American Field

Super Bowl Trial

Associated Field Trial Club of Florida

By Don Wood | Jan 15, 2020
Open All-Age  Winners. From front left: Jim Goza with Silver’s Rebellious Gator, Matt Ford with Matt’s Big Orange Banche and Beth Brown With Myakka Time Shifter. Behind: Sharon Wood, Logan Claybrook, Petie Brown, John Hicks, judge; Paul May and Scott Ford.

Punta Gorda, Fla. — Although this trial is not played on national TV with millions of viewers, it does sport two large rotating trophies for the winners of the Open All-Age and the Open Shooting Dog. The Jimmy Albright All-Age trophy is a large loving cup mounted on an impressive base with enough room for many more years of winning. The Shooting Dog trophy was donated by the George Russel family and is a large punch bowl with 11 cups and a large tray. The George Russel trophy has been in circulation for over 50 years. Winning either one of these trophies makes an impressive addition to a trophy case.

We are fortunate to have Purina sponsor our trial and supply dog food to the winners. The dog food is always well received. Thank you Purina!

We were pleased to have John Hicks in the judicial saddle for the trial. He was joined by Don Wood for the All-Age Stake, Beth Brown for the Derby Stake and Justin Muzynski for the Shooting Dog Stake. John adds a lot of fun to any trial with his quick laugh and many stories. We are fortunate to have John judge for us every few years. He was surprised at how our young handlers had matured, and discrete enough not to mention how our many matured handlers had aged. The decisions were well received.

The weather ran the full range, from too wet, overcast, heavy fog, blue bird sunshine and too warm. As can be expected the birds also behaved in unpredictable fashion. In the All-Age Stake every brace had bird work. Some braces had a single contact while others had two or three contacts. In the Shooting Dog Stake only a single covey was moved. The birds are there but they can be hard to locate.

Saturday night we have our cookout with the ladies providing many side dishes. The announcements are made, judges are thanked, and any guests or first time attendees are introduced. The final hour of the day is spent gathered around a campfire where stories, both real and imagined, are told and retold.

The grounds are exceptionally dry this year. Many of the shallow ponds, that are typical of the south Florida landscape, are dry or near dry. The same is true for the dug waterholes that were made to supplement the natural water. The detergent bottles that decorate every saddle are quickly exhausted, and the scout is sent back to the truck to trade for a full bottle. When needed, water is quickly offered by all contestants.

The Winners

In the Open All-Age, Silver’s Rebellious Gator, owned by Jim Goza and handled by Paul Daniel, ran in the second brace and set a high bar that was never challenged. He was to the front for the full hour, often seen yonder. Gator scored twice at 20 and 45. At pickup he was found pointed some 300 yards to the right, but when birds were not produced immediately Paul elected to take the unproductive rather than risk disaster with a difficult relocation.

Second was Matt’s Big Orange Banche, owned and handled by Matt Ford. “Bob” looked good for the first 30 minutes but after scoring on a nice covey shortened. A second find, as pickup was called, kept him in the No. 2 spot.

Third was awarded to Myakka Time Shifter, owned and handled by Beth Brown. “Jack” ran in the first brace and put down a strong race. He got hung up at the thirty-minute corner, quickly regained the front and finished well ahead.

We have not been able to attract a large number of Derbies this year, but in every Derby stake we have seen some strong potential.

First place Doubledown on Dado (Dave Vernasco) again showed his stuff to top the field. He was followed by Hank, a young dog in the string of Greg Poole who comes out from California every year at this time to spend time with his son who lives on the Florida east coast.

The cool, rainy, overcast weather of Saturday gave way to bright skies, a typical blue bird day on Sunday. All of the bird activity of the day before was replaced by strong efforts, disappointed handlers in the Open Shooting Dog, and empty water jugs except for Myakka Freddie Freeloader, handled by Beth Brown. The stake is not over until Freddie runs, and he proved it again.

As we neared the thirty minute mark in the second hour Freddie’s bracemate pointed in some open grass area, while Freddie went a hundred yards beyond and nailed the running birds in a heavy clump of palmettos. The find coupled with a good shooting dog effort nailed first place for Freddie and Beth again.

Earning second was Dr. Paul May’s Manatee Rock. Paul has been caregiver for his invalid wife for the past ten years. Paul had been able to join us on a practice weekend only once or twice a season, but now he is able to participate full time. Dr. Paul was all abeam when time was called on a picture-perfect race by Manatee Rock. Third was Struts Rebel Jewel which was to the front for the full hour handling well for Matt Ford.

Punta Gorda, Fla., December 14

Judges: John Hicks and Don Wood

OPEN ALL-AGE [One-Hour Heats] — 8 Pointers

1st—SILVER’S REBELLIOUS GATOR, 1625002, male, by Daniel’s Southern Cross—Silverline Serious. James O. Goza, owner; Paul Daniel, handler.

2d—MATT’S BIG ORANGE BANCHE, 1644111, male, by Lester’s Snowatch—Mississippi Kite. Matt Ford, owner and handler.

3d—MYAKKA TIME SHIFTER, 1670324, male, by Guard Rail—Myakka T Marie. Beth Brown, owner and handler.

Judges: Beth Brown and John Hicks

OPEN DERBY — 3 Pointers

1st—DOUBLEDOWN ON DADO, 1685979, male, by Erin’s Tin Soldier—Erin’s Margarita. David Vernasco, owner and handler.

Judges: John Hicks and Justin Muzynski

OPEN SHOOTING DOG [One-Hour Heats] — 11 Pointers and 2 Setters

1st—MYAKKA FREDDIE FREELOADER, 1654682, pointer male, by Funseeker’s Rebel Tex—Nacho Myakka Miley. Beth Brown, owner and handler.

2d—MANATEE ROCK, 1641055, pointer male, by Holopaw’s Spike—Jerry’s Elhew Rosie. Dr. Paul May, owner and handler.

3d—STRUTS REBEL JEWEL, 1676806, pointer female, by Haker Acres Blaze—Funseeker’s Rebel Sweetie. Matt Ford, owner and handler.

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