Goldens have been part of our family since 1948, when Val’s folks purchased their first “Lad” as a hunting dog. He was a grandson of Stilrovin Bullet and Gilnockie Coquette, the famous pair who produced a number of early Field Champs. In 1955, Val’s father purchased his 2nd hunting golden, another “Lad”. This dog was a son of FC-AFC OakDcreek’s Sir Dorchester and out of a daughter of NFC Beautywood Tamarack. It was this dog that fueled the Fisher’s interest in Field Trials, and he was run in AKC licensed trials in the late 50’s. At that time, Val was more interested in horses than dogs. That was to change in 1965. The 3rd Lad was purchased, and he became FC-AFC Misty’s Sungold Lad, CDX. Initially purchased as a hunting dog, “Lad” was taken to his 1st “fun” trial in the summer of '65. Val was too bashful to run him, so Dad did, and won the puppy stake! Val took over from there, and among other things, became the youngest woman handler to ever run a dog in a National Retriever Championship. Lad became the 1st Golden to win two Double Headers. He won a number of trophies for high point field Golden in the Nation. He was the all time high-point Golden for many years, and was the first Golden to be elected to the Retriever Field Trial Hall of Fame.
Val ran Lad and later FC-AFC Sungold Sprite CD in Retriever Field trials in the NW, where she met Jay Walker in 1970 at the National Amateur Championship. Jay was running the youngest dog in the trial, FC-AFC Ern Bar’s Twinkle Boots (Lab). They married in 1971, and with Val’s Goldens and Jay’s Labs, established their kennel in Medford, Oregon retaining Sungold for Goldens and Trieven for the Labradors.
Besides field trials, Jay and Val share a common interest in hunting. Val was the 1st woman to get a hunter’s safety card in Washington state at the age of 13 and did a lot of pheasant hunting with her father. Jay and Val hunted waterfowl in the Klamath Basin, along with Pheasant, Quail and Chukar in Eastern Oregon. They always used their Field Champion Goldens and Labs hunting, proving those who claimed field trial dogs can’t hunt wrong !
After being involved with competitive field trials for over 35 years , Walker’s decided to make a move to Wyoming. Jay had become an ardent big game hunter, and Wyoming is certainly the place to pursue that interest! With so many things to do, from riding in the mountains and fly fishing in the summer, to hunting big game and birds in the fall and winter, Walkers decided to take a hiatus from competitive field trials. Both had judged National and National Amateur Retriever Trials. Jay was past President of the National Amateur Club, and was on the AKC Committee which set up the original blueprint for the Hunt Tests. They had finished over 22 AKC Field and Amateur Field Champion titles on their dogs, as well as several Senior and Master Hunters. It was decided it was time to just enjoy the dogs and hunting! With bird and waterfowl hunting in the winter and early spring, to horse backing in the mountains and fly fishing in the summer and big game hunting in the fall, there is just no time for training field trial dogs at present ! Val does have a young female she co-owns with Terry Woods of Fresno, California which is running in Field Trials, and recently became one of the very few Qualified All Age female Goldens in the Nation!
The Walker ranch in Wyoming consists of 2,500 acres of excellent bird habitat, on which was developed a Hunt Club. Pheasant, quail and chukar inhabit the ranch, and offer fantastic hunting opportunities. Waterfowl hunting of both duck and geese in the area is very good and in the coming year, the Walker’s will have two good sized lakes for additional Waterfowl habitat.
SUNGOLD still looks for the same characteristics desired in Field Trial dogs: intelligence, birdiness, marking ability, drive, style, and dogs that are strong in the water. A good nose is of primary importance, as is the instinct to use it! Our Goldens look like GOLDENS, with attractive heads, and good, solid, athletic conformation, coupled with a water resistant coat. Our dogs are known for good temperament, and make the best of family companions. With over 35 years of breeding, SUNGOLD has developed a bloodline known for consistency in all of the above characteristics.