American Field
https://americanfield.villagesoup.com/p/1855037

Osceola’s Rebel Chief Wins 2020 Running

National Open Shooting Dog Championship

By Claudia McNamee | Mar 18, 2020
Championship Winner Osceola’s Rebel Chief is joined by, from left: Ted Roach,  Tommy Rice, Jason Loper and Amy Loper.

Union Springs, Ala. — The 60th National Open Shooting Dog Championship took place at the renown and beautiful Sedgefields Plantation in Union Springs, Ala.

Owners Raymond and Kathryn Harbert continue to graciously offer their bird hunting plantation to the field trial community for this prestigious event and we are forever grateful and appreciative of their boundless generosity. The Harberts’ plantation management team is led by Manager Jason Howard and Bill Lee who oversees the quail hunting program. With their combined experience and expertise, the grounds and bird habitat conditions are second to none and it is truly a privilege to run our dogs here every year.

The 2020 renewal of this Championship began Monday, February 3, and concluded Thursday, February 13. A total of 77 dogs competed over an eleven-day period, with a day and a quarter lost due to persistent thunderstorms and tornado warnings. A set schedule of only four braces per day is adhered to, with braces at 90 minutes each. Two braces are run in the morning and two braces in the afternoon. The morning braces begin up the road at the grain bins on the wild bird side and the afternoon courses start from the barn. Handlers and owners know in advance when their dogs will compete, with the only potential changes due to weather delays. Judges have the option to ask handlers to pick up their dogs if they aren’t beating what has already run — usually judges give about an hour to make this decision.

The three judges who presided this year are all well-respected and experienced bird dog men: Mike Jackson of Battle Ground, Ind., Jim Davis of Pavo, Ga., and Steve Mills of Mayodan, N. C. They rode tirelessly and gave their full attention to every contender. We thank them profusely for their time and commitment.

There are two places on the morning courses where a paved county road is crossed. Dog wagon master Charles Klinck coordinates the safety with assistance from the local game warden and constable. The dog wagon, a single cab-style pickup with a custom back end and ten dog boxes, also has four seats on top of the boxes for spectators. This wagon was also used to transport judges/reporter and others from morning brace end points back to the field house. Charles Klinck and Bill Lee coordinated for daily horse transport as well. This care and effort was always greatly appreciated.

This year a total of 136 quail contacts were made by 46 of the 77 contenders with a little over half of those birds found on the first course. The third course came in second for number of bird finds, followed by the second and fourth courses. As always, weather and scenting conditions varied widely over the running period adding to the challenges of a national championship of this magnitude. All of the contestants, i.e., dogs, handlers, and scouts, put their best efforts forward to perform at this level and we thank, commend, and congratulate all of them.

This year’s event was honored to be sponsored by Purina, Sedgefields Plantation, Sportsman Pride, Garmin, and 5 Star Equine Products. In addition to the $20,000 purse, the winner receives an original oil painting of their dog by Ross Young, a trooper saddle, 24 bags of Pro Plan dog food, a Garmin Pro 550 training unit, a custom 5 Star saddle pad and another for their scout, unique scrimshawed knife and pewter gelt buckles for both owner and handler, jackets from Purina, a Franklin Mint engraved silver quail plate, a Covey Rise statue by Stan Bentall, a rotating trophy, bragging rights and great memories!

THE WINNER

Named winner was Osceola’s Rebel Chief, coming three-year-old white and liver pointer male owned by Ted Roach of Fort Wayne, Ind., and handled by Jason Loper. This first-year shooting dog, out of Dominator’s Rebel Heir and Hilltopper Debutante, is already familiar with the winners’ circle. His growing list of accomplishments includes winning the Georgia Shooting Dog Derby Classic; runner-up, Alabama SD; 3d, Dixie Open SD; 1st, Dixie Amateur SD, and 2d, Conecuh Station Amateur SD. This young contender is snappy, classy, always wants to please and loves the hunt — helluva bird dog as they say! And what makes him even more special is he seems to have no trouble transitioning back and forth between Ted Roach and Jason Loper as handlers — competitive in both open and amateur circuits as his record already shows. Rebel Chief bested a field of 77 dogs from across the country and Canada for the national title with a performance that made this incredibly difficult task look all too easy. He ran on the fifth day of the stake on the first course in the morning. Brace details for all contenders follow.

