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Touch’s Breakaway Fred Wins Derby Title; Touch’s Blue Knight Named All-Age Champion

Georgia Open Quail Championships

By Claudia McNamee | Feb 12, 2020
Touch's Breakaway Fred Winner of the Georgia Derby Championship

Waynesboro, Ga. — The 2020 renewal of the Georgia Championships was a bit different from previous years because we were missing the very special on site and behind-the-scenes Secretary-Director extraordinaire, Ms. Nell Mobley, who was recovering from a severe case of pneumonia. In her absence, additional troops were enlisted to ensure that these important stakes went off without a hitch — and so they did. And we’re also happy to report that Ms. Nell is back in good health!

As always, the first people to arrive at Di-Lane Plantation were John Ray and Mary Kimbrell who play integral roles and oversee the daily running of these events. John Ray serves as stake manager, and Mary assumed responsibility for more than her usual morning coffee, helping with lunch, and dog wagon snacks. In Ms. Nell’s absence, Mary was also involved with meal coordination, judge/reporter booklet preparation, and trial entry fee collection.

In tow were their grandsons, Jack Kimbrell and Austin Sherman, to help with everything and anything, which they did with enthusiasm and big smiles. Thank you to Kimbrell family for all you do — the field trialing sport needs more people like you, and your time and efforts are most appreciated.

More thankful shoutouts go to Mr. Mack Carter who at 94 years young continues to drive the dog wagon pulled by a Ford pickup loaned to the GFTA by Mizell Ford and Chuck Miller for his fourth year releasing birds every morning at 5:30.

A host of others are to be thanked and include Gary and Becky Futch, Mike Jackson, Jack and Sarah Schwartz (lasagna lunch); Dawn and Michael Mallard (ham dinner); Sean Derrig and Scott Jordan (fish fry dinner); Purina (steak dinner) and the Waynesboro Exchange Club members for their tireless efforts.

And finally a boundless thank you to our national partners at Purina and the local Department of Natural Resources.  Purina provided complimentary dog food to all trainers and Pro Plan certificates to the winners. Di-Lane resident manager and DNR wildlife technician, Ryan Mecal, ensured that the grounds and courses were well maintained and groomed. A total of 75 single-double bird finds were tallied and 10 coveys moved over the course of these two trials — a testament to the great ground conditions at this venue.

Judges this year for the Derby were Steve Mills of Mayodan, N. C., and Tommy Liesfeld of Waynesboro, Ga; and for the All-Age Stake were Tim Moore of Blakely, Ga., and Harold Johnson of Shorter, Ala.

These four bird dog men have broad experience in field trialing and were well-qualified to observe and place judgment on the 39 Derbies and 39 all-age dogs participating this year. Consistently attentive and professional, they observed all contenders with a keen focus and enthusiasm. We thank them enormously for their time and commitment.

The Derby ran Thursday through Sunday morning, January 2-5, immediately followed by the All-Age from Sunday afternoon through Wednesday.

DERBY CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS

Earning the 2020 Derby Champion title was Touch’s Breakaway Fred, pointer male owned by Eddie Sholar of Leesburg, Ga., and Ted Dennard of Atlanta, Ga., and handled by Ike Todd.  In a field of 39 young hopefuls, Fred captured the big win on the morning of the first day, drawn on the second course.  From breakaway to finish, this up-and-comer took to the hunt in high fashion, running a fancy, forward race and demonstrating style on point.

Fred was first found standing at 16 just off the horse path to the right and looked certain he would score.  Handler flushed extensively and then relocated Fred which was determined not to disappoint. However, no quail was produced and he was charged with an unproductive.

The second time handler Todd raised his hat was at 24 along a mowed strip — both judges and handler saw a single bird running and then Todd flushed a couple more, all while Fred remained staunch and intense demonstrating his steady demeanor on game. Fred didn’t have any additional bird work in the remainder of the hour but ran consistently forward with a strong finish.

