American Field

Larry Carpenter Has Died

May 14, 2020

NBHA State Director for Missouri, field trial stalwart and English setter breeder Larry Carpenter passed away on Sunday, May 10, 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.

For nearly forty 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. 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 setters in 1975 and started running field trials in the early 1980s. 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, “ said Bob. "In hindsight, 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.”

Indeed, Larry bred many fine English setters over the forty 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.”

“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.”

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 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, and seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Funeral services were held on Friday, May 15, at Flag Spring Baptist Church with visitation on Thursday, May 14, from 4:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. Memorials suggested to ALS Foundation or National Bird Hunters Association or Missouri Bird Hunters Association.


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