American Field
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Annual Meeting — 2020-2021

Purina Awards

By Mark Johnson, Recording Secretary | Jul 24, 2021

Chicago, Ill. — Members of the Awards Committee met in Chicago on June 26 to review prior year business activity and forward-thinking plans and policies.

The Committee meeting is traditionally held in conjunction with the annual Purina Awards Program presentations and the AFTCA meetings. Those events were cancelled for 2021 (due to COVID-19 constraints). Nevertheless, Committee members felt it very important to meet in person to discuss a wide range of topics and agenda items.

Gathering in the American Field offices gave members the opportunity to reflect upon the long and durable history and infrastructure that serves as the foundation of our sport, and reminding all of the accountability the Awards Committee has to uphold the integrity, sportsmanship and prestige of the Purina Awards Program dating back to its inception in 1963. We are most grateful to the American Field/Field Dog Stud Book for their hospitality.

Committee roll call noted all members present including: Sean Derrig, chair; Tim Ruff, Tom Griffin, Mike Husenits, Rick Stallings, Dwight Smith, and Mark Johnson, recording secretary, in addition to Bernie Matthys of the American Field.

We were pleased to have Greg Blair of Nestle Purina present for the meeting. Nestle Purina’s tremendous support of the Purina Awards Program cannot be overstated and we are most grateful to Greg Blair and Karl Gunzer for their ongoing commitment and support of the bird dog field trial community and to the Awards Program. Special thanks are also extended to Greg for hosting a working luncheon.

The meeting was called to order at 9:05 a.m. by Chairman Derrig. Welcomes and introductions of two new (fall 2020) committee members (Tim Ruff, South Carolina and Tom Griffin, California) were made followed by introductory remarks by Chairman Derrig. He noted the array of challenges and opportunities the committee and the Awards program has encountered during the past year along with key successes and specific discussion surrounding the dogs and handlers that achieved top recognition for the 2020-2021 season.

While unable to personally recognize last season's awardees, the Awards Committee unanimously extended accolades for their superior achievements to both dogs and handlers. Specifically: Open All-Age winner Touch’s Malcolm Story, owned by Alex Richert of Bozeman, Mont.; Open All-Age Handler Mark McLean of Doerun, Ga.; Amateur All-Age Dog Touch’s Indiana Joan, owned and handled by Keith A. Wright of Covington, Ind.; Top Derby Game Heir, owned by Dr. Fred Corder of Corinth, Miss.; Top Open Shooting Dog Chelsea’s Thunderbolt, owned by Dr. Thomas Jackson, Columbus, Ind. and George Hickox, Bismarck, N.D.; Open Shooting Dog Handler Mike Tracy; Open Shooting Dog Derby Absolute Dominator, owned by Joyce and Johnny Taylor of Paron, Ark.; Amateur Shooting Dog Springflow’s Backcountry P, owned by Chris Catanzarite and Rick Beinhauer, Scenery Hill, Pa.

It was noted that in many cases the level of competition has been raised as evidenced by prominent professional handlers again traveling to important “points” trials, paralleled by a resilient showing in the amateur field trial arena.

As a reminder as to who we are and what the Awards committee stands for, Derrig read the following long-standing doctrine regarding the same:

THE PURINA AWARDS PROGRAM IS SPONSORED BY NESTLE PURINA PETCARE (PURINA) AND ENJOYS A LONG AND EXTENSIVE HISTORY OF RECOGNIZING SUPERIOR PERFORMANCES AND HANDLERS AND BIRD DOGS IN THE FIELD TRIAL SPORT. THE TOP FIELD TRIAL BIRD DOG AWARD (ALL-AGE) WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1963 AND WAS SPONSORED BY RALSTON PURINA.

FROM THE START, THE PURINA AWARDS PROGRAM WAS DESIGNED TO STIMULATE INTEREST IN ALL FIELD COMPETITION AND RECOGNIZE PUBLICLY THE DOG AND HANDLER WHICH HAD EXCELLED IN A GIVEN FIELD TRIAL SEASON. OVER TIME, THE PROGRAM HAS EVOLVED AND EXPANDED TO INCLUDE THE OPEN SHOOTING DOG, OPEN DERBY, OPEN HANDLER, AMATEUR SHOOTING DOG AND AMATEUR ALL-AGE CATAGORIES.

