The Genius behind the Radbach name
HOF Member: Mr. Robert Holcomb
RADBACH KENNELS, AUBURN, WA
Bob Holcomb started his important contributions to the German Shorthaired Pointer world while he was serving in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany, at the end of World War II. While serving in the occupation forces he was exposed to his first German Shorthaired Pointers. The impact these dogs made on Bob guided the rest of his life.
After his first tour in Germany, Bob returned to California and became an important developer of field G.S.P.'S, in the early 1950's. His recognition of the superlative qualities of Greif vom Hundscheimerkogle, an Austrian import, prompted Bob to eagerly push breeding to Greif, even though Greif wasn't field trialed until much later is his life. His U.S. Army connections proved to be very helpful to Bob, in the importing of dozens of G.S.P.'S to people like Don Miner, of Von Thalberg's Kennel in California and to many people in the Northwest, including Ralph Parks, and to other people that were also active in the 1950's.
In the late 1950's Bob returned to Germany with the U.S.Army and greatly increased his involvement with German Shorthaired Pointers. His primary contact was with Mr. Ernst Bleckmann, owner of the original von dem RADBACH kennels. Bob lived at the kennel and studied under the head trainers/game stewards on the Bleckmann estate. Bob was one of the very few Americans that became respected enough to be asked to judge field trials in Germany. From these experiences, Bob watched and picked many great dogs to be sent to America, several of these have been named into the G.S.P.C. of America "Hall of Fame". (See GSP NEWS, 4-part article by Dr. Jim McCue, August 1991)
When Bob returned to the U.S., in the early 1960's, he had helped import many important G.S.P.'S; several of which became foundation dogs for his kennel in Auburn, WA, which he called RADBACH Kennels. Lutz von dem Radbach, though owned by Mr. Alvin Schwager, actually lived at the Holcomb residence most of his life.
Always a gentleman to the ladies, though many considered him somewhat tough with the dogs. (This was before the widespread use of electric collars) Regardless, Holcomb always had a truck full of totally broke dogs that maintained lots of style. For a couple of decades he was the man to beat in the Northwest. Bob trained and handled dogs to more than 100 Field Championship titles, and dominated the Northwest Field Trial Council's "Dog of the Year" awards in the 1960's and 1970's.
Bob insisted that his clients join the local G.S.P. clubs to put back into the sport what they received from competing on the field trial circuit. He totally believed in the "G.S.P. Breed" and the sport of field trialing, and felt his clients should participate in club activities and also attend his training sessions so they would also be able to handle their dogs in the field. For his entire training life, Bob supported local G.S.P. clubs and helped start the G.S.P. Clubs of California and Washington. Many of Bob's clients started the Northwest Field Trial Council and also helped obtain the Scatter Creek Public Wildlife Area, for use by all field trialers and hunters alike.
If Bob Holcomb hadn't developed this true love of German Shorthaired Pointers, while under the tutelage of German masters, the breed surely wouldn't be the same today.
The current "Dog of the Year" trophy, awarded by the Northwest Field Trial Council, is given as a memorial to Bob's accomplishments during his life. Donations for the trophy were received from clients and friends from across the country.
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