American Field

Field Trial Report

North Dakota Open All-Age Trials

By Bonnie Hidalgo | Oct 06, 2017
North Dakota Open All-Age Classic Winners. From left front: Josh Wall with Lowrider Frank, Piper Huffman with Whippoorwill Justified and Lake Odom with Dazzling. Standing: Eddie Sholar, Dennis and Bonnie Hidalgo, Marian and Dr. Jim Mills, Lorie and Allen Vincent, Larry Huffman, Rick Furney, Sean Hauser, judge; Steve Hurdle, Dr. Bob Rankin, Darron Hensley, Renee Peek and Rider Jacobson. [Photos by Vera Courtney.]

Columbus, N. D. — Lowrider Frank, white and liver pointer male owned by Dr. Jim Mills DVM and Steve Lightle of Searcy, Ark., won the North Dakota Open All-Age Classic. Frank was capably guided by his trainer Allen Vincent to two beautiful limb finds in a strong, forward race to win this National Championship qualifying stake.

Whippoorwill Justified was second for owner Ronnie Spears of Jacksonville, Ark., and handler Larry Huffman. The white and liver pointer male ran a great race with three finds and one unproductive. “Patch” put in a strong challenge for the stake.

Dazzling, white and orange ticked pointer female, was third with a big race and one find. Bob Walthall and Thorpe McKenzie of Tallahassee, Fla., own her; Steve Hurdle handled.

In the Dr. D. E. Hawthorne Border Open All-Age Classic, also a National Championship qualifier, Mercer Mill Gunpowder took the top honors, handled by Billy Wayne Morton for Mercer Mill Plantation. The white and liver Gunpowder has placed on these grounds several times, beginning in his Derby season. He was credited with two fabulous limb finds in a great prairie all-age performance.

Neely’s Chocolate Chip Cookie, white and liver pointer male owned by Brad Kennedy of Red Bay, Ala., was second for handler Steve Hurdle. Chip had two nice finds and one barren stand in his big, predominantly forward hour.

Third was Touch’s Mega Mike, white and orange pointer male which carded one very nice find in a huge but hard to hang on to race. Mike is owned by Georgians Eddie Sholar and Ted Dennard and was handled by Mark McLean.

The Dr. Douglas Guthrie Memorial Open Derby was the first stake of the eight-day trial. Montana Sky, pointer female owned by Thorpe McKenzie and Bob Walthall and handled by Steve Hurdle, won on the virtue of his forward race. Second went to Ace’s R Wild, pointer male owned by Reuben Richardson of Montgomery, Ala., and handled by Mark McLean. Superstition’s Final Touch was third. He is owned by Richard Peterson of Gilbert, Ariz., and was handled by Allen Vincent.

The Dr. D. E. Hawthorne Open Derby started the Border Classic portion of the trial. Winning this stake with a combination of wonderful race and polished, stylish bird work was the aptly named Miss Stylin Sue, owned by Dr. Jim Mills and Steve Lightle. The pointer female was handled by Allen Vincent. Ace’s R Wild placed second with a nice find and an appealing race. Mark McLean handled Reuben Richardson’s nice young pointer. Sergio, pointer male owned by Alabaman Rick Stallings and handled by Steve Hurdle, was third with a fine race.

The drawing for all stakes was held Monday evening, September 4, at the Vincent Camp. The drawing was conducted by Allen Vincent with the aid of Piper Huffman and Lorie Vincent. There were 38 dogs drawn in both the North Dakota Classic and the Dr. D. E. Hawthorne Border Classic. The Dr. Guthrie Memorial Derby drew twelve entries, while the Dr. Hawthorne Derby drew fourteen.

The North Dakota Open All-Age Field Trial Club event began September 6 and concluded September 9. Oklahomans Dr. Robert Rankin, vice-president of the North Dakota Club, and Preston Trimble, its secretary, were both on hand to help put on a great trial.

