August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area
The Dardenne Retriever Club will be the host club of the 25th Anniversary Master National event to be held in St. Louis, MO at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area on September 29 – October 9, 2016.
The Busch Conservation Area represents almost 7,000 acre conservation area that is owned and managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The property is located in Weldon Spring, MO, which is an extended suburb of St. Louis. The terrain includes hills, valleys, flats, tree lines, crop fields, clover, prairie grass and fescue fields. Bodies of water include features consisting of islands, points and various shaped shorelines. Other features include old gravel service roads, casting mounds, cover strips, swales and waterways.
In addition Purina Farms, as part of the Nestle Purina PetCare Company, in 2010 opened an 84,000 sq. ft., multi-million dollar event venue specifically to host shows and trials for canine enthusiasts. This facility complex will be host to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 2016 Master National event.
We look forward to working with the Dardenne Retriever Club and all the great folks in St. Louis.
The Host Hotel and MNRC headquarters will be the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, O’Fallon, MO. We are told there are over 3,600 rooms available in the hunt test area.
Dardenne Club History
After many discussions over the last year about forming a new retriever club in the St. Louis area because the need and opportunity was present, the four founding members, of what is now known as the Dardenne Retriever Club, held a formal organizational meeting early into 2015.
The founding members each have a long history of experience and involvement in field trials, hunt tests, obedience, agility, training, breeding and judging. As such they saw the need in the St. Louis area for a new all-breed AKC club that would serve a void in hosting AKC licensed field events and related activities. The DRC has plans to hold an AKC hunt test in the spring of 2016.
Also, the founding members of DRC were instrumental in developing and submitting the original host club proposal for the 2016 Master National. After being chosen by the Master National Retriever Club, Inc. with the winning proposal, all of the local organizing and preparations have been completed by these same individuals over the last year. Although, the club name may have changed the individuals involved remain the same.
The name Dardenne has historical and geographical significance both locally and regionally. The Dardenne Creek drains a 165-square-mile watershed in St. Charles County, Missouri, and flows northeast to the Mississippi River. The Dardenne Creek also flows through and bi-sects the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area.
The Dardenne Prairie was originally a prairie region which began in the area near St. Peters, Missouri and extended north of Dardenne Creek. The name was borrowed from the Dardenne family, early pioneers in the Mississippi Valley.
The first known retriever field event in Missouri was held in 1938 on private ground of the Dardenne Club, a famed and historic duck club where the Dardenne Creek meets the Mississippi River. This club dates back to the 1800’s.
More about the August A. Busch Conservation Area:
In 1947, Mrs. August A. (Alice) Busch Sr., donated monies to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to purchase the land from the U.S. government as a memorial to her late husband. During the early 1940’s portions of the area were used by the Weldon Spring Ordnance Works and the Department of the Army for the production of TNT and DNT to support the effort of World War II. There are 100 old bunkers formerly used for the storage of TNT still in the area.
The Busch family (Anheuser-Busch Corporation) has a long history of being avid sportsman and conservationists. It should come as no surprise that they would continue that with their generosity and contributions. Also noted, August A. Busch Jr. was a Missouri Department of Conservation commissioner serving in 1964-65.
In addition, the Busch Conservation Area is nearly 7,000 acres with approximately 600 acres of water available. The area is labeled as a multi-use area and offers the public an array of outdoor activities including many managed hunts, educational events, fishing, hiking, bird watching, nature walks and use of state-of-the-art archery and shooting ranges.
The first national field event (National Retriever Championship) was held at Busch in 1950. Since that first national event the Busch Conservation area has held more national retriever events than any other grounds, public or private, in the North America. It also continues to hold a multitude of local sporting dog events each spring and fall including beagle braces, retriever field trials, retriever hunt tests, breed specialty field events and NAVHDA events.