American Field

Valiant Wins 2019 Edition; True Confidence is Runner-Up

Quail Championship Invitational

By John P. Russell | Jan 02, 2020
Valiant Winner of the Quail Championship Invitational

Paducah, Ky. — The 2019 edition of the Quail Championship Invitational, the 56th running of the trial on the West Kentucky Wildlife Management Area grounds near Grahamville, Ky., was scheduled for the period of November 30-December 2.

Then came winter storm Ezekial — rain overnight on November 29 into the morning of November 30 left the creeks flooded and hazardous resulting in a delay for the start of the trial until Sunday, December 1.

Weather delays at the Invitational are not terribly unusual, this making the tenth time that weather conditions caused a delay in the schedule.

The issue at hand when considering a weather cancellation is that, under the format designed to give all contestants an equal opportunity, partial days in the first two series should be avoided. If you cannot reasonably expect to complete a full day’s running, the decision should be not to begin. Otherwise, if you begin a day’s running you should continue until all twelve dogs have competed. These considerations have led to some interesting days afield at the Invitational!

This year, the decision to delay was easily made since the creeks could not be crossed until the flooding subsided.

Preparation for an event such as the Invitational is a year-long responsibility falling nearly exclusively on the chairwoman, Mary Sue Schalk. As has become the norm, Mary Sue did a superb job of managing the myriad of details that must be addressed to bring the event to fruition.

For the previous three years, the most trying detail was completing the panel of judges; late withdrawals of advertised judges caused the necessity of identifying last minute substitutions. This year the difficulty was completion of the field of canine competitors.

Three of the advertised starters withdrew for a variety of reasons causing substitutions to be identified. Erin’s Hidden Shamrock was withdrawn when a family matter required Sean Derrig’s attention elsewhere; Lester’s Pete Rose was withdrawn when handler-owner Gary Lester’s rehabilitation from major surgery required more recovery time; defending champion, Erin’s Wild Justice, was withdrawn due to a late injury.

The field each year is made up of the defending champion and eleven top contestants from the previous year’s competition. Eligibility for an invitation to the trial is based on points earned through placements in “major circuit” trials from the previous year. The top point-earners are invited in order of their ranking until the desired field of twelve contestants is settled.

As is often the norm, some of the top point-earners declined to participate for a variety of reasons and were replaced by worthy individuals from the list of point-earners. The identification of eligible participants is entirely without bias but made simply based upon the number of points earned through major circuit competition. The twelfth dog this year was Coldwater Odyssey replacing Erin’s Wild Justice. This year, completing the field required more effort than normal but twelve worthy dogs were brought to Paducah to compete for the title of Invitational Champion.

With all the addressable issues settled, the 2019 program commenced with the reception and drawing on the evening of Friday, November 29. The program began with a social hour, drinks and food and a silent auction attended by about fifty handlers, owners, and enthusiasts. Following the social hour, Chairwoman Schalk introduced judges, club officials, and most importantly the contestants for the prestigious title.

Mike Crouse then conducted the drawing ably assisted by Miss Bella Berendzen. Following the Invitational drawing, 23 all-age and 14 Derbies were drawn for the Kentucky Quail Classic and Derby.

Only seven handlers had entrants in the trial. Randy Anderson and Luke Eisenhart with three each and Jamie Daniels with two were the handlers with multiple entries. Ray Warren, Weldon Bennett, Larron Copeland, and Larry Smith each had one entry.

Larry Smith and Larron Copeland are amateur handler-owners for their entries. Larron Copeland was a first-time handler at the trial.

The field in order of their appearance:


Dominator’s Rebel Heir, PM; Jamie Daniels; Jim Hamilton, Jr.

S F Bandwagon, PM; Larry Smith; Larry Smith.

Valiant, PM; Randy Anderson; Jay McKenzie.

True Confidence, PM; Luke Eisenhart; Frank & Jean LaNasa.

Miller’s Blindsider, PM; Jamie Daniels; Nick Berrong.

Touch’s Red Rider, PM; Luke Eisenhart; Tucker Johnson.

Chinquapin Bill, PM; Ray Warren; E. L. Baker.

Showtime Sam Houston, PM; Larron Copeland; Larron Copeland.

Coldwater Odyssey, PM; Weldon Bennett; Andy & Deborah Agnew.