The Border Classic trial ran September 10-13. Preston is president of this club, Jerome Koppelsloen, one of the landowners, is vice-president. Bob Rankin serves on the board of directors. Allen Vincent was chairman of the field trial committee and stakes manager for both clubs.

The grounds at Columbus, N. D., cover CRP land and hay fields that belong to fifteen different landowners who have generously shared their land with dog trainers and field trials for many years.

Trial headquarters are on the Jack Koppelsloen homestead; the old decaying farmhouse provides an interesting glimpse of the days before conveniences that we now consider necessities. The homestead is three miles east and three miles south of Columbus. Camping, horse corrals, hay and water were available on site. Years back it was the summer training camp of the late Gary Pinalto. Gary’s name is left posthumously on the North Dakota Club’s board of directors in honor of the contributions he made to the club. Allen shares this camp with Larry Huffman.

These grounds consist of six one-hour courses laid out over a vast prairie and some rolling hills. Several areas of dry cattail attest to the fact that this is usually an area of scattered bogs. This year’s drought made for safe passage through all cattail swamps but also reduced the typical bird population.

The FSA opened CRP lands in the state for haying because of the drought. This tended to concentrate the birds in areas of good cover. Though not as plentiful as they usually are, there were adequate birds for a quality field trial.

Allen Vincent chaired the event; he, along with Larry Huffman and Dr. Bob Rankin, marshalled all stakes.

Vera Courtney was the dependable dog wagon driver, in the right place at the right time. Her cheerful personality brightened up the entire event. She also took many wonderful photos of dogs and people and shared them generously. Many thanks to Vera for all the winners’ photos she provided for this report.

Allen maintained a good supply of hay near the corrals, making life easier for everyone. Every evening Allen made sure that the judges were taken out to dinner and that everyone had what they needed during the trial.

A huge thank-you to Sportsman’s Pride which generously sponsored this event. They donated The American Field ad and all the food that was served at the Saturday evening fish fry. Their sponsorship is greatly appreciated by the field trial committee and by all in attendance.

Billy Wayne Morton brought the fish and did a fantastic job cooking it along with fries and hush puppies. Preston Trimble sponsored the open bar.

This annual fish fry is a way of saying thank you to the community. The entire town of Columbus is invited and the many landowners around the area. It was a wonderful way to meet and show appreciation to the great folks in this community.

Judges for the North Dakota Open All-Age Classic were Will Dunn of Lebanon, Ky., and Sean Hauser of Manchester, Ia. Sean was accompanied by his wife, Deb. Will Dunn earned his “bird dog degree” by growing up in Western Kentucky where many great pointers are raised. At a young age he learned to appreciate a good bird dog and began to learn how to develop them. One of his current successful pointers is a field trialer’s household word, Ch. Dunn’s Tried’N True, last season’s Purina Top Dog Awad winner.

Sean Hauser began trialing with German Shorthairs many years ago and enjoyed much success with them. He ventured into the pointer world and has continued his winning ways. Sean and Deb owned the late Ch. Erin’s Kentucky Gambler, a tough competitor on the all- age circuit. The Hausers have some good young pointers coming on.

Sean and Will were a great judging team. Each knows what he is looking at and what they are looking for. They were personable and paid attention.

Sean Hauser and Dennis Hidalgo judged the Dr. Guthrie Memorial Open Derby.

Dennis and Bonnie Hidalgo of Brighton, Colo., were honored to judge the Dr. Hawthorne Border Classic All- Age and Open Derby. Bonnie grew up in a field trial family. Dennis was an avid hunter who discovered field trials in 1974. They train their own dogs on wild birds and have won several championship placements with their pointers and red setters.

Preston Trimble, longtime officer and director in the clubs that host this trial, was on hand, accompanied by his pretty granddaughter Emily Allan. They rode several braces and Preston passed out his trademark salted peanuts in between.

