American Field

Field Trial Report

Kentucky Quail Classic

By John P. Russell | Jan 05, 2018
Kentucky Classic Winners. From left: Jamie Daniels with Miller’s Bushwacker, Tiffany Genre with Touch’s Adams County and Randy Anderson with Phillips Field Line. Behind: Chairman Jim Crouse, and Judges Joe Worsham and Jay Lewis.

Kevil, Ky. — For the 58th year, the major circuit of all-age competition came to Paducah for the Kentucky Quail Classic that commenced on Tuesday, November 28. This year’s edition attracted 32 competitors under the whistle of seven handlers.

The WKWMA under management of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources was well groomed for this year’s renewal with productive food plots, effective mowing in fallow fields, and row crop and hay fields across the area.

As has become the norm in this part of the country, the area no longer supports a population of native quail sufficient for a high quality field trial and a pre-release of 72 coveys was accomplished in support of the program of open stakes. These quail were of good quality, flushing and flying well throughout the week of trialing and providing opportunities for the canine competitors to demonstrate their bird-finding prowess as well as their manners around game.

As is often the case at the West Kentucky grounds in late November-early December, the weather was a significant factor in the trial but not in the usual manner. Conditions this year were benign. The bluebird weather that prevailed throughout the preceding Quail Championship Invitational continued through almost the entirety of the Kentucky Quail Classic. Finally, after nearly two weeks without precipitation, in the early morning of the final day of the All-Age, light showers passed through delivering less than 0.1 in of rain but wetting the vegetation and reducing the dusty conditions. The dry condition that were encountered through the majority of the trial made scenting conditions very difficult for the dogs and made “finding” somewhat problematic.

The Kentucky Quail Classic is conducted by the West Kentucky Field Trial Club. Jim Crouse serves as the trial chairman assisted by the members of the club. Mike Crouse and Allen Benson served as marshals, Terry Allen handled the dog wagon, John Russell served as reporter, and Greg and Martha Veatch helped out as needed, particularly with lunches. Other club members assisted as their schedules permitted.

The club benefits from support provided by its sponsors. Purina supports the Invitational Championship and Quail Classic program with monetary support and dog food donations for the contestants and winners of the Invitational and Classic. Clifty Farms Hams provided well-appreciated country hams as gifts for the judges. Other supporters provided items for the silent auction conducted as a fund-raiser the evening of the drawing. The support of all of the sponsors is greatly appreciated.

In addition to the sponsors, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources supports the field trial program through its management practices and the availability of the grounds for the trials.

Judicial responsibilities for this year’s edition was shared by Joe Worsham of Easton, Mo., and Jay Lewis of Ashland, Mo. Joe Worsham is well-known as an active amateur, breeding, developing, and handling his own dogs and some good ones indeed! Jay Lewis is also active in shooting dog trials in Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri and is active in Region 17 of the AFTCA. The judges were attentive throughout and set a good pace, fair to all competitors.

The Kentucky Quail Classic features an Open All-Age listed in all of the major competitions, Purina Top All-Age Dog of the Year, Purina All-Age Handler of the Year, and is a National Championship qualifying event. The Open Derby is a points trial for the Top Derby of the Year Award and for the American Derby Invitational.

The Winners and Others

Topping the field of the 2017 Kentucky Quail Classic was Miller’s Bushwacker, white and orange pointer male  owned by Benjy Griffith of Leesburg, Ga., and handled by Jamie Daniels. Bushwacker ran in the 11th brace on the No. 2 afternoon course with Aberdeen’s Paid in Full.

Bushwacker’s effort was characterized by a strong forward race throughout punctuated by a find at 23 and a back of bracemate at 46. Daniels rode with confidence throughout the hour and Bushwacker responded by showing with regularity and hunting logical objectives along the course.

His find at 23 was the result of hunting through the course rather than simply running through it. He was lofty, intense, and mannerly at flush and shot, the birds located exactly. This was possibly a native covey of wild birds — a pleasing aspect. On his back he was mannerly. His finish was strong, his pace and range undiminished.

Touch’s Adams County, white and lemon pointer male owned by Richard Peterson of Gilbert, Ariz., and handled by Randy Anderson,  ran in the 9th brace on the No. 3 morning course with Lester’s Pete Rose. Adams County is a veteran on the West Kentucky grounds, having appeared in the Invitational and Classic four times each and having won the 2013 Invitational title.

