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Touch’s Gallatin Fire Wins Derby Title; Quickmarksman’s Tom Tekoa Named All-Age Champion

Georgia Open Derby and Quail Championships

By Nell Mobley and John Ray Kimbrell | Feb 07, 2018
Quickmarksman's Tom Tekoa Winner of the Georgia Quail Championship

Waynesboro, Ga. — In the early 1990s when Di-Lane Plantation was purchased by the U. S. Corps of Engineers and leased to the Georgia state government, we were told that plans to improve the grounds for field trials were forthcoming. The property is managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

A logging operation began in July on the three courses on which the trials are run. According to Gary Futch, president of the Georgia Field Trial Association, and John Ray Kimbrell, stake manager, conditions look favorable for the present course No. 1 to be so two courses will be available on the west side of Herndon Road. The trainers are speaking positively of this action.

John Vescuso, the on-site wildlife technician, is excited as he speaks of the future. He and Henry Williams, longtime employee at Di-Lane, prepare the courses prior to the trials.

In 2010 a meeting room, bathrooms, and forty stables were built on the property. The stables were named the “Lamar Mobley Stables” in 2010 in memory of Lamar. He was instrumental for many years in keeping the trials going.

John Ray and wife Mary arrived in their motor home on December 30 and homesteaded until the end of the shooting dog stakes.

The drawing was held on December 30 for the Georgia Derby and companion Quail Championship. An entry of 36 Derbies and 31 all-age contenders were drawn. The drawing was conducted by Gary and Becky Futch, John Ray and Mary and your writer. Becky prepared the running orders and Mary prepared the judges’ books.

Two young sportsmen accepted our invitation to judge the prestigious Derby Stake. Both Woody Watson and Eddie Sholar are from Leesburg, Ga. They serve on the Southern Field Trial Board. Eddie hosts trials annually on his property. Eddie and Woody have partnered for 20 years, running their dogs in amateur stakes and filling judicial saddles. They have run dogs in competition from Canada to Florida. Both gentlemen have run dogs in competition in Waynesboro; however, this is their first judicial task.

Eddie is in the feed, chemical and seed retail sales business. At a young age, he started bird hunting with a buddy, acquired a dog and became hooked on the sport. He has a number of amateur championships and runners-up under his belt — just to name a few — two Region 16 championships and five national champions. Eddie’s first championship in Waynesboro was with Strut Nation as a Derby and he earlier had a runner-up with Gamemaker as a Derby.

Woody tends the family farm in Leesburg and works for his wife Lauren in real estate sales. As time allows he can be found working his dogs and attending trials. He has won the National Amateur Quail Championship and regional trials in Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Canada.

Derby Championship Winners

Earning the 2018 champion title was Touch’s Gallatin Fire, white and orange pointer male owned by Alex and Bryana Rickert of Bozeman, Mont. They were riding to watch as Ike Todd maneuvered him around the course with maximum ease, requiring limited scouting.

Fire was drawn for the first course on the final day of competition. He carded three good clean finds and had a strong race for a young dog. The judges noted he has good potential for next season as a first-year all-age contender.

Usually course No. 2 is not the envy to be drawn to run. This course proved to be the one for Dakota Nation on which to win runner-up honors. He ran in the second brace of the evening on the second day. Dakota knew what he had to do, handled well for Tommy Davis with one all in order find in the weeds and straw and running well to the front.

Scott Jordan of White Bear Lake, Minn., is the proud owner. Scott’s name is not new to the sport. He has had several good dogs in the past. In 2017 his Strut Nation was named champion at Di-Lane Plantation.

The Others

With a cold morning of 17° and temperatures at a high of 32°, the first two Derbies were released. Milestone Cora (Henley) ran a medium forward race but went birdless. L F Silver Belle (Ray) continued the hour at medium range to the front but no birds were seen at 30 and 59.

Thunderbird Comeback pointed at 19 and was taken up by Travis Gellhaus for a breach of manners. Lily on Bee (Littlejohn) had all in order finds at 32 and 34. She was a little short on race.

Master’s Touch (Ray) was good on his ground work with an all in order find at 43. A find at 52 called for a pickup by handler. When one has a breach of manners and goes with birds the brace is shortened. Gellhaus chose to harness Triple Shot at 30.

