American Field

Heartland Open All-Age and Open Derby

Pony Express Field Trial Club

By Steve Auxier | Apr 17, 2018
Heartland Open All-Age Winners. In foreground, from left: Steve Auxier, Westfall’s Black Ace with Andy Daugherty, Whippoorwill Wild Assault with Larry Huffman, Westfall’s True Grit with Ryan Westfall, Thomas Smith, Colton (Larry Smith’s grandson) and Ellie Berendzen. Behind: Kory Rinehart, judge; Bill Westfall, Allen Vincent, Chris Livingston and Frank LaNasa, judge.

Gentry, Mo. — The Pony Express Field Trial Club members — Larry Smith, Linda Smith, Chris Livingston, Sean Hauser, Eddie Berendzen, Kirk Swanson, Terry Doolittle and Steve Auxier — came together and hosted the Heartland Open All-Age.

This year’s event was not only highlighted by amazing performances but also maintained the camaraderie that everyone looks forward to each spring.

We would like to thank in advance all the bird dog breeders, owners, handlers and all of the sponsors of this National Qualifying event. Without their support this event would not be possible.

Sponsors for this year’s event include Purina, The Saddle Guy, Western’s Smoke House, Tractor Supply, Carlson’s Choke Tubes, Johnson Bros. Distributing, and Good Life Fitness. Thanks to these folks for their support of the Heartland.

The Heartland Open commenced March 14 over the rolling north Missouri countryside known as Smith Farms west of Gentry, Mo. The field trial venue owned by Mr. and Mrs. Larry Smith has been laid out with four continuing one- hour courses to showcase all-age dogs. The trial grounds are a place that one would want to add to your list of field trial venues to visit.

In addition with a remodeling of an inviting clubhouse where three meals a day were served, covered horse corrals to house over ninety horses with water troughs and feed bunks to accommodate all handler/owner/and spectator horses was provided.

For all spectators and owners present a Polaris ATV was provided for those in attendance who did not want to ride a horse to view the field trial.

The Pony Express Club provided horse hay for the participants and all handlers were presented Purina Strategy grain for their horses that was sponsored by Tractor Supply.

Smith Farms has a pre-release quail program with habitat and food plots designed to sustain quail PLUS birds are released every day prior to the day’s running where every participant could have multiple finds.

Judges for this year’s event were Mr. Frank LaNasa of Isanti, Minn., and Mr. Korry Rinehart of Rienzi, Miss. The Pony Express Field Trial Club was truly honored to have both of these fine gentlemen in the judging seats. The judges had many great performances with multiple pieces of bird work and good race. Both judges noted they enjoyed the field trial, grounds, nice dogs, hospitality from the Pony Express Club and multiple bird contacts by all dogs.

Linda Smith and Mr. Steve Auxier conducted the onsite drawing with a sponsored social hour by Johnson Bros. Distributing and a meal prepared by Linda Smith and Donna Gladstone.

Attending the drawing were owners Mr. Bill Westfall and Mr. Ryan Westfall plus most handlers.

The Winners

Westfall’s Black Ace, handled by  Andy Daugherty, scouted by Ryan Westfall and owned by  Ryan Westfall, ran in the 9th brace and put on a great performance. Ace ran a very strong consistent forward race with four finds for a solid 60 minutes. The judges noted that he was very impressive on the ground and always pushing to the front. Ace finished the hour over the hill for a spectacular finish!

Whippoorwill Wild Assault, handled by Larry Huffman, scouted by Larry Smith and owned by Jim and Stephanie Bickers of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., was turned loose in brace No.  8. “Salt” had two nice finds and a stop to flush with very nice bird work. The judges noted that Salt was running deep into the country for a nice performance. He finished edging the field at time.

Westfall’s True Grit, handled by  Daugherty, scouted by Ryan Westfall and owned by Ryan Westfall, was third. It took Andy a few minutes to help him settle into his balanced performance but after the connection was there he went on to have three nice finds. The judges noted his third find was memorable.

In the last brace of the stake, Oakspring Big Time Warrior (Vincent) rendered a gutsy performance in unfavorable conditions. With 25+ mph winds, pouring rain, and cold temperatures, he put on a show for 40 solid minutes running the edges and looking for birds. Unfortunately the retrieval unit was called for when Allen lost connection. A great performance indeed!

The Running

Nemaha Boot (Dr. Pat McInteer) put on a nice performance. Boot was credited with six finds as he was on a bird hunting expedition. Hackberry’s Chris Kyle (Vincent) was picked up when he failed to back.

