Georgia Open Shooting Dog Championship
Waynesboro, Ga. — I am very proud to report that our trials are Purina Points Stakes for Handler and Dog of the Year Awards.
Eight miles west of Waynesboro, Ga., 5,000 acres of the best grounds and facilities exist for holding field trials. The property is known as Di-Lane Plantation, purchased by Hall-of-Famer Henry Berol in the 1950s and designed by him for the field trial sport.
In the early 1990s the property was purchased by the U. S. Corps of Engineers through mitigation and leased to the Georgia government with the primary use for field trials. Now stables, camper hook-ups, and a large meeting room were built in 2010.
Senior wildlife biologist I. B. Parnell of the Department of Natural Resources came for a visit during our trial. He was accompanied by Keith Crowe, operations manager for Richard B. Russell Dam and Lake and Jeff Brooks, who is a wildlife biologist for the Savannah District of USCE.
These gentlemen stated they wanted to see more of what our sport was about. They witnessed release of the first brace of the afternoon.
Immediately they drove over to the dove field and parked to see the dogs and gallery come through on the course. When they returned to the clubhouse, yours truly answered their questions in regard to the sport — three very interested individuals.
John Vescuso came to manage Di-Lane in October, 2016. He has been with the DNR for seven years and was quick to let us know that his job was to make certain that our needs were met. The courses were well-prepared by John and Henry Williams, a long-time employee of DNR. John’s wife Sherry and daughter Vestrie joined us for several social events. Vestrie and her friend were on hand to ride on Saturday, along with Maddie Bearden.
John Ray and Mary Kimbrell arrived on December 30 and set up their motor home for the duration of the Georgia Championships. John Ray has served faithfully as stake manager for a number of years.
Gary Futch serves our club as president in a very professional manner. He drives ninety miles daily to serve as a marshal along with John Ray.
Your writer has been secretary since 1981. I also serve as the chairperson.
Last spring Mike Jackson of Battle Ground, Ind., and Jimmy Wallace of Prospect, Ohio accepted our invitation to judge the Classic and Open Shooting Dog Championship. Due to our large entry and a previous judging conflict of the Continental All-Age, Mike had to bow out of the shooting dog competition. However, he stayed on after the classic to assist John Ray and Gary with marshalling the Open Shooting Dog through the following Sunday.
The judicial saddle was filled with one phone call to Buster Tucker of Berea, Ky. He has been with us several times to judge professional and amateur stakes as well as running his dogs in the Georgia Amateur Celebration. His lovely wife Pam has always been with him; however, a medical procedure kept her home for this renewal.
Buster and his brother are in the general contracting business in Lexington, Ky. He enjoys spending his spare time with the field trial sport along with his two-year-old granddaughter. Buster won the Kentucky Open Shooting Dog Championship in 2009 with Casey Creek Remote Control. He has judged many open and regional championships as well as amateur stakes.
Mike’s wife of 41 years, Carol, allows him to be away to enjoy the sport that he loves. He retired as superintendent of a company that built power lines — both small and large jobs. Mike was past president of the Indiana Field Trial Association and presently serves as president of Region 4. He states that he has had some wonderful experiences with field trials throughout the years and has judged throughout the country in shooting dog, all-age, German Shorthair, open and amateur. The list is too long to name. However, he left Waynesboro to judge the Continental All-Age and returned to judge the Amateur Free-for- All. Mike has agreed to return for the shooting dog stakes of the GFTA in 2018.
Jimmy Wallace retired from Clark Metal Products after 32 years as a tool and dye maker. He acquired his first field trial dog as a senior in high school. Living near the Killdeer Plains Area in Ohio, he watched many trials, taking seriously to the sport in 1972 and had shooting dogs with Andy Zoll. A few years later he got hooked on running German Shorthaired Pointers in amateur and open stakes but his real love is English pointers. He has judged many shooting dog, all-age, open and amateur stakes.
On January 6 I could not believe the many calls with entries for the Classic and Shooting Dog Championship. At 8:00 p. m. the final numbers showed 30 dogs the Derby Classic and 104 for the Championship.
I checked my records to confirm the entries in 2007 — 24 Derbies and 136 in the OSD Championship. Beginning in 2011 the numbers have been approximately 24 and 60. It was so encouraging to have young newcomers to the sport — exactly what we need for our future.
