American Field

Hall of Fame Nominee

C. W. "Bud" Moore

By Al Mannes | Jun 10, 2021
C. W. Moore

Oregon, Ohio — A field trial “Living Legend” deserves a promotion. There is little question C. W. "Bud" Moore took a profoundly circuitous route to arrive at his ultimate calling and passion — training bird dogs. It was a journey that started as a teenager in Oklahoma with a love affair of horses and the rodeo; then morphed into a love of flying. Ironically, both brought him closer in a subtle and circumspect manner to his true vocation: bird dog owner, trainer, handler and teacher.

At the age of 81 he is still loading up three to four horses and a half-dozen dogs to compete throughout the Midwest, and continues to make a long summer sojourn in the Dakotas to train with Steve Hurdle. That's  lot of miles in a huge goose-neck trailer even for a young stud.

“I just relish the competition and the training that goes with it,” Bud confided on the phone one morning. "In fact, when Fast Money won the Montana Shooting Dog Championship Derby this past August, it was my 600th win.”

What's also impressive is that Bud's wins include all-age, shooting dog, Shoot-to-Retrieve and AKC trials with Brittanys. He still competes in walking stakes. He's also in demand as a judge of some of the top trials on the circuit such as National Prairie Chicken Championship, the All-America Prairie Open All-Age Championship and national trials for Vizslas, Brittanys, German Shorthairs, et al.

A few years back he was honored by election to the Kansas Field Trial Hall of Fame and in 2016 was recognized by the Bird Dog Foundation as a “Living Legend.”

By any measure it's been a long journey for C.W. "Bud" Moore that started in the town of his birth, Vinita, Okla., in 1941. He dropped out of school suffering from dyslexia, although not many even knew what that was at the time.* He loved horses almost from birth and got a job as a professional rodeo rider.

During his early rodeo years as a bareback and saddle bronc rider Bud had his first introduction to bird dogs. His uncle, Dan Huddleston, had a avuncular affection for the young man and introduced him to field trials in 1964. Dan had a kennel full of Brittanys; Bud immediately loved the horseback element of training dogs. He and his uncle purchased a young Brittany and put it with Oklahoma trainer Delmar Smith who worked hard with Bill's Buddy Boy and went on to win the U.S. Open Brittany Championship in Ardmore, Okla. “That was my start with Brittanys,” explained Moore, “and over time I was able to develop five or six champions.” Field trials and horses became a natural extension for a man who loved nothing more than saddling up for a challenge.

“What I came to realize in the late sixties as I moved toward thirty was that rodeo championships in bareback and saddle bronc riding were probably no longer in the cards. I knew I had to find another line of work.” He discovered, as do many athletes in violent contact sports, that as CAG Stinger admonished Maverick (Tom Cruise) in the movie Top Gun, “Son, your ego is writing checks your body can't cash.”

At this time the Vietnam war was heating up. Bud registered for the draft. He but thought with his background as a pilot he had something the military might be able to use. Fortunately, years earlier his grandfather, who was a private pilot, saw in Bud the same potential and went about getting the young boy flight certified. After registering for the draft and passing the physical, he was met outside by a recruiter from Air America, a paramilitary air service contracted with the Pentagon. The recruiter proffered a salutary alternative to a foxhole. For a number of years Bud flew cargo missions in the U.S. and overseas stationed for a time in both Jacksonville, Fla., and Champaign-Urbana, Ill. “The entire time I was able to keep myself engaged in bird dogs and field trials. In Florida I was a member and secretary of the Sunshine Field Trial Club and placed a number of my Brittanys in Derby and shooting dog stakes.”

When Bud was in Illinois he and a handful of bird dog trialers started the Rend Lake Field Trial Club. This dedicated group was essential to the nascent development of the grounds there. With much effort and little fanfare they worked tirelessly to establish wild quail. The area eventually became one of the premier stops on the field trial circuit.

