Dixie Field Trial Club
Ochlocknee, Ga. — The 2017 renewal of the Dixie Open All-Age Classic was held March 15-18 at Burnt Branch Plantation in Ochlocknee, Ga. Unusually cool temperatures for mid-March had the birds out and on the move.
A total of 40 dogs was drawn for the All-Age Stake with 36 competing. The Derby had ten entries with nine competing. Eight pointers competed in the Puppy Stake.
Selecting the winners for all three stakes were judges Eric Small of Quitman, Ga., and Reid Hankley of Tallahassee, Fla. Both of these young gentlemen have been around the game all of their lives, and they are now managers of two renowned hunting plantations. Their decisions were well received and they were enjoyable to ride with for the three-and-a-half-day duration.
A huge sum of gratitude goes out to Eddie and Carole Sholar for the use of their elegant lodge, facilities and grounds. Burnt Branch Plantation is a first-class venue to host the well-known event. Without such benevolent hosts and landowners, such as the Sholars, field trials would be non-existent. Everyone involved was very humble and appreciative of such a fine place to compete their dogs.
The delectable lunches were prepared and served each day by Mr. James Parker (Ginn). Ginn also had hot coffee and sausage biscuits ready after the first hour each morning. This was a nice treat to help warm the body with the cooler temperatures. The meals each day were some of the best I had during my three-week stay in the piney woods.
Taking care of the marshalling duties were Greg Sheppard and Billy Wayne Morton. Each man rode every brace to make sure all was in order. Billy Wayne is also the president of the club. He takes on many tasks before, during and after the running. Billy Wayne remembers attending this trial when he was just a youngster with his father Billy Morton. With this famed event being such a big part of his life, he revived it in 2016. This year the trial drew a total string of 58 competitors which included an expanded team of seventeen handlers.
Making sure the trial ran smoothly was dog wagon driver Terry Wynn (Ko-Jack). He was always in the right place for the continuous three hour courses. Ko-Jack also made sure refreshments were plentiful for all participants.
Of course the trial could not be a complete success without its official sponsor, Purina. A big token of appreciation goes out to them for all they do for the sport, and producing such a quality feed for our four legged athletes.
OPEN ALL-AGE WINNERS
Taking top honors in the field of seasoned competitors was Erin’s Longmire, pointer male owned by Brad Calkins of Centennial, Colo., and handled by Robin Gates. Longmire was paired with Small Town Throwdown (Shenker) in the 5th brace. Throwdown was not impressing his handler and was put on the wagon at 18. Longmire was not seen at 33, but at 42 as Gates was anxiously calling on the classy competitor he rode up to him pointed dead ahead on course. As he dismounted a nice band of birds boiled up off the ground. His second intense find came at 52 nearing the ditch crossing at the school bus. Longmire contended with an elegant, quick gait the entire hour.
Second was awarded to House’s Buckwheat Hawk, white and liver pointer male owned by Bruce and Karen Norton of Norman Park, Ga., and handled by Mark McLean. Mrs. Karen was in the saddle to watch her favored contestant. Hawk was braced in No. 11 with Unchained Spirit (Henley). Hawk had his first high class find at 48. Birds were a bit difficult to locate, but after a bold relocation he had them pinned. His second came just as pickup was called and was just as stylish as his first. Hawk showed a progressive snappy gait for the duration of the hour. Spirit was unable to produce game, but hunted hard until completion.
Rounding off the placements was white and liver pointer male Funseek’n Hit Man, owned by Jack and Tracy Haines of Broomfield, Colo., and handled by Jamie Daniels. He was braced with Shadow’s White Warrior (Gates) in the 6th brace. Warrior failed to produce game at 21 and was harnessed. At 22 Daniels called point on the right side of the course far to the front. As he took only a few steps a nice bevy left the ground rewarding Hit Man with a pleasurable sharp find. Hit Man’s second admirable find came at 39 just after the course swings back to the left on top of the hill. He put down a sharp and forceful pace the entire hour.
