USMRA Sportsman of the Year 2016

Michon Mills

Utah Protection Sports: Countless hours going above and beyond her duties as Secretary. Michon offers to help USMRA in every way she can. There is no one that does more for USMRA then Michon.

USMRA Sportsman of the Year 2015

Ann Putegnat

Texas K9: I first became interested in Mondioring several years ago when I saw a trial at a friend’s house. I met Ann at that trial and began talking to her about Mondioring. Since that time, Ann has not only been the most supportive person in helping me to establish a club but has always been there if we have had questions or help. Ann helped us set up our field, gave us encouragement to train even when it almost seemed impossible to find decoys, and helped us make the final steps to host our first trial this year. She always represents Mondioring in a positive manner and has advocated the sport to anyone who is willing to listen. She has donated her time and expertise for us and many others on numerous occasions and she is always willing to help someone new or old in the sport whenever they need it. Our club feels that Ann is the example of Sportsmanship for the United States Mondioring Association and we are proud to nominate her for this honor.

USMRA Sportsman of the Year 2014

Todd Dunlap

Carolina Dog Sport Club:Todd Dunlap has promoted USMRA on the east coast and has been responsible for two new clubs. He devotes his time and energy to help educate and train new members and clubs so they can be successful which strengthens USMRA as a whole. He is always the loudest at trials cheering every competitor on and is the first to offer assistance to help prep before going on the field regardless of club affiliation.

USMRA Sportsman of the Year 2013

O.J. Knighten

Sin City Mondio: OJ has been a great ambassador for USMRA, functioning as VP, collecting funds for a USMRA member to travel and represent the US at the World Championships, providing multiple opportunities for members to work their dogs in different locations with several different highly qualified decoys by putting on multiple trials and seminars. He has also spent countless hours reorganizing the decoy committee, implementing a new decoy certification process, and traveling as needed to see this large task through to success. He has had a lot of resistance with this and has always kept a cool and level head to further our sport. We feel he would be an excellent ambassador for USMRA.

Santa Clarita Mondio: This year he has rehauled the Decoy Certification. This took a long time and a ton of work. He also travelled to Colorado and helped with their trial and their first Decoy Certification. He has also spent thousands on bringing in some of the finest European decoys and judges, and allowed many to come to these seminars and learn.

OJ has gone above and beyond to help not only the Santa Clarita Mondio Club, but to help the sport in general. He spends countless hours of his time helping people with their dogs, hosting clinics, trials and giving insight to decoys. He is always willing to lend a hand when someone gets “stuck” with their dog.

He is a great ambassador for the sport in general. He speaks about it to various groups of people, educating and explaining what Mondioring is, and inviting them to events. When hosting clinics, he invites people from all over and not just his club, because he understands the value of bringing all different levels of dogs and handlers together. During clinics, he ensures that any club decoys present spend time with the clinic decoy, to learn as much as possible.

As the Board of Directors Vice President and as the Decoy Committee chair, OJ has assisted in resolving the tax issues facing the USMRA and he re-designed the decoy certification process. The decoy certification process is now much more comprehensive and overall safer. OJ dealt with a lot of adversity from all over USMRA when the process was redesigned, however, he did not waiver from changing it. He did not become involved in the public backlash that permeated the Yahoo group emails and various Facebook pages during the redesigning process.

OJ is able to remain calm and fair under pressure. Some of the decisions made by the Board of Directors are unpopular, but he stands behind his decisions and opinions and does not waiver. If he sees unfairness, he is willing to step up and bring that unfairness to light. Not everyone has the gumption to stand up for what is fair, but he does not hesitate.

USMRA Sportsman of the Year 2012

Jake Schneider

Rogue Ringsport: Rogue Ringsport would like to submit Jake Schneider for this year’s for Sportsman of the year. We feel it is not just the ones who are given an opportunity to show sportsmanship at major events but also the guy behind the scenes giving his everything daily to help out.
In 2012 Our club had some changes and it was Jake who stepped up and accepted the position of leadership and accountability for our members — handling and decoy work. He assured that training happened even in the worst of conditions. In the evenings, late, when temperatures are dropping well below zero, there he was standing in a mist of steam from his own body heat — The barn we train in is dirt floors and basically filthy – frequently we will find Jake cover by a tarp lying in the dirt, hiding from dogs in search. Alone working the dogs one after another, while the handlers, look on from inside the heated room.

