Interview with Luke Cour

Professional Trainer at Best Retrievers

Luke Cour

Luke Cour grew up, as most outdoor kids, hunting and fishing. He also spent a lot of time watching his dad train upland bird dogs and running field trails. As Luke got older he and his dad began waterfowl hunting and by the time he reached college age he decided to get his own waterdog dog, a Labrador named Colt. Luke was attending college when he made the decision that he and Colt would start running hunt test together. It was at their first hunt test that Luke met Rody Best from Best Retrievers in Paige, TX. Luke said to us, “ Just the right place at the right time.”
They hit it off and Rody offered him a job. To start Luke would be throwing birds at Best Retrievers.

Luke has always loved working with animals. He worked with some of his dads horses growing up as well as the bird dogs. His dad was always asking him, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” Luke’s answer was always the same, “Hunting or fishing… I need a job where I can hunt and fish.” For Luke training dogs for waterfowl was kind of like hunting and fishing. So, it wasn’t long before Luke got that opportunity… to train dogs full time at Best Retrievers.

Luke is a pretty competitive person by nature and when he found out that you could train dogs in a competitive environment, he was hooked. He knew that if he could be doing this, training dogs for a living, then he was doing the right thing.

SRS Reporter: When did you first hear about the Super Retriever Series?

Luke: I came across the SRS when I was younger. My Dad and I used to watch it on ESPN. It was the Great Outdoor Games I think because it was little segments. I didn’t really know what it was at the time, but we saw the dogs hunting and I thought it was pretty cool. We were into the upland dogs then and not really into retrievers or waterfowl. When I started working for Rody he talked about SRS. He showed me some videos on Youtube from when he participated in the SRS game. I was able to see the different types of scenarios or tests in the SRS. It seemed cool, you were able to train in every type of Retriever venue, be it field trial, hunt test or a duck hunt. This type of game is what drew me in. It was really interesting with the point system and using the plastic ducks …the EZB’s and it gave every dog the opportunity to win.

SRS Reporter: So how did you start running SRS?

Luke: Well it was 2 years ago, 2016… Best Retrievers hosted a SRS Club event. Since it was at our place some of our clients asked if we could enter their dogs. Even though I was a rookie and Rody’s assistant I asked if I could run it. Lucky enough he said I could and I kind of just winged it. I ended up coming in 3rd place with Indy and that was it, I was hooked on my first try. I just really enjoyed the game.

SRS Reporter: What is it like running a dog in the SRS Game?

Luke: It’s a thrill…. It’s an adrenalin rush. The main thing is that draws me to it and makes it fun is that it’s not just about the dog and its not just about the handler…you really have to be a team. Every bird counts every time your standing at the line. Every time you send your dog its win or lose. So just having that relationship and communication with that dog is what makes it stand out from any other game to me.

SRS Reporter: Some folks that watch this game or any game retriever game and think your just brining a dog to the line and running. What is it like bringing multiple dogs? It’s really a different athlete to the line each time, right?

Luke: yeah, oh yeah… every dog is different and so you have to play the game to the advantages of each dog. You may pick up the birds in a certain order with one dog and you may have to change that up with the next dog. Sometimes it can be strategic in the beginning of a really tough test and dogs are struggling on it so your just trying figure it all out…. because what works on one dog may not work on the next dog. You may have to play off your dog and their tendencies and off what your dog strengths and weaknesses are to come up with the best way to make your dog successful in that series.

SRS Reporter:  You have won back to back, 2018 & 2019 in the Eukanuba Team of the year Race Open Division.  Do you have a strategy on this?  What makes someone chase TOY? And how do you feel winning back to back TOY awards?”

Luke: I wouldn’t say I necessarily have a strategy for this, I more just have the right team to achieve it. Unlike many others I am apart of a big team here at Best Retrievers. There are many players on our team that all play a big role in the success we have in the SRS. I have the support from our team to be on the road and chase this game we call the Super Retriever Series. Our team works hard everyday of the week to prepare for these events and make sure our athletes are ready to compete to their fullest. 

What makes us chase TOY is the initial chase to qualify for the Crown Championship. Once we qualify then we just keep running. Chasing TOY, accumulating SRS open points, line time to prepare for the Crown, and it doesn’t hurt to get a check every now and then! It all just goes hand in hand with chasing TOY. 

It feels great winning back to back TOY awards. At my age and experience, the team I get to be a part of and the support I have is what feels the best. I think what is most special about winning back to back TOY is Indy is a Best Retrievers boy and so am I. Kristin Best did both of our foundation training, Rody Best trained us both up to a Master level, and then I’ve been blessed enough to work with him from that point to chase SRS and all of the other events we run. Indy and I pretty much went through our training program at the same time. When people think of us winning back to back Team of the Year they think of “Indy and Luke.” What they don’t see is the entire team that really stands with us on that line. His owners Randy Morris and Lorrie Knight give us the support that makes us proud to stand up there for them. Randy, Lorrie, the Best Retrievers Team, and Indy. That’s your back to back TOY team right there.

SRS Reporter: “Tell me about Indy?” 

Luke: Indy is a big beautiful yellow male. He almost looks majestic when you see his intensity on the line and running through the field. If I could describe Indy in one word it’s trustworthy. He’s the dog I always know how I’m gonna play it. He’s a go big or go home kind of guy, kind of like myself. I can usually trust him to get that money cast or really challenge the setup and go at it to try to get the low score. He’s a lover, and a best friend. All he asks for is love and friendship and he will go get any bird you ask him to. If you ask me, that’s the best kind of teammate you can have in this game. 

SRS Reporter: I hear so many say they are afraid to play this game… How do you encourage new teams to make the plunge and play this game?

Luke: This game is about competition, for me the more teams in that event the better the competition is… that’s what makes it fun. The scary part is stepping to the line for the first time. Once they get to the line they may not be successful that first time but they will get a feel for it. I think once you step to the line once, then like me you become addicted and want to continue to come play. They hear the scoring system with the points and think they have to do math in their head the whole time, but you just have to run this like any other event that you run and just hope for the best.