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Game Wardon Wins Derby Title; Phillips Off Line Named All-Age Champion

All-America Quail Championships

By Jim Atchison | Apr 10, 2018
Derby Championship Winners. Front (l-r): Mark Haynes with Dunn’s True Issue and Dr. Fred Corder with Game Wardon. Standing: Jon Lam, Mike Small, Will Dunn, John Vanada, Nathan Phillips, Judge Brian Hodges, Doug Burgess, Judge Burl Hicks and Max Wimmer.

Pinckneyville, Ill. — Game Wardon handily won the All-America Derby Championship and Phillips Off Line was declared the winner of the Quail Championship at the 92nd running at Pyramid State Park near Pinckneyville, Ill. The Derby champion, owned by Dr. Fred Corder of Corinth, Miss., was handled by Ike Todd, while the All-Age Champion was handled by owner Nathan Phillips of Oakland City, Ind.

The Derby runner-up was Dunn’s True Issue, now owned by Claudia McNamee from Atlanta; Will Dunn still handled him for the new owner. Lester’s Jazz Man was runner-up in the Quail Championship, handled by Randy Anderson for owner Dan Hensley of Claremore, Okla.

Any anxiety experienced by members of the Hoosier Field Trial Club as they changed the venue for the 2018 renewal of their All-America Derby and All-Age Championships to Pyramid State Park near Pinkneyville, Ill., soon vanished after seeing the facilities, the field trial courses, and being welcomed and cared for by Jim and Kay Lawless. Certainly, leaving Outland Ranch, the generosity and hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Fornear, and the attention of Kenny, Sharon and Greg Robinson was as frightening as leaving home. And those wonderful years and memories will always be remembered and deeply appreciated.

Yet, all have to deal with change and the Hoosiers and their non-Hoosier associates adapted well and sponsored excellent championships at Pyramid. If all goes well and as hoped, the Hoosiers will return to Pyramid in 2019 without anxiety.

Judges for the Championships were Burl Hicks and Brian Hodges, who traveled the significant distance from Smithville, Miss., to fulfill the judicial responsibilities. Hicks reports his occupation to be happily retired and Hodges is a professional farrier. The pair handled their responsibilities well and were good company while doing so. At the risk of providing too much information, which may very well wind up on the cutting room floor, Pyramid State Park, the largest state park in Illinois with over 16,000 acres, is a reclaimed strip coal mining property with outstanding field trial courses. Each course provided lots of big fields with clearly visible edges which provided great opportunities for dogs to show themselves well. Autumn olive, which can be an invasive shrub, is being eradicated by the park management and their staff.

Overall, the property offers a great combination of fields of native vegetation that are mowed, fields that are farmed, woodland, excellent access for dog wagons, and possesses every characteristic that is pleasing to have in a field trial venue.

Additionally, Jim and Kay Lawless reported that the field trial community had an excellent and greatly appreciated working relationship with the management and employees of Pyramid who were receptive to suggestions for improvements which were made as operating budgets permitted.

The area around the barn and clubhouse is modern and well cared for. All of the visible improvements, which include a horse barn with at least 35 to 40 tie stalls, a clubhouse for preparing food and dining, a picnic shelter, and several level parking sites with electrical outlets for motorhomes or trailers are impressive and have been totally funded and provided by the dedicated group of Illinois field trialers who appreciate and use the area most. Their efforts are truly impressive.

And speaking of impressive, the Hoosiers cannot find adequate words to describe the endless hospitality, work, and care provided by Jim and Kay Lawless during the Championships. They used vacation days from their fulltime jobs to work from early until late daily ensuring that every need and accommodation were offered to everyone present. Hours before daybreak each morning Jim was putting out birds while Kay was cooking breakfast for everyone. In addition to the breakfast fare of biscuits, gravy, sausage, eggs, etc., she served quiche on the last morning. Then she had hot lunches each day, which always included wonderful soups with the entrees. Also, just as Jim was adding birds to the courses each day, Kay added more amazing desserts to her daily menu. Also, Jim was the front marshal and Kay was the back marshal most of the time. They were truly a wonderful host and hostess and made the work of the Hoosier Club members easy.

Club members who were here throughout the Championships included Max Wimmer, Doug Burgess, John Vanada, Jon Lam, Mike Jackson, and Jim Atchison. Others came by as their schedules permitted.