(Left) is a picture of him going to the ground in his freshly washed suit to empower a young dog.

These are not just club dogs, our open door policy sometimes will double the number of dogs in a night sometimes finishing us up 1or 2 am.

A few weeks back we had visitors from South Dakota, they come maybe once every other month. Last night I remember hearing Jake say he would be able to come out and train Friday night, Saturday day and then again Saturday night. His specific words being “It is not to train my dog I’m more concerned with helping the new decoy”.

Sometimes the dogs have problems with the work, I know one boxer who came to our club that had difficulty opening her mouth enough to gather enough suit for a grip. Jake offered a less than desirable location to help this. Java overcame her handicap and became the first FR1 boxer in America.

The 2013 Nationals this year — Jake has spent countless hours coordinating sponsors, trophies, field location etc. When I discovered his ability I asked him to be on the USMRA National committee. He agreed.

When his dog went nutty at the trial because his dog in white was a bitch in heat — did he complain — not once.

Jake is a Great sport and a tremendous asset to USMRA. A good sport is someone who can look at adversity and smile and try their very best to make it positive. That pretty much describes the way Jake is, on the field competing, in the pouring rain/snow/heat decoying, in everyday life with everyone. A great sport!

USMRA Sportsman of the Year 2011

David Bilik

Rogue Ringsport would like to nominate David Bilik for the Sportsmanship award for 2011. David, in my eyes, is what a Mondioring Decoy should strive to be. He is able to train dogs to do great things and has a willingness to help out and train other decoys. December he flew out and helped our club prepare our dogs. His professionalism and kindness was top notch. Also in 2011, without hesitation, he took over the Decoy Committee. His hard work and determination to get things done has been an inspiration to the whole committee. I believe that selecting David for the Sportsmanship award would act as inspiration for new decoys coming into Mondioring and give them a guideline for success.

USMRA Sportsman of the Year 2010

Donald Lee

Lone Star Mondioring Club: Don Lee is a gentleman of outstanding character who happens to also be a fantastic dog trainer, competitor, teacher and training decoy. On a typical club training day, Don helps newcomers with obedience, works his own dogs, resets the palasade heights, talks some more with the newcomers about training philosophy and methods, gets in and out of the suit, takes part in strategy meetings for each dog/handler team, and makes sure no one goes home without a complete understanding of what a great sport mondioring is. When it comes time for competition, Don is the ultimate gentleman on the field, both as a competitor and, just as often, as a deputy judge, judge’s secretary or field worker. He is thoughtful, patient, kind and fair and we will all benefit when he finishes his USMRA Judge’s apprenticeship to become a certified USMRA Judge. Don Lee is the embodiment of true sportsmanship; there is no one who embraces the spirit of Mondioring more fully or who could better represent our organization to the public and the world.

San Gabriel Ring Club: I would like to nominate Don Lee from the Lone Star Mondioring Club. Don is a long time member who was at the very first Mondioring seminar in Texas with his GSD Atoll (1999 iI think). Since than Don has titled his dogs to MR 3 and has helped many a club member achive titles with their dogs.

To say that he is a very talented dog trainer isn’t enough, but the fact that he is so willing to help others is what makes him a candidate for this award. He is an active participant in his club’s activities (trials) and also an asset to their training where he not only does decoy work but also helps others with their obedience, and handling. He is especially good with novice handlers because of his supportive attitude. He is always positive and encouraging to all but especially to new handlers.

Don has represented the USMRA at the world championships in France in 2008 in MR 1 with a dog that has since then achieved a MR 3 title.

Don is currently an apprentice judge and will be a great asset to the sport in the US.

Overall this is a quiet individual who works tirelessly to promote the sport both by helping others and by being a gentleman both off and on the field.

I cannot think of a more deserving individual.