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Cajun Open All-Age Classic

Solatex Field Trial Club

By William Smith | Feb 12, 2020
Touch's Grey Street First in the Cajun Open All-Age Classic

Hickory Valley, Tenn. — The origin of the Solatex Field Trial occurred when two of professional trainer Tony Terrell’s clients decided to sponsor a new trial on a new venue.

One of the men lived in Louisiana and the other lived in Texas. Thus the name

Solatex which is an acronym for Southern Louisiana and Texas. The competition was held on the Brown Trust land near DeRidder, La., that encompassed some 5,500 acres. The trial was one of the major events every field trial season.

It was very successful, but after several years the trial was moved to a new location near Wilma, La. The Green Farm became the new headquarters for the trial. This new site was also the training grounds for deceased professional trainer Ed Husser. The trial not only had a new home, but also a new name — the Cajun Classic. Although this new location proved to be successful the Cajun would relocate once again after several years.

The trial then moved to the Black Prairie grounds at Columbus, Miss., where it would remain for a short time. The Cattle Ranch near Demopolis, Ala., became the fourth home for the Cajun. It was contested at the Cattle Ranch one time. It was not contested in 2018, but in 2019 it found a new home near Hickory Valley, Tenn., on the Peterson, Powers, and Weaver  Farms. The Wolf River Field Trial Club hosted the trial in 2019 and again for the 2020 event.

Ric Peterson was the driving force behind the resurrection of the Cajun with invaluable help from Bubba and Amy Spencer. The grounds offer many scenarios that test a dog’s ability to navigate the huge bottoms, stay in contact with the handler at great distances, comply with commands in the tight areas, and display their hunting ability and bird sense.

The supreme test of these grounds is the Hay Shed Bottom that is a mile long. It may be compared to the northern plains because of the immensity of the area. It will test to the highest degree. If drawn on this course, the inability to handle this part of the route will most likely keep the entrant from the winners’ circle. It is a work in progress as the club is determined to host a quality event.

The courses are equal in that they provide areas that can highlight a performance and areas where discipline is required. Each of the three courses provided ample opportunities for bird work. In the All-Age competition there were 30 game contacts.

Ric, Bubba, and Amy were the marshals. The courses were slightly changed from  last year. They provided guidance and advance information as to the turns and creek crossings in sufficient time for the handlers to make sure they stayed on course. Their assistance was instrumental in making this event a positive experience for everyone.

Lunches were catered daily by the Southern Eatery located in Holly Springs, Miss. Hot potato, texmex, and chicken noodle soups were welcome after a morning in the cold. Many assorted cold cuts, condiments, chips, and desserts were also available. Everyone was complimentary of the fare. Thanks to Amy for her coordination with Southern Eatery in arranging for the lunches.

Jim and Matt Pendergest came from Lexington, Ky., to arbitrate. They are father and son. Jim is the father and together they are unique in that both own a Purina Dog of the Year. Matt owns Pendy’s Good Grace and she was the Open Derby of the Year for 2017. Jim owns Dialed In and she was the Amateur All-Age Dog of the Year for 2019. They compete in all-age competition over a vast area. They are well qualified to officiate. They have both spent summers on the prairies and they know how an all-age dog is supposed to perform. They do not count finds as the sole measure for placements. They look at the total performance that includes many variables, but  a dog must have an all-age performance, he must run,  if he is to be placed under their judgment. They gave their attention to each entry, they rode at a consistent pace, and their assessments were without prejudice. Their placements were well received.

This rebirth of the Cajun Classic was sponsored by Sportsman’s Pride dog food. They generously awarded dog food to all that placed in the All-Age and Derby Stakes. Sales representative Brad Kennedy is well known for his support of field trials and he is regularly seen at many of the local events. Without the support of Sunshine Mills this event and others would be in jeopardy of not being held. Thank you for your substantial support.

An odd circumstance occurred during this three-day trial — it didn’t rain!

Twenty-nine pointers were drawn for the All-Age competition—27 males and 2 females. The companion Derby drew 11 pointers—only two females. The Derby Stake has also been one that began under another name. The Evangeline Derby is the forerunner of this stake.

THE WINNERS

Keith Wright brought Touch’s Grey Street to the line in the 12th brace. The not yet three-year-old laid down a performance that will be long remembered by those who witnessed it. When the dust had settled, he was named the 2020 Cajun Classic winner. This was his second qualifying win and entitled him to run in the National Championship.

This young canine is making a name for himself and is already in demand as a sire. He is a beautiful specimen as he stands head high with a poker tail taking in the scent of his quarry. Barring any bad luck he will be and is a force to be reckoned with. His race is described later in this report.

