American Field

Field Trial Report

Continental Derby Championship

Late Hit Wins 2021 Running; Erin's Silver Lining is Runner-Up
By Jason Williams | Feb 17, 2021
Photo by: Andrew Campbell The Winners. From left: Jamie Daniels with stand-in for Late Hit; Judd Carlton with Erin's Silver Lining;  and Sean Derrig. Identifiable, behind, John Michael McCormick, Shannon Braden, Larron Copeland, Judge Doug Arthur (center); Judge Jason Williams, and Randy Floyd.

Greenville, Fla. — The 2021 running began January 18 on Livingston Place, formerly Dixie Plantation, Greenville, Fla. Same grounds, new name.

Twenty-five young dogs were drawn for this important stake, all fully capable of winning. The grounds were in perfect condition, the handlers courteous, and the birds were there if the youngsters were looking for ’em. All these are important factors to conduct a class trial.

These grounds have hosted this trial since 1950 when Anna Monroe, pointer female handled by John S. Gates, was named the inaugural winner, along with the Continental All-Age (since 1939), and many more amateur trials and the local handlers’ trial as well. They are a true test for a dog.

Typical for this part of the world, manicured bird cover with small fields interspersed throughout makes a quail and bird dog paradise. The birds are plentiful and all courses afford ample contacts. Randy Floyd has been here for 28 years and loves this place and the field trial. I know a lot of plantation managers but none who are more dedicated than Randy to this place.

John McCormick is assistant manager and along with Shannon Braden provide a steady, enthusiastic work force to groom the grounds. These two young men are an encouragement to me for the future of this line of work. Not only willing to do anything handed to them but do it with a smile.

Speaking of the quail, they are native wild quail. They sure act like it too. When they are feeding and moving, they seem to be under every bush. When they are not moving, a dog has to be good and lucky to find them. We saw seven coveys from the gallery in the very first brace with many more reported ridden up by the scouts. Then we had times when they are hard to come by, typical.

Writers with much more skill and talent than I have written about this trial and these grounds. Bill Allen, Steve Standley, Barbara Teare and many more.

When Tall Timbers Research Organization acquired it eight years ago, my friend Clay Sisson contacted me to see if I would be interested in doing some contract hunting. We started that year and hunt several days during the season, usually about 20. I have been impressed with the work that has been completed in that time and continues to be done now.

A large chunk of land is timbered and cleared every year to improve the quail habitat. There is more and better cover every year and more feed lines to broadcast feed. Shannon Braden feeds half the place every week with a tractor and fertilizer spreader, therefore all courses are fed every two weeks.

That being said, these projects are very expensive and labor intensive. Randy and his crew get all this done with tremendous efficiency and with a budget that has to be adhered to. This work is easily done on some places with an unlimited budget, not so easy when dealing with a budget. The bills are paid with quail hunts, deer and turkey hunting leases and some donations. All money is spent to propagate the quail habitat.

The field trials have to pay their way and that’s a touchy subject. There are less dogs, trainers and grounds than there used to be. This does not bode well for the future of our sport and everyone knows it. Our culture has changed so much away from hunting and outdoor sports that it’s hard for our sport to sustain, much less grow. There are some answers to our dilemma but they are not easy. The handlers are having a hard time making ends meet, the owners are doing all they can and the people who own the grounds where we run are as well.

Randy and I have had several discussions about this problem and there has been some discussion of an endowment for the trial. This could be a way to promote the advancement of bird dogs and field trials. I have done almost everything that can be done with a bird dog and I know without great bird dogs, you cannot have great bird hunting. Period. Field trials were started for the sport of it but more importantly to improve the breed of hunting dogs. The better hunting plantations in South Georgia and North Florida have the most birds and the BEST DOGS. These great dogs are field trial dogs or the managers and trainers are breeding to the best all-age and shooting dogs in the country. Field trials are the only tests to promote these animals. When I load the truck to go to Florida, I have twelve big, tough, bird dogs to work with.

I joined in the judicial saddle with Doug Arthur of Eades, Tenn., and we got along very well. Mr. Doug has been in this sport for many decades and he has done it all. From raising pups to winning and owning all age dogs, he has and still is heavily involved. He likes a running, hunting bird dog just like I do.