After much success with Brittanys Bud felt some ambivalence. “I felt I had taken my Brittanys as far as I could and I wasn't sure of the next step. I was at a crossroads.” For Bud Moore it was when crossroads met epiphany. “It was 1969 and I was in the gallery for the Oklahoma Open All-Age Championship at Inola. Dr. Dorwin Hawthorne had a pointer called Doctor's Stormy Mack handled by Stub Poynor. That dog tore up the course with multiple finds and a powerful forward race.” It was like St. Paul on the road to Damascus; C. W. Bud Moore was suddenly struck on his horse by a new vision and mission.

The fulfillment of that mission started with his mentor, Hall-of-Famer Dr. Dorwin Hawthorne, who introduced him to future Hall cohort John B. Criswell of Stigler, Okla. Criswell was well known in field trial circles, but better known nationally for his work with President Lyndon B. Johnson and became director of the infamous 1968 Democratic National Convention. By the time of his meeting with Bud, Criswell was out of politics and completely devoted to developing bird dogs. Bud purchased three puppies from Criswell and they became the foundation for the future.

In 1975 Bud went into business for himself and that “gave me plenty of time to experiment with the dogs I purchased from Criswell and to do both line and in-breeding. It took time, but it eventually paid off.” His litters continued to show promise and when Mountain Man came along he felt vindicated.

In 1981 he won the Oklahoma Puppy Classic put on by Leon Covington and John Criswell. Man went on to win many trials, but was best known as a sire that produced the best dog Bud ever had: Jericho Mountain. “That dog went on to win about every amateur trial I ever entered him in,” commented Moore. He eventually became a better sire than Mountain Man with puppies in demand by some of the best, like Cecil Rester, Lee West, Dr. Pat McInteer, to name just a few. “He was also the biggest running/hunting all-age dog I've ever seen," observed Moore, “and I've scouted some of the best like Addition's Go Boy, Go Boy's Shadow, The Kansas Wind and many others. None of them I believe could hold a candle to Jericho Mountain.” Bud also tells me he never remembers that dog ever being lost for even one minute. “He knew where the front was and where you were at all times.”

The trifecta from that initial breeding program was Wichita Mountain, which ended his competitive career in just three years after developing a tick-born disease called ehrlichia.

“I have been blessed in many ways,” observed Bud, "not the least of which is my gratitude to the many people who helped me get started. There's just too many to name.” He has now branched out from field trials to dog training where he and his wife Patty produce instructional videos about the “Barrel Man,” as he's called in many circles. “I first saw Harold and Sherry Ray use the barrel for training decades ago, and now I think I've developed a way to train a dog steady to wing and shot without either a heavy hand or electric.” Miss Patty went to school to learn videography and with camera in hand and editor in house they produce step by step videos of how to train pups and correct bad behavior in older, often recalcitrant pupils.

“Miss Patty and I are also proud," Bud emphasized. “For the past 15 to 20 years we've been sponsoring new trainers and handlers in an effort to get new blood into our sport. At last count we have nineteen who started their careers with us.”

Achieving Hall of Fame status is the pinnacle of all field trialers' dreams and ambitions. It is a steep climb and it should be. The total body of work of any candidate should be carefully examined; I think the work of C.W. Bud Moore as an amateur handler, trainer and owner meets fully such an exegeses:

• Hundreds of field trial wins; • improving field trial dogs through controlled breeding and detailed record keeping; • almost 60 years of judging both in the U.S. and Canada; • instrumental in the development of field trial grounds and clubs; • mentoring young handlers/trainers to meet a growing. demand; • elected to the first class of the Kansas Bird Dog Hall of Fame; • part of a fund raising effort to furnish the Rube Rhea Clubhouse on the Ames Plantation; • recognized by the Bird Dog Foundation as a Living Legend.

Please join me in voting for C. W. Bud Moore as a 2021 member of the Field Trial Hall of Fame.

[* Bud Moore overcame his dyslexia and at the age of 42 received a BA in education at Oklahoma City College and later an MA and MED in biology and science education at Northern Colorado University and then an engineering tech degree at the University of Tulsa.]


Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.