American Field

Field Trial Report

Sunflower Open All-Age Classic

By C. W. Moore | Jan 04, 2018
Open All-Age Winners. From front left: Lester’s Sunny Hill Jo with Mark Haynes, Whippoorwill Foto Op with Nick Thompson, Mega Blackhawk’s Progeny with Steve Hurdle and Brad Kennedy. Behind: Gary Lester, Ken Blackman, Piper Huffman, Eddie Berendzen and Dr. Stan Wint, the judges; Larry Huffman, Bud Moore and Jack Griffin.

Blue Mountain, Miss. — The Sunflower Classic ran November 11 to conclusion at the Hell Creek WMA, Blue Mountain, Miss. Judges were Dr. Stan Wint of Gardner, Kan., and Mr. Eddie Berendzen of Columbia, Mo.

Our trial was generously sponsored by Brad Kennedy and Sportsman’s Pride dog food. Brad was here at the trial, every day, rode, helped scout, and was available to do whatever was needed. Without sportsmen like Brad to help, both financially and in person, along with the corporate sponsorship, trials would soon be history.

Miss Patty, my pretty, strong right arm, once again spent long hours making sure everything got done from taking care of our animals to setting out lunch. Steve and Karen Hurdle, our local Mississippi contingent, always make putting on a trial 600 miles from home much easier.

Open Derby

We drew twelve dogs in the Derby, but it was a quality field and both the first and second placed dogs pointed birds.

Ike Todd handled Touch’s Malcom Story to first for Alex Rickert of Bozeman, Mont., with a strong ground race and two finds. Second was Game Wardon for Dr. Fred Corder of Corinth, Miss., also handled by Ike. Wardon had a strong to the front race with one find. Third was Button Up for owner Julie Roach of Fort Wayne, Ind., and handler Steve Hurdle. Button Up is fast, classy and ran a powerful out-front race; however, without known bird.

Weather for the Derby was clear and mild to hot. The grounds needed a killing frost to make the birds more accessible to the dogs. Cover, after a wet summer, is high and thick. Jack Griffin, Hell Creek WMA manager, had the grounds well groomed, and the crops were all out. The three spacious courses at Hell Creek all afford the dogs equal opportunity to win.

Blue Mountain, Miss., November 11

Judges: Eddie Berendzen and Dr. Stan Wint

OPEN DERBY — 12 Pointers

1st—TOUCH’S MALCOLM STORY, 1675103, pointer male, by Touch’s Knight Rider—Blackhawk’s Sunflower. Alex Rickert, owner; Ike Todd, handler.

2d—GAME WARDON, 1676189, pointer male, by Caladen’s Rail Hawk—Game Creek. Dr. Fred Corder, owner; Ike Todd, handler.

3d—BUTTON UP, 1672908, pointer female, by Skyfall—Lips Sealed. Julie Roach, owner; Steve Hurdle, handler.


In the Sunflower Classic, the weather was variable. A high came through making bird-finding difficult.

Lester’s Sunny Hill Jo ran Sunday afternoon in the sixth brace, on the big bottoms below the brick house. Jo put on a clinic of how to show in big bottoms. He ran just inside the edges with speed and determination. The fields are huge, the edges long, and he never came out. Not on one cast. Always just inside the edges, field after field, always just one field ahead of handler, judges and gallery. He would come out of the far edge as we entered from the near side. Always to the front, in constant communication with his handler Gary Lester.

As time was running out the tension was mounting. Would he find birds?

After crossing the steel bridge, making the dogleg, he rimmed the last field south of Hell Creek and disappeared. Both Lester and scout Mark Haynes rode to explore. Jo came out from the old closed road, and pointed in river cane just before the wooden bridge. The marshal was asked to ride to the roadside to observe and espied birds running off down the ditch as Lester was crashing in the cane. The shot was fired, Jo watered and taken to the front. The time was 57. Hell Creek was crossed and Jo sent down the far edge to finish on a big swing.

Whippoorwill Foto Op, owned by Ken Blackman of Williston, Tenn., and handled by Larry Huffman, ran the second brace, Monday morning. She exhibited power and speed and was seen sparingly the first 30 minutes. Coming out of the church pines, she was found buried in heavy green cover, a covey in front of her. Her race the last 30 minutes was a more moderate, controlled, out front exhibition to gain her second in this large stake.

Ken Blackman was in the road gallery watching, all smiles. A sigh of relief for Larry and scout Nick Thompson at pick-up.

Placed third was Mega Blackhawk’s Progeny for owners Bob and Sarina Craig and John Sayre and handler Steve Hurdle. Hawk drew the same course as Sunny Hill Jo. On any other day his race and bird work could have won. But not today.

His race was very similar to the winners, and his bird work came in the first big field after crossing the north/south ditch. Steve sent him around the right hand edge, and after turning at the far end pointed under the oaks along the edge. He also ran the bean edges to perfection, pushing out the front end on cast after cast. His finish was out front and he still had gas in the tank.

The stake drew 44 dogs, 41 pointers and three setters. Handlers in attendance included: Ike Todd, Steve Hurdle, Larry Huffman, Jamie Daniels, Mark McLean, Weldon Bennett, Dr. Fred Corder and Gary Lester. These gentlemen made the trial enjoyable; they helped one another, and pitched in to help when needed.

The club furnished sandwiches for lunch every day.

Jack Griffin also drove the dog wagon every day. We much appreciate the state of Mississippi and the Hell Creek WMA.


41 Pointers and 3 Setters

1st—LESTER’S SUNNY HILL JO, 1655546, pointer male, by Ransom—Miller’s White Wall. David Thompson & Gary Lester, owners; Gary Lester, handler.

2d—WHIPPOORWILL FOTO OP, 1646284, pointer female, by Ransom—Whippoorwill Wild Wing. Ken Blackman & Heath Barnett, owners; Gary Lester, handler.

3d—MEGA BLACKHAWK’S PROGENY, 1643075, pointer male, by Rock Acre Blackhawk—Mega Ruby. Bob & Sarina Craig & John Sayre, owners; Steve Hurdle, handler.

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