Touch’s Spaceman, PM; Randy Anderson; Matt Griffith.

Dunn’s Tried’N True, PM; Luke Eisenhart; Will & Rita Dunn.

Touch’s Blackout, PM; Randy Anderson; Richard Peterson.


The field of competitors assembled for the trial was of high quality. Consisting of twelve pointer males, the field had earned 36 major circuit placements during the qualifying season. Included in the 36 placements were 12 championships and five runners-up including:

National Championship

Continental Open Championship

All-America Quail Championship

Southeastern Open Championship

Oklahoma Open Championship

Manitoba Open Championship

International Pheasant Open Championship

All-America Prairie Championship

Mid-America Open Championship

Florida Open Championship

Mississippi Open Championship

National Chukar Championship

Judging the 56th renewal of the Invitational Championship were Jay Lewis of Ashland, Mo., Chuck Stretz of Blackwater, Mo., and Brad Harter of Athens, Ohio. Jay Lewis returned from 2018. Chuck Stretz and Brad Harter were first-time arbiters at the trial.

Brad Harter is well known in the field trial community for his video productions of the National Championship each year. Like most of his generation, Brad’s experience with bird dogs stems from times afield hunting a variety of game birds. His introduction to high class dogs and field trials came from two mentors, Tom Perry and the well-known S. R. (Tate) Cline. It is difficult to think of a more fitting mentor to introduce someone to the characteristics of a high-class bird dog and to the ethics of the sport than Tate Cline.

Brad’s early judging experiences were under the tutelage of Tom Perry and Tate Cline and, in the some fifty years since, he has had the opportunity to judge trials from California to the East Coast and from the Canadian prairies south. Through the influence of Tate Cline, Brad has had the opportunity to videotape the National Championship continuously since 1988.

Joining Brad Harter was Jay Lewis,  returning from the 2018 edition judging panel. Jay is a second-generation field trialer following in the footsteps of his father, Richard. Jay competes with dogs registered under the Bocomo Kennel title in amateur and open shooting dog and all-age stakes primarily in the Missouri and Kansas areas. He has attended the Invitational Championship for some fifteen years and is associated with the Berendzen clan at the trial.

In addition to the 2018 Invitational, Jay has also judged the Kentucky Quail Classic at Paducah.

The third judge for 2019 was Chuck Stretz who has been training for the public since 1985. Like so many in the sport his love of bird dogs began at an early age quail hunting with his father. His competitive career began in the National Bird Hunters walking trials and transitioned into the open shooting dog arena. He has enjoyed good success in that arena including a National Championship and Purina Top Shooting Dog Award winner.

Assisting the judges were the marshals, Mike Crouse as the front marshal, Alan Benson, and B. J. Wright as the gallery marshals.

Dog wagon duties were the responsibility of Terry Allen assisted by Greg Veatch. Martha Veatch served as the photographer for the event.

The Running

Weather is often a significant part of the story at the Invitational. This year winter storm Ezekial caused weather conditions that were uncomfortable for man and beast. Heavy rains overnight Friday night left the creeks and streams swollen and flooded causing a delay from the normal Saturday start day to Sunday morning. Perhaps less dramatic but just as significant, the heavy rain resulted in saturated ground with frequent areas of standing water. The muddy ground was heavy going for dogs and horses placing a premium on endurance for the 2019 test.

The first day’s running began with the temperatures in the low 40s and cloudy without much change during the course of the day. A stiff wind from the west-northwest created a chilly ride throughout the day.

The second day began in the low 40s again, still quite strong winds but reducing as the day progressed. By afternoon temperatures increased to the high 40s with lightening breeze but still very muddy ground conditions. Late in the day, clearing skies resulted in the tops of the oak trees being illuminated in a quite beautiful manner, however presaging cold overnight conditions.

The final day started with mid-20° temperatures and heavy frost. After a brief wait for some desired improvement, the third day’s running began near 8:00 a. m. As the morning progressed the clear conditions and light breezes resulted in rapid warming and quite balmy conditions by the completion of the Championship.

Longtime Invitational attendees are quite familiar with the changing weather conditions at Paducah.

