American Field

Carolina Celebration Open Shooting Dog Classic

Lowcountry Bird Dog Association

Sugarknoll War Paint Adds to Long List of Laurels
By Billy Kerr | Apr 17, 2018
Sugarknoll War Paint First in the Open Shooting Dog Classic

Allendale, S. C. — Four years ago I laid eyes on Yadkin Ridge in Kline, S. C., for the first time. Yadkin Ridge is one of the farms that make up Clarendon Farms.

While touring the property with general Manager Jason Hewett, I asked if a field trial was ever hosted here. To my astonishment, he answered, “No, it isn’t ready yet.”

During my tour, I found myself picturing bird dogs crossing the rolling hills that are scattered throughout the property, rimming the ag and brood fields, swinging through the plots of piney woods, and pointing coveys of birds with style and class.

It took a lot of hard work by a lot of people to bring the property up to the standard the Albany, Ga., native was talking about. The scenes I pictured during my tour finally came true last year. The owners of Clarendon Farms, Jim Kennedy and Alex Taylor, gave permission to host a field trial on Yadkin Ridge. In partnership with Earl and Margaret Drew we ran the North Carolina Celebration Shooting Dog Classic and had a strong entry of 51 dogs. We had a quality field trial with plenty of birds and dogs with great performances.

With a successful trial behind them, Billy Kerr and Lauren Renfroe decided to form a club which was properly named the Lowcountry Bird Dog Association. The North Carolina Celebration was taken over by the newly formed club after receiving permission from the Drews and the Purina Awards Committee to be held at this property for now and hopefully far in the future. With the change of venue, the name was changed to the Carolina Celebration to reflect its origin and recognize its new home.

As word spread throughout the field trial community about the quality of the grounds and birds, we were told to expect a boost in entries; 2018 did not disappoint — 71 dogs were entered with eleven handlers participating.

During the five and a half days of running, there were 105 bird contacts with 149 coveys seen between the gallery and scouts. Plenty of birds were found on every course.

We were able to use a vacant residence on the property as a clubhouse which featured bedrooms for the judges, showers, a full kitchen, and plenty of seating for lunches, dinners, and meetings. There was ample parking with room to spare for trailers and campers alike. This house also has a barn with six spacious stalls that were utilized.

The six courses needed revision with base camp moving to a new location. The revised courses flowed better and gave the dogs and handlers the best opportunity to show off and find birds. The morning courses ran on the north side of the property with an addition to the end of the third course on the west side of the property. The afternoon courses were turned loose behind the kennel and ran on the south side of the property with an addition on the second course that looped onto a beautiful 300-acre block of quail woods.

The staff at Yadkin Ridge helped put the trial on, with Billy Kerr and Dillon Shaffer marshalling and keeping everyone on course. John Ferguson and Al Sauls helped out with dog wagon duties. Al Sauls and Charlie Hutto also helped with transporting horse trailers to the end of the third brace to save everyone the long ride back to the clubhouse. Jason Hewett was seen most days making sure the trial ran smoothly and riding along in the gallery.

Chef Mike Stewart once again put together lunches for everyone and Nicole Erhardt helped clean and set up those lunches daily.

Lauren Renfroe took on the biggest job of the week, cooking dinners for everyone each night, as many as forty guests. The handlers’ dinner was a delicious low country boil, keeping in tradition with last year.

Thanks to the 2017 winner Waybetter Rocky, owners Bill and Muriel Primm and Carl and Collin Bishop, as they provided a pulled pork dinner for everyone on Tuesday. Thank you to Lauren for providing delicious meals every night for all who came.

We had two great judges, Scott Miller from Bray’s Island Plantation and Keith Gebhart from Mackey Point Plantation. Both judges have plenty of field trial experience and know what it takes to win. They had a tough week with up to seven dogs in consideration for placement. A big thanks to both of them.

We  extend a big thank you to Purina for sponsoring the event and providing dog feed to the winners.

Thank you to plantation owners Jim Kennedy and Alex Taylor. Without their permission to use their wonderful property, none of this would have been possible. Grounds like these make field trials enjoyable for all who attend.