Touch’s Malcom Story (Todd) and Miller’s Dialing Hotline (Gary Lester) were loosed on course No. 1, the first brace of the afternoon. Story pointed at 20 but birds were not seen, continued on with a nice back at 40, finishing the hour to the front. Hotline had mannerly finds at 20 and 27, completing the hour with a medium range race.

Judd Carlton and Luke Eisenhart were braced together running White Hawk and True Rendition, respectively. Rendition backed bracemate in fashion but no bird work. Both contenders finished the hour with good forward races.

Temperatures began to drop by the time the last two dogs of the day

were loosed. No game was seen at 20 when Shearjoy’s Unforsaken (Daniels) pointed. Miller’s Call Back (Lester) had no bird work. Both dogs finished the hour with strong forward races.

Phillips Silver Line was not pleasing Phillips and was up early. Mannerly finds were noted at 25 and 32 for Erin’s Copper River (Eisenhart). Some good forward casts were noted by the judges.

Tekoa Mountain Jamie (Gellhaus) was taken up early following two unproductives. Birds were needed for a strong race for Game Wardon (Todd).

A strong forward race needed birds for Phillips White Hawk (Phillips). Following no birds seen on two occasions, Eisenhart ended the hour for Erin’s Three Leaf Shamrock.

A divided find for Fly In the Sky (Lester) and L F Dialing Samantha (Ray) occurred early in the hour. Following a stop to flight, no birds were seen on two points; Sky was harnessed. Samantha had one no-show but finished her bid with a medium range race.

Miller’s Blindsider (Daniels) ran a strong race with no bird contact. Dakota Nation (Davis) was highlighted as the runner-up.

True Issue (Eisenhart) had a stop to flush, followed with an unproductive, continuing with a good race to the front. Miller’s White Reign (Lester) had hunting on his mind, a stop to flight followed with a mannerly find, a back complimented with a medium forward race.

Maximus (McLean) went missing at 30 and did not return to judgment. Touch’s Gallatin Fire was reported earlier as champion.

Piney Woods Belleaire (Eisenhart) and Jump Start (Carlton) both ran to the front but had no bird contact.

The retrieval unit was requested by Eisenhart for Erin’s Black List when he was last seen at 32. Lester’s Stash the Cash was credited with four well-spaced finds and one fruitless point. The judges noted a medium, good forward race.

With three remaining braces, Touch’s Smooth Operator (Furney) needed to be seen more by the judges. Three well-spaced finds were noted with one unproductive. A breach of manners at 22 ended the hour for Eisenhart handling True Decision.

Mark McLean’s Ace’s R Wild was drawn in brace No. 17 but scratched. Mark received a call that his daughter was taken to the hospital to have her baby. What soon-to-be granddaddy would not have done the same. Game Storm (Todd) had the retrieval unit requested at 23.

The bad luck brace. Hendrix’s Zip Ty was not pleasing Eisenhart and was taken up at 30. The retrieval unit was requested at 22 when Southbound Mad Max (Ray) went missing early.

Waynesboro, Ga., January 2

Judges: Eddie Sholar and Woody Watson

GEORGIA DERBY CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] — 32 Pointers and 4 Setters

Winner—TOUCH’S GALLATIN FIRE, 1675102, pointer male, by House’s Ring of Fire—House’s Sandy. Alex L. Rickert, owner; Ike Todd, handler.

Runner-Up—DAKOTA NATION, 1674370, pointer male, by Erin’s Full Throttle—My Minnie. Scott Jordan, owner; Tommy Davis, handler.

Quail Championship

John Thompson of Camilla, Ga., and Jadie Rayfield of Mt. Pleasant, S. C., were in their saddles at 8:00 a. m. on Friday morning.

Following the fourth brace, John started to get down from his horse, caught his foot in the stirrup and fell backward suffering a hit to his head. It was necessary for him to bow out. I understand he is doing well.

President Gary Futch stepped in to complete the stake. My earliest recollection of Gary was in the late 1990s when he was a co-owner of Law’s High Noon with Howard Tucker and the late Joe Johnston.