Superstition’s Final Touch is in his first year of all-age competition. His owner, Ric Peterson, handled the three-year-old to the runner-up spot. He is pleasing to watch as he covers the ground in a deceiving, easy-going gait. He is fast and he wastes no time in his search to locate game. He was not easy to keep up with in the high cover at time, but he always appeared to the front at the right times. He, too, has a bright future barring accident or injury. His performance will be detailed later in the report.

Seven-year-old Valiant is no stranger to the winners’ circle. Randy Anderson and he have been on a tear this season winning five straight trials at one time. He appeared in the third brace and his performance was commendable. He went to the right places, always ahead and moving fast. He covered a lot of ground as he went about his search.

Anderson took the bridle off and let him roll showing that he had confidence in his contender. He took in the Hay Shed Bottom with ease. His performance earned him third place. His race will be covered later in this report.

THE RUNNING

Saturday morning had a biting breeze and cold temperatures. Los Animas Hombre (Larry Huffman) and Miller’s Select Call (Randy Anderson) were away at 8:00 a. m. They filled up the big soybean fields as they raced over the grounds. Huffman was working hard to get Hombre around but after a lengthy absence he asked for the retrieval device at 21. Call had a nice find at 21 and was solid when Anderson fired, but he suffered an unproductive at 25 and Anderson leashed him.

Hendrix’s Copperline, handled by  owner Burke Hendrix, paired with Whippoorwill Forever Wild (Matt Cochran). Copperline had  barren stands at 8 and 14. Since Copperline rarely has unproductive stands this would be an indication that these pre-released birds were runners. That scenario played out repeatedly as the handlers worked up a sweat fighting their way through the thick cover and even up and down steep ditch banks trying to get the birds in the air. Several unproductive stands would be credited because the handlers could not out run the birds. At 25 Wild got too close to a covey and that ended his bid.

Touch’s Spaceman (Anderson) was gone to parts unknown at 17. Whippoorwill Vette (Huffman) was meticulous in his application and was rewarded for his efforts at 17, 25 and 46. Huffman succeeded in his flushing attempts and Vette was rock solid on each of his finds. His last find was in the huge Hay Shed Bottom. He did not make the turn at the western end of the field and Huffman rode to the far-off edge where he discovered Vette standing. It was a long ride to catch the front where Vette finished his bid.

Hendrix’s Touch Up was not paying attention to Hendrix and after not being seen for a time he took the retrieval device at 26. Coldwater Odyssey (Weldon Bennett) was in contention with a nice find at 20. He was given an unproductive at 26 when Bennett could not put anything to wing. Touch Up had not been collared and was seen on point ahead on course. Odyssey failed to back and Bennett elected to pick him up. He was not told by the judges to pick up but said later that he picked up in order to reinforce Odyssey’s training.

An interesting question arose as a result of this incident. Should a dog that is disqualified and no longer under judgment affect the outcome of a trial? This reporter believes that a dog that is disqualified should never be allowed to disqualify a dog under judgment. In this case I believe Bennett could have continued if he chose to do so. It was his decision to pick up. I liken this to a basketball player dribbling down court and a spectator runs onto the court and accosts the player. Would the player be assessed a foul? I think not. My assessment probably will not be a popular one.

Valiant (Anderson) and Nosam’s Sweetwater (Huffman) were away and the scouts were out early as Valiant and Sweetwater made quick time of the breakaway field and held the edge but were headed away from the course. They reversed and were quickly across the headquarter field and were seen headed down the hill to Tri Corners. Anderson found Valiant stacked up when he arrived at Tri Corners at 10. This was the same place where Copperline suffered his first unproductive. Valiant was off the line but was a picture of class as he held his rigid posture with his tail at 12 o’clock. Anderson was determined to put the birds up and he made an extensive attempt. All the while Valiant remained motionless. Finally Judge Matt saw the birds running in the pines and instructed Anderson to shoot. Sweet-water backed Valiant and he also was a pretty picture as he remained focused on Valiant. Sweetwater’s attempt to gain the winners’ circle was up at 29 when he was not pleasing Huffman. Valiant ran strong and covered a lot of territory until 42 when Anderson called flight of birds as Valiant stood at their leaving. The birds were not officially seen and Anderson was hoping for a sleeper but he couldn’t produce and an unproductive was credited here. He was standing again at 57. Another lengthy flushing attempt  here. At about 1:01 the birds finally took to the air. Valiant had run a strong race but he also had a 13-minute absence during the brace. He is an impressive dog, but his composure around game is very extraordinary. From the moment he establishes point he is unmovable until he is collared or released.