The weather varied considerably with temperatures ranging from the 20s to low 70s during the few days of running, which were March 13-15. The wind velocity varied also and was strong at times, but rain was never a problem. The grounds were firm and easy to appreciate after many who were there had experienced the wettest and most disagreeable winter of field trialing on record. Reporting that a spreader truck was running over all the tilled fields throughout the Championships may best illustrate the condition of the grounds, which were excellent.

Now, finally, what did the dogs do?

DERBY CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS

Game Wardon, a son of Caladen’s Rail Hawk, carved another notch in his gun as he continued the list of wins achieved in his youth.

Game Wardon ran a clean and forward race on the third hour course in his sixth brace performance. He had three finds, at 33, 36, and 46. As he hunted he held his edges perfectly and gave the overall appearance of doing everything right throughout the hour.

While Dr. Corder, his owner, had not arrived yet Ike Todd handled the champion in the much-admired Todd style; he rode in front of the judges and let Game Wardon show the judges what he had.

Dunn’s True Issue also had birds three times as he earned the runner-up title, handled by Will Dunn for Claudia McNamee. Dunn’s True Issue may have impressed the judges in that each time he pointed — at 12, 23, and 30 — the birds were exactly where he said they were enabling Dunn to show birds to the judges with ease. True Issue ran a very clean hour and demonstrated excellent style, both hunting and on game.

The young son of Dunn’s Tried’N True should be a pleasing investment for Ms. McNamee.

OTHER DERBIES

Littermates Touch’s Gallatin Fire and Touch’s Space Man competed in the first brace on Tuesday, March 13. The temperature stood at 28° and the area had light frost. Gallatin Fire was handled by Ike Todd for owner Alex Rickert from Bozeman. Randy Anderson had Space Man for his owner Matt Griffith. The pair hunted independently and well yet each time birds were located the brothers were both standing together with finds that were determined to be divided. The three divided finds were at 10, 18, and 39. The find at 18 was near a long narrow mine strip that was not filled as the area was reclaimed from mining. Today the picturesque channel stays filled year-round and is said to possibly be 40 feet deep and straight down.

Game Storm, owned by Dr. Corder and handled by Ike Todd, was braced with Dunn’s True Decision, handled by Will Dunn and owned by the handler with his wife Rita. Game Storm had birds at 16 and 51. True Decision had birds at 38 with Game Storm backing. True Decision ran a really strong race and both dogs finished the hour with ease.

Executive Action, owned by Ric Peterson and handled by Randy Anderson, was paired with the runner-up in brace No. 3. The Derby backed his bracemate at 23. He continued until 53 when he pointed again. After not raising birds, Anderson insisted the dog relocate, which he did with reservation, where upon he knocked two birds.

Touch’s Malcolm Story (Todd for Alex Rickert) went next, running with Hallie’s Wild Again, owned by Thomas McPhail and handled by Anderson. Neither dog finished the hour. Malcolm Story had birds at 37 but was picked up when he had an unproductive at 46. Wild Again had no birds and was also picked up before the end of the hour.

Dunn’s True Redemption became lost early and Will Dunn got his retrieval unit at 15. Hendrix’s Signed Copy hunted well but had no birds and Burke Hendrix picked him up at 48.

Will Dunn had Webb’s True’N Tried in No. 6, paired with the champion. After the dog had been lost for awhile, Dunn got his retrieval device at 28.

Nathan Phillips loosed Phillips White Hawk and Randy Anderson Miller’s Ring Tone for owner D. Raines Jordan at 8:00 a. m. Wednesday morning. The early morning temperature stood at 22°. White Hawk had a find at 38 with Ring Tone backing. Ring Tone had an unproductive stand at 42 and was picked up. White Hawk finished the brace but had no more birds.

Phillips Silver Line (Nathan Phillips) ran as a bye. Phillips picked him up at 15.

Pinckneyville, Ill., March 13

Judges: Burl Hicks and Brian Hodges

ALL-AMERICA DERBY CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] —

16 Pointers

Winner—GAME WARDON, 1676189, male, by Caladen’s Rail Hawk—Game Creek. Dr. Fred Corder, owner; Ike Todd, handler.

Runner-Up—DUNN’S TRUE ISSUE, 1671408, male, by Dunn’s Tried’n True—Hendrix’s Sassy Tide. Claudia McNamee, owner; Will Dunn, handler.

QUAIL CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS

Under the whistle of Nathan Phillips, his five-year old pointer Phillips Off Line was declared champion of the All-Age Championship from the field of seventeen pointers that competed.