THE RUNNING

Shag Time Scout (Kinkelaar) and Pinson’s Imagine That (Ray) were away Monday morning at 8:00 a. m. on Sedgefields’ first course, with temperatures in the low 40s and high cloud cover. Both dogs broke away with purpose, hunting up to the County Road 23 crossing where they were gathered up and then released into the piney woods on the other side. Ray had his hat off first for Imagine That at 21 before we reached Big Lake Road and successfully flushed the first covey of the stake. Imagine That looked staunch and determined. Scout had gone right where the course went left and pinned his first covey at 23 with about 25 birds lifting for the flush. The third covey of the morning took wing as Ray reached a rigid Imagine That at 35. Both dogs hunted well ahead for the next 20 minutes, Scout more on the edge and erratic at times and Imagine That more in his handler’s control but both fancy running. At 50 Ray called point for his third find with birds taking flight before he reached his charge. Imagine That finished the brace in strong fashion but had no other bird work in his last 40 minutes. Kinkelaar’s hat was in the air at 51 for Scout’s second find, birds getting up as he approached and Scout remaining intense and steady. He then scored three more coveys at 1:10, 1:20 (a dinger) and at pickup — his style always polished.

Strut Nation (Jordan) and Swami’s Rip Tide (Raynor) were loosed from the Coke Barn. At 6 both stopped on the left side. After determining that the judges didn’t see birds take flight, neither handler shot and they took the dogs on. They continued the hunt but neither finished. Raynor asked for his retrieval unit at 33 believing he’d left Tide on point somewhere behind. Jordan asked for his unit at 60. We had not seen much of Nation as he ran his signature big race.

The first of two afternoon braces went out at 1:00 p. m. from behind the barn with temperatures very warm in the mid-70s, sun shining, and no clouds in the sky. Touch’s Two Step (Rice) and Quail Roost Accolade (Martino) eased through the piney woods and around the two fields but Accolade went missing early and Martino requested his retrieval unit at 30. Two Step handled well and Rice called point at 35. Unfortunately even with two lengthy relocations, no birds were produced and he suffered an unproductive. Two Step was found standing two more times at 49 and 51 where birds were flushed; however, after his third find Rice harnessed him as his style on game wasn’t pleasing this afternoon.

Waybetter Billy (Basilone) and Waybetter Rocky (M. Tracy) were away along West Duck Lake Road. Temperatures remained warm with a light wind prevailing. There was a short delay to letting these two contenders loose because Kinkelaar’s horse had run off but we soon got down to business. Once let loose, both dogs hunted through the piney woods along the left side. Basilone called point for Billy at 4 on left side in the woods with Rocky staunchly backing. After relocating him, Billy was charged with an unproductive. Both dogs moved ahead along Duck Lake Road across the dam. Once they made the left at end of the dam road, Billy locked on point at 16 just off to right and a nice covey was flushed. Rocky continued hunting forward but wasn’t finding birds along this challenging course. Billy came through the gallery at 46. Neither dog was pleasing their handler and both were harnessed at 60.

The second day of running was overall much cooler than Monday, with temperatures ranging from the low 40s and only reaching the low 60s, with cloud cover all day. At 8:00 a. m. Lone Tree Splish Splash (Gellhaus) and Osceola’s Seminole Wind (M. Tracy) were released. Both contenders hunted the length of the breakaway strip to the road crossing and then jumped into the piney woods on the other side. Splash ran a steady, forward race and was always in the pocket up to the Big Lake Road. Wind also ran a fancy, forward race but Tracy lost touch with her and asked for his retrieval unit at 30; she had been left on point behind us. And this was just about the time that Splash began pointing birds . . . six coveys and one unproductive to be exact. Her first two finds were at 25 and 38 along Big Lake Road. Gellhaus then heeled her along the road and blew his whistle at the end where Splash made a pretty cast to the left, hunting consistently. Her third and fourth finds were just beyond the causeway at 51 and 58. Traversing across the hillside to the right, Splash dug up another covey at 1:06 – nice bird work! And then after suffering an unproductive at 1:13, she came back with a final sixth find at 1:25 and finished the heat. Not always being as intense as she could be on game probably weighed in on overall performance, but Splash demonstrated a good nose and race-wise did a fine job.

