|Corky was a birthday present to John Trzepacz from his wife Cai after they had lost an earlier dog. He was already 3 months old when the final decision was made to ship him in mid June, 1966 from Minnesota to Calumet City. Fate again stepped in as the airlines went on strike just then and the delay became so frustrating that John said he was waiting no longer and to put the dog on the next train. So in late July, Corky began his first trip, but it too, was lengthened by a stopover in Minneapolis. Finally, on the last weekend in July when he was fully four months old this poor bedraggled puppy made it to Calumet City where some questions were raised immediately about flat feet. Fortunately, the Trzepacz family decided to overlook this temporary problem and Corky had his first real home. With very little assistance John trained the dog daily, ran him in his first puppy stake, September 5, 1966 and won.
He was on his way then and John, discovering that the Wisconsin-Illinois area had many sanctioned trials, ran him every chance he had. His first licensed trial was at Midwest in April of 1967 where he placed third at less than 13 months of age. During the remainder of that year he ran in 20 derby stakes, placed in 14 and won the National Derby Championship. In January of 1968 Corky ran in his first Sanctioned Open Stake and won. He received a JAM in his first licensed Amateur Stake when just two years old and won his first Amateur at Madison in early May 1968.
Corky qualified for his first National Amateur Trial that same year and went eight series as the youngest dog in the trial. Naturally, there were many persons interested in this fine dog but he had one glaring problem that seemed to scare people off and that was his eager whine when on line. Mike Flannery discussed the situation often with Billy Voigt who in turn had talked at length with John. John theorized that Corky who had been trained only sparingly on live birds and sel- dom on pheasants or ducks needed more retrieves of such game. Billy was in a position to provide that opportunity so when Mike acquired the dog in late October 1968 he went almost immediately under Billy's tutelage. Billy shot an astronomical number of birds over Corky during this period and used the command "no noise" as he corrected Corky for barking. The many birds shot over him at Hunter's Creek Club in Metamora, Michigan did indeed serve to satisfy some of Corky's pent up fire, but whether handled by Bill or Mike the last command given the dog before signaling the judges to commense any test was "No Noise".
The dog almost always obeys whatever command given him and has certainly learned the value of being quiet. However, in the 9th series at Pymatuning, Mike neglected to provide the usual warning and true to his nature, Corky whined just a bit as he set sail on another excellent retrieve. Truly one of the great dogs of all time Corky divides his time between Billy Voigt's kennels in Metamora where he has an opportunity to work on many hundreds of acres of land and water and Mike's own home in Hudson, Ohio where he is also close to much open training ground. Corky has run in many trials during the last three years and whether being handled by Mike or Billy he is generally a factor at the finish. Now only a whisker away from surpassing all prior records of accomplishment in Open Stakes, Corky has been the high point dog each of the last three years. He has four doubleheaders to his credit, been a finalist in the National Amateur Trial 1969-1971 inclusive, and last year walked off with the Canadian National Field Trial Championship in his first try.
Corky has also proven his worth as a sire for in this very same National Stake his illustrious son River Oaks Rascal, National Derby Champion of 1970, ran an impressive trial and finished close on his heels. Another son, AE`C Togom's Tiger of Abilena lasted six series at Pymatuning. Fortunate to have benefitted from the training and knowledge of these gifted handlers, and still a young dog, River Oaks Corky is a fitting National Amateur Retriever Champion.
River Oaks Corky is the all-time high-point retriever with 505.5 points. The total is comprised of 306.5 Open points and 199.0 points from the Amateur. Corky qualified for seven National Opens , 1970-76, and was a finalist in four: 1970, '73, '74, and '75. He also qualified for ten National Amateur Championships, 1968-77, and was a finalist in all but 1968 and 1974. He won the Championship in 1972 and 1975.
Contributed to The Retriever News.com by Richard Halstead, Lino Lakes, MN
(Reprinted from the December 1972 and December 1975 issues of the Retriever Field Trial News and