The following essay was written by Lucas Ruff in the Fall of 2008. Versions of this essay were used to achieve the following:

  • 2009 - American Kennel Club(AKC) Junior Scholarship
  • 2009 - Irish Setter Club of America(ISCA) Foundation Junior Scholarship Program
  • 2009 - Entrance to University of Illinois Civil Engineering(ranked #1 by US News at time of #2 to UC Berkely...rats!)
  • Huge accolades by his family and friends!!!!!!

    As much as we are proud of our kids for their passion and ability to creatively capture the words of their passion, we are also very grateful to AKC and the ISCA for sponsoring these scholarships! They are great gifts and a great catalyst to find and spread these messages!

    Fortunately, Lucas is able to participate to some extent while he is attending college. In his first semester, he took a few days off from school, drove down to Booneville, Arkansas, and participated in the National Amateur Championship. His dog, Erin, didn't live up to his potential, but Lucas was the Scout for Brophy's Unleashed(Lea) and helped her win the title of National Amateur Champion!

    Here is Lucas's essay(Copyright 2008 by Lucas Ruff All Rights Reserved Worldwide):

    "Spurs, whistle, blank gun," I mutter as I exit the living quarters of the trailer and the crisp October air hits me. Erin is sitting on his haunches, wagging his tail and looking at me intently. Ready. I gather my horse's reins, the red dog laughing with me at the prospect of hunting for competition. Grabbing him by the collar, I start for the breakaway.

    Field trialing is not your everyday sport. Instead of pushing myself physically-like most high school athletes-field trialing requires feats of physical strength from the hunting dog and the horse. Of me, it demands incredible mental performance-getting the dogs to follow the course, grabbing their attention when they err, riding the horse. Thinking: if he just makes it around without a mistake, I will have succeeded. I love it.

    The brace has already started and Erin is tearing towards the tree line. Smart dog. Watching your dog run towards an objective is the best feeling in the world; it can also be the worst. There is always the apprehension that he might fade off. All part of the game.

    I did not choose this sport, it chose me-literally. My grandfather created Brophy's Irish Setters thirty years ago and I was born into the 'family business.' His philosophy from the beginning has been to better oneself, and to always have fun. But my incentive to continue field trialing does not all come from my family; I have my own aspirations for the sport. Erin-and all of the dogs that will follow him-is my motivation.

    I dream of one day having my own group of Irish Setters, competing with them around the country. But how do I get there? I must dedicate the next ten years of my life to my future career; no time for trialing. But I will continue and succeed in this sport, by applying the same philosophy to all aspects of my life-bettering myself through hard work and keeping the motive in mind. That ideal may turn out to differ greatly from the ultimate product--but no matter. Life will always change, and so will the vehicle with which I reach my goals.

    The future of our sport is unclear. The original generation that started the group is nearing the end of their involvement. The next generation needs to become active in trialing now - to learn from the best and create a successful future. I am a part of this upcoming league. I am lucky to have learned at a young age how to enjoy the beauty of the Irish Setter. I understand the necessary changes required for growth, and also what must never change. The Irish Setter has shaped my life, and there is no going back.

    I walk my horse up on a ridge and stop. Erin is standing in the middle of the field, head inclined towards me, ever alert. "Alright Erin!" He is all action, sprinting towards the front line-the future.

    Copyright 2008 by Lucas Ruff All Rights Reserved Worldwide