Taking the blue ribbon was Sugarknoll War Paint, pointer male handled by George Tracy and owned by Allen Linder of Livingston, Tenn., and Pete and Chris Del Collo of Pamplin, Va.

War Paint ran Thursday afternoon in the 30th brace in the hottest part of the day and the trial. The brace started across the wooden bridge and was pointed out going along the left side through the piney woods to the front.

War Paint crossed the front. As we crested the hill  he was making a big cast into the bottom going back to the bridge crossing. After crossing the creek, War Paint was sent straight on course up the next hill. As the course turned to the right “Point!” was called by the scout way off to the left at 30. A single was flushed as the dog stood in perfect stance. Handler caught the front and sent War Paint to the left in a big alfalfa field where he disappeared ahead hunting in the broomsedge. As the gallery reached the end of the alfalfa field and moved into the quail woods “Point!” was called again by the scout not far from the last place the gallery had seen him. War Paint was standing bold and proud at 43 as the covey was flushed. Back to the front, War Paint was pointed out multiple times either crossing the front or pushing the front on top of a ridge. As the course swung into a small bottom War Paint cast to the front on the hill to the left of us. He stopped his cast, threw his nose in the air and worked fifty yards down the hill and pointed at 56. A covey was flushed, everything in order. Any bird hunter would have loved to see this bird work. At time War Paint was going over the next hill ahead.

Second was Waybetter Rocky, pointer male handled by Mike Tracy and owned by Bill and Muriel Primm of Cream Ridge, N. J., and Carl and Collin Bishop of Punxsutawney, Pa. Rocky ran in the first brace Friday morning, turned loose at 8:30 a. m. Rocky moved to the front and through the dove field where he worked birds into the pine strip and pointed with perfect posture at 10. A big covey was flushed, everything in order. The white and orange pointer pointed at 15. Mike called flight of birds while riding to the find. After a five-minute absence the gallery and handler rode up to find Rocky on point on the left side of course at 27. Another covey was flushed, everything in order. As the course moved back into some open woods before the pond crossing, Rocky was pointed out to the front crossing right to left and was later found pointing by scout Jeanette Tracy at 43, deep on the left side. Mike flushed another covey as Rocky stood solid. On the other side of the pond dam Rocky headed up the left side of the course after a small absence and scout called point again at 53. Covey was flushed and everything was in order. While moving back onto course Rocky had a stop to flush at 56. The judges and gallery last saw Rocky crossing the front over a hill. After pickup Tracy rode over the next hill, returning with dog in hand.

Steel City Karen (J. Tracy) rounded out the podium in third. Karen is owned by Betsy Archer and Bob and Karen Reed of Gettysburg, Pa. The pointer female ran in the second brace Tuesday morning, just as the frost began to lift. Conditions were set up perfectly for birds to start moving. Karen scored her first find at 11 as she swung into the bottom and pointed on the right. Karen stood gorgeously as the covey was flushed. As we went through the bottom beside a big brood field, Karen swung far left and was found pointing by scout Mike Tracy at 25. Another covey was flushed, everything in order. After the course crossed back over the pond dam, Jeanette pointed her out rimming the brood field on the left. As Karen swung back into the cover in front she pointed at 34. Handler flushed another covey. She didn’t take long to find another covey at 36, everything in order. As the gallery crested a hill Karen was seen swinging to the bottom right where she pointed again at 48. While handler and gallery rode toward the find, flight of birds was called out on another breathtaking covey. Karen was pushed forward down the long pine strips across from the kennel and was found pointing by the scout on the edge of a brood field to the front at 52. A single was flushed with the female standing steady. As the course swung back to the right at the bottom of the hill Karen was pointed out pushing the front. At time Karen was seen way out front and running hard.


Lily on Bee (SF/Trey Littlejohn) ran a big race. The retrieval device was requested at 45 after she got out of the pocket. Landcruiser Benny (SM/J. Tracy) showed the gallery early that Yadkin Ridge had birds. After making a big move across dove field Benny was found pointing at 22 by his scout, a covey and everything in order. Benny had two more coveys, at 42 and 46, and a third at 59.