Steel City Alabama (Basilone) and Chelsea’s Thunder Bolt (Kinkelaar). From the Coke Barn, Alabama hunted deep to the left and dug up a covey at 9; the scout found him standing and called point. Continuing on from this find, he made a move to the right and went off course a bit and wasn’t always forward for the remainder of his bid. Thunder Bolt chased a flying turkey to his first and only find at 31. Alabama was found standing for a second time at 60 with his bracemate backing near the old homestead. Unfortunately Basilone wasn’t able to produce birds and Alabama was charged with an unproductive. Judges opted to give both handlers their retrieval units at the hour mark and both dogs were harnessed.

Tuesday afternoon’s braces ran under increasingly overcast skies with the wind picking up. Bail Me Out (M. Tracy) and Hale’s Southern Touch (Kinkelaar) were next to the line on the third course, starting from behind the barn. Both dogs found birds evenly spaced within the first 60 minutes and ran good ground races; however, they seemed to couple up a bit and Touch didn’t have high style on his game. Bail Me Out had finds at 9, 35, 39 and 44. Southern Touch stood at 22, 34 and 45. A divided find was recorded at 14 and both dogs were charged with an unproductive each. Touch had his unproductive at 38 and Out’s was at 56 with hogs observed nearby. Kinkelaar harnessed Touch at 44 as he wasn’t pleasing him. Out finished his heat with a strong race, style on his game but had no additional bird work in his final 30 minutes.

Dragonfly unfortunately went missing soon after the breakaway and Hughes requested his retrieval unit. Coosa-whatchie Smooth Ride (M. Tracy) had his first find at 17 where he had a brilliant relocation down a ravine — nice piece of bird work! His second find was at 24, followed by his third and final find at 58 when he was out of sight and after judges decided to give Tracy his retrieval unit. Smooth Ride ran a strong race but wasn’t always consistently forward — he would make nice casts and then check back with his handler at times.

The third day of running brought rain and temperatures in the 40s. Brace No. 12 would not be run until Friday due to a severe thunderstorm and rainfall system that moved into the area late this afternoon and prevailed all through Thursday. The first morning brace squared off Miller’s Creative Cause (Ray) and Pure Gossip (Stretz) first thing in the morning and produced eight coveys between the two contenders — four each. Once we crossed County Road 23, Gossip and Cause had their first finds at 9 and 10, respectively.

Always forward running and stylish on his game, Cause then stood again at 13 with Gossip backing staunchly, at 19 deep to left, called by scout, and at 46 at the end of Big Lake with a smart relocation down the hill. Gossip followed suit with her three additional finds at 29, 56 and 1:24. Both dogs ran good ground races and finished their 90 minutes with Cause outreaching Gossip at times.

Miller’s Just Plain Rowdy (G. Tracy) and Swift Justice (Hurdle) broke away from the Coke Barn. Excited to be on the ground, Rowdy broke away with purpose and determination but unfortunately went missing and Tracy asked for his retrieval unit at 20. Rowdy was found on point, just missed him in the cover. Justice ran a good forward race and was stylish on his three finds at 17, 39 and 50. However, judges opted to give Hurdle his retrieval unit at 57.

During the first brace in the afternoon, temperatures were in low 70s with rain forecast, so everyone had their rain gear ready. We’d hoped to get both afternoon braces done before the skies opened up but we were only able to finish the eleventh brace after getting caught up in a thunder and lightning storm halfway through. Miller’s Heat Seeker (M. Tracy) and Charitable Deed (Rice) broke away with strength from the barn at 1:00 p. m. Heat Seeker was the first to pin a covey at 9 and birds took flight with ease for Tracy. Deed wasn’t as fortunate when he pointed at 22 with his bracemate backing. Rice wasn’t able to produce birds even with relocation. Deed was charged with an unproductive but then knocked birds as he was loosed. Heat Seeker was also charged with his only unproductive at 25 which may have been scent from Deed’s knocked birds — bad break. However, Heat Seeker went on to have one of the strongest performances in the stake. With a fancy, forward race and three more well-spaced finds at 38, 48 and 56, Heat Seeker defied the thunder and lightning storm that played out around him and finished with purpose and style. He handled well, swung through the country and made some good casts. Despite the rain, he never lost his objective on point — consistently staunch, nose up and intense on his game.

As mentioned previously, the twelfth brace unfolded on Friday because we held up all day Thursday due to inclement weather. The next two contestants were released at 8:00 a. m. under overcast skies, temperatures in the low 30s with wind and threatening rain so we were in full rain gear . . . it was a bit brisk.

