March Joy All Star: Bryan Camper
Joy All Stars was created to honor 12 men and women around the nation that have been around dogs and hunting their whole lives. They have a passion for not only the dogs they hunt with but the sport as well just as we do here at Joy. These individuals also have a history with Joy Dog Food that we want to spotlight as well. We picked these men based on their lifetime commitment to hunting; whether it be coon hunting, duck hunting, rabbit hunting, or any other animal. These men have dedicated their lives to hunting and the dogs they hunt with. We here at Joy Dog Food want to spotlight these men as the true pinnacles of the hunting community to show our support to the hunting world. We will be sharing a story each month about one of these men and their journey through life being a true houndsman and how they have earned the title of a Joy All Star.
Bryan Camper, owner and operator of Swift Rock Kennels, has been bird hunting since he was just a boy. When he was in eighth grade, he saved his lunch money for a year to go and purchase his own bird dog. His first dog was an English Setter by the name of Bryan’s Magnum Mist. He bought the dog from Chris Meyers, a lawyer from Auburn, IN. The lawyer offered to take him hunting and then asked him to train the four dogs that he had. He paid Bryan $150 each.
“I was constantly bringing home dogs. Whether it was my own or other people’s to train. The funny thing is, as a kid, my mom didn’t want me to have ANY dogs. So she was not very happy.”
Bryan made most of his money by training dogs and eventually even breeding them in his early years. This was how Swift Rock Kennels was born.
Beyond the training and breeding, Bryan also competed in field trials. The first two years of his experience in field trials were a little rough, he explained. However, once he started handling an English Pointer by the name of Bingo, he started to win more and more.
“Bingo helped me win more competitions. He helped me understand the trials better and find out where the birds were. He helped me more than most people did.”
Bryan explained during his interview. Although Bryan has handled a dog that has won Northern IL Regional 10 years straight and has made it to Nationals 3 different times, his biggest accomplishments and proudest moments come from the dogs that he trains for others.
“I really enjoy training the dogs and watching them succeed with a good handler that has the time to really work them. I am too busy with training that I just don’t have the time like I used to hunt competitively.”
Bryan has trained around 60 champion dogs at Swift Rock Kennel.
When it comes to feeding his dogs, Bryan only feeds Joy Dog Food. However, when he was a kid, he fed his dogs different brands. He would switch it up, always trying something new. When he tried Joy as a kid, he really enjoyed it and liked the way his dogs performed on it. Then, as Joy started becoming less available, Bryan switched to another brand again. After many years had passed, Joy started showing up in more places and was under new ownership. Bryan decided to try it once again and he was astounded by the High Energy 24/20 formula’s ability to keep his dog’s working and training all day long as well as how much cleaner their kennels were. He started ordering more and more since he had dozens of dogs to feed, and the owner Wade Graskewicz reached out to him. Wade and Bryan formed a great friendship and Bryan appreciated the way Wade respected not only the dogs but the sport as well.
“Not many companies truly care about the customers or the dogs like they say they do. And not many people in general still honor the sport like they used to. It’s nice to have a company that still honors and respects their customers as well as the hunting community.”
Bryan said while talking about his relationship with Joy.