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JR's NSTRA Article


West Texas handler Wes Barr and English setter Tomoka’s Smokin J.R. hit the road with determination and fervor this year pocketing win after win; all the while remaining calm, cool and collected. An unsuspecting pup that placed in his first trial at 10 months old, J.R. won 1st in Ohio and then headed on to one of the toughest regions in the country, taking 4th place in the Kentucky Regional Elimination just a mere month later. Clearly this was a pup that would have people talking.

When people come in contact with J.R., whether they’re actively engaged in the sport or completely removed, they all walk away with the same opinion: what an amazingly calm dog. All involved in the sport can admit to the chaos, anxiety, and anticipation that a trial can bring, but among the eagerly awaiting dogs and handlers, J.R. can be found in his usual relaxed state. Barr claims this laid back trait allows him to “reserve his energy and helps keep him focused”. This mannerism has been passed on to his puppies, which can be misleading and interpreted as a passive nature rather than just a composed and relaxed dog.

J.R. made his debut on the National trial scene at 17 months old at Dog of the Year, by winning his qualifying round on B field, with an impressive 1039 points. His next National trial was the 2007 Quail Forever in Elberton, GA, where he won the field in his first qualifying run and took home 2nd place in his next qualifying run, ultimately making the Final Four and finishing 3rd Runner-Up at 20 months old. J.R. then headed south to Texas and ran in the WTX Region earning Derby Dog of the Year honors and finishing the WTX Region point’s race as Runner-Up High Point, just behind Tomoka’s Smokin Blu. J.R. has been the Runner-Up High Point in WTX Region twice and High Point Winner three times. He has also won the WTX Region Elimination Trial two consecutive years in 2010 and 2011. In the 2010 WTX Region Elimination Trial, he won Champion with his son Cutter finishing as 1st runner up and daughter Barr’s Smokin Sassy finishing as 2nd runner up. In 2008, he finished as 1st runner up in the Purina Endurance Classic in Lewiston, Montana, and in the 2010 Trial of Champions, he won 1st runner up in Amo, Indiana. J.R. just turned 6 years old and is currently a 15X NSTRA Champion.

West Texas is somewhat removed from the rest of the regions, making long distance travel a necessity, but also extremely difficult. In order for J.R. to win the Performance Award this year, he and Wes competed in a mere 15 weekends (excluding National trials). Of the 15 weekends J.R. ran and competed for the Top Performance honors, he placed in all but one of them. Obviously not for the faint of heart, but by tackling each trial with tenacity and vigor, Tomoka’s Smokin J.R. earned 77 points, awarding him the Top Performing Dog of 2011. Jamisen Hancock contributed to J.R.’s success by handling him for nine of the treasured points.

Wes Barr is no stranger to the sport, handling dogs for twenty plus years in NSTRA. Wes and J.R. have an uncanny sense of trust between them, and Wes states with pride that “J.R. has been by far the most fun and exciting dog. He does his work every time, runs like the wind, but is always in control and super competitive”. J.R. creates a picture of stoicism, but be careful. “He goes to the line with intention” and when he does, “a major explosion happens”. It’s like the calm before the storm. Congratulations to Wes and J.R. for earning this much deserved award.


Barr Kennels
Email: Wes & Brenda Barr
12133 CR 100
Abilene, Texas 79601

325-548-2466
325-725-6504

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