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Dixie Trace Association Banquet and Awards

By Steve Stanley | Jul 30, 2018
DTFTA High Point Dog of the Year Touch’s Mega Mike with scout Cody McLean and handler Mark McLean. Mike’s owners Ted Dennard and Eddie and Carol Sholar are surrounded by family and friends. [Photos by Chris Mathan.]

Merry Acres Special Event Center in Albany, Ga., was again the location for the 2018 Dixie Trace Field Trial Association Banquet and Merit Awards on June 2.

The concept of DTFTA began in 2004 during a meeting of field trial enthusiasts hosted by the Moreland family at their Coney Lake Lodge out- side of Leesburg, Ga. The key elements that evolved from that meeting were stated as a desire to elevate the standards of trials and to help cast the most positive light on trials in our area.

Once the ball was rolling on this new endeavor, it also became apparent that we could improve upon the communi- cation within our sport. The dissemina- tion of ads for upcoming trials, the running order of major stakes and the results of each of our DTFTA events could be widely available through a new website, www.dixietrace.org.

For fear of leaving out anyone’s name, suffice it to say that what we all know is DTFTA has been the effort of many. The Association has grown and been shaped by the input and labor of a large stream of people. Each of these persons brought their own individual talents and the organization has benefitted from their effort.

A 3:00 p. m. business meeting among the representatives of each of the clubs went smoothly. Vice- President Joe Rentz had contacted everyone and worked through most of next year’s schedule. Treasurer Polly Moore has served tirelessly and after presenting our financial information to the group she advised that she was going to step away from those duties.

She has done an excellent job of maintaining our financial history with accuracy and high integrity. We as a group thank her for her contribution.

Last year Grant Rudolph of Albany, Ga., assumed the position of secretary. He has now accepted the mantel of secretary/treasurer after a unanimous vote by the members. Joe Rentz was voted to remain as vice-president and this writer was deemed to continue in the president’s position.

In other business, it was decided to maintain our support of the Continental Field Trial Club by continuing sponsor- ship of their water tank program at Dixie Plantation. The Hatchechubbee Field Trial Club, led by Alan Atkins, was voted into DTFTA membership.

A discussion on the subject of dog taxes came up and a unanimous decision was made to raise the tax to $2 per dog from the current $1.

Grant Rudolph calculated dog taxes for the year and his work provided us with some very interesting data. During the 2017-2018 season within DTFTA there were 28 different amateur stakes and 45 different open stakes for an overall 73 different stakes run. There were a total of 537 dog performances in the amateur stakes and 1219 performances in the open stakes with a grand total of 1756 dog performances run. Tracking this data into the future will offer valuable information from which to judge the health of our sport in the Dixie Trace area. This type of analysis could be of universal value.

Dixie Trace is fortunate to have generous and kind banquet sponsors and silent auction donors. Nestlé Purina once again offered support

in every form for the banquet, the auction and for the operation of DTFTA. We extend many thanks to Purina representative Greg Blair for his help and his keen interest in our association in particular, and the sport in general. He is truly a champion of the game. Purina’s contribution to the sport is appreciated fully and highly valued by Dixie Trace members.

We thank the following silent auction donors:

Purina: 12 bags Purina ProPlan feed.

Garmin and John Rex Gates: Garmin Pro 550 training collar.

Gibson’s Furniture, Gifts and Acces- sories, Tony and Becky Gibson: Carved wooden horseshoe mirror with detailed iron accents and also an attractive needlepoint quail pillow.

Senah Plantation: Benjy and Teresa Griffith and Joel Norman: Breeding opportunity to 2018 National Open Shooting Dog Champion Miller Unfinished Business.

Chris Mathan Sporting Dogs and Outdoor Images: Framed and ready to hang photo print on metal, “Four Pointers — Leesburg, Ga.” and three sets of custom designed coasters.

Mary McPherson: Framed oil paint- ings; Barbara Teare: Framed print by Joseph Sulkowski of quail hunting scene on Blue Springs Plantation featuring Sam Ellis.

Tom Word: An assortment of books by noted author, field trial reporter and storyteller.

The family of Dick Dodd: “A Back- wards Glance — Stories, Letters and Essays” compiled and published writings of Georgia sportsman Richard E. (Dick) Dodd.

Gail Walker: Plantation Mule Paint- ing and items from Pointe South Vinyl. Anonymous donor: Framed AFTCA 20th Century prints, “Breakaway at Dixie” featuring a scene from the Continental, and “There They Go”, a scene from the National Amateur Free-for-All.

Thanks are also extend to Ivey’s Outdoor & Farm Supply and Larry Glow: Long time Albany business that offers the best in feed, farm supplies, outdoor footwear and stylish clothing, donated two $150 gift certificates.

DTFTA would also like to thank Stewbo’s which is the parent company of Merry Acres Motel and Event Center, and their local fine dining restaurants The Catch and Henry’s and the casual dining Harvest Moon.