John Ray, Mary and Nell conducted the drawing. Cindy White, daughter-in-law of Nell, made the drawing sheets and Mary completed the judges’ books.
Georgia Derby Classic
When the winners were announced Fluid Drive, pointer male handled by Mike Tracy for owner S. J. Morelli, was awarded first place. This good-looking youngster had three well-spaced finds, had a smooth forward race, handling well for the hour. He completed the hour with a strong finish to the front.
Second place honors went to Cock’N’ Fire Justice, pointer male owned by J. Allen Johnson and handled by Jerry Raynor. Justice was always seen to the front and had three well-spaced finds, finishing the hour strong.
Running in brace No. 3, Glassilaum War Paint was named third. This pointer male was credited with four all in order finds for Toby Tobiassen. His proud owner is Jamie Nee.
High Drive Tex (G. Tracy) had a good find at 20 but was taken up at 30 for a breach of manners. Southern Star (Basilone) stopped at 30 and had an all in order find, taken up shortly after with a no show of birds.
Following a fruitless point early in the hour Pearl (Norman) had an all in order find followed with a medium race. Moonlight Yellow Jacket (M. Tracy) had an abbreviated hour.
Glassilaun War Paint was reported earlier. Mobile Strike (D. Ray) made some good casts, carded two finds and finished the hour.
Neely’s High Drive (G. Tracy) had a good range race with a forward finish. Steele City Storm went missing and Jeanette Tracy called it a day.
Cold temperatures continued. Tall Hot Dilemma (M. Tracy) was taken up following a breach of training. Harbor City Papa Scam (Basilone) was up following a second unproductive.
Nell (Norman) went missing early. Miller’s Handsome Ransom (G. Tracy) was harnessed following his second unproductive.
Ironstone Abracadabra (Ray) was lost. Lake Thyme Sister was not running to suit Mike Tracy which resulted in an early pickup.
Sunbelt’s Bogo (G. Tracy) had the retrieval unit requested following a lengthy absence. Deerfield Sophia (Basilone) had two all in order finds but went missing shortly after.
Tallokas John Henry (Rice) had two good finds followed with no birds seen on the next two points. Double M’s Deliverance (M. Tracy) had two well-spaced finds to his credit and honored bracemate twice, finishing the hour at medium range.
Deerfield Kate (Basilone) went missing and was not returned to judgment. Miller’s Honor Code (G. Tracy) had a strong race but needed birds.
Nyquist (Ray) returned after 18 minutes, had one good find and completed the hour. Dot (Norman) was a nice moving pointer female with a forward race, but needed birds.
Fluid Drive’s (M. Tracy) effort was previously reported. Rattlesnake Dixie (Basilone) was lost shortly after break-away and the retrieval unit requested.
Sandlin Sassy Sarah (Carnutte) and Johnny Be Good (G. Tracy) were not pleasing handlers and were up early.
Oseella’s Gunsmoke Man (Rice) finished his hour with a medium race and a find at 60. Harbor City Sure Shot (Basilone) had one find complemented with a nice forward race.
Walden’s Keen Ice (M. Tracy) broke on point and was taken up. Cock’N’Fire Justice’s (Raynor) effort was reported earlier.
Waynesboro, Ga., January 8
Judges: Mike Jackson and Jimmy Wallace
GEORGIA DERBY CLASSIC [One-Hour Heats] — 25 Pointers and
1st—FLUID DRIVE, 1659984, pointer male, by Great River Ice—Blaze’s Isis. S. J. Morelli, owner; Mike Tracy, handler.
2d—COCK’N’FIRE JUSTICE, 1668505, pointer male, by Erin’s Wild Justice—T C’s Classy Attitude. J. Allen Johnson, owner; Jerry Raynor, handler.
3d—GLASSILAUN WAR PAINT, 1667331, pointer male, by Sugarknoll War Paint—Neeley’s Hot Pepper. Jamie Nee, owner; Toby Tobiassen, handler.
Shooting Dog Championship
Following the running of 104 shooting dogs in very warm temperatures, some days in the 80s, the winners of this prestigious trial were announced.
Mike Tracy has been coming to Waynesboro since he was eighteen and has had many placements but never a championship here. One can only imagine how happy this day was for him.
