American Field

Mac McClung Amateur Shooting Dog Classic

Russell County Field Trial Club

By Lynn W. Heard | Mar 08, 2018
Amateur Shooting Dog Classic Winners. From left: Dr. Beth Brown Arthur, judge; Kevin Joyce and Bo Brewer with Shadow Oak Doc, Brian Sanchez, Ted Roach with Conecuh’s Power Play, Ron Lambert, Judge Jamie Fountain, Alan Atkins with Conway Twitty,Ginger Atkins and Stephen Williams.

Hatchechubbee, Ala. — The Russell County Field Trial Club hosted the 6th annual Mac McClung Amateur Shooting Dog Classic on February 2, drawing a field of 32 pointers and four setters. Judges for this year’s stake were Dr. Beth Brown Arthur of Sarasota, Fla., and Jamie Fountain of East Dublin, Ga. The club was delighted to secure the services of these two knowledgeable individuals. Beth Brown Arthur is an accomplished amateur handler, and Jamie Fountain a much respected professional on the AKC dog training/field trialing circuit. These judges rode hard each day and were attentive to all contenders, despite the cold temperatures on Friday and Saturday and the rain showers on Sunday.

J. C. “Mac” McClung is described by his family as a man with a genial personality, always smiling and friendly to all. He particularly enjoyed working his own dogs and running them in amateur trials. His expert horsemanship dated from his early days with the U. S. Calvary. Although he developed a number of winning dogs, his best known was Sentry’s Water Girl, named National Amateur Quail Shooting Dog Champion in 1989. This occurred after passing from his ownership. Mr. McClung continued to support the field trial scene in East Central Alabama until his death in 1996. The Russell County Field Trial Club thanks his family for choosing to remember and honor him with this trial. Each year a beautiful saddle is donated for first place, a leather bridle for second place and a gun scabbard for third.

The venue for this event is the Pat O’Neall Field Trial Grounds in Hatchechubbee, Ala. Although Mrs. O’Neall did not ride or compete in this year’s stake, she joined us for dinner Saturday evening. Mrs. Pat continues to inspire each of us with her wit, grace and determination. Herman Kizzie, a long-time employee of the O’Neall family, was on hand each day of the trial. He is credited with the grooming of the grounds, which have never looked better. Additionally, he is responsible for distribution of the birds each day. Although this is a one course trial, Herman does an outstanding job of planting the birds in different areas allowing the dogs to truly hunt.

There are 740 acres in this property. The terrain is gently rolling with mature pines, hardwoods, scrub oaks, broomsage, plum thickets, volunteer long leaf pines and food plots in abundance. There are wild coveys, but the trial is supplemented with additional birds for each brace. The grounds are exceptional at holding the birds during the trial.

Breakaway occurs on the south side of the parking lot, with the course going up a slight hill. The visuals are fantastic here off of breakaway as there are mowed strips on either side of the course running parallel. After five to seven minutes of southward travel, the course turns west. The left side off breakaway is only 300-500 yards deep, while the right side is wide open. A dog needs to handle through this turn, or he may not been seen again for some time. After the westward turn, we cross a small wet bottom. We continue this line of travel for about 12-15 minutes, crossing over a large creek bottom and continuing to the west. Nearing the top of the hill, there is a large ditch to the left of the course, where birds are usually found. We pass under the power line continuing westward, with several food plots to the left of the course and plum thickets in profusion. After about 5-10 minutes, the course goes north giving dogs a great range on either side of the horse path. We cross another bottom at about 25 and the course starts climbing again, coming around the back side of a large lake. We then turn east, southeast, cross over the power line again and begin the final 10-15 minute trek back to camp. These are approximate times, depending on the path conditions, bird contacts and the pace set by the judges. Throughout the course, a handler has many opportunities to show his dog on the hillsides and down in the bottoms.

Shadow Oak Doc, setter male handled by Brian Sanchez, was declared winner. Second place was Conecuh’s Power Play, pointer male handled by Ted Roach. Placed third was Conway Twitty, pointer male handled by Alan Atkins. More about these dogs and each of their performances follows.

