American Field

Lester’s Sunny Hill Jo Wins 2018 Renewal; Funseek’n Hit Man is Runner-Up

Southeastern Quail Championship

By Ron Deal | Apr 17, 2018
Southeastern Quail Championship Winners. From left front: Judd Carlton with Funseek’n Hit Man and Willis Wright with Lester’s Sunny Hill Jo. Behind: Gary Lester, Lamar Childers, Slade Sikes, Jamie Daniels, Lee Phillips, Ray Warren, Judge Tim Ruff, Ron Deal (holding the trophy), Tom Shenker and Judge Jadie Rayfield.

Sasser, Ga. — Chickasaw and Abigail Plantations near Sasser, Ga., were once again the venue for the 2018 Southeastern Quail Championship which drew 63 entries. When the dust had cleared after five and a half days of competition, Judges Jadie Rayfield and Tim Ruff named Lester’s Sunny Hill Jo the 2018 Southeastern Quail Champion. David Thompson of Edmonton, Ky., and Gary Lester of Gracey, Ky., co-own the new champion. Gary Lester handled the dog to his new title.

Runner-up honors went to Funseek’n Hit Man, owned by Jack and Tracy Haines of Broomfield, Colo., and handled by Jamie Daniels. The winners ran two days apart on the first course in the morning and were each credited with three finds.

Entries were down this year for a variety of reasons. Still, sixteen different handlers brought to the line the 63 contestants that included winners of the great majority of the major trials run on quail. Four of the top five dogs in the Purina All-Age Award standings were entered as well as recent winners of the United States Quail, National Invitational, Georgia, Florida, Continental, and National Championships, to name a few.

Each year the list of judges capable of evaluating such an august group of contestants in a setting likely to produce multiple game contacts gets shorter and shorter. Securing a person to suffer multiple days in the saddle and then end with only a few people happy is a lot to ask. The Southeastern has been very fortunate over the last 28 years to have judges capable of separating the multiple good jobs usually done. This year was no exception.

Jadie Rayfield of Mount Pleasant, S. C., has judged the National, the Quail Championship Invitational, the Southwestern, the Georgia, and the Southeastern Championships before. This was his third tour at this trial. Tim Ruff of Irmo, S. C., is a stalwart on the Carolina scene. He started as a bird hunter, trained and runs his own dogs, and came to the Southeastern from judging the National Shooting Dog Championship for the second time. In fact, both judges came almost directly from a National Championship assignment. They rode hard, remained attentive and often pointed out dogs for the handlers. They rendered an opinion based on what they saw. The Southeastern Field Trial Club thanks them for their effort.

Except for a few early years when a portion of Southern Heritage was used, the trial has been run on Chickasaw and Abigail Plantations and headquarters has been on Chickasaw. The club thanks the owners of Abigail Plantation and Tom Shenker, Abigail manager, for the use of their superb grounds. The club also thanks the Deal family for providing Chickasaw and the facilities there.

The Southeastern, like the entire field trial sport, is indebted to Purina for their support. They sponsored the barbeque luncheon on Saturday when Tommy Davis received his Hall of Fame scroll. Jim Smith was here to represent Purina at the popular event.

John Rex Gates, representing Garmin, provided an electric collar for the winner. Bennett Supply in Albany continued to support the trial with a donation.

A lot of behind the scene work goes into putting on any trial, much less a major one like the Southeastern. The paper work falls to this reporter who also handled the drawing with Tom Shenker. Tom furnished horses for one of the judges as well.

Willis Wright (Abigail), Sheri Fort (Chickasaw) and Wilson Napier (Chickasaw) prepared the barn and paddocks. Sheri took care of the barn duties throughout the trial. Wilson kept the bird buggy stocked, got the dogs to the line without a hitch, and did more babysitting than he liked.

Lamar Childers, one of the founders, returned once more and did the bulk of the course directing, a task he performed for many years. Willis Wright and Tom Shenker helped Lamar when they could. Wayne’s Restaurant in Dawson catered lunches and did an excellent job.

There was less bird work in the current renewal than usual. The days were predominately warm and the sky was generally bright. Most likely the birds moved very early or very late. Both plantations fed just before the trial began, so quail did not have to move much to feed. Scenting conditions and bird behavior were not ideal. Fewer birds were pointed and more were ridden up than usual. Several times an unproductive would be charged and then the gallery or bird buggy would flush the covey as they went by. All this reporter knows is that the weekend before the trial, he and another old man got their limit shooting one .28 gauge shell each per covey rise. This was over a two-day period in windy conditions when multiple coveys left early. Everyone felt good at the time about the prospects for game contacts during the trial. Birds did reappear for puppies after the trial.

