American Field

Field Trial Report

American Brittany Club National Amateur Championship

By As seen by Jan Kilpatrick | Jan 03, 2019
The Winners. From left: Steve Ralph, Claude Kilpatrick, Mike Poehler, Jan Kilpatrick, Tommy Thomas with A N J’s Ohio Hellion, Ed Janulis, Judge Gailen Cooper, Tom White with M T B Scipios Hotshot Whizki, Judge Larry Meek, Joe Gower and Tom Milam.

Booneville, Ark. — The 2018 running of the American Brittany Club National Amateur All-Age Championship boasted an entry of 45 dogs, all 45 coming to the line  starting on Monday, November 19, at the Blue Mountain Wildlife Demonstration Area near Booneville, Ark.

The weather was mostly clear skies with cool brisk mornings and mild afternoons with light variable winds and just enough humidity to make for good scenting conditions. The grounds were in great shape with just a few boggy spots.

Larry Meek of Independence, Mo., and Gailen Cooper of Liberty, Mo., undertook judicial responsibilities for this year’s renewal. Both men are passionate about bird dogs and have spent a good portion of their life hunting, training, running, and judging them. We greatly appreciate the undivided attention they showed each and every contender.

Larry and Gailen expressed their desire to see dogs with a strong distant race that showed less than more, and were searching forward objectives when seen. Their ideal dog would display intensity, high style and good manners on birds. Those chosen that best represented their ideals are listed below.


Named champion was the top dog  in brace No. 11, A N J’s Ohio Hellion. “Hank” had just turned four years of age. The white and orange male was whelped November 18, 2014.

Hank is owned and was handled by Mike Poehler of Hoffman Estates, Ill. Hank caught the judges’ eyes with a series of fast forward all-age casts, a kindly handle, style and manners on his birds and a strong forward finish.

Runner-up was the top dog in brace No. 4, M T B Scipios Hotshot Whizki (Cali), nine-year-old white and orange female whelped July 26, 2009. Cali is owned by Californians Tom White and Margaret Horstmeyer and was handled by Tom White. Another fantastic job by a M T B girl that follows a long line of National M T B winners and placers.

Cali pushed the champion with her mature all-age race and application. When seen, Cali was always in the right places. Her style, intensity and manners on birds were faultless and a strong finish landed her the runner-up designation.

Pressing the winners were: Spanish Corral’s Sonny Patch, handled by Joe Gower, and C V K’s Spartan King, handled by Jack Alexander.

This was Tom Milam’s final year serving as the field trial chairman and once again he did a bang-up job. Tom’s wife Linda assisted Tom with all the behind the scenes tasks that ensure the smooth running of this event.

Members of the field trial committee dedicated hours scheduling and coordinating the national activities. As always, Steve Ralph was indispensable as field trial secretary, always patient and smiling while managing so many items, big and small. Claude Kilpatrick returned as stakes manager and Ed Tillson offered steady guidance as the judges’ marshal.

Bret Lindback served as course marshal and he and his crew of volunteer marshals kept the gallery flowing in an orderly fashion. And a special thanks to Bret’s wife Rocky for providing her delicious homemade cookies that we all fought over each and every afternoon.

Joe Gower brought fresh morning donuts for the wagon and we thank him for the much-needed sugar surge we required to finish out the morning braces. Everyone riding on the dog wagon made sure all the horseback provisos received food and drink sustenance during the morning and afternoon braces.

Judi Tipton and her smiling crew worked hard to provide excellent food and beverages throughout the running.

A special thanks to Red Bailey and Brad Wells for grooming and maintaining the grounds all year, releasing and feeding the birds, and to Robert Smith who drove the dog wagon all day throughout the Amateur Championship.

This event depends on the support of our sponsors. For many years Purina has contributed financial support as well as Pro Plan dog food to help provide our incredible canine athletes with the platform to showcase their amazing abilities in this annual national event. Purina Pro Plan is a performance food second to none and one trusted to keep our performance dogs excelling in all competition arenas. Both the winners of the NAFC and NFC received an electronic training collar donated by Garmin Tri-Tronics and a hand-tooled trooper saddle from Christy Enterprises.

Events held during the week of the National Amateur Championship included a horseback tour of the grounds guided by Tom White on Sunday afternoon. Sunday evening Judi Button served a welcoming dinner which was followed by the lively Amateur All-Age Championship Calcutta. Tuesday evening we gathered at the clubhouse to celebrate the 2017 National Amateur Champion Ru Jem’s Last Penny. Owner Jerry McGee was a charming host with lots of Penny stories. Tables were elegantly decorated and delightfully sprinkled with dark chocolate kisses and copper wrapped chocolate pennies. The generously hosted bar and outstanding dinner fare were enjoyed by all and we thank Jerry and crew for a very pleasant evening.