Awarded runner-up honors was Miller’s Heat Advisory, pointer male owned by Nick Berrong of Maryville, Tenn., and handled by Judd Carlton.  This young contender demonstrated his hunting prowess on the second day, drawn on the third course in the morning. Heat Advisory broke away with determination and drive, maneuvering the course well ahead of his handler. At 18 Carlton’s scout yelled point along the woodsedge deep to the left for what was to be the best find of the stake.  Advisory had hunted down the rare wild covey!  But what was impressive wasn’t just the covey find — the deliberate relocation and finesse shown to pin down this bevy was unexpected for such a young dog.  Combined with a consistently strong race, this piece of bird work differentiated Advisory and set him apart from the others. At 47 Carlton called point for what could’ve been his second find but an unproductive was charged instead. Under Carlton’s whistle, Advisory finished the hour in good form.

AND OTHERS

On Thursday, January 2, under overcast skies with light rain and temperatures in the 40-50s, the first two Derbies were released — Erin’s Wild Atlantic Way (Carlton) and Bonner’s Bulletproof (Haynes). Atlantic Way was credited with a find at 3 where two birds were flushed by handler. He also honored his bracemate at 15 with a back but seemed uncertain. At 15 Bulletproof stood with style on the right side of horse path. Upon relocation, handler found feathers and Bulletproof was charged with an unproductive. At 20 Bulletproof went on point again and this time scored with two birds flushed by handler. Bulletproof stood again at 30 on right side of horse path, slowly relocating himself across path where handler flushed nice size covey. Both dogs were running moderate races in the first half of the hour. Judges asked both handlers to harness their dogs at this point, establishing their standards for the stake.

The winner, Touch’s Breakaway Fred,  was braced with  Hunt’s Magic Man (Eisenhart) which stood on point  at 16 further down the horse path from where Fred had his unproductive. As handler flushed a single bird Magic Man marked flight and judge asked Eisenhart to pick up his dog.

Dominator’s Bull Market (Carlton) was credited with two finds at 21 and 50 and charged with one unproductive.  Bull finished the hour but had a moderately forward race. Dunn’s High’n Crimes (Eisenhart) stood staunchly at 12 but moved as birds were flushed and handler put him in the harness.

Afternoon braces resumed at 1:15 p. m. with light rain as we broke away, temperatures dropping and everyone sporting rain gear.  Rester’s Cowboy Bill (Swearingen) was charged with an unproductive at 20 and had a moderately good race. Night Moon (Todd) was credited with one find at 9 and backed his bracemate at 20. He had a strong overall race. Both dogs finished the hour.

Cheyenne Nation (Jordan) ran a good forward race, was credited with two finds at 12 and 30, looked stylish on her game and finished the hour in good form. Joe’s Early Bird wasn’t pleasing Bush and was harnessed at 24.

Superstition’s Jake (McLean) and Rebel Cause (Carlton) had good strong races and one piece of clean bird work at the end of their respective hours. Jake was deep to the left for his find at 57, and Rebel Cause stood at 50 along right side of horse path.

The second day of running was much warmer under sunny skies with temperatures reaching the high 70s. Judges began picking dogs up if they weren’t beating what they were carrying.

Nilo’s Feathered Indian Dot (McLean) ran a moderately good race, had an unproductive at 24 with feathers and a find at 41. Judge gave handler his retrieval unit at 51. My Perfect Illusion misjudged the course and went missing around 20 minutes and Hester asked for his retrieval unit at 35.

Touch’s Joy Ride (Todd) and Shearjoy’s Rebellion (Davis) were both asked by judges to pick up at 18 because neither was beating the dogs they were carrying. Neither had bird work at this point and races were moderate.

Miller’s Heat Advisory (Carlton) was reported as runner-up. Beckworth’s Top Hand (Bush) ran a good race; however, his bid ended at 43 when he displayed a breach of manners at his first find.

Afternoon braces began at 1:00 p. m. to try and beat the rain forecast for later that day. Temperatures were warm, in the high 70s, with sunshine, clouds and a light wind blowing.

