It is with sincere pleasure that the National Vizsla Association officers and board of directors have voted to name our National All Age Classic in honor of Bill Gibbons. Beginning in 2019 the stake will be called the Bill Gibbons National All Age Classic, sponsored by the National Vizsla Association.
Bill Gibbons and his history with the Vizsla Breed.
Bill started Magma Bird Dogs in Arizona in 1973 as a trainer of most any breed of Bird Dog. Within just a few years he began receiving Vizslas from various owners who wanted their dogs trained for hunting and some for field trials. He quickly saw that many of the dogs he received for training did not have the strong natural instincts and bird drive needed to become premier candidates for what their owners expected. Bill began looking for dogs with the necessary traits for better success as well as doing all he could to hone his own skills as a trainer. He was also instrumental in encouraging the breeding of Debra Shilling’s good bitch, Milehi Miss to Thor’s Thunderer that produced Magma’s Samantha of Voros Tars in 1978. Thor’s Thunderer was a line bred grandson of Ripp Barat and Milehi Miss was a grand daughter of Ripp Barat. An arrangement was made for sportsman Calvin Monfort to buy Samantha with the understanding that she would be given the opportunity to prove herself as a Field Trail Candidate under Bill’s whistle.
With Bill’s steadily improving skills as a trainer and Samantha now in his string, he was about to reach new heights in the Field Trial World. In 1977 Bud Chambers acquired Chambers Voros Tars Duke from Bill and Linda Woodward out of a litter of their bitch, Rebel Rouser Dezi, sired by Brook’s Willie Whompum. With Duke and Samantha along with a handful of other good dogs on his string, Bill began winning more and more often. During these years Bill also met and befriended Bill West who was known as the “Dog Trainer’s Trainer” because of, not only his expertise as a trainer himself, but also his ability to help others who wanted to become the best they could be as dog trainers. Now with this new string of dogs and ever improving skills Bill was on his way to the success he wanted. In 1981 Samantha was bred to Duke and produced DC FC Camarily Sandman who Bill trained for Bob Sloan. In 1982 Samantha was bred to then top producing stud dog Rebel Rouser Bandieto and produced a litter of top winning offspring, most of which Bill also trained. In 1984 Bill and Samantha won the Vizsla Club of America National Field Champion title at Branched Oak Nebraska. With Samantha in her prime and her Bandieto sired offspring Papago Samsson, Rebel Rouser’s Star, Juliana’s Gyorgy and Voros Tars Dolly on his string Bill went on to win several more National Champion titles as well as club trials all over the Western US.
As the 1980s came to a close there was a growing interest among Vizsla Field Trialers to move the bar up and offer a One Hour National Championship like most other breeds already enjoyed. Bill was part of this group of enthusiasts and supported the start of a new association to do so. When the National Vizsla Association was formed in 1990 and scheduled it’s first National Classic for the Spring of 1991, Bill was among the original 18 members of this fledgling organization. Bill was the winning handler twice and handler of the runner-up twice in the first four years of running of the National Vizsla Association’s national events from 1991 to 1994. In addition to Bill’s success in Field Trials he also helped a lot of amateurs to become more successful in their own training efforts. Some of these people went on to become professional trainers themselves. Bill Gibbons and his dear friend Bill West also conducted Training Seminars all across the Western US to help anyone wishing to attend regardless of their breed of choice. Bill also spent many years conducting “Snake Avoidance Seminars” using live rattlesnakes to break bird dogs from coming into dangerously close contact with these buzzing little bundles of death. It would be impossible to determine how many dog’s lives have been saved due to these Snake Breaking seminars, but it’s well into the dozens or hundreds. During these same years of Bill’s success with Vizslas he also trained and campaigned several other breeds as well as helping owners of other breeds to win significant events including several breed National Championships.