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Middle Tennessee Amateur Retriever Club - History

On March 26, 1961, about 40 duck hunters gathered at Akins Lake in Williamson County and held their first field trial. The MTARC was born on that day with one central goal: To make a better duck dog. The concept was simple and basic. Like the hunter who hones his marksmanship in the off season with tournament shooting, the retriever who is trained to compete in demanding field trials and hunt tests is ready to face any challenge on the hunt. Natural ability is not enough when a commodity as precious as three greenheads on a January afternoon is at stake; better that the instincts be honed, the power be controlled, the desire be harnessed and channeled.

At that first trial, 23 dogs ran in two stakes – Puppy and Qualifying. Since then, the MTARC has grown into a veteran retriever club known for its well run AKC field trials and hunt tests. It is a showcase of training, with some of the best trial grounds in the country. Its principal product…better duck dogs.

Trials were held at Camp Boxwell Boy Scout Reservation for nearly 15 years. Then the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency brought online its now famous Poole Knobs Recreation Area, which is a world-class dog training and trialing facility.

The Middle Tennessee Amateur Retriever Club is a flagship for retriever field sports. It has drawn entries from all 50 states, all over Canada, parts of Europe and England, with even some Royal handlers. The American Kennel Club honored the Middle Tennessee Amateur Retriever Club with an invitation for MTARC to become a Member Club of the AKC. And, although other retriever field clubs are eligible and some have become Member Clubs, MTARC was one of the first to be distinguished with that honor. MTARC is a member of the Master National Retriever Club, and was one of the first clubs to host a Master National Hunt Test in 1992. We are also members of the National Field Trial Club and the Amateur Field Trial Club.

As an AKC Member Club, the MTARC holds two Field Trials (one spring and one in the fall), a late spring double-header Hunt Test (that's two hunt tests in the same weekend), and a Hunt Test in the fall. Clubs training days are informal events for our new young pups, seasoned hunting dogs, backyard-trained dogs, hunt test circuit dogs, and even field trial circuit dogs.

The MTARC hosts an Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation each February where new officers and board members are elected, and club awards are presented. Club members in good standing are eligible to compete for Club Trophies (High Derby Dog, High All Age Field Trophy, Best Amateur Owner/Handler, and our new Hunting Dog Trophy) as well as qualify for beautiful Title Plaques for your new Junior, Senior, or Master Hunter.

MTARC's members come from all walks of life. As club members, some are old, some active, and some not so active, some are helpers and leaders, some are judges, some are trainers, and some are teachers. We are proud of the accomplishments of our club members, many of which have qualified and placed at National events and hold multiple FC, AFC and MH titles. Almost all of them came into the club as new members who had a lot to learn. If you don't happen to know a lot about retrievers, that's okay. Many others didn't know everything when they started either. But, you are welcome, your family is welcome, and your Labrador, Golden, Flat-Coated, Chesapeake Bay, and Curly Coated retrievers are welcome.