Touch’s Dancing Nancies (Todd) and Dunn’s Hell’n Highwater (Eisenhart) broke away with power and both ran big all-age races through their first 30 minutes but birds were elusive. At 50 Todd decided to put Nancies in harness and Eisenhart watered Highwater — judges let Eisenhart know that he should continue running. Highwater had made some memorable casts and his overall race was among the strongest yet — bird work would give him a chance to be in contention.  At 54 handler raised his hat and indicated he’d seen birds fly while his charge stood intensely. Unfortunately upon relocation Highwater had a breach of manners which ended his bid.

Heisman (Hester) and Whitewater (McLean) were released under clear skies and very warm temperatures.  Heisman was not successful  finding birds and at 18 judges gave Hester his retrieval unit. At 23 McLean called point for Whitewater and saw birds go up but judges didn’t. Following an extensive relocation which resulted in an unproductive, judges gave handler his retrieval unit at 27.

Lester’s High Dollar (Lester) and Carlton’s True Grit (Carlton) were released onto the third course. The weather was unchanged except for wind picking up ahead of a front moving in that night. At 18 High Dollar was stylishly on point and handler flushed a covey of about six birds — a nice piece of bird work. Then, at 26, Grit was found on point deep on the left by other dog’s scout. Grit didn’t seem entirely certain when we finally reached him and Carlton relocated him. Grit successfully pinned the moving wild covey — another nice piece of bird work. Judge gave handler his retrieval unit following this find because he was not beating what they had under consideration.

The third day of running brought overcast skies and cooler temperatures in the low 60s after a hard rain overnight. The first brace of the morning squared off Redeemed (Eisenhart) and Southpoint’s Tranquilizer (Stevenson). Tranquilizer pointed at 13 with game flushed but had a breach of manners and was picked up. Having the field to himself, Redeemed continued on the hunt with a find at 38 and a moderately good race. At 54 judge gave Eisenhart his retrieval unit — not changing what was under consideration.

Both Papa Joe (Hester) and Chickasaw Hurricane (Davis) were doing moderately good jobs on the ground. At 27 Hurricane had an unproductive and was picked up by judges. Joe found game at 31 with two birds flushed and also picked up by judges.

Rocky River Showmaster (Stevenson) and Dominator’s Rogue Rebel (Carlton) were released onto the third course before lunch. Rebel literally had a “limb” find with bird in a tree at 14. He was fancy running and staunch on this first find. At 17 Carlton again  raised his hat for Rebel pointing out birds in flight but judges didn’t see them. Meanwhile Showmaster honored his bracemate with a stylish back. No additional birds were produced even with relocation, Rebel  charged with an unproductive. At 25 judges asked handlers to harness their dogs.

The afternoon braces began again at 1:00 p. m. with sunny skies, gusty winds and temperatures in mid-high 60s.

During the last brace, a cold front blew through and temperatures dropped into the 50s with brief rain-sun shower.

Just Say When (Carlton) and Rester’s Cajun Charlie (Eisenhart) broke away with determination and three quarters of the way down the breakaway road at one minute Charlie pointed with Just Say When backing. Both dogs were stylish and intense as Eisenhart flushed three birds. Just Say When then had two unproductives at 9 and 19 to end his bid. At 20 judges said Charlie knocked a bird which ended his quest for a placement.

Spencer’s Rambling Justice (Rayl) and Confident Nation (Davis) were both standing facing one another at 10 but handlers took them on so no bird work nor infraction noted. Justice had no bird work with a good race and finished the hour. Nation also put down a good race and had an unproductive at 48. Handler found Nation on point with retrieval unit after time was called and shot his gun.

Southpoint’s Hog Wild went on point at 14 along horse path and handler shot his gun but Stevenson eventually harnessed Wild because he returned to same bird spot three times after taking him on down the path. Taking Care of Business had a successful find at 18 but Eisenhart wasn’t pleased and picked him up.