Waybetter Rocky was named to top honors for owners Carl and Collin Bishop of Punxsutawney, Pa., and William and Muriel Primm of Cream Ridge, N. J. Rocky, a pointer male, will be four years old in May. Multiple well-spaced finds were noted at 4, 19, 35, 40 and 48. Along with multiple finds, his strong race complimented his bird work. He made great casts, always to the front, and was nearly perfect on all points. The judges stated they could not remember judging a better run.
Runner-up honors went to three-year-old pointer female Cory’s Easy Holy Water, handled by George Tracy for proud owners William and Muriel Primm. Course No. 1 was the venue for Holy Water. She was credited with a divided find shortly after breakaway, continuing on with birds seen when flushed at 12, 25 and 55. She took to the course strong and completed the hour to the front.
The stake began on Wednesday afternoon following announcement of the Derby winners and lunch.
Attitude’s Iron Will (M. Tracy) looked good, high on both ends, on a divided find at 4. He was found on point at 8, relocated but no game produced. Feathers were noted on his point at 24. He could be seen out front on point at 40 but was picked up when he was last in sight at 44. Merritt’s Bear (Curnette) was picked up at 4 for a breach of manners.
Conecuh’s Pressure Test (Ray) was found on point at 13 with tail high. A few good casts were made but he was harnessed at 55, not running enough to please Ray. Spitfire’s Diesel (Panovski) was making inconsistent casts, had a find at 14 and a back at 12. Following a second no show of birds he was picked up by handler at 40.
Autumn Abbey (Curnette) backed Jessie’s Bonanza (J. Tracy) when she had a nice find at 9. Another find for Abbey was noted at 12 with Bonanza backing in fashion. Both females completed the hour at medium range.
Miller’s Brown Eyed Girl (G. Tracy) was found on point at 15, high on both ends. She was out of pocket some; however, scout brought her back to the front at 50 and she had an okay finish. Play at the Plate (Gellhaus) made a big cast and honored Girl at 15, followed by a point at 20, but moved.
Attitude’s Night Hawk (M. Tracy) was picked up at 35 following a no show of birds after a second point. Grouse Ridge Skeeter started the hour to the front, was out of pocket at 40 and Basilone called it a day.
Erin’s Elite Justice (Raynor) was lost off breakaway and the retrieval device was requested at 30. Ironstone’s Talladega (Ray) had a find at 17, followed by a second at 20 but crept on birds.
Last Waltz Liz (Curnette) failed to honor bracemate and was taken up. Backcountry Tornado (M. Tracy) had a find at 2 (high on both ends), ran to the front making good casts with a point at 13 but no birds produced. She went missing for a short time but was seen out front. Judge stated that this was best performance of stake to date.
Calico’s Storm Bandit (Rice) had a nice find at 20. He was not running to please handler and was taken up at 47 following a fruitless point. Steel City Karen (J. Tracy) pointed at 29 but no birds were produced. Finds followed at 35 and 45 with birds flown. Her last 30 minutes were commendable.
Meadowwood’s Joe Dirt (Martino) was off to a good start with a mannerly back at 20, made a good cast with an all in order find at 16, honored bracemate at 22 and was credited with a divided find at 24. Birds were noted at 37 and 52. The race shortened from 40 to 55. Just Thrillin (Rice) had hunting on his mind with commendable finds at 7, 20, a divided find at 24, followed with all in order find at 35. He was lost shortly after 35 with the retrieval unit requested.
On Friday morning, the 13th, Miller’s Vanilla Snow (G. Tracy) was off to a good start, hunting in the right places with finds at 14, 30 and 54. She conveyed nice style with a forward race, finishing strong for her hour. Tekoa Mountain Bulldog (Gellhaus) was taken up early for a breach of manners.
Rocking Kate (Raynor) had a breach of manners early and was harnessed. Coosawhatchie Smooth Ride (M. Tracy) had an early find and followed with a back of bracemate and pointed again with Tracy relocating. A nice forward race was a plus for him.
Conecuh’s Shoe Shine was not pleasing Ray and his time concluded at 45. Miller’s Stray Bullet (Norman) was off to a good start with an all in order find at 44, completing his hour forward.
