American Field

Field Trial Report

Eastern Open Shooting Dog Championship

By Linda Casey | Jun 17, 2020
Waybetter Rocky Winner of the Eastern Open Shooting Dog Championship

Boydton, Va. — The Eastern Open Shooting Dog Championship and Derby Classic were held March 2-6 at the Dick Cross Wildlife Management Area in Boydton, Va.

This venue, maintained by the friends of Dick Cross in conjunction with the State of Virginia, has been the home of the Eastern Open for many years.

This year’s unusual weather immediately preceding the Eastern Open resulted in extraordinary flooding that almost forced the cancellation of the trial. Fortunately, the flood waters receded enough to allow the trial to run with a rerouting of the courses that avoided the most flooded areas of the grounds.

Pat Casey, chairman of the trial, extends his warmest thanks to those whose efforts ensured the success of the trial. Jeff Smith, Larry King, Frankie Henderson, Carl Bishop, and Jamie O’Donnell helped with putting out birds, driving the dog wagon, putting up and taking down fences and callers, and much more.

Linda Casey organized and prepared the free lunches and dinners that were offered each day of the trial with the invaluable help of Casey King and Kim McKinnes. Carl Bishop provided horses for Aidan Malone, one of our judges. The support provided by Purina was greatly appreciated.

The judges for both trials were Aidan Malone of Bolton, Conn., and Steve Browder of Pinewood, S. C. Both judges called upon their significant knowledge and experience and demonstrated careful observation of each dog in making their placements. We appreciate the long hours they spent in the saddle and the many ways they helped participants during the trial.


Forty-three dogs were drawn and forty-three came to the line in the Shooting Dog Championship.

The whistles blew for the first brace at 8:00 a. m. on Monday, March 2, under questionable skies.

Bully Rock (Mike Tracy) and Steel City Alabama (Matt Basilone) were away down the straight part of the course known as the river bottom. Horses slugged through the ruts and puddles that would become one long stretch of continuos slop by the end of the week. Surprisingly, most of the rest of the course maintained decent footing all week.

Steel City Alabama, seven-year-old white and black pointer male was awarded the runner-up title. He broke away with speed and pointed his first bird at the end of the river bottom with excellent style. He took off over the dam and was found standing by the silo for his second successful find. He hunted the edges, racing down to the pond for his third find. When he was turned loose he grabbed the edges again to his fourth and final find as time was called.

Steel City Alabama, owned by Karen and Bob Reed of Gettysburg, Pa., ran a strong, stylish race throughout, setting the bar high for the 41 dogs yet to run.

In the last brace of the day on Tuesday, Mike Tracy handled the champion,  Waybetter Rocky, seven-year-old white and orange pointer male owned by Collin, Joyce and Carl Bishop of Punxsutawney, Pa., and Bill and Muriel Primm of Cream Ridge, N. J.

Rocky broke away with plenty of energy at the river bottom and ran the edges until he came on point at the end of the long stretch for his first find, all in good order. On his way to the front, he pointed again for his second successful find. As soon as he was turned loose again, Rocky took off, crossed the dam, and sped along the edges to his third beautiful find by the silos. He then ran through the field into the woods and into the big field, tearing up the edges down by the pond for his fourth commanding find. Rocky lost no time as he ran the edges again into the bowl, finding his fifth bird.

Immediately before going through the woods he was found standing at the silos for his seventh find. Rocky concluded his impressive performance by flying over the dam and down the edges back toward the river bottom as time was called.

Boydton, Va., March 2 — One Course

Judges: Steve Browder and Aidan Malone


[One-Hour Heats] — 40 Pointers and 3 Setters

Winner—WAYBETTER ROCKY, 1652783, pointer male, by Brown’s Tom Tom—Waybetter Reba. Carl, Joyce & Collin Bishop & Muriel & Bill Primm, owners; Mike Tracy, handler.

Runner-Up—STEEL CITY ALABAMA, 1656990, pointer male, by Jayhawk—Raisin Hell. Karen &  Bob Reed, owners; Matt Basilone, handler.


All seventeen dogs drawn came to the line for Derby Classic at 8:00 a. m. on March 6, weather threatening but holding.

In the first brace two setters, Erin’s Big Casino, handled by Mike Tracy, and Zorro’s Hidden Shamrock, handled by Matt Basilone, took off at the breakaway at the river bottom, racing down the edge of the field at the end of the long, muddy stretch.