The final two braces of the Derby Championship were run on Sunday morning under sunny, clear skies and cold temperatures in the mid 30s.

Mayhaw’s Smooth Criminal had an unproductive at 20 and Carlton picked him up. With no bird work Lester’s Stem Winder (Lester) was harnessed at 30 per the judges’ request.

Raw Law Sugar Trouble (Hester) was run as a bye on the second course in the 20th and final brace. Trouble ran a big, strong race, one of the strongest performances in this stake. She went on point at 40 in a stylish manner but then couldn’t contain her excitement when Hester flushed a covey of about eight birds. Those of us watching were excited too and disappointed that Trouble’s bid was cut short.

Waynesboro, Ga., January 2

Judges: Tommy Liesfeld and Steve Mills

GEORGIA OPEN DERBY CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] —

36 Pointers and 3 Setters

Winner—TOUCH’S BREAKAWAY FRED, 1680750, pointer male, by Touch’s Mega Mike—Touch’s American Baby. Eddie Sholar & Ted Dennard, owners; Ike Todd, handler.

Runner-Up—MILLER’S HEAT ADVISORY, 1685672, pointer male, by Just Irresistible—Miller’s Bring The Heat. Nick Berrong, owner; Judd Carlton, handler.

ALL-AGE CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS

Named winner of the 2020 Georgia Open All-Age  Quail Championship was Touch’s Blue Knight, coming three-year-old white and orange ticked pointer male owned by Woody Watson of Leesburg, Ga., and handled by Tommy Davis. Mr. Watson had intended to run his dog but personal matters kept him home on this day and he asked Davis to step in for him as handler, and as fate would have it, the outcome couldn’t have been better.

Blue Knight ran on the second day in the ninth brace, which put him on the third course in the afternoon. His bracemate, Touch’s White Night, wasn’t seen again after the breakaway. Handler McLean asked for his retrieval unit at 20.

Clear skies and the setting sun made for a picturesque last brace of the day.

From the onset Blue Knight handled well for Davis in spite of them being unacquainted. Dog and handler connected at the right times and moved strongly through the country. At 15 Blue Knight was making game before he stood on point and handler flushed two birds for the young contender. Onward the duo continued, Blue Knight staying forward and demonstrating a good all-age race. Again at 30 Blue Knight pointed and after Davis relocated him he had a stop to flush with several birds taking flight.

From here, Blue Knight traversed the course in good form and hunted well ahead of his handler, the judges, and gallery. At 52 as we approached the creek crossing Davis had lost contact with Blue Knight believing he was in the thick cover on the right before the actual crossing. Both handler and scout worked the area back and forth for several minutes to produce the dog as we waited with anticipation.

Finally one of the judges spotted Blue Knight back across the creek to the right and we all rode over for the final minutes of the hour. At 58 Blue Knight went on point for the third time but even with relocation handler wasn’t able to produce any birds and an unproductive was noted.

Runner-up was awarded to Dunn’s Tried’n True, seven-year-old white and orange pointer male owned by Will and Rita Dunn of Lebanon, Ky., and handled by Luke Eisenhart.

A veteran contender and no stranger to the winners’ circle, Tried’n True put down an exciting and deliberate all-age performance the next morning in the tenth brace on the first course. Running a consistently forward and strong race throughout his hour, True had five observed opportunities to connect with game. At 1 he stylishly backed his bracemate, Erin’s Full Throttle, on the first find of this brace. Handlers released their charges simultaneously and before too long they spotted both dogs beyond the S curve at end of breakaway road and their hats were in the air as a long gallop ensued to reach them. True was intense and staunch on point, Throttle was uncertain and not located in a good backing position. Eisenhart flushed and relocated True but was charged with an unproductive.

The next two opportunities for Tried’n True paid off — birds were flushed for him by handler at 14 and again at 18. At both of these finds True was intense and his demeanor polished. The next time Eisenhart raised his hat was at 38 coming up the hill after the Belle Star crossroads. Looking staunch, True was pointing a single dead bird directly in front of him and handler shot his gun.

