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Field Trial Report

NBHA Southern Regional Championship

By Edwin Cooley | Mar 18, 2019
NBHA Southern Regional Championship Winners. Front, from left: Peach Twist with Terry Amberson and Indian Creek Bocephus with Garry and Jill Malzone. Standing: Marty Robinson (Twist’s owner-handler) and Judges Brad Kennedy and Ronald Thrasher.

Walnut Grove, Ala. — The NBHA Southern Regional Championship (formerly Mid-South) was held January 17-18 at the Jet Pep Plantation in Walnut Grove, Ala.

Thanks to the generosity of Chuck Moore and Robert Norris, owners of Jet Pep Plantation, the Alabama Region of NBHA was able to host owners, handlers, and other guests on one of the premier walking field trial grounds in the South. Approximately 470 acres of open fields, stripped grain sorghum, picked and standing corn, stripped weed fields, planted pines, and carefully arranged islands of briars and shrubs provided ideal conditions for dogs to display run, hunt, handle, and style.

While numerous drainage ditches from one foot to twelve feet deep were designed to allow the grounds to be adequately drained of excess moisture, north Alabama has been “unusually blessed” this fall/winter with abundant rain. (Many local farmers complain of the “sloppy conditions” in fields, pastures, and barn areas.)

True to form, it rained almost all day during the first day’s running of the Open Shooting Dog. In an effort to protect the landowners’ property (as much as possible) almost one-fourth of the normal course had to be avoided due to wet conditions.

As all field trialers know, sometimes you just have to change things “on the fly.” A new course lay-out was developed that reduced damage to fields, roads, and paths while providing adequate acreage for a one-hour course. Appropriate and well-designed crossings were available at key points, and no dogs were lost due to inability to scout across these ditches. Several visitors who had never seen these grounds stated that they were some of the finest they had seen. The large covered equipment shed with heated buildings provided a respite from the cold rain that greeted participants on opening morning. (Intermittent rain mixed with constant drizzle felt uncomfortable to dogs, horses, owners, and handlers!) It should also be noted that not only did the owners of Jet Pep graciously provide their private hunting preserve and personal equipment for our field trial enjoyment, but they also rode and enjoyed many fine performances. (The Alabama Region couldn’t have asked for more gracious, willing, and helpful hosts.)

Judges for the Championship and Derby Stakes were well-known and highly respected dog men Brad Kennedy of Red Bay, Ala., and Ronald Thrasher of Moulton, Ala. As active field trialers and experienced judges it was obvious that these two men knew their dogs, field trials, and “field trialers.” Dogs and handlers were given fair and ample opportunity to “show their stuff,” and there were several performances that could have been used on other days. (Even though the weather and the conditions created challenges, being able to select winners from a number of nice performances makes for a quality trial.) Two hard days of riding with undivided attention and focus on dogs (with rain and drizzle) surely took its toll on both judges and their mounts, but there was never a letdown, loss of focus, or abbreviated brace due to judge fatigue. The Alabama Region of NBHA owes a sincere debt of gratitude to these fine men and to their willingness to contribute their time, skill, and effort to this trial.

A championship trial requires many different contributions from a variety of human skill sets. Credit and appreciation has already been expressed to the owners of Jet Pep Plantation and to the judges, but a trial of this size and stature couldn’t possibly be successful without the involvement of many other “field trial friends.” The Alabama Region of NBHA would like to recognize and thank the following: National NBHA for their financial support and assistance in scheduling the trial; Garmin for their continued support and awarding of training devices to the winners; Purina Pro Plan for their ongoing support of NBHA and their generous donation of dog food certificates to Southern Region winners; Gun Dog Supply for their donation of two gift certificates; Mule Hunting Clothes; Christie Enterprises; and Lion Country Supply for their generous donation of bird bags. Others who were instrumental to the success of the trial were club officers Harold Boyett, Dr. Jim Crook, Ed Cooley, and “Delbert.” They worked tirelessly to “make things happen.” Opening gates, delivering birds, planting birds, cooking lunch, marshalling duties, paperwork, drawing of braces, creation of brace sheets and judges’ books, and many other miscellaneous details are required to have a successful trial.

