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2021 Honorees

Field Trial Hall of Fame

Pointer and Setter Recognized; Robin Gates and Dr. Terry Terlep Elected
Sep 20, 2021
Photo by: From a painting by Ross Young. Shadow Oak Bo

Chicago, Ill. — The Field Trial Hall of Fame election process is completed. The names of the top nominees in the digital voting were sent to members of the Election Committee and the results of their vote are in.

In the Dogs category, Shadow Oak Bo, white and orange setter male, and Valiant, white and liver pointer male, are the new honorees.

Persons are the late Robert Clark (Robin) Gates, and Dr. Terry Terlep of Boston, Ga.

The special Hall of Fame scrolls emblematic of their election are being prepared. It is hoped that they can be presented publicly at the Hall of Fame in Grand Junction, Tenn., in February, 2022.

As is customary, a brief biographical sketch of the newly elected members accompanies the announcement of their election.

Shadow Oak Bo

FIELD TRIAL and setter history were made following the back-to-back victories by Shadow Oak Bo of the 2013 and 2014 National Championship.  It had been 43 years since Johnny Crockett had achieved fame as the first setter since Mississippi Zev (1946) to claim the Grand Junction crown.

Shadow Oak Bo arrived on the field trial scene in 2007 when then owner Buddy Smith of Collierville, Tenn., acquired Bo among four puppies from a litter whelped January 2, 2006, by Shak Ti ex Ray's Sundrop Jill, she owned by breeder Ray Woods of Coldwater, Miss.

Buddy Smith worked the young setter and the following spring handled him to a first place win in the National Bird Hunters Northeast Arkansas Pointer and Setter Club's Open Derby.

Experienced bird dog trainer-handler that he is, it did not take Buddy Smith long to realize that he had an exceptional dog on his hands, a dog that could go further than Buddy could take him. Enter Robin Gates, whom Buddy contacted and arranged an opportunity for the seasoned Georgia trainer to evaluate the promising young setter. That done, Gates told Buddy Smith, "This dog is not going  back to Tennessee with you. I am going to make some calls and tell them 'I like everything about this dog!'"

"I still remember the big gulp I took when the late Dr. John Dorminy and I bought Shadow Oak Bo," recalled co-owner N. G. "Butch" Houston of Nashville, Ga. "Robin Gates, my handler, had called to say he had a setter I needed to see, so off we went.

"Robin worked the dog and repeatedly talked about Bo's stamina, endurance and sheer love for the hunt."

Bo notched a first place in the Lyleton Club's trial on the Canadian prairies in the fall of 2008, then followed up with placements in the Shadow Oak Club's all-age stakes later in the season.

He came into his own when he claimed runner-up in the Dominion Open Championship at Mortlach, Saskatchewan in the fall of 2010 and made headlines in the spring of 2011 when he won runner-up in the Georgia Open Championship at Waynesboro, Ga., following that with the Continental Championship title at then Dixie Plantation near Greenville, Fla.

Back in Canada in the fall (2011), Bo was runner-up in the Saskatchewan Chicken Championship at Mortlach. The following spring (2012) he returned to Dixie and won runner-up in the Continental Championship, adding the Kentucky Open All-Age title to his resume later that spring.

Returning to Canada that fall, Bo notched another prairie placement with runner-up in the Manitoba Open Championship at Broomhill. In October, he secured a first in the Sunshine Open All-Age Classic at Ted Baker's Chinquapin Farm near Lake City, Fla.

Some three months later, Bo was at Ames Plantation for the 2013 renewal of the National Championship in which he rendered a memorable three hours and won the first of his Grand Junction crowns, ending the 43-drought for setters to be recognized on the Ames manor house steps.

His repeat National Championship title in 2014 placed him in rare company of dogs that had won that title twice or more, and back to back.

His win record shows 21 placements, including the Continental Championship and two National Championship titles. As a producer, he has sired 116 winners to date, these contenders accumulating 487 total placements.

Owner N. G. Houston now has the distinction of having two dogs elected to the Field Trial Hall of Fame, the first being Joe Shadow in 2006.