Miller’s Unfinished Business (Norman) had a mannerly find at 3 with Calico’s Lane Change (Rice) honoring. Business had a great cast with a find at 16, high on both ends, continuing with a big forward race. He was gone for 10 minutes, but found to the front at 50 with scout handling for five minutes with handler piloting to complete the hour. Judge stated this was the best ground race to date, running in 78° temperature with a strong hour to the end. Change’s race was not pleasing handler, picked up at 50.
Mike Tracy released Armstrong Mountain Ice Man in very high temperatures and picked up at 25. C S Cold-water Rex (Ray) completed the hour but had no bird work.
Jessie’s Bojangles (J. Tracy) and Nehawka Call Boy (Martino) were harnessed shortly after breakaway — lost.
Saturday morning Cock’N’Fire Maggie (Raynor) and Lovern’s Red Lace (G. Tracy) were released. Both dogs were picked up early in the hour.
Miller’s Bushwhacker (Norman) and Chiricahua (M. Tracy) were not pleasing handlers and were up at 50.
Miller’s Illusive Lady (Norman) ran to the front with a shared find at 10, moved and ordered up. Phillips Wind Line (Ray) was running to the front and had no birds at the divided find at 10, but had a good find at 12. Ray picked up at 20.
No birds were seen at 9 by George Tracy when Erin’s War Creek pointed. Creek continuing on and had a strong finish. Martino handled Bo Bunda to a good find at 48 with birds in flight. A medium race was noted and he finished the hour.
Brace No. 20 — The Slight Edge (M. Tracy) and Miller’s Dialing for Dollars (Norman) — began on the second course. No birds were seen when Edge pointed at 9. He continued on with all in order on a find at 13. He was not seen at time. With no birds found at 40, Norman elected to pick up Dollars.
On Saturday, the last brace of the day saw High Drive Ranger (G. Tracy) and Jayhawk Thunder (Basilone) released. Ranger went missing early. Thunder began with a big race, having good finds at 30 and 43. Thunder carded a third find at 60 with a relocation. His race slowed as the hour progressed.
Ladywood’s Keepsake (J. Tracy) had a find at 3 and was running at a rapid pace. A disagreement of the judicial panel came to light on a divided find with Erin’s Prometheus (Ray) at 22 in regard to the move as birds were flushed. It was noted that Keepsake ran the most consistent race of the heat to this point. Prometheus was out of pocket some but showed up to complete his hour.
North Country Girl (M. Tracy) had a divided find at 23 with Jolly’s Ripple Bud (Martino), with Bud taken up after having a breach of manners on the divided find. Girl continued with a big race but went missing shortly and Tracy threw in the towel.
Daniel’s Creek Whitehawk (Gellhaus) had a find at 4 and backed Miller’s Miss Calamity Jane (G. Tracy) at 27. Following a second unproductive, she was harnessed. Gellhaus chose to pick up early in the hour following the work at 27.
Temperatures continued to rise as Sunday afternoon progressed.
Riviera (J. Tracy) had a nice all in order find at 30 but went fruitless at 55. The hour was completed with a medium forward race. Chasehill Double Trouble had an unproductive at 25, went missing and Ray requested the retrieval device.
Klee’s Jake (Duerksen) pointed feathers early in the hour, went missing and showed up on his own after time expired. Palara (M. Tracy) had stylish finds credited at 11, 57 and 60. She could be easily spotted at time.
Browntown Super Sport (Raynor) did not heed his training on birds and was taken up. Waybetter Rocky (M. Tracy) was reported as champion.
The judges had watched 54 dogs to this point, with 50 remaining. They were tired but were quick to say they were there until the last dog ran.
Calico’s Cowboy Casanova (M. Tracy) and Alydar (Ray) shared a find at 17. Only feathers were seen on the point at 24 by Casanova, followed with a beautiful stop to flush at 27, another find at 30 with an unproductive at 55, all complimented by a medium race. No birds were seen at 45 for Alydar and he was taken up by handler.
Sugarknoll War Paint (G. Tracy) backed Urban’s Fantasy (Basilone) at 11 with all in order. War Paint moved and was taken up by Tracy. Birds were not seen when Fantasy pointed at 17. His time ended at 42 when he was not pleasing handler.
Bully Bragg (M. Tracy) pointed at 12, requiring a relocation, with game flown. Bragg was credited with another nice find at 20 but picked up at 40 for not pleasing handler. Decoy Lakes Winning Harley (Raynor) was picked up following a second unproductive.