Sandland Sassy (SF/Eric Russell) and Neely’s Paint the Town (PM/George Tracy). Rain poured down at the start of this brace but that didn’t stop Sassy. She pointed right off the breakaway at 1. After that it seemed like Sassy couldn’t stay out of birds, stylishly pointing coveys at 4, 9, 10, and 15. She then had an unproductive at 17. Sassy knew there were birds out there and started hunting hard and shortened up, picked up at 30. Town was not seen after the breakaway.

Both Zumbro Stinky Pete (PM/Travis Gellhaus) and Jubullee (PF/M. Tracy) had to be retrieved by handlers off the breakaway. Pete got stuck on the other side of a wet weather pond and was picked up. After Jubullee was retrieved she stopped at a field lark getting up. Handler hit the whistle; she took a step forward as a covey rose.

Turned loose in the afternoon at 2:30 p. m. were Sandland Tarheel Fancy (SF/ Russell/Curnutte) and Cock’N’Fire Maggie (PF/Jerry Raynor). Right off the breakaway Maggie pointed. Fancy refused to back. Covey got up with Maggie standing tall. Maggie pointed again at 4 behind the shop, another covey. As the course moved through the pine strips, Maggie pointed at 10 where she had an unproductive. Five-minutes later Maggie scored on another covey. She settled in nicely and made big moves to the front with Jerry pointing her out with every crossing. Rain started pouring down on the other side of the wooden bridge. Scout pointed Maggie rimming a deer plot up the left side. Not long after Maggie was found pointing far to the left on a dazzling covey at 52, one of the most memorable finds of the trial. Maggie  hunted her way to the front when she pointed another covey at 59. Maggie set the bar high on the first day.

Shamrock Rising Star (SF/Littlejohn) ran a big race and was seen making a big move in the bottom. She missed the right turn to the wooden bridge crossing and handler decided to pick up. Miller’s Calamity Jane (PF/G. Tracy) pointed a single at 23 with everything in order. Jane found a covey at 30 on the other side of an alfalfa field. George’s female had another single at 54. Jane was sent to the right and pointed again at 59. Jane finished with four finds and hunted throughout her hour.

Born on Fourth July (PM/Gellhaus) ran a wide forward race, had a back at 12 and scored his first find at 22. Dog was found pointing far to the left at 33 by the scout on a covey. July had a bobble at 45 and was picked up. Walden Ridge Shadow Dancer (PM/M. Tracy) started with a big move to the front where he whirled and pointed. After a direct relocation straight to birds he scored on a big covey at 5. The dog pointed again at 12. Unfortunately, no birds. Shadow Dancer’s next find was at 22 on a single, with additional finds at 28, 31 and 33. A final piece of bird work came at 43, nice covey, everything in order. Shadow Dancer finished with a nice forward race at pickup.

Decoy Lakes Winning Harley (PM/ Raynor) and Sassy Creek (PF J. Tracy) started off the second morning barely over freezing and a heavy frost on the ground. Harley was not seen off the breakaway. Sassy Creek ran a nice, snappy hunting race. No birds by 45 and the handler elected to pick up.

Knight’s White Lady (PF/Gellhaus) ran a strong forward race making some big wide moves through the open woods. Her first find was at 41, all in order. As Lady crested the next hill she pointed a covey at 47 then again at 49 with great style. The course swung right and Travis called point for Lady where she scored another find at 55. Lady finished the hour strong to the front. Steel City Karen was covered earlier.

Drowning Creek Smokin Matt (PM/ Russell) ran an applied race, hunting throughout. He scored his first find after the planted pines cut through on a covey at 33. Matt had a stop to flush at 37 and pointed a single at 44. Opened up at the end and finished to the front. Touch’s Mae Mobley (PF/ G. Tracy) ran a big forward race and made nice moves crossing the front. She got turned around through the planted pines cut through and ended her hour early with no birds.

The wind forecast was 13 mph with gusts to 25 mph in the afternoon.

