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Field Trial Report

Conecuh Station Field Trial Club

By Rebecca D. Gibson | Jan 11, 2019
Open Shooting Dog Winners. From left front: Eric Russell with Grand Prairie Thrill, Tommy Rice with Charitable Deed and Anthony Martino with Seekin A Thrill. Behind: Steven Hutto, Brian Peterson, Darron Hendley, Robert Moorer and Jim Smith.

Union Springs, Ala. — The Conecuh Station Club opened its 2018-2019 season with the running of the Conecuh Station Open Shooting Dog Stake. The 14th renewal of this trial began on October 22 and concluded October 25. Fifty-one entries vied for placements after the drawing Friday evening, October 19, at the Union Springs Country Club.

A backdrop of faded goldenrods, dried partridge peas and withered bi-color provided a poignant setting, one reminded that the remnants of summer were barely visible and a new season had begun. Crunchy vegetation and brisk temperatures prevailed.

Honorable judges were Darron Hendley and Brian Peterson, both from Pike Road, Ala. Both are ardent trial enthusiasts and participate as competitors, judges and reporters. Their skillful eye for a quality bird dog and their sense of style and stamina were apparent as they rode hard, judged each dog objectively and rendered an unbiased decision.

Assisting with full breakfasts, lunches and dinners were local volunteers. George Cole, Jimmy Duncan, Steven Hutto and Tommy Mote led the pack. Southern cooks Alyssia and Judy Maddo contributed the perfect down-home touch to traditional southern dishes.

Conecuh Station Club is a member of the Alabama Field Trial Association, Dixie Trace Association and AFTCA. Its trials are Purina Points trials.

THE RUNNING

The running started at 8:02 a. m. Monday morning. It was sunny and 55°. Class Act Express (Doug Ray) had a well-executed covey find across the green field at 21 exhibiting good bird sense and a keen nose. However, at 26 Express suffered an unproductive after a lengthy relocation attempt. Birds were believed to have left him. Conecuh Station Ty (Roach) applied himself well, but had an unproductive at 23. Both handlers requested retrieval devices at 44 at the tree chopper field.

Bo Bunda (Michael Martino) and Meadow Woods Fast Break (Ray). Owner Jack Arlington was riding for Bo which finished his hour hunting hard to the front and searching likely objectives with no bird work. Eight days later Bo Bunda was named runner-up in the Alabama Open Shooting Dog Championship on the same grounds. Fast Break lived up to his name, flying through the cover at full speed. Ray chose to throw in the towel at 24.

Always Dreaming (Ray) showed nicely to the front, but didn’t make the right-hand turn at the big oak and was lost at the half. Thrill Me (Tommy Rice) located a nice big covey beside the dry creek bottom at 44. All was in order. Thrill Me had an unproductive near Lilly Pad Pond and finished his hour hunting cover. Thrill Me was impressive with his responsiveness to handler, pleasing pattern and range. He had made his mark.

After lunch, Southbound Mad Max (Ray) and Miller’s Honor Code (Tracy) were loosed at 1:45 p. m., sunny and cool. Max had a nice limb find at 45, dug up deep and found by scout Ted Roach. He finished his hour going ahead. Honor Code appeared to have finding birds on his mind, but went missing. Handler came for the retrieval unit at the half.

Master’s Touch (Ray) did a fine job, had a nice find at 18 across the hay field and a second came at the pond dam at 47. No. 3 was a dandy on field edge at 58. He used the gentle breeze to his advantage, exhibiting an intense desire to find game. Surely in contention. Erin’s War Creek (Tracy) had a beauty of a find across toolshed drive in a big brush pile, the dog high and tight as birds boiled out. Made your arm hair stand up. War Creek traded his hunting boots for running shoes and went MIA at the half.

Pinson’s Imagine That (Ray) had a nice start with a find right off the bat, but went on to suffer two unproductives. Miller’s Locked and Loaded (Tracy) had a smoking race and two well done covey finds. Dog was bold and dashing and swung with the course in all the right places. Unfortunately, he couldn’t be brought back to judgment in time after pickup was called, believed to be lost on point. Just tough luck.

No. 7 started at 8:00 a. m., cool and overcast. Looked good for bird hunting. Mobile Strike (Ray) and Motor City Rock Star (Hurdle) were up. Strike was possibly too big for these piney woods and was lost on the breakaway. Rock Star had a nice find at 15, all in order. By the half Rock Star wasn’t pleasing handler and wore the harness until the next breakaway spot.