Brown River Watch (Daniels) needed ground work to compliment finds at 3, 16, 17, a stop to flush at 32 and another all in order find at 47. Bail Me Out (Tracy) backed Watch at 3, casts were short and taken up at 25.
Klee’s Tank (Duerksen) had finds at 12 and 34 and turned on bird. He was not seen enough by the judges. Covey Up Woodie (J. Tracy) had a find at 8, honored bracemate at 12, followed with fruitless points at 22 and 30.
Great River Survivor (M. Tracy) had a find at 8 with the retrieval device requested at 24. Let’s Get Smart (Martino) went missing following a fruitless point at 4 with the retrieval unit requested.
Shadow Oak Doc was not seen at 20 and George Tracy called it a day. Lone Tree Biz (Gellhaus) was running a good race but needed birds, up at 52.
Fast and Furious (M. Tracy) pointed at 13 but no birds were seen, had a find at 25 but not pleasing handler was taken up early. Seekin A Thrill’s (Rice) point at 8 was not fruitful. He backed Furious at 13. Handler called it a day at 45.
Awsum Country Girl (G. Tracy) had all in order finds at 10 and 13 but went missing at 40 and the retrieval unit was requested. Pine Straw Black Hawk (J. Tracy) had good finds at 5, 8 and 35. When he reached the road he was harnessed.
Little Girl Creek (M. Tracy) and Helfman Ice (Martino) were in brace No. 37 on Tuesday afternoon on course No. 1. Girl had finds at 12 and 50 with game in flight. She put down a good ground race, finishing to the front. This was not Ice’s best day so handler picked up at 20.
Mama’s Broken Heart (Basilone) and Bull Taco (M. Tracy) were up early due to high heat.
A Tarheel Addiction (Raynor) made a nice cast when released, with a nice find at 8 and was found on point at 16, but no birds were located. Ray picked up Absolute Magic with no birds seen when he pointed at 17.
Walden’s Ridge Shadow Dancer (M. Tracy) finished his hour with a medium race. He backed bracemate at 15, followed with good finds at 38 and 55. Crow Creek Sugarbaby (J. Daniels) had no birds when she pointed at 5, had a change of luck when birds were flushed at 15 and 34, with a back at 38. Both dogs finished the hour at medium range.
Touch’s Mae Mobley (G. Tracy) and Sassy Creek (J. Tracy). Both handlers chose to pick up at the road crossing.
Size Matters (Gellhaus) and Marques Lucky Charm (M. Tracy) were in brace No. 42 on the third course. Extreme hot temperatures prevailed and handlers chose to harness at 30.
Following lunch on Wednesday with unusual heat for the season, Caladen’s Davinci (Raynor) and Cory’s Easy Holy Water were released. Davinci had a divided find at 3 followed with others at 24 and 28. At 48 he made an all-age cast running a little big for a shooting dog, but finished the hour. The performance of Holy Water was reported earlier as runner-up.
Clayhill Bones (Kimbrell) had a nice all in order find at 14. Pine Straw Sweet Tea (J. Tracy) had a fruitless attempt at 34. With high temperatures prevailing both handlers chose to pick up at 45.
Knight’s White Lady (Gellhaus) had hunting on her mind with multiple finds and birds in flight at 7, 12, 15, 30 and 45, going on to finish to the front at medium range. Charitable Deed (Rice) was off to a good start with a back at 15, followed with finds at 25 and 30. No birds were seen at 40, and a breach of manners occurred at 45.
The end was in sight. Seven braces remained and would make history.
Ironstone Mike had a nice find at 16 but was not pleasing Ray who threw in the towel at 50. Nehawka Shenanigans (Martino) had a find at 33, going on to finish the hour with no more bird work.
Thomas Adirondack Turbo (M. Tracy) pointed feathers at 14, had a strong race with no further bird work. Thrill Me (Rice) ran a nice forward race but needed bird work. Both handlers were harnessed at 45.
Miller’s Unbridled Forever had a find at 14 but moved when birds flushed and was picked up by George Tracy. Absolute Diva (Ray) had a nice find at 23, was not running big enough for handler and time ended at 35.
Grand Heritage Commotion (J. Tracy) carded an unproductive at 13, a find at 26, followed by a second unproductive and was picked up. Mike failed to back at 26 and taken up by Martino.
