American Field

Ceremonies for Newly Elected Hall of Fame Inductees Held At Grand Junction, Tennessee

Field Trial Hall of Fame

By David A. Fletcher | Mar 12, 2018
From left: Jadie Rayfield, Judith Fenley, Hall of Fame inductee John Seawright and Garland Priddy.  [Photos by Vera Courtney]

Grand Junction, Tenn. — Despiste three days of hard rain and the flooding of many roads including portions of Tennessee Highway 57, on which the Bird Dog Foundation is situated, bird dog people from across the nation came to Grand Junction, Tenn., for the 26th renewal of the Bird Dog Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for the seven breed groups represented at this great facility. It was an all day affair greatly enjoyed by several hundred in attendance. Among those in the audience were many elected Hall of Fame personalities, and other notables from the field trial world.

The morning session began at 9:00 a. m. with a welcome by master of ceremonies Tonya Brotherton, Bird Dog Foundation executive director. Rev. Troy Styers of the First Baptist Church in Grand Junction gave the invocation, followed by allegiance to the flag and a welcome by newly elected Foundation President Mark Medford, standing in for retiring president Donald Driggers who was absent with an illness. Curtis Lane, mayor of Grand Junction, gave his welcome. Previously elected Hall of Fame persons in attendance stood and were recognized as well as recognition of deceased Hall of Fame family members. Karl Gunzer spoke for sponsor Nestlé Purina. Also in attendance were his Purina associates Greg Blair, Dean Reinke and Bob West.

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. Only one plaque was presented, a Life Patron award to Cathy Lewis of the Springer Spaniel group. Deb Schoene gave the Lewis presentation.

The afternoon session followed in a similar format to the morning, including pledge to the flag, Grand Junction mayoral greeting, and a welcome from BDF President Mark Medford.

Bernard Matthys, editor of The American Field, then stepped to the podium and began the Pointer and Setter HOF inductions. He spoke about the contributions to field trials of Tommy Davis and N. G. “Butch” Houston, two electees who were absent. “Butch” Houston does not travel, Tommy Davis with an unexplained absence. Matthys then gave a brief history of the contributions to field trials of John Seawright, and Marshall Loftin related incidents where John Seawright upheld field trial standards superbly during several situations. To finish the Pointer and Setter inductions, Matthys gave a history of some of the accomplishments of canine inductee Lester’s Snowatch. Owner Gary Lester then gave a fine presentation on his newly elected pointer male.

John Rabidou, chair, began induction ceremonies next for the German Shorthaired Pointer group, and Philip Casdorph and the late Dennis Brath were honored. Cathy Brath gave a great insight into her husband’s contributions to the bird dog sport. Many family members stood near the podium while these two inductees had their careers in field trials highlighted.

The Brittany inductions, presided over by chair Rick Smith, were next.

Inductees Kent Patterson and David A. Fletcher gave presentations. James Doherty gave an introductory speech, then brought Kent Patterson to the mike. Dave Fletcher thanked and presented to the Brittany folk in attendance a review of his career and contributions to the Brittany breed and field trials.

Presentation of plaques followed. No plaques were scheduled this year in the Red Setter or German Shorthair breeds, but the Brittany and Pointer and Setter groups had a total of 12 plaques presented. Patron Memorial Brittany plaques in memory of Clem and Marilyn Little, Jane Hopper, Ernie and Lenora Facer were read along with a Life Patron for Mary Crawford. The Pointer/Setter group featured a Patron Memorial plaque in memory of George Johnson and a Life Patron for Brad Harter. A review and showing of plaques presented at other functions earlier in the year were mentioned and shown at the podium. These included Life Patron plaques for Mills Hodge, Richard Warters, Waverly Coleman, Dr. Harold Meyer and Nick Reams.

A final plaque was read, a Life Patron for Sigbot “Bodo” Winterhelt, a remarkable NAVHDA founder who was in hospice in Oregon.

A luncheon sponsored by Nestlé Purina followed the morning session and a reception by the American Field followed the afternoon presentations. Vera Courtney, a very skilled photographer, recorded all the induction groups digitally on her camera. The foundation staff worked diligently to wait on tables and put this on. Tonya Brotherton and her staff, Cissye Pierce, Renee Houston and Lucy Cogbill, tending to those duties, along with volunteers Rex Brotherton, Barbara Sweeney, Frank Bell keeping the bar, and Beverly Houston and Dennis Lake in the gift shop. Their efforts were appreciated by everyone. The food was catered by Me and My Tearoom of Dancyville, Tenn.

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