Nominated by Bret Lindback
Steve Ralph came to American Brittany Club and Field Trialing as many do by crossing paths with another Brittany enthusiast. In 1990 Steve was Ruffed Grouse hunting in the woods in Northern MN with his Brittany. Steve’s dog went on point and another Brittany came in and backed. The owner of the other Brittany (Gerard Haines) talked him into coming to a St. Croix Valley Brittany Club meeting and from there he became a respected champion for our breed and the sport.
Steve served on the American Brittany Club’s Board of Directors for nine years and is on the Policy Committee. During his time on the Board, his input in any of the issues the Board dealt with have always been handled in a professional manner. He always researched an issue and considered both sides prior to taking a position on it. Steve assumed duties as the Dates Committee Chairman and there have been fewer date conflicts between clubs. He has been our National Championship Field Trial Secretary for 19 years and works with the statistician creating the list of qualified dogs for both championships. It is a difficult job, juggling competing interests, and he has done this with hard work and diplomacy. He worked on the Purina All Age Points Award Committee for 25 years.
Steve set up and designed the website for the ABC and has been the Webmaster for 20 years.
This job requires hours of constant day to day input to keep the site current and to maintain the history of the club and the breed.
Steve is on the Magazine Committee and coordinates the website with the magazine, supplying needed information and photos. He is working with Dana at the printing company scanning old ABC magazines and posting them on the website. They will be in a searchable database, back to the beginning years of the ABC publication, and will be available for the general public.
Steve has supported our Brittany Field Trial Hall of Fame since 2010, is a Board Member, Gold Donor and Webmaster. He created and keeps the website up to date with event postings, nominations, hall of fame dogs and people information, photos of events and videos to highlight the attractions at the museum.
Steve has had some competitive Brittanys over the years with the most notable being Hall of Fame dog 6xCh/FC/AFC Smarteyes-Joker (30 All-Age hour wins), his son 6xCh/FC/AFC Joker's Jackpot (18 All-Age hour wins and 2012 Purina All Age Brittany of the Year Award winner), and FC/AFC Tally-O On The Go (42 field trial wins). Over the years Steve has been honored to scout and handle many dogs for professional trainers and amateurs, winning championships and helping to finish several dogs for their owners. In 2017 & 2019 Steve won the ABC National Amateur Championship with Ru-Jem's "Last" Penny for owners Ruth & Jerry McGee.
Over the years Steve has judged just about every pointing breed in many American Field and AKC field trials across the country. Some of the championships Steve judged include the 1998 Trail City GSP Sharp Tail Championship, 2000 West Coast Brittany All Age Classic, 2002 Twin Cities GWP Open Shooting Dog Classic, 2002 & 2004 Gordon Setter National Championship, 2005 German Wirehaired Pointer National Championship, 2006 North Country Shooting Dog Championship, 2008 Region 19 Amateur Shooting Dog Championship, 2009 & 2022 International Brittany Shooting Dog Championship, 2010 Prairie State Brittany Shooting Dog Championship, 2013 Region 19 Amateur All Age Championship, 2014 ABC National Amateur Gun Dog Championship, 2015 ABC Grouse & Woodcock Classic, and 2016 ABC Gun Dog Classic.
Steve, along with the St. Croix Valley Brittany Club, has raised funds for Pheasant Forever. He has been on the Board of the Minnesota Federation of Field Trial Clubs (MFFC), working with the Minnesota Department of Resources to find new field trial grounds.
In 2017 the St. Croix Valley Brittany Club took the reins of the Region 19 Amateur All Age Championship and the ABC Pheasant Championship. Steve was the driving force behind this effort. The two Championships have become the premier fall Championships and are run on the Harms Cattle Company Ranch in the beautiful Nebraska Sandhills. Steve developed a close relationship with the landowners and because of this they have fully committed to these Championships.
Steve has always been a champion of our breed and sport and is willing to help newcomers. He is willing to mentor and guide someone through the twists and turns of the Brittany world. He is an excellent scout and willing to scout for newcomers or veterans.
Steve is also a great friend. I have hunted with him many times and, whether we shot our limit or not, there were always laughs and great memories. Our families have traveled together and we always enjoyed their company. Steve has two children and a very supportive wife (Lori). He is an ardent fisherman and loves to fish for walleyes. What he is great at is frying Walleyes. Some of the best walleyes I’ve had were at field trials where Steve was the cook. Steve has helped me with my journey through the All Age Brittany world and I value his counsel and support.
Steve is the most “behind the scenes” person who has been a major contributor working for the Brittany breed, the ABC and the BFTHF. Very few people are aware of the amount of time, effort and expense Steve has donated. His breeding, training and field trialing at the National level pales in comparison to the work Steve has accomplished in the background.
I have not met anyone who has given more to the sport and the American Brittany Club than Steve Ralph.