In 1998 he was voted into life membership in the American Brittany Club. In 2002, Gene was voted by his peers into the ABC Distinguished Hall of Fame for people.
Gene has been in Brittanys since the early 1960's. He wouldn't think of going hunting without a brittany. He is an avid sportsman and feels the brittany is the best dog for that activity. Shortly after acquiring his first brittany the interest in field trialing began. He has finished more than 30 Field Champions and Amateur Field Champions. In addition, he has also placed show titles and obedience titles as well as Hunt Test titles on his dogs. But the field has always held the most desire and interest.
As a result, he has spent many an hour judging weekend trials, Classics (Pheasant twice, Gundog,Chicken),the Gun Dog Nationals, and the Amateur All Age Nationals. He attends field trials consistently throughout the central region on an every weekend schedule during the spring and fall. He is a consistent placer at whatever trial he attends. He seldom gets shutout of the placements. He has placed in National events as well. (ABC Futurity, Gun Dog Classic, Quail Classic and has received Honorable Mention at the Gun Dog Championship twice).
He is very proud of his FC Rock It. Rock It was named by the American Kennel Club as the #1 Brittany in the United States for the year 2002 according to their Top Dog Listing. Dogs can earn a spot in this list by placing first and earning championship points in competition. Rock It earned 21 championship points in the year 2002 and bested some of the greatest competition ever. In addition, Rock It was # 2 in the All Pointing Breed Top Dog List.
Gene has been a member of the Illinois Regional Brittany Club, LaSalle Brittany Club, and the Heart of Illinois Brittany Club. As a member of the Heart of Illinois Brittany Club he has served the club as President, 1st Vice President, Director, Field Trial Chairman, Field Trial Secretary and on many of the necessary committees to keep a club running smoothly.
He has served the ABC in many capacities. He was called upon to be Central Dates Coordinator, in June of 1980. This position he held until 1984. During that time he learned the complexities of scheduling across regions. He was asked to run as Central Director during 1983 and served in that capacity from November 1983 through 1999. He was National Dates Coordinator for the American Brittany Club from 2001 to 2006.
Being a part of the ABC Board of Directors, he served in many capacities and on many committees. He served as Parliamentarian for several years. Some committee appointments were, Show Site Selection, Gun Dog National Committee, Field Trial Dates Committee, Nominating, Futurity Chairman, Policy Notebook Interim Review Committee. He has always been available for input and a listening ear to the world of brittany owners.
Gene is a proud owner of Nevene Kennels. He raises, trains, and field trials the dogs. Since becoming a professional trainer, Gene can be seen early each morning training the dogs to help them become better hunters for their owners. He has put Championship titles on several dogs in several different categories of AKC events. As a result of his efforts he is well known nation wide at field trial events. He has owned 7 Show Champions, 2 with CD titles, 1 with a CDX and 19 Field Champions. As you can see the field work is the most exciting for Gene He currently has several dogs that have earned points, but have not finished their titles at this point.
When he is not working with dogs, he pursues his career of teaching at the local junior college. He retired from high school teaching at Liberty High School. He found that he couldn't stay out of the classroom so he worked at JWCC until he retired in 2011 after 17 years. He has served the community on the local school board for 8 years. He is also active on other community and organization committees.
He has participated in the Field Trial Clubs of Illinois events for over 20 years. Most recently he is serving as Director of this organization. He is the responsible party for creating websites for both FTCI and HIBC. He is presently do the FTCI AWARDS BANQUET Catalogue. In 2009 he was awarded "Distinguished Senior Service Award" by FTCI. In 2018 he was awarded "SPORTSMAN OF YEAR" by FTCI.
Gene is proud of his family who has shared in his love of the dogs and field work. While raising 2 children, Cheryl and Jerry, they would often be seen with their dad helping in the field and playing with their brittanys. Both attended field trials as a part of growing up. Now he has 5 grandchildren who now help with the chores at home and love to "play" with the dogs. His wife Neveta, attends the field trials with him and serves as his scout as well as chief cook, bottle washer and critiques his field work. This makes for timely, as well as lively, conversation on the long drive home from field trials.