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Start of New Season Just Around the Corner

Ohio Valley Field Trial Circuit

By Mary Sue Schalk | Sep 11, 2017
OVFTC Award Winners. From left: Bill Suiter, Scott Little with Lolita, Shooting Dog of the Year; Mike Crouse with Crouse’s Oak Heights, Derby of the Year; and Mary Sue Schalk.

The 2017-2018 field trial season for the Ohio Valley Field Trial Circuit will kick off in Western Kentucky on October 14 when the Coalfield Field Club will host the circuit’s season-opener at the West Kentucky Wildlife Management Area. An Amateur All-Age Stake, Open Derby and Amateur Shooting Dog Stake are on the schedule the second weekend in October.

The 2017-2018 season promises to be filled with excitement and new endeavors for the OVFTC as we strive to share our sport with those unfamiliar with the ins and outs of horseback field trial events.

Our unique circuit is comprised of clubs from Western Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee.

Former AFTCA President Jim Crouse serves as the president of the OVFTC. Bill Suiter serves as the vice-president, with Mary Sue Schalk as secretary/treasurer. With both seasoned veterans and passionate young people on our leadership team, we are pushing forward to grow the sport we all love so very much.

We are a distinctive organization in that several of our clubs host events that overlap into Regions 4, 5 and 6.

At our annual spring meeting, we celebrated not only the dogs of the 2016-2017 season, but also the success and improvement of the public lands we are able to utilize. We applaud those who have contributed to the success and improvement of Pyramid State Park in Illinois and the grounds at Ft. Campbell. We also appreciate the diligence and dedication of those who are maintaining the venue in Kevil, Ky., at the West Kentucky WMA.

Through celebrations we are able to reward those who have competed and given to our clubs. April 29 we held our annual spring meeting and honored three outstanding canine athletes with their owner/handlers. Those earning top dog titles were Touch’s Fire Dancer, Lolita, and Crouse’s Oak Heights.

Earning the All-Age honors was Touch’s Fire Dancer, pointer female owned and campaigned by Keith Wright of Covington, Ind. Not only did she take top dog honors in the OVFTC with 228 points, she was also named top All-Age Dog in Region 6. This is the first top dog honor for Keith on the Ohio Valley Circuit, but with a strong string like his we expect him to be in the running again this season.

The Scott Little Family returned to the winners’ circle again for the Shooting Dog of the Year Award. The Tennesseeans have earned the award five of the last six seasons. This year Lolita, setter female, earned 122 points to take the title. She is the first setter to earn the award in many years, and the first setter female ever to earn Shooting Dog of the Year on the Ohio Valley FTC.

Making history was the Derby of the Year, Crouse’s Oak Heights. Son of two-time National Champion Shadow Oak Bo, this young setter male was the first setter to take the title in the circuit’s 45-year history. Hailing from Kentucky, Mike Crouse is the owner and handler of the young dog. Crouse’s Oak Heights earned 62 points and the award.

We invite all to participate in our events at whatever capacity they are able — competing, judging, serving lunch, and driving the dog wagon —you choose! Check out our schedule and plan to come visit one of our trials.

In responding to AFTCA President David Williams’ “Call to Action” (see issue of August 5), we invite all field trial enthusiasts to start simply by using the following hashtag: #shareoursport.

Social media is a valuable tool and many in our sport are already using this resource. Whether you are in your back yard working pigeons or competing in your club’s annual event — POST IT! Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are all easy to use and a great way to reach an international audience. Look for us in cyberspace this season and please join our movement. #shareoursport.

[Editor’s note: The American Field web site is also an ideal avenue for posting news and photos.]

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