His race was forward throughout, at times not reaching to the extent that is his norm. His best portion occurred at the finishing stretch along the power line chute. Reaching well to the front, Adams County travelled with pace undiminished and undeterred by the challenge faced. Into the finishing bottom at time, Anderson thought that Adams County had crossed the low water culvert over Big Bayou Creek. Crossing at the afternoon crossing, he rode to regain contact with his charge, finally regaining the front by crossing the culvert back into the finishing bottom. There he discovered the dog pointing intensely at the end of the island thicket. Upon arrival of the judges, the birds were quickly flushed from thick grass exactly where indicated by the dog, an excellent finish to the brace earning him second place.

Instructive to note that this was at least the sixth time that dogs had hunted through this bottom field without detecting the elusive game.

Winning third was Phillips Field Line, white and orange pointer male owned by Don Stroble of Mechanicsburg, Pa., and handled by Randy Anderson. He was down  in the 13th brace, the first on Thursday morning. Field Line was strong and forward throughout, scoring at 28 at the bean field edge adjacent to the cinder road. The find was excellently accomplished, the birds located exactly, style, manners, and composure without blemish. Following the find, Field Line continued in the manner begun, finishing well to the front across the Moonlight Hill gravel road.

Closest to the winners were Crouse’s Kentucky Wind and Beeler’s Quick Step. Wind was strong throughout and scored at time on edge ahead. A period of absence about midway probably hurt his chances somewhat. Quick Step lived up to her name, hustling throughout. She was absent for a time, but returned before the half and scored at 31 to right of the course, the find accomplished well. She finished strong.

The Running

Tuesday’s running began with temperatures in the low- to mid-30s, light breezes from the southeast, warming into the low 60s by midday, wind increasing. Another bluebird day. By this time the vegetation was dry and dusty — pleasant for the riders, difficult for the dogs.

Crouse’s Samuri Warrior (Crouse) and Hush Money (Anderson) were cast away a few minutes before 8:00 a. m. The pair made the left turn through the hardwoods stand into the open fields beyond. Through the first bottom, Hush Money held the front well and showed ahead, Warrior not as consistently forward. At 20 Hush Money scored on a covey in bicolor strip to left of course path, this stand accomplished without flaw — a good piece of work. Going ahead much as they started, Money the more consistently forward. At 55 Warrior was stationed at edge of thicket before Moonlight Hill gravel road crossing. Hush Money came into the vicinity and despite caution from handler continued correcting forward attempting to gain scent of the game, ending his performance. Despite extensive flushing and relocation, birds could not be disturbed resulting in an unproductive for Warrior, completing his hour at this point.

Showtime Dominator (Daniels) and Round of Applause (Anderson) was an abbreviated brace. Dominator failed to go in an acceptable manner and was picked up at handler’s discretion at 18. Round of Applause was not available and not believed to be in the proper direction and Anderson requested the retrieval unit  at 18.

Crouse’s Oak Heights (Crouse), a setter, was somewhat inconsistent with respect to maintaining a forward pattern. At 39 Crouse, believing he could hear scout calling, rode back to where the dog was last seen to find the setter standing in edge of road below pond. This in the vicinity where Erin’s Hidden Shamrock had scored during the Invitational. Informed that the birds had flushed upon the call of point, Crouse attempted a brief flush, fired over the standing dog and took him to the front. He went the balance of the course without contact with game. Just Watch (Daniels) ran a good forward race but without benefit of game, finishing at the end of the power line chute.

Just Unforgettable (Daniels) and Miller’s Dialing In (Lester). Another abbreviated brace. At 6 Dialing In was pointing at edge of foxtail strip to left of course on rise before Big Bayou Creek afternoon crossing. The initial flushing attempt failed to disturb the birds and Dialing In was asked to relocate. Moving forward only a small distance, he attempted to re-establish point, Lester whistling him on. Taking another step, a bird was disturbed, the dog stopping without caution — a stop to flush during relocation. After a brief discussion with Judge Worsham, Lester elected to harness the dog ending his effort. Just Unforgettable was not going sufficient to please Daniels and after failing to contact game was harnessed at 33, ending the brace.

Crouse’s Kentucky Wind (Crouse) is strong, bold, and independent — he exhibited these traits in abundance throughout his effort. He was absent from the front from the Derby course No. 10 to the iron gates road crossing but was otherwise in contact with Crouse. He scored at time to left of the course in foxtail strip adjacent to edge of old roadbed — this find handled without flaw, the birds exactly where indicated. Coldwater Odyssey (Bennett) ran a good forward race, shortening somewhat in the last portion — finishing in gap at old roadbed.