THE PRIMARY ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITY OF THE AWARDS COMMITTEE IS TO ADMINSITER THE PURINA AWARDS PROGRAM. THIS INCLUDES BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO DETERMINING THE MANNER IN WHICH THE PROGRAM SHALL BE CONDUCTED, ESTABLISHING A POINTS SYSTEM TO DETERMINE THE LEADING HANDLERS AND DOGS, SELECTING TRIALS WHERE SUCH POINTS MAY BE EARNED, AND TO MAKE DETERMINATION REGARDING OTHER MATTERS THAT MAY BE RELATED TO THE PROPER CONDUCT OF THE PURINA AWARDS PROGRAM.

THE AWARDS COMMITTEE ALSO CAREFULLY AND CONSISTENTLY INVESTIGATES WRITTEN COMPLAINTS — PROTESTS AND/OR NEGATIVITY/CONDUCT RELATIVE TO PURINA AWARDS PROGRAM EVENTS. MISCONDUCT WILL NOT BE TOLERATED AND WILL BE ADDRESSED DECISIVELY. WHEN APPROPRIATE ACTION IS NEEDED, IT MAY INCLUDE BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO: LOSS OF POINTS, LOSS OF ELIGIBILITY TO BE NAMED HANDLER/DOG OF THE YEAR OR BOTH. IN ALL CASES WHEN A HANDLER CHOOSES TO COMPETE IN A TRIAL AWARDING PURINA POINTS, HE/SHE AGREES TO COMPET UNDER THE OVERSIGHT OF THE AWARDS PROGRAM.

Following the above preamble, the Committee spent the next several hours addressing agenda items (some old and some new and or revised) as follows:

POINTS TRIAL ADVERTISMENT(S) IN THE AMERICAN FIELD

Points trial ads must be a minimum of one-third page or more as dictated by American Field advertising policy. Judges must be indicated in all points trial ads. The appropriate Purina checkerboard logo must be prominently displayed in all points trial ads. Additionally, the ad must reflect that this is a “Purina Points trial”. Venue, drawing date, location and start dates, and chairperson(s) must be indicated in all ads. Any and all changes to advertised points trial terms must be cleared with the Awards Committee and The American Field including changes in venue, starting dates, judges, etc. Clearly stated directions, fees, awards, and other special announcements will be included in all points trial ads at the discretion of the trial committee.

SUSTAINING STANDARDS AND PROTOCOL

All points trials must be reported within 45 days of the events conclusion. All-Age points trials are to be reported to American Field and to AFTCA for amateur stakes,  and to Mike Luebke for shooting dog stakes — trialpoints@outlook.com and to AFTCA for amateur stakes.

In addition to reporting on the FORM FOR ESSENTIAL DATA- Open (only) shooting dog stake reporting must include submission of a running order indicating the handler and dogs' complete FDSB name. (All running orders are to reflect the dogs' complete FDSB name.)

All points recognized trials must be reported regardless if the 16-dog minimum is not met or if the event is cancelled/not held for any reason. The Committee recognized that COVID-19 related issues resulted in the cancellation of numerous field trials, and which remained unreported. In recognition of the very difficult and unusual trial scheduling issues faced during the 2020-2021 season, the Committee agreed to waive mandatory reporting requirements for trials that were not held. Moving into the 2021-2022 season, full reporting expectations and policies will be in effect. Clubs/championships that fail to report for two years will automatically be dropped from the Purina Awards Program roster.

While undoubtably obvious, the Committee reaffirmed that during the course of running, all Points trials must absolutely be in compliance with Federal, State, and Local laws and ordinances.

Good standings status with American Field and the FDSB has been and remains a baseline “must” for clubs/championships in the Purina Awards Program. Following careful discussion, it was agreed that clubs/championships that accept entries from persons and or dogs not in good standing with the American Field/FDSB effectively relinquish their status as a Purina Points trial, and for a period of time not less than three years after which time they may reapply for reinstatement.

During the 2020-2021 season, a few official Purina Points trials/championships elected to discount the good standing provision. These clubs/championships will be served notice and advised of committee sanctions accordingly.

PROFESSIONAL HANDLERS

Considerable time was spent on this topic as it relates to the tiered points strategy that was implemented beginning with the 2020-2021 season. Also reviewed was the underlining intent that the tiered handler/points policy was designed to: encourage more and higher caliber competition at each and every Purina Points Open Shooting Dog trial or championship. The strategy is further desirous of encouraging all shooting dog points trials to actively seek out and garner participation from professional handlers who may not have recently run dogs in their events. This strategy is designed to include not to exclude.