Indian Creek Great White had no birds at 16 and Raynor called it a day. Deerfield Game had an all in order find at 30 and with no further bird work Basilone picked up at 45.
Thunderbird Jaxinabox (Gellhaus) had an unproductive at 18 and was picked up at 40. McCree’s Roxanne was not pleasing Raynor and was harnessed at 38.
Palmetto Solid Rock (Raynor) and Adjusted Attitude (M. Tracy) were released at 8:00 a. m. Rock had good finds at 10 and 31, out of pocket some and picked up at 50. Attitude backed Rock at 10 and 31 with a find at 16, continuing on to complete the hour at medium range.
Judges: Buster Tucker and Jimmy Wallace
GEORGIA OPEN SHOOTING DOG CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] — 87 Pointers and 17 Setters
Winner—WAYBETTER ROCKY, 1652783, pointer male, by Brown’s Tom Tom—Waybetter Reba. Carl & Collin Bishop & William & Muriel Primm, owners; Mike Tracy, handler.
Runner-Up—CORY’S EASY HOLY WATER, 1661794, pointer female, by Connor’s E Z Button—Holy Water. William & Muriel Primm, owners; George Tracy, handler.
Purina sponsored the owners-handlers’ banquet with some seventy guests in attendance. The steak dinner was prepared by Kathy Cannon, Leroy Bell, Gene and Dale Ward. Purina also provided dog food certificates for the winners, two-pound bags of Pro Plan to the entries as well as the popular caps. Jim Smith, Purina field consultant, was on hand to ride in the gallery for two plus days. Jim is always welcome and represents Purina in a professional manner.
The annual fish fry was hosted by Allen Linder, owner of last year’s Open Shooting Dog Champion and first place winner of the Derby Classic.
The Burke County Chamber of Commerce, under the leadership of Ashley Roberts, executive director, entertained our guests with an oyster roast. The trainers were each presented a fleece jacket or pullover and caps depicting the Waynesboro, Bird Dog Capital of the World logo.
The birds were picked up and banded daily by Gene Ward and Nick DeLaigle for release each morning by Chuck Miller. Art Lively, Matthew Jenkins and Craig Elliott take charge of the bird program.
Mack Carter takes care of the dog wagon, pulling it by a pickup provided by Mizell Ford. Mack also makes certain that snacks and beverages are available at break time.
Mary Kimbrell, Pauline Beard, Belinda Baker and your writer served lunch daily to all in attendance. Susan Moser surprised us with a cream cheese cake, a caramel cake and doughnuts one day. Belinda serves as the official photographer.
On Saturday, January 14, the Chamber of Commerce held a fun day for the community to attend to see what our sport was about. A full story is appended.
Jimmy Allen made certain that an adequate supply of ice was on hand daily. The GFTA hosted a steak dinner for the guests one evening.
The Burke County Chamber of Commerce pays for our advertising in The Field. These funds are available through the hotel-motel tax generated in the county.
We had many out-of-town guests during the two weeks. The list includes, but not limited to, J. and Susan Moser, Allen Johnson, Scott Turner, Lawton Huggins and Pam, Ron Lambert, Jeff Billups, Ronnie Nesmith, Ernie and Karen Saniga, Dave McKay, Carl Bishop, Muriel Primm, Brian Sanchez, Andrea Clark, Susan and Roger Duerksen, Bill Kerr, Lauren Renfroe, Bill and Margie Ricci, Casey Puckett and Wyatt, Don Price, Becky Blanton, Allison Stewart, Randy Latty, Audrey Mallard and Ross, Jack and Sarah Schwarz, John and Donna Bearden, Lee, Jolene, Fisher and Daisy Avery, Stuart Able, and Jamie Nee.
A special thanks is extended to my daughter-in-law, Sandra White. For several years she has typed the reports for me. She emails the completed reports along with pictures and essential data forms to The Field for publication. This is a big job and her help is greatly appreciated.
I look forward to seeing all of you in 2018. The new participants, the regular sportsmen and the ones who missed this season, hopefully you will have our trials on your schedule in 2018. Good luck to all of you for the remainder of the season.
In conclusion, I want to commend all participants in the Georgia Championships, both All-Age and Shooting Dog, that began on January 2 and concluded January 20. In the nineteen years that I have chaired these stakes, the 2017 renewal was the smoothest yet.