Meet George Tracy....
How many people at the ripe ole age of ten years old begin to live out their dreams in pursuit to what would eventually transpire into the most highly decorated field trailer of all times, well let me introduce George Tracy of Glenville PA.
Following his father’s footsteps, from early mornings to mid afternoons, to late evenings, George soon developed a passion and love for bird dogs just like “Pap”. Pap, better known as Mr. Gerald Tracy was George’s father. Mr. Gerald began his legacy in the 1950’s as shooting dog stakes were on the rise. During this period, Mr. Gerald was recognized as one of the top bird dog trainers along the east coast, and across America. Unknowing to the public, “The Legend”, George Tracy was taking it all in, following the large shadow cast from Pap. Some fifty plus years later, “The Legend” is still hard to beat.
At a mere twelve years old, George’s talents exceeded many of the adult handlers, so the adults devised a plan. The adults were tired of being beat by this young whippersnapper, therefore they complained enough to have young George banned from amateur stakes forcing him to compete with the experienced, grown men. Later in life George and Gerald would team up to handle one of the elite English Pointers of all times, Rocky River Buck for owner Irvin Mohnkern. Rocky River Buck became the inaugural winner of the Top Shooting Dog Award in 1983.
Learning to be competitive at such a young age transformed George into a star athlete where he started on the football and baseball teams at South Western High School in Hanover, Pa. Because of his athletic skills, George had decisions prior to high school graduation. He could pursue a college scholarship, an opportunity to play semi-pro baseball or follow Pap’s footsteps and train bird dogs. George walked away from his athletic offers and began working with Mr. Gerald part time where he also began finishing concrete when time allowed.
While in high school George met the lady of his dreams, Ms. Mary Harpster. They became high school sweethearts and later to married in 1967. Mary shared George’s dreams and was instrumental in George’s accomplishments throughout the years.
In February 1969 Gerald needed an expert hand so he offered George a full time training job at Trachaven Kennels. It did not take long for George to make his mark on the field trial circuit as he won his first championship, the Northeastern Open Shooting Dog Championship in 1970 with Trachaven Blitz.
In 1978 George and Mary opened Summerhill Kennels, a success story from the beginning. George and Mary inserted endless hours of hard work and dedication while juggling family life with four children, Tracey, Wendy, Jeanette and Mike. Managing a dog training facility requires trust from clients which turns into bonded friendships over the years. It’s the support, dedication and confidence from owner’s that allows Summerhill Kennels to thrive into one of the most successful bird dog training and field trial facilities in the country.
George’s success flourished over the next thirty plus years, much of his success is because the contributions from Mary who scouted for George in years past, and youngest child Mike who is a full time staff member at Summerhill Kennels. Over the years George has been awarded the Top Shooting Dog Handler of the Year a record eleven times, and handled Bases Loaded, Foxfire’s Rhea, Loaded Lou and Hamilton’s Blue Diamond to Top Open Shooting Dog of the Year honors. Dogs trained by George did more than win, several have been elected into the Field Trial Hall of Fame, they are; Grouse Ridge Will, Guard Rail, Bases Loaded, Calico’s Rebellious Sue, Calico’s Thrillogy and Hamilton’s Blue Diamond.
Every dog that visits Summerhill Kennels receives special treatment, much time, effort and energy is dedicated to determine just what it takes to make each dog successful. The approach for each dog is a little different. It takes years and years of hands on experience to polish a bird dog into a Champion. George has the talent, the knowledge, the desire, the work ethic, but most of all, George has the touch.
Fond memories of special dogs that flew the Summerhill Kennel banner are Bases Loaded, a 10X Champion and 11X Runner-Up Champion; Hamilton’s Blue Diamond, the amazing English Setter who won 8 Championships by the age of three, 6 of those Championships were within one year; Calico’s Thrillogy, 16 Open Derby wins, 8 being first place, 6 Open Championships, 8 Runner-Up Championships, 2 Amateur Championships, Runner-Up National Amateur Shooting Dog Champion and Region 13 Amateur All-Age Champion during his derby season. Just to mention a few.
Each year just after spring, subscribers of the American Field publication vote to elect new members into the Field Trial Hall Of Fame. A total number of votes are tallied and published, then members of a electoral comity vote to determine who will be elected into the Hall Of Fame. In order to become eligible, nominees must reach the age of 64. Just as George turned 64 in 2012, voters could not wait to nominate him into the Hall. An overwhelming outpour of voters’ confidence surged George into the leading candidate over the multi week ballot tabulation. Once the nomination was passed to the electoral comity, George was a hands down shoe-in. Being the nation’s most decorated shooting dog handler is not the only criteria needed to be a Hall Of Fame member. George has donated his time and energy judging numerous field trials, conducting countless seminars, and is the first person to lend a helping hand when needed around any field trial activity. George also enjoys meeting new field trailers and is eager to offer suggestions concerning training and handling when asked. Why did George get nominated and elected into the Field Trial Hall Of Fame, simply because he is the role model in the field trial community.
George is far from letting up and taking it easy. He continues to push the top shooting dog handlers each year to capture another Top Shooting Dog Handler of the Year Award. Currently George has won 168 Championships and 140 Runner-Up Championships and counting. Every time he turns a dog loose, he strives to beat all others who ran before. George wins with dignity and honor. He will not take advantages of other handlers or become un-sportsman like just to gain a win. George Tracy and Summerhill Kennels are first class all the way.
If you are interested in having your dog trained by “The Legend”, look no further than Summerhill Kennels. The honest evaluation, unmatched experience and care your dog will receive are second to none. You can reach George at Summerhill Kennels by calling 717-235-4466.