On Wednesday the All-Age National Silent Auction was enjoyed after dinner. Auction items included large baskets donated by Brittany clubs from around the country filled with items that represented their clubs and state. These baskets were over the top and the auction was a huge success thanks to Andi Christensen. Thursday was Thanksgiving Day and after running the final five braces and placement announcements, a mouth-watering Thanksgiving feast was served followed by the annual membership meeting. On Friday the ABC All-Age Derby Invitational was run and will be reported  eparately. Saturday Piney Run Jake and  owner-handler Kent Patterson received the coveted Purina All-Age Dog of the Year Award. A huge congratulations to Jake and Kent and kudos to Purina for offering this prestigious award.

The Running

Mother Nature was kind to the Championship this year. Temperatures over the four days of running ranged from lows in the mid 20s to highs in the low 60s with gentle variable winds and enough humidity to make scenting conditions very good. Birds were plentiful but unfortunately a lot, certainly more than usual, of these elite multi-titled dogs acted like it was the “Derby Invitational” as time and time again we watched what looked to be an incredible performance turn into a Derby act when birds were encountered. Was it the wily birds, cosmological misalignment, or gnomes in the woods? Hard to say. Just happens every now and then in this extreme sport we all train so hard for.

Monday, day No. 1: A brisk 33°, partly cloudy morning greeted us this first day of running. The temperatures stayed chilly with the high only reaching 47° in the afternoon. Very nice conditions for the amped up bird dogs.

S S Rig’s Colorado Gun Runner (Tom Milam) and M K’s Magnificent Bandito (Chico/Dave Lincoln), a powerful pair, were away fast and furious in the first brace. Didn’t take long for Gun Runner to lock up at 6, deep in the woods on the right. A single bird was flown with all in order. At 19 Chico had a nice covey which turned unpleasant when Chico took flight with them. At 20 Gun Runner stood tall and tight on a big scattered covey just off Road 109. Multiple waves of birds got up on the flush, Gun Runner rock steady throughout. Gun Runner was putting down a far-flung ground race but went missing after the Lick Creek crossing and at 42 the retrieval device was requested.

Spanish Corral’s Sundance Kid (Sonny/Joe Gower) and Jagoub’s Buzz’N Bayou (Skeeter/Tom Jagielski). This brace featured nine-year-old Sonny and ten-year-old Skeeter, both powerhouses with many National events under their belts. At 27 point was called for Sonny just before the horse bridge. A large covey was flushed over Sonny’s head with all in order. Skeeter had been missing since the breakaway; Tom requested the retrieval device at 27. Sonny continued over the bridge and pointed at 35 in a grassy area just after the creek crossing. No birds were found even after a relocation so Joe moved him on. A couple of minutes later, a little deeper in this same area, Sonny ran through a covey, putting them to flight so he was picked up at 40.

Ricochet Gunsmoke’s Mr. Dillon (Tommy Thomas) and K J’s Irish Whizky (Mickey/Ken Windom) were away after the morning break and quickly separated. Dillon pointed at 35, all in order. It was reported to me that Mickey had a bird indiscretion on a large covey and was picked up at 30. At 52 Dillon probably interrupted someone’s breakfast when he pointed a large, very fresh pile of feathers. Dillon continued his somewhat short subdued range and pace and logged another find at 58 with all in order to finish out his time.

M T B Scipios Hotshot  Whizki (Cali/White) and Lambach’s Blew By You (Joey Rogers). From breakaway Cali and Blue quickly parted company, Cali heading off to the tree filled right and Blue making a big cast to the left along the treeline. Blue was rewarded with a single at 21 which he handled with style and proper manners. At 30 Blue slammed on point right off the road. A small covey was flushed, shot fired and Blue sent on. Blue went missing soon after and was not returned to judgment. Cali continued reaching out to the far objectives, showing only occasionally but always ahead. At 40 Cali was found on point in the treeline just before the double gates. A single bird was flushed, shot fired, all in order. Cali showed the judges what they were looking for. A bold forward race, savvy mature application and strong fast finish for a well-deserved runner-up title.

[Note: My apprentice steed, Nash, chose to revert to his wild mustang state during the excitement of Cali’s find. I was forced to abandon my reporter post and take him back to camp. Braces No. 5 and 6 are the judges’ accounting.]