Miller’s Lock and Loaded (M. Tracy) and Tallokas Sun Dial (Rice) broke away and reached the road crossing in good form. Loaded carded an unproductive at 15 following a long relocation — gallery rode up a covey at his original stand — bad break. Loaded was seen standing at 46 along Big Lake Road. Judges didn’t see birds take flight so Tracy moved him on. He honored his bracemate with rigid backs at 24 and 48. Dial stood intensely on both of these finds and hunted on to locate two more nice coveys at 1:03 and 1:14, although his style on game not always consistent throughout his bid. Loaded had a nice find at 1:05, looking certain. They coupled up a bit and so their last two finds at 1:22 and 1:26 were divided. Dial’s owner Allison Stewart was riding and beaming, as she should’ve been. Dial’s overall performance with a good race, five finds and two divided finds was one the judges would remember.

Armstrong Mountain Dustie (M. Tracy) and Phillips Wind Line (Ray) were away from the Coke Barn. Dustie scored at 16 but did not have any other bird work. Wind Line had two nice finds, both with smart relocations at 12 and 46. Both contenders ran moderate races. Dustie was harnessed by Tracy at 46. Judges elected to end Wind Line’s bid at 50.

The sun was shining again for the afternoon braces, but still quite chilly with temperatures in mid-40s. Palara (M. Tracy) and L F Silver Belle (Ray) left the barn in fine form. Palara’s bid was cut short by a breach in manners as she failed to back her bracemate at her first find at 22. Belle now had the field to herself and went on to have three additional pieces of good bird work. Her race, however, was not as strong as it could’ve been and judges opted to give Ray his retrieval unit at 53.

Sand Mountain Icy (M. Tracy) and Ten Oaks Annie (Gellhaus) broke away at West Duck Lake Road and hunted through the piney woods on the left and were found standing at 4 which ultimately resulted in a divided unproductive. Both dogs were relocated by their handlers. Annie backed Icy’s second stand. No birds were produced so both dogs were charged with an unproductive. Released they ran down to end of the Duck Lake Road across other dam with Annie ahead of Icy. Icy had his second unproductive at 30 and was harnessed. Annie went on to have two finds at 29 and 31 but her race wasn’t consistently strong so judges gave Gellhaus his retrieval unit at 46.

The fifth day of running, Saturday, gave us this year’s champion, Osceola’s Rebel Chief. The morning started with overcast skies and temperatures in the low 40s, misty rain on/off through the early hours and then sunshine with temperatures heading into the 60s in the afternoon. Osceola’s Rebel Chief (Loper) and Bittersweet War Cry (M. Tracy) squared off for what was to be a memorable brace. Both dogs broke away boldly, hunting up to the road crossing at County Road 23 where they were gathered and released into the piney woods on the other side. Tracy had his hat in the air for a staunch War Cry at 12 and a nice covey was flushed. For the next eight minutes the contenders eased through the cover ahead of their handlers. At 20 Chief had his first find followed by another at 26. War Cry  scored at 30, Chief at 32, War Cry at 49 after an impressive cast from the left, and then again to Chief at 50. The birds were moving and these bird dogs were on their game! Both of these contenders’ races were forward but not particularly long initially. War Cry was outreaching Chief as the brace continued but after his third find he had no other bird work and was charged with an unproductive at 1:19. Chief’s race and hunting pattern, although not on the edge, put him in contact with bevies of quail consistently and evenly throughout his bid. His next five finds at 56, 1:03, 1:09 (where his bracemate backed), 1:20 and 1:25 with a smart relocation demonstrated his hunting prowess and impressive demeanor around game, always giving Loper the opportunity to flush coveys efficiently. Finishing strong, Chief made his nine-find bid look all too easy!

Stone’s Tried and True (Ray) and Northwoods Charles (Gellhaus). True, one of the younger hopefuls in this stake, was fancy running and had one really nice find at 10  deep to the left down a ravine but no other bird work and judges opted to give Ray his retrieval unit at 47. Charles wasn’t very fortunate on this course either. Gellhaus called point at 23 but wasn’t able to produce birds and was charged with an unproductive. He elected to end Charles’ bid once we’d crossed through the Bob Whaley gate at 40.

