Master National holds kickoff event

Published 8:08 pm Thursday, October 18, 2012

The 21st Master Nationals will take place Oct. 20-28. Shown is the youngest competitor for the event Marisa Melo of California with her stepmom Misty and dad Marty Melo.

Judy Teskey of Vancouver Island in British Columbia would not let 3,500 miles stand between her and the Master Nationals.

Teskey drove the long haul to Demopolis to stay with a friend in Faunsdale for the 2012 Master Nationals, which is held for the first time in Alabama.

“It is a challenging event, but it is so much fun,” she said. “I have been competing for about 13 years.”

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The event, which test dogs hunting ability, has brought Teskey to Alabama for her first time and she said she is loving her time here.

“The people here are so nice and I love the food,” she said. “Before coming here, I thought hushpuppies were just a type of shoe, I didn’t know they were a delicious type of food too.”

The 2012 Master Nationals event is a free event and open to the public. The event will take place Oct. 20-28 at the Forever Wild Field Trial Area. Shown are visitors in town for the event including Sandie Bond, Tommy Lyle, Gwen Jones and Judy Teskey.

The Master Nationals event kicked off Thursday at the New Era Building drawing dozens of dog lovers from states such as Wisconsin, New York, Texas and even a 12-year-old competitor from Mount Shasta, California.

Marisa Melo was first introduced to the this type of recreational activity by her stepmother Misty about 3 or 4 years ago.

Now she is the youngest competitor at the 21st Master Nationals.

Melo and her stepmom drove with their dogs over a 3 day-trip totaling about 40 hours. She said she is excited to be competing in the event.

“Everyone has been so nice and supportive of me competing with my dog Dolly,” she said. “Dolly is doing great and I am very confident she will pass the Master Nationals.”

After a dog qualifies for the event, they are eligible to participate. If the dog passes all the field tests over the Oct. 20-28 period, they will pass the Master Nationals.

Marisa said she would not have been able to get this far without help from people sponsoring her including Eukanuba, Tri-tronics, B and BRV, LabAdored and Pepper Jack Kennels, which is her families kennel.

Barnett Lawley, of the M. Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area, said he always thought Demopolis would someday host the Master Nationals.

“The economic impact speaks for itself in relation to how important this is for this area,” he said. “It definitely puts the city on the map and gives it a good image.”