The Running

Breakaway was at 7:00 a. m. under overcast skies with a temperature of 45°. Conecuh’s Power Play (Roach) and Heard Hill’s Rebel Polly (PF/Buck Heard). At the end of this brace, all watching knew that the bar had been set high by Power Play. He concluded his long, wide ranging and forward race with five finds. The judges found him to be very responsive to his handler’s calls and described him as a “levitator”, earning him a second place finish. Polly, Buck’s young Derby, had an unproductive at 7, one back and was responsive to Buck’s direction. Her range was not enough for this day.

Billy Jack (PM/Tom Brigman) and Jessie (PF/Jim Crayne). At 7 Brigman was off his horse calling point just to the left of the course with Billy Jack standing tall. No birds were found. At 11 Crayne called point for Jessie. Feathers were seen but no birds produced. Crayne and Brigman asked for their retrieval units at 32 and 36, respectively.

Jake (PM/Ron Lambert) and Great River Survivor (PM/Brian Sanchez). Interesting side note, these dogs are half brothers, sired by Hall-of-Famer Ch. Great River Ice. At 11 Survivor scored to the right of the path in a food plot. Birds were produced and great manners were displayed. Handler was able to show this dog skimming the hillside several times during this brace. He was forward in his race. At 21 Survivor scored again. A lengthy relocation was required but birds were produced and manners again were impeccable. At 40 both dogs were collared by their handlers and removed from judgment. Jake and Survivor both moved nicely and forward.

Bad Burden (PM/Greg Strausbaugh) and Bo (PM/Jack Arlington). At 30 Bad Burden was found standing to the left of the course near the pond. Birds were produced with all in order. At 32 Bo was found pointed just on the other side of the thicket. Although he relocated Bo, no birds were found and handler elected to pick him up. Birds were pointed by Bad Burden again at 34, all in order. At 48 Bad Burden was lost and the retrieval unit requested. Bo’s race was long and Bad Burden’s race was medium.

Running after lunch in brace No. 5 were Waybetter Rose (PF/Carl Bishop) and Meadowoods Fast Break (PM/ Roach). The temperature was 54° with sunny skies and very breezy. At 11 Roach called point for Fast Break. A relocation was required but birds were pinned and flushed with all in order. Just beyond where Fast Break was standing Rose was found standing by her scout and point was called. Birds were produced and all was in order. At 15 Rose was found standing on one bird just beyond the creek bottom to the left. Rose was also mannerly on this find. At 32 Bishop asked for his retrieval unit. Rose’s bid was up. Fast Break was found near camp, after a long wait at the end of the course.

Sugarknoll Buzz Saw (PM/Pete Del Collo) and Heard Hill’s Jaybird (PM/ Lynn Heard) ran with the same style and drive. Buzz Saw had a medium race, an unproductive at 24 and the retrieval unit secured soon thereafter. Jaybird had his running shoes on and his race was long. He was seen by the judges at 2, then gone for 18 minutes. He had finds at 24, 36 and 43. Jaybird demonstrated good manners, watching the birds on his first find, but solid on the other two.

Buddy (PM/Jim Crayne) and Great River Bayne (PM/Sanchez) were both off the breakaway like bullets. Buddy was last seen taking a hard right at 15 and lost thereafter. Bayne was found pointing at 24 to the left of the course. No birds were produced, the dog taken on. Bayne finished the course and was found near camp at time.

Saturday morning we started with brace No. 8 at 7:00 a. m. It was partly sunny and 28°. Meadowoods Joe Dirt (PM/Roach) and Native Lucky Boy (PM/Bill Harkins). At 11 just before the creek crossing Joe Dirt was seen standing on the right and birds flew before Roach got there. All was in order. Further down the lane to the north, Lucky Boy struck a pose and his handler was off his horse and flushing. Unfortunately, no birds could be produced and the dog was taken on. At 29 Lucky’s scout found him on point. Handler was at the front and judge advised scout to work the dog. No birds were found. At 37 both dogs were found pointed to the right of the course. Each dog had birds in front of him and was mannerly upon the flush. At 44 Lucky pointed again in the young stand of pines just to the right of the course. Birds flew and all was in order. Both dogs finished the hour strong with medium races and to the front.

