NBHA State Director Larry Carpenter Passes Away

NBHA State Director for Missouri, field trial stalwart and English Setter breeder Larry Carpenter passed away on Sunday, May 10th after a battle with ALS. Larry was well known both in the hunting and field trial communities and was a passionate promoter of the English Setter. Larry served as the postmaster in Clarksburg, Mo. for 27 years and then continued in public service in city government, including his current post as the mayor of Clarksburg, where he lived with his wife of 48 years, Pamela Carpenter.

For nearly 40 years Larry had been extending the warm hand of welcome to new handlers at trials all over the country. Looking through facebook comments recently one sees the refrain “Larry was the first person I ever met at a field trial” more often than not. In fact, five years ago he was the first one to greet this author at his first field trial in Joplin, Mo. This is not a coincidence, for Larry loved newcomers and the new blood of youth that revitalizes the walking field trial world each fall. Larry developed handlers in the same way he developed English Setter puppies with patience and encouragement.

“He always tried to see the best in people and really wanted them to see their own potential,” said Larry’s son Kevin Carpenter. He said that this passion extended to all youth sports. He coached all of his children in sports in their hometown of Clarksburg and many other children in the community as well. He pushed them all to do their best and be passionate about their pursuit of sports.

That same intuition for potential extended to his English Setter breeding program. Larry began breeding English Setters in 1975 and started running field trials in the early 80s. One breeding partner, Bob Barker of Inola, Okla. said that Larry had an uncanny ability to see potential in puppies. One litter bred by Larry and Bob produced three champions including the renowned Barker’s Blue Horizon, Barker’s Big Coon and Poker’s Straight Jet Star.

“He was very passionate about the English Setter, that was his forte. In hindsight,” said Bob, “if it hadn’t been for his ability to see the potential in those dogs, that would have been four championships I would not have today.”

One dog from early on, Missouri’s Maggie Mouse, left a particular impression on Bob Barker, “She was so light,” he said. “She didn't even look like she was hitting the ground when she ran.”

Indeed, Larry bred many fine English Setters over the 40 years he worked the kennels. “He didn't beat around the bush,” Kevin said of his father, “he always wanted the best of the best bred to the best of the best.”

Missouri Bird Hunters Association secretary Joe Zimmer echoed that sentiment telling stories of 12-18 hour truck rides to breed to the best setters in the country. Joe recalled one trip to breed to Shadow Oak Bo, the two of them drove straight there, dropped off the dog and drove straight back. “He wasn’t afraid to pack up and go,” he said. “It didn’t matter how far.”

Joe started training and field trialing with Larry about 12 years ago when he bought a female puppy from him. “I learned a lot about field trialing from Larry” he said. “How to show a dog and what not to do. He trained the old way with lots of repetition and wasn’t big on e-collars.”

“Larry loved retirement,” said NBHA secretary Tim Penn. “Every time I would call him to check on a trial, or about dogs he would tell me that he was confused about what day it was and then would laugh and say every day is Saturday except Sunday. Ever since then I’ve been looking at retirement.”

“I could call him anytime,” said Jim Ogle. “I could call him to talk about dogs, or field trials or anything. I don’t know who I’ll call now.” We are sure that the sentiment is shared by many who knew Larry.

Kevin and three of Larry’s grandson’s plan to continue the work at Carpenter’s Kennels and to hit the road this fall to campaign dogs in NBHA trials. “I always said when he was gone, those dogs would be for sale, but now the grandsons are involved.” One certainly has to think that Larry had a plan in that scheme, securing yet another generation of handlers from Clarksburg.

Larry loved raising and training dogs for which he earned numerous awards nationally such as NBHA National Puppy Handler of the Year and NBHA National Runner Up Amateur Derby Handler of the Year. Larry won the Jerry Kilgore Puppy Classic in 2014, he was a state director for the NBHA, a huge supporter of the NBHA Futurity and has chaired countless trials and championships in Missouri. In the early years he also served as an NBHA judge.

In summation, Kevin said “He always tried to see the best in everyone; he was an awesome Dad.” We would all be so lucky to receive such high praise from our children some day.

Larry is survived by his wife Pamela Carpenter. One son, Kevin Carpenter and wife Rhonda; two daughters Laura Sanning and husband Steve, Tawnya Pace and husband Don Jr. and one brother David Carpenter and wife Eva. Seven Grandchildren Ashton Hays with husband Wyatt, Alli Carpenter, Trenton Pace and fiancée Hayden Dillion, Bryant Carpenter, Brooklynn Pace, Maddi Carpenter, Will Carpenter, and one great grandchild Harper Hays all of Clarksburg. Frankie Bolinger, Mother in law, California MO. He loved his brothers and sisters in laws along with his numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. He was proceeded in death by his brother Gordon Carpenter and sister in law Dianna Carpenter and brother in law Jack Bolinger and father in law Albert Ray Bolinger. Funeral services will be held on Friday, May 15, 2020 at 10:00 A.M. at Flag Spring Baptist Church with visitation on Thursday, May 14, 2020 from 4:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. Officiating will be Jim Rogers. Burial will be at Hickman Cemetery. Memorials suggested to ALS Foundation or National Bird Hunters Association or Missouri Bird Hunters Association. Arrangements are under the direction of Bowlin-Cantriel Funeral Services, California, MO. The general public is welcome to attend visitation and services while following social distancing guidelines.

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