National Open Shooting Dog Championship
Union Springs, Ala. — The 57th renewal of the National Open Shooting Dog Championship, the most prestigious competition of the major shooting dog circuit, took place over Raymond and Kathryn Harbert’s Sedgefields Plantation, Union Springs, Ala., commencing on February 6. Sixty-one starters were drawn, with sixty competing.
The National Open Shooting Dog Championship was founded in 1961, the initial running held at Hawfield Plantation near Orange, Va. After nine renewals at Hawfield, the venue changed to Di-Lane Plantation near Waynesboro, Ga., where three renewals were held before the move to Hoffman, N. C., where the event continued until the invitation to hold the prestigious trial at Sedgefields several years ago.
Sedgefields Plantation is a facility second to none, comprised of some 14,000 acres of prime Alabama black belt soil. The plantation was started when Lewis B. Maytag of Maytag appliance fame came to Alabama in 1928 and purchased approximately 1,700 acres to start the original Sedgefields. Over the years, Maytag bought several parcels of adjoining land to enable the expansion of his private quail hunting paradise.
In the early 1930s field trials were conducted on the property and currently the plantation is home for the National Open Shooting Dog Championship, the National Amateur Free-for-All, Dixie Classics and others. Thanks to the generosity of Raymond and Kathryn Harbert, who acquired the plantation several years ago. The Harberts continue to make improvements to the property by clearing overgrown areas, construction of new barns and kennels and farming for quail habitat. Jason Howard is plantation manager and is accompanied by field manager Bill Lee. Both were available daily to assist in any and every way possible. These gentlemen are the primary reason every field trial held at Sedgefields Plantation is managed to perfection.
The championship club president is Dr. Jerry Champion; 1st Vice-President, Dr. Joe Maddox; 2d Vice-President, Dr. Lindsey Roberts; Secretary-Treasurer, Dwight Smith. In addition to the officers, directors include Don May, Jason Howard, Perry Hicks, David Taylor and Allen Linder. Bill Lee is a special consultant.
This renewal was dedicated to the memory of Ray Jeffers, a long time affiliate of this Championship as well as an ambassador to all field trials and a founder of the popular Purina Top Dog Awards. Ray passed away on January 3, 2017 and will be sorely missed.
The community of Union Springs and the Bullock County tourism bureau roll out the red carpet in January and February to welcome field trial participants and fans. Heather Klinck serves on the tourism council and co-ordinates many activities related to the success of the trials.
At times the gallery was quite large and the job of marshalling became an important task. Bill Lee, Harrison Lee, Hunter McDuffie and Harold Johnson handled the task with ease and the expertise that comes from years of experience. Bill Lee and son Harrison reside on the plantation and know every inch of every course, and are helpful and accommodating to anyone in need.
Accolades to Charles Klinck who handled the dog wagon duties and made sure drinks and snacks were available for morning and afternoon breaks.
To be eligible to compete in this 90-minute endurance stake a dog must have placed in a Purina points open shooting dog stake in the current or past season. Winners of the Championship are qualified to start for three years.
At the end of each day’s running this reporter sent basic daily running information to Ross Callaway at Caladen Kennels who posted updates on the internet. Daily updates have become very popular in this era of instant gratification.
Appreciation is extended to George and Mike Tracy for providing this reporter with good horses. Not being a certified cowboy, it made my job as reporter a pleasure to ride safe mounts for eight days.
Judges for this renewal couldn’t be more qualified than the three gentlemen who donned the judicial robes. Larry Cox of Randleman, N. C., has been here before and judged major field trials many times as well as competing on the all-age circuit. Bill Mason of Greensboro, Ala., also competes with his own dogs and has judged major stakes all over the country. Tracy Swearingin of Leesburg, Ga., likewise is no stranger to the judging ranks and also trains dogs and competes throughout the South. It was a privilege for this reporter to ride beside these three qualified sportsmen. They gave every contestant equal attention and an equal opportunity to win. They brought the trial to a most logical conclusion.
THE WINNER AND OTHERS
Cock’N’Fire Maggie, seven-year-old black marked pointer female owned by Allen Johnson and Auddie Brown of Sumter, S. C., and handled by Jerry Raynor, walked off with all the marbles on the virtues of a determined forward race combined with eight well handled finds. Six pointed independently, two shared with bracemate. Her pattern was forward, her determination undaunted, handling response precise and finish powerful.
