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Lester’s Jazz Man Wins 2020 Running; Hendrix’s Touch Up Is Runner-Up

Alabama Open All-Age Championship

By Tessa Hughes | Mar 17, 2020
Championship Winners. From left: Greg Bain, Randy Anderson, Stegan Smith with Lester’s Jazz Man, Brad Kennedy, Joe Hughes, Guy Hendrix with Hendrix’s Touch Up, Jack Griffin, and Judges Will Dunn and Charlie Frank Bryan.

Blue Mountain, Miss. — Thirty entries made up the field for the 2020 Alabama Open All-Age Championship, the last qualifying trial before the National Championship.  Both judges, as well as many handlers, scouts, and spectators, commented this was one of the most exciting trials they had attended in years, with 55 game contacts in two and a half days and so many top contenders putting on great performances to vie for the win.

The remarkable Lester’s Jazz Man, eight-year-old white and orange pointer male owned by Dan Hensley of Claremore, Okla., and handled by Randy Anderson, swept this very challenging field to be crowned champion.  Interestingly, Jazz Man was the runner-up in 2018, and showed us all that he came to win on his return in 2020.

Named runner-up was Hendrix’s Touch Up, three-year-old white and orange pointer male owned by Burke and Guy Hendrix of Hernando, Miss., and handled by Burke.

The stake was held on its traditional grounds, the Hell Creek Wildlife Management Area in Blue Mountain, Miss., starting on February 1.

Many thanks to our sponsor, Sportsman’s Pride Dog Food Company, and its representative, Brad Kennedy of Red Bay, Ala., for all the continued support.

We also want to express our heartfelt appreciation to our judges, Will Dunn of Lebanon, Ky., and Charlie Frank Bryan of Moscow, Tenn. Both were well-qualified and gave their full attention to each dog on the ground.

The Alabama Field Trial Club also extends its thanks to Jack Griffin of the Mississippi Department of Game, Wildlife and Fisheries for all the hard work he does to keep the grounds immaculate, birds plentiful, and road crossings safe.  Congratulations, as well, to Jack who, happily for him but sadly for the club, retires this spring. Much appreciation also to Carolyn Page and Melissa Bain who made sure everyone had delicious lunches each day of the trial. Marshals included club secretary and Stake Manager Greg Bain, President Joe Hughes and club members Ronald Thrasher and Kennedy.

THE WINNING BRACE

The dynamic Lester’s Jazz Man really put on a show with five exciting finds in his third hour brace to secure the championship title. The weather on Saturday morning for this year’s championship brace started out at a brisk 50° but warmed quickly to a high of 55° and sunny by the third hour. Jazz Man and his bracemate, pointer male Ransom’s Jack Flash (Hurdle), were away fast from the breakaway. Jazz Man almost immediately had a beautiful find in the first field at 3, standing up high and tight on his birds, very intense for both wing and shot. Flash was running well but was up at 12 after not pleasing his handler. Jazz Man swept the bear trap field, making a magnificent cast, and carried on with Anderson calling point for him at 13 in a feed strip as we began riding parallel to Hell Creek through the wooded area. Jazz Man again looked magnificent on his game and was again away fast.

He encountered birds again at 16 and at 19 as we progressed along the wooded area on the way to the creek.  Both finds he handled in the intense, stylish and mannerly way that has garnered him many championship wins. Both Stegan Smith, excellent scout for Anderson, and Joe Hughes (when Smith was out of pocket) were in and out of the saddle quickly to help lead Jazz Man out in front of Anderson after each find.

Things really heated up when Jazz Man stormed across Hell Creek and swept out across the big crop fields, making thrilling casts, not reducing speed, although now running without a bracemate. Everyone in the gallery began to acknowledge here was a true field trial bird dog, doing what he most enjoyed. As we turned right at the far back corner of our field trial grounds and headed back for the clubhouse Jazz Man now had his nose turned on hunt, and made a beeline in one of the smaller fields to zero in on some quail. He handled that bird work well under pressure as those birds were moving. He then went on to finish strong and had one final impressive find at 58 in the horseshoe fields, putting his final stamp of success on an astonishing one-hour race.

The Running

Touch’s Spaceman (PM/Anderson) and Kennedy’s Chocolate Chip Man (PM/Hurdle) were strong from the breakaway. Chocolate Chip had a very nice find at 9 by the small pond on the right, looking sharp on his birds. However, he never made it off the hill and to the pines behind the clubhouse, forcing Hurdle to ask for the retrieval unit at 24.  Spaceman was up after a breach at 9.