Tom Word was a welcome visitor from Virginia who spent a couple of days helping Vera Courtney with dog wagon detail. Dr. Bob Rankin and Dr. Jim and Marian Mills were present to watch their dogs perform for Allen Vincent. Lorie Vincent stayed for much of the trial, leaving on Sunday to go back to work. Josh Wall worked for Allen this summer and scouted several of his dogs in the trial.

Piper Huffman, broken ribs and all, rode most of the trial in support of husband Larry. Jack Schwarz and Gary Futch came to watch their dogs running under the guidance of Rick Furney.

Visitors who came to ride for a couple of days or just an afternoon were John McCallum, Jim Bickers, Jim and Donna Crain, Tom Hennes, Mark Livingston.

Brandon Blum ran the only amateur handled dog, his champion German Shorthair B M B’s Free Ride.

Fred Rayl’s son-in-law Mike Martino left his own summer camp for a few days to scout for Fred. Hard riding Lake Odom scouted for Billy Wayne Morton and Steve Hurdle. Cody McLean ran a couple Derby dogs and scouted for his dad Mark. Apologies to anyone I may have missed.

Lake, Josh and Cody came to my rescue the final morning of the trial when my attempt to catch Dennis’ escaping horse failed. It seems the horse knew just when to fling the reins out of my reach. Lake was having the same problem so he rode alongside and switched horses on the run! Unfortunately, he landed behind the saddle of the runaway and was promptly pitched off. I managed to grab Lake’s horse, Josh continued to try to corner Dennis’ horse and Cody rode in to snag the only rein left on the bridle. So ended the between-brace entertainment. Dennis repaired his rein and we went back to judging dogs!

Dr. Douglas Guthrie Memorial Open Derby Montana Sky won the Dr. Douglas Guthrie Memorial Open Derby with a big and consistently forward race. Ace’s R Wild was second for handler Mark McLean. This fast young pointer ran a big race that was mostly forward in application. Superstition’s Final Touch was third with an attractive race that showed a little less maturity than the first two dogs. There were several nice performances but none of the dogs in this Open Derby found birds.

Twelve dogs competed in this stake which was officiated by Sean Hauser and Dennis Hidalgo.

Columbus, N. D., September 6

Judges: Sean Hauser and Dennis Hidalgo


1st—MONTANA SKY, 1674907, female, by Skyfall—Twin Oak’s Elhew Sparkle. Bob Walthall & Thorpe McKenzie, owners; Steve Hurdle, handler.

2d—ACE’S R WILD, 1668628, male, by Just Irresistible—Wildlife Sis. Reuben Richardson, owner; Mark McLean, handler.

3d—SUPERSTITION’S FINAL TOUCH, 1674993, female, by Touch’s Adams County—Reed’s Dixie Spirit. Ric Peterson, owner; Allen Vincent, handler.


North Dakota Open All-Age Classic

First place Lowrider Frank appeared in the fourth brace on Thursday morning. Dr. Jim and Marian Mills were mounted to watch Frank’s spectacular winning performance.

Frank made an early move which covered the hills on the right side of the course. Deep into the country, point was called for Frank at 8. He was rock solid on a well-located sharptail. Frank scored another limb find at 42; again everything was perfect. He ran a consistent, forward race that covered the country.

Whippoorwill Justified made a strong, challenging effort that earned him second place. At 18 he was pointed far to the front. After a hard ride Huffman put up birds before the mannerly pointer. His second find came at 28, all in good order, and was a reward for a reaching, forward move. Justified was seen up front after his second find and then was absent. He was found pointed at 39 after the gallery passed him by; his birds were flushed while he remained high and tight. He had an unproductive at 55, then went on to finish his thrilling hour well forward.

Dazzling began her bid by making big moves on the right taking her out of pocket. Scout Lake Odom rode to turn her. Once back in control she remained in tune with Hurdle. Dazzling pointed stylishly at 18; relocation was required and she styled up again just as the bird lifted. Dazzling was fast and attractive on the ground; she appeared unaffected by the heat. A noteworthy performance.