Just Thrill Me (PM/Tommy Rice) ran a big forward race showing nicely. Thrill Me pointed at 29 on a small covey, then started running wide. Rice picked up at 42. Miller’s Honor Code’s (PM/G. Tracy) hour ended at 11 with an error on a covey.

The classy setter Caladen’s Davinci (Raynor) ran a big forward race and showed nicely. Raynor’s scout called point at 3 where Davinci had a big covey  right off his nose. Davinci was seen making a big swing to the left. After a 6-minute absence he crossed in the bottom. At 44 Raynor called point; before he moved into flush he saw an armadillo and moved on. Davinci pointed again at 55 where he had an unproductive which ended his hour. Daniels Creek Whitehawk (PM/Gellhaus) made some big moves, then got out of pocket and was picked up at 34.

Phillips Win Line (PM/Ray) and Bail Me Out (PM/M. Tracy). Birds were really moving this last brace with a combined  thirteen coveys pointed. Soon after breakaway, Line had a covey at 5, everything in order. Line pointed at 7 with another covey in front of him. He scored another at 15. Line crossed the pond dam and made a wide swing to the left where he pointed at 25 with a covey. Ray called point again as the course turned left at 30, birds flushing out the opposite end of the plum thicket. Three minutes later, Line scored another covey, then made a big move to the right along a brood field and crossed to the left  pointing a covey at 40. Both dogs were seen hunting the right side when both handlers called point; a divided find at 45 on yet another covey. Line scored his last find at 47 before we crossed back over the pond dam. On the other side of the pond dam he had an unproductive. Line was out front running at time. Ray found him pointing another covey after pickup. Bail Me Out ran a pleasant forward race hunting throughout. The gallery called point for Mike at 8 as his dog swung on the side of hill that he couldn’t see; a covey was flushed with “Lefty” standing boldly. Lefty scored  on a single at 10. As he swung to the right and to the front he scored his third find at 16. Once across the pond dam he made a big move to left and was found standing at 28, but no birds. After catching the front, he pointed on the left at 37. As mentioned, he had a divided find at 45 on a covey. At the end of the hour Lefty was going to the front. An exciting brace with both dogs trying hard to top each other.

Wednesday morning’s weather was very similar to Tuesday’s, cold with a heavy frost. High Drive Ranger (PM/ G. Tracy) and Charitable Deed (PF/Rice) were turned loose at 8:30. Ranger was found standing at 7 on the edge of a deer plot, no birds. After making some wonderful moves to the front handler elected to pick up 30. Charitable Deed scored a back at 7 and ran a pleasant race to the front. Deed was found on point at 39 with no birds and Rice decided to end her hour early.

Backcountry Tornado (PF/M. Tracy) ran a strong forward race carding her first find at 4 before the pond dam. A flight of birds was called as we rode to the point with everything in order. She moved up the left side after the pond dam. After being gone for 10 minutes handler thought he left her behind on point and asked for the retrieval unit. Needless to say, she was standing just over the next hill on a covey of birds. The classy setter Mobile Strike (Ray) made a big move off the breakaway and was seen crossing to the front from left to right. He scored his first find at 3 on a pretty relocation where a big covey was flushed in front of the setter. Once across the dam Strike swung left and was seen crossing far to the front and to the right. Handler went and corralled him and put a rope on him ending his hour at 25.

Master’s Touch (PM/Ray) ran a wide forward race most of the time being pointed out swinging far to the front. He scored his first find at 14 on the other side of the peanut field with a big covey in front of him. After making a big move to the front and being gone for 8 minutes Touch was found pointed by the scout on the right at 27; another covey was flushed. Once we crossed the pond dam Touch was pointed out rimming the far ridge. When he crossed back to the front he pointed on the left side at 44. Covey flushed with everything in order. Touch finished far to the front at the end of his hour. Bombs Away (PM/Rice) ran a very controlled forward race and tallied his first find at 11 along a brood field on the left side. A covey flushed as he stood proudly. His next find was at 19 after he swung to the right and was found on point by his scout. Bombs Away had a back at 27, and another find along a hillside at 37, the flight of birds called as we rode to the find. Bombs Away had an unproductive at 41. At pickup he was seen swinging to the right and going away.