Maggie was whelped in February, 2010 at Santee River Kennels of York, S. C. She began her competitive career in walking field trials and won championship titles in that arena before transitioning to the horseback circuit where she has been in the winners’ circle numerous times before this major victory. Her pedigree traces to Hall-of- Famer Rock Acre Blackhawk, Elhew Snakefoot and other notables.
In order of appearance, we will note several others that challenged the winner. Readers are referred to the account of the running for more details. Thomas Adirondack Turbo finished with three finds in the first brace. Ladywood’s Keepsake turned in a good three-find effort. Both drew the morning courses where bird scores were not as numerous as the afternoon route. Erin’s War Creek rendered a significant challenge with five finds and a back plus a smooth handling well directed ground heat. Bully Bragg was in the mix with a huge forward race and two dug up finds. C S Coldwater Rex was braced with the winner and rendered a forward effort with four finds. Elhew G Force and bracemate Sugarknoll War Paint turned in multiple find efforts. Waybetter Rocky and bracemate Sinbad’s Bear challenged in the 27th brace. The final brace of Calico’s Cowboy Casanova braced with last year’s winner Conecuh’s Shoe Shine gave the judges legitimate reasons for conversation.
Daniels Creek White Hawk (Gellhaus) and Thomas Adirondack Turbo (M. Tracy) were released at traditional starting point on gunsmoke road at 7:58 a. m. Both went forward to Hardaway road crossing where both made a sharp left. After a six minute absence they were returned, hunted their way through mossy oak area then forward toward the main house. Turbo pointed with Hawk backing at 32 just to the right of trail where Tracy flushed a covey, both dogs stylish and mannerly. Hawk veered left again and had to be rounded up as we headed toward the big lake then was off again with Travis asking for the retrieval unit at 55. Hawk was spotted standing on point one minute later but too late. Turbo was hunting well forward, found pointing near lake edge at 75 where a single bird was flown, Turbo steady for the shot. Sent ahead toward the coke barn Turbo continued to show plenty of run and was out of sight over a ridge as time expired. At 93 the call of point rang out and Turbo had his third covey pinned with lofty style, manners perfect for the flush and shot.
Not’ta Snow Balls Chance (Perkins) and Ladywood’s Keepsake (J. Tracy) were away at the coke barn headed for Joe Varner line; both made big swings along likely edges. Chance pointed solidly at 23 and seemed certain but nothing was produced. He had slowed some the last several minutes and didn’t seem right and was picked up at 25. Lady remained fast and well forward on across cattle ranch road and into the triangle property. Point was called at 43 to right of piney wood gully in sedge grass. Lady was perfect as Jeanette put a single to flight. At hilltop Lady hunted far right edge and was pointed at 68 to far right of the old MaPolla house, again high and tight for the flush. She followed at 72 with a find on a pair of birds and handled them to perfection. We made county road 23 crossing as the call of point came at 76 with Lady standing in the lane headed toward power line, this time nothing raised or relocated. Over the town creek bridge and through the stone line country Lady maintained her pace, continued forward and was going away strong at the call of time.
Erin’s War Creek (G. Tracy) and Tallokas Storm Bandit (Loper) started at 1:12 at the field trial barns. Both were away quickly, Creek more forward. After passing the north duck pond scout found Creek standing loftily on hillside with a covey precisely located and handled to perfection. Sent on toward the hill country point was called at 22 with Creek steadfast as the covey exploded before handler’s arrival, a nip and tuck situation that could have been called differing ways in the eyes of the beholder. Creek held mannerly for the shot. On left hillside at town creek crossing Creek handled his third covey at 30 with high rigid pointing style and perfect manners. His fourth stand at 40 in heavy vine tangle along horseshoe ridge was handled with perfect style and manners. Three minutes later Creek wheeled into a solid stand, his fifth, handled perfectly. He added a back at 45 and finished going away in the big country near Thompson Station road. His effort was consistently directed to birdy cover, handling response smooth as silk. Bandit covered a wide area but was, at times, a bit to the sides. He handled a covey at 32 to left at horseshoe ridge and a second at 45 where he lost some composure as handler flushed. He continued to ramble, bearing left after gap crossing and pointing at 85 with deer seen in the area but nothing flushed. Bandit finished the 90 minutes to the front.
