1963 – Orin Benson
Details: Taken Nov. 3, 1963 at Benson’s Training Kennels near Kettle Moraine Forest, WI
I don’t know the back-story on this assignment, but this is one of the greatest parts about being a photographer. Meeting incredible people and recording pieces of history.
Orin Benson was known as one of America’s Greatest Dog Trainers. Best known for his work with retrievers he trained anything and everything from otters and wolves to dogs.
Excerpt from Ammoland, “America’s Greatest Gun Dog Men”
“Then there was Orin Benson, who made his name as a retriever trainer (and is in the Retriever Hall of Fame) but could, and did, train literally any critter he could get his hands on. Bears, otters, wolves, you name it. One year while he was hunting in Wyoming he took a day off and visited some of the watering holes in Sheridan – with a cock pheasant perched on his shoulder like a parrot. He didn’t pay for a drink all day.
At one time Benson had dogs from 31 states in his Wisconsin kennels, and during the off-season he traveled from Boston to L.A. on the sports show circuit. A New York sportswriter, awed at one of Benson’s demonstrations, gushed that his dogs “would bring back anything but a bald man’s hair.” Hollywood royalty beat a path to Benson’s kennel –
Roy Rogers parked his camper in his driveway – but while he had more than a little P.T. Barnum in him, there was steak behind the sizzle. His greatest dog, Black Panther, was for many years the all-time high point field trial retriever, and his success during the formative era of retriever field trials (when British trainers dominated the sport) paved the way for other legendary American-born pros like Cotton Pershall and Charley Morgan.”