American Field

Field Trial Report

Cahaba Bend Trials

By Ruthann Epp | May 04, 2018
Amateur Shooting Dog Winner Conway Twitty with Alan Atkins. Standing (l-r): Jinjer Atkins, Judge Burl Hicks, Ruthann Epp, Brandy Gilmore and Judge John Ivester.

Greensboro, Ala. — The Cahaba Bend Field Trial Club’s trial was a success with forty entries and 21 handlers.

Thanks to Purina and Greg Blair for supporting the trial with donations of bags of Pro Plan to the winners and help for the club.

Other sponsors included WW Farms, Gun Dog Supply and Dan Edwards.

The annual event was held at the M. Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area between Greensboro and Demopolis, Ala., under drizzling rain for two of the three days. Scenting conditions were good, likewise the bird work. The trial was well attended. Thirty horses were in the gallery several days despite the weather.

Burl Hicks of Smithville, Miss., judged all three stakes. Darron Hendley of Union Springs joined him to judge the Amateur All-Age and Open Derby, and John Ivester of Hunters-ville, N. C., was his partner for the Amateur Shooting Dog. All three judges have spent most of their lives enamored with bird dogs, hunting and field trials.

Bill Mason, Hunter McDuffie, Jennifer Mason McKemie and I marshalled. John Henry Kitchens was the invaluable dog wagon driver, assisted by Carson Hall, new employee at the field trial area.

Every year the venue exceeds expectations. The 20th Century Fund again awarded the club with grant money to enhance the Forever Wild Field Trial Area. Bill Mason, the manager and longtime field trialer, has done an outstanding job of converting the area from a cattle ranch to a hunting field trial show place. He planted 36 acres of food plots with the 20th Century Fund monies and one year was able to make improvements to the creek crossings with the funds.

Thanks are also in order to the State of Alabama Lands Division for making this a permanent place for sportsmen to enjoy their dogs, horses and field trial fraternity.

As the courses bends through the 3,000 plus acres, not only do we see big showy casts and dogs pointing quail, but overhead there will be eagles soaring and the ponds scattered throughout will hold hundreds of ducks. Close to forty bird contacts for the three days made it fun for the handlers, exciting for the gallery and easier for the judges.

Marguerite Johnson and Patty Sexton did a fabulous job of filling the shoes of my mother, Mary Epp, who turned the catering of the lunches over to them. However, my mother still had a hand in things. She and Mary Minifield made the legendary pecan pies that are a staple of the Cahaba Bend trial and assisted with prepping the food for the suppers.

Olivia and Taine Alison of Birmingham, but originally from this area, assisted with the serving each day and were the hostesses for the meals both nights. Ashley Howard was also part of the team.

Chris Sellers from north Mississippi grilled steaks on Friday night, and Dr. Justin Howard was named grillmaster for Saturday night with blue quail that he and Freddie Epp harvested from their hunting trips. Hall-of-Famer Freddie Epp joined us for lunch one day. Everyone pitched in to make the trial a fun social event in addition to the main event — competition!


The Amateur All-Age began on a cool Friday morning under cloudy skies. Chipper Jones ran the last brace of the stake and took top honors with a big race and a find at 59 just after coming out of Gum Springs Bottom. Meadowwood’s Fast Break, handled by Ted Roach, ran the first brace of the trial and had three finds. Third place went to McRee’s Glory B with two finds. Most dogs had bird work and there were numerous good performances that were cut short by a misstep or were lost at pickup.

The Open Derby started Saturday morning. The winner emerged as Cherokee War Paint, handled by Hunter McDuffie. War Paint showed great all-age potential with his forward race in new ground and his finish in Show Bottom. Second place Ransom’s Southern Charm, handled by Jim Hughes, was braced with War Paint and also showed all-age potential and was the only Derby with a find — a stylish broke find with a good relocation. Cold Creek Cassie, handled by Brian Hodges, ran the first brace of the stake and placed third. Cassie made some nice casts and showed hunting aptitude.

The Amateur Shooting Dog Stake began after lunch on Saturday with lots of bird work. The winner, pointer male Conway Twitty, handled by owner Alan Atkins, ran Sunday afternoon and was forward the entire hour with three finds — one at 5 on the first fenceline, then another in Black Bottom Pasture and just before pickup on the edge of Black Cow Pasture, again very stylish. Second was Darron Hendley’s setter male Pineywoods Jackpot which also stayed forward and had two finds and two backs. Third was Jim Hughes’

Dragonfly with three finds and a wilder race.

Greensboro, Ala., January 26

Judges: Darron Hendley and Burl Hicks


[One-Hour Heats] — 12 Pointers

1st—CHIPPER JONES, 1662392, male, by Crouse’s Kool Running—Elizabeth Taylor. Ruthann Epp, owner and handler.

2d—MEADOWWOOD’S FAST BREAK, 1662989, male, by Caladen’s Rail Hawk—Caladen’s Supremacy. Theodore Roach, owner and handler.

3d—MCREE’S GLORY B, 1655372, female, by Ransom—McRee’s Scarlet. P. E. McPherson, owner and handler.

OPEN DERBY — 12 Pointers

1st—CHEROKEE WAR PAINT, 1672087, male, by Sugarknoll War Paint—Nehawka Amazin Sue. Hunter McDuffie & Lance Servais, owners; Hunter McDuffie, handler.

2d—RANSOM’S SOUTHERN CHARM, 1675602, female, by Lester’s Prime Poison Lane—Ransom’s Bug Out. Jim Hughes, owner and handler.

3d—COLD CREEK CASSIE, 1674637, female, by Hodges Beastmode—Sophie Mae. Johnny Irvin & Brian Hodges, owners; Brian Hodges, handler.

Judges: Burl Hicks and John Ivester

AMATEUR SHOOTING DOG [One-Hour Heats] —15 Pointers and 1 Setter

1st—CONWAY TWITTY, 1629907, pointer male, by High Point Beginning—Wake Robin. Alan Atkins, owner and handler.

2d—PINEYWOODS JACKPOT, 1648891, setter male, by Shadow Oak Bo—Sukara’s Come Home Jessie. D. C. Hendley, owner and handler.

3d—DRAGONFLY, 1669453, pointer male, by The Crowd Pleaser—Miller’s Calamity Jane Lady. Jim Hughes, owner and handler.

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