Three continuous courses are utilized for the Championship. All the courses have plowed weed fields with edges often extending from thinned planted pines, open wet weather ponds, edges with hardwood borders, and open piney woods. All the upland areas are block mowed. The country is typical of that west and southwest of Albany where the soil has more clay than near the Flint River. To make the brace descriptions sensible, a summary of each course is included.

The first course starts behind the barn on Chickasaw and runs about 22 minutes on Chickasaw and the rest of the time on Abigail. The handler has to have his dog for the crossing onto Abigail at 22, then to cross the county road below the church about twelve minutes later. The next crossing is a creek at about 42 and then the iron bridge at about 50.

The second course usually starts somewhere between the iron bridge and the next wet weather pond. What follows is a gradual right turning loop toward, then away from the boundary with Ecila, an adjoining plantation. After the final turn, the course heads toward a high rock crossing then toward a turn down Lake Ray Road which heads back to the iron bridge. The county road is then crossed well above the church. The course next enters the old pivot system which now is broken into long fields by planted pines. The second course usually ends somewhere in the old system.

The third course goes through fields broken by open piney woods heading generally toward the border with Southern Heritage Plantation on the left. It follows this border back to the water crossing on to Chickasaw which comes at about 20 to 30 minutes. It then parallels the chute through open woods until it enters a series of fields with edges. It goes above the headquarters area before crossing, or following, open fields heading due west. It crosses the clay road above Davey’s house before entering some big fields then open piney woods heading toward a gradual turn. No dog made it to the turn during the stake.


This was the fifth titular win for Lester’s Sunny Hill Jo, an extremely stylish five-year-old white and orange pointer male that just came from a second consecutive win of the National Championship. His other titles include the National Free-for-All and the Alabama Championships.

Gary Lester, co-owner with fellow Kentuckian David Thompson, and handler of Jo, previously placed here in 2008 when Jo’s maternal grandsire, Hall-of-Famer Lester’s Snowatch, was named runner-up.

Lester’s Sunny Hill Jo is the first dog to win at Grand Junction and then come to the Southeastern and earn the title. Many have tried but the adjustment from a marathon to an 800-meter race in the short time interval between the two trials has proven too difficult. Jo was named champion based on a three-find effort. One of his finds required an impressive relocation on running birds.

Runner-up honors went to Funseek’n Hit Man,  seven-year-old white and liver pointer male from the nick of Rivertons Funseek’n Scooter and Just Wait Bess. Hit Man previously has won the All- America Prairie Championship and the runner-up position at the Southwestern Championship, both on the Dakota prairies. Most recently, he was named Top Qualifier at the Florida Championship. He earned this placement based on three well-handled finds and an all-age ground effort.

The judges had to sift through several other good performances before deciding on the winners. As is usually the case, all the top contenders had some flaw to weigh against their positives.

Listed in their order of running those that pushed the winners were: Touch’s White Knight (Mark McLean), Touch’s Red Rider (Luke Eisenhart), Miller’s Speed Dial (Lester), Touch’s Mega Mike (McLean), Secret Agent (Rick Furney), and Miller’s Bushwacker (Daniels).

The new champion squared off against House’s Buckwheat Hawk (McLean) in the first brace on the fourth morning. The temperature was a cool 40°, but the sky was clear and bright.

Both dogs started on the right but soon Hawk crossed over to the left. Jo returned to Lester on the rise above the big pond on the right. The hourglass field was entered at 7. Lester put Jo on the right edge. Hawk took the opposite field edge. Both dogs were soon out of sight. After the slight turn through the gap was passed, Lester searched the opposite side of the next field edge while McLean looked for Hawk in the country on the left. The chute was entered at 14. Both handlers rode the higher right side of the course looking for their dog. Jo was seen initially by the gallery coming from the right where he soon pointed at 18 between the two longleaf patches on that side. Lester flushed birds and shot. The dog maintained his characteristic style and manners.

McLean pointed out Hawk in the distal chute about the time Jo appeared on the right, but neither judge could confirm the sighting. Lester regained the front with Jo at 20 and crossed onto Abigail at 22. Jo went right and nailed his second covey on the hill above the crossing at 24. Everything was in order as Lester flushed and shot. The front was regained at 27 and Jo was sent forward on the right side. McLean got his retrieval device about then.