High Noon won the National Championship in 2001 handled by Rick Furney, and the same year the Purina Top Dog Award. At that time Gary was elected vice-president with Dr. David Dickey serving the GFTA as president. In 2010, Dr. Dickey’s poor health shortened his field trial activities and he succumbed shortly at a young age. Gary stepped up to assume the duties as president and has done an excellent job. Two years ago he sold his successful plumbing business thus allowing he and his wife Becky more time to spend with the sport they love. Gary makes an eighty-mile round trip to assume his duties daily at our trials. He furnishes horses where needed, a mule to maneuver around the stables, and John Ray a truck to use during his stay. A sought-after judge indeed!

Jadie Rayfield judged the Derby Championship for us in 2016. He works in the strawberry and vegetable business in Mount Pleasant, S. C. He and his dad hunted together, acquired a dog and began competing in amateur stakes at an early age. He served as a judge of the 2017 National Championship and has been invited to return this year.

I first met Jadie many years ago at Spring Maid Beach at Myrtle Beach, S. C., at the Top Shooting Dog Awards when then Norden Laboratories was the sponsor. For a number of years he has gone to South Dakota to assist John Seawright with the Southwestern Open Championship.

The Winners

Very cold temperatures continued to prevail. However, the first brace on Saturday morning produced the champion, Quickmarksman’s Tom Tekoa, handled by Mike Hester. The six-year-old white and orange setter male is owned by Larry Earls of Blacksburg, S. C.

Tom Tekoa knew what he needed to do to run a successful race, starting strong to the front. Point was called at 33 with the birds in the straw and weeds. Hester flushed and birds were in flight. Tekoa was a smooth running dog making good casts. The hour ended with Tekoa continuing a strong forward race.

Running big at breakaway on course No. 2, white and orange pointer male Erin’s Redrum took the runner-up honors for owner-handler Sean Derrig of Chicago, Ill. Scout found Rum on point behind the gallery in a section of straw. Rum continued on carding two good finds up front with all in order.

The Others

Brace No. 1 was abbreviated. Touch’s Secret Agent was last seen at 18 with Furney requesting the retrieval unit at 40. Following a second no show of game, Erin’s Wild Justice (Eisenhart) was harnessed at 42.

Following Mark McLean’s scratch of Lester’s Private Charter, the bye dog Oakfuskee Theodora (Gellhaus) was moved to brace No. 2. She was harnessed at 42 when not pleasing handler. Strut Nation (Eisenhart) needed birds for his strong race.

Seminole Boss (Furney) had a mannerly find at 27. No birds were seen at 40 and 59. The retrieval unit was requested by Eisenhart for Cross City Hank which was lost and not returned for judgment.

A good find was carded for Miller’s Bushwacker (Daniels) which had a medium ground race. Following her second unproductive, Hester picked up Lone Tree’s Rod Iron.

Miller’s Speed Dial (Lester) had an unproductive at 27, and mannerly finds at 33 and 50. Dial was carried on and could be seen out front when his time ended. A nice back of bracemate at 27 was noted for Awsum in Motion (Eisenhart). He needed birds for his forward race to finish.

No bird work for Erin’s Rebel Rum (Derrig). The hour was finished in fashion. Gellhaus harnessed Lone Tree’s Showbiz after his second unproductive.

Quickmarksman’s Tom Tekoa’s effort (Hester) was previously covered. At 18 point was called, birds in flight for Funseek’n Hit Man (Daniels). A nice race was noted by the judges.

Erin’s Redrum’s (Derrig) performance was reported earlier. A short brace for Highground Tonka (Gellhaus).

Sinbad’s Rumor (Daniels) was lost following an early find. A medium range race for Knight’s White Lady (Gellhaus) was complimented with two good finds.

Brace No. 10 was loosed with Quickmarksman’s Dan (Hester) and Erin’s Hidden Shamrock (Derrig). Dan was not pleasing Hester and taken up at 27. Shamrock was credited with mannerly finds at 29 and 50. Point was called at 57 but no birds were seen.

Feathers were seen at 30 when point was called for Just Watch (Daniels). Following a fruitless point at 45, Daniels elected to harness. The retrieval device was requested by Gellhaus for Daniels Creek Whitehawk when he was last seen at 30.

Dominator’s Rebel Heir (Daniels) started strong with a good find to the right of course at 28. He crossed the gas line, making a wrong turn but handler quickly got him back on course. Point was called in the far right corner of the field but birds were not seen by the judge. A tough luck day for Heir. A nice back of bracemate came at 28 for Miller’s Creative Cause (Ray). No bird work for the hour for a strong forward race.

