American Field

Field Trial Report

Region 3 Amateur Shooting Dog Championship

By Tom Hall | Apr 12, 2018
Championship Winners. Front (l-r): Jack Kimbrell with At’a Boy Roy, George Kimbrell and Tim McClurg with Mac’s Hi Oh Silver. Middle: Julie Kimbrell, Tim Ruff, Ellen Clements. Back: Tom Hall, Judge Johnny Atkinson, four unidentified participants, Bill Britt and Judge Gary Winall.

Hoffman, N. C., — The Association of South Carolina Field Trial Clubs hosted the Region 3 Amateur Shooting Dog Championship the weekend of February 16 at the prestigious Sandhills Wildlife Area in Hoffman, N. C.

Association past president Tim Ruff was the marshal and helped organize the team that successfully hosted the region’s quality Championship.

Planning for the trial began last spring with help from Dr. Billy McCathern, Bill Britt, Association Secretary Julie Kimbrell, and Sam and Nida Giddens. Thanks to everyone’s efforts the championship trial was a large success.

That success is measured in healthy entries, great judges, good weather, fantastic grounds with an abundance of birds, delicious hot meals, and the field trial camaraderie that flows when all these conditions are brought together.

Judges for a championship need to be carefully considered and we are grateful for the time and consideration of North Carolinian Tony Bingham and Virginian Gary Winall for their dedication and willingness to judge.

Special thanks to Johnny Atkinson who filled in for Tony who suffered an unfortunate bout with food poisoning Saturday afternoon. Tony recovered quickly from the virus.

Weather for the trial was as you would expect in the early spring down south, cool mornings and hot afternoons, dry and slightly more windy than usual. These conditions proved challenging on bird contact but there is no question that the Hoffman bird release program that I had heard so much about is working.

This was my first experience riding at “Hoffman” and it proved special. I had read about the bird release program and the typical early success followed by the late season challenges after repeated contacts and many months of field trials.

This year the release and efforts to hold the birds have been very successful. I rode listening to several longtime Hoffman volunteers describing the newest tactics of release with the help of other release pioneers such as John Ivester who was assisting at Hoffman and at his own Sawtooth Plantation, amending old release methods to find the perfect balance of cover, timing, food, and protection to achieve optimum conditions for “holding” birds longer.

The excitement of a covey rise keeps us all coming back and we were able to experience that wild emotion routinely throughout the weekend as the gallery rode up many coveys and singles and all points held the anticipation of a large event about to unfold.

The many unproductive points that we experienced we surmised were a result of a skittish covey leaving well before the gallery joined the party after being pushed all season. Hoffman delivered a great championship and we are grateful to the state of North Carolina for their commitment to the release program. We hope that soon we can do the same at our own championship grounds at Cooper Black in South Carolina.

Another yardstick for reporting a championship is the meals. The quality of the food reflects the quality of the competition because it is simply a matter of love and devotion to this sport that is reflected in the championship menu. North Carolina field trial stalwarts Sam and Nida Giddens prepared wonderful meals, always making lunch and dinner special. Friday’s lunch was lasagna, salad and bread with homemade banana nut bread with ice cream and chocolate. Saturday’s lunch was Carolina smoked sausage subs with sautéed onions and peppers, homemade cajun chicken noodle soup and an assorted cookie tray. Sunday, ham, turkey and roast beef sandwiches with pickles, chips and an assortment of cookies. The handlers’ dinner Saturday night was mustered by Tim Ruff and Jake Huffman and the Kimbrells featuring smoked Boston butts, collard greens, baked beans, mac and cheese and dessert. Great dining all weekend. Thanks again to Sam and Nida and the team.

The Running

Thirty-four dogs were qualified to run in the Region 3 — 31 pointers, one setter and two red setters. The first brace kicked off at 8:00 a. m. sharp with good conditions.

Sam Giddens started strong but early on at 8 I’m An Amazing Grace took a right toward course No. 2 and was recovered too late and picked up. Ray Wheeler’s Raag’s Miss Lightfoot ran a good race and had one nice find early and an unproductive late.

Tim McClurg’s pointer Waybetter Butch was picked up at 20 after not backing Larry King’s Alibi Girl which finished with an unproductive.