Lester continued to ride the course. The final bend toward the church occurred at 32. Shortly after the gallery crossed the county road at 39, Jo was  on the left edge of the first field. Lester then put the dog in the country to the right. At 45 Jo was styled up in the rough just above the pine rows where the course turns toward the creek crossing. Lester picked his way through the briars in a wide flushing attempt before requesting a relocation. Jo worked into the wind and finally pinned a scattered covey about thirty yards up into the pine rows. He exhibited good style and manners as birds flew out in waves and Lester shot.

The creek was crossed at 55. Lester had Jo on the right and showed him well ahead at 57. Jo took the next left edge all the way. Lester got him across the iron bridge before time expired. He had him caught above the bridge as the judges arrived just after time.

Runner-up Funseek’n Hit Man (Daniels) ran on the first course the second morning of the stake. He was paired with Shadow’s White Warrior (Gates). Owner Carl Bowman was mounted to support Warrior. His dog initially took the left side and Hit Man the right. Hit Man showed at 3 on the rise above the first wet weather pond. He was not seen again until he was found pointing on the right edge of the hourglass field at 10. Daniels put up a nice covey in front of the mannerly dog. Gates found Warrior styled up at 16 near a longleaf patch in the mid-chute. It was a known covey location, but this time they were not home, Warrior charged with an unproductive.

Hit Man showed well ahead in the distal chute. Daniels rode aggressively to gather him for the crossing onto Abigail. Hit Man was released at 23 as Gates regained the front with Warrior. Hit Man then made an impressive cast on the far side of the two wet weather ponds on the right before he returned at 32 where the course makes the final turn toward the church. Warrior was not quite as ambitious in the country on the left. Hit Man was next seen taking in the fields on the left in an impressive fashion. Both handlers had their dogs for the county road crossing at 36 and put them on the right edge of the first field. Point was called far to the right front at 41. Both dogs were there when the judges arrived and both handlers flushed and shot. It was described as a “divided field trial find.” Returning to the front, a short divided find on a single bird was added to the tally. Both handlers released their dogs after the creek crossing at 49. Each showed well heading toward the iron bridge which was crossed at 52. Point was called far in on the right for Hit Man at 59. On relocation, two single birds lifted near the original stand but not near the dog. Daniels stopped the dog and shot. As he reached for the collar, a covey flushed about ten yards away. Hit Man was neither credited nor faulted for the encounter. Had the bird work been crisp, Hit Man would have been hard to beat. Warrior had a good finish without additional bird work.


The Championship began under warm muggy conditions. Temperature was 65° when Neely’s Power Play (Gates) and Rebeller (Rayl) were released. Scenting conditions must have been terrible. Birds were on the feed trail and riders or the bird buggy flushed six coveys the first 20 minutes, but none were pointed. The same scenario continued after the crossing onto Abigail at 21. Power Play was much more ambitious on the ground than Rebeller. He handled his first covey at 39 in the rough to the right after crossing the county road. The creek crossing occurred at 45. Power Play pointed his second covey at 47 and a third at 51. He showed good style and manners on both. Both handlers had their dogs for the iron bridge crossing and released them as the judges approached at 54. Power Play had what would have been his best find on the far side of the next wet weather pond. Gates could not get anything up and asked the dog to relocate. During the attempt, a bird flushed, and the dog stopped. Gates shot for what was credited to be a stop to flush on relocation. Rebeller had no game contacts and ran a more moderate race than Power Play.

Strut Nation (Scott Jordan) and Erin’s Three Leaf Shamrock (Sean Derrig) began their bid just above the first wet weather pond after the iron bridge. Shamrock pointed in the cover just beyond the first field at 1. He had the birds well located and was mannerly for what followed. Both were moderate in range as the wind increased in velocity. Strut Nation suffered two unproductives and was lifted at 30. Derrig continued with Shamrock until 43.

Marques Lucky Star (Henry) and Sims Rambling Rex (Rayl) were released just beyond the iron bridge. Star went way in on breakaway, crossed the county road, went left, and was not seen again in judgment. Rex made a similar swing but returned on his own across the county road at 10 where he was taken on by his owners until Rayl regained the front at 15. The long breakaway cast took its toll, but after being watered, Rex got his second wind. He went on to make some good swings. Rayl gave up at 55 without any bird work.

Conditions for the first afternoon were terrible. The temperature was 80° and wind gusts to twenty mph predicted. Tee’s Wild Man (Gates) made a good cast down the edge of the hourglass field, was returned from the left in the mid-chute area and pointed a covey at 16 in a plum thicket on the right. However, the youngster took too many steps and was lifted. Showtime Sam Houston (Copeland) ran a very commendable race but went birdless.