The Running

S F Mapleleaf’s (Vincent) owner Dr. Bob Rankin was riding to observe her performance on this hot, dry afternoon. Fire Line (McLean) made some big moves but was difficult to control. He was picked up early. Mapleleaf made nice moves and was forward in pattern but the heat of the afternoon took its toll and she was up before the hour.

Dazzling’s (Hurdle) hour was covered above. Whippoorwill Foto Op (Huffman) was making a big move on the right, swinging toward Huffman’s voice when the other scout crossed her path, drawing her off. Foto Op’s scout rode to intercept and got her attention back on her handler. She continued a strong forward pattern for the remainder of the hour but found no birds.

Touch’s Blue Moon (McLean) ran a fine, predominantly forward all-age race. Mercer Mill Grand (Morton) made some good moves and pointed at 14 but it was unproductive. A second barren stand at 36 put an end to his performance. No birds were moved this brace.

Lowrider Frank (Vincent) and Touch’s White Knight (McLean) were the first brace on Thursday morning; it was cool and sunny. Frank’s performance was related above. Knight cast well into the right side of the course. At 6 the call of point was heard. Knight stood with high style and intensity but no birds were produced. Knight made some strong moves and was lost by 45.

Mercer Mill Moon (Morton) and Whippoorwill Blue Blood (Huffman) were out of pocket early. Moon was found pointed at 10; he successfully relocated with all in good order. Blue pointed at 27 but no birds were produced and he was up. Moon pointed again at 47 but it was unproductive.

Georgia Boy Rock (McLean) was absent by 15. Cassique’s Boss (Hurdle) was strong and forward. He scored an excellent find at 21. Rock returned by 22 and was on hand to back Boss on a covey find at 28. Both dogs were mannerly. Rock pointed at 39 but pushed birds out to end his bid. Boss shortened his pace in the last quarter hour.

Mercer Mill Gunpowder (Morton) and Las Animas Fancy (Huffman). Thursday afternoon was unpleasantly hot. Gunpowder was big running with a rough handle. He pointed at 48 but it was unproductive. Fancy was under birds early and picked up.

Skyfall (Hurdle) pointed at 16 but it was barren. Oakspring Big Time Warrior (Vincent) and Skyfall started like they were going to set the prairie on fire but instead it took the fire out of them and they were up before the hour.

Whippoorwill Mayhem (Huffman) and Touch’s Mega Mike (McLean). Mike pointed at 26 but it was unsuccessful. This brace ended early with no birds moved.

Pointers Samstorm (Vincent) and Coldwater Hammer (McLean) were a bit wild early and were briefly absent. They showed nicely forward at 21. At 29 Sandstorm pointed with Hammer backing; no birds were flushed. Hammer pointed at 34 but moved up during a lengthy flushing attempt. Sandstorm had a second unproductive at 36.

Miller’s Kentucky Blu suffered an unproductive at 17. With little chance of finding game in the long hay field, Blu was picked up at 28. Neely’s Chocolate Chip Cookie (Hurdle) was strong running but was seen under birds near the railroad cars; he was ordered up on his return to the front at 29.

Mountain Music was not suiting Hurdle and was up early. Whippoorwill Wild Assault (Huffman) scored a find with relocation at 23, nicely done. He had two more good finds, each on a single sharptail, at 29 and 33. He pointed again at 48, was asked to relocate and stopped at the flush. He ran a forward pattern at medium range.

Hackberry’s Chris Kyle (Vincent) and Shadow Mountain Gus (Hurdle). The Friday afternoon heat was brutal; this pair succumbed to it and were up early with no birds moved.

Barshoe Five’N Dimer (Vincent) and Lester’s Private Charter (McLean) turned in awesome races, forward and fast for the hour. No birds were found.

B K’s Ransom (Hurdle) started well but shortened late. Spencer’s Rambling Lawman (Rayl) ran a consistent medium race. No birds were moved.