The Alabama Region of NBHA is especially thankful for those who traveled many miles to compete their dogs and help make the trial successful. Gary Malzone and Jill brought eleven dogs; Stanley and John McCain came from Georgia to watch Oscar Whitt run their four entries; David Emert from South Carolina came to enter two setter Derbies; Marty Robinson came from Georgia to win the Championship; and Terry Amberson, Jim Hughes, Dr. Jim Crook, and Ed Cooley, all from Alabama, made-up the local entry.

As mentioned previously, opening morning saw mild temperatures with intermittent rain showers and constant drizzle. Rain gear was standard clothing of the day. Afternoon conditions moderated somewhat and walking handlers were able to shed bulky rain gear.

The champion, Peach Twist, emerged from the eighth and last brace on the morning of the second day for owner-handler Marty Robinson of Waco, Ga. Twist, a beautiful white female, had a nice, front-running, mature race with multiple finds. Her manners were impeccable and her attractive gait and propensity to handle set her apart. She was always to the front, and she was in “agreement” with her handler when turns or crossings had to be negotiated. Her final find several hundred yards to the front, in a part of the course not previously used, put the finishing touches on a nice performance. Twist was certainly a worthy champion and fine representative for the NBHA.

Runner-up went to Indian Creek Bocephus for owner Edward Marron of Ho Ho Kus, N. J., and handler Garry Malzone. “Bo” ran in the sixth brace in the afternoon of the first day when rain and drizzle had subsided. He is a strong dog with classic gait and carriage. With multiple finds and big, sweeping casts, Bo impressed all in attendance. His final find at pickup put the finishing touches on a truly fine performance. The judges selected their favorite performances, and only the slightest of factors separated the winner and runner-up from other entrants. It should be noted that there were other multiple-find performances worthy of consideration.

All Derby winners had multiple contacts with game, and several unplaced Derbies had “more than acceptable” races and “broke” finds. All placements were awarded to dogs based on race, bird work, and manners consistent with age and standards. First place was awarded to David Emert’s setter female Emert’s Driving Miss Daisy which is a fast on the ground, classy, handling female that is broke beyond her age. Her front-driving gait coupled with multiple finds and backs set her apart on this day. She is fun to watch. Interesting to note that she also won a puppy stake on these grounds last year. Second was Indian Creek Alibi, pointer female belonging to Black Meadow Kennels and handled by Garry Malzone. Alibi’s classic race combined with multiple broke finds ensured her a top placement. Third place went to Jim Hughes’ pointer female Belle Star, handled by Oscar Whitt. Belle’s race, handle, and bird-finding ability were on display as she punched to the front with multiple broke finds.

Officers and officials of the Alabama Region of NBHA want to thank land-owners, judges, and those who traveled long distances to make our trial successful. We hope to build on this year’s success and create a field trial atmosphere where all can enjoy beautiful grounds, great canine performances, and sportsmanlike competition within a framework of fairness and friendly fellowship. Watch for Alabama Region of NBHA future trial advertisements and come “help us have fun.”

Walnut Grove, Ala., January 17 — One Course

Judges: Brad Kennedy and Ronald Thrasher

NBHA SOUTHERN REGIONAL OPEN SHOOTING DOG CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] — 11 Pointers and 5 Setters

Winner—PEACH TWIST, 1647053, pointer female, by Phillips White Twist—Attitude’s Blackhawk Barbie. Marty B. Robinson, owner and handler.

Runner-Up—INDIAN CREEK BOCEPHUS, 1656742, pointer male, by Brown’s Tom Tom—Indian Creek Riptide. Edward Marron, owner; Garry Malzone, handler.

NBHA OPEN DERBY — 8 Pointers and 2 Setters

1st—EMERT’S DRIVING MISS DAISY, 1675308, setter female, by San Jack’s My Charlie—San Jac’s Bandit. David Emert, owner and handler.

2d—INDIAN CREEK ALIBI, 1679846, pointer female, by Waybetter Rocky—Calico’s Touch of Class. Black Meadow Kennels, owner; Garry Malzone, handler.

3d—BELLE STAR, 1678805, pointer female, by Miller’s Speed Dial—Cold Creek Ms. Kay. Jim Hughes, owner; Oscar Whitt, handler.

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