Erin’s Big Casino was found pointing at the end of the field, all in good order, and was placed third in this stake. When released after his first find, he ran the edges to his second success find at the silo, then ran on to a strong finish with class and style.

In the fourth brace, Miller’s Extreme Heat, handled by Mike Tracy, ran against Waybetter Brute (Pat Casey). The whistle blew at the roadside and both dogs broke away with speed and style. Miller’s Extreme Heat, which was awarded second in the stake, was found on point by the silo, all in good order, running a strong race down the edge. Heat went over the dam to a second successful find at the end of the field. She took off to her third find on the edge of the river bottom, then ran down the edges of the river bottom for a strong finish.

The first place dog ran as a bye dog in the last brace. Miller’s Record Heat, handled by Mike Tracy. She took off fast at the breakaway by the road and was found on point by the silo for her first successful find. She was turned loose and ran a strong race over the dam, down the edge to her second find by the duck impoundment, all in good order. When released, she showed a strong, classy finish, running down the edge along the river bottom as time was called to end the stake.

OPEN DERBY CLASSIC — 15 Pointers and 1 Setter

1st—MILLER’S RECORD HEAT, 1685700, pointer female, by Just Irresistible—Miller’s Bring The Heat. Allen Linder, owner; Mike Tracy, handler.

2d—MILLER’S EXTREME HEAT, 1685698, pointer female, by Just Irresistible—Miller’s Bring The Heat. Joe McHugh, owner; Mike Tracy, handler.

3d—ERIN’S BIG CASINO, 1682928, setter male, by Erin’s Hidden Shamrock—Three Stripe’s Livewire. Paul Berdiner, owner; Mike Tracy, handler.


By Jeff Smith, Chairman

The Art Hillhouse Amateur Shooting Dog Classic followed the Eastern Open Shooting Dog Championship and companion Derby Classic at the Dick Cross Field Trial grounds in Boydton, Va.

Twenty-two dogs were drawn for the event which started on Friday, March 6. In the judges’ opinion 14 of the dogs performed well enough that they would have been quite satisfied to have named any one of them as the winners. The job of the judges was to decide which of the 14 would be the top three.

Miller’s Unbridled Forever ran in the third brace. The judges were impressed with his forward running which reached for far objectives. He had four well spaced perfect finds, great style and impeccable manners.

He was handled to first place by Brian Sanchez and is owned by Great River Kennel and Neil Walker.

Second place went to Knight’s White Lady, owned and handled by Californian Bill Owen. Lady had three well spaced finds, but what impressed the judges the most was that Lady found birds where none of the other dogs found them. She was not shy about digging in to find birds.

Third place was earned by Roger Dvorak and his pointer Nottingham’s Storm Warning. In addition to his two perfect finds and one back, was his great finish. At the end of 60 minutes he was heading to the front looking for more birds.

Of the 21 starters, only seven did not finish the 60 minutes, most of which went the wrong way on the course at some point. It used to be that if you got your dog around, you were almost guaranteed a placement. No more, there are too many good dogs that are well trained, any one of which is capable of earning first place on any given weekend. There were many disappointed handlers. The competition is stiff.

The Association of Virginia Field Trial Clubs would like to thank Jameson Crandall and Joe Luisi for their dedication and undivided attention in judging the stake. I know it was difficult, but they knew what they wanted and named them as the winners.

Thanks also goes to a number of people who helped put on the trial: J. J. Doyle, Carol Ann Orr and K. C. King for the dinners and lunches. George Doyle and Larry King for planting birds. Pat Casey, Alex Reid and George for driving the dog wagon. Ellen Clements for help with the American Field ad and securing the awards.

We thank the State of Virginia and the Friends of Dick Cross for the use of the grounds. A special thanks goes to Purina and Greg Blair for their sponsorship of the trial.

Thanks goes to the contestants for making the trial possible. We hope everyone had a good time and arrived home safe and sound.

Judges: Jameson Crandall and Joseph Luisi

[One-Hour Heats] — 19 Pointers, 2 Setters and 1 Irish Setter

1st—MILLER’S UNBRIDLED FOREVER, 1661404, pointer male, by Just Irresistible—Miller’s Bring The Heat. Great River Kennel & Neil Walker, owners; Brian Sanchez, handler.

2d—KNIGHT’S WHITE LADY, 1653758, pointer female, by Touch’s Knight Rider—Henson’s Snow White. William Owen, owner and handler.

3d—NOTTINGHAM’S STORM WARNING, 1662154, pointer male, by Game Strut—High Value Special. Roger Dvorak, owner and handler.

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