Whippoorwill Justified (Huffman) and Seminole Boss (Furney). Boss’ owner Jack Schwarz was mounted. This was Saturday’s opening brace. Justified’s hour was covered earlier. Boss was fast and strong on the ground. He eventually got out of pocket and was picked up.

B M B’s Free Ride (Blum) pointed at 15 but it was unproductive. The Shorthair showed good ground speed but his performance was not challenging the leaders and he was picked up early. Touch’s Game Point (McLean) faded out of sight along the railroad tracks and then showed just before the road. He got out of hand again after the road crossing and McLean opted to pick up.

Secret Agent (Furney) and Sandhill Trig (Rayl). Agent’s owner Gary Futch was present for this brace. Point was called for Agent at 20 but no birds were flushed. Both dogs were predominantly forward in pattern but were picked up early for not challenging what the judges were carrying.

House’s Buckwheat Hawk (McLean) and Rocky Knoll Jackson (Rayl) were turned loose from headquarters on the heels of the previous brace. It had turned into another hot afternoon. Hawk got rowdy and McLean opted to pick up at 30. The setter Jackson made some good moves but eventually the heat took its toll and his bid was over.

Judges: Sean Hauser and Will Dunn


36 Pointers, 1 Setter and 1 German Shorthair

1st—LOWRIDER FRANK, 1650933, pointer male, by Miller’s Happy Jack—Fairchase Jiggs. Dr. Jim Mills & Steve Lightle, owners; Allen Vincent, handler.

2d—WHIPPOORWILL JUSTIFIED, 1656011, pointer male, by Whippoorwill Wild Agin—Sparkles. Ronnie Spears, owner; Larry Huffman, handler.

3d—DAZZLING, 1648173, pointer female, by Whippoorwill Wild Agin—Sparkles. Bob Walthall & Thorpe McKenzie, owners; Steve Hurdle, handler.

Dr. D. E. Hawthorne Open Derby

Miss Stylin Sue won this stake on the strength of her race and one pristine find. The fancy pointer female was handled by Allen Vincent. Ace’s R Wild, handled by Mark McLean, had a very nice race and a good find to take second. Sergio was third for handler Steve Hurdle on the strength of his race.

Judges for the Hawthorne Derby were Dennis and Bonnie Hidalgo. There were fourteen entries.

Judges: Bonnie Hidalgo and Dennis Hidalgo


1st—MISS STYLIN SUE, 1674906, female, by Ransom—Coldwater Snow. Dr. Jim Mills & Steve Lightle, owners; Allen Vincent, handler.

2d—ACE’S R WILD, 1668628, male, by Just Irresistible—Wildlife Sis. Reuben Richardson, owner; Mark McLean, handler.

3d—SERGIO, 1674990, male, by Native Sun—Ken’s Bell. Rick Stallings, owner; Steve Hurdle, handler.

Dr. D. E. Hawthorne Border Classic

The winner, Mercer Mill Gunpowder, won with a strong race and two superb limb finds. Gunpowder ran an impressive race. He pointed stylishly, well to the front on the road edge at 12; flight of a bird was called but none was officially seen. He scored a limb find at 29 on a covey of chicken, very nicely done. At 53 Gunpowder scored a second limb find, stylish with all in order. He finished the hour well.

Neely’s Chocolate Chip Cookie was second. The pointer ran a big, predominantly forward race. Chip pointed a covey of young birds along the tracks at 13. It was an outstanding piece of work; a forward limb find which included an efficient relocation. He had an unproductive stand at 28, then scored another nice find at 46.

Touch’s Mega Mike, third, ran a huge, predominantly forward race. He scored a stylish and mannerly find, well to the front at 40. Mike was out of pocket for several minutes just before time.

The Running

Coldwater Hammer (McLean) and Seminole Boss (Furney). Jack Schwarz was on hand to watch Boss. This brace ran Sunday afternoon. Hammer was up at 15. Boss ran a big race. He pointed in the southeast corner. A relocation was necessary and he stopped to flush on relocation.