Day One

The first brace  featured Dominator’s Rebel Heir (Jamie Daniels) and S F Bandwagon (Larry Smith.) Following brief announcements by Chairwoman Mary Sue Schalk and marshal Mike Crouse, the dogs were cast away at the usual first course starting place at 7:30 a. m. The first course starts in a westward direction for a few hundred yards to the area boundary, then turns south through a brief wooded area. It is not unusual for the dogs to turn right rather than left to put them briefly behind. Such was the case this day resulting in Rebel Heir having to pass through the gallery to regain the front. In doing so, he was apparently kicked by one of the fresh gallery horses and appeared somewhat affected for a short period.

Into the first bottom both dogs were going well along the edge to the culvert crossing across Big Bayou Creek.

The decision had been made to cross the creek at the concrete culvert because of the flooded conditions of the day before, a somewhat tricky crossing because of the steepness of the slope. Past this point, at 14, Larry Smith called point for Bandwagon, posed nicely along right edge adjacent to Bobo road. The birds were quickly flushed and demonstrated that they had weathered the recent rainy period nicely.

Into the next area of open fields, both dogs were going well to the front. Bandwagon was observed to be making game in a feed strip along the right edge but could not establish a definite location and was sent on. Shortly after at 24, Daniels called point for Rebel Heir in a honeysuckle tangle to the right of the course routing. Rebel Heir demonstrating his usual sky-kissing pose. During a brief flushing attempt Daniels showed feather piles ahead of the dog and elected to send the dog on without attempting relocation.

Past the turn beyond the handicapped fishing pond, Rebel Heir disappeared, not shown again during the hour. After time Daniels tracked to Rebel Heir pointing in heavy cover near where last seen. Bandwagon continued without further contact through the remainder of the course with a stop in heavy cover at 50, taken on without attempted flush. Bandwagon showed some effect of recent surgery.

The second brace featured Valiant (Randy Anderson) and True Confidence (Luke Eisenhart). The second course has an early horseshoe turn before joining the traditional routing — this necessitated by an access restriction established the previous year by the Department of Energy. Both dogs negotiated this tricky portion in good order and proceeded along the course in the forward scope — True Confidence somewhat wider. Valiant scored at 15 beyond the Kelly Lane gravel road in cover adjacent to locust thicket. These birds were reluctant to flush and Anderson indicated their location to Judge Lewis. When Judge Lewis gave the birds the “stinky eye” they flushed immediately, Valiant stylish and staunch throughout.

Through the next portion of the course, beyond the “iron gates” crossing at McCaw road then across the culvert and along the ditch toward the plant vicinity both dogs went well — True Confidence always forward at good range, Valiant occasionally checking with handler. Beyond the cemetery turn Valiant explored the right side while True Confidence was forward on the left portion. Valiant found game on thicket edge adjacent to strip of partridge pea, standing stylishly and staunchly as the birds were quickly flushed by Anderson. Shortly after at 54, True Confidence scored to left of course path in cover alongside old road bed, exhibiting excellent style and manners. Beyond this stand Valiant scored his third find at 57 at end of weed field to left of wooded area, True Confidence honoring stylishly. Both dogs then finished going forward.

In the third brace — Miller’s Blindsider (Daniels) and Touch’s Red Rider (Eisenhart). On the breakaway Blindsider cast north apparently crossing the “TVA ditch” well ahead as the course direction bent eastward. Blindsider was absent for the early portion of the hour, returning at 24. Red Rider followed the course routing in good order through the portion across the TVA culvert and weed field beyond. At 15 Red Rider scored on birds located in old fencerow to left of course routing. The birds were quickly flushed for the mannerly and stylish dog albeit he showed some sign of impending limber tail.

Blindsider, having returned to the front at 24, scored at 27 in cover adjacent to road at the pipe line turn, the dog very stylish and staunch for the flush and shot. The course now proceeding southward about a mile toward the Hwy 358 road crossing — Blindsider forward in good form, Red Rider absent from the front but observed to the right of course at the Metzger corner. Blindsider scored a second productive stand at 37 ahead closely adjacent to course path — the birds quickly flushed, all in good order. At 41 Eisenhart rejoined the front and requested the retrieval unit, indicating that the wet and heavy going was likely to worsen a limber tail condition, an unnecessary risk for the dog’s good future.