Gellhaus requested the retrieval device for Without A Clue when he went missing at 27. The only German Shorthair drawn was “Lewey,” handled by Brandon Blum. He was not having a good day. An all in order find was credited at 10. At 17 a dead bird was pointed. Following fruitless points at 29 and 45, he was picked up by Blum.

The last brace of the stake was on Sunday morning on course No. 3.

Shearjoy’s Unforgiven (Daniels) had a good find at 33, completing the hour. Born on Fourth July (Gellhaus) went missing early with a request for the retrieval unit at 30.

Judges: Gary Futch and Jadie Rayfield

GEORGIA OPEN QUAIL CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] —

25 Pointers and 6 Setters

Winner—QUICKMARKSMAN’S TOM TEKOA, 1650471, setter male, by Quickmarksman’s Tekoa—Quickmarksman’s Sue. Larry Earls, owner; Mike Hester, handler.

Runner-Up—ERIN’S REDRUM, 1655012, pointer male, by Erin’s Whiskey River—Erin’s Wild Rose. Sean Derrig, owner and handler.

Some Sidelights

Words are inadequate to express our thanks for the continued support of Nestlé Purina Pet Care. In the early fall, I communicated with Greg Blair, area manager, and outlined to him what I needed to make our trials first class. The certificates for a supply of dog feed to the winners arrived shortly afterward. In December, the freight line called to schedule delivery of complementary two-pound bags of Pro Plan to be handed out to the participants, along with banners and caps.

A highlight during the trials is the owners-handlers banquet sponsored by Purina. Forty-five attendees enjoyed special cut rib-eyes along with salad, baked potatoes, and coconut cake. The banquet is catered by Kathy Cannon, Leroy Bell, Dale and Gene Ward. Assisting with serving were Jimmy and Peggy Allen and Sue and Bobby Canady. Special guests were John Vescuso and daughter Destrie.

For a number of years, it has been the custom for the previous year’s Derby and Quail champions to host a fish fry. This year’s social event was provided by Luke Eisenhart’s owners — Jim and Matt Pendergest of Lexington, Ky., and Allen Linder of Livingston, Tenn.

Complimentary lunches are served daily with the help of Pauline Beard, Mary Kimbrell, Belinda Baker, Dale DeLaigle, and your writer.

Gene Ward picks up the birds at Rabun Game Birds. Gene and Nick DeLaigle band them per requirement by Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The release of liberated birds daily is a must. The birds are banded the day before for Chuck Miller to release at 6:00 a. m. each morning. A special job which only special people would undertake.

Ashley Roberts is executive director of the Burke County Chamber of Commerce, a position she has held for over 25 years. She has been instrumental for a number of years in getting the advertising in The Field funded via the hotel/motel receipts.

Georgia FTA President Gary Futch acquired another assignment for the All-Age Stake. Following the accident of John Thompson, he stepped in to serve as a judge to complete the All-Age honors.

Mizell Ford furnishes the club a nice four-wheel drive to pull the dog wagon. Faithful Mack Carter is behind the steering wheel. Mack is 91 and has served in this capacity for many years. He makes certain that dogs are in the right place at the right time. He takes care of snacks and beverages for break times.

Belinda Baker continues to serve as the official photographer.

Diana Royal, journalist from our local newspaper, The True Citizen, was on hand to interview Judges Woody and Eddie for a news release. Pro trainer Ike Todd was interviewed for a news release of his experiences as a young trainer. Diana makes certain that our trials receive publicity.

Guests from the Georgia Department of Economic Development were hosted here by the Burke County Chamber of Commerce and Burke County Development Authority. They were represented by Georgia Power and Electric Cities of Georgia. They chose to ride two braces on horseback with Ashley and Chris Stewart following on the mule.

Despite extremely cold weather, a number of guests were on hand for the trials. They included, but were not limited to, Jack and Sarah Schwartz, Alex and Bryana Rickert and Becky Futch. Claudia McNamee rode to watch her dogs’ performances. Owner Betty Shearouse scouted her setter Shearjoy’s Unforgiven for handler Jamie Daniels.

Others on hand during the trial were Pierce Haynes, Billy Henley, Toby Tobiassen and Maeve Derrig.

I want to thank everyone who entered dogs in our trials. Hopefully, you will return in 2019. If you missed this season, hopefully our trials will be on your agenda for next season.

N. M.

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