The second afternoon brace (5) began just across the iron bridge and pitted Touch’s Game Point (McLean) against Erin’s Redrum (Derrig). Redrum made a good opening cast on the hill to the right. Game Point made a similar big swing on the left. Both dogs returned at about 10 on the other side of the first wet weather pond and each continued ambitiously in the loop. McLean called point for Game Point on the right side of the course at 18. He had to do some fast back peddling when it turned out to be a wild sow with piglets. While this was transpiring, Derrig showed Redrum on a good cast then got him back at 22.

Redrum had an unproductive event just before the final turn away from Ecila. Game Point got out of pocket prompting McLean to request his retrieval unit at 37. Redrum continued to put together good forward swings. He had a good find on the left edge of the long fields heading toward Lake Ray Road. Redrum made some good casts after the course turned down the road before returning just before the iron bridge at pickup.

The last afternoon brace was abbreviated due to rain. It consisted of McRee’s Roxanne (Eisenhart) and Rocky Knoll Annie (Rayl). They were scheduled to return at the end of the stake.

Shadow’s White Warrior (Gates) and Funnseek’n Hit Man (Daniels) ran in the seventh brace which has been described.

The second brace of the second morning consisted of Sandhill Trig (Rayl) and Dunn’s Tried’n True (Eisenhart). The brace began halfway between the iron bridge and the first pond. Will Dunn was mounted to watch his multiple champion perform. Both dogs were moderate in their range in the early going. Tried’n True had a nice, well handled find on the left at 15. Both handlers had their dogs for the final turn toward the high rock crossing at 21. Trig was absent for a spell then reappeared on the right of the pond just before the long fields heading toward the turn down Lake Ray Road. Eisenhart was able to show Tried’n True on numerous forward swings before and after the high rock crossing. The dog had a good finish in the old irrigation system. He was not seen at pickup but was recovered in time. He had no additional game contacts. Rayl returned at the bridge from his search on the right and got his retrieval unit at 47.

Shadow’s Next Exit (Gates) and True Confidence (Eisenhart) were released just beyond the old pivot system. Hall-of-Famer Butch Houston was in the road gallery to support his Next Exit. In the early going, Gates had some trouble getting Exit lined out. True Confidence made some good swings before returning at 11 from the right front. Both dogs made the crossing onto Chickasaw at 20. Each showed well in the fields behind headquarters. Exit had a covey to the right of Davey’s house. The dog stood tall for the flush and shot. Eisenhart pointed out True Confidence on a showy swing down the long field behind Davey’s house then raised his hat at the end. The dog was styled up in the middle of the worst thicket on the place. It proved to be unproductive after a prolonged attempt at relocation. Both finished without additional bird work.

Touch’s White Knight (McLean) and Stash The Cash (Lester) began the afternoon action. Eddie Sholar was mounted to support Knight. His dog made an ambitious swing on the left side. Cash was shorter on the right. Knight was found pointing on the left just before the hourglass field and Cash was pointing about forty yards ahead on the right edge of the field. Both stands proven barren even after efforts at relocation. Cash pinned a covey about fifty yards up the same edge and a second one farther up the same field edge at 15. He handled both in good fashion. The birds from Knight’s stand flushed when the bird buggy, trailing the gallery, passed. McLean sent Knight down the left edge of the hourglass field while he made the gap and rode the course. Lester regained the front from a second find at 17. Knight returned from around Watt’s Pond in the mid-chute area. The crossing onto Abigail occurred at 24. Both took in the far side of the two ponds on the right. Cash returned sooner. Knight showed after the final turn toward the church and then made some good casts in the fields on the left. After being watered in the pond before the road, both dogs crossed it at 41. McLean called point for Knight at 45 in the rough to the right. The dog was mannerly for the flush and shot. Cash pointed a covey on the left at 46, then a single quickly after. The young dog took too many steps and was up. McLean regained the front at 51 and crossed the creek at 54. He sent Knight to the right where scout called point at 56. Birds were pinned after a good relocation. Knight was given a chance to finish and took advantage of it.

