Georgia Derby and Quail Championships
Waynesboro, Ga. — On December 30 John Ray and Mary Kimbrell arrived in their motor home at Di-Lane Plantation, Waynesboro, Ga., the “Bird Dog Capital of the World.” John Ray has served as stake manager for many years. It is hard to imagine hosting trials without his day-to-day assistance.
He and Mary arrive and set up a temporary home until the Open Shooting Dog Championship concludes. This year it concluded on January 20.
John Ray’s first job around the grounds was to make sure that power was on as well as the water supply. The water troughs were all put in place along with watering hoses, and any other details that needed to be taken care of at the stables.
The drawing began at 7:00 p. m. at the home of Nell with the assistance of Gary Futch, president of GFTA, Becky Futch, John Ray and Mary. Becky completed the drawing sheets.
I cannot recall in my tenure as secretary entries for the Derby and All-Age Championships being this low — 20 in the Derby and 31 in the All-Age. It was stated that conflicting trial dates, along with sick animals and accidents, were responsible for the low entries. Hopefully the faithful trainers and owners will be back with us in 2018.
John Vescusoe assumed his duties as manager of Di-Lane in July, 2016. He has been with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for seven years. He is a very enthusiastic young man and wanted to make certain that everything we needed was taken care of. John and his wife Sherry and daughter Destrie were on hand for several social events. It was evident that our interest was prevalent. The courses were mowed and prepared prior to the competition. Henry Williams, a long-time employee of the DNR, spent many hours on the tractor bush-hogging. Many favorable remarks were made in regard to the condition of the courses.
In the early fall, I made contact with Greg Blair, area manager of Nestlé Purina PetCare, in regards to their continued support. All of my requests were positively handled. Prior to the trials the popular caps arrived along with the banner for photos, sample bags of Pro Plan for the entries and dog feed certificates for the winners.
Purina has sponsored the owners-handlers’ banquet for many years. Over 60 people enjoyed a steak dinner along with the condiments. The dinner was prepared and served by Kathy Cannon and Leroy Bell, caterers, with the assistance of Gene and Dale Ward.
We could not do without the support of the Burke County Chamber of Commerce. Funds collected from the tourism hotel/motel tax are funneled through the chamber to pay for our advertising.
Ashley Roberts has served as its executive director for many years. Ashley is very interested in the future of the field trial sport.
GEORGIA DERBY CHAMPIONSHIP
On Christmas Day it was so hot that it was necessary to turn on our air conditioners. January 2 temperatures had dropped to 25°. Thunderstorms were prevalent in the area with heavy rainfalls. The first brace of the stake was postponed until 11:00 a. m., completing only four braces on day No. 1.
Last season Doug Arthur and Larry Cox were in the judicial saddles to judge the Quail Championship. Before leaving they were invited to judge the 2017 Derby Championship.
Doug hails from Eads, Tenn. He retired as manager of a Ford dealership in Memphis. He grew up bird hunting. At the age of 18 he attended a walking shooting dog trial and got hooked on the sport. In 1968 he placed a dog with Faye Throneberry and has continued with dogs in competition. He began campaigning dogs with Steve Hurdle in 2006 and continues to have dogs in his kennel. Doug states that he has “won trials and lost a lot.”
Following his retirement from Bell South after 30 years of service, Larry Cox of Randleman, N. C., enjoys spending as much time as possible with the sport that is dear to his heart. I first met him in North Dakota at Bert Robinson’s camp. Larry has judged some 37 championships as well as a number of qualifying stakes. He judged the Quail Shooting Dog Futurity several times and the National Open Shooting Dog Championship in 2015.
Bracemates were given top honors, running in the fourth brace on course No. 1. Named champion was pointer female Pendy’s Good Grace, handled by Luke Eisenhart for owner Matt Pendergest of Lexington, Ky. Grace took to the course with hunting on her mind. Point was called at 24 with perfect manners, standing high when the gun was fired. Eisenhart carried her on and she hunted intently. This Derby could always be spotted at the front running a good race, finishing the hour out front. I’m sure we will see her running in all-age competitions next year.