[Portions of the foregoing were taken from a feature appearing in the 2013 Christmas Issue of The American Field, part of which was excepted from "Shadow Oak Bo and Other National Championship Winning Setters," by David A. Fletcher.]

Valiant

A FIELD TRIAL career cut short by his untimely death in December, 2020, Champion Valiant made a name of himself with wins on the prairies in Canada, west in Oklahoma and down South.

Valiant was whelped January 11, 2013, one of eight puppies in a litter sired by Miller's Happy Jack ex Tina's Tear Drop, bred by Patricia Kammerlocher of Norman, Okla. Another youngster in the litter — Tangled Sheets — would go on to shine on the shooting dog circuit, winning several championship placements among her 23 wins for Arkansas owners Rita and Johnny Ornsby.

Handler Randy Anderson of Vinita, Okla., acquired the white and liver puppy in May of 2013, and the following July Scott Griffin of Charlotte, N.C., assumed ownership just before "Mack's" Derby season.

Under the Griffin banner, Valiant won third in the Arlin Nolen Derby, the companion stake to the Southland Open Championship at Booneville, Ark. Then in the spring of 2015 he added four more Derby placements, among them two firsts, and added another first in the Blue Mountain Club's Open All-Age at Booneville.

Jay McKenzie of Eureka, Kan., assumed ownership in April, 2015 as "Mack's" Derby season was winding down.

Now a first year all-age in the fall of 2015 and the spring of 2016, and even into the fall of that year and spring season of 2017 no placements were earned, but Jay McKenzie and Randy Anderson did not falter in their confidence in the dog.

In the fall 2017 things began to click when Valiant won runner-up at the Border International Chicken Championship in Canada. Back home, in Oklahoma, he added another runner-up win in the Oklahoma Open Championship at the McFarlin-Ingersoll Ranch near Inola.

He was back at the Ingersoll Ranch in the fall of 2018 where he won the Oklahoma Open title and would repeat in 2019, the same year "Mack" won the Quail Championship Invitational at Paducah, Ky.

A return to Booneville Ark., was rewarded with the Southland title in the fall of 2019, and he closed out the 2020 spring stanza with three firsts — the Southern Championship and the top spot in both the Prairie and Pelican Open All-Age Classics. A season that would bring added laurels — the Purina Top Dog Award for 2019-2020!

"Owner Jay McKenzie's dedication to the sport has been a tremendous asset . . . He never stopped believing in my ability or his dog," wrote Randy Anderson when informing of Valiant's death of  December 28, 2020.

Jay McKenzie never lost heart in the dog's future and he has been rewarded for his unshakeable confidence.

Robert Clark Gates

THE untimely death of Robert "Robin" Gates on February 19, 2020 brought an end to an era in the field trial sport.  The Gates name had been associated with field trials and the winners' circle from the 1930s and spanned more than eighty years.

Robin was born December 3, 1956. His father, John S. Gates, was among the top trainers of the day. His older brother, John Rex Gates, was emerging in the handler ranks, and his sister Sheila became one the leading pointer breeders.

His childhood was spent astride a horse working dogs in the piney woods of South Georgia and on the Broomhill, Manitoba prairie where this father had a summer camp since before World War II.

Robin not only learned the bird dog trade, to know dogs, but also learned about wild game birds and their habitat.

He was an accomplished horseman, a prerequisite for success on the major field trial bird dog circuit.

As he matured, the groundwork had been laid for a talented young trainer to begin his career. An excellent student and outstanding football player, Robin planned to attend college. But his college aspirations were cut short when his father died in August, 1972 on the eve of the Canadian prairie trials that season.

Initially Robin gravitated to the shooting dog circuit, and with notable success. Subsequently, upon his brother's retirement from the active all-age field trial circuit, Robin entered that aspect of the game.

As part of his tenure, he hired help for the summer months on the prairies, and many of these individuals went on to successful and significant field trial careers in their own right.

Among his many field trial laurels, Robin won the National Championship four times, the Continental Championship eight. He annexed the coveted Purina Top All-Age Handler of the Year Award five times. Three dogs he handled — Flatwood Hank, Silverwood  and Flatwood Rusty — won the Purina All-Age Dog of the Year Award five times.

