A Day in Wisconsin

Your  2016 hospitality committee made the supreme sacrifice, braved sub- zero temperatures, not to mention wind chill and ventured into the land of cheese heads and Packer backers to gather information to make your stay this summer more enjoyable.

The committee of Ray and Lisa Esboldt, and Patsy and Dan Hove started our  whirlwind tour in New Richmond, WI. Which is about 20 miles from the test grounds. First stop was at the Quick Lube and Party Rental place to check rental rates for tents. Only in WI will you see this pairing, you can rent a cotton candy machine while you wait for your oil to be changed. The friendly young man that helped us gave us prices but made it very clear that to get correct pricing we would have to talk with Dan, the owner but he wasn’t there. I guess we will be talking to Dan at a later date. We hopped back into Ray’s truck and took a little drag up and down the Main street, reminiscent of my growing up years in North Dakota.  The only difference this time was, I wasn’t looking for boys or a party.  New Richmond has several places to eat ranging from McDonalds, Subway, Burger King to the Brew House, Corner Bar and Grill or the Laurel Supper Club. For any of you that run low on Kinetic dog food during the Invitational, it is available at Doyle Farm and Ace Hardware Store located at 560 Deere Drive. There is a Laundromat located in New Richmond called Laundry Village & Dry Cleaning, 363 N Knowles Ave, 715-246-9121.

If you looking for a place to stay we did check out the AmeriVu Inns and Suites(formally known as Riverfront Inn) 814 N. Knowles Ave, 715-246-4606. It is currently open during renovations which should be done by June. The owners are friendly and working hard to make it a nice place to stay. They offer free breakfast, free WiFi, a pool, and dogs welcome for a fee. There is a area in back that is ok for airing,  and parking lot will accommodate dog trailers.

The other motel we checked out is Americinn Hotel & Suites. Price is $91-100 per night. They only have 5 rooms available for Friday night, none for Saturday but will put your name on a list for cancellations. Dogs welcome for $15.00 fee. Parking lot will be tight for trailers. No real good area for airing dogs as the back of building is a pretty steep bank but there is a playground next to the motel which would work.

Next stop was Amery, WI where many of you are staying.  Amery has a little bit of everything.  There are 23 resturants in the area, five vacation home rentals within 20 miles of Amery, bars, liquor stores, laundry, grocery stores, antiques, golfing, tubing down Apple River, gas, Vet,  a variety of great locally owned stores, craft/gifts and coffee shops. Amery is 16 miles from the Turtle Lake Casino, Turtle Lake, WI. There is one sporting goods store called Sports and More and one laundry, River Street Laundry and Dry Cleaner.  The laundry is opened M-F 8-5.

Forest Inn- 715-268-4100.  The Forest Inn has 21 rooms with a large parking lot good for parking dog trailers and a large area in the back to air dogs.  They offer free breakfast, Direct TV,  and free WiFi. The motel is clean and the staff is very friendly.   The Forest Inn is the official headquarters for the Invitational. We do have the whole motel booked for NAHRA for the week of the Invitional.  There are still a few room available but you should book now as there is no guarantee that you will get one closer to the Invitational date. Dogs are welcome.  The price of the rooms per night is $59.95. The Forest Inn is close to the liquor store, McDonalds,  a Chinese Restaurant, Subway and Pizza.

There is one other motel in town that is not recommended called The Camelot Motel.  It might be what you call iffy. Google it and you can decided if you would want to stay there or not.

Amery has several really good places to eat.  The Farm Table, 110 Keller Ave. is a new restaurant featuring seasonal food sourced from small local farms, 300 acres or smaller near Amery.  All food is made from scratch and  the menu changes to what is in season.  Currently they are open Wednesday-Sunday call 715-268-4500 to check times.

Ellie’s Ice Cream is charming and cute with a small town ice cream shop feel. It is located at 204 Keller Ave.

Ida Mae is a Mom and Pop look back at a old fashion dinner.  They have super friendly staff and good food. It is across the street from The Farm Table on Keller Ave.

Amery Family Resturant has large portions of food with a good menu and reasonable prices.  It is the local favorite in town.

UW Wanderoo is located at 1629 70th Ave.  It is a cool bar with good food.  The bar is in the basement of a old school house.  They are known for their chicken, burgers and out of the world Friday night fish fry.

The best Patio bar in town is Wapogasset Waterside Bar, 870 Walleye Ct., where you can sit on the patio and throw stones in the lake or enjoy drinks around the fire pit.  They have good old fashioned comfort food.

No need to go without your designer coffee as there are also a couple of different coffee shops in the area.  Cabin Coffee is located at 1300 110th Street.

Amery also has a wonderful Vet Clinic, the staff is helpful and Dr. Jill is great!  Hopefully no one will need their services but just in case… Northwest Wisconsin Veterinary 949 WI-46. 715-268-6226.

