American Field

Bluegrass Quail Classic and Derby

Bear Pond Field Trial Club

By Claudia McNamee | Nov 30, 2018
All-Age Classic Winners. From front left: Rick Furney with Touch’s Wild Desire, and Colton Eisenhart and Tommy Davis with  True Confidence. Standing: Reid Hankley, judge; Gary Futch, Claudia McNamee, Ginger Bippus, Will Dunn, Erik Small, judge, and Luke Eisenhart.

Ochlocknee, Ga. — Hosted by the Bear Pond Field Trial Club of Berea, Ky., this year’s Open All-Age and Open Derby were held in Ochlocknee, Ga., at Burnt Branch Plantation near Thomasville, Ga.

Entries included 32 all-age contenders and 17 Derbies, with the running directly following the Black Belt and Muckalee Creek trials.

Boundless thanks to Eddie Sholar for inviting the Kentucky-based club to these grounds where conditions were excellent and provided an abundance of birds.

Thank you also to the extended team who accommodated the judges, handlers, owners, dogs, horses, and gallery riders —  Greg Shepherd (plantation manager), Terry Winn “Kojack”, Ginn Parker, Jerica Lovenburg, and Miss Gloria — your hospitality and great food were much appreciated!

Mornings were met with warm sausage biscuits and coffee, followed by full spread, homemade luncheons.

In addition, thank you Purina (Greg Blair) who rode one day during the trial.

Judging this year’s running were Reid Hankley of Thomasville, Ga., and Erik Small of Tallahassee, Fla., bringing with them a wide breadth of bird dog experience. Many thanks to both for their time and attention over the three and a half days, riding in weather conditions that swung from warm, humid one morning; cool, steady rain in the afternoon; and crisp, clear another day — all adding to the surprising challenges and victories these competitions brought forth.


The sixteen-brace Open All-Age Classic began Thursday morning, November 8, and continued until lunchtime on Saturday, November 10. A total of  sixty coveys lifted over the course of the trial, with only nine of the 32 contenders finishing their hours.

The winner was Touch’s Wild Desire, five-year-old white and orange pointer male handled by Rick Furney and owned by Ginger Bippus of Monticello, Fla. “Jack” came out of the 12th brace on the second day on course No. 3 when the temperatures had cooled a bit and a light rain persisted.

Wild Desire lived up to his name that afternoon — determined and energized his race was always on the edge. Desire located six coveys, plus another stand where his hander couldn’t produce birds. He always ran forward and showed consistently throughout the hour, digging up the birds — which is, in the end, what placed him above the rest.

Second place was awarded to True Confidence, pointer male handled by Luke Eisenhart and owned by Frank LaNasa. No stranger to winning, “Bob” ran on the last morning in brace No. 13 and laid it all out on course No. 1. The temperatures had dropped into the 50s, sky was clear and the sun shining; quite different weather than what we’d experienced the entire prior week. No one knew whether the quail would be moving or hunkered down, but Bob took the opportunity to dig deep and his efforts were rewarded with four strategic finds — with one at the end of the hour that clinched his place in the winners’ circle. Strong and driven, True Confidence was just that.

Finally, the third place winner was Touch’s White Knight, pointer male handled by Mark McLean and owned by Eddie Sholar. “Bo” showed off his hunting prowess on the second day in the 9th brace on course No. 3. Under an overcast sky with temperatures in the low 70s, birds were both near the paths and beyond in deeper cover. Bo located a total of eight coveys demonstrating closer connection in his first half hour and opening up with a broader race in the second half. Quail were everywhere and Bo found them with ease!

The six other pointer males that  finished their hours also deserve mention. They were: Awsum Country Justice (Eisenhart);  Dominator’s Rebel Heir (Daniels); Dunn’s True Issue (Eisenhart); Funseek’n Hit Man (Daniels); Touch’s Smooth Operator (Furney); Wild Hawk (Carlton).

Their performances all had elements considered for placement. In the end those who were most consistent throughout the hour snagged the coveted wins.

Congratulations to all the dogs, handlers, scouts, and owners!

Ochlocknee, Ga., November 8

Judges: Reid Hankley and Erik Small

BLUEGRASS OPEN QUAIL CLASSIC [One-Hour Heats] — 30 Pointers and 2 Setters

1st—TOUCH’S WILD DESIRE, 1655898, pointer male, by House’s Ring of Fire—Touch’s Blaylock Bess. Ginger Bippus, owner; Rick Furney, handler.

2d—TRUE CONFIDENCE, 1622365, pointer male, by Two Acre Bulldog—Bar P Anex. Frank & Jean LaNasa, owners; Luke Eisenhart, handler.

3d—TOUCH’S WHITE KNIGHT, 1647849, pointer male, by Lance’s Last Knight—Prairieland Lucy. Eddie Sholar, owner; Mark McLean, handler.


The companion Open Derby was also judged by Erik Small and Reid Hankley. Seventeen young contenders were entered; sixteen actually started. All dogs gave their best efforts under clear skies and cooler temperatures in the 50s.

First place was awarded to Dogwood Bill, pointer male that also placed second in the preceding Muckalee Creek Derby. Handled by Jamie Daniels and owned by Dogwood Plantation, Boston, Ga. Bill ran another strong race, locating a large covey at 24.

Second was Snapback, pointer female which placed first in the previous Black Belt Derby. Handled by Greg Shepherd and owned by Eddie Sholar, this young competitor demonstrated sound ground coverage with a single covey find at 12.

Third place was awarded to Shagtime Max, setter male handled by Lee Phillips and owned by Chris Cagle of Novi, Mich. Max covered terrain with excitement and drive, locating two coveys with precision and style, the first of which was a limb find. His second contact was a broke find that interrupted his race forward as he caught up to the front from his first.

Congratulations to all dogs, handlers, scouts and owners!

OPEN DERBY — 16 Pointers and 1 Setter

1st—DOGWOOD BILL, 1678778, pointer male, by True Confidence—Hutchison’s Storm Chaser. Dogwood Kennels, owner; Jamie Daniels, handler.

2d—SNAPBACK, 1675717, pointer female, by Elhew G Force—Beane’s Line Dancer. Eddie Sholar, owner; Greg Shepherd, handler.

3d—SHAGTIME MAX, 1672832, setter male, by Shag Time Bobo—Black Cloud’s Angel. Chris Cagle, owner; Lee Phillips, handler.

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