He was the consummate showman when his dogs ran, mounted on a tall, stout horse and pointing them out ahead with poise and polish.

His record of back-to-back wins of the National Championship (2013 and 2014) with setter Shadow Oak Bo returned the spotlight to the setter breed. It had been more than forty years since a setter had captured those laurels at Ames Plantation.

In the late 1970s, Robin met Mary Ann Wood. After a short courtship they were married. Their son Robert Clark Gates, Jr., was born in 1981, and was soon known as Hunter, himself an accomplished horseman and bird dog trainer. He and Robin made for a formidable team at a field trial with Robin handling and Hunter scouting.

Away from bird dogs and field trials, Robin was an avid offshore fisherman and turkey hunter.

A remarkable facet of Robin Gates' election highlights one family's involvement and participation in the field trial pastime, contributing to the sport's success over three generations.

When Robin died that fateful day in February, 2020, he left behind a broken-hearted family and friends. He will now be remembered by generations to come.

[Portions of the foregoing were excerpted from a feature by Mazie Davis and Chris Mathan appearing in the inaugural issue of Hunting Dog Confidential; Fall, 2020.]

Dr. Terry Terlep

DR. TERRY TERLEP'S name has been connected to field trials for nearly fifty years spanning several capacities in the sport — as a judge, owner, breeder, club official and perhaps for many, an indispensable source of guidance to scores of field trial participants in the care and treatment of their dogs and horses as a veterinary sports medicine specialist.

Terry grew up in Indiana, attended Purdue University where he earned his undergraduate degree and was a member of the Boilermaker football team. He then graduated from Auburn with his DVM degree.

When he and his wife Marylin married they opened a veterinary practice in Fort Myers, Fla. He was an active member in AFTCA’s Region 16, serving four years as  its president.

He sold his veterinary practice in Fort Myers some years back and he and Marylin moved to Boston, Ga., where Dr. Terlep still maintains a connection with a veterinary clinic in that locale.

Terry owned and successfully handled a string of pointers for several seasons. In the mid-1980s his pointer Pike Creek Mike, with handler Randy Patterson, qualified for National Championship in 1984 through 1986. Mike had  an impressive spring season in 1986, winning four Purina points stakes including the Southern Championship (with no runner-up), and made a strong bid for that season's Purina Top Dog of the Year Award.

In the early 1990s Dr. Terlep partnered with Dr. Jack Huffman of Whippoorwill Farms. He selected a pup, registered Whippoorwill Wild Card, that would go on to win the 1999 National Championship.

In Whippoorwill Wild Card the Terlep-Huffman team would show the results of a selective breeding program.

With his skill and knowledge, a grandson of Wild Card, Wild Agin, was bred at Whippoorwill. He won the 2008 National Championship and in 2014 was inducted into the Field Trial Hall of Fame. Wild Agin was in demand as a sire and through frozen semen and artificial insemination may well continue to produce winners.

Dr. Terlep’s friendship with Bob Walthall of Sunny Hill Plantation near Tallahassee, Fla., enabled them to pair Wild Agin with Sparkles. That mating resulted in four litters that produced ten champions that accounted for fifteen championships and six runners-up. One of Wild Agin’s sons, Whippoorwill Justified (owned by Ronnie Spears and handled by Larry Huffman) won the National Championship in 2016. His record of thirty recognized placements is impressive.

The breeding program initiated by the Terlep/Huffman/Walthall collaboration produced another winner of note, Ransom, the sire of the 2017 and 2018 National Champion, Lester’s Sunny Hill Jo.

Recognizing the importance of the breeder to the success of field trial competitors, Dr. Terlep established an annual trophy to be awarded to the breeder of the winner of the National Championship.

Terry has judged over one hundred field trials, forty of them major stakes from the Canadian prairies to the Deep South.

Among his contributions to the field trial sport is his veterinary knowledge that has benefitted countless persons in the field trial game and their dogs. He is available to anyone who seeks his help.

Dr. Terlep currently serves on the board of the Continental Championships and the National Field Trial Championship Association.

His field trial curriculum vitae — the broad picture of his involvement and participation in the sport — encompasses all facets and for nearly five decades, evidence this recognition is well deserved.

 

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