We then headed out to Clear Lake to check out Lucky’s which is the site of the Handler’s Breakfast on Wednesday morning.  We passed by Rusty’s Watering Hole and Chow House located at Four Corners 1901 WI-46.  The Watering hole sits on one corner, the Holiday Station Store on one corner, and the Marathon Gas Station on the other side. Not sure what makes up the fourth corner.  The Watering Hole is about 5-10 minutes from the test ground. They have a good menu with excellent food. You can get anything from burgers to prime rib and oh yeah, beer and other adult beverages.  Open Mon-Thurs 8-9. Fri-Sat 8-10 and Sun 8-9.

Clear Lake is a small village with no motels but there is a gem of a campground there.  It is located at the park on two small lakes. They offer fishing, horseshoes, archery range and playground. To reserve a camp site contact the Village Office @ 715-263-2157.  There is also four vacation home rentals within 25 miles of Clear Lake. Clear Lake offers a Post Office, Nilssen Grocery Store, gas station, Lucky’s, Cabin Bar & Grill and Midway Bar and Grill.

Lucky’s will host the handler’s breakfast with a breakfast buffet. Lucky’s is owned by Linda and Harry.  They will also be handling the pizzas and delivery for us on Pizza Night at the Farm.  Check out the shuffle board when you are there, it is great! Lucky’s also has a full bar.

We  headed south twenty-five miles to Baldwin, WI where we will host our banquet Wednesday night.  Baldwin is located one mile North of Interstate 94 on Highway 63.  The banquet is being held at The Orchard Event Center, in The Barn.  The Barn was built 1890 and showcases the original hand hewn beams. It is a very cool place with many detail such as the hayloft.  Make sure that you check out the bar area and the amazing can coolers that are built into the bar.  After discussing menu options and raffle logistics with Mary, from The Orchard, Patsy and Lisa checked out the bathroom, both the mens and womens, for some ideas for Lisa’s bathroom remodel while the guys rolled their eyes and telling us why our ideas couldn’t be done at home.

Baldwin offers most amenities, gas, liquor, Nilssen’s Grocery Store, Vet, lodging, laundry, coffee, restaurants and a clinic.  Baldwin’s Laundromat, The Giant Wash is located at 760 Main Street Baldwin.The two motels in town are the Super 8 and AmericInn . Both are right off Interstate 94 with easy on and off access. Both are good places to stay with a pool.  Check first to see if they have any dog rooms available if you are thinking of booking a room.  The rooms are clean,  they have friendly staff, a free breakfast offered every morning, WiFi, and Direct T.V.  The Super 8 has best parking lot for airing dogs and dog trailers.  AmericInn has good airing area but the parking lot is a very tight fit for dog trailers.

Our Final stop had us back tracking to New Richmond to have dinner at The Laurel Supper Club, where the judge’s dinner will be hosted on Tuesday night.  The Laurel, 1905 Hwy. 64, is 7 miles east of New Richmond. We arrived there just as they opened and were  still setting up for several Christmas parties they were having that night. We waited at the bar with a couple of drinks and went over our  judge’s dinner options with Linda while they got our table ready.  The Laurel is pretty nondescript from the outside, the inside is cozy with kind of a 70’s vibe going on but it not the décor that brings people in. What bring the people in is the excellent food and friendly wait staff.  You will get your money’s worth of food starting with amazing popovers with a cinnamon honey butter. They really are good and I am not even a huge popover fan.  The menu has something for everyone even the most fickly eater. My camera had died at this point so I don’t have any pictures of The Laurel. That just means I will have to go back, oh darn.

After a delicious dinner we were on our way home. We had a lot of fun discovering Wisconsin for you and can’t wait for you to be able to do the same.  I am glad that you will be doing your discovering in the summer instead of the dead of winter.  If you have any questions or concerns please contact me.



Niki Tilleraas NAHRA’s First Featured Chef


It has turned cold up in the North Tundra Region (formally known as the Central Region).  Dispite the cold and the Viking’s loss to the Sea Hawks last Sunday, we have one good thing going for us and that is Niki’s Pheasant Pot Pie. Read on to learn more about Niki and get her recipe for her pot pie.

Niki T

Meet our first featured chef, Niki Tilleraas. Niki and her husband Troy live in the country near Vermillion, MN where they own and operate TNT Kennels.  Niki describes herself as a wife and mother.  Being a pretty humble, down to earth gal, Niki would be the last person to toot her own horn, so I will do it for her.  In addition to being a great wife and mom, Niki is a “Glam-ma” to two granddaughters, a puppy lover, the heart and soul of TNT Kennels, a dog mom to many of our dogs, a doggie sexologist  (I’ll have her explain that one) and a good friend.


Niki and Troy have four children Brianne, Nick, DaKota and Tucker, one son-in-law Payne, one daughter-in-law Brittany and two beautiful granddaughters Dallas and Paysen.