Heard Hill’s Misbehavin (PF/Lynn Heard) had two finds at 23 and 36. She backed Buzz’s (Marty Robinson) find at 26, with all in order. Robinson asked for his retrieval unit before finishing the hour. Misbehavin had a long and forward race and finished the brace strong.

Conway Twitty (PM/Alan Atkins) and Sue (SF/Eli Richardson). At 7 Sue scored a find to the right of the path with all in order. Sue, while trying to regain the front, pointed again at 10. Conway Twitty was seen just beyond this find pointing too. Sue was charged with an unproductive at 10. At 13 Sue pointed again, feathers observed by the judge. Sue was taken on. Meanwhile, Conway Twitty was blazing through the course. He was credited with six finds and one unproductive at the end of the brace, earning him a third place finish. At 26 Eli elected to pick up his dog. Conway handled smoothly, had a fast, forward race and finished the hour strong.

Rentz’s Fire and Ice (PF/Rentz) and C S Joe Kid (PM/Roach). At 8 Tricia Rentz found “Dot” pointed on the right of the course. Birds were soon produced for a mannerly find. At 17 Tricia Rentz found Joe Kid on point for Ted Roach in the head to the left of the course at the top of the hill. Birds were flushed with all in order. At 29 Joe Kid was found in the thicket just north of the pond by the other handler. Unfortunately, this resulted in an unproductive and the dog was taken on. Joe Kid finished the brace strong and to the front. Rentz finished the hour with Dot which showed a beautiful happy gait.

Brace No. 12 — Shadow Oak Doc (SM/Sanchez) and Neely’s Rock and Roll (PM/John Neely) — began Saturday after lunch under bright sunny skies. It was a great race between these two dogs, both of them fast and far reaching. At the end of the brace Doc had scored five finds to Rock’s four. Both dogs showed well on the hillsides and ridges and in the bottoms. At 14 Neely called point for Rock in the ditch at the top of the hill on the left. Rock stood nicely, high on both ends for the flush. At 20 both dogs were found pointed to the left of the path. Neely’s birds were flushed quickly, while Sanchez’s dog required a brief relocation. Birds were soon flying with Doc standing tall. Rock carded another find at 25. At 35 Doc was to the left of the course near the pond and was rewarded with a beautiful covey rise. Three minutes later Sanchez called point again in the small pines to the right of the course on the final approach to camp. The dogs carded a divided find and all was in order. They were quickly released to finish the hour. When pickup was called both dogs were out of sight. Sanchez rode forward to find Doc pointing again. Doc’s flawless performance ended in a first place finish for him. Each time we rode up and saw Doc pointing, I thought of my good friend Bobby Roberts and his old setter Andy. Bobby would always declare loudly for all who were present, “Look at the flag on that shag.” Doc’s flag was flying high.

Redland’s Jacked Up (PM/Rentz)  and Champ (PM/Richardson). At 9 both dogs were found to the left in a food plot. Jack was pointing and Champ was backing. The birds were right under Jack’s nose, but Joe was able to flush the birds and Jack retained his composure.  At 15 Jack was found pointing in the ditch at the top of the hill, beyond the creek crossing. Birds were produced for another mannerly find. At 20 Eli’s scout called point to the left of the course. Champ was high and tight on both ends. Birds were produced and Champ taken on. Alan Atkins assisted with this find as handler was in front unaware that his dog had been found on point. Scout Todd Montgomery took the dog on to the front after this find. At 29 Jack was seen off to the left of the course in the head where birds are frequently found. Birds produced, all in order. At 38 Champ scored again to the right of the course in the young pines. After a brief relocation, no birds were produced and the dog was taken on. At 42 Eli asked for his retrieval unit. At 45 Jack was seen taking a hard right, lost from that point.

Marques Lucky Charm (PM/Strausbaugh) and Kruz (PM/Tom Brigman). At 16 Brigman asked for his retrieval unit, his dog gone since breakaway. At 22 Lucky Charm was found pointed and birds were soon flying with all in order. Eight minutes later Lucky Charm was observed to the left of the course on point. Birds were quickly produced and the dog taken on. Lucky Charm had a medium race but finished the hour.

