South GA has champion bird dogs

South GA has champion bird dogs
Bruce Hall
Bruce Hall

SUMTER CO., GA (WALB) - The champion dog in the 75th Annual National Field Trials trains in Sumter County. Bruce Hall compares this championship to winning the Super Bowl.

Watching his dog run today was an impressive sight.

Just off Highway 308 in Sumter County lies one of the most elite dog training facilities in the country.

"The whole place was built for dogs. Nothing else,"  Hall said.

Everything from the lakes to the decoys are here for the dogs. Its architect, Bruce Hall. He got into this more than 40 years ago after training his dog for duck hunts.

"And the next thing I knew, I was running field trials all over the country," said Hall.

Hall trains 10 dogs daily on more than 200 acres. But none of them are quite as special as Gizmo.

"I knew he was special. I'm not sure I realized how special," said Hall.

Gizmo was one of thousands of dogs vying for a spot in the 2015 National tournament in California. The only problem, Hall was recovering from open heart surgery so he was unable to go.

Gizmo would go on to compete with Al Arthur as his handler, and after nine events found himself in the finals. Arthur, immediately called Hall.

"And I hung the phone up and told my wife, I don't even want to think this, but he could win," said Hall.

Gizmo and Hall previously never made it past six field trials in the competition, and winning was far from his mind.

"I never dreamed it. There's a lot of things that I haven't done that I do dream, but that was not one of them," said Hall.

Then came the call, Gizmo was the 2015 national champion. "Like winning the Super Bowl, in dogs that's what this is. This is the Super Bowl," said Hall.

But don't think this dog or this owner are satisfied. They're training hard today just weeks after winning.

"And as Al Arthur said, were going to go back to Texas next November and we're going to try and win it again," said Hall.

An impressive feat that Hall knows this dog is capable of achieving. Hall says his greatest satisfaction is just seeing the progression that each dog makes as they train and grow.

Hall thanks his wife for her support through the years.

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