Saturday afternoon brought Westfall’s Ice Breaker (Taylor/Kinkelaar) and Class Act Express (Ray) to the line behind the barn. Breaker had his first and only find at 9 and then the most unfortunate and terribly frightening horse wreck occurred. Taylor’s horse went down and over in the mud with Eddy Taylor following. The horse was uninjured but Eddy was rushed to the hospital for urgent care and thankfully was back to see us all at the barn several days later. Shawn Kinkelaar, who was riding in the gallery, took Taylor’s dog on but asked for the retrieval unit at 41 because Breaker had been missing too long. Meanwhile, Express had stylishly backed Breaker at his find at 9 and then continued his hunt after the horse wreck. Ray raised his hat at 11 and carded a nice covey. Express’ next stand at 18 didn’t produce birds, an unproductive carded. He went on to have two more finds at 33 and 54. Express’ third find was quite memorable because after relocation he stood staunchly in the middle of two coveys that got up when Ray flushed. Unfortunately, his race could’ve been stronger and the judges gave Ray his retrieval unit at 1:02.

The last brace of the day paired up Born on Fourth July (Gellhaus) and North Country Girl (M. Tracy). Both contenders broke away with strength but neither finished the hour and a half. July went missing after the breakaway and Gellhaus asked for his retrieval unit at 12. Country Girl was a little overly excited and knocked birds at 23 to end her bid.

Sunday morning brought with it a bright, sunny, bluebird day. Temperatures began in mid-40s and warmed up into the 60s by afternoon. The first morning brace featured Dominator’s Ghost Rider (Ray) and Bo Bunda (Martino) and bird-finding conditions could not have been more different from the day before. Only three coveys were pointed on this course compared to twelve the previous morning. Ghost Rider’s performance combined a fancy, forward race with a keen hunting pattern and high style on game. But with only two pieces of bird work at 17 and 20 and an unproductive at 1:05, judges gave Ray his retrieval unit — Ghost Rider wasn’t positioned to beat what they were carrying. It wasn’t Bo Bunda’s day in the sun either. He had a find at 10 but then knocked birds on relocation and was harnessed.

Next released from the Coke Barn were Upfront’s Southern Star (Kinkelaar) and Cory’s Easy Holy Water (M. Tracy). Bird scenting conditions did not improve this hour with Holy Water charged with an unproductive at 6 and then went off course. Tracy asked for his retrieval unit at 42. Star had one nice piece of bird work in the triangle at 33 just before the Bob Whaley gate. He was picked up at 50 at the judges’ discretion.

The afternoon brought on Denton (Ray) and Nottingham’s Storm Rider (Basilone). Denton had one find at 30 and stood again at 48 but was charged with an unproductive. Ray asked judges if he was changing anything which he wasn’t so Denton was harnessed at 50. Storm Rider went missing off breakaway and Basilone asked for the retrieval unit at 20.

True Choice ran a strong forward race with style and decisive pattern but only had one find at 16 so judges gave  Kinkelaar his retrieval unit at 56. Touch’s Mae Mobley (M. Tracy) suffered an unproductive at 7 before Duck Lake Road and then went missing. Tracy asked for his retrieval unit at 36.

Monday morning brought overcast skies but no rain. Humid conditions prevailed all day and scenting conditions were not ideal. Thrill Me (Rice) and South Forty Princess (Kinkelaar) broke away with determination and hunted to the road crossing in good form. Kinkelaar called point for Princess at 9 in the piney woods with Thrill Me backing. Unfortunately, Princess knocked the covey and was picked up. With this turn of events, Thrill Me now had the field to herself and last year’s champion took full advantage, putting on a memorable performance and running a strong, forward shooting dog race. Rice’s hat was in the air at 18 and 29, Thrill Me stylish on her game. She then suffered an unproductive at 41. Two more finds were scored at 60 and 1:06, both beautifully executed. Swinging through the country and hunting deliberately, Thrill Me was found again on point at 1:22 at the Eddie Leroy feed plot far to the right. As the gallery neared several folks called a bird in flight but Rice proceeded to flush and relocate his charge. Several relocation attempts were unsuccessful and handler actually put another single bird up during relocation. Thrill Me just wasn’t able to pin them down and resulted in her second unproductive which sadly ended her bid for another title.