Sunday morning amid scattered showers we began the 15th brace — Hank (PM/Kim Harrell) and Iron and Oak (SM/Ross Leonard). At 7 on the hillside just after the first bottom crossing Iron and Oak was seen standing tall on the hillside. Hank was observed backing, all the way from the bottom. This was a beautiful sight and worthy of a portrait. Leonard quickly flushed the birds with Iron and Oak remaining staunch. At 14 Hank pointed down in the bottom next to a big oak. Kim soon had birds in flight. At 19 Hank was found pointing at the top of the hill. Unfortunately, no birds were produced and the dog was taken on. Ross Leonard asked for his retrieval unit at 29. Kim Harrell received her retrieval unit at 31, under heavy rainfall.

Mike (PM/Lavon King) and Beckworth’s Fire Fighter (PM/Alan York). At 14 both dogs were seen pointing and credited with a divided find. There was too much movement on the flush and both dogs were picked up. It was unclear which dog had erred. Both dogs were handling the country beautifully and showed a great ground pattern prior to this incident.

Seekin A Thrill (PM/Leonard) ran as a bye when Eli Richardson scratched his entry at the last minute. Thrill covered the country beautifully. Point was called at 14 but handler was unable to produce any birds. At 29 Thrill was found to the right of the course on the approach to the pond. Birds were produced after an extensive flushing efforts. The morning rain had the birds hunkered down and reluctant to fly. At 42 Thrill was found on point with birds soon in flight. He finished the hour with a medium race.

Hatchechubbee, Ala., February 2 — One Course

Judges: Dr. Beth Brown Arthur and Jamie Fountain

MAC MCCLUNG AMATEUR SHOOTING DOG CLASSIC [One-Hour Heats] — 32 Pointers and 4 Setters

1st—SHADOW OAK DOC, 1644034, setter male, by Shadow Oak Bo—Bohannon’s Elizabeth. Great River Kennel & Allen Linder, owners; Brian Sanchez, handler.

2d—CONECUH’S POWER PLAY, 1630309, pointer male, by Rock Acre Powderkeg—Blackhawk’s Meg. Ted Roach, owner and handler.

3d—CONWAY TWITTY, 1629902, pointer male, by High Point Beginning—Wake Robin. Alan Atkins, owner and handler.


The Amateur Derby drew a field of 12 dogs. Neely’s Hot Rum, pointer male handled by his owner John Neely, was declared the winner of the stake. “Buddy” had a strong race with medium range. He was found on point by his bracemate’s scout far to the right of the course on a nice limb find. Buddy handled his birds stylishly.

Lyn Jones and her pointer male Live Oak Magnificent ran in the last brace and placed second. “Mac” had three finds and a medium race. Although he moved slightly during one flushing attempt, his other two finds were handled with composure.

Eli Richardson was delighted when his pointer female Little White Lies was announced in third place. “Dee’s” race was long and she was left on point by her handler and scout when the course turned north. After riding in this direction for a short time, handler and scout decided to go back to look for her. She was found on point, where she had been standing for quite some time and near her last sighting. Dee took a small step, but otherwise handled this find in a mannerly fashion.

Russell County Field Trial Club President Alan Atkins closed the trial by thanking the judges, Dr. Beth Brown Arthur and Jamie Fountain, Mrs. Pat O’Neall, Herman Kizzie, the family of Mac McClung, M & L Feeds of Phenix City and Sportsman Pride, and Stephen Williams, who provided great meals each noon and night.

AMATEUR DERBY — 12 Pointers

1st—NEELY’S HOT RUM, 1677717, male, by Erin’s Redrum—Neely’s Hot Pepper. John Neely, owner and handler.

2d—LIVE OAK MAGNIFICENT, 1674762, male, by Jolly’s Little Bud—She’s A Peach. Marilyn S. Jones, owner and handler.

3d—LITTLE WHITE LIES, 1673994, female, by Wiggins War Trace—Wiggins Snow Princess. Elias Richardson III, owner and handler.

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