Very close to the champion was pointer female Erin’s Fatal Attraction which was named runner-up for owner Maeve Derrig of Bannockburn, Ill., with her father Sean Derrig handling. Attraction was mannerly as she backed the champion at 24. Sean piloted her around the course where she had mannerly finds at 30 and 50. Attraction made some good casts during her hour and had a strong finish. Maeve was in the gallery to watch her young Derby.
Following a delay due to thunderstorms in the area and heavy rain with a cold 25°, the first brace was released. Erin’s Country Thunder (Sean Derrig) could be seen running to the front but went birdless. Charles Morton called point for Lumon at the gas line in the plum thicket, no game produced. He was carried on and point was called at 40, all in order. The hour concluded with a finish to the front with a medium race.
Shearjoy’s Unforgiven (Jamie Daniels) and Cross City Hank (Tommy Davis) were released on course No. 2. No birds were seen when Unforgiven pointed at 34. Unforgiven showed good manners when he backed Hank at 40. Unforgiven had a nice forward race for the hour. Hank had all in order finds at 18, 40 and 43. Not pleasing his handler, Hank was picked up before the hour ended.
Sioux G Force was not running to the expectations of Mark Henley and was picked up early. Luke Eisenhart was not pleased with the performance of Jackson’s Black List and called it a day at 30.
Erin’s Fatal Attraction and Pendy’s Good Grace were reported as runner-up and champion, respectively.
The fifth brace started in a cold rain with Mark Henley choosing to scratch Cleared for Takeoff. Lee Phillips released Mayhaw King ofthe Hill at 8:30. Hill ran a medium forward race and carded a find at 59.
Showtime Dominator (Daniels) stopped at 11 to honor Erin’s River Dance (Eisenhart). Dominator carded mannerly finds at 45 and 50, followed by a divided find at pickup. He was credited with a medium race. No birds were flushed at 11 for Dance; however, finds were recorded for him at 45 and 50 along with the divided find as the hour ended.
Erin’s Rebel Run (Derrig) and Touch’s Mega Mike (Ike Todd) were credited with a divided find at 2. Additional finds were recorded for Rebel Run at 13, 29 and 37 prior to completing the hour. Mike pointed at 6 with birds flushed. At 13 Mike honored Run’s point. Additional finds were recorded at 30 and 37 for Mike prior to a limited finish.
Awsum’s Country Justice (Eisenhart) ran a good race but went birdless. Quickmarksman Dan (Mike Hester) pointed at 12 with game noted in his medium range race.
Mayhaw’s Ramblin Man (Phillips) backed Game Throne (Todd) at 5 but no birds were produced. Man continued on the course with birds seen at 18 with Throne backing. Another find at 20 with an abbreviated race at 52 following a second unproductive.
Sim’s Rambling Rev (Fred Rayl) stopped at 24 with Erin’s Kentucky Moonshine (Eisenhart) honoring. Rayl harnessed Rev following a point at 29. Moonshine had an all in order find at 33, finishing his time to the front with medium range.
Waynesboro, Ga., January 2
Judges: Doug Arthur and Larry Cox
GEORGIA DERBY CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] — 19 Pointers and 1 Setter
Winner—PENDY’S GOOD GRACE, 1664858, pointer female, by Reloaded—Dialed In. Matt Pendergest, owner; Luke Eisenhart, handler.
Runner-Up—ERIN’S FATAL ATTRACTION, 1660552, pointer female, by Erin’s Whiskey River—Erin’s Wild Rose. Maeve Derrig, owner; Sean Derrig, handler.
GEORGIA QUAIL CHAMPIONSHIP
The Quail Championship got underway Wednesday morning with Mike Cheely of Fayetteville, Ga., and Tracy Swearingen of Leesburg, Ga., up front in the judicial saddles. Mike has judged in our professional stakes in previous years; however, this was Tracy’s first invitation. Tracy’s wife Christy accompanied him along with Neil Walker’s school-age son Stephens.