Thanks are also extended to Joan Newpeck and Becky Rudolph for preparing the welcome table. Chris Mathan did an excellent job in arranging the fresh flowers that she brought into attractive center pieces for each table.

We served more than 100 guests and the mood in the room was uplifting and joyful. Chris also took our pictures and prepared them for our website and this article. Thanks to everyone who attended. We encourage all to come celebrate the sport and support each other.

Dixie Trace Awards

The Merit Awards were eye-catching custom plaques for each of the win- ners. Each of these awards represents success in a very competitive arena. The DTFTA High Point Dog of the Year is awarded a beautiful framed oil painting of their dog by Alabama artist Mary McPherson. This is a highly coveted award that reflects the prestige of the accomplishment.

The Amateur Derby of the Year Award went to Lynn Jones for her Live Oak Magnificent. Jack Arlington accompanied Lynn to the banquet and he always offers his own enthusiastic, colorful and humorous comments.

The runner-up Amateur Derby went to Little White Lies, owned and handled by Eli Richardson.

Amateur Shooting Dog of the Year was Redland’s Jacked Up, owned by Joe and Tricia Rentz. Joe has handled as Tricia has scouted “Jack” not only to this honor but also to the Purina Amateur Shooting Dog Award. Pineywoods Jackpot claimed the Runner-Up Amateur Shooting Dog Award for owner Darron Hendley. Captain of the Pineywoods cheer squad, Renee Peek, accompanied Darron.

Owner-handler Larron Copeland and co-owner Laura Copeland accepted the Amateur All-Age Dog of the Year Award for their Showtime Dominator. Elhew G Force won the Runner-Up Amateur All-Age Award for owner- handler Tim Moore.

Open Derby of the Year was Wild Hawk, owned by Mike Moses and handled by Judd Carlton. Runner-Up Open Derby was claimed by Chinquapin Bill for owner Ted Baker and handler Ray Warren.

Chelsea’s Thunder Bolt, owned by Dr. Tom Jackson and handled by Shawn Kinkelaar, earned the Open Shooting Dog of the Year Award. Tommy Rice III piloted Charitable Deed to the Runner-Up Open Shooting Dog of the Year Award for owner Keith Finlayson.

Open All-Age Dog of the Year was awarded to Touch’s Mega Mike’s team of handler Mark McLean, and owners Eddie Sholar and Ted Dennard. The Runner-Up Open All-Age Award went to Funseek’n Hit Man for owners Jack and Tracy Haines and handler Jamie Daniels.

Derby Handler of the Year went to Luke Eisenhart who was accompanied by his wife Tammy and Hall of Fame father-in-law Tommy Davis. It was good to have Doug Ray present to accept the Shooting Dog Handler of the Year Award. All-Age Handler of the Year went to Mark McLean.

Touch’s Mega Mike, owned by Eddie Sholar and Ted Dennard and handled by Mark McLean, dominated this year’s field trial scene, not only in DTFTA but also nationally. It was a well-deserving team that accepted the Dixie Trace Field Trial Association’s High Point Dog of the Year Award. Mary McPherson’s striking oil painting was revealed at the height of the evening as Touch’s Mega Mike was lead in to pose for the high honor. Eddie, Ted and Mark had extended family present and the entire room applauded as they enjoyed the fruit of their labors. Mark took this opportunity to thank all of his owners and his family for their support. He also thanked the numerous scouts who helped him in this achievement. Special note was made of his son, Cody, who has scouted for him since childhood. Their teamwork is a joy to watch in the field.

We encourage all field trial fans to come to next year’s banquet and enjoy the celebration of high bred dogs and the people who love them. Whether you will be receiving an award or not it is an evening of fun for all to enjoy.

Life Patron Award

At the 2016 Dixie Trace FTA business meeting Dr. Davey Deal brought forth the idea to establish a specific area in the bird dog museum at Grand Junction, Tenn., to display plaques for Life Patron Award recipients from the Dixie Trace area. This plan was negotiated with the museum, and South Georgia sportsman John Thompson was voted to be the first recipient of this award.

Mr. John was the first president of our Dixie Trace Field Trial Association and he has been a mentor to many of us. He was a long patron of the More- land family and was closely tied to that extended family and the Lee County trials. He was also very involved with the historic Old Atlanta Field Trial Club.

Luke Weaver of Jackson, Ga., once said that John Thompson was the most honest man he ever knew. This writer believes that all who know Mr. John would agree. That unshakable honesty paired with a deep knowledge of bird dogs, quail hunting and a full under- standing of the finer points of the pub- lished standards of field trials brought him to many high level judging assign- ments. These ran from the Canadian prairies throughout the entire country. Mr. John is currently on the board of the Continental Field Trial Club.

John Thompson speaks softly, but the wise man stops and listens. He is an excellent sounding board about the finer details of judging. He is a very knowledgeable horse trainer. This writer believes that the selection for the first Dixie Trace Field Trial Association Lifetime Patron Award could not have gone to a more deserving individual.

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