Miller’s Kentucky Blu (Huffman) was scratched. B M B’s Free Ride was not suiting Blum and was picked up early.

Spencer’s Rambling Lawman (Rayl) warmed into a big race and was lost. Lowrider Frank (Vincent) ran a wide and mostly forward race but found no birds.

Cassique’s Boss (Hurdle) scored a good find on a single. He ran a nice race for much of the hour but had a slow spell between 45 and 55. He finished going away. Georgia Boy Rock (McLean) pointed at 30 but pushed birds out on relocation.

Secret Agent (Furney) and Sandhill Trig (Rayl). Agent’s owner Gary Futch was present. Agent had an unproductive at 33. He ran a big strong race but disappeared at 38. Furney was concerned that he might be headed toward the highway and took the retrieval unit early. Trig ran a consistent hour but had no contact with game.

The winner, Mercer Mill Gunpowder, was down with Barshoe Five’N Dimer (Vincent) which had a find at 13. Birds lifted as riders approached, all in order. He started slow but warmed into a very nice race. Dimer finished far to the front. He was under consideration until the final morning.

Rocky Knoll Jackson (Rayl) and Whippoorwill Wild Assault (Huffman) weren’t having their best day and were up early.

Lester’s Private Charter (McLean) and Oakspring Big Time Warrior (Vincent). This pair of pointers ran big races. They were both absent after the road crossing and their scouts found them standing at 32. It appeared that Warrior was pointing and Charter was backing but birds lifted in front of each of them. They continued their hard-driving races as the course began to parallel the railroad tracks at the close of the hour.

Dazzling (Hurdle) pointed at 5 but no birds were produced. She was lost by 24. Whippoorwill Foto Op ran a great race but went without game contact.

Mercer Mill Grand (Morton) and Touch’s White Knight (McLean) were the the first brace on Tuesday. Grand was the closer working of the pair. Knight ran a great race early but was lost by the hour’s end.

Neely’s Chocolate Chip Cookie’s (Hurdle) performance was listed earlier. Whippoorwill Blue Blood (Huffman) was running a huge race and was hard to keep. His retrieval unit was out by 34.

Mercer Mill Moon (Morton) was picked up following an unproductive at 35. Hackberry’s Chris Kyle (Vincent) was also up before the hour.

Both Whippoorwill Mayhem (Huffman) and B K’s Ransom (Hurdle) ran big races despite the afternoon heat. Mayhem pointed just before time but it was not productive. Ransom was lost.

S F Mapleleaf’s (Vincent) owner Dr. Bob Rankin was riding. House’s Buckwheat Hawk (McLean) warmed into a nice race. He pointed at 57; relocation was needed and successful. Mapleleaf ran a very nice race but went without bird contact.

Whippoorwill Justified (Huffman) was scratched. Touch’s Blue Moon (McLean) was running a medium race, not challenging the leaders, and was up early. Touch’s Mega Mike’s (McLean) performance was related previously. Mountain Music (Hurdle) was a handful and was up at 30. Las Animas Fancy (Huffman) pointed, then pushed birds at 12. Shadow Mountain Gus (Hurdle) wasn’t changing the standings and was up early. Samstorm (Vincent) and Fire Line (McLean) were a bit too companionable and were taken up early. Skyfall (Hurdle) and Touch’s Game Point (McLean) were rough handling and up before the hour.


36 Pointers, 1 Setter and 1 German Shorthair

1st—MERCER MILL GUNPOWDER, 1646769, pointer male, by Whippoorwill War Dance—Touch’s Silver Scar. Mercer Mill Plantation, owner; Billy Wayne Morton, handler.

2d—NEELY’S CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE, 1662656, pointer male, by Game Strut—Panther Creek Delta Dawn. Brad Kennedy, owner; Steve Hurdle, handler.

3d—TOUCH’S MEGA MIKE, 1669609, pointer male, by House’s Ring of Fire—Touch’s Blayalock Bess. Eddie Sholar & Ted Dennard, owners; Mark McLean, handler

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