Selma’s home of champions

Published 7:57 pm Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The property just off Old Montgomery Highway isn’t flashy.

A ramshackle barn, untied horses and a line of kennels filled with howling, hopping English setters and pointers. However, as David Grubb’s fire engine red truck proudly proclaims, it is the home of champions.

Grubb bases his bird dog training operation out of Lake Orion, Mich. But in the state’s inclement winter months, Grubb — in addition to his dogs and horses — treks to Selma to take advantage of more favorable temperatures.

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“In Michigan, it’s like 20 degrees and a foot of snow right now,” said Grubb. “It’s too bad to work dogs up there.”

Grubb has trained bird dogs for more than five decades. He has trained “almost 100 champions,” and will be inducted into the Field Trial Hall of Fame on Feb. 7.

His services come highly recommended by local real estate agent and field trial enthusiast Deans Barber.

“He’s a world class champion bird dog trainer,” said Barber. “I have known him several years. He’s a first class individual.”

Grubb got his start during a summer of junior college and turned his passion into a career.

“I found out about a field trail, ran some dogs through the trial,” said Grubb. “Won the trial, won the next trial, won the next trial, and I decided this was the thing to do.”

Given the demand for hunting and field trail dogs, Grubb likely made the right choice. Hunters and enthusiasts who enlist Grubb’s services are willing to pay top dollar for a well-polished canine. A well-trained hunting dog costs $1,500 to $2,000. But, a top notch field trial dog fetches anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000.

Though he has made Selma his winter home for the better part of 27 years, Grubb has given little thought to making the move permanent. He prefers the South for its more temperate winter climate, but finds the summers more difficult to bear.

“Southern hospitality is great, and I’ve enjoyed it for a long time,” said Grubb. “I like Michigan in the summer. It’s cool and there’s a lot of hunting and fishing.”