For Purina Awards Program purposes the definition of a professional handler is: “a person who has his/her own string of dogs actively competing in open field trial stakes and championships for at least three (3) field trials seasons." A listing of currently recognized professional handlers is shown as an addendum to these minutes and will be the basis for addressing points tier levels for the upcoming season(s). Requests for additions to the current listing can be made in writing addressed to the Awards Committee Recording Secretary johnsonx2985@gmail.com. Requests should include: years as a professional handler, number of dogs currently being campaigned, name of three trials/championships where your string has competed during the past season.

From the professional handlers tiered points policy perspective, committee discussion ensued regarding professional handlers who “enter a dog” in a particular trial but don’t show up to run it. Manipulation of professional handler entries with the intent of circumventing the tiered points program will not be tolerated.

POINTS TRIAL APPLICATIONS

In general, it was noted that Purina Points trial status is not a given or an automatically granted position. Purina Points trials must, in all cases, be reflective of premier bird dog competion, held on premier venues, showcasing top-notch handler and dog capabilities, in a sportsmanlike and publicly appealing package. Purina Points trials and championships must also reflect a baseline respect and appreciation for the MAJOR sponsorship contributions Nestle Purina and the Awards Committee contribute to this significant and unrivaled bird dog awards program.

The Committee’s policy to entertain requests for “Purina Points recognition" was ratified. That policy being that all requests must be in writing using the Purina Points Application and Change form, which has been in place since 2018. Annually the Committee has and will continue to review such applications during their June meeting. Approval for points status is not automatic and generally requires a three-year probationary review time period before the granting points status. During the probationary time frame clubs must submit results indicating number of dogs run, etc. Separately to assist clubs with the processing of new applications the American Field web site will shortly include the Purina Points Application and Change Form in the form of a PDF document file under "Printable Forms" in the nav bar on the home page/

This year seven applications were reviewed. Three were approved and will receive advice accordingly. The others were either discounted for incomplete information or placed on approval contingent of a two- or three-year probationary time frame.

INDIVIDUAL LETTERS AND POINTS OF DISCUSSION

A few written communications from individuals representing themselves or particular clubs were reviewed. The Committee will respond to these individually on the personal level that they were received.

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 3:15 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Mark N. Johnson, Recording Secretary

Awards Committee for the Purina Awards Program

* * *

The following individuals are recognized as professional handlers:

Anderson, Randy

Azevedo, Scott

Basilone, Matt

Basilone, Norm

Beeler, Scott

Bennett, Weldon

Bingham, Tony

Browder, Steve

Carlton, Judd

Casey, Pat

Chaffee, Scott

Chaffee, Tammy

Cochran, Matt

Crook, Justin

Curnutte, Calvin

Daniels, Buck

Daniels, Jamie

Daugherty, Andy

Davis, Tommy

Doiron, Paul

Ecker, Robert

Eisenhart, Luke

Foresberg  Karl

Forman, Mark

Forman, Scott

Gearhart, Harold

Gellhaus, Travis

Gingrich, Brian

Gullick, Jeremy

Hailey, Jerry

Hansen, Kim

Hazlewood, Gordon

Henry, Robert "Lefty"

Hester , Mike

Hilliard, Mack

Hoke, Dan

Huffman, Larry

Hughes, Dave

Hughes, Mark

Hurdle, Steve

Kinkelaar, Shawn

Kleve, James

Kleve, Thomas

Loper, Jason

Lord, Dean

Malzone, Garry

Martino  Michael

McLean, Mark

Melvin, Sean

Minard, Bruce

Minard, Neal

Moore, Virgil

Neria, Andy

Nelson, Dave

Newcomb, George

Norman, Joel

Ray, Doug

Ray, Harold

Rayl, Fred

Raynor, Jerry

Rice, Tommy

Robertson, Rich

Sampson, Kim

Schenker, Tom

Schillereff, Tim

Smith, Roy

Snow, Kenny

Steinshouer, Laurie

Stephenson, Phil

Stolgitis, John

Stretz, Chuck

Swearingen, Tracy

Tande, Jim

Taylor, Eddy

Thomas, Junior

Todd, Ike

Tracy, Jeanette

Tracy, Mike

Tracy, George

Twer, Sheldon

Vater, Diane

Vincent, Allan

Wagoner, Jeff

Waite, Tom

Zink, Drew

 

 

Comments (1)
Posted by: Darron C Hendley | Jul 27, 2021 11:40

Thank you Purina and all the committee members for all your hard work, dedication and financial investment into this very  worthy endeavor. The field trial community appreciates you. Darron Hendley



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