Following the find at 37, Blindsider proceeded alone, crossing Hwy 358 and scoring in cover just left of a gap at old road bed at 50. Again the dog was lofty, intense and mannerly for the flush and shot. Just beyond this location, the course turns west under the power line, a wet and muddy stretch. Blindsider cast strongly down this stretch, impressing with his demonstration of strength. At the end of the power line chute, immediately following the order to pick up, Blindsider was seen returning to handler along gravel road, turning and pointing into cover along road, the birds accurately located, an opportunity barely missed.

Following the lunch break, brace No. 4 featured Touch’s Blackout (Anderson) and Showtime Sam Houston (Larron Copeland). Blackout was seen casting out along creek edge to right and then back along the edge toward the front. Sam Houston showing to left on slope above creek bottom. Past the Big Bayou Creek crossing, both dogs were forward across road then up the muddy bottom field to course turn to right and back across interior road. At 16 point was called for Blackout facing into old fencerow cover. The dog was stylish and mannerly for the flush and shot — a good find.

Through the next portion, toward the cinder road, then past the target range, across the five points creek crossing, and finally coursing to the railroad track crossing. Neither dog made particularly good use of the area traversed, requiring significant effort to maintain a forward pattern. After the railroad track crossing Sam Houston scored on birds located in cover adjacent to power line chute between the gaps where both the morning and afternoon courses turn toward the Aid Road crossing, the birds well located, the dog stylish and mannerly. As this work was completed Blackout came to the area along the cover line to the left. He entered the wooded area and attempted to point, apparently a single from Sam Houston’s birds. Anderson was unable to disturb any game and the stand was scored as an unproductive.

Both dogs finished going forward on the hill to the right across the Moonlight Hill (Acid Road) road crossing without further contact with game.

The fifth brace featured Touch’s Spaceman (Anderson) and Chinquapin Bill (Ray Warren). The transition from warm, sandy conditions to the cold, wet, and muddy conditions of West Kentucky in early December is a difficult one for even seasoned performers. For Chinquapin Bill, a young dog with limited experience, the transition was certainly difficult. Bill demonstrated good style in motion and excellent speed over the ground but had significant difficulty establishing any measure of flow in his ground effort. Despite covering a large amount of country during the hour, he was unable to figure out the unfamiliar scenting conditions and went without contact with game for the hour.

Bill’s bracemate Touch’s Spaceman, although better able to establish a forward pattern with his handler, was also unable to contact game until at 59 he pointed in the cover line adjacent to old road bed where True Confidence had scored in the second brace. The birds were “home” and he executed a stylish and mannerly find in good form to bring his first-day effort to conclusion.

The final brace of the first day featured the two-time Invitational Champion Dunn’s Tried’n True (Eisenhart) and Coldwater Odyssey (Weldon Bennett). True has enjoyed considerable success on the West Kentucky grounds and is very familiar with the layout. This may not have been an advantage this year as he was unable to establish consistent rapport with his handler, covering a lot of country but not always in the forward scope. He scored at 21 in cover line behind the landfill beyond the TVA culvert crossing. From this point he was seen only sporadically and was located after time without further contact with game under judgment.

Odyssey went through the first half of the course without benefit of contact with game, his race consistent but not of great magnitude. At 38, beyond pipe line road crossing, point was called for Odyssey facing cover strip in open chute. Despite a determined flushing effort and relocation, the stand proved to be unproductive. Going forward, at 53 point was called for the stylish dog standing in cover adjacent to fishing pond prior to the westward course turn. This stand proved to be productive, the dog stylish and mannerly for the flush and shot.

Past the Metzger corner at the end of the sunflower dove field, Odyssey scored at time for birds located in feed strip adjacent to gravel road. The work again was positive, the dog stylish and mannerly, the birds well-located bringing the day’s running to a fitting end.

A good first day, 17 finds under judgment, a total of 19 contacts, ten of the twelve dogs with productive finds.

Day Two

The first brace of the second day featured Chinquapin Bill and Showtime Sam Houston. Cast away at 7:30 a. m., Chinquapin Bill demonstrated rapport with Warren early and traversed the first portion of the course to the concrete culvert in good form. Sam Houston handled this early portion well also and the brace began well. Following the culvert crossing, Warren raised his hat for Bill standing stylishly facing cover along Bobo road near where S F Bandwagon had scored the day before, Sam Houston honoring stylishly. Warren called flight of birds as the ride to the standing dog was underway, the birds not seen officially. After checking to see if a “sleeper” might be present, Warren took Bill on without attempting relocation, an opportunity missed.