Starting off the trial with the temperature at a chilly 37° were Dominator’s Rebel Legacy (Daniels) and Coldwater Hammer (McLean). At 25 McLean was unable to produce game for Hammer. Just 400 yards up the course, at 26, the same occurred for Daniels and Legacy. At 32 Legacy was headed up the right edge of the piney woods and swapped ends. A nice band of bobwhites flew rewarding him with the first find of the trial. Hammer came in from the side and honored. Legacy’s second find came at 36 and was just as staunch as his first. Hammer, not suiting his handler, was put on the rope at 40. Legacy finished the hour in the wheat field behind the headquarters. His pace was just as snappy and quick at the finish as it was from the breakaway.
Seminole Boss (Furney) and Mercer Mill Moon (Morton). Just off the breakaway at 3 Boss produced a nice bevy. At 17 as we topped the hill Morton called point for Moon. As the judges were riding to the distinguished pointer the covey flew in front of him, rewarding him a nice find. Boss’ second game contact came at 24, but was not successful at 43. His third find came at 45, and his fourth at 51. Moon ran a strong, advanced race and hunted the front. Boss also competed at a nice pace and finished the hour.
Touch’s Secret Agent (Furney) pointed at 7 and produced a single. He pointed again at 18, but Furney was only able to produce two piles of feathers. Shadow’s Full Throttle (Gates) had a precise find at 37. At 42 his stand was unproductive with his bracemate behind him. Agent’s second piece of bird work came at 54 nearing the school bus. Both pointers completed the heat.
Turned loose at 1:28, the temperature nearing 50°, were Sandhill Trig (Rayl) and Shearjoy’s Unforgiven (Daniels). Unforgiven was originally scheduled to start in the 14th brace, but Nonami Si (Cody McLean) was scratched due to unforeseen circumstances. At 8 in the food plot running along Egg and Butter Roads Trig was hunting up the right side in front of the Furney house and pointed. Rayl flushed a large covey of bobwhites. Just up the course at 9 Unforgiven failed to produce game. He went missing at 32 and Daniels called for the retrieval device at 49. Trig completed the hour.
The 5th and 6th braces produced the first and third place winners, respectively, and have been reviewed.
Thursday morning the temperature was a frigid 29° for Chinquapin Bear (Warren) and Just Watch (Daniels). Just Watch was originally scheduled to compete in the 15th brace, but K F Tornado (Carlton) was scratched and he was moved up. After Bear had be gone from the front for 18, Warren called for the retrieval device at 54. Just Watch finished the hour with strong momentum; however, no game was located.
Rocky Knoll Jackson (Rayl) and Just Unforgettable (Daniels). At 14 Unforgettable was unable to locate game. Jackson came in from the left and honored. At 39 Jackson was also unsuccessful. Both were on the wagon at 42.
Erin’s Muddy River (Gates) topped the hill at the school bus at 29 and styled up nicely. A single was generated. He was harnessed at 51 after an unproductive. Georgia Boy Rock was not seen at 39 and McLean called it a day at 55.
Competing in the 10th brace with the temperature warming to 47° were Shadow’s Next Exit (Gates) and Fire Line (McLean). Fire Line was credited with a nice forward find at 7 in front of the Furney house. Neither dog was doing an acceptable job for their handlers and were both picked up at 34.
The 11th brace produced the second place winner and has been reviewed.
Chinquapin Hank pointed at 20; after two relocations, Warren decided to take the unproductive. Mercer Mill Grand (Morton) was also unlucky at 24. At 36 Morton called on Grand and kept riding to the front only to find him pointing. This time a nice bevy was produced. Hank was unsuccessful once more at 43 and was harnessed. Grand did swing in from the right to back his bracemate. He was put on the wagon at 50.
Beginning the last day of the stake with the temperature nearing 35° in the 13th brace were Lester’s Private Charter (McLean) and Rocky Knoll Annie (Rayl). Charter was able to locate the covey in front of the Furney house at 9. His second find came at 14 just before making the hard left back into the piney woods. He hit the scent so hard he slid a little and then styled back up. As McLean flushed a rather large covey flew rewarding his young competitor with a very nice find. Both dogs finished the hour swinging the front.
