American Field

Field Trial Report

Continental Amateur Trials

By Steve Standley | Jan 12, 2018
Amateur All-Age Winners. From front left: Showtime Dominator with Laura and Larron Copeland and Showtime Sam Houston with Tim Moore. Behind: Andrea Barstow, Eddie Sholar, Gloria Hagan, Alpha Pettis “Too” Bright, Judge Jason Williams, Polly Moore, Kent Cantrell, Woody Watson, Randy Floyd and Mike Moses.

Greenville, Fla. — One of the great things about coming to Dixie Plantation in early November for the Continental Amateur  trials is  it gives one a preview of what to expect when the club’s Open Championships occur in January.

The cover is often high and the thermometer also tends to seek that point of its scale during this early season competition. Grids have recently been mowed, paths have been chopped, and the scuttlebutt is all about how many birds have been seen.

Tall Timbers Research’s bird census gives the scientific data that states bird numbers are good and the brooding season has been successful. But there is nothing like riding your horse across these historic grounds, seeing a class dog style up on game, then hearing the strong flutter of powerful wings, even before your eye can take in the beauty of the wild bobwhite’s rushed exit.

After repeated finds, one settles down to recognize the difference in the wild, scattered, powerful explosion of the mature bevy and the flush of the late hatch brood as they lift  much quieter and fly just to the pearl millet or other cover. On one such flush Judge Jason Williams exclaimed, “Look at that. Those birds are so young that the markings on their head feathers have not come in.” We saw young birds like this several times during the early November trial and age estimates for these quail were 7-8 weeks.

Thanks to Dixie Plantation owner Tall Timbers Research Station for supporting the continuation of field trials on Dixie Plantation. Their study of wildlife and environment in this wonderful “laboratory” is vastly important work.

Dixie manager Randy Floyd had the welcome mat rolled out as we all arrived to begin the Amateur All-Age feature on November 3. Eighteen hopefuls were drawn to compete under Judges Jason Williams of Blakely, Ga., and Ed Chance of Albany, Ga. Both men have spent countless hours in the saddle training, hunting and competing with bird dogs. They knew what they were looking for and were attentive and fair.

Dedicated Dixie staff members John Michael McCormick, Hunter Lewis, Gloria Hagan and Alpha Pettis “Too” Bright are extended thanks for all the things they so cheerfully do.

Purina’s support of this trial is most appreciated by all. This is often stated, but the value of their assistance has far-reaching effects in our beloved sport.

Amateur All-Age Stake

Winning the Amateur All-Age was Showtime Dominator, under the whistle of Larron Copeland of Bronwood, Ga. The white and black pointer male’s co-owner Laura Copeland was in the saddle to witness the contest.

Showtime, a first year dog, is known as Boss. He went north with Jamie Daniels last summer and we all looked forward to seeing him develop.

Boss ran in one of the hottest braces of the trial. The ground had no moisture, scenting conditions were poor and the hopes for game contact were small. He defied these circumstances to produce birds three times during his hour afield.

The bulk of Boss’ bird work occurred as we traveled south on the course that runs past the east side of Cadillac Pond. His first find was in an 80-yard strip of cover between a cotton field and the white sand main road. A short canter brought us to the scene. As the quail boiled out Boss stood firmly. At 37, bending to the right on our approach back to the course, the pointer had another good connection with all in order.

The Showtime contender continued in the heat and at the end of Garrett field his third covey was found at 49 amidst tall cover on a swampy edge. Boss quickly crossed Moccasin Creek and finished on a powerful cast as the course approached the area behind the plantation office.

Showtime Sam Houston won second place laurels after his effort during the first brace of the trial. There was a damp, foggy setting for the breakaway as the thermometer hovered around 50°. Sam showed well across the first field, through the pines, into the cover and on past Cindy’s oak on his way to the crossing. After he crossed the main road there is a dip in the path and, after that depression, the pointer was found on a covey at 20. He was high and tight for the action and all was good.

Past the half the Copeland pointer looked good as he swung through an area that was recently opened up. He drove on ahead and when we saw him next he was posed for a magazine cover. Unfortunately, Larron could not make anything fly. A relocation was performed and afterward Judge Chance stated that he saw an unrelated covey lift at a distance. An unproductive was in the book. The white and orange male stayed in front, moved well, and finished well at acorn hill.

The third place dog appeared in the third brace at 10:15 a. m. Shirt sleeves were in order as Touch’s Ghost Rider performed for owner Eddie Sholar of Leesburg, Ga., amid continued high temperatures. We had ridden up five coveys in the middle of the previous brace but the dry conditions and the heat were more challenging as we moved into mid-morning. Rider pushed on past the brown jug, the big woods and showed well toward the brown field. Point was called for the Sholar charge as he stood on a falling grade. “There they go!” and Eddie’s shot put a find in the judge’s book at 57. Rider blew out the front and was found pointing a few minutes after time. Eddie could not flush any game but the performance was good considering the conditions.

The heartbreak performance of the stake occurred on Saturday morning in the fist brace of the day. It was in the low 50s and there was plenty of moisture on the ground and in the cover. This was as good as it was going to get in terms of conditions. Eddie Sholar’s Touch’s White Knight ran a powerful and forward race with four strong finds. The pointer was out of sight in the closing minutes and could not be returned within the grace period.

Greenville, Fla., November 3

Judges: Ed Chance and Jason Williams

AMATEUR ALL-AGE [One-Hour Heats] — 17 Pointers and 1 Setter

1st—SHOWTIME DOMINATOR, 1666742, male, by Erin’s Kentucky Gambler—Dominator’s Dotted Line. Larron & Laura Copeland, owners; Larron Copeland, handler.

2d—SHOWTIME SAM HOUSTON, 1662402, pointer male, by Just Irresistible—K F Alias. Larron & Laura Copeland, owners; Larron Copeland, handler.

3d—TOUCH’S GHOST RIDER, 1669608, pointer male, by Touch’s Knight Rider—House’s Proud Mary. Eddie Sholar, owner and handler.

Amateur Derby

The first two places in the Derby went to men who traveled great distances to get to Dixie Plantation. Rester’s Black Jack ran the highest quality “all-age” type race for owner Cecil Rester of Angie, La. Jack stood mannerly for game at 2 and used the balance of his time to search the beauty of Dixie.

Long distance award went to John Harmon  from Kyle, Tex. He seemed to enjoy his time in North Florida. John’s young pointer Barshoe La Traviata found birds at 6 with all in order.

Dr. Kent Cantrell came  down from near Ocala, Fla., and took third. His attractive pointer Always Dreaming maintained a forward ground pattern and defied the heat.

This writer would highly recommend a trip to Dixie for all field trial enthusiasts. The opportunity to run over these historic grounds is a gift that we should all savor. Don’t miss the chance!

AMATEUR DERBY — 7 Pointers

1st—RESTER’S BLACK JACK, 1669973, male, by Rester’s Starbuck—Rester’s Sweet Crude. Cecil  Rester, owner and handler.

2d—BARSHOE LA TRAVIATA, 1671656, female, by Barshoe Tchaikovsky—Stormin Super Bee. John Harmon, owner and handler.

3d—ALWAYS DREAMING, 1669360, female, by Lindley’s Thin Ice—Lindley’s Runtellthat. Dr. C. K. Cantrell, owner and handler.

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