Trying to make up a brace and having plenty of time and course left judges and club officials decided to run a fourth brace in the morning. Backcountry

Bonnie (PF/M. Tracy) started out with a medium race and got bigger as the hour progressed. The snappy little female had one find at 29 where a flight of birds was called as the gallery rode up. She was picked up by handler with only one find at 45. Merritt’s Bear (SM/Curnette) had an enjoyable big forward race. Bear was picked up at 45 with no birds.

The wind was strong at the start of the afternoon braces. Erin’s War Creek (PM/G. Tracy) ran a medium race making moves when needed and hunting throughout. Scout found War Creek pointing at 10. The veteran dog stood picturesquely as the covey was flushed out of the briar thicket. With no more birds by 45 handler picked up. Nyquist (SM/Ray) made a big move to the right near a cane bottom. By 10 his handler had a feeling he’d left him behind on point and asked for the retrieval unit.

Off the breakaway, Great River McKenzie (PM/J. Tracy) made a big move down the left side in bottom. He crossed the front and was found standing at 10. A covey flushed with all in order. McKenzie pushed to the front and stopped at 12;  no birds were found. He crossed a brood field from the right and was found pointing at 20. A covey. As the hour proceeded he shortened and was picked up at 45. Miller’s Creative Cause (PM/Ray) ran a big forward race. The retrieval unit was requested at 30 when he got out of pocket.

Sanwood Creek (PF/Raynor) ran a medium snappy race. As she swung to the right, she pointed at 12 where a big covey flushed in front of her. She crossed the next hill to the right and pointed at 15 with a flight of birds being called as the gallery rode up. A bobble at 30 ended her hour early. Ladywood’s Miss Daisy(SF/J. Tracy) ran a big swinging race to the front with an unproductive at 11, picked up 35.

Thursday morning was cool again. Thankfully, the wind had died. Jessie’s Bojangles (SM/J. Tracy)started with a strong forward race but her hour ended at 15 with a mishap. Thrill Me (PF/Rice) ran the smoothest race of the trial showing up front and making moves when needed. The snappy female had an unproductive at 46 on the pond dam and finished to the front but no birds.

Grand Prairie (PF/Rice) started strong with covey finds at 2 and at 4 with birds up called as the gallery rode in for a closer look. She pointed again at 15 with a flight of birds being called; the judges didn’t see them so she was moved on. Grand Prairie was found standing ahead on a covey at 22. She topped the hill and pointed again at 27 and had an unproductive. At 45 she was picked up after a second unproductive. North Country Girl (PF/ M. Tracy) pointed off the breakaway and had her first unproductive. Her bracemate pointed 200 yards farther and had a covey — likely the same covey. Girl pointed again at 25; with no birds flushed she recorded a second unproductive which ended her hour.

Miller’s Unbridled Forever (PM/G. Tracy) started his hour with a back at 2. Forever made big moves to the front in the open fields across from the kennel,  rimming a brood field, crossed left to right about 300 yards to front then he whirled and pointed by a briar patch. The dog standing proudly, Mike flushed a big covey  at 33. Another memorable piece of bird work in this trial. Forever tallied his second at 50. He finished strong, going away up a hill. Always Dreaming (PF/Ray) had a find right off the breakaway at 2. When the covey rose she turned to mark and was picked up.

Dry warmer temperatures made it hard to find birds Thursday afternoon. Palara (PF/ M. Tracy) ran as a bye dog because of a scratch. Palara ran a smooth forward race and was found standing in the front to record her first find at 25. A covey was flushed with everything in order. The pointer female was pointed out going into a bottom and found pointed at 54 with a covey. She finished her hour going to the front.

Miller’s Handsome Ransom (PM/G. Tracy) ran as a bye  because of a scratch. The two dogs couldn’t be run together because Palara was in season. Ransom ran a big forward race, making moves far to the front. His hour ended at 45 after being out of pocket for some time with no birds.

Erin’s Prometheus (SM/Ray) ran a big wide race and got out of pocket. Handler went to go get him and his hour ended early. Bully Bragg (PM) had finds at 7 and 15 on two coveys but wasn’t pleasing Mike Tracy who elected to pick up.