The 7th brace of the trial produced the new champion and runner-up. Late Hit, white and orange pointer male owned by Chris Campbell  of Shreveport, La., and handled by veteran Tom Shenker was named champion. Erin’s Silver Lining, white and orange pointer male owned and handled by Chicagoan Sean Derrig, was named runner-up.

This brace was turned loose at 8 a. m. Tuesday morning. The temperature was 33°, a good frost covered the grounds and a little fog was in the low lying areas. The brown cover, light fog, and the green wheat in the small fields made for a beautiful backdrop this morning.

Shenker brought his support crew with him this day, scout Willis Wright and Kirk Law and Jim Tande for encouragement. Derrig had Judd Carlton scouting for him.

Both dogs traded punches in the first 20 minute loop going up the Boyd line and down by the beehives. They were gathered up at the road crossing and sent away towards the office area, forward and fancy. Crossing here, they both took field edges towards Pike's Peak in all-age fashion. When they could show going up Pike's Peak, they did it well, hard to pick which was better.

As we approached the south end of Cadillac Pond, Derrig called flight of birds and they were seen. A quick ride found Lining standing nicely here, all good at shot. Hit was gathered here and both dogs crossed dam and into the following fields with good, strong casts. At 51 scout Wright called point for Hit near Aucilla River swamp. When Tom stepped off his horse, birds flew with more leaving as shot was fired, the find of the trial.

After Hit caught the front, both dogs were still preforming admirably. When pickup was called, Hit was shown going across the front on next hill and Lining was gathered up shortly from the front.

Tom Shenker called me after the trial and gave some information on his new champion. He was bred by Willis Wright. When Tom moved to Hurtsboro, Willis gave him two pups. This one flourished and he sent him North last summer with Lee Phillips. Lee did a great job with him and Tom is finishing him and has placed him at a couple more trials. He is good sized, pretty pointing and moving, a good combination.

Sean Derrig and I had a conversation after the announcement about his dog and his dog in the first brace that had four perfect finds, Erin’s Prime Time, which did not have the race we were looking for but was closest to the winners. Both his dogs are super nice with lots of potential. Sean told me the dog we placed was his favorite.

The bird work separated the winner and runner-up, Late Hit had birds flushed in front of him and Silver Lining’s birds left before we got there. Silver Lining looked good standing but you could have shot the birds that Hit pointed. This was just luck but it’s hard to win without luck.

Game Rebel (Luke Eisenhart) had the race of the stake for owner Dr. Fred Corder but no observed bird work. His bracemate Southern Nation  (Lefty Henry) for owners John Ivester and Ruthann Epp, who were present, also ran a big showy race without birds.

Judd Carlton, the hardest working, best man at the trial had three good Derbies and the best was Erin’s Tin Star for owner Mike Sweet who rode and watched. Star had a good find and race but got a little short at the end.

Jason Loper had two good young dogs, as has become his norm. Osceola’s Storm Breaker in the 5th brace was good on the ground, had two finds, one with a great relocation. He didn’t have the race of the winners.

Eddie Sholar ran Touch’s Whitey Ford in the ninth brace and he was picked up early but he was running a “dog race”.

Overall, we saw some really nice young dogs handled by men who acted professionally from beginning to end. They were courteous to judges and each other. I am continually impressed with our sport.

Many thanks to Tall Timbers and Livingston Place, Randy Floyd, John McCormick, Shannon Braden, Dan McCormick, Gloria Hagen, and the whole crew for their hard work and generosity. Their job was well done.

Thomasville Toyota graciously provided a truck to pull the dog wagon at the trials and Ag Pro provided John Deere Gators for officials and crew to use. These sponsors are very much appreciated. Thanks you.

Greenville, Fla., January 18

Judges: Doug Arthur and Jason Williams


[One-Hour Heats] – 25 Pointers and 1 Setter

Winner—LATE HIT, 1687601, pointer male, by Miller's Blindsider—Abigail Lil. Christopher Campbell, owner; Tom Shenker, handler.

Runner-Up—ERIN'S SILVER LINING, 1687102, pointer male, by Erin's Redrum—Erin's Fantasy. Sean Derrig, owner and handler.

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