Game Bo (Bennett) and Touch’s Blackout (Anderson) were turned loose in the Horseshoe Field and were down the logging road in quick order. Bennett spied Bo in the Old Cotton Field at 12 and called point. Blackout was backing. Blackout was standing again at 23 but the stand was barren. They were both moving at a fast clip and at 29 they were standing almost side by side in heavy cover. Both handlers flushed and both fired at the covey rise. Anderson was off his horse again at 33. On the relocation attempt Blackout pushed the birds a little too close and he was put in a roading harness. In the Deer Bottom where the course crosses the creek, Bo failed to make the turn and Bennett rode for him. It was a “fur piece” to the end of the field where the distant call of point was heard. Bo was telling the truth and it was evident when Bennett put a pair of quail in the air. After the long ride back to the course Bo continued to search for his quarry. At 58 he was rewarded with his third find of the hour. Bo’s style is pictographic as he waits for Bennett to do his job.

Because braces No. 1, 2 and 3 were of short duration it was decided to run brace No. 7 in the afternoon — Cocklebur King Tut (Bubba Spencer) and Cold-water Spectre (Bennett). Spectre scored first with a find at 26. Spectre  scored again four minutes later, but he had a breach of manners when the birds flew. Tut moved nicely through the cover and would appear when and where he was expected to be. Spencer found him in a food patch at 33 straight to the front. He marked flight when Spencer flew the feeding covey. Spencer held the middle of the course with the confidence that Tut would be to the front even through the thick cover. His faith was justified at 57 when he called point for Tut in heavy cover on the edge of a sage field. The birds were there and when released he was going ahead when time was called.

Sunday morning was still and little warmer than Saturday but the wind increased as things progressed.

Meadowood’s Matt Dillon (Cochran) and Coldwater Thunder (Billy Blackwell) made up brace No. 8. They were raring to go when released in the headquarter field. Both scouts were out, not to find the dogs but to turn them back in the expansive field when they both held the edge as it threw them in the wrong direction. They made quick time through the lower bottom and the sage field approaching the creek crossing at the west end of the Barn Shed Bottom.

Dillon crossed but Thunder did not and was not in sight. Blackwell went on across the creek with the confidence Thunder would be in the front. At the east end of the field north of the Triangle Field Blackwell saw Thunder standing on the opposite side of the deep ditch at 27. She had come over a half mile when she pointed. Horses were tied and Blackwell and Judge Matt navigated the very steep bank to the creek below. When Blackwell attempted to cross he began to sink in the shifting sand as water poured into his boots. Judge Matt helped extradite him from the sand. Judge Matt was able to cross and as he climbed the equally steep bank birds lifted in front of Thunder. Blackwell shot and Judge Matt was able to get Thunder down the bank and reunite with Blackwell. This was the find of the trial. It was a scene that would have made a great calendar picture. In the meantime Dillon notched a  mannerly find at 28. Five minutes later at 33 Dillon ended his bid when he got a little too close to a covey. Thunder was credited with a back here. For the next 27 minutes Thunder toured the vast crop fields with speed and purpose. She did not have any other game contacts. She finished at a great distance still going away. Blackwell rode a long way to catch her.

Touch’s Smooth Rider (Wright) and Touch’s Fire Away (Anderson). Rider’s enthusiasm was larger than his course and Wright took the retrieval device at 18. Away’s scout, Stegan Smith, found him standing in a woodsedge at 38.

Another lengthy flushing attempt and relocation took place. The running birds were finally seen and Anderson was relieved, but tired, when the shot was fired. Away’s second find was in a cane patch at 53. Another long relocation was successful when the covey flew across the creek. At the shot a woodcock also came out of the canes.

Miller’s Justifiable (Anderson) and Whippoorwill Mayhem (Huffman). Justifiable was first to score at 18 on a covey in the island and Mayhem notched a back. Justifiable’s second find came at 21 along the creek bank. After a determined relocation Anderson was able to shoot. Mayhem was charged with a breach of manners. Justifiable scored again at 29 for his third find. At 44 Anderson called it quits as he was not satisfied with Justifiable’s performance.

Superstition’s Final Touch (Peterson) and Whippoorwill Wild Assault (Huffman). The afternoon competition began in the headquarter field. It is a perfect breakaway field as it allows the dogs to expel their pent up energy on as straight line in view of their handler. The course bends to the west around a jutting of trees. Then the course really opens up. Both handlers were singing to keep their charges from taking the far edge that would turn them back east. The scouts were positioned to keep that from happening. They went down the hill into the lower bottom. They were both getting over the ground at a good clip and went into the Sage Field west of the Hay Shed Bottom. They crossed the creek together and Assault held the north line at the creek. Touch went across the field adjacent to the Triangle Field and went to the island and immediately established point. Peterson put the bird in the air and fired. It was as though Touch had smelled that bird from a quarter mile away, but that is impossible. They searched through the Plum Thicket and around the deep tilled corn field. Touch came around this field on his own since it was almost impossible to ride a horse through the miry quicksand-like soil. Touch was with Peterson down the power line but Assault had been absent for awhile. Huffman took the retrieval device at 49. Assault came out of the woods when Huffman took the device. Touch was away from the power line as Peterson continued to call on him. Peterson found him standing at 52 in the vicinity of a feeder. The covey took to wing as Peterson shot for the second time with Touch unmoving. Touch finished in a soybean field still running strong and going away.

