Memorable Moments with Bobby Phillips
This is a small synopsis of Greg Isenberg’s personal time with Bobby Phillips and supporting reasons he is worthy of my nomination into the Bird Dog Hall of Fame.
Over the past sixteen years of our friendship, Bobby Phillips and I have shared a passion for the development of bird dogs. I feel fortunate to have found in him a mentor whose interest in this sport centers around the relationship between a man and his dog. Time spent together in the great outdoors has led to in-depth conversations on possible breeding litters, training tactics, planning for field trials, and hunting expeditions, among other topics on life in general.
Believing in the importance of attaining extensive experience with wild bird hunting, Bobby’s widespread pursuits encompass areas from Wisconsin, Montana, across to Kansas, and down to Texas, and of course Tennessee, covering many miles in between. Having a similar mindset regarding the characteristics we like to see in our dogs (which is often a biased subject within itself!), time spent in the field and on training routines brings these features to the forefront. One of the most gratifying things about hunting with Bobby is the way we work the dogs. Pairing the dogs together such that they complement each other, and taking care to watch the dogs as they work, making necessary corrections during a bird encounter. The end result isn’t just about getting the bird on the ground – much emphasis is placed on every aspect of the mechanics of the journey to get to that point. This attention to detail goes a long way when you bring the dog back to a trial environment. One could write a book on the exploits we have had in the field, interspersed with the lessons to be learned on how to properly work your dogs. Always focused on having his dogs prepared, Bobby’s motto is a phrase he acquired from Ferrell Miller some time ago - “you got to know your dog.” Each dog is different, with personality traits and skills as individual as the dogs are unique. Bobby sets specific goals for each dog and has a prescribed agenda for how these goals will be achieved. He is personally dedicated to their preparation and care, with an innate ability to tap into the best traits of each respective dog, an essential element for this trialing sport.
Watching your own dog perform well is the culmination of time and effort spent hands-on training and handling. Considering that not many field trials are held locally, extensive travel is usually involved to attend trials. Over the past 16 years, Bobby has actively participated in numerous walking trials; weekend trials, State Classics, Regional Championships, and National Championships. Listed among the champions from Phillips Honeys Kennels are Bob’s Miller Sue, Bob’s Miller Daisy, and Bob’s Elhew Jill and Bob’s Elhew Wendy. Bobby can also be proud that his selected breeding’s have produced champions in the hands of others as well. During the course of these years, a network of associates and close friends has been accumulated, and much enjoyment is gleaned as these associations are renewed from year-to-year. Bobby exemplifies the sportsmanship and spirit of comradery that stands as a testament to our sport; his ethics are second to none. As the President of the Sullivan County Field Trial Club, he has been the backbone of the club over the past several years. His readiness to do whatever was necessary to keep the club in intact – from scheduling trials, prepping trials ground, judging braces, planting birds, cooking lunch, to greeting new visitors – you name it, Bobby was prepared to do it for the benefit of the club.
Through the years, I have enjoyed his company and have seen firsthand how he impacts those we come in contact by his kind heart and willingness to be of assistance. We continue to enjoy wild bird hunts and attending field trials and regardless of where we go, Bobby is always eager to share his knowledge and encouraging support.
A measure of luck is involved in field trialing; it’s the nature of the game. Some years have been very productive when you measure success by accolades received; other years not so good. Through it all, Bobby has remained steadfastly dedicated to ensuring the continued success of the sport of field trialing bird dogs through his continuous participation in numerous trial competitions, breeding programs, and by his loyal service in whatever capacity is needed.
I feel very blessed to have such a colleague that has enabled me to share some memorable moments in this sport that I love so much! I would also like to ask for your help and support in nominating Bobby Phillips for the Bird Dog Hall of Fame by writing in his name on the ballot when you receive it.
Signed: Greg Isenberg