Marques Armed Robber (Henry) and Erin’s Wild Justice (Eisenhart) started their bid shortly beyond the creek crossing. John Ivester was in the mounted gallery for Robber. Justice took in the rough on the left. Robber decided on the right field edge. Both handlers and their dogs crossed the iron bridge at 6. They released the dogs as the judges approached and sent them both to the right front. Justice crossed over to the left at a good distance, but Robber continued. Henry rode right in search of Robber and called point at 10. The dog was styled up on the distant rise and stood mannerly as birds flew and Henry shot. Henry regained the course at 12. Both dogs showed well on the other side of the pond at 17. Robber had a second find at 22. It was at a more moderate distance but was well handled. Eisenhart got Justice back from the right at 26. Both dogs were on the left in the low area. The final turn away from Ecila was made at 35. Justice made a nice swing on the left and returned at the high rock crossing. Robber also showed from the left while Henry searched to the right. The crossing was made at 42. Justice made a showy cast above the next wet weather pond and pointed at 44. He had his birds well located and maintained his manners for the flush and shot. Henry sent Robber down the right edge of the field beyond the pond and he took it all the way. Eisenhart elected to send Justice into the big country on the left. Both dogs made the turn down Lake Ray Road and finished at the bridge. Both dogs had commendable ground efforts. Robber had two finds. Justice had one.

Miller’s Creative Cause (Lester) and Quickmarksman’s Dan (Hester) made up the final brace (12) of the second day. They began just beyond the iron bridge. It was warm, bright and breezy. Both dogs made ambitious casts in the country to the right. After the county road crossing, Lester sent Cause down the pine rows on the right side of the field. Hester blew Dan down the rows on the left. Cause had a good find on the right at 16. Everything was in order. Hester got Dan back from the left at 18. Both dogs showed well in the country to the right front with Cause the deeper of the two. The scout called point for Cause near Coon Pond at 27. A relocation was required before birds were flushed in front of the well-mannered dog. Hester retrieved Dan from the left just before the final turn down the boundary pines. Lester returned to the front with Cause from his good find at 34. Both dogs made the crossing back onto Chickasaw at 39. Cause went over the hill above the crossing and showed well forward. He scored his third find at 44. Cause was mannerly for the flush and shot. Both dogs were found pointed at 55 on the field edge above headquarters. The handlers decided not to flush. When they collared their dogs, a covey flew. Hester put Dan on a leash at this point. Cause continued and suffered an unproductive stand at time which robbed him of a chance to show a finish.

Conditions improved for the third day; the sky was clear, but the temperature was down to 39°.

Shadow’s Full Throttle (Gates) and Spencer’s Rambling Lawman (Rayl) began the day. Throttle pointed at 12 just to the left of the open gap in the hourglass field. He pinned the pair after a relocation and was mannerly as they flew, and Gates shot. He scored his second find at 16 in the mid-chute area and behaved similarly. Lawman was lost off the breakaway. Rayl requested his retrieval unit at 20. Gates crossed onto Abigail at 20 and released Throttle when the judges approached at 22. The dog next made an impressive swing on the far side of the two wet weather ponds on the right before returning to Gates at 30 at the final turn toward the church. Throttle then took in the country on the right. Gates continued riding, crossed the county road at 37 and searched on the right before getting his retrieval device at 47.

Sinbad’s Rumor (Daniel) and Touch’s Red Rider (Eisenhart) were turned loose just beyond the creek crossing. Rider had a find in the cover on the left at 2. Rumor backed. Neither dog could be faulted for their manners. Rumor and Rider both took the left side toward the iron bridge where they were gathered for the crossing. The handlers released them at 8 as the judges approached. Both dogs took in the right side as the course heads toward the first pond. Rider was the more ambitious. Rumor had a nice, well handled find at 19. Rider was out of pocket for a time before returning from the right just before the damp area. He nailed his second covey near the final turn away from Ecila. Rumor again backed. Heading toward the high rock crossing, Rumor shortened some. Rider went deep down the right side and reappeared on the far-left side after the slight turn around the next pond. He had an excellent find at 49 after the large swing. Rumor also made some good casts heading toward Lake Ray Road. The turn toward the bridge occurred at 53. Rider showed well ahead and crossed the bridge at 59. Both dogs had good finishes. Point was called deep to the front for Rider after time. He had a well-located covey and exhibited good style and manners when Eisenhart flushed the birds and shot. Rider had four finds, two of which qualify as “dingers.”

Touch’s Gravedigger (McLean) and Quickmarksman’s Tom Tekoa (Hester) began just across the county road heading into the old pivot system. Gravedigger took the right pine edge all the way and went far beyond for an impressive start. Tekoa also had his running shoes on. He took the edge farther to the right, crossed in the distance and was lost after showing again in the distant right center. Hester got his retrieval unit at 22. After being watered at 10, Gravedigger got a second wind and powered to the front. He continued to show in all the right spots before the crossing onto Chickasaw at 28. He shortened some heading toward the rock crossing but picked up in the fields beyond. He had a good find at 47 in the country behind the barn. Gravedigger handled it in good fashion. McLean asked the judges if he should continue. He  harnessed on their answer.