Conecuh’s Pressure Test (Ray) and Chelsea’s Thunder Bolt (Kinkelaar) broke away toward south duck pond.
Action erupted immediately with Test nailing a covey in piney woods to the left at 3, all in order for the shot. Chelsea countered with a well-handled find at 6 along left woodsedge. A divided find was recorded at 19 on hillside beyond moat crossing, both dogs mannerly. Test rang up four more finds at 28, 34, 40 and 60, all handled with good manners but Test a bit low stationed on two of them. After consultation with the judges both were up at 62.
Bully Bragg (M. Tracy) and Miller’s Dialing For Dollars (Norman). The second day started with cloudy skies, mild and a threat of thunderstorms later. Both reached well ahead from gun smoke road release point at 7:58. Dial hunted stylishly ahead but failed to contact game and was up at 40. Bull also hunted ahead but was much more extreme in range, taking one edge after another, finally disappearing at 30 and spotted by gallery at 45 pointing in tall cover on opposite side as we rounded the lake head. Bull held steadfast as handler flushed a well-located covey. On to the front, Bull continued to impress with his aggressive wide ranging stylish ground coverage. Found by scout at 64 near the lake with a large covey exploding directly in front, Bull composed and steady. Released toward coke barn, Bull wheeled and pointed stylishly near hilltop at 70 where flush and relocation attempt failed to produce. Bull scoured the country at wide range his last 20 minutes. A very impressive effort.
Awsum Country Girl (G. Tracy) and Knight’s White Lady (Gellhaus) were away at the coke barn, wide and hitting the cover with gusto. Girl was the first to point at 21 in left side sedge grass near Joe Bonner line, nothing raised or relocated. On to the triangle country, Girl reached far ahead, found by scout at 50. Nothing was flown at first but Girl executed a perfect relocation, holding steady for the shot. Sent up the hill and past the old MaPolla place, both Girl and Lady pointed along right side, both handling their birds but a lack of style on point brought the heat to an end.
After a lunch break we began the seventh brace but lighting and rain soon arrived and the afternoon running was postponed at the 30-minute mark. Both dogs would be given the opportunity to compete in the final brace of the trial.
Wednesday dawned cloudy, the rain had stopped and we were off and running at 8:00 a. m. sharp. Miller’s Armed and Dangerous (Ray) and Miller’s Brown Eyed Girl (G. Tracy) went straight down the line to the county road 23 crossing where they were watered and released into mossy oak country. As the course veered toward the main house Tracy called point for Girl along drainage ditch at 14, nothing produced. Armed pointed at 16 in sedge grass and had a covey stylishly located and he remained perfect for the shot. On toward big lake dam, both found and properly handled coveys to the left of the gravel lane, Girl at 27 and Armed at 32. We crossed the dam with Armed out of pocket and seen only sparingly until finally vanishing for good at 40. After dam cross Girl handled her third covey at 45 in broom sedge with high style and mannerly behavior for the shot. After circling the lake and headed toward the coke barn, Girl got rough on the handle and out of pocket, picked up at 70.
Gates Road Mike (Williams) and World Class Cliff (Perkins) left from the coke barn, both up over the hill to the front. Cliff went right at hilltop but was soon back in front as the course veered left toward cattle ranch road. Mike dug in deep to the right, scout dispatched and called point at 14 but soon called off as Mike corrected and hunted forward. Birds were not moving and Cliff was picked up at 40 near road crossing. Mike hunted on into the triangle country until we came back to county road 23 crossing at 70 where he was put on the truck.
Coosawhatchie Smooth Ride (M. Tracy) and Thunderbird Jaxinabox (Gellhaus) broke away from the field trial barn at 1:13 under partly sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s. Ride hunted the country speedily from one side to the other, always forward. Jax went pretty much in a straight line, was seen in the distance once or twice and then counted out. Ride scored a lofty find at 22 just before town creek crossing, then another polished find at 26 as we ascended into hill country. Ride continued getting through the country with an attractive way of going, found pointing his third covey at 34, handled to perfection. The mud finally started to take its toll as we passed the hour mark. After consultation with the judges, Ride was up at 75.
Charitable Deed (Rice) and Pine Straw Black Hawk (J. Tracy) were off and running below Bill Lee’s place.