Going forward into the next open area, Sam Houston was ahead, Bill not under observation. As the gap leaving the open area was approached a distant call of point was heard requiring a ride of some magnitude to the weed field on afternoon course just west of the interior road. Bill was standing, facing into the cover line, this location close to where Valiant had his first find the day before. The birds were quickly flushed, the dog stylish and mannerly throughout. It should be noted that there is a gap and ditch crossing that connects the open area that the first course traverses and the area through which the afternoon course crosses in the opposite direction.

Since the location of the find was close by the first course path, Bill was held at this location until the front party approached and then released. Across the five points creek crossing Bill was seen to cast strongly up the slope toward the locust thicket. As the top of the slope was approached, Bill was seen to be “making game” and finally was successful in establishing a stylish point. The birds were flushed exactly where the dog indicated, one flying back in his face precipitating a mark of flight but acceptable to the judges.

Beyond this point, both dogs were forward and demonstrated good rapport with their handlers but finished without benefit of further contact with game. Both Bill and Sam Houston perhaps demonstrated the difficulty for the Deep South dogs to adapt to the West Kentucky conditions but both performed creditably.

The second brace of the second day featured Coldwater Odyssey and Touch’s Spaceman. Both dogs were away well, both making pleasing use of the cover edge around the early horseshoe turn. Through the early portion of the course, across Kelly Lane and trending north toward the iron gates road crossing, both dogs were going well demonstrating good rapport with handlers but without game contact. As the iron gates road crossing was approached point was called to the right of course where Odyssey was standing facing into honeysuckle tangle about 100 yards from the course riding path. The dog was stylish and intense, the birds quickly flushed by Bennett, all in good order.

Beyond the culvert and into the cemetery loop, as the turn adjacent to the plant was made, Spaceman was observed at 36 standing in heavy weed cover immediately adjacent to the course path. As his position was approached several turkeys flushed causing a slight mark of flight by the dog, Anderson shooting to acknowledge the stand. At the corner turn Anderson sent Spaceman along the line where Valiant had scored on day No. 1. The dog established point at 41 and the birds were “home” again resulting in a productive stand for Spaceman. As the dog was brought forward he scored a stop to flush at 43 on a single bird on the edge of the thicket. Beyond the cemetery turn and trending eastward in portion adjacent to Hwy 358, Spaceman scored at 50 on edge shortly before fence gate. Odyssey honored this stand mannerly. At 58 Odyssey pointed at line along old road bed, Spaceman honoring. This stand proved to be unproductive despite an attempted relocation.

The third brace of the second day featured Dunn’s Tried’n True and Touch’s Blackout. The third course generally uses the same country as the sixth course and again True did not rely on his handler for direction, and was unable to establish a productive pattern. Eisenhart elected to end the dog’s bid for a third Invitational Championship early at 51. Touch’s Blackout went well for Anderson but without game contact until 34 in cover adjacent to fishing pond. Blackout continued in good form in the forward scope for the remainder of the brace but without further contact with game.

Following the lunch break, Dominator’s Rebel Heir was put down with Valiant. Both dogs showed well in the early portion across the Big Bayou Creek crossing, across the interior road, up the bottom field and back across the interior road. In the old crop field across the interior road Valiant was directed to the vicinity of the location where birds had been found by Touch’s Blackout and Chinquapin Bill. These birds were once again “home” and Valiant scored a stylish find.

At this time a distant call of point was heard for  Rebel Heir on a stand by the line where Bandwagon had attempted to find birds on the first morning. This was a cast almost exactly the reverse of that of Chinquapin Bill in the first brace using the same gap and creek crossing that connects the two areas. Rebel Heir is a supreme stylist and he displayed his customary style on this occasion for an excellent piece of work. Going forward to intersect the afternoon course Rebel Heir passed near to where he had his stand on the first day and he executed what should be described as a “memory” point. Alas once again all that could be shown was feather piles where some predator had enjoyed a quail meal.

Beyond this point, Rebel Heir went the balance of the course in good form but was unable to contact game.

Following his initial stand Valiant scored a second find at 25 in honeysuckle on edge of bean field, again stylish and in good order. Through the next portion, past the target range and past the turn at the bottom of the slope, point was called for the standing dog across the cinder road. This was a find resulting from an independent cast up the hill from the course path and into a logical objective. Again the work was performed with all in order, an excellent find.