The sky was bright blue, and a brisk wind was blowing for the Saturday afternoon action. Brace No. 16 consisted of Lester’s Private Charter (McLean) and Awsum Country Justice (Eisenhart). Bill and Margie Ricci and Dr. Bill Bruchey were in the large mounted gallery to support their entry. Justice made a big cast on the right which culminated in the call of point at 7. After a relocation effort failed, Eisenhart accepted an unproductive stand only to have the birds ridden up about thirty yards away while regaining the front. Charter showed on the hill above the big pond, took in the country on the right, then returned at the hourglass field where he took the entire edge. He returned in the mid-chute from around Watt’s Pond. Both handlers had dogs for the crossing onto Abigail at 21. McLean sent Charter to the right. Eisenhart elected to send Justice to the left. Both took in good chunks of course but were around for the final turn toward the church at 30. Eisenhart had Justice for the county road crossing at 36. McLean was not as lucky and requested his retrieval unit at 45. Justice continued to perform well on the ground. He was found pointed at 50 for what would have been a good find. It turned out to be a second unproductive.

Erin’s Full Throttle (Henry) and Miller’s Speed Dial (Lester) began halfway between the iron bridge and the next wet weather pond. David Thompson was mounted to support Speed Dial. Throttle made a good swing and showed on the other side of the pond. Lester had Speed Dial on the right. Both dogs showed a lot of ambition on the ground. Henry got Throttle back at 12 then pointed him out well ahead shortly thereafter. Lester got Speed Dial back at 23 just before the hard turn away from Ecila. Both dogs were shown on several deep casts heading toward the high rock crossing. Lester pointed out Speed Dial on an edge deep to the left front. The dog crossed over and went forward to the right of the crossing. Henry continued to search for Throttle before requesting his retrieval unit at 37. After the next pond, Speed Dial made a big swing down the right edge of the large field heading toward Lake Ray Road then crossed the road and took in the country on the left. At the road Lester’s scout traded horses with David Thompson. Point was called for Speed Dial at 53. The dog was pointed halfway between the road and the creek edge. Birds were well located, and the dog showed impeccable manners. Lester galloped down the road to get Speed Dial across the iron bridge at 57 for a good finish.

The final brace of the afternoon (18) consisted only of Miller’s Blindsider (Daniels). Nick Berrong was present to watch his young Derby. Big Sky Pete was scratched due to illness. The brace began just across the iron bridge. Daniels rode aggressively early to maintain contact with his fast, classy Derby. Blindsider had birds on Chickasaw to the right of the rock crossing at 43 and before the big field near the clay road at 56. Both coveys were handled with excellent style and manners. He had a good finish in the fields beyond the pipe behind Davey’s house. His race was generally well forward, only occasionally marred by immaturity. Daniels predicted a good future for the young Derby. Those that heard his comments agreed.

House’s Buckwheat Hawk (McLean) and Lester’s Sunny Hill Jo (Lester) have been described.

Just Watch (Daniels) and Erin’s Black List (Derrig) began just beyond the iron bridge at 9:15. Both dogs were under control early but soon began to stretch out. Derrig showed Black List on the far side of the first pond. Daniels combed the left for Just Watch. Derrig got Black List at 11 from the left. Just Watch returned on his own at 14. Black List had a find at 20 following a modest swing and handled it in good style. Derrig regained the front at 22. The scout called point for Black List at 28 on the left side heading toward the high rock crossing. It proved unproductive. Meanwhile, Daniels had Just Watch for the crossing. Derrig caught the front at 32 with Black List. Just Watch showed quite well in the big country heading toward Lake Ray Road. Black List also showed his heels and was found pointed at 42. He was picked up when no birds were produced. Point was called for Just Watch deep to the left along the creek at 47. After he failed to raise birds, Daniels also put his dog on a lead.

Awsum In Motion (Eisenhart) and Seminole Boss (Furney) made up the last morning brace (21) which began just beyond the iron bridge. Bill and Margie Ricci were mounted to support their champion setter. Jack and Sarah Schwarz rode for Boss. The sky was bright, and the prevailing wind was from the east; not ideal for finding birds. Both handlers made the county road crossing with their dogs at 7 and both dogs made ambitious casts in the old pivot system. Boss was found pointed deep to the right front at 13 but Furney waved it off as the judge arrived. Meanwhile, Eisenhart was searching wide on the right for his setter that showed at 20. Boss continued his ambitious swings and pointed near Coon Pond at 27. No birds were raised. Awsum in Motion also took big bites of country and was found pointed on the hill above the crossing onto Chickasaw at 32. Birds had been there before but not this time. Furney continued until 45. Eisenhart called it quits at 55.