Friday morning started warmer at 45°.

Waybetter Rocky was covered earlier. Conecuh’s Pressure Test (SM/Ray) was not seen off of the breakaway. Right after Doug requested the retrieval unit the setter came crossing in from the right.

Merritt’s Hope (SF/Curnutte) had an unproductive at 3. Moving to the front she pointed a covey at 19, and a second at 40. An unproductive at 48 ended her hour early. Steel City Storm (PM/J. Tracy) ran a nice forward race. Without any birds by 35 he was picked up.

Dialing Samantha (PF/Ray) ran a forward race hunting throughout; she recorded a find at 21 down below on a single. With only one find the pointer female was picked up at 30. Something was up with pointer female Miller’s Vanilla Snow off the breakaway and George Tracy picked up early.

It was hot Friday afternoon, reaching 75° and barely any breeze. Doubledee Dandee Gordon (GSF/J. Tracy) and C S Little Ann (PF/Ray) tried hard, had forward races but the tough conditions  took their toll. They were  up at 45.

Sugarknoll War Paint’s effort was detailed. Northwood’s Charles (SM/Gellhaus) ran a forward swinging race and made good moves to the front. At 54 he stopped to flush and was picked up.

C S Shoeshine (PM/Ray) ran a big, wide, forward race, his first bird work  a divided find at 9. After crossing the pond dam, Shine was pointing to the front at 15. Flight of birds was called as the gallery rode up. He suffered an unproductive at 28 and finished the hour out front. Cory’s Easy Holy Water (PM/ M. Tracy) ran a big forward race, his only bird work a divided find at 9. Water went missing and the retrieval unit was employed at 42.

Saturday morning’s weather was cool with a chance of showers at noon.

Coosawhatchie Smooth Ride (PM/M. Tracy) pointed off the breakaway at 5 and flight of birds was called as we rode to the find. As Smooth Ride swung into the dove field he pointed a covey on the edge at 11. After making some good moves to the front, his hour ended early, picked up at 45. Moehill Carolina Dial In (PF/Raynor) ran a forward race with a find at 12 on the right side. Covey was flushed with all in order. Her hour was ended at 25 after a long absence.

The rain came sooner than forecast, with a heavy shower passing through at the beginning of the brace.

C S Trump (SM/Ray) scored quickly when he pointed off the breakaway at 2. The covey flushed with all in order. Trump had a back at 5. The course turned right and Trump had a long absence. His hour ended at 17.

Riviera (PM/J. Tracy) started with a find at 5; flight of birds was called as we rode near. Riviera was found standing with a covey at 18 and again at 20 but wasn’t pleasing handler and was picked up.

Last brace was Lone Tree’s Showbiz (PM/Gellhaus) and Erin’s Country Thunder (PM/G. Tracy) in a hard driving rain. Showbiz  pointed at 7; no birds were produced. After taking a hard right, Showbiz was found pointing with Thunder backing at 20. A covey was flushed. Both handlers elected to pick up.

We thank the handlers and the owners for supporting this great trial. Enough cannot be said for the quality of the dogs and handlers that competed. To Jim Kennedy and Alex Taylor, our sincere gratitude for allowing us to host the

Carolina Celebration at Yadkin Ridge.

Allendale, S. C., March 12

Judges: Keith Gebhart and Scott Miller


[One-Hour Heats] — 54 Pointers and 17 Setters

1st—SUGARKNOLL WAR PAINT, 1621818, pointer male, by Sugarknoll Buckshot—Fibber’s Elhew Grace. Pete & Chris Del Collo & Allen R. Linder, owners; George Tracy, handler.

2d—WAYBETTER ROCKY, 1652783, pointer male, by Brown’s Tom Tom—Waybetter Reba. Bill & Muriel Primm & Carl, Joyce & Collin Bishop, owners; Mike Tracy, handler.

3d—STEEL CITY KAREN, 1649013, pointer female, by Burning Edge Sinbad—Tin Soldier’s Bev. Elizabeth Archer & Robert & Karen Reed, owners; Jeanette Tracy, handler.

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