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!)
Henry has been part of Sporting Life family for over a year and started off on the kennel staff taking care of the dogs on a daily basis. He moved up to training in the summer of 2016. Henry is a very good trainer with a kind hand and his pupils seem to love him. Henry is currently a student at Ole Miss.
We have had the pleasure of watching John McCay grow up. His parents are good friends of ours and he and his sister went to school with our two youngest girls. John began working for SLK in 2016. At this time he is doing both kennel staff chores and learning to train dogs. He is a student at Ole Miss.
Kevin joined the family in 2016. Kevin is a very likable and dependable young man who also has a passion for the outdoors. Kevin always a smile on his face and has a cheerful attitude. Kevin also is an Ole Miss student.
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. When it's hot we run the AC and when it's cold we heat the indoor kennels.
All dogs are let out 4-5 times a day 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.