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Field Trial Report

Shenandoah Youth Field Trial

By Darron Hendley | Apr 04, 2019
Lineup of Young handlers at the Shenandoah Youth Trial joined by parents and participants.

On Saturday, March 16, a talented group of enthusiastic and competitive young handlers enjoyed a beautiful day afield with their dogs, horses, family and friends at the 2019 Shenandoah Youth Field Trial.

One need look no further than the entrants of this trial to see that the future of our beloved sport is in good hands. Alabama Youth Field Trials are for youngsters age 17 and under.

Their dogs are judged on gun dog standards from horseback over a predetermined course on beautifully groomed Shenandoah Plantation in Union Springs, Ala., owned by Tom and Sue Ellen Lanier who graciously host this trial. I believe they enjoy it just as much as the kids do!

Before the trial started, Hunter McDuffie and Mike Green grilled delicious hamburgers and hot dogs for everyone. Will Roberts was present from Selma, Ala., to bless our meal and lead everyone in prayer.

It being the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, local Irishman David Miller brought  the youngsters together for a history lesson on Saint Patrick and gave each a good luck shamrock sticker.

The weather was cool, overcast with a gentle breeze.

When Shenandoah Manager Robert Moorer  called “Get ‘em on the line,” more than 30 horseback riders joined the gallery. Several buggies and ATVs followed the action. Willie Bird Owens manned the dog wagon.

We were honored to have local quail hunting enthusiast David Miller of Auburn and Lynn Jones, a veteran field trailer from Hatchechubbee judge the trial. David owns Pine Ridge Plantation near Union Springs. He hunts his wild quail reserve on horseback. Lynn has been training and successfully competing her field trial dogs for as long as this writer can remember. The twosome was a perfect team. We thank them sincerely for their time and expertise.

Robert Moorer guided the young handlers through the swaying sage and towering pines. The course is truly picturesque.

The third brace produced the first and third place dogs. Dot, a speedy little white pointer female, bred by Brian Peterson of Cecil, Ala., hunted at a fast and furious pace, but at a nice gun dog range. Rarely do you see a dog cover that much ground yet stay in sight and earshot of her handler. Addison McDuffie, eleven-year-old daughter of Hunter and Mindy McDuffie, expertly handled Dot through her one-find brace.  This placement put Addison in the top spot for repeating as this year’s Alabama Youth Handler of the Year.

Braced with Dot was Red, a big strong male pointer handled by Kingslea Dyer. His front-running classy way of going earned the third-place spot. Kingslea is the 17-year-old daughter of Kevin Dyer and Shae King, and grand-daughter of Renie King of Union Springs.

Second was Willie,  handsome male pointer handled by Ella Grace Montgomery, the daughter of Todd and Chantell Montgomery of Union Springs and a previous Alabama Youth Handler of the Year winner.

Reese Green was honored with fourth place for her pointer Jack. This was Reese and Jack’s second performance at Shenandoah. Reese was bitten by the field trial bug two years ago and is quickly becoming a seasoned competitor. Reese is the granddaughter of Mike and Jan Green, daughter of Justin Green and Laci Brabham. Reese is the great-great granddaughter of George L. Harden, Jr. (1973 Field Trial Hall of Fame). Mr. George was the manager of Sedgefields Plantation when it was owned by washing machine magnate Mr. Louis B. Maytag.

The judges awarded six-year-old Ann Louise Lanier with honorable mention for her dog Tazz which had three well-executed finds in her 20-minutes, more than any other dog in the stake. Ann Louise is the daughter of Cam and Amelia Lanier of Sehoy Plantation. She had quite a fan club in the gallery! This was the first field trial for Ann Louise. She is ready to do it again!

All the young handlers did an excellent job with their dogs. Brayden Renfroe and Bentley Faulk from Union Springs and Taylor Roberts from Selma were knocking at the door with their bird-finders. Bentley is the grandson of Peggy and Bobby Hartwig, a nationally known professional bird dog trainer- handler from Union Springs.

The Shenandoah Youth Trial has become the most popular youth trial in the country. It could never happen without gracious landowners Tom and Sue Ellen Lanier who open the gates once a year for this great event.

Generous sponsors contribute to make sure every youngster goes home happy! A huge thank you to Farmers Feed and Supply in Montgomery, Craig Phillips, Phillips Feed and Seed of Union Springs, Purina and Jack Arlington.

Each year  the “The John William Barnett Memorial Alabama Youth Handler of the Year Award” silver trophy is awarded to the youth handler that has accumulated the most points by placing in Alabama Youth Trials. Along with the trophy comes a $1,000 college scholarship. The scholarship is funded by the Hartley Carter Foundation, a 501c(3) charitable organization.

If anyone is interested in youth field trials or would simply like to help with the scholarship fund, please contact Darron Hendley at (334) 300-5836.

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