For the next 22 minutes, Tried’n True delivered a quintessential all-age race and finished his hour through the wheat fields beyond the clubhouse with strength and purpose.

GEORGIA OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

The All-Age Championship started on Sunday, January 5, at 1:15 p. m. following the announcement of the Derby winners.

Skies were clear and temperatures stayed in the low 50s as True Confidence (Eisenhart) and Touch’s Folsom Blues (McLean) kicked off the running in the first brace. At 1, three quarters of the way down the breakaway road, Blues pointed on the left with Confidence backing. At Mary Mischief crossing Confidence misjudged the course and hooked a left. Eisenhart asked for  the retrieval unit at 30. Blues continued on with a good race but a little handy at times. He was found on point to left as we came up to wheat fields but was charged with an unproductive after a thorough relocation. Blues made a very nice cast around right side of second series of wheat fields and finished strong.

Stash The Cash (Lester) honored his bracemate at 9 with a back, had an unproductive at 52, and a stylish find at 57. Quickmarksman’s Dan (Hester) had one find at 9 with a relocation. Both dogs ran good races with Cash being more forward most of the hour.

Shadow’s Next Exit (Eisenhart) went off course around 12 minutes with handler putting a harness on him after catching up. Spencer’s Rambling Alibi (Rayl) had two finds — a nice covey at 19 and single bird at 24.  Although Alibi ran a moderate all-age race, he made a couple of really nice moves and was stylish on both pieces of bird work.

The second day of running started with temperatures in the high 30s, warming up into low 60s by afternoon. Clear, sunny skies and a light breeze prevailed.

Both Shearjoy’s Unforsaken (Davis) and Touch’s Gallatin Fire (McLean) had good hours with strong races and notable bird work. Unforsaken had two nice finds at 24 (divided) and 39, two backs at 30 and 36, and one unproductive at 1. Fire had three stylish finds at 19, 24 (divided), and 30, one unproductive at 1 and a second unproductive at 36 which ended his bid.

Wild Hawk (Carlton) and Shadow’s Lord Magic (Eisenhart) squared off on the second course but neither dog was seen much after the breakaway and neither had any bird work. Handlers asked for their retrieval units at 40.

Lester’s Storm Surge (Lester) had a  stylish find at 15 with two birds being flushed and an unproductive at 30 after a couple of relocations. He finished his hour with a moderately forward race. Marques Armed Robber went missing immediately after the breakaway and Henry asked for his retrieval unit at 23.

Game Wardon (Eisenhart) and Ace’s R Wild (McLean) hooked up quite a bit in the first 30 minutes. Wild pointed at 22 with Wardon backing — the bird was dead.  Again at 38 both dogs were found together deep in the woods on right side beyond Bell Star crossing. Wild was on point and Wardon honored him with a back. Eisenhart took Wardon on as McLean relocated Wild which went big and wide in search of what may have been a running wild covey. An unproductive was charged here and handler put Wild in the harness at 40. Wardon finished the hour but had no bird work to compliment his strong ground race.

Broken Halo (Stevenson) had two stylish finds at 52 and 57 with a race that strengthened over the hour, finishing in good form. Strut Nation (Jordan) pointed at 16 ; handler flushed four birds  in good order. From here, Nation hunted hard in his signature fashion but went missing. Handler asked for the retrieval unit and Nation was found pointed for the second time at 48 — obscured and just not seen in thick cover.

Touch’s Blue Knight (Davis) was reported earlier as champion. Touch’s White Knight wasn’t seen after the breakaway and McLean asked for the retrieval unit at 20.

On the third day of running, temperatures were in the mid-40s and rose into the 60s with sunshine and thin clouds throughout the day. Dunn’s Tried’n True (Eisenhart) was reported earlier as the runner-up. Erin’s Full Throttle (Henry) overall ran a moderate race with one good find at 1 minute with two birds flushed by handler and then an unstylish back at 7. Throttle finished the hour but was a bit too handy at times.