Niquil (Ray) started with an unproductive at 5, but proudly redeemed himself with two good covey finds. A pleasing and graceful dog. He finished his hour strong going away. Miller’s Vanilla Snow (George Tracy) ran a happy animated far reaching race. He backed his bracemate at 5. Followed up with a really nice find at 15. Snow continued on hunting hard while being very responsive to his handler, swinging and showing where he should. He finished far out front on Buster’s bottom. Arguably the best ground race to that point.

The 9th brace turned loose at the big lake. Hillhavyn’s Good Time Rail (Martino) started strong with a beautiful find on bird dog graveyard hill. It was a huge covey. Dog stood proudly, staunch and focused. Rail handled well, but two unproductives did him in. Conecuh Station Little Ann was not pleasing Ray and was voluntarily roped after no bird work.

The 10th brace brought Becky Gibson’s classy champion setter Conecuh’s Pressure Test (Ray) and Bombs Away (Rice) to the line. It was 68°, partly cloudy with a gentle breeze. Pressure Test was running a bit too big this day. He was lost to the front in bird alley. Bombs Away may have been the hard luck dog of the trial. He ran a beautiful shooting dog race. Always to the front, handling like a dream. Making big casts and showing in all the right places. But, for some unknown reason that only God and Bombs Away know, he never pointed a partridge in his hour. Ole Bob White won the 10th brace.

Zip Tye (Ray) and Sunset’s Awesome Wonder ( Martino) broke away under the “Love Oak”, an enormous live oak tree that naturally makes you wonder what all that tree has seen in its tenure. Tye turned in a scalding hot race, but could not be shown in time. Seven days later Tye won the Alabama Open Shooting Dog Championship. Awesome Wonder had a nice forward race going but ended his effort with a second unproductive on pine ridge just before the big lake.

Miller’s Miss Calamity Jane (Tracy) and Conecuh Station Rex (Ray) were let go under the pond dam. Both dogs worked through graveyard hill diligently and made the right through the pines toward the hog trap, but couldn’t regain the front in time.

Wednesday morning broke sunny and 55°. Air was barely moving.

Dialing Samantha (Ray) is a snappy smooth going pointer female. She pointed beautifully at 3 just right of feed trail, but no birds were produced. Sent on with a strong forward race, she scored in bird alley at 35 on a nice covey. She finished her hour with plenty left in the tank. Sandland Sassy Sarah (Tracy) suffered an unproductive just after her bracemate at 4. Birds were being tricky. She went on to finish birdless.

Veterinarian Susan Wells rode for Quail Roost Accolade (Martino). Becky Gibson’s Conecuh Station Trump (Ray) was ready. They were released from the cabin driveway. Accolade rimmed Buster’s bottom like it should be done, but was lost in the woods at 35. Trump put on a show. An intelligent and obedient setter male, he moves through the country happily, pleasingly and industriously. His first find was by the horse pasture at 35. He looked like he was set in stone. His second came on pine ridge before the hog trap. Handler gave him the bit at Buster’s bottom where he ran the edge from one end to the other. Trump made his mark.

Phillips Wind Line wasn’t pleasing Ray and was up. Swift Justice (Hurdle) is a hard-hunting stylish setter, but couldn’t find any birds during his hour.

Miller’s Heat Seeker was taken up by Tracy at 30 without bird work. Dunn’s Tried’N True (Ray) had a birdless stand at 18, but redeemed himself with big coveys at 19 and 39. True got a wagon ride into the field house from the chopper field.

Showtime Dominator (Roach/Ray) finished his hour with a back at 45.

Sugarknoll War Paint (Tracy) had a nice covey near the big lake at 45, all in order. He took the long route over the next hill and nailed the resident bird dog cemetery covey at 59. War Paint showed why he is consistently found in the winners’ circle. He responded to his handler well, taking cues from his horse. He did it naturally and cheerfully, but always with birds on his mind. He made several far-reaching casts, stayed up front and finished strong. A fun dog to watch.

Grand Prairie Thrill (Rice) is a coming three-year-old pointer female owned by Mac Stidham. She topped the field with a smooth front running classy race with three perfectly executed finds. She went through the cover fast with a high snappy tail and her nose in the wind. She showed her keen nose and intelligence while hunting. She was intense and positive on point. Scouting was miniscule. She had beautifully polished finds at 7, 8 and 35, all to the front. A pleasure to witness. Conecuh’s Power Play (Roach/ Ray) suffered an unproductive. He went on to have a good find on a feeding covey and a stop to flush.

