Friday, July 20, 2012

Visit with a legend

It's been a hot spell here in the Dakotas and today's a thermometer buster.  Forecast of 102 degrees put the limit on running dogs so we focused todays efforts on conditioning - very early in the morning.  The first dogs are nearly done by sunrise at 5:12 a.m and the temp was already well into the 70's.

So what does one do when it gets this hot?  Breakfast in town with the old boys playing dice over coffee at Sparky's Diner in Isabel followed by a trip North 71 miles to Flasher, North Dakota to meet up with a Legend in the field trial world.

Ray Riehl never won a major Championship to my knowledge and I'm not sure if he ever even competed, yet everyone who has been in the field trial game for a length of time and surely all the American Field Pro's know Ray - and he knows them.  Ray owns and operates a small tack shop in Flasher North Dakota, a dot of a town on the Prairie.  He fixes all manner of saddle and tack and replicates or reproduces virtually any piece someone brings.  His gear is well made and hand made right there, personally.  His pricing is more than fair in my opinion especially given the level of workmanship.  His craftsmanship is outstanding in it's own right - it's truly inspirational given the fact that Ray has been blind for some 23 years. 

Ray has an open good nature to him (expect a nickname you might not want depending on how you come across to him) and for Goodness sake don't tell him you're a dog trainer, as the ribbing might be more than your ego might be able to handle. 
Don't do him wrong or he might just show you the door with his new sidekick "The Judge" pointing the way.  :-)
All the ribbing and story telling aside, one thing comes through clear.  Ray has a deep affection and appreciation for (most of) the Field trial folks who support him - and we in turn have a deep affection for Ray.  Thank you Ray, for every bit of tack we ride with, or road our dogs with or hold our water bottles and transmitters and the like, even if as a lot we are indeed "too damn lazy to oil it".


  1. Sounds like you are having a grand ole time! Great story!!! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I am Dianna - figure I best enjoy it while we're still allowed to own horses, dogs and guns.
    I'm afraid our kids and Grandkids will never be able to know the joy given the trending political climate.

  3. Ken,
    It is so refreshing to share you living your dream through your blog. True about our kids and grandkids not getting to share this moment in time but at least you get to and share through your words and pictures what dog training has been like in the early 21st century. Keep sharing.