White Dollar (Anderson) and Coldwater Stoner (Bennett) were strong and for the most part forward. Stoner pointing on edge of dove field at 46 in dozer pile. Despite a valiant and determined flushing attempt and relocation, nothing could be disturbed and an unproductive was scored. Handler elected to pick up at this point. White Dollar went well, boldly with good magnitude to his race. Apparently, on the turn toward barn area, Dollar got onto private land to the right of the course and was missed by handler. Anderson went forward on the course until the finish, locating Dollar with the retrieval unit after time back in the vicinity of the course turn.

Wednesday was more of the same, if not worse. Temperature at breakaway was about 35°, warming into the 60s during the morning. A light east wind was not a positive sign — the old saw, “When the wind is from the east, the hunting is the least,” seemed to be at work. In the afternoon, the first signs of changing conditions became evident — clouds gathering in the northwest, winds shifting toward the north and a hint of moisture in the air giving promise to better conditions for the dogs.

Hilltopper Debutante (Russell) and Dominator’s Dotted Line (Daniels), both white and liver pointer females. Debutante had an appealing race, bold and independent but showing forward with regularity. She ran her brace without benefit of game contact. Dotted Line displayed some soreness from her efforts during the Invitational but going gamely nevertheless. She, too, was forward throughout but could not contact game.

Valiant (Anderson) and Dunn’s Break Time (Daniels). Another birdless brace. Break Time failed to please Daniels and was taken up at 25. Valiant ran well, displaying good pace and boldness, but without contact. At 58 he stood in gap at old roadbed but nothing could be disturbed — scored an unproductive.

Touch’s Adams County’s effort has been described. Lester’s Pete Rose was somewhat inconsistent with respect to course direction early but hustling when seen. At 35 he was not in contact with handler and the retrieval unit was requested, ending his effort. Adams County’s find at time was the only birds seen during the three hours of running.

Shearjoy’s Unforgiven (Daniels), a setter, had owner Betty Shearouse riding. Unforgiven and Lester’s Jazz Man (Anderson) were away well early, showing well, both bold and independent, little to choose between the two. At 30 both dogs were standing in corner of weed field below oak line before course turn above handicap pond — this a known covey location. Both handlers elected to flush but nothing could be disturbed during the flushing attempt. Asked to relocate, the area was thoroughly explored, Unforgiven attempting to point again, the effort unrewarded. Unproductives scored for both dogs. Going forward, Jazz Man suffered a second unproductive at 46 in thicket just left of course path ending his effort. Unforgiven finished well but without contact despite an honest hunting effort throughout.

Miller’s Bushwacker’s (Daniels) effort has been described. Aberdeen’s Paid in Full’s (Anderson) race was not up to the standard set by the winning dogs. At 46 he scored on the covey in brushy strip in the cemetery horseshoe turn, everything in good order. He finished his race without further contact.

Miller’s Speed Dial (Lester) and Beeler’s Quick Step (Beeler) were hustling from the beginning displaying excellent foot speed and drive. Speed Dial was somewhat loftier in motion. Quick Step missed connection with Beeler and was absent until about 24 when she was returned to the front. She scored at 31 just to right of the course path, on edge of brushy treeline. Beeler elected to attempt to relocate the dog before attempting to flush, Quick Step willing to take only a single step forward. The birds were quickly flushed, exactly where indicated, the dog stylish with good composure and manners. At 35, at the pipe line turn, Speed Dial scored on a covey in heavy weeds on course path edge. The initial flushing attempt failed to disturb the birds and Speed Dial checked around the weed patch before again pointing very close to the original stand. This time the birds elected to flush, the dog mannerly for the flush and shot. Going forward, both dogs still hustling until time called. At time Quick Step was not under observation, Lester searching ahead. After a short wait, the call of point was relayed and a ride to a location to east of the coon club pond was made. Quick Step was stationed in a dozer pile in old treeline. Despite a determined flushing attempt by Lester, nothing was disturbed and the dog was asked to relocate. During relocation, the dog got too close to the covey of birds and was cautioned strongly at the flush, standing for the shot.

During the night, passing showers brought some much needed moisture. Thursday morning began with temperatures in the 50s, the air somewhat heavy with humidity, and a light north breeze. The air lightening as the morning progressed, clouds lifting, and sunshine returning by afternoon. Finally, somewhat more favorable conditions.