Tug of War (Kinkelaar) had two finds at 8 and 23. On War’s second find birds lifted as we approached as he and his backing bracemate stood intensely. At 36 Kinkelaar asked for his retrieval unit as War wasn’t pleasing him and there had been a hog run-in. Purpleline Casper (Stretz) ran a moderate race and didn’t have any bird work. He also had a run-in with hogs. Stretz asked for his retrieval unit at 53.

Afternoon braces ran with temperatures still in 60s with wind picking up slightly. Just Thrillin (Rice) and Reedy Creek Dial Tone (M. Tracy) were loosed on the third course and had a divided find at 9. Just Thrillin went on to have three more finds at 24 (just past Bill Lee’s house on left), 39, and 1:05 way out of pocket to left with relocation for a single bird. Judges gave Rice his retrieval unit after this third find. Dial Tone didn’t have any other bird work and Tracy was given his retrieval unit at 1:16.

Urban Fantasy (Basilone) and Glenmartin Excalibur (Stretz) both broke away with focus onto the fourth course along West Duck Lake Road. We came to the end of Duck Lake Road and crossed left into the piney woods with no bird work yet. At 24 Fantasy had his first find as Excalibur backed. Basilone flushed a nice size covey as both dogs stood staunchly. Continuing on, both contenders swung through the piney woods with hunting patterns in prime form — no dogs before them had made this course look this inviting. Standing stylishly again at 27, Fantasy had his second find that produced another bevy of quail — a pretty sight in this final hour of the day. Excalibur was then found standing at 32 at the woods edge on right after crossing the gravel road but took a couple steps as his birds were flushed ending his bid. Fantasy continued to impress with his race staying consistently to the front and hunting deliberately. His third piece of bird work was an impressive limb find at 41. Fantasy brought us farther on this course than any other dog in the stake, but unfortunately started to run out of gas and the judges gave Basilone his retrieval unit at 1:10.

The eighth day of the stake brought  warmer temperatures in the high 70s. It had rained hard overnight so ground conditions continued to be saturated and slick with mud. No rain fell during the day but it felt very hot — low 80s with heat index. Miller’s Unfinished Business (Norman) and Caladen’s Davinci (Raynor) broke away with determination. Raynor’s hat was in the air just after we crossed County Road 23. Davinci was standing at 9 very stylish with bracemate backing, a big covey flushed easily. At 12 both dogs were found standing again but handlers determined they were backing each other and took them on. Davinci had two other finds at 35 (a single bird followed by a covey) and 48 and then suffered an unproductive at 56. Unfinished Business (our 2018 champion) was charged with an unproductive at 37 and then had two impressive finds at 52 and 56. Both dogs made strong casts traversing the amber colored hillside on the right side. However, neither dog was challenging what the judges were carrying and at 1:06 Raynor harnessed Davinci and at 1:13 judges gave Norman his retrieval unit. We finished this brace near the North Point sign.

Next to the line at the Coke Barn were Steel City Karen (J. Tracy) and Ridge Creek Kate (Kinkelaar). Karen did a fine job with four finds — the most finds of the six dogs which had bird work on this second course. She ran consistently forward and was always stylish on her game. Karen pinned birds at 11, at 14 just left of the culvert pipe, at 25 after running along Joe Varner line on right, and at 28 with a limb find deep to the left. After making a big cast on right side coming through the triangle, Karen shortened up a bit and judges elected to end her bid at 51, but she’d won this course! Ridge Creek Kate misjudged the course at times and had an unproductive at 35. Her handler opted to pick her up at 35 as she wasn’t pleasing him.

Afternoon temperatures were quite warm when Miller’s Bushwacker (Norman) and Cheyenne Jack (M. Tracy) squared off behind the barn. In spite of the heat, both contenders broke away strong and hunted their way around two very slick, muddy fields. The first find was Jack’s at 9, stylish and polished. Bushwacker pinned the next covey at 31, looking equally poised . . . and then came in to back Jack on his second find at 38. Bushwacker carded his second find at 58. Both dogs were relentless in their pursuit but it wasn’t enough. Judges elected to give both handlers their retrieval units at the one-hour mark.

The final brace of the day showcased S F Fullcolor (Hurdle) and In Swami’s Shadow (Kinkelaar). Fullcolor took the right side edge off breakaway. No dog had been sent that direction before, and Fullcolor looked fancy running and determined to please. Shadow ran down right middle edge, also different. Both dogs ran down Duck Lake Road far in front of their handlers, and then came back before making the left into piney woods. Shadow stayed far to the front, thought maybe missing but then spotted after crossed gravel road on right at 25. Kinkelaar requested his retrieval unit at 38. Hurdle was given his retrieval unit at 40. Neither contender had any bird work.