Mike began field trialing in 1980 along with friend Luke Weaver of Jackson, Ga. Ninety-nine percent of his dogs were partnered with Luke. He was with a car dealership most of his working years and continues with a finance company in home building. Mike has judged a number of trials including open, amateur, national and regional, namely the Masters, Southeastern Shooting Dog, Oklahoma All-Age, the Border International and Manitoba Championships, U. S. Open and Chicken Championships and National Amateur Shooting Dog. The list could go on and on as Mike is a judge with lots of experience.
Tracy is the nephew of popular Bubba Moreland’s wife, having worked with Bubba over 20 years. He said that he started with bird dogs when he was seven years old and continues to campaign them frequently. At the present time he is working with Sandy and Neil Walker. Tracy is a sought-after judge and judged the National Shooting Dog Championship for a second time in February. He has a lengthy list of judicial assignments — the Lee County Amateur, Shadow Oak trial, Round Pond Amateur Shooting Dog Classic, and more amateur and open stakes than he can take the time to recall. Tracy has excellent sportsmanship qualities and will be on our list for return.
Luke Eisenhart was the sole handler in the winners’ circle when the champion and runner-up were named. He was not present for photos. Erin’s Wild Justice, five-year-old white and liver pointer male, racked up his seventh championship title for owner Allen R. Linder of Livingston, Tenn. Justice carded excellent finds at 12 and 20 looking stylish, with good composure when birds were in flight. At 47 excellent manners were noted when Justice backed his bracemate. He carded a third find at 60, all in order as birds flushed. Wild Justice took to the course in a strong manner and finished the hour accordingly.
Runner-up honors went to True Confidence, eight-year-old white and orange pointer male owned by Frank and Jean LaNasa of Isanti, Minn. A fine line separated the two winners. Confidence ran on the second course, usually known as the most challenging of the three. This did not seem to bother Confidence. He hunted in the right places with a strong forward race. Multiple finds were marked at 12, 23, 45 and 57. When time was called he could be seen out front at the same velocity with which he began.
Judges Cheely and Swearingen asked that special mention be noted of the performance of Erin’s Hidden Shamrock, setter male handled by Sean Derrig. Shamrock was braced with the champion. Point was called at 14 with a single bird raised that the judges did not see. Shamrock continued on with all in order finds at 30, 47, 57 and 60. Shamrock made good casts during the hour and had a strong finish. The judges made mention that this was the closest trial they had ever judged to name a champion and runner-up out of three dogs. An unproductive at 14 cost Shamrock one of the prestigious placements.
Dominator’s Rebel Legacy (Jamie Daniels) honored his bracemate with a back at 27 and was last seen shortly afterwards. Spencer’s Rambling Lawman (Freddie Rayl) had a commendable find at 27, moving on the course at medium range to the front, finishing the hour.
Erin’s Wild Justice and Erin’s Hidden Shamrock were reported with the winners.
Just Watch was not pleasing Daniels and was harnessed at 30. Tekoa Mountain Bulldog had a breach of manners and was picked up by Travis Gellhaus at 12.
Lone Tree’s Rod Iron (Mike Hester) honored bracemate with a back at 6. He had a medium range race with no other bird contact. Rocky Knoll Jackson (Rayl) had an all in order find at 6 and finished his time with a medium range race.
Funseek’n Hit Man (Daniels) had finds at 14 and 56, finishing the hour with a medium range race. Erin’s Whiskey River (Derrig) went missing early.
Dominator’s Dotted Line went missing early and Daniels requested the retrieval device. Dunn’s Tried’N True had an unproductive at 12 and Eisenhart picked up at 30.
Following a find at 15 with all in order, Erin’s Redrum (Derrig) continued on to finish the hour. Quickmarksman Tom Tekoa (Hester) was running at medium range with a find at 19 followed with a second at 45.
Erin’s Full Throttle (Lefty Henry) was always seen out front and point was called at 57 with birds in flight. True Confidence’s (Eisenhart) effort was detailed earlier.
Daniels picked up Dominator’s Rebel Heir at 40 following a back at 2. Sandhill Trig (Rayl) carded four finds at 2, 13, 18 and 28. Trig went missing with handler requesting the retrieval unit.