Erin’s Muddy River (Gates) and Jump Start (Carlton) started the first afternoon session. Point was called by the scout on the left for Muddy River at 7. The episode resulted in an unproductive followed by a stop to flight on return. Jump Start returned from the left at 18. Both dogs made the crossing onto Chickasaw at 22. Neither dog was seen in judgment thereafter. Carlton got his retrieval unit at 37. Gates got River at about the same time and harnessed him.

Cross City Hank (Davis) and Smooth Operator (Furney) started in the first field across the road. Operator went straight ahead and showed well forward on a nice cast. Davis had trouble getting Hank lined out. Operator had a find at 9 in the pine rows before the creek crossing. The find culminated another good swing. He was mannerly for the flush and shot. After the creek crossing, Furney put Operator on the left and later showed him going left to right along the last pine edge before the iron bridge. Davis had Hank on the right. Both handlers got their dogs across the iron bridge at 18. Operator continued to do a commendable job on the ground. Davis was not satisfied with Hank and picked up at 26. Operator continued to impress with his ground effort which was only marred by a few abbreviated swings in the loop after which he resumed his more ambitious application. He had a good finish, but no additional bird work.

Dominator’s Rebel Heir (Daniels) and Erin’s Longmire (Gates) began their bid in the long fields heading toward Lake Ray Road. Jim Hamilton was in the gallery to support Rebel Heir. Both dogs showed well in the fields and edges to the left. Gates pointed out Longmire crossing from left to right in the distance. Both dogs were in hand for the turn down the road toward the iron bridge. Gates sent Longmire down the near left edge. Rebel Heir took the deeper route and scored a good, well mannered find near the creek at 11. Both handlers made the bridge crossing at 19 and put their dogs on the right. Gates called point for Longmire at 20 but had to take an unproductive after a relocation effort failed. The handlers crossed the county road at 26. The scout called point for Rebel Heir far to the right about the same time. Longmire made a big swing in the old pivot and beyond. Daniels regained the front at 34 from what turned out to be an unproductive event. Shortly thereafter, Rebel Heir had a second barren stand and was put on the wagon. Gates continued with Longmire until the crossing back onto Chickasaw at 52. The dog had no bird work but did a creditable job on the ground.

Erin’s Rebel Rum (Eisenhart) and Touch’s Mega Mike (McLean) began the fifth day, temperature 40°, some cloud cover evident. Mike made a good swing around the first big pond and returned on the rise above it. Rum returned from a good cast on the left. Both were present for the start of the hourglass field. In the chute, both handlers searched on the right. Mike finally showed in the distal chute where he pointed in the plum thicket. Birds had been there before, not this time. After the crossing onto Abigail, Mike took in the country across the two wet weather ponds on the right where point was called at 27. On arrival, the dog moved into some cover. One judge saw a bird leave. When the other judge saw Mike, he was styled up. McLean shot, then headed to the front. A stop to flush was credited. After an absence, Rum was seen on the left at 29. McLean watered Mike in the pond before the county road then crossed it and put the dog on the right edge of the first field. Mike responded with an impressive cast. Eisenhart asked for his retrieval device at 37. After the creek crossing at 44, McLean released Mike on the left as the judges approached. The dog showed again at good distance just before the bridge. After the bridge, Mike took in the country on the right where point was called at 56. He had the birds well located and handled them in good fashion. Mike had a good finish in the time that remained.

Chinquapin Reward (Sikes) and Miller’s Dialing In (Eisenhart) started halfway between the iron bridge and the first pond. Reward started ambitiously. Dialing In much less so. He pointed at 4 and 21, but no birds were produced either time. Reward continued to take in big bites of country before he was lost. Sikes got his retrieval unit at 23.

Touch’s Blue Moon (McLean) and Mayhaw King of the Hill (Phillips) began just beyond the high rock crossing. King showed well going around the first pond. Moon was impressive taking in the field edges on the left. Both dogs ran well heading toward Lake Ray Road. The turn was made at 24 after which both dogs took the creek side. The two dogs were found styled up facing each other with birds between them at 16 for a good divided find. The handlers crossed the iron bridge at 22 and released their dogs as the judges arrived. Phillips put King on the right. McLean directed Moon to the left, but the dog soon showed on the hill to the right. After crossing the county road, King  took the left pine edge in the old irrigation to completion while Moon also took in big chunks of course before returning at 35. Both dogs continued to show well on the ground heading toward the boundary pines with Southern Heritage. Point was called at 48 for Moon. McLean called the flight of birds, but none were seen by the judge. King had a find at moderate distance toward the end of the heat. Both dogs finished the hour.