Lester’s High Dollar (PM/Lester) and Hendrix’s Copperline (PM/Hendrix) broke away from the game warden’s house. Both dogs ran exciting braces, with Hendrix calling point for his dog in the first field at 3 in the treeline below the house. Copperline handled that find well and swept on. Dollar set down a dynamic ground race and garnered exciting finds at 30, 49 (on the hill after the silo), 53 (on a relocation), and at 58 in the last big field before we reached the clubhouse. Both dogs finished the hour strong.

The next brace was the championship brace, addressed above.

The first brace after lunch was comprised of Misty Morn Masked Man (PM/McAlexander) and Whippoorwill Vette (PM/Huffman). The gallery was pleased to have Vette’s owner, Earl Connolly, with us at Hell Creek as he is an old friend to many of us.  Both dogs were away fast from the breakaway, with McAlexander calling point for his dog at 7 by the pond. Vette was up, unfortunately, after a breach at 7. Masked Man carried on, making strong casts before crossing the rock road and disappearing through the pines behind the clubhouse. McAlexander feared Masked Man was lost until Hendrix spotted him standing on point at 23 in the thicket to the left after we exited the pines and crossed the road. Masked Man stood high and tight on his game. He then went on to have three finds in rapid succession as we rode along the lower edge of the big field bordering Hell Creek. He had another staunch find at 37.  Man was again briefly absent until a gallery member spotted him on point in dense brush before we went through the cut-through in the pine thicket. McAlexander flushed again for Man, and he handled this game contact as stylishly as he had the others. Seven finds were not enough for Man, though, and he garnered one additional find at pickup in the last field of the brace, handling it beautifully as well.

The fifth brace started off well from the game warden’s house with 2019 Champion Coldwater Thunder (PF/Hurdle) and Valiant (PM/Anderson).  These dogs both put down exciting races, starting off with a divided find on the rock hill at 10. Then Anderson called point for Valiant at 32, with Thunder backing. Both dogs looked very elegant and handled this game contact impeccably. Things got interesting when Valiant had a find on one side of the rock road and Thunder had a find on the other side at 38. Valiant went on to have a beautiful find at 48. Thunder had a stylish find at pickup to finish the brace.

Bonner’s Bulletproof (PM/Lester) and Stardust Chaz (SM/Hurdle) ran exciting races. Bulletproof suffered an unproductive at 10 in heavy cover but went on to have a snazzy find at 16. Chaz had a handsome find at 13 and then swept on to have a find at 25 across Hell Creek with Bulletproof backing.

Runner-up Hendrix’s Touch Up (Hendrix) and Touch’s Blackout (PM/ Anderson) comprised the first brace Sunday morning. Blackout did a fine job, running always to the front and garnering a very nice find at 45.  Touch Up did outstanding work in his hour with a beautiful find at 28 after we made it through the pines behind the clubhouse, another classy find at 35 in that long straight stretch going away, and a find at 56 in the long bottom.  He ran a ground-devouring and exciting race and was in all respects a very sharp dog to watch.

Stash the Cash (PM/Lester) and Miller’s Hot Rod (PM/Anderson) were away strongly from the game warden’s house. Anderson called point at 7 in the first field for Hot Rod, which handled his bird work without error, looking sharp. Cash flew across the creek and swept around the big field and up the rock hill, with the scout finding him on point at 10 up there. He handled that find quite masterfully. Unfortunately, Hot Rod suffered an unproductive and was up at 33. Cash went on to have another very nice find at 35 and finished the brace strong.

The third brace of the day left from the clubhouse with Miller’s Select Call (PM/Anderson) and Game Bo (PM/Bennett). Bennett called point for Bo at 12 but Call was up after a breach of manners. Bo handled his find well and was on again hunting beside the feed strips to have a very nice find at 15. Bennett impressed us all both with his horse and his horsemanship by remounting after each find on the right side of his horse after a minor leg injury.  We swept on across Hell Creek with Game Bo working hard for Bennett. He made several nice casts and then garnered an impressive find at 59 on relocation in the horseshoe fields to finish the hour.

The first brace after lunch found us warm in very sunny conditions, with temperatures in the upper 60s.

Coldwater Spectre (PM/Bennett) and Las Animas Hombre (PM/Huffman) began strong in the little fields down from the clubhouse to start us off.