Shearjoy Big Money (Daniels) and Play at the Plate (Gellhaus) were not performing to please handlers and were harnessed at 40.
Phantom’s Slimbucktoo (Gellhaus) ran the course well but went missing early in the hour. When Miller’s Hennessey (Martino) had a breach of manners he was picked up early in the hour.
Two unproductives resulted in Rocky Knoll Annie (Rayl) being picked up. Shadow’s Bewitched (Furney) went missing early in the hour but returned to have satisfactory finds at 27 and 45.
Just Irresistible (Daniels) and Touch’s Wild Desire (Furney) were lost and not returned to judgment.
Lost and not returned to judgment was Sinbad’s Rumor (Daniels). Scratched from brace No. 14 by Rick Furney was Seminole Boss. The bye dog in brace No. 16, Daniels Creek Whitehawk (Gellhaus), was moved up in the bottom dog’s position. Whitehawk was lost shortly after breakaway.
Gellhaus chose to pick up his setter male Thunderbird Jaxinabox early in the hour. Furney chose to shorten the hour of Touch’s Secret Agent following a back at 6 and a find at 10.
Judges: Mike Cheely and Tracy Swearingen
GEORGIA QUAIL CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] — 31 Entries
Winner—ERIN’S WILD JUSTICE, 1643384, pointer male, by Whippoorwill Wild Agin—Sparrowhawk. Allen R. Linder, owner; Luke Eisenhart, handler.
Runner-Up—TRUE CONFIDENCE, 1622365, pointer male, by Two Acre Bulldog—Bar P Anex. Frank & Jean LaNasa, owners; Luke Eisenhart, handler.
The Georgia Field Trial Association has excellent community support. Approximately 100 persons join the association with a contribution annually to help toward preliminary expenses.
On Tuesday night following the day’s running a fish fry was hosted by the 2016 Derby Champion handler Luke Eisenhart and owner Scott Jordan. Sharing in the fish fry was Mark McLean, handler, with owners Howard Brooks, Katie McLean and Cole Summerlin. Members of the Waynesboro Exchange Club prepared the supper.
The dog wagon was driven by Mack Carter. Mack is 89 and has held this position for years. He makes certain that adequate beverages and snacks are available at breaktime. Mizell Ford provides us with a pick-up to use to navigate the dog wagon.
A newcomer, Charles Miller, joined the bird release program. Following the guidance of Art Lively, Matthew Jenkins and Craig Elliott for a couple of days, Charles was on hand alone to release birds at 6:00 a. m. every morning. He completed the assignment on January 20 when the Open Shooting Dog Championship ended. Gene Ward picked up the birds daily from Rabun Game Birds. They were banded by Gene with the assistance of Nick DeLaigle for release the following morning. Many comments were made that birds could be seen on every course. It was up to the dogs to find and point them.
Complimentary lunches were served daily in the clubhouse. They were prepared and served by your writer, Pauline Beard, Mary Kimbrell and Belinda Baker. Many thanks to you ladies for a job well done along with the cleanup that followed.
Mary Kimbrell makes certain that coffee is made each morning. She also stocks the snack box for Mack in the morning and afternoon.
Belinda serves as our official photographer. She makes certain that pictures are taken to be included in our local newspaper, The True Citizen, and The American Field.
Jimmy Allen makes certain that an adequate supply of ice is on hand every day.
Gary Futch was mounted to marshal every day along with John Ray serving as a marshal as well as stake manager.
Jim Smith, field consultant with Nestlé Purina PetCare, was with us a couple of days. He left for the Florida Championship but returned during the Shooting Dog Stakes. Jim is a very personable individual and always represents Purina well.
Many visitors were on hand during the week. For fear that I will miss someone, I will not attempt to mention any names. Hopefully, you enjoyed your stay.
The 2017 All-Age Trials have concluded. Hopefully all of the owners and handlers will return in 2018 along with some who were not with us for this renewal.
The field trial sport is a big part of my life. All of the fraternity are special friends to me. Good luck and best wishes are extended from my heart to yours.