Touch’s Grey Street, handled by his owner Keith Wright, and Ransom’s Jack Flash (Blackwell) began with speed as they quickly rimmed the breakaway field and both made impressive swings before going into the immense Hay Shed Bottom. Street took the south edge and Blackwell sent Flash to the north edge. Street was hard to see as he raced to the end of the almost mile-long edge and turned north at the corner. Flash turned south and they met halfway of the western edge. Flash reversed course and both dogs entered the morning breakaway field south of the trial headquarters farm shed. Blackwell’s cap was in the air at 23 as he raced toward Flash standing in a mowed strip. Flash was moving when Blackwell reached him and he was taken up. Wright called point for Street at 28 in the headquarters loop. Street was tentative as Wright fought through the thick briars to finally put up the covey. Three minutes later, at 28, Street was standing again. His tail was in motion as Wright arrived, but then firm as Wright walked in front and put birds in the air. Two quick finds seemed to energize Street and he was off on another huge cast. At 34 Street swapped ends on the distant south edge of the morning breakaway field. He was off the edge and he was solid as Wright made the long ride. Birds filled the air when Wright stepped into the jumble of weeds.

Street took every edge all the way to the end of each field he entered and he did not come off the lines. He was not in the middle of any of the fields and he was always at a great distance ahead. At a 90° turn of the course Wright had to ride for Street and bring him back to the ditch crossing. Just before the crossing Street, in full stride, wheeled and pointed. He took the classic pose with his right front foot off the ground and he held that pose until Wright flushed his quarry. Street was at least seven yards off the edge and in full stride when he smelled the birds, proof he has a “choke bore” nose. Street maintained his distance to the front and at 53 he pointed again into a pine grove. Once again Wright made the long ride to his picturesque pointer and flushed a single bird. Street finished just as he had begun to the front running hard and going away. He had been subservient to his handler even at extended distances during the entirety of his hour. His performance was thrilling to watch and all agreed that the hour ended too soon.

Brace No. 13 was brief when Miller’s Hot Rod (Anderson) chased at 11. Touch’s Indiana Joan (Wright) was backing but broke when Rod chased.

S F Stetson (Huffman) had a breach of manners at 30. Lester’s Jazz Man (Anderson) was leashed at 24 after being credited with an unproductive stand.

Hickory Valley, Tenn. January 25

Judges: Jim Pendergest and Matt Pendergest

CAJUN OPEN ALL-AGE CLASSIC [One-Hour Heats] — 29 Pointers

1st—TOUCH’S GREY STREET, 1680120, pointer male, by Touch’s Knight Rider—Touch’s Wild Assault. Keith A. Wright, owner and handler.

2d—SUPERSTITION’S FINAL TOUCH, 1674993, pointer male, by Touch’s Adams County—Reed’s Dixie Spirit. Richard Peterson, owner and handler.

3d—VALIANT, 1649524, pointer male, by Miller’s Happy Jack—Tina’s Tear Drop. Jay McKenzie, owner; Randy Anderson, handler.

OPEN DERBY

Six finds were recorded in the Derby.

Superstition’s Jake, handled by Bubba Spencer, took first place with two finds and an acceptable race. The second find came after time when Jake was found on point. Jake has several placements this season.

Knight Moon, handled by Ike Todd, garnered second place. Moon scored a nice find at 9. He was a handsome picture as he stood in an intense pose. His race showed promise of all-age potential. Third was Rester’s Cajun Charlie which had a good race and a find after time when Cecil Rester found him on the west end of the Hay Shed Bottom locked on a covey.

OPEN DERBY — 11 Pointers

1st—SUPERSTITION’S JAKE, 1687334, pointer male, by Touch’s Adams County—Superstition’s Molly. Richard Peterson, owner; Bubba Spencer, handler

2d—KNIGHT MOON, 1687204, pointer male, by Mercer Mill Moon—Morton’s Carolina Rose. Scott Griffin, owner; Ike Todd, handler

3d—RESTER’S CAJUN CHARLIE, 1683364, pointer male, by Dunn’s Tried’n True—Rester’s Redial. Cecil Rester, owner and handler.

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