Valiant, like Rebel Heir, went the balance of the course in very good form but without the benefit of game contact.

The fifth brace of the second day featured Miller’s Blindsider and True Confidence. Blindsider was certainly one of if not the top performers, if not the top performer, of the first day, but was unable to duplicate that effort. His performance on the second day demonstrated excellent strength and endurance leaving little doubt of his all-age character. He demonstrated good rapport with his handler but could not contact game to add to his scoresheet.

True Confidence again demonstrated excellent ground work. Always in the forward scope with excellent magnitude, his effort was of all-age character throughout. The three “jewels” of the Invitational standard are consistency, endurance, and all-age character and True Confidence demonstrated all of these in an excellent manner. He scored his only game contact was at 59 on the birds found previously at the end of the cemetery loop — style and manners excellent.

The final brace of day No. 2 featured S F Bandwagon as a bye dog because of the withdrawal of Touch’s Red Rider. Through the first portion of the course he went in good order. Across the TVA culvert and into the next field, Bandwagon established a stand on cover line behind the landfill. Despite a relocation attempt, this stand proved to be unproductive. Going forward he scored a second stand on birds previously found adjacent to the road at the pipe line turn — this stand at 39. The birds were quickly flushed, the dog stylish and mannerly for the flush and shot. Going forward he scored a second find on a single bird in cover adjacent to the fishing pond, again all in order — this work at 46. Beyond the fishing pond, he established a stand in cover above cross road. As the ride to his location began he roaded forward a few steps, a bird lifting ahead, apparently unseen by handler and judges. He roaded forward a few more steps and remained in place at this point. Smith was unable to disturb additional birds and after a relocation attempt the work was scored as an unproductive.

Bandwagon completed his work on a stand at the end of the dove field beyond the Metzger corner. The birds in a honeysuckle tangle the dog mannerly but not exhibiting his customary style, probably the consequence of a lack of conditioning following recent surgery.

Another good day with 15 finds by eight of the eleven dogs competing. In addition a point of wild turkeys and a stop to flush on a single were recorded.

At the clubhouse, following about a 30 minute consultation, the judges called for a first two-hour brace featuring True Confidence braced with Valiant, and a second brace featuring Touch’s Spaceman and Miller’s Blindsider.

Touch’s Blackout and S F Bandwagon were asked to be available for a standby brace.


Breakaway on the final day came at about 8:00 a. m. after a brief wait to see if the frosty conditions would improve. At the start the vegetation was white with frost and the standing water had skim ice — not the best conditions for bird-finding. True Confidence showed that the conditions would not deter him, scoring at 23 at the turn by Bobo road. This find was well executed with excellent style, location, and manners. Going forward True Confidence scored a second find at 30 at the turn adjacent to the cinder road. Again style, location, and manners were excellent.

Across the course Valiant scored his first find at about 35 to the left of the morning course in the vicinity of where the afternoon course traversed the area in the opposite direction. The work required a relocation, successfully executed following an extensive flushing effort. Shortly after point was called for True Confidence on the hill above the five points creek crossing. This location where Dominator’s Rebel Heir was lost on day No. 1. Again everything in order. True Confidence impressed with the consistency of his forward race.

Beyond the five points creek crossing, then across the railroad tracks, and into the area leading to the Acid Road crossing, Valiant scored at 55. This location at the cover line between where both the morning and afternoon courses both turn toward the Acid Road crossing. Again all in order at the flush and shot. Across Acid Road and up the hill point was called for True Confidence at 1:03. This stand ultimately was unproductive following a relocation attempt, albeit the location was where birds had been pre-released for the trial.

Across the access road and onto the second hour course, Valiant had been out of pocket for a time, True Confidence continuing with his consistent pattern. Through the early portion of the second course leading to the Kelly Lane crossing both dogs were ahead. Point was called for True Confidence just beyond the bean field to the left of the course path — again the dog very stylish, intense, and mannerly for the flush and shot. This location where Valiant had his first find on day No. 1.

Through the next portions of the course to the iron gates road crossing, across the culvert and into the cemetery loop area, both dogs went well, True Confidence more consistently in the forward arc. At 1:55 at the plant corner turn, Valiant was directed down the line where he had scored on day No. 1. On this stand birds could not be flushed, a dead bird shown to the judges and the dog was taken on toward the front. At this time True Confidence scored his fifth find of the brace at 1:59 in the vicinity of the cemetery.