Ru Jem’s Last Penny (Steve Ralph) and Gun Creek Gangster (Doc/Ed Janulis) were away from the horse bridge at 2:10 p. m. Penny got on the bird board at 12 with a clean find. At 20 Penny went with a covey and was picked up. (Rumor is it was the same scentless covey that took out Sonny in brace No. 2.) Doc continued his race but at 40 Ed picked him up due to an injured foot, later determined to be broken.

Crossed The Line (Ty/Andi Christensen) was on a bird-finding mission with covey finds at 3, 11, 17, 35 and a divided find at 26. Ty ran a nice judicious race and showed intensity and impeccable manners on all his finds. Campbell’s Razz Ma Tazz (Frank Campbell) was a little erratic in application but shared a find at 26 which he handled with proper manners. Razz continued charting a course of his own, was lost at time and not returned to judgment.

Posted dogs: M T B Scipios Hotshot Whizki and Crossed The Line.

Tuesday had clear sunny skies and a frosty 30°, rising to 56° in the afternoon.

Chief’s Cross Plains Copper Breeze (Craig Rucker) hit the road in a hurry. Piney Run Jake (Kent Patterson) took a hard left running the treeline that parallels the road in a fast moving, eye pleasing manner. At 9 Jake slammed on point just off the treeline in a patch of tall frosty grass. No birds could be located. Jake continued his fast, smooth race, showing to the front occasionally. Just after crossing Lick Creek point was called from the high brushy feed strip on the left. Jake was standing tall and tight as Kent dismounted and began thrashing in the shrubs trying to put the running birds to flight. Jake decided to lend a hand and relocated about ten feet. His unrequested relocation ended his bid at 28. Copper proved to be an elusive handle and Craig employed the retrieval unit at 32.

Spanish Corral’s Sonny (Patch/ Gower) and Ocaje (Grace/Matt Harris) were off in fine fashion with Grace scoring a large covey find at 9 with all in order. At 36 Patch was standing tall and tight next to a small group of trees located on a shallow bluff. As Joe approached, Grace came into the area, ran in front of Patch, stopped but remained restless. Joe dismounted and approached quietly. Patch remained solid while Matt came in and collared Grace. Joe began his search for the birds but the terrain and briars were challenging so Joe elected to move him on. Patch logged an unproductive at 45 but scored a nice find at 55 which he handled with style and proper manners. Patch earned his recognition with a fast far reaching ground  pplication, intensity and style on his birds and a strong forward finish.

J R’s Cool Hand Luke had no luck finding the front so Harris picked him up at 20. J W B Arctic Cat (Kimber/Alexander) was easy to watch as she cruised over the course in a snappy animated fashion. She had her first stylish and mannerly find at 26. Kimber had a long absence after that but was found by the handler and while bringing her back to the front she pointed with intensity at 58. The bird was flushed, the shot fired with Kimber mannerly. She surged forward at a rapid rate as time was called.

K J’s Darlin Darcy (Windom) and Crescent City Girl (Nola/Barry Steinmetz) were girls on fire as they broke away in the first brace of the afternoon. Darcy logged an unproductive at 4, a clean find at 18 and backed Nola at 21. Nola scored a mannerly covey find at 21. At 29 Darcy was under birds. Nola had another find at 33 but when the birds took flight so did naughty Nola.

A N J’s Ohio Hellion (Hank/Mike Poehler) and High Lonesome Sage (Jim Hammett) surged to the front from the get-go. Hank was standing tall and tight at 7 and stayed that way through the flush and shot. Hank nailed a large covey at 42, again handling them with style and manners. Sage rolled down the course in impressive fashion, making big casts to all objectives in a fast and forward manner. Sage was pointing into a small stand of trees at 52. As Jim rode forward, Sage suddenly pushed the birds up ending his bid. Hank and Mike worked in concert throughout their hour and for their smooth performance Hank was declared champion. He was forward with beautifully executed line casts, handling his birds with great style and impeccable manners and finishing to the front with speed and intensity.

Just Call Me Lucky Ned Pepper (Campbell) made a few nice moves and had mannerly finds at 20 and 30, and an unproductive at 24. He finished the hour at a moderate range and speed. Maxwell’s Legal Tender (J. Rogers) looked in all the right places but went unrewarded.

Posted dogs: Spanish Corral’s Sonny,   J W B Arctic Cat and A N J’s Ohio Hellion.

Wednesday, day No. 3. The temperature ranged from a low of 28° to a high of 61°. There were clear skies with light variable winds and enough humidity to keep scenting conditions good.

Driving Miss Daisy (Burton Wice)  rocked along smoothly running the edges with purpose. Highpoint Spike’s Southern Gal (Ellie/Trey Baer) was a handful diving into the cover and coming from behind occasionally. Both girls were picked up at 45 for chasing birds.

