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Newly Elected Members Honored at Grand Junction, Tenn.

Field Trial Hall of Fame Ceremonies

By David A. Fletcher | Feb 29, 2016
Pointer Electee Erin’s Bad River. From left to right: Sean Derrig, Patty Derrig, Pat Sheehan, Lindsey Derrig with scroll; Kelly Derrig, Maeve Derrig with portrait of Erin’s Bad River; Linda Sheehan, Eryn Finet, and Sean Patrick Derrig. [Photos by Vera Courtney.]

Bird dog people from every corner of the nation came to Grand Junction, Tenn., Saturday, February 6,  to attend the 25th renewal of the induction ceremonies for the seven breed groups represented at the Bird Dog Foundation. It was an all-day affair greatly enjoyed by well over  400 in attendance. Among those in the audience were many elected Hall of Fame personalities, and other notables from the field trial world. Noticed were, and my apologies for this not being a perfect list of all that were there. I saw HOF members Bill and Linda Hunt, Joe G. Walker, Hoyle Eaton, Marshall Loftin, Billy Morton, Buddy Smith, John Rex Gates, Dale E. Bush, Dr. John Huffman, Garrett E. Lockee, and Dr. Hunter Wilcox.

On the Brittany side Hall-of-Famers I noticed were Dr. Robert Rankin, Delmar and Rick Smith, Ray Trimble, and Dr. John Webb. The German Shorthair contingent was represented by HOF member Mike Aldrich.

The morning session began at 9:00 a. m. with a welcome by master of ceremonies Tonya Brotherton, Bird Dog Foundation Executive Director. Brother Troy Styers, pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Junction, gave the invocation, followed by allegiance to the flag and a welcome by Foundation president Donald Driggers. Curtis Lane, mayor of Grand Junction, Jimmy Sain, mayor of Hardeman County, and Tennessee State Senator Dolores Gresham gave their welcome.

Previously elected Hall of Fame persons in attendance stood and were recognized as well as recognition of deceased Hall of Fame family members. Bob West and Karl Gunzer representing sponsor Nestlé Purina were recognized and spoke briefly.

The presentation of plaques followed with chair Dave Fletcher presiding. The morning program consisted of presentations to the English Cocker Spaniel, the English Springer Spaniel, and the Retriever groups. Four distinguished persons and three deserving dogs inductions were completed.

The afternoon session followed an identical format to what had been done in the morning, with the exception of Dr. Barney Gordon, pastor of St. James Episcopal Church in Bolivar, Tenn., giving the invocation and State Representative Jamie Jenkins welcoming the assemblage.

Plaque presentations were again on the agenda presided over by chairman Dave Fletcher. Brittany Life Patron plaques were presented to Bob Burchett, Lucille Sawicki, and Patron Memorial to Dwight Jordan, Ruth McGee and Fay Walker. There we no plaques presented to the German Shorthair and the Red Setter breed groups. Pointer and Setter group plaques totalled nine. Patron Memorial plaques honored Eddie Gibbs, Thomas Hance, Milton Burris, James Page, James Metcalf and Roy Pelton.

Life Patron plaques were presented to David and Marilyn Taylor, Gerry MacKenzie, and Tom Smith.

The Brittany inductions presided over by Rick Smith were first, with distinguished persons, Texans Jim Leverich and Tom Milam, honored, and Lane’s End Bowtie Annie, owned by Tom and Judy Robin of Ann Arbor, Mich., also inducted.

German Shorthairs were next, Peter Kainz presiding. Don Miner of California, distingushed person category, and Uodibar’s Koonas, owned by Don Collier of Indiana, handled by John Rabidou of Texas, and Von Thalberg’s Fritz II, a Don Miner dog, were inducted under the “deserving dog” category.

Concluding the program were Pointer and Setter inductees MC’d by Bernie Matthys of the American Field. Elected under the distinguished persons heading were Collier Smith of Alabama, Dr. Ron Deal of Georgia and David Hughes, a “cover dog” trainer from Pennsylvania.

Pointer male Erin’s Bad River was the only dog elected in the deserving dog category, owned by Sean Derrig of Illinois.

A reception hosted by The American Field followed the presentations.

The Foundation staff worked diligently to wait on tables and put this on, Tonya Brotherton, and her staff, Cissye Pierce, Barbara Sweeney, Renee Houston and Lucy Cogbill, tending to those duties, with their efforts appreciated by everyone. Food was catered by Me and My Tea Room of Dancyville, Tenn.

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