Action started right away with Deed standing stylishly at 2 in piney woods, Hawk in for a perfect back, the stand unproductive. After duck pond dam crossing and into the moat area both hunted well ahead. Deed was found pointing near swampy bottom at 22 with nothing flown. Straw was sighted on point at 24 just 70 yards farther up the draw where a covey was flushed for the mannerly setter. At 33 Deed handled a covey in good fashion as we neared the hog trap area and continued to hunt forward at medium range until leashed at 55 near the barn. Hawk vanished after his find and did not return, the retrieval device requested at 53 to end the day’s running.
Marques Lucky Charm (M. Tracy) and Miller’s Stray Bullet (Norman). A front had moved in over night dropping the temperature into the low 40s and a forecast for a cool day. Start was made at 8:05, both forward and hunting hard as we wound our way through the piney woods and mossy oaks and made the turn toward big lake. Charm went wide as we rounded the lake and did not return in time. Bullet was consistent from the get-go and sailed through the country with ease and attractive running style. With no birds yet encountered, Bullet was up a little past the hour mark.
Wait A Minute (Williams) and Shadow Oak Doc (G. Tracy) broke away at the coke barn. Action came right off the bat with point called for Wait on sedge-covered hillside at 3 where a little too much movement on the covey had him up. We reached the first hilltop with Doc out of sight but soon spotted along bottom edge at 12 but headed the wrong direction. Handler rode hard to get Doc back on track but after consulting with the judges Tracy picked up at 35.
Covey Up Woodie (J. Tracy) and Shoal Smoke Rising (Vaughn) started at 1:15 from the barn, both hunting the cover and stretching to the limits as we passed the north duck pond area. Woodie went well forward, was not seen for a long spell, the retrieval unit requested at 30. Smoke pointed on far hill at 22, tightening in a peculiar stance as handler approached, steady for the flush and shot. Her search carried her sideward at times and she was picked up at 50.
C S Coldwater Rex (Ray) and Cock’N’Fire Maggie (Raynor) broke away toward the south duck pond. Both covered the pine patch to the left, and then right across the open field to the far wooded edge. Scout called point for Maggie at 11 in far right corner before dam crossing where she handled a covey with rock solid intensity and sky-kissing style, steady for the shot. On across the creek and turkey hill Ray called point for Rex at 25 and Raynor for Maggie at 26. They were about 100 yards apart pointing independently. Maggie had a covey in front. Nothing was flown for Rex. At ridge top each scored, Maggie solid on a covey at 32, likewise for Rex at 33. Maggie continued to hunt in earnest, notching another perfect find at 41. Both went forward and were found at 49 pointing side by side with a well pin-pointed covey shared — a divided find. They shared a second divided find at 57 in tall sedge grass near the north duck pond, both dogs showing elevated pointing style, granite-like intensity and perfect manners for the flush and shot. After a huge swing to the right, Maggie pointed solidly at 75 below Bill Lee’s house while regaining the front, again rock solid and mannerly. Both headed toward the stone line fields where Maggie locked up at 80, Rex wheeling into a solid back. Both dogs were mannerly as the covey exploded in front. Sent ahead to finish the 90 minutes, Maggie went wide left, swung across the front and finished across the road going away strong. Point was called for Rex at 85 in sedge grass where he again showed exemplary style and manners as a covey was produced. Sent across the road, Rex finished strong going away along a distant field edge to bring an exciting end to the day’s running.
In Swami’s Shadow (Kinkelaar) and Play at the Plate (Gellhaus). Friday started with the temperature at freezing but the sun soon warmed the blue skies. Both went forward to county road crossing then hunted on through the mossy oak and main house country uneventfully. Swami pointed near road edge at 39 with no results and was up at 44. Play moved ahead after crossing the lake dam, pointed solidly at 55 in sedge just off plowed field and had a covey that he handled properly. He was up at 65 after diminishing in range.
Miller’s Vanilla Snow (G. Tracy) and Go Johnny Go (Tande) began at the coke barn, both ahead and up the hill to loop headed toward cattle ranch road and Joe Bonner line. Snow pointed at thicket to right of trail at 22 with Johnny backing, nothing flown. Point was called for Johnny to far left at 28. This was also unproductive. Tracy picked up at 30 with Johnny going ahead into the triangle property, also up at 40.
Backcountry Tornado (M. Tracy) and Touch’s Two Step (Williams) were released at 1:12 at the barn, both straight away with enthusiasm. Tornado pointed at 18 in swale area beyond north duck pond, nothing raised or relocated. Step stayed to the front but had a bad break at 23 when birds lifted just seconds after release from watering with Step going too far in their wake and picked up.