Miller’s Speed Dial (Lester) had four staunch and steady finds at 22, 31, 41 and 54 and a back at 34. Fancy running with a great nose, Dial’s overall race needed to be more forward to edge his way in with the bigger running contenders. Touch’s Malcolm Story (McLean) was big running and stylish on point but had unproductives at 1 and 34, along with back at 31. The harness came uncharacteristically early for him.

Neither Erin’s Cold Justice (Eisenhart) nor Hanes Jumping Jack (Stevenson) was seen after the breakaway and both handlers asked for their retrieval units around 20 minutes.

Lester’s Shock Wave scored one find in good form at 16 right off the horse path with Lester lifting two birds. He ran a good race overall but had no further bird work. Erin’s Wild Justice (Eisenhart) also had one find after three deliberate relocations — a single bird dug in deep to the left of horse path at 14. Justice made a couple of really nice casts in his hour and finished strong in the wheat fields beyond the clubhouse.

James Pond Bull (Watson) ran big but misjudged the course and went missing after the creek crossing.  He didn’t have any bird work. Quickmarksman’s Tom Tekoa (Hester) ran a good overall race and had two beautiful covey finds at 40 and 55, finishing the hour in good form.

Sandhill Lil Juney (Rayl) scored a find of two birds at 18 and then a nice covey later in the hour. She ran a moderate race and finished the hour in good form. Awsum Country Justice (Eisenhart) honored his bracemate’s find at 18 with a back. After the road crossing at 30 Justice went on to run a stronger race and had two finds at 42 and 50 — looking intense and stylish on both.  He also finished the hour in good order.

Temperatures remained cold on the final morning, hovering in the mid-30s,  warming into the low-60s by afternoon.

Lester’s Private Charter (McLean) ran a good all-age race most of the hour but had no bird work to complement his strong ground race. Erin’s Prometheus (Eisenhart) put down an impressive ground race and was credited with two finds at 15 and 23. Unfortunately, Prometheus was not connected to his handler toward the end of the hour, prompting Eisenhart to request his retrieval unit at 55.

Touch’s Mega Mike (McLean) delivered a strong, forward all-age race with two nicely spaced finds at 15 and 37.   McLean pointed him out consistently throughout the hour as it was difficult to see Mike in the thick cover. Dunn’s True Issue (Eisenhart) also ran a strong race and hunted intensely. Issue was credited with one find — a single bird buried deep in bicolor where no game had been pointed before. He was found standing staunchly again at 58, but this time a rabbit was noted. Issue finished the hour in good form.

Neely’s Standing Ovation (Eisenhart) and Lone Tree’s Rod Iron (Hester) were both harnessed by their handlers around 25 minutes. Neither dog was putting down a strong enough performance for consideration. Ovation had one find at 13 and Iron didn’t have any bird work.

Both Lester’s Georgia Time (McLean) and Erin’s Three Leaf Shamrock (Eisenhart) were picked up by their handlers at 15, believing they weren’t going to beat the contenders under consideration.

Rocky Knoll Annie (Rayl) ran in the last brace of the stake as a bye dog.  Annie was credited with a nice covey find at 15 where birds flushed up all around her — a beautiful sight. However, her race wasn’t as strong as some of the other contenders. Handler asked judges if she was changing anything at 40 and he put her in the harness.

Judges: Harold Johnson and Tim Moore

GEORGIA OPEN QUAIL CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] — 34 Pointers and 5 Setters

Winner—TOUCH’S BLUE KNIGHT, 1680548, pointer male, by Touch’s Knight Rider—Touch’s Maswood Anne. Woody Watson, owner; Tommy Davis, handler.

Runner-Up—DUNN’S TRIED’N TRUE, 1655258, pointer male, by Miller’s Dialing In—White Royal Pain. Will & Rita Dunn, owners; Luke Eisenhart, handler.

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