Spectre went on to log some impressive bird work with a very nice find at 30 after we passed through the pines, a find at 34, a find at 45, a find at 54, and a find after pickup was called. Hombre ran a strong race but went birdless.

Although Nosam’s Sweet Water (PM/Huffman) and Touch’s Fire Away (PM/Anderson) ran well, both went birdless and were picked up when we reached the road taking us to the game warden’s house.

Coldwater Odyssey (PM/Bennett) and Miller’s Justifiable (PM/Anderson). (Justifiable won the Alabama Open Derby,  a one-hour stake, a year ago for then handler Gary Lester). They broke hard and to the right on the breakaway, with Bennett calling point for Odyssey in the first field at 3 with Justifiable backing. Bennett flushed for Odyssey and all was in order. Justifiable then went on to have a nice find at 6 on the other side of the same hedgerow from where Odyssey had found birds.  Anderson then called point for Justifiable at 9 but Odyssey was not respectful of that and was up. Justifiable handled this well for his handler and went on to have a strong brace.

Monday morning dawned drizzly and cooler, to everyone’s and their horses’ relief.

Matt Cochran joined the ranks of competitors at the Alabama Open All-Age Championship with Whippoorwill Forever Wild, braced with Whippoorwill Wild Assault (PM/Huffman). Wild had a beautiful find at 8 by the pond. Assault was up after a breach of manners. Wild ran a fast and exciting ground race, going on to have a find at 36 in the long bottom. He then suffered an unproductive at 43 in a difficult brush-laden area before we went down to the creek crossing. However, Wild went on to cross the creek and be found on point again at 52, which was quite impressive, with Judge Dunn getting off his horse and going into above-head-high canes with Cochran on a hunt for the running quail, with Wild doing his best to find them on relocation. Wild did his job, Judge Dunn confirmed the sighting of quail, and Wild stood firm for wing and shot. Wild went on to finish well with another classy find along the feed strip after we crossed the rock road at pickup.

Our good friend David Williams, with his pointer female Rebel Maiden, was scheduled to be in the fourteenth brace with Lester’s Storm Surge (PM/Lester).  However, Williams was forced to scratch after unfortunately breaking his ankle the Friday before when his horse fell and rolled on him during the National Amateur Shooting Dog Championship. Although thus running as a bye, Storm Surge and Lester nevertheless showed us an exciting second brace of the day, with Surge garnering a beautiful find at 5 below the game warden’s house. He went on to have another find at 12 on the rock hill, and handled that game contact stylishly. He then put in a strong ground race and finished with a classy find at 50 below the game warden’s house again.

S F Stetson (PM/Huffman) made a strong showing with a good ground race and a find at 3 in the first field. Superstition’s Final Touch (PM/Cochran) was up after a breach of manners. Stetson went on to have a find at 11, which he also handled well.  He finished his hour hunting hard and to the front.

Blue Mountain, Miss., February 1

Judges: Charles Frank Bryan and Will Dunn

ALABAMA OPEN ALL-AGE CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] —

29 Pointers and 1 Setter

Winner—LESTER’S JAZZ MAN, 1652017, pointer male, by Lester’s Snowatch—High Point Jesse. Dan Hensley, owner; Randy Anderson, handler.

Runner-Up—HENDRIX’S TOUCH UP, 1681400, pointer male, by Pleasant Run Bob—House’s Wild Bess Again. Burke & Guy Hendrix, owners; Burke Hendrix, handler.

OPEN DERBY

Ten pointers were entered in the one-hour Open Derby.  For the fourth year in a row, Gary Lester swooped in to capture first place, this time with the young male Lester’s Stem Winder which garnered two classy finds and a back and put down an exciting ground race.

Lester also took second with pointer male Lester’s High Dollar which had two beautiful finds, two backs and a strong race. The Lester-Haynes team took third place as well, with Haynes running pointer male Bonner’s Bulletproof to secure that placement with a forward aggressive race and one classy find.

OPEN DERBY [One-Hour Heats] — 10 Pointers

1st—LESTER’S STEM WINDER, 1686991, male, by Lester’s Sunny Hill Jo—Beane’s Line Dancer. Gary Lester owner and handler.

2d—LESTER’S HIGH DOLLAR, 1686990, male, by Lester’s Sunny Hill Jo—Beane’s Line Dancer. Tommy Loid & David Thompson, owners; Gary Lester, handler.

3d—BONNER’S BULLETPROOF, 1683585, male, by Miller’s Speed Dial—Miller’s Martha White. Mark Haynes, owner and handler.

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