Warm weather prevailed on the ninth day of running, similar to the previous day. Bully Rock (M. Tracy) and Mobile Strike (Ray) were paired up and gave us two memorable performances with twelve finds between them. Both dogs ran the country and exhibited smart hunting patterns. Rock finished with an overall strong forward race with eight well-spaced finds at 43 along Woodpecker Ridge, 46, 49, 55 with a smart relocation but loosened up a bit on flight, 59, 1:23 and 1:27; including one divided find at 34 and a back at 26. He appeared to shorten up a bit between finds at 49 and 55 but then shifted into higher gear again for his final 35 minutes. Strike also had a strong performance with four finds at 18 after nice right side cast, 26, 53 and 1:23, as well as the divided find at 34. The divided find was in right corner near the big house and a lengthy lope ensued to reach the two contenders. First time covey pointed in this location — nice piece of bird work. Unfortunately Strike had a breach of manners on his fifth and final find at 1:23 that ended his bid. Rock finished with his final find just before pickup — job well done!

Pine Straw Sweet Tea (J. Tracy) and Zumbro Stinky Pete (Gellhaus) began from the Coke Barn. This brace would not be as fortunate with bird work as the previous one. Sweet Tea ran big and fancy but her only potential quail contact was an unproductive at 24, and judges gave Tracy her retrieval unit at 50. Stinky Pete also hunted and ran strong but with no bird work judges elected to end his bid at 50 as well.

Afternoon temperatures remained warm with the wind picking up as Hale’s Kickstarter (Kinkelaar/Taylor) and Master’s Touch (Ray) came to the line for their bids. Shawn Kinkelaar handled Kickstarter for Eddy Taylor who was still recovering from his horse spill earlier in the trial. Unfortunately Kickstarter was not having success locating birds and Kinkelaar harnessed him at 18. Master’s Touch had one find at 9 but was not pleasing Ray who picked up at 34.

Grand Prairie Thrill (Rice) ran the country but wasn’t always forward and had no bird work. Judges gave Rice his retrieval unit at 46. Zorra (Kinkelaar) ran big but went missing and didn’t have any bird work. Kinkelaar asked for his retrieval unit at 35. Neither dog was seen much during the time they were on the ground.

The final day of the trial started a little late to allow rain showers to pass. Overcast skies, light wind, and temperatures in the low 60s prevailed as Sand Wood Creek (Raynor) and Joho’s Grand River Bess (Stretz) were released at 8:20 a. m. Creek ran a solid forward race most of the 90 minutes and finished with three covey finds at 37 (corner near big house, only the second covey find of trial at this location), 57 and 1:06. Bess had two finds at 38 and 59 but suffered two unproductives at 46 and 1:07. She was picked up following her second unproductive.

Both Silver W Jill Z (Kinkelaar) and Knight’s White Lady (Gellhaus) went missing off the breakaway and handlers asked for their retrieval units at 15.

Three dogs were featured in the last two braces of this stake, the final 39th brace being a bye dog. Showcased in the first afternoon brace were Miller’s Unbridled Forever (M. Tracy) and Deerfield Game (Basilone). Forever had one find at 5 but then failed to back bracemate at 9 and was picked up. Deerfield ran a good forward race with two covey finds at 9 and 27 but wasn’t beating what was being carried and the judges gave Basilone his retrieval unit at 60.

The last contender taken to the line at the barn was Miller’s Stray Bullet (Norman) which ran a consistently forward race with two finds at 16 and 27 and one unproductive at 46. He put down a good performance, fancy running and stylish but not changing the game. The judges gave Norman his retrieval unit at 57.

At headquarters a good size group gathered inside for the announcement of the winner. Director Joe Varner thanked judges and reporter, the Harberts, Jason Howard, Bill Lee and all the Sedgefields staff; Charles Klinck, dog wagon master; Steve Hutto, the doer of countless duties; field marshals Hunter McDuffie, Harrison Lee, and Chance Kelly; sponsors local and national including Purina, Sportsman Pride, Garmin, Five Star; the owners and handlers, the field trial directors, and last but not least Heather Klinck, organizer extraordinaire!

Osceola’s Rebel Chief was announced the winner to big smiles and much applause.

