National Bird Dog Museum & Field Trial Hall of Fame
Photo/Graphic by dlb
There is that overly used expression in trying to describe the most unusual of places until unusual becomes more ho-hum than Wow! However the "there is no other place like it in the world" is entirely the truth when it comes to vizualizing the National Bird Dog Museum.
Nor does the National Bird Dog Museum sit on a frequently haunted highway system. Truly does another over-used expression "don't blink or you have passed it by" ever been more true for a place unlike any other. However as noted resident Wilson Dunn has been wont to say. "Don't let the John Waynes keep you from leaving good money & great will for bird dogs in Grand Junction, Tennessee."
We are referring to the National Bird Dog Museum in Grand Junction, Tennessee, home of THE National Championship for FDSB Field Dog Stud Book All-Age Championship qualifyers on a Shooting Dog course just north up another county road at the Hobart Ames Plantation.
The National Bird Dog Museum for Pointing Dogs, Spaniels & Retrievers accompanies other parts of the Bird Dog Foundation Inc called the National Field Trial Hall of Fame, the Wildlife Heritage Center and the National Retriever Hall of Fame.
Inside of the NBDM *National Bird Dog Museum* lies a treasure in knowledge, education, art of the high class bird dog in all areas of interest in almost all US Sporting breeds.
While it is the British who became the Sporting Master Breeders as they have created a plurality of breeds afield, it has fallen to the US field trial fans who base a sport of gentry on plantation styled hunts in braces and stakes that today we call field trialing.
As the first-time visitor approaches the museum entrance the first sight are the statues of the various styled of sporting dogs & the display in front that features THE winningest handler ever, John Rex Gates Jr with two Pointers flushing a covey of quail. What is the most amazing about John Rex, as he is called, is the age when he retired....(forty five) due to health reasons. Retirement never sets well with a real bird dog man & John Rex found himself during the nineties when the night before what was to become the next National Champion had just lost his own handler & needed someone. It's been said that John Rex saddled that horse like he had never left. I can';t imagine the chills of that particular gallery. What a treat for anyone to be able to say "I rode that brace with John Rex".
Bird dog fanciers will inevitably end up in an argument about which part of the museum is THE best part. Many will call THE best the library which is a veritable treasure hunt for the rabid readers & collectors. Others will refer to the fabulous artwork from famous sporting artists like Edmund Osthaus, Mallett, Young. Those engineers will find it impossible to pass by without mention of the detailed recomposition of the famous motel where many drawings for The National was held on its porches & firesides. Then there is that Jack Harper truck that is supposed to be out back in a garage. But for those whose heart lies within the dreams of the highest class of field trials, THE very best part of the museum is The Field Trial Hall of Fame. You got's to be a "real bird dog man or woman or dog" to be in there. Don't confuse the Patron room with the Field Trial Hall of Fame. One room...field trial money gets you in. The other room the field trial peer group voted them in.
Upon entering the museum foyer houses several wall paintings & usually a friendly face comes out of the office or store to greet visitors. Their guides are knowledgeable & many have lived many of the parts of history that is lying in wait to be discovered.
The Vizsla exhibit is in the first great room. Over the years it has changed from two panels to one panel to two/three portraits because most of the Vizsla portraits (so far most of the winners of the NVA National Field Championship) have been on loan & not permanent parts of the display like Jack Daniels, Classy & Jac.
Jac & Classy
Tuffy & Vizsla Exhibit
Field Trial Hats & Motel that housed most of the Drawings
(bracings for the National Championship)
In the same room one can find a myriad of field trial displays from the GSP, Weimaraner, Spaniels & the Brittany including a field trial hat display & some magnificent trophy displays. The crowning jewel of that first great room is the Count Noble display, originally housed at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh.
Count Noble HOF
In the Field Trial Hall of Fame room one officially walks inside the tapestry that we call bird dogs. One can feel the greats looking down at you as you pass by. The hair on arms usually gets breezy inside this room from the whispering winds curling round. One knows mere mortals or bird dog pretenders just don't "belong".
In the library make time to spend time. The treasures within just don't pop up. One has to sit down & dig. There is a complete collection of the Field Dog Stud Book registry and AMERICAN FIELD. There are numerous sporting & collectible books. Both of the Vizsla breed authors' books are present as well as a bronze called "Found Standing" that was done by long time Vizsla breeder Dr Nancy Boggs Heinold.
While the Vizsla is reasonably represented, with the addition of the Gun Dog wing that is collecting up funds that will become a valuable resource for field displays of the future Vizsla whilst honoring its past & weaving the Vizsla breed into a very rich US field dog mural.
The Bird Dog Foundation is currently (June2009) expanding the Museum by building a Gun Dog addition. So far the Brittany & German Shorthaired Pointer people have clearly carried the mail for the build-up.
Field breeds have a ladder of "skill". There is more to having a high class bird dog than high class field trials. How a club preserves the past for those in the present & future, how they write, how they paint, how they photograph, how they communicate (Newsletters) also plays a role.
To date only the National Vizsla Association has chosen to give meaningful support to the National Bird Dog Museum in the portrayals of the Vizsla. Any club, any individual can give support by donating money to preserve for all our outstanding gun dogs.
So step up to the plate & show the Brittany & other Continental sporting breeds we are proud & all-breed trialable too from top to bottom.
Send IRS tax deductible donations to
Bird Dog Foundation
PO Box 774
Grand Junction, TN 38039
Tell Dave Smith you represent VIZSLAS.
If anyone has been to the NBDM & wants to present their trip or vacation, add photos to the current article or can identity/give info about a museum photo or graphic, please do. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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"The Vizslak Sentinel " (c) Jan 13, 2009
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