For Brookfield's Jim Rogers, a career in public education does not define what he has done with his time on this planet. Little do many area residents know, but Rogers is a Hall of Fame basset hound breeder and trainer. On March 23, Rogers and his dog Sal earned an Open World Championship to add to the local breeders resume.
Sal is short for the dog's official name, JR Salamander. Rogers is a 2005 Hall of Fame entrant for the American Hunting Basset Association (AHBA). Rogers welcomed two of his prized basset hounds to the Hall. Both Rosie T. Basset (2006) and Linn County Mac (2007) also earned Hall of Fame bids from Rogers' Coal Mine Kennels in subsequent years.
"What success we have experienced in the AHBA can be attributed to a number of things," said Rogers. "We have great dogs, a long-term plan in breeding, and a lot of hours devoted to training."
Rogers may be the one on the Hall of Fame plaque, but no one gets to the pinnacle of their passion without help.
"This could not be accomplished without the help of others," said Rogers. "First, and most importantly, was the partnership with my stepson Shawn Armstrong, my partner in J&S Bassets. Important also was the support of my wife Tasha as Shawn and I spent many weekends traveling great distances to promote our hounds."
Rogers and Armstrong have been competing for years, and nothing will ever make them forget their first World Champion.
"Our first World Champion handled by Shawn was "Demo" a well- bred hound we purchased from a gentleman in Oklahoma who had bred his female to a hound in Ohio," said Rogers. "Bassets are generally known to be late starters compared to other breeds; one-and-a-half to two years is not uncommon."
Now J&S Bassets, working out of Coal Mine Kennels, has two Hall of Fame basset hounds, and multiple World Champions in the Open Class. After their first World Title, the pair began the breeding process to make more winners.
"We purchased a female from a soon-to-be long-time friend in Missouri," recalled Rogers. "This female became the foundation of our hounds. She won the Indiana State Championship at seven months of age, again handled by Shawn. Part of our satisfaction comes from not just the hounds we have won with, but also that others are winning with our breedings."