Phillips Field Line’s (Anderson) effort has been described. Crouse’s Smoking Joe (Crouse) did not display the boldness and forward handling that the trial demands. His race was somewhat abbreviated throughout. He was found standing in the thicket prior to the Moonlight Hill gravel road crossing at 57. Despite a determined flushing attempt and relocation, the birds could not be exactly located and an unproductive was scored.

Veteran performers Touch’s Blackout (Anderson) and Funseek’n Hit Man (Daniels) went well through the majority of the course, staying in the forward arc and demonstrating rapport with their handlers. Hit Man scored first at 47 on covey in cemetery horseshoe turn. The birds were exactly located, the dog stylish and intense, mannerly at flush and shot. Going forward, Blackout was pointing in feed strip along thicket adjacent to road before No. 3 course breakaway, Hit Man backing. When the initial flushing attempt did not produce,  Blackout was asked to relocate. During the relocation a bird flushed, the dog failed to respond and continued searching ending his effort. Daniels elected to pick up at this point.

Crouse’s Samuri Warlord’s (Crouse)  ground effort was not up to the standard set by the winning dogs, at times not exhibiting sufficient magnitude. He went the route, hunting birdy places but was unable to score. At 59, at the end of the power line chute, he suffered an unproductive in weedy strip on the left side of the chute. Sinbad’s Rumor (Daniels) was forward and bold but could not contact game until 48. She pointed in weed field to the left just before the HWY 358 crossing. Unfortunately, the scout indicated that the birds had flushed before the handler and judges arrived. Unable to flush additional birds and unable to find a single in the direction that the birds had flown, Daniels elected to take the dog up at that point.

Dominator’s Rebel Heir (Daniels), normally one of the best ground-working dogs on the circuit, was ready to leave the Midwest for the piney woods of South Georgia. Although he scored at 22 on birds located in the area where the morning and afternoon courses crossed with his customary style and composure, his handling response was not quite up to his normal standard. He had a second stand at 50 in the thicket before the Moonlight Hill gravel road, but despite a determined flushing attempt and two relocations the stand resulted in an unproductive. He finished strong across the big ditch into the grain fields beyond. Crouse’s Equalizer (Crouse) was fast and classy on the ground, just needing productive bird work to be in contention. He had a stand at 23 on bean field edge adjacent to the cinder road but the flush and relocation did not produce birds. He too finished with strength aplenty across the big ditch in bean fields beyond.

At the conclusion of the 16th brace,  the winners were announced prior to the start of the Derby.

Kevil, Ky., November 28

Judges: Jay Lewis and Joe Worsham


32 Entries

1st—MILLER’S BUSHWACKER, 1661402, pointer male, by Just Irresistible—Miller’s Bring The Heat. Benjy Griffith, owner; Jamie Daniels, handler.

2d—TOUCH’S ADAMS COUNTY, 1617837, pointer male, by House’s Line Up—Line of Beck. Ric Peterson, owner; Randy Anderson, handler.

3d—PHILLIPS FIELD LINE, 1647844, pointer male, by R W Scarface—Phillips Southern Star. Don Stroble, owner; Randy Anderson, handler.

OPEN Derby

The Open Derby drew a good entry of seventeen youngsters; one dog was scratched so sixteen came to the line. The field proved to be very uniform in quality with several showing good potential for future success — as good a group overall as we had seen in several years.

The top spot was won by Stash the Cash, handled by Gary Lester for owners David Thompson and Tommy Loid. Miller’s White Reign was awarded second, again handled by Gary Lester for owner Derrick Bonner. Touch’s Gallatin Fire was placed third by Ike Todd for owner Alex Rickert. The first and second place winners were placed on game. Gallatin Fire was placed on class.

OPEN DERBY  — 17 Entries

1st—STASH THE CASH, 1675817, pointer male, by Skyfall—Miller’s White Wall. David Thompson & Tommy Loid, owners; Gary Lester, handler.

2d—MILLER’S WHITE REIGN, 1675808, pointer male, by Miller’s Dialing In—Grace’s Sunshine. Derrick Bonner, owner; Gary Lester, handler.

3d—TOUCH’S GALLATIN FIRE, 1675102, pointer male, by House’s Ring of Fire—Touch’s Sandy. Alex Rickert, owner; Ike Todd, handler.

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