A Trace of Bourbon With Diamonds (Rick Hastings) made some nice moves and had a clean find at 20. His second point at 40 produced no birds but when released Trace ran to the end of the line he had been working and put up the bird. Sparky’s Prairie Wind (Steve Ralph) got lost and was not returned to judgment.

Tequila Scorcher (Lincoln/Bob Rankin) and M T B Louree’s Bonfire (Max/White) surged into the netherworld at breakaway. After a substantial absence Lincoln returned to put down a big all-age race but went birdless. Max was gone, the retrieval unit out at 25.

Marjo’s Fille De La Bretagne (Brie/ John Perry) and Kinwashkly Tempo (Rankin) traveled across course No. 1 with a steady pace and moderate range. No objective remained unsearched but birds remained elusive. At 46 as we made the turn after the double gates birds were seen taking flight from the corner of the big meadow. Tempo was found standing in the middle of the tall grass in this area but he started moving as we approached which pushed more birds into the air. By the time Tempo was collared yet another large group of birds took flight. Brie continued her effort but handler elected to pick her up at 48.

Alleycat’s Drought (Stan Williamson) and Tequila’s Tyler On Fire (Victor Retherford). Young Tyler could not contain his enthusiasm when he encountered a bird at 16. Drought just couldn’t get rolling this afternoon and handler elected to pick him up at 24.

M K’s My Lil Ammo (BB/Nick Blasi) and  C V K’s Spartan King (Leo/Alexander) took off like gangbusters across course No. 2 and we sat a little taller in the saddle. Leo scored a nice covey find at 15. All was good through the flush and shot. Leo had another point at 27 way off the road in a snarly plot. After extensive searching a bird was put to flight, all in order. The dogs were separated by this time but it was reported BB had a clean find at 30. Leo continued his forward race and pointed again at 50 just off the road in a heavily weeded ditch. Handler made a wise decision to move him out of that dangerous spot. BB was missing for a long while and never regained the front. Leo got a little sticky after his final point, wanting to hunt everywhere, but overall his spirited determined all-age performance was deserving of the fourth place rosette.

Posted dog: C V K’s Spartan King.

Thursday, the final day, Thanksgiving Day. Clear skies with a temperature range of 32° to 65°.

Maxwell’s Quick Silver (Chick/ Kevin Rogers) ran a moderate forward race without bird contact. Rammer Jammer Jax (Trey Baer) ran so fast and unpredictable it was hard to determine which direction he was headed. Scout’s efforts were valiant but  Jax was seldom seen and he was lost at time and not returned to judgment.

Cedar Creek Hawkeye ran a consistent forward race but never really got anything going; Joe Waitman picked him up at 52. Glade Run Irish started out nicely, floating in the early minutes down the treelines and scoring a single at 10 with all in order. After his bird Irish became a hard handle moving laterally and off course. He made a big move into the woods that resulted in a long absence and it was a little late to get anything going as time was called just as he arrived back to the front.

T N T’s Raise’N A Leprechaun (Tommy Thomas) moved around nimbly but was birdless for his hour. Brendi Brooks Cowboy Up (Tuff/Ray Trimble) ran with animation and spunk. He made some  nice all-age casts but got really excited at 30 in a small grass strip by the side of the road. As Tuff made his way down this strip, he put up two tweety birds before scoring his sought-after prize. Up came a quail and Tuff gleefully took off after it. Tuff was in a full body grin when he came back to Ray’s call and after a few hugs and tugs from Ray and Mary Jo, Tuff was put on the waiting dog wagon.

Marjo’s Leftover (Perry) went missing early on and was not returned to judgment. Arrow’s Tequila Rustler (Richard Beaver) made some nice moves and had an unproductive at 45 but finished his bid birdless.

S R’s Blew By Typhoon (Gower), as a bye, was a handful at breakaway, making big moves in most every direction. Just as Joe got him lined out, he ran into the sticky hedgeline just before the old bridge and pushed a nice size covey up and so was he at 20.

We headed into the clubhouse for announcements.

Booneville, Ark., November 19

Judges: Gailen Cooper and Larry Meek


Winner—A N J’S OHIO HELLION, 1666102, male, by Grand Junction Jake—High Hopes Little Ann. Mike Poehler, owner and handler.

Runner-Up—M T B SCIPIOS HOTSHOT  WHIZKI, 1618657, female, by Hi Proof Whizki—T J’s Single Shot of Scipio. Tom White & Margaret Horstmeyer, owners; Tom White, handler.

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