Thursday morning was cool and overcast. Heavy rain was forecast, but we were spared.

Burrows Trip My Trigger (Williams) scoured the countryside and came up with a nice limb find in bird alley. He had an unproductive. Conecuh Station’s Joe Kid (Roach/Ray) looked in all the right places, but nobody was home.

Miller’s Hennessy (Martino) had owner Bill Clem riding anxiously in the gallery. Bill is relatively new to the game and it is great to see him so involved. Hennessy suffered an unproductive at 8 and backed his bracemate at 25. Gone with the Wind (Ray Williams) had two good forward finds, but the rope was clipped on for a breach of manners on his third.

It was game on for Charitable Deed (Rice). Turned loose at the pond dam, he swung around graveyard hill into the big pines toward the hog trap. He was found standing proudly ahead, head and tail lofty at 8. He suffered an unproductive with his bracemate, but quickly got back on track with another polished and artistic stand at 24. Rice guided him through the thick cover and turned him loose in the bottom. Deed adapted his pace and range so as to negotiate his way to Tear Drop Pond where he had a final find at 56. He finished his hour exhibiting his trademark handsome carriage and graceful stride. Truly a fine performance by this seasoned and well-trained canine athlete. Touch’s Two Step (Ray) finished his hour without bird work.

The last afternoon started with a light drizzle that eventually fizzled. Seemed like good hunting weather.

I’ll Have Another (Ray) pointed at 8 across first creek with Mack (Hartwig) backing. No birds. Both handlers eventually chose to throw in the towel.

Blackhawk’s K Diane (Hurdle) is a speed demon. Dirt was flying behind her as she sped through the country. She had one find off the breakaway and finished. American Pharaoh (Ray/Williams) was bold, snappy and dashing, but didn’t point a bird.

Seekin A Thrill (Rice) ran as a bye, and what a brace he had. His first find came on a single on cemetery hill. He caught the next ridge and seined it for birds. He came out into a small field that had a thick head-high patch of dogfennel on the west side, slammed on the brakes at full speed and swelled up like he was standing on his toes. He was asked to relocate and nailed a roosting covey for an easy flush and shot. Rice hit the whistle at the picket bottom. Three quarters of the way down the far edge, Thrill swapped ends. A quick flushing attempt and a sack full of birds boiled out as the shot rang out. Thrill had hunted every step of the way and wasn’t done yet. He made the turn at the big oak and disappeared into the tall sedge. Handler confidently rode ahead to find Thrill dead ahead standing on his fourth find across tool shed road. He finished working the front. A deserving performance.

Union Springs, Ala., October 22

Judges: Darron Hendley and Brian Peterson

OPEN SHOOTING DOG [One-Hour Heats] — 20 Pointers and 4 Setters

1st—GRAND PRAIRIE THRILL, 1676501, pointer female, by Seekin A Thrill—York’s Hollywood. Mac Stidham, owners; Tommy Rice, handler.

2d—CHARITABLE DEED, 1658659, pointer female, by Three Rivers—B W Molly. Keith Finlayson, owner; Tommy Rice, handler.

3d—SEEKIN A THRILL, 1661543, pointer male, by Just Irresistible—Snow Thrill. Ross Leonard, owner; Tommy Rice, handler.

OPEN DERBY — 11 Pointers

1st—ERIN’S TY BREAKER, 1678678, male, by Erin’s Redrum—My Minnie. Ted Roach, owner and handler.

2d—QUICKSILVER HIGH TIDE, 1680744, male, by White Reign—Lips Sealed. Rick Stallings, owner and handler.

3d—ERIN’S CALVIN KLEIN, 1674239, male, by Erin’s Redrum—Erin’s Macey. Rick Stallings, owner; Steve Hurdle, handler.

OPEN DERBY — 16 Pointers

1st—MOSLEY BRIAR HILL, 1677477, female, by Heisman Ice—Quickmarksman’s Blue Hen. Joe Brown, owner; Mike Martino, handler.

2d—NOR’EASTER, 1673560, male, by Wiggins Elhew River—Wiggins Lady War Trace. Eli Richardson III, owner; Mike Martino, handler.

3d—ONE PENNIE MORE, 1674414, female, by Jolly’s Little Bid—She’s A Peach. Jack Arlington, owner; Mike Martino, handler.

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