Dr. Roger Duerksen’s Klee’s Maggie and Bill Britt’s Clayhill Bones both ran a good race but neither had bird contact.

In No. 4, Pete Del Collo’s Sugarknoll Buzz Saw ran a good forward race with one large covey  at 55. Ray Wheeler’s Rock Creek was picked up late.

Tom Brigman’s Waybetter Billy ran a good race with manners, having backs at 20 and 40. Bill Owen’s Zumbro Stinky Pete was in a mutual back at 20, one additional find and ultimately picked up.

In the sixth brace, Roger McPherson’s Suemac’s Roll Tide completed a good forward race with an unproductive. Hunter Wilcox’s Desiree was picked up toward the end.

Starting Saturday morning, Bill Britt’s Quailcross Distant Ray ran a strong race but had no birds. Northwoods Charlie, handled by Bill Owen, had the same luck with a hard run but no bird work.

No. 8 pitted George Kimbrell’s winning pointer At’a Boy Roy with Tim Ruff’s Santee River Dynamite. Most South Carolina trials result in placement by both Kimbrell and Ruff. At’a Boy Roy, specifically, has had a tremendous career winning dog of the year for the South Carolina  Association as well as the 2018 National Amateur Shooting Dog Championship. Roy did not disappoint. The gallery grew excited to watch the brace and at 9 a. m. the conditions were improved and dogs were released. Roy ran a big forward race with a stylish find at 25, a large covey  at 40 and an unproductive at 45. Ruff’s Dynamite had one classy find but at 40 failed to back. Roy’s performance was deservedly enough to earn the championship win with the help of his scout and son, Jack Kimbrell.

In No. 9, Dr. Billy McCathern’s Doc’s Haven Jillie made a good effort but slowed down in the heat and was picked up after 30. Roger Boser’s red setter Rendition had two unproductives but finished with a good race.

Saturday afternoon’s 10th brace featured Roger McPherson’s Suemac’s Sashay which ran hard but had no bird work. Tom Brigman’s Harbor City Cruz ran a good race with one solid find.

Joe Rentz’s Redland’s Jacked Up ran a good race but no bird contact. Roger Boser’s red setter Waycross similarly ran a good race without bird work.

Saturday’s final brace was productive. Ted Riley’s Quail Hollow Jessie had two stylish finds, and Bill Owen’s Knight’s White Lady produced one find.

Sunday morning began with No. 13 under good conditions. Both Gene Hogge’s Code Black and Bill Owen’s Lone Tree Splish Splash finished with hard races but were birdless.

Roger Duerksen’s Klee’s Jake looked good but was without bird contact at 45 and was picked up. Mac’s Gunny Lou, handled by Tim McClurg, had a productive bid with two finds.

Rentz’s Fire and Ice (Joe Rentz) ran a good race with no bird contacts. The runner-up placement of the stake was earned in this exciting brace by Tim McClurg handling his pointer male Mac’s Hi Oh Silver in a big race that showed off Silver’s excellent handling and classic hunting pattern resulting in two finds in a big forward race. (Silver is having a good year, having won the Sandlapper trial the following weekend.)

In No. 16, Sam Giddens handled I’m Relentless to an early find but was picked up at 55. Ray Wheeler’s Wheels Up ran strong early but ultimately was picked up.

The final brace: Pete Del Collo’s pointer male Sugarknoll Bushwacker had one find and ran a nice ground race. Sam Giddens’ Double Rebel Meek had two finds and looked extremely good but unfortunately was lost at time.

With the Sunday afternoon fading through the tall pines the announcements were made, the group was reassembled, pictures were taken and the camaraderie and cheer were strong after a great weekend of championship competition and friendship.

See you next year.

Hoffman, N. C., February 16

Judges: Johnny Atkinson and Gary Winall


[One-Hour Heats] — 31 Pointers and 1 Setter and 2 Irish Setters

Winner—AT’A BOY ROY, 1629425, pointer male, by Caladen’s Rein Dancer—Caladen’s White River. George Kimbrell, owner and handler.

Runner-Up—MAC’S HI OH SILVER, 1643180, pointer male, by Mac’s Silver Dollar—Backcountry Dolly. Tim McClurg, owner and handler.

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