Shawn Kinkelaar was born and raised in the town of Effingham in central Illinois. Kinkelaar grew up hunting quail and pheasant over pointing dogs with his grandfather and uncle. He began field trialing in the early 1980’s and in the late 1980’s began working for and with several of the top shooting dog trainers in the country. Thus, developing a program that is an accumulation of not only his own training methods but, those of fellow trainers that he was fortunate enough to work with as well.
Kinkelaar is now one of only two men in the history of Open Horseback Championships to win over one hundred championships. He has also won more National Dog of the Year Awards than any other trainer which consists of eight awards won by four different dogs which does not include three English Setter national awards not to mention three National Handler of the Year Awards. His training and competition has allowed him to cover a span of nearly all of the United States and a large majority of Canada.