Union Springs, Ala., February 3

Judges: Jim Davis, Mike Jackson and Steve Mills

NATIONAL OPEN SHOOTING DOG CHAMPIONSHIP

[Ninety-Minute Heats] — 77 Entries

Winner—OSCEOLA’S REBEL CHIEF, 1682755, pointer male, by Dominator’s Rebel Heir—Hilltopper Debutante. Ted Roach, owner; Jason Loper, handler.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

In this year’s large field of 77 contenders, there were a number of strong and memorable performances that warrant mention here. In order of running (handler/owners):

Shagtime Scout (Kinkelaar/Prewitt); Lone Tree Splish Splash (Gellhaus/ Owen); Miller’s Creative Cause (Ray/ Liesfeld); Miller’s Heat Seeker (M. Tracy/Primm/Miller); Tallokas Sun Dial (Rice/Stewart); Dominator’s Ghost Rider (Ray/Ray/Gibson); Thrill Me (Rice/Finlayson); Urban Fantasy (Basilone/Terlizzi); Steel City Karen (J. Tracy/Reed/Archer); Bully Rock (M. Tracy/Saniga/Primm); Mobile Strike (Ray/Hinton/Lane); Sand Wood Creek (Raynor/Ruth).

Owners in attendance to watch their dogs included Allen Linder and granddaughter Madison, Bill and Muriel Primm, Carl Bishop, Karen and Bob Reed, Karen and Ernie Saniga, Becky and Tony Gibson, Casey Hollander, Harold Johnson, George Hickox, Ted Roach, Joe Lordi, Jr., Mike Reeves, Joe McHugh, Larry Brutger, J. Montgomery and T. Hammond, Debbie Ozner, Allison Stewart, and I’m sure there were others I regretfully may have missed.

SOCIAL SIDELIGHTS

This event is renown for the exceptional hospitality bestowed upon its participants including local residents who partake in many of the festivities. The food is always plentiful and absolutely delicious no matter who the caterer happens to be for any given meal, on any given day . . . and the bar is always stocked. A boundless and heartfelt thank you to everyone involved in the daunting task of keeping this diverse group of field trial enthusiasts happy and full for ten days, morning, noon, and night!

The drawing was held Saturday, February 1, at the field house with the Union Springs Country Club catering. A large crowd of over 80 people attended and the cocktails and food were excellent, with the usual emphasis on cocktails.

Sunday evening Steve Hutto and Heather Klinck served assorted food, chips, dips, and pizza for those who came to watch the Super Bowl at the field house.

Monday night Purina sponsored a delicious steak dinner at the Union Springs Country Club for a full house.

Tuesday evening festivities were back at the field house with cocktails sponsored by Phillips Feed and Seed, and a fabulous dinner catered by FPH Bakery.

Wednesday night we returned to the Union Springs Country Club for a wonderful fish dinner honoring last year’s winner, Thrill Me, courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Keith Finlayson.

Thursday we had cocktails and dinner at the field house again. Thank you Elias Richardson for the cocktails and A Catered Affair for a scrumptious dinner.

On Saturday evening, The Perote Ladies sponsored margaritas and other cocktails at the field house which was followed by dinner catered by Taco Mama.

Sunday we gathered at the field house for cocktails sponsored by the Joe Moorer Family and County Line Farm and then followed with a Union Springs Country Club-catered affair.

Monday evening’s cocktails were provided by Jane and Jim Klingler and Sportsman Pride sponsored a fabulous gumbo dinner spread prepared by Ban Stewart.

Tuesday cocktails were brought to us by Beck’s Turf/The Wildlife Group and dinner by FPH Bakery.

Wednesday’s libations and dinner were again catered by Union Springs Country Club.

Breakfasts were prepared and served daily by Savannah Fitzpatrick and Cierra Likely. The Tourism Council of Bullock County collects donations for field trial hospitality each year and the majority of these funds go toward providing complimentary hot breakfast to field trial participants at this Championship and the National Amateur Free-for-All Championship later in February.

The Union Springs Country Club catered lunches every day. Managers Ginny and David Allen do an exemplary job serving the community and the February trials bring much extra work to them and their dedicated staff.

Finally and very importantly, dog wagon refreshments were sponsored by Dr. Mac Varner and Family, Bill and Mimi Owen and the FPH Bakery.

C. M.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.