The last afternoon began as the temperature warmed and the overcast cleared. Chinquapin Legacy (Sikes) and Secret Agent (Furney) initiated the last afternoon of running. Gary and Becky Futch were mounted to support Secret Agent. Legacy made a big swing around the pond and then showed on the rise ahead. Agent took the left side and was next seen going down the edge of the hourglass field at 12. Sikes had Legacy and released him as the judges made the crossing onto Abigail. Agent was seen in the chute and then reappeared on Abigail to the left front at 27. He must have gone through the swamp to get there. Legacy made a good swing before being found pointed on the hill to the right after the final turn toward the church. Birds were put up, the dog mannerly. Meanwhile, Agent looked good on deep casts on the left. The county road was crossed at 38. Secret Agent returned from the left near the turn toward the creek. Furney sent the dog down the next pine edge which he took all the way. Agent scored a good well-mannered find in a small enclave of the creek at the completion of his cast. After the creek crossing at 50, Legacy took in the right side and pointed at 54. No birds were produced. Sikes regained the front at 57, got across the bridge and got a finish. Furney had to round up the ambitious Agent for the bridge. He also got a good finish from the dog.

Lester’s Georgia Time (Gates) and Longtree Rod Iron (Hester) began between the iron bridge and the first wet weather pond. Jim Clark and Herbert Baker were mounted to watch Georgia Time run. They could not have been disappointed for run he did. The dog ran an impressive all-age race but failed to find birds. Rod Iron also made some impressive swings and scored a good find at the end of one. However, his application was inconsistent at times.

The last brace of the final afternoon (30) consisted of Wild Desire (Furney) and Wild Hawk (Carlton). It began just beyond the iron bridge. John Fuller and Ginger Bippus rode to watch Desire. Furney sent Desire to the right where point was called at 6. Furney said the birds had left without being seen under judgment. He shot and then regained the front across the county road at 7.

Carlton sent Hawk down the left pine edge while Furney sent Desire down the right one. Both dogs completed the long edges and went beyond. Desire returned at 18. Hawk did the same at 19. Desire was soon shown far ahead to the right front. Hawk was deep to the left front at 23. Both dogs continued to cover a lot of ground as the course reached the final boundary pines. Both handlers had their charges for the crossing back onto Chickasaw at 37. Hawk went deep on the right. Desire responded to the whistle in the oaky woods. Both dogs continued to search with ambition, but neither could find birds.

Chinquapin Bill (Warren) and Miller’s Bushwacker (Daniels) began the final morning of the stake under more favorable conditions. It was overcast with the threat of rain. Both handlers rode aggressively to maintain contact in the early going. The hourglass field was entered at 8. Warren called point at 9. Both handlers responded then waved it off and crossed the small wet weather pond to return to the course. Bush-wacker had a find in the distal chute at 19 and handled it well. At the same time, Bill pointed on the left of the mid-chute. On relocation, the dog decided to regain the front solidifying an unproductive. After crossing onto Abigail, Bill suffered his second unproductive and was put in harness. Bushwacker had a short find at 29 just off the road. The dog was mannerly for the flush and shot. Bushwacker had a good find deep on the right at 35 which was also handled with good manners. Daniels got the dog across the county road at 39 after which Bush-wacker made a big showy cast heading toward the creek. After the creek, Daniels sent the dog to the right. He was shown rimming the edge of the field before the iron bridge where Daniels rode to get him. Daniels sent Bushwacker to the right as the judges crossed the bridge. The dog showed far up on the rise to the right at 56. Just when Bushwacker needed to disappear, the dog peeled off the hill and checked in with Daniels who blew him forward and out of sight at time. Point was soon called. Bushwacker tallied his fourth find after a fast relocation.

The final brace of the trial paired Chiquapin Bear (Warren) and Rocky Knoll Annie (Rayl) from the rained-out brace earlier. Both dogs were soon up after two unproductive events. Trailers were available for the ride back to headquarters for the announcements.

Sasser, Ga., March 1

Judges: Jadie Rayfield and Tim Ruff

SOUTHEASTERN QUAIL CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] — 59 Pointers and 4 Setters

Winner—LESTER’S SUNNY HILL JO, 1655546, pointer male, by Ransom—Miller’s White Wall. David Thompson & Gary Lester, owners; Gary Lester, handler.

Runner-Up—FUNSEEK’N HIT MAN, 1630314, pointer male, by Rivertons Funseek’n Scooter—Just Wait Bess. Jack & Tracy Haines, owners; Jamie Daniels, handler.

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