Shot Gun Willie Nelson
This year there were so many amazing labs no question, and our 2018 Lab of The Year contest yielded this awesome lab, Willie. It is easy to see what an amazing athlete Willie is along with his stunning good looks: he gets them from his sire Spring River’s Yankee Captain, but Willie has come into his own. Willie has the coolest name this year so we asked Garrett Walker, Willie’s owner from the Quack Rack how this lab king came by it:
“As my wife and I were driving from Houston to Miami, Oklahoma to pick up our new pup from Derek Randle and the Retriever Academy we were debating names. This really great song came on from Willie Nelson Shotgun Willie and the rest is history. Our pup was going to be Shotgun Willie Nelson or “Willie.” Little did I know that he would turn out to be one of the great ones.
2018 Black Lab of the Year Shotgun Willie Nelsom MH photo courtesy of Ted Wells
At 6 months I turned Willie over to Kirk Wichman with Hidden Lake Retrievers
for training. It was clear that Willie likes to work – and he works hard. Not only is he hard charging when going out to a retrieve, he doesn’t lose any speed on the return which is a testament to how hard Willie really works his tail off.
This past year, Hurricane Harvey flooded our house with 3 feet of water. It was a disaster so I really needed to focus on the rebuild which led me to look for a trainer up north. I asked Kirk if he could recommend a trainer and he suggested Chad Radt with Lucky Seven Retrievers. Lucky Seven would turn out to be a great fit. Willie went on to pass his senior test with ease and so we continued on to his Master Test. Willie earned his Master Hunter title in Texas this past year at 3 years old when he went four for four without a handle and with 2 passes.
Willie spent one season with outfitter Harlan Boettcher with Prairie Waterfowl Hunts retrieving 60-100 birds per day. So far Willie has been to Canada twice, hunted Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, and our home state of Texas. Willie has also made appearances on Mojo TV on the Sportsman Channel.
Willie photo courtesy of Ted Wells
I’ve been fortunate to take Willie all over North America thru my company Quack Rack
and I am truly amazed at how well Willie adapts to all the different locations and environments. Wherever we hunt Willie always becomes the blind favorite and the topic of conversations.
Whether it’s a river, rice field, flooded corn, or the timber, Willie is a pleasure to have in the blind, and he stays focused and engaged in the hunt regardless of how long we are in a blind. Often I can catch a glimpse of Willie’s head turning because he sees birds before the guys in the blind do.
Passing the Master National is a personal goal and for me and Willie in 2019. and we are both looking forward to a great year. Please follow our journey on Instagram
Willie is a Super Star – the real deal. As a matter of fact we believe Willie could really be Superman, dog of steel. Super Hero. Super Star. A Lab of The Year and King of Kings. We’re following him right here on Field Dog Life, the new home of Lab Photo of The Day – see you in the blind Willie and all of you too.
Garrett Walker, owner Quack Rack
The Quack Rack is based in Springdale, Arkansas and has multiple locations throughout the USA. Check em out now!