This year, our judges selected winners for six total categories, each taking home a prize package of their own.
The Grand Prize winner has earned a 2-night hunt package and gets to join our crew at Black Duck Waterfowl next season to hunt some of the most storied ground in American Waterfowl — Stuttgart, Arkansas.
Each category winner will receive an $800 gift card to Gunner.com for any gear of their choice, as well as a long-distance, digital high-five from our judges. Both sound pretty awesome to us.
Grand Prize Ribbon
The Grand Prize ribbon for #GunnerEffect21 goes to Westin Bryant, from eastern Tennessee, for this capture of Adily and her family’s dog, Pedro. For this ribbon, our judges were looking for the photo that best displayed the bond between a dog and its human. We wanted to feel like we could step into the image and experience the moment — and that’s exactly what we got with this snap.
After notifying Westin that he had been selected as this year’s winner, we asked him for a little more insight into this submission. Here’s the story in his words:
“This photo is of Adily and her dog Pedro — Adily is the daughter of a good friend of mine, Carlos Alberti, a professional dog trainer from Alabama.
For most of us, a retriever is more than just a hunting companion they are part of our family. It was like that with Carlos and Pedro, but so much more as well. Everyone that had the chance to hunt or spend time with them knew their bond was extraordinary. Pedro is foundation of Carlos’s business, Old Dixie Kennels in North Alabama, and he helped Carlos find his true passion in life — training dogs and bringing the most out of them each and everyday.
This photo was taken on Carlos’s oldest daughter Adily’s first hunt in the famed Arkansas Timber — a day Carlos has dreamed about since she was a baby. That morning, Adily shot her first Mallard drake, and Pedro returned the bird directly to her hand, knowing it was she who shot it. The memories that were made that day will forever hold a place in our hearts.
Little did we know, that day would not just be the first, but also the last time Adily shared a tree with Pedro. Shortly after this photo was taken, Pedro was lost to us in a tragic accident at 4 years old. There were many stories yet to be written with Pedro, Adily, and Carlos that will remain untold.
This photo to me was a picture of little girl and a dog who shared the unspoken bond and love we all strive to share with our own dogs. Now I’ll cherish having been able to capture such a special and unforgettable moment for my dear friend, Carlos, and his daughter, that they can hold close to their hearts forever.”
Right place, right time. Sometimes the setting tells the story on its own — we were after an amazing environment. Golden Hour extends beyond those few hours of perfect light. Travel and the pursuit of wild game take us to some of the most unique and awe-inspiring places in creation.
These are the dogs that run all day just to get warmed up. They put in the steps — miles and miles of them. More than a companion, a gundog is an instrumental player in the pursuit of upland game. We tasked our entrants to show us dogs’ skill and drive for the sport.
These photos highlight your dog’s good side — the focus is all on them. This portrait has soul. We wanted to see the stories untold in the eyes of dogs.
Late nights, early mornings, long commutes, harsh conditions, inclement weather, hard work — this pursuit isn’t for the faint of heart, and you know you can count on your four-legged hunting partner to bring the stoke day-in and day-out. That’s what we asked entrants to showcase here.
Winner Winner Gunner Kennel
The shameless plug. Hey, we love our products too — these photos show off your dog along with their GUNNER® gear.