Paul Zelisko and Roger Davis were members of the Fox River Hunting Retriever Club, headquartered near Elgin IL. Paul lived in Lake Forest IL and Roger lived in Pleasant Prairie WI and tried to attend FRV meetings and training sessions near Elgin. However, to do so, required them to drive an hour each way. In June 1990, the two of them decided to explore the possibility of a new HRC club in SE Wisconsin, and with the support of the FRV members, they held an organizational meeting at the Bong conference center. Because of the overwhelming attendance at this meeting (standing room only), the application was submitted to Hunting Retriever Clubs Inc. and WISILL HRC became an official HRC club. The club name was chosen because of the frequent use of a training whistle and the close proximity to the Wisconsin / Illinois state line. The original membership was about 30 with Roger as President, Paul as VP/Treasurer, and Pat Davis as Secretary.
With help from FRV members, WISILL’s first hunt test was scheduled for August 1991. The enthusiasm of the new WISILL members at training sessions kept Paul & Roger busy trying to prepare them for that upcoming event. One of them would stay in the parking area, explaining the “how and why” of the different training scenarios while the other was at the training line helping the handlers with their dogs. The improvement and understanding by the new members were gradual but consistent, and many of these new members realized their 1st test pass at the August hunt test.
The focus then, as it is now, was to help each member move forward with the training of their hunting retriever and realize how that training would ultimately result in a great hunting partner. Members helping members was and continues to be the focus and philosophy of WISILL HRC.