Owners of the well-respected and incomparable Wildrose International, it’s hard to imagine how Mike and Cathy Stewart find time to sleep at night. Kennels, trainings, events and seminars, videos, a trading company and collaborations with partners like Purina, Ducks Unlimited and Orvis prove the couple’s commitment to their craft is unmatched. In fact, training gun dogs the “Wildrose Way” is a technique recognized by field sporting enthusiasts throughout the world.
Located in Oxford, Mississippi, Wildrose International is a sporting dog facility, also known for being the largest breeder, trainer and importer of British and Irish Labradors in North America. Although there are multiple facilities in the U.S., its home location is also where you’ll find the Wildrose Trading Company and a bevy of training gear, apparel, books and other outfitting options to support people (and pups) on their sporting journeys.
Attendees of the inaugural Wetumpka Wildlife Arts Festival happening November 5 will be lucky enough to witness the masters at work. Not surprisingly, Wildrose is no stranger to wildlife arts festivals and Mike Stewart points out art has always been present in the field sporting world.
“Art has always been a big part of the sporting lifestyle. For instance, hunting lodges have outdoor art and sculptures. We’ve associated with many venues hosting ‘the field arts,’ including Garden & Gun Jubilee, South Eastern Wildlife Expo or SEWE, the Ducks Unlimited Expo, the Dallas Collectors Covey Gallery and Orvis Game Fairs. And although I see a slow uptrend in the shooting sports, in general, outdoor activities are growing leaps and bounds.”
Known for its Appalachian foothills and rumbling waters, Stewart acknowledges Wetumpka will make a great setting for a new annual wildlife arts event.
“It’s an interesting place. We like to go to different venues, and I have clients that live there, friends that live there, and clients coming to visit the festival. We’re bringing a four-dog squad. We’ve been in a lot of large venues, but this one will be smaller and more intimate.”
Wetumpka will also be the second venue to welcome Wildrose Pappy Van Winkle, a young lab the Stewarts trained personally.
“We’ll have some interesting British Labradors in attendance, three imported from the UK, and one we personally raised ourselves: Pappy Van Winkle. He’s a character. At 15 months old, his first show was two weeks ago at the Biltmore in North Carolina, and Wetumpka will be his second show.”
From award-winning magazines, television shows and every medium in between, Wildrose has often been in the spotlight. Those visiting the Wetumpka Wildlife Arts Festival will be fortunate to see “The Wildrose Way” in action.