E F’s Dirty Deeds in brace No. 14 and Mercer Mill Gunpowder in No. 15 were scratched.
Competing in the 14th brace were Chinquapin Legacy (Sikes) and Sims Rambling Rex (Rayl). Rex was picked up at 16. Legacy was harnessed at 57.
Chinquapin Reward (Sikes) and Touch’s White Knight (McLean). McLean called it a day at 42. Reward was put on the wagon at 45.
Contending in No. 16 on Friday afternoon with the temperature reaching 70° were Touch’s Blue Moon (McLean) and The Reveler (Rayl). Both dogs were harnessed at 49.
Sinbad’s Rumor was not hunting to suit Daniels and was put on the wagon at 34. Goodson’s Barcode (Rayl) was picked up at 50.
Touch’s Game Point (McLean) had difficulty locating the birds at 34, but after a strong relocation he had them pinned. Rayl called for the retrieval unit at 37 for Spencer’s Rambling Lawman. Game Point had his second game contact at 43 and was very bold and tight as the judges arrived. He hunted the entire hour with a fashionable, steadfast gait.
Ochlocknee, Ga., March 15
Judges: Reid Hankley and Eric Small
OPEN ALL-AGE [One-Hour Heats] — 39 Pointers and 1 Setter
1st—ERIN’S LONGMIRE, 1655343, pointer male, by Erin’s Whiskey River—Erin’s Wild Rose. Brad H. Calkins, owner; Robin Gates, handler.
2d—HOUSE’S BUCKWHEAT HAWK, 1651907, pointer male, by House’s White Hawk—Quinton’s Flying High. Bruce & Karen Norton, owners; Mark McLean, handler.
3d—FUNSEEK’N HIT MAN, 1630314, pointer male, by Rivertons Funseek’n Scooter—Just Wait Bess. Jack & Tracy Haines, owners; Jamie Daniels, handler.
Bruce and Karen Norton were on horseback Saturday morning to watch their youngster Lester’s Private Charter, compete in the Derby. After a very strong ground race, exhibiting class and enthusiasm he was named the winner. The pointer male is co-owned with Dr. Reuben Richardson and was handled by Mark McLean.
His bracemate, Sims Rambling Rex, owned by Junior Sims of Pensacola, Fla., and handled by Fred Rayl, also ran a forward bold race which earned him second. Rounding it off with third was Red Sun Rising, owned and handled by Tom Shenker of Albany, Ga. This dazzling young pointer male was credited with two clean finds and a sharp ground race.
OPEN DERBY CLASSIC — 10 Pointers
1st—LESTER’S PRIVATE CHARTER, 1668186, male, by Ransom—Nilo Discovery. Dr. Reuben Richardson & Bruce & Karen Norton, owners; Mark McLean, handler.
2d—SIMS RAMBLING REX, 1661666, male, by Truley Amazing—War Dance Pat. Junior Sims, Jr., owner; Fred Rayl, handler.
3d—RED SUN RISING, 1671835, male, by Erin’s Redrum—Lil Miss Sunshine. Tom Shenker, owner and handler.
Open Puppy Winners
Perhaps one of the most fun stakes to watch are the puppies. Eight youngsters vied hard for a placement. All showed great potential for upcoming Derbies. Cody McLean took home the historic puppy trophy for his pointer male Rex, owned by Frank Foley of Columbus, Ga. Cody also placed pointer male Spot third for owner Frank Foley. Placing second was Lady, pointer female owned by Mercer Mill Plantation and handled by Lake Odum.
OPEN PUPPY CLASSIC — 7 Pointers and 1 Setter
1st—REX, unreg., pointer male, breeding not given. Frank Foley, owner; Cody McLean, handler.
2d—LADY, unreg., pointer female, breeding not given. Mercer Mill Plantation, owner; Lake Odum, handler.
3d—SPOT, unreg., pointer male, breeding not given. Frank Foley, owner; Cody McLean, handler.