American Field

End-of-Season Festivities Recognize Top Dogs and Handlers

Purina Awards — 2017-2018

Jul 30, 2018
Top All-Age Award Winner Touch’s Mega Mike is posed by Cody McLean, joined by, from left: Ike Todd, owners Ted Dennard and Eddie Sholar, and handler Mark McLean.

The weekend of June 22-23 wrapped up the 2017-2018 field trial season at the Purina Event Center in Gray Summit, Mo., where the season’s top dogs and handlers — all- age and shooting dog — were feted, their accomplishments formally recognized during the weekend.

The Purina Event Center southwest of St. Louis, Mo., served as the site for the weekend festivities. The facility has been enlarged and enhanced over the years, providing an ideal venue to showcase the season’s “best.”

Touch’s Mega Mike claimed the Top All-Age Dog Award for Georgia owners Eddie Sholar and Ted Dennard, handled by Mark McLean who earned the season’s Top All-Age Handler Award.

Indianan Keith Wright’s Touch’s Fire Dancer was the season’s Amateur All- Age Award winner, and Game Wardon for Dr. Fred Corder of Corinth, Miss., emerged as the leading All-Age Derby for 2017-2018.

Chelsea’s Thunder Bolt made it “two in a row” with the 2017-2018 Top Shooting Dog honors for owners Dr. Tom Jackson of Columbus, Ind., and George Hickox of Bismarck, N. D., and handler Shawn Kinkelaar. A business obligation prevented co-owner George Hickox from attending.

On the amateur side, Redland’s Jacked Up for Joe and Tricia Rentz of Fayetteville Ga., claimed the top laurels.

Pennsylvania pro George Tracy won the Top Shooting Dog Handler Award for an unprecedented thirteenth time.

Glassilaun War Paint, owned by Jamie Nee of Quincy, Mass., and handled by Toby Tobiassen, was in the winners’ circle several times in 2017- 2018 and his achievements were recognized by the Top Shooting Dog Derby Award.

The Shooting Dog Awards winners were recognized on Friday evening and the All-Age honorees on Saturday.

All of the owners were presented a handsome oil painting of their respec- tive winners, by accomplished artist Ross Young, a treasured memento of each dog’s successful season.

Both evenings’ festivities were well attended. Among the guests was Jack Sanchez from Long Island, N. Y., win- ner of the Top Shooting Dog Award in 1988-89 with his stellar winner Bases Loaded.

Also from New York was Chris Rarich who has had dogs with several different pros over the years.

Shannon Nygard made the long trek from Montana for the weekend.

Paul K. Wright, long a fixure on the  Midwest all-age scene, came from Florida where he and his wife Peggy have relocated. Paul maintained his kennel near West Point, Ind., for several years.

Vera Courtney, whose photos accom- pany many reports of trials held in the West Tennessee-North Mississippi environs, was on hand for the weekend.

Also from the West Tennessee area was Mark Haynes who scouted the winner of the National Champi- onship — Lester’s Sunny Hill Jo.

Midwesterners on hand included Dr. Bill Wright who has been successful with both Gordon and English setters, and Chris Livingston (pointers) and Larry Carpenter (setters).

The venerable Mr. Freddie Epp, a Purina Awards committee member, was unable to attend, but his daughter Ruthann represented the Epp Family.

John P. Russell, an important part of the West Kentucky Field Trial Club, the Quail Championship Invitational and the Kentucky Quail Classic, came from Bowling Green, Ky. John has been busy on a book detailing the winners of the Quail Championship Invitational.

Hall-of-Famer Allen R. Linder, who has the distinction of co-owning Sugar knoll War Paint, winner of the both the Open (2015) and Amateur Shooting Dog Awards (2016), arrived from Liv- ingston, Tenn., for the weekend festivi- ties, as did Doug Meyer of Tonganoxie, Kan.

Representing generous sponsor Pu- rina was the “A” team — Gail Inman, Greg Blair, Karl Gunzer, Kayla Miller (public relations), and Melissa Miller (photographer). Field reps Jim Smith and Terry Trzcinski also provided indispensable help during the weekend.

For the past several years, the Amateur Field Trial Clubs of America has scheduled its annual meetings on the Purina Awards weekend. Attendance by the AFTCA officers and trustees always enhances the geographic representation to the attendance.


At approximately 5:15 p. m., on Thursday evening, June 21, at the Drury Inn and Suites the scheduled Purina Awards Committee (PAC) meeting was called to order by Chairman Sean Derrig.

The scheduled meeting followed by a special, organization specific, meet- ing with the National Field Trial Championship Association to review and discuss the Purina Points bonus points schedule.

Committee members present were: Sean Derrig, Rick Stallings, Torben Hansen, Dwight Smith, Mike Husenits and corresponding secretary Mark Johnson. Absent was committee member Freddie Epp.

Also in attendance were representa- tives from Nestlé Purina; Messrs. Greg Blair and Karl Gunzer. The American Field Publishing Company was repre- sented by Mr. Bernie B. Matthys.

Mr. Derrig opened the meeting reflecting on a rather smooth year of operations for the Purina Awards competition, while acknowledging the work of this year’s program winners, both dogs and persons.

We were reminded to the policy of this committee to remain closed due to the confidential nature of individual club business as it pertains to Purina

Points applications as well as our responsibility to maintain overall privacy protocol.

This year’s meeting included approximately sixteen (16) requests for Purina points, changes in venues and/or changes in event names or management.

The new form to be completed for points applications and changes in venue has helped focus the process for points consideration and the committee unanimously endorsed continuation of this application protocol.

Once again the 16-dog minimum requirement was brought forward and the committee agreed to stand firm on that policy as well as the policy for reporting trials within 45 days. The later of which was frequently published in THE AMERICAN FIELD publication throughout the 2017-2018 season.

While some improvement in report- ing trials is apparent when comparing last year’s results to this year’s, there were still six (6) open shooting dog, three (3) open Derby, and 16 amateur shooting dog stakes/classics/champi- onships that have failed to report for the past two (2) years. These clubs will be dropped from the roster of approved trials for the upcoming season subject to reinstatement only after refiling for points consideration.

The committee remains firm on its view: “That along with being granted Purina Points status, a club or champi- onship also assumes the obligation and

responsibility for the smooth running and timely reporting of event results.”

This includes reporting that a trial was not held (for whatever reason) and reporting of trials that attract less than 16 dogs.

Open and Amateur all-age points trials were consistently reported well again this year.

All recognized Purina Points trial secretaries are reminded to report each of their trials/championships to The American Field on the Form for Essential Data; additionally all shoot- ing dog trials/championships must be reported to Mike Luebke and finally each Amateur trial (all-age and shoot- ing dog) must also be reported to AFTCA Secretary Piper Huffman. Individual letters/communications

will go to each club that completed an application for Purina Points outlining the committee’s response to their request. Additionally the roster of approved trials, as published in upcoming issues of The AMERICAN FIELD, will reflect newly approved points trials/classic, championships for the upcoming 2018-2019 season.

Summary comments were provided by the Chair and by Purina leadership regarding the awards program and management today and going forward.

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 7:15 p. m.

MARK N. JOHNSON (PAC) Recording Secretary

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