Westfall’s Black Thunder (Daugherty) and Barshoe Five’N Dimer (Vincent) were stretching out running their edges but unfortunately with the high winds both handlers elected to pick them up.

Nemaha Night Hawk started off doing a nice job for Dr. McInteer and was credited with six finds. Night Hawk finished the hour with a moderate race. Bracemate Westfall’s River Ice was credited with one find and Daugherty elected to pick up.

Westfall’s True Grit (Daugherty) and Working Class (Auxier) followed. True Grit’s performance was noted above. Working Class started off doing a nice job on the ground but was picked up for manners on a find.

S F Mapleleaf was credited with multiple finds and was doing a nice job for Allen Vincent. She finished the hour stretching to the front. Whippoorwill Blue Blood (Huffman) was credited with multiple finds but was picked up on a bird infraction.

Lowrider Frank (Vincent) was doing a nice job on the ground, stretching to the front and putting down a nice performance. Frank went on point near a culvert on the other side of the fence. When Allen went to relocate him the birds lifted for Frank. S F Bandwagon (Huffman) started the hour with a strong ground performance and a nice find right after breakaway. “Joe” was stretching out to the front and was found on point by Huffman. As Huffman went to flush Joe took too many steps.

Whippoorwill Red Rage (Vincent) and Worsham’s Silver Comet (Worsham) were putting on nice ground performances but lost contact with their handlers. The retrieval units were requested.

Whippoorwill Wild Assault’s performance was noted. Worsham’s Silver Comet started well but lost contact with Worsham. The retrieval device was requested.

Beeler’s Quick Step (Beeler)  was braced with Westfall’s Black Ace (Daugherty). Quick Step started off putting down a great ground race. As Scott came around the corner she was on point. Quick Step finished the hour for Scott. Westfall’s Black Ace’s performance was noted earlier.

Fraser’s John Henry (Daugherty) and  Whippoorwill Foto Op (Huffman)  were  turned loose in cold, windy, rainy conditions. Foto Op lost connection with her handler shortly after the breakaway. John Henry was doing a nice job on the ground and was credited with one find to finish the hour.

Salem’s Annie Oakley (Daugherty)  started with a nice find and finished the hour. R R Craftsman (Eddie Berendzen) began with a big ground race to be found to the front on point. All was in good order as she went on for another nice limb find. “Pepper” was again found to the front on point but took a few too many step on her last find.

Las Animas Fancy (Huffman) and Oakspring Big Time Warrior (Vincent). The last brace with unfavorable 25 mph winds, below 40° and pouring rain. Both dogs were doing a nice job on the ground but tough windy conditions caused handling issues for both dogs with their respective handlers.

Gentry, Mo., March 14

Judges: Frank LaNasa and Kory Rinehart

HEARTLAND OPEN ALL-AGE [One-Hour Heats] — 24 Pointers

1st—WESTFALL’S BLACK ACE, 1641946, male, by Westfall’s Black Ice—Black Bama. Bill Westfall, owner; Andy Daugherty, handler.

2d—WHIPPOORWILL WILD ASSAULT, 1644982, male, by Whippoorwill Wild Agin—Boxwood Bang. Jim & Stephanie Bickers, owners; Larry Huffman, handler.

3d—WESTFALL’S TRUE GRIT, 1663635, male, by Erin’s Brave Heart—Westfall’s Irish Bell. Ryan Westfall, owner; Andy Daugherty, handler.


By Larry Smith

The Heartland Derby started with pleasant weather on March 14. The 45- minute Purina Top Derby of Year qualifier attracted  ten entries and was judged by club members Sean Hauser and Chris Livingston. All of the starters had ample opportunity to find or demonstrate manners on game in this stake.

The judges named Westfall’s Castaway for first place, owned by Ryan Westfall and handled by Andy Daugherty. Second was Nemaha Rio, owned and handled by Dr. Pat McInteer of Falls City, Neb. Placing third was Miss Stylin Sue, owned by Dr. Jim Mills and Steve Lightle of Searcy, Ark., and handled by Allen Vincent.

Judges: Sean Hauser and Chris Livingston


1st—WESTFALL’S CASTAWAY, 1668789, male, by Westfall’s Non Typical—Black Bama. Ryan Westfall, owner; Andy Daugherty, handler.

2d—NEMAHA RIO, 1668952, male, by Nemaha Free Style—Wiggins Snow Rebel. Dr. Pat McInteer, owner and handler.

3d—MISS STYLIN SUE, 1674906, female, by Ransom—Coldwater Snow. Dr. Jim Mills & Steve Lightle, owners; Allen Vincent, handler.

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