Marty Roberts began training retrievers when he was 17 years old in 1981. His father and mother, Ace and Betty Roberts of Memphis, Tennessee, presented him with a puppy for Christmas. Marty was instantly smitten. Already a duck hunter since his father along with mentor Johnny "Cuz" Tartera started taking him to the flooded timber of east Arkansas, having a retriever made things complete. He named the puppy "Jimbob," and so began a lifelong passionate pursuit of raising, training, and hunting retrievers.
For many years he trained and worked gundogs as an amateur trainer. Then, when opportunity arose, he and his wife Molly Francis Roberts grabbed on with both hands, bought a farm in Oxford, Mississippi, built a kennel, traveled to Ireland, made contacts in England and Scotland, and dove in with all they had.
It has been a joy to the Roberts to have built relationships with clients from all over the U.S.A. and Canada, and also making friends from Ireland and the U.K. Needless to say, the fulfillment they've received from the dogs and puppies has been irreplaceable.
Trainer & Right Hand Man
David grew up hunting in the tradition of a pure Arkansas timber hunter. His passion for duck hunting and dogs led him to Sporting Life. David has become an excellent trainer and has a gift for teaching dogs to handle. He is also the Staff Manager. David hales from Franklin, Tennessee. He has a Care program Dam named Swift and a yellow male named Sporting Life's Johnny Joe "Joe". David is also a part the the TV show and will be featured in training segments as well as being a part of the hunts. David will also be a part of our online training series : Retriever University (coming soon!)
If you have ever sent an email to SLK, more than likely, you have talked to Molly. We are very appreciative of her and all the hard work she has contributed to SLK. She keeps Marty, David, and the staff in line and is always bringing smiles around the kennel. If you are ever lucky to meet Molly, you will not leave SLK with out a smile on your face.
We are blessed to be located in Oxford and in close proximity to the University of Mississippi. Over the years we have formed close relationships with Oxford's residents and its students. Our staff mostly consists of students within the Oxford area that help us operate our kennel to its full potential. Here are some of the faces that not only train your dogs, but also care for your dog as if it was one of their own.
Sporting Life Facilities
We treat all of the dogs at our facility like our own. We have 5 x 15 indoor / outdoor runs with dog doors between them. We keep our facilities circulated and ventilated to keep cool during the warmer months. During the cooler months, we keep the kennels warm through a combination of using heating and closing off all unnecessary ventilation to maintain warm temperatures inside the kennel.
All dogs are let out 1-2 times a day for several hours in a half-acre pen to relieve themselves, as well as to run and exercise with other dogs. This is good for the mental well being of the dogs. They seem more relaxed than what you would find in most training facilities. We have a 42-acre farm with three training lakes and two large hay fields, as well as woods in which to train.
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Our dogs are partners with us
At Sporting Life Kennels, we aim to raise our dogs with outstanding bloodlines and quality lives. Our goal is to make sure that our dogs are cared for physically, mentally and emotionally. British Labs get very attached to their owners which led us to develop our Care Program.
Sporting Life Kennel’s Care Program allows us to work with families in the Mid-South in order to place female dogs that we intend to have bred. This gives the dog a family, opportunities to hunt and a high quality of life. In exchange for being able to breed the dog and raise her puppies at Sporting Life Kennels, the family gets a trained female, worth several thousand dollars and ongoing gun dog training and support.