Tornado swung wide on past horseshoe ridge and on to Dan’s mountain where she handled a covey to perfection.
Beyond Warhoop Trouble Doc’s tree, Tornado went wide to the right and disappeared for the count at 55.
Touch’s Mae Mobley (G. Tracy) and Tangled Sheets (Kinkelaar) were away down the road from Bill Lee’s place headed toward south duck pond, hit the piney woods and the edges with gusto. Both were pleasing to look at and hunted hard but it seemed birds weren’t moving today. Mae pointed with granite-like intensity and lofty style at 43 near Turkey Hill and had her birds directly in front, rock solid for the flush and shot. After consultation with judges, Mae was picked up. Sheets was also up at 45.
Zorra (Kinkelaar) and Just Thrillin (Rice). Saturday morning was cool to start but quickly warmed into the 70s. These two handled well and hunted hard for an hour but neither found game and were up. One covey had been ridden up.
Jayhawk’s Thunder (Basilone) and Conway Twitty (Atkins). After refreshments at the coke barn, we released the dogs at 9:38. Jay was soon pointed at 4 at a small tree stand along right side, nothing flushed or relocated. Jay stayed out front across cattle ranch road and on into the triangle. Beyond MaPolla place he scored a well-handled covey find at 65 and was up after consultation with judges. Conway started wide and stayed wide, shown on several huge swings but birds were hard to come by. Point was called at 62 along right edge as we neared the county road. Conway was lofty on point, birds well located, and mannerly for the shot, picked up at 65.
Come Back Kid (Williams) and Desoto Springs Jake (Tande) broke away at 1:15 at the barn. Kid went up and over the hill but failed to come back, the retrieval device requested at 25. Jake hunted forward from side to side with high head and high cracking tail. He made several wide swings as we made the hill country but the heat started to take its toll and he was picked up at 40.
Elhew G Force (Moore) and Sugarknoll War Paint (G. Tracy) started toward the south duck pond. Action started quickly as Paint locked up at 2 in the piney woods, a covey produced, Paint rock steady for the shot. G Force went wide right but returned at dam and moat crossing. He pointed on hillside at 20 and had a covey precisely located,
manners perfect for the shot. He repeated at 27 on opposite hillside. Sent on he was in and out of pocket but managed to maintain contact. At 36 as we neared an open field near the deer stand Paint handled his second covey to perfection and scored two more at the next two hilltops, coming at 52 and 62, both handled with proper deportment as the well located coveys exploded. G Force had been out of pocket for a spell but was found on point below the Lee place at 64 for his third mannerly find. Paint suffered an unproductive at 68 along side hill after town creek crossing. Scout found Paint pointed at 78 in bottomland deep to left side. A lengthy flush and relocation finally produced the running covey, Paint perfect throughout. He finished going away toward the stone line. G Force notched his fourth mannerly find at 86 as we approached road crossing, then finished impressively taking a long edge to the limit.
Up first at 8:00 a. m. under cloudy skies with mild morning temperatures were Steel City Karen (J. Tracy) and Kate’s Magic (Perkins). Both took the long straightaway, handling fine to the road crossing, then Karen drifted to the right and was not seen again, Tracy calling it a day at 40. Kate hunted well forward, making several wide swings as we traversed the gravel road toward the big lake. After rounding the lake Kate pointed on distant hillside at 46, flush and relocation fruitless, Kate up at 50.
Thrill Me (Rice) and Sugarknoll Sledgehammer (Kinkelaar) broke away from the coke barn, both strong up over the hill to the left turn toward Joe Bonner line. Point was called for Sledge on far right hillside along a mowed lane where nothing was flushed or relocated. Near the end of Joe Varner line Sledge pointed at 30 along brushy plowed field edge with Thrill backing a good distance off. Again nothing was flown and Sledge was in the harness. Thrill drove on into the triangle country, swung left and stood pretty as a picture at 47. The initial flushing attempt failed but Thrill worked it out and relocated nicely but could not resist temptation and was up at 50.