Niki’s great parenting skills came into play at one our FPRC tests several years ago when her son Tucker was probably around 8 or 9. Tucker was allowed to help out in one of the blinds.  He was partnered with Jason Skyberg.  In hindsight, probably not the best pairing as Jason was quite the jokester.  Jason explained to Tucker that male pheasants were called cocks.  When they called for the bird Jason told Tucker that he should stand up and yell as loud as he could “Cock, Cock, big cock”.  Tucker was silent for a few minutes and then said “My mom wouldn’t like that.  I will just say rooster, rooster.”

One of the many hats Troy wears during the hunting season is guiding at Firesteel Creek Lodge near Isabel, S.D. With plenty of pheasants on hand, Niki has found a good way to use pheasants.  Niki’s Pheasant Pot Pies have her family always asking for more.

pot pie pic

All photo credits: Niki Tilleraas



(Makes 6 large pies)


4 or 5 pheasant breasts

5 or 6 larger baby red potatoes

1 – 14.5 oz. can of sliced carrots

1 – 8 oz. can of mushrooms

1 – 29 oz. can of corn

1 – 28 oz. can of green beans

2 – 49 1/2 oz. can of chicken broth


Salt and pepper

Pie shells (boxed or homemade)

Roast the pheasant breasts in the oven with onion, some of the chicken broth, and seasoned with salt and pepper. Once cooked and cooled, cut the pheasant breasts into bite size pieces and set aside.  (The roasting of the pheasant could be done a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.)  Strain the pan broth and add it, along with the rest of the chicken broth, to a large kettle at medium high heat.  Cut the potatoes into bite size pieces and add them to the broth.  Let them simmer in the broth for a bit as these will take longer to cook than the other vegetables.  Then start adding the roasted pheasant & onions, carrots, mushrooms, corn, and green beans to the kettle.   Once these are all cooked, thicken it with flour and water (like you do for gravy…1/2 cup flour to 3/4 cup water…twice per pot).    You should now have a nice full kettle of filling with the consistency of stew.  Remove from heat and let cool a bit before transferring to the pie shells.  Cut slits to vent the top crust, double wrap in tin foil and freeze.  Bake at 425 degrees for 1 1/2 hours from frozen state.


**All veggies are optional. Use whatever you would like.   **Strain canned veggies before adding to kettle.  **Could also skip the crust and be served like stew or poured over biscuits.




Welcome to Retriever Nation!

 Happy New Year! 

Mike Matson

Welcome to Retriever Nation!  This blog has been a long time coming, after a little (maybe a lot) of procrastination on my part and the awesome help from Suellen Appellof to get the blog up and running here is the first post.


Phil Hines and Molly

The purpose of this blog is to introduce people to things I love and am passionate about. A blog is an excellent way to introduce the members who are the heart and soul of NAHRA to the membership across the United States. How many of you have had dealings with Rosemary in the NAHRA office?  How many of you could pick her out in a line up? Not many I would say but maybe you will have a chance to meet her and find out a little about her from this blog. I would also like to showcase the amazing talents of the retrievers that run in NAHRA along with other dog games.  And lastly to just share some of the simpler pleasures of life.  To do so I need help from you!  If you have a story you would like to tell, a picture you would like to post, a recipe to share, a product to endorse, a person to be highlighted or maybe you want to be a guest blogger let me know.  My email is pahove@aol.com.


Hi I am Patsy.

Thanks for checking out Retriever Nation Blog!


Dan Dan and Patsy

Here is a little more about my story. Thirty-five years ago I married my partner in crime Dan Hove. After raising 3 kids who were all involved with traveling sports, we finally found ourselves with some free time on our hands. Together with my passion for animals, dogs in particular and Dan’s obsession with hunting and the outdoors, we discovered a new hobby to be completely consumed by.  It was called “The Hunt Test Game”!

We were blessed with our first dog Belle. She was Dan’s constant companion. She became the wife and I was dismissed to the title of mistress whom she tolerated.  Belle went on to accomplish goals we never even knew we had.  She was the first 1,000 pt. dog in the Central region.  She was a true champion in every way.  Not wanting to be left out, Grace came into our lives as my dog. Grace and I went on to slay the dragon and put on some impressive titles as well.  Then along came Chai.  She didn’t start out to be our dog, but she made it clear our home was where her heart was.  Chai was very talented, earned many titles and was the third dog to earn her 1,000 points in the Central region.  Very impressive as there is only four dogs in this region that have achieved 1,000 pts.  Belle, Abby (Dan Tongen), Chai, and Beamer (Fritz Baier).  All have passed onto the Rainbow Bridge except for Beamer.

As our dog family expanded to include Chai, it just kept on growing until I found myself a dog mom to seven dogs. Our children soon were complaining that we loved the dogs more than we loved them.  Children can be so needy.

As Belle, Chai and Grace’s hunt test days wound down, Dan and I started judging more. We have traveled across country judging and running our dogs.  We have met people who would become great friends, others that have become like family.  We have gotten to see the best of the best and have had a ton of fun along the way.  NAHRA has been a part of our lives for the past 17 plus years, I guess you could say we are in for the long haul!

So long for now.  Make sure to check out the next blog post featuring the cooking talents of Niki Tilleraas!