As time expired True Confidence was in hand but Valiant was not under observation by the judiciary, Anderson and scout looking forward on the course. The dog was observed near the gate by gallery members gathered there for the second brace starting place. After several minutes the judiciary came to the parking area to prepare for the second brace. A distant call of point was heard and Judge Stretz borrowed marshal Crouse’s horse to ride to the location at the end of the course routing where birds had been found twice previously. These birds were “home” again and a third find was scored for Valiant.

True Confidence and Valiant had set a high standard for the brace that followed. Five finds for True Confidence and three for Valiant, both with strong ground efforts constituted the challenge that had to be bested for Miller’s Blindsider and Touch’s Spaceman in the second brace.

The second brace was away at the customary No. 3 course starting point. Both dogs were forward and responsive through the early portion to the TVA culvert. Beyond the culvert Spaceman scored at the cover line behind the landfill. Both dogs went well through the next portions of the course, both scoring on simultaneous finds at the pipe line turn at 26, Spaceman adjacent to the gravel road, Blindsider about 20 yards further. Both dogs handled their work in proper order. Jamie Daniels was suffering a spell of laryngitis and Luke Eisenhart assumed the handling duties. Down the stretch leading to Hwy 358, Spaceman was ahead but Blindsider was out of pocket for a time.

Going down the power line stretch, Blindsider had not returned to the front and Eisenhart requested the retrieval unit at 52. Shortly afterward, at the Big Bayou Creek crossing, Anderson threw in the towel for Spaceman. The judges elected not to call for the standby dogs and the trial ended at this point.

The trial was excellent. Although the ground and weather conditions were not completely favorable, the dogs scored 42 productive finds under judgment, and at least two after time. Every contestant was shown on game at some point in the running.

The Winners

Back at the headquarters, following acknowledgement of the assistance of those who assisted in the trial, the announcement was made by Chairwoman Schalk; champion — Valiant, runner-up — True Confidence.

Valiant is a coming seven-year-old pointer male owned by Jay McKenzie of Eureka, Kan., and handled by Randy Anderson. His performance at the Invitational was punctuated by having three finds each day, the final find after time in the two-hour brace, meeting the standard for consistency.

He is a supreme stylist, and very effectively demonstrates the extent of his training and development around game. His ground effort was strong, exhibiting boldness and independence throughout. He was strong each day, showing without doubt the desired endurance for the stake. He left little doubt as to his all-age character throughout his performance.

Valiant was sired by Miller’s Happy Jack ex Tina’s Tear Drop. His expanded lineage to the foundation dogs is familiar on both the sire and dam sides:

On the dam’s side, the lineage goes back through the well-known Rock Acre Blackhawk through Brush Country Spectre to the common ancestor Miller’s Chief.

The Invitational Championship is Valiant’s fifth title.

True Confidence gained runner-up honors by virtue of his consistent, forward ground race. For three days and four hours he was always forward, never significantly “out-of-pocket” and demonstrated boldness and independence.

There was no question of his all-age character nor of his endurance easily satisfying the three essential elements of an Invitational performance. He scored one find in each of his first two hours and five times in the two-hour brace for a total of seven successful contacts. He required no relocations, each find crisply executed with excellent location.

True Confidence is a pointer male coming eleven years of age, his performance belying his age. He is owned by Frank and Jean LaNasa of Isanti, Minn., and handled by Luke Eisenhart. His lineage back to the foundation dogs demonstrates:

Paducah, Ky., December 1

Judges: Brad Harter, Jay Lewis and Chuck Stretz


[One-Hour Heats on Consecutive Days; Two-Hour Finals) — 12 Pointers

Winner—VALIANT, 1649524, pointer male, by Miller’s Happy Jack—Tina’s Tear Drop. Jay McKenzie, owner; Randy Anderson, handler.

Runner-Up—TRUE CONFIDENCE, 1622365, pointer male, by Two Acre Bulldog—Bar P Anex. Frank  & Jean LaNasa, owners; Luke Eisenhart, handler.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Thomas S. Word, Jr. | Jan 04, 2020 07:52

Excellent report . Tom Word

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