Attitude’s Knight Hawk (M. Tracy) and Miller’s Elusive Lady (Norman) were released at 1:15 at the barn, both over the hill straight away. Hawk pointed at 5 in tall switch grass, looked positive but nothing raised. Shortly after duck pond Hawk pointed far ahead along the right side and held steady as Tracy put a covey up from directly in front. Lady suffered an encounter with a skunk at 16 that seemed bothersome and she was picked up. Ahead to the valley below Bill Lee’s place, Hawk suffered his second unproductive along creek edge and was up at 22.
Waybetter Rocky (M. Tracy) and Sinbad’s Bear (Kinkelaar) started below Bill Lee’s place headed toward the south duck pond. Action was immediate with Bear locking up solidly at 2 inside the field edge, a covey produced for the mannerly charge. Gallery spotted Rocky at 9 off to the left side just prior to dam crossing and had a covey handled with high style and proper manners. Across the dam and moat to piney woods hilltop, Rocky handled his second covey to perfection at 15. Sent ahead toward creek crossing, point called for Bear at 19 along left edge with Rocky backing, both mannerly for the shot. We worked our way up the next hill and on to the flats where point was called for both dogs at 30. Both were standing independently about 50 yards apart, Bear handling a woodcock nicely and Rocky a covey. After town creek crossing both went wide toward north duck pond with Bear found pointing in brushy area, a covey flushed with Bear steady for the shot. This was followed quickly with another mannerly find just two minutes later in tall sedge. Both were hunting a thicket area along right hillside with birds in the air just as point was called for Rocky at 70. He remained steady for the shot. Bear hunted on ahead uninvolved and was found pointing at 77 in the old railroad country where he handled his sixth covey with style, manners and composure. Rocky had made a very wide swing to left woodsline and came around to the front and found on a sky kissing stand at 85 where nothing could be produced. Bear finished hunting ahead but had slowed in pace a little.
Miller’s Unfinished Business (Norman) and High Drive Ranger (G. Tracy) were released at 8:00 a. m. sharp, both forward across county road, through mossy oak country toward the big house. As we turned left on gravel lane Business pointed along the right side at 23. He seemed positive but the stand proved unproductive. He was on point again at 34, results were the same and he was picked up. Ranger made a nice swing toward the white entry gate along county road and pointed positively at 32 but nothing was raised and Ranger was picked up at 40 near the dam crossing.
Urban Fantasy (Basilone) and Cory’s Easy Holy Water (G. Tracy) broke away from the coke barn. Fantasy faded away up and over the first hill and was not seen again. Basilone threw in the towel at 40. Easy made several wide swings running with a high cracking tail and smooth stride. She hunted ahead to Joe Varner line and crossed cattle ranch lane and into the triangle at 40. Scout found her pointing solidly at 46 to the far left beyond first creek crossing. Easy handled a covey with style, proper manners and solid intensity. She hunted ahead toward old MaPolla place but was picked up at 67 at creek crossing.
Palara (M. Tracy) and R J’s Deicer (Kinkelaar) hunted well forward past the north duck pond and across the road. Point was called for Deicer ahead at 22. When the covey lifted a few too many steps had him harnessed. Palara pointed to left of trail at 15, stylish and mannerly as handler flushed the covey. Sent ahead into the hill country, she shortened and was up at 45 near Bill Lee drive.
Calico’s Cowboy Casanova (M. Tracy) and Conecuh’s Shoe Shine (Ray). The final brace was the make-up of brace No. 7 that was cancelled the second afternoon due to lightning.
Released headed toward the south duck pond, Cowboy was quickly into the piney woods on left side. Shine did the same then darted down the right field edge. The call of point rang out at 10 with both standing independently near lake crossing, the covey put to wing between them, both mannerly for the shot. Across the lake and on toward turkey hill Cowboy scored stylishly at 25 and again on hilltop at 31 where he relocated a covey with precision. Shine suffered an extended absence but was back in front at 34, both ahead through the creek crossing, point called at 40 near the deer stand with Shine ahead and Cowboy backing. Both were intense and mannerly. Sent across creek below the barns and up the hill toward the north duck pond, both were standing along green field edge at 53. Shine had the covey with Cowboy in backing position, both mannerly. At the top of the hill before right turn toward town creek both were nearly side by side at 56, handling yet another covey perfectly. Beyond creek crossing Cowboy suffered an unproductive at 68. He added another perfect find at 85 near the stone line and finished going strong along wooded edge after road crossing. Shine added a find on hillside below Lee place at 73 where birds were called in route; a big covey remained to be flushed. Shine added to his score at 80 in the stone line country approaching Avent line and finished across the road and going away along woodsline. These two offered a challenge that came up just a bit short, bringing the championship to an end.
