The LRCP held it’s first formation meeting on May 19th, 1973 after a “fun match” held at the home of John and Sandy Kelly in Seneca, Maryland. Founded over a two-year period, the LRCP became only the third regional Lab Specialty Club (after Southern California and Hawaii.) to be officially recognized by the AKC parent club, The Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. The Potomac Club actually hosted the National Labrador Specialty of the LRC, Inc. in 1975 before putting on their own regional Specialty the next year.
The 1975 National was held in Gaithersburg, Maryland in conjunction with an All-Breed show. As the Club’s newsletter from that year details, “The consensus of most at ringside was that this year’s (National) Specialty was not only the largest- 246 dogs and 374 entries-but also one of the best.” It was the first year that a Working Certificate Test was held in conjunction with the LRC, Inc. event. Potomac members not only hosted in a splendid fashion but showed exceptionally well in the ring: “where every class was filled and to take any kind of ribbon was an accomplishment because of the overall high quality of the competition.”
The Potomac’s first regional Specialty was held on April 16, 1976 in Leesburg, Virginia. The LRCP newsletter described it as “a splendid hot spring Friday with grass a brilliant green and the Quality Inn show grounds in excellent condition.” Mary Roslin-Williams of Great Britain served as their first judge for Best of Breed. As author of “The Dual Purpose Labrador” and “All About the Labrador,” Mary Roslin-Williams had almost 40 years of experience in breeding, training and handling and was held in the highest regard by the Labrador community. She judged at the Potomac two times and set the standard of excellence expected at their Speciality. When she was invited to come for a 3rd judging assignment, she announced “I’ve hung up my brogans”- referring to the 19th century style work boots, and her retirement from the ring. The show’s first chairwoman, Betty Graham, “received numerous compliments on the site and substance of the show” and is still an active member today. Another attraction to the show was the hospitality provided by Beverly Mushinsky. Exhibitors looked forward to her food, both plentiful and delicious, year after year.
The Club’s purpose has always been two-fold: to preserve the breed and to promote the working capabilities of Labradors through events in obedience and field work, with an emphasis on open participation by all interested Labrador owners. In addition to the Spring Specialty, which has grown from one day to three and includes two obedience trials, the LRCP hosts several field training sessions, a Hunt Test in May, a Working Certificate in September and their “Bare Bones” Fall Specialty- held annually the first weekend in December.
In keeping with the Club’s purpose, the LRCP excels at two of the most important services a breed club can offer: Education and Rescue. They offer an extensive “Puppy Checklist” online to help in the process of finding a healthy puppy. It lists not only the critical points of proper breeding practices, but also the requirements of responsible pet ownership. Lab Rescue of LRCP, Inc. https://www.labrescue.org is one of the best run, most successful such rescue groups in the country. This all-volunteer, non-profit organization places an astounding numbers of Labs each year – nearly 1,000 Labradors in 2014 alone.