Off Line showed the judges an impressive brace No. 4 performance. He found birds at 3, 24, 42, and at pickup. Birds were moved each of the four times he stood with excellent style and high elevated tail. Phillips, who has recently gone professional, surely enjoyed handling the champion as his dog went where he needed to go on the course, running cleanly on his edges and demonstrating superior all-age range. The nice dog and evenly spaced finds made for an interesting championship performance.

Runner-up Lester’s Jazz Man stood five times during the hour. Unfortunately, his first three finds, which were at 3, 18, and 31, came as he sensed piles of feathers and even a carcass of a quail. Jazz Man handled each situation perfectly but had no opportunity to show the judges his handling of flight, or movement of birds, and shot.

As mentioned earlier, Jim Lawless put out birds daily, always putting them in the same location as on earlier days. Multiple piles of feathers on the find at 18 caused someone in the gallery to say, “I guess these were Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday breakfasts for a hawk or owl.”

Jazz Man also had two additional excellent finds at 39 and 48. The runner-up had a great day, ran a great race, and finished forward and strong.

OTHER ALL-AGE CONTENDERS

Game Bo, owned and handled by Dr. Fred Corder, and Aberdeen’s Paid In Full, owned by Matt Griffith and handled by Randy Anderson, showed well and completed the first hour of the all-age competition. The brace was the third on Wednesday morning, so the dogs went on the line almost immediately after the last Derby brace was completed.

Game Bo had finds at 9 and 38. He also backed his bracemate when Paid in Full had his first find at 30. After the find at 30 Anderson’s charge continued to achieve a second find along the right side of a high bluff at 50. Both dogs had a good hour.

Mike Small had Small’s White Stryker, paired with Valiant, owned by Jay McKenzie and handled by Randy Anderson. The pair stopped at 2 with Valiant backing Stryker’s superior position; the stand proved to be over a pile of feathers. Valiant then stood again over feathers at 12 and soon had an unproductive at 14. Stryker then stood at 22 but Small could never raise birds. He then had another unproductive at 40 and was picked up.

Game Throne (Dr. Corder)  had an excellent hour with finds at 39 and 49. Touch’s Adams County (Anderson for owner Ric Peterson)  was lost and Anderson asked for his retrieval unit at 18.

Anderson had Hush Money, owned by Jay McKenzie, running with the champion. He got his tracker early and did not finish the hour.

Dialed In (Jim Pendergest) was braced with the runner-Up. Dialed In was stylish as he backed the first three finds, all on feathers, of Jazz Man. Pendergest picked her up at 48.

Cole Train (Dr. Corder) stood over feathers at 20 but then had unproductives at 31 and 45. Touch’s Blackout looked good with birds at 15 but Anderson had to ask for his retrieval unit at 20.

Anderson had Manteo’s Ace of Spades, owned by Paul Falkowsky. Ace had birds under autumn olive at 9, had an unproductive at 20, and was picked up before the end of the hour.

Pendy’s Good Grace ran in the last brace before lunch on Thursday. She was handled by Jim Pendergest for Matt Pendergest who had to stay in Kentucky and work. Jim chose to pick Grace up at 34.

Matt Griffith’s Touch’s Space Man, handled by Anderson, had no birds for 55 minutes and Anderson picked him up.

Phillips Field Line was handled by Randy Anderson, with owner Don Stroble riding in the gallery. Field Line ran for more than 20 minutes but went to the left out of sight. After an absence of close to 10 minutes Anderson returned with the dog on a line and the Championship ended.

Purina again generously sponsored these Championships. The company, represented by Greg Blair, who kindly agreed to be a member of the Hoosier Field Trial Club, has been a longtime sponsor and generous supporter of the club.  The reality is that this and many field trial clubs could no longer exist without Purina and they are appreciated.

ALL-AMERICA QUAIL CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] —

17 Pointers

Winner—PHILLIPS OFF LINE, 1656000, male, by Phillips Warning Line—Phillips Bottom Line. Nathan Phillips, owner and handler.

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

CONCLUSION

Yes, those of us who had never been to Pyramid State Park were anxious about the move. But our anxiety was unfounded as was soon realized.

The venue is great and Jim and Kay Lawless pampered us until we could have soon become spoiled brats. We hope to return to Pyramid in 2019 for the 93rd renewal of the All-America Championships. If you have doubts about Pyramid, please talk with Randy Anderson, Ike Todd, Fred Corder, or others who competed there. I think they will tell you they had a good experience there and would return.

J. A.

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