Union Springs, Ala., February 6
Judges: Larry Cox, Bill Mason
and Tracy Swearingen
NATIONAL OPEN SHOOTING DOG CHAMPIONSHIP
[Ninety-Minute Heats] — 61 Entries
Winner—COCK’N’FIRE MAGGIE, 1627399, pointer female, by Blackhawk Jet—Gage’s Sweet Carla. Allen Johnson & Auddie Brown, owners; Jerry Raynor, handler.
Kick-off for the trial was Saturday evening at the Sedgefields clubhouse where a group of over 30 assembled. All enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and libations. President Jerry Champion introduced the judges and secretary Dwight Smith conducted the drawing with assistance from Harold Johnson and Mike Husenits. Heather Klinck, Margie Ricci, Amy Johnson and Renee Peak volunteered to write the judges’ and reporter’s notebooks.
Heather Klinck is heavily involved with the Bullock County tourism council and announced that breakfast would be provided daily. The ladies, Savannah Fitzpatrick and Cierra Likely, were on the job bright and early every morning and prepared fresh eggs, bacon, sausage, grits, biscuits and gravy.
Additionally, Amber Anderson sent fresh muffins and scones from her newly opened bakery in Union Springs.
Sunday evening several gathered in the field house for a Super Bowl party that featured plenty of finger food, pizza and refreshments.
Nearly every evening there was a social gathering of some sort. After the first day’s running on Monday, the club sponsored a cocktail party followed by a ham dinner.
Tuesday featured a Purina sponsored steak dinner. Purina manager Greg Blair was on hand for part of the running but had to leave and make his way to Grand Junction for the ceremonies at the National Championship. Jim Smith, Purina field consultant, also attended and rode several days. Purina has supported all sporting dog field trials and dog shows with expertise and dedication second to none. Their efforts have elevated the Purina brand to the top of the pet food market where it belongs.
A highlight of Tuesday evening was the presentation of a Life Patron Award to long time leader and club secretary Dwight Smith who has contributed to field trials for over 30 years as an owner, handler, judge, and club official. He was a founder of the Top Shooting Dog Award program and is a senior member of the Purina Awards Committee. Dr. Jerry Champion, club president, made the presentation.
On Wednesday evening all were invited to the Union Springs Country Club by Tony and Becky Gibson to honor last year’s winner of this Championship, Conecuh’s Shoe Shine. A festive affair featuring a deep fried quail dinner and unlimited libations was enjoyed by well over 100 attendees. The Ross Young painting was unveiled to the delight of the Gibsons, handler Doug Ray and the entire party (see page 7).
Thursday evening’s fish fry sponsored by Sportsman’s Pride pet foods held at the Sedgefields clubhouse was a huge affair. Joe Moorer and Scott Hasson have no equal when it comes to frying catfish fillets.
Earlier on Thursday several attendees and club officials traveled to Union Springs for the dedication of a expertly painted Wes Hardin field trial scene mural that is displayed on the Bullock County Tourist Bureau building. The liver marked pointer was rumored to be Tarheelia’s Lucky Strike?
Friday evening a grandiose party honoring Hall of Fame electees Allen Linder and Great River Ice was held at the Sedgefields clubhouse. The gathering of over 125 enjoyed plenty of food and beverages. Master of ceremonies Dwight Smith presented the Hall of Fame scrolls to Allen Linder and his family and for Great River Ice, to Jack and Brian Sanchez and Mike Tracy.
Saturday night was spaghetti night at the field clubhouse and again libations flowed unsparingly. Sunday night was leftover night.
The ladies, Becky Champion, Dr. Amy Roberts and Sharon Taylor, prepared and served lunches and several dinners in the clubhouse. They worked tirelessly to insure everyone was well fed and refreshed. Their efforts were greatly appreciated by all.
Other sponsors and supporters included Sedgefields Plantation, Sportsman’s Pride Pet Food Co., Gibson Home Center, Caladen Kennels, Ameri-First Bank, Bullock County Tourism Council, Hembree Furniture, Phillips Feed & Seed, Plantation Supply and May Distributors. Thank you all.
Photographer Laura Graham rode several days, capturing much of the action in expert fashion and graciously sharing her photos on the internet and in the clubhouse.