May 30, 2018
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
MAYFLOWER – Pepper’s Pond, on the Camp Robinson Special Use Area and owned by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, will play host to the fifth Arkansas Retriever Challenge Super Retriever Series Event Friday through Sunday, June 1-3.
A portion of the proceeds from the event’s registration fees will go to continuing the work and upkeep of Pepper’s Pond. Admission for the public is free.
Pepper’s Pond is a training facility for retrievers that was built by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Pin Oak HRC in 2001. A second pond was added in 2014 after a tornado ravaged the area, according to Matt Mourot is a field biologist and assistant regional supervisor over the Camp Robinson Special Use Area.
The Pepper’s Pond facility is open and free to the public.
Retrievers are especially important to hunters in The Natural State in bringing back harvested game that otherwise might not be found. While bred for the job, retrievers still require training before being sent out in the wild. That’s where a facility like Pepper’s Pond can help.
Shannon Nardi, who promotes and produces the series, also notes that Pepper’s Pond is “the first area the [AGFC] has ever named after a dog.”
The Super Retriever Series event puts the dogs through a variety of field tests over the three days. Nardi advises the public to bring lawn chairs and take in the trials. When entering the Special Use Area, she said, look for signs directing visitors to Pepper’s Pond.
“The dogs that participate are very well trained and can do it all,” Nardi said. “They will be considered among the best retrievers in the country.”