American Field

True Confidence Named Champion; Mercer Mill Grand is Runner-Up

United States Open Chicken Championship

By Debra Hauser | Oct 12, 2018
Championship Winners. In foreground, from left: Tommy Davis with True Confidence, and Judd Carlton with Mercer Mill Grand. Standing behind: Kim Sampson, Frank LaNasa, Darron Hendley, Judges Mike Jackson and Rich Heaton, Luke Eisenhart (handler), Sean Derrig, Billy Wayne Morton (handler), Jim Tande, Josh Wall and Bob Saari.

Mobridge, S. D. — The 2018 United States Chicken Championship and companion Derby began on Friday, August 24, on the rolling hills just outside of Mobridge, S. D. We were not able to run on Sunday due to a previously scheduled event on the grounds.

The courses are comprised of land owned by five different landowners and without their generous permission this Championship would not be possible. They not only allowed us the use of their land but also provided water for the horses and dogs which was much appreciated.

The Chicken Championship and the All-America Prairie Championship committees joined forces to purchase portable horse corral panels and Jamie Daniels and Judd Carlton put them up.

Many people were instrumental in the preparation for this trial. Jamie Daniels, Judd Carlton, Scott Jordan and Betty Shearouse arranged the courses. Will and Rita Dunn willingly went to town and brought out supplies for lunch for a couple of days, and Frank LaNasa ran into town one day for subs.

On gate duty during the running was Jamie Daniels, Frank LaNasa, Scott Jordan, and Sean Derrig. Also on hand was Chris Mathan who helped with the dog wagon and also took some amazing photos of the event. I apologize if I have missed anyone.

The grounds were in good shape. It was somewhat dry, but they had more rain than last year when this Championship was cancelled due to the extremely dry conditions.

We saw birds on all courses and saw many young birds. The courses were laid out nicely and gave the dogs an opportunity to show a true prairie all-age race.

Thirty-three dogs were drawn and 32 started in the Championship.

Judges were Mssrs. Mike Jackson of Battle Ground, Ind., and Rich Heaton of Boise, Ida. Both judges rode hard and were very observant of what was happening.

They told me  they very much enjoyed their assignment and were impressed by the quality of the dogs and the hard work that the handlers put into the contestants.


The championship title went to True Confidence, handled by Luke Eisenhart and scouted by Tommy Davis. The nine-year-old white and orange pointer male is owned by Frank and Jean LaNasa of Isanti, Minn.

True Confidence ran in the second brace of the stake, on Saturday afternoon, when the temperature was 88° at castoff. True Confidence had finds at 17 and 34. He had an unproductive at 21.

He rendered a strong, forward all-age race. His find at 34 was one of the nicest moves of the stake. Eisenhart had him coming around on the forward left side of the course and sent him up a long gulley. True Confidence worked his way up the gulley and stopped suddenly on point. He was several hundred yards to the front and we had a great view! Eisenhart worked to flush and finally produced a single chicken. As he was walking back to the dog a large covey exploded to the dog’s left and flew on across the gulley.

True Confidence showed he was in fine shape with a great forward  finish to in the heat. An admirable performance in trying conditions.

Runner-up was Mercer Mill Grand, handled by Billy Wayne Morton and scouted by Judd Carlton. The five-year-old white and lemon pointer male is owned by Remy Trafelet of Oakfield, Ga.

Grand ran in brace No. 10, the first on Tuesday morning. Quite a difference in the weather conditions compared to when True Confidence ran. It was much cooler at castoff, in the low 60s.

Mercer Mill Grand also ran a nice all-age race. He was consistent and had stylish finds at 6, 12 and 52, with an unproductive at 38. Grand finished strong to the front.

The Running

The first brace: Pineywoods Firestorm (Eisenhart) and Go Boy’s Livewire (Priddy) were up early.

True Confidence was braced with Wildhawk (Carlton). Wildhawk had a great start in the heat. Covered the ground well to the front. He swung through the country with his handler and had a great find at 41, all in good order. Wildhawk finished a little short at the end of his hour.

Dunn’s True Issue (Eisenhart) and Outer Limit (Priddy). It was now 89°. Both handlers picked up their dogs at 20.

In No. 4, Miller’s Blindsider (Daniels) had a strong but moderate race with a find at 49. He finished the hour. Jumpstart (LaNasa) had a nice strong race but was lateral at times. He had an unproductive at 52.

Awsum in Motion (Eisenhart) and Erin’s Fatal Attraction (Derrig). Fatal Attraction had a find at 20 with Awsum in Motion backing. All good but Derrig opted to pick his dog up. The setter Awsum in Motion had an unproductive at 25 and a race that was big but lateral. Picked up at 45.

In No. 6, Upper Limit (Priddy) made some nice big moves but was getting a little rammy for Priddy so he picked up at 45. No bird work. Dominator’s Dotted Line (Daniels) moved through the country nicely. He suffered an unproductive at 22. Daniels picked up at 30.

Both Dunn’s Tried’N True (Eisenhart) and Mercer Mill Gunpowder (Morton) started out very strong! Tried’N True was way to the front and it took awhile to catch up to him. When he was finally gathered up he went on to handle well and covered the ground commendably. Eisenhart called point just over a rise but by the time the judges arrived the birds had flushed and were unseen by the judges. He finished the hour. Gunpowder flowed through the country nicely. Point was called near one of the ponds. Morton flushed for a bit and finally noticed a duck sitting on a nest. He took the dog on. Gunpowder finished the hour.

Brace No. 8: Erin’s Hidden Shamrock (Derrig) and Touch’s Red Rider (Eisenhart)were short. Red Rider was picked up at 20 and Derrig followed suit with Shamrock was up at 22.

Both Erin’s Wild Justice (Eisenhart) and Just Watch (Daniels) had strong starts and then shortened. Wild Justice was picked up at 35, Just Watch at 40.

Ascension (Eisenhart) was paired with runner-up Mercer Mill Grand. Ascension had a moderate race with a find at 4 and a back at 12. Eisenhart picked up at 28.

Timeflies (Carlton) and Dakota Nation (Davis). Timeflies had a moderate race with finds at 9 and 20. Carlton opted to pick up at 26. Dakota Nation had a back at 9 and Davis picked him up at 19.

Miller’s Dialing In (Eisenhart) was scratched due to an injury. Funseek’n Hit Man cast off strong but when he shortened up, Daniels picked him up at 19.

Awsum Country Justice (Eisenhart) and Erin’s Redrum (Derrig) were in No. 13. Country Justice ran a decent race and made some nice casts. However, Country Justice failed to back and was picked up. Redrum probably ran the prettiest race of the championship! This brace casted off from camp. Red rum went to the right and swung around to the front. Derrig was able to bring him around to get him through the gate into the next pasture. Cast off this time to the left. Redrum again maintained the front and showed often enough so we knew were he was. Redrum worked his way up a gulley and just as he was about to reach the end of it he pointed. Derrig flushed and then relocated his dog, but was unable to produce any birds. Released him again and he finished very strong to the front.

Lewey (Blum) and Strut Nation (Davis). Lewey started out a little short but had a nice covey find at 7. When released, he then made some big moves through the hills. He got caught up on the other side of a fence in a gulley and was picked up at 30 when he finally decided to rejoin the group. Strut Nation started strong and made some nice casts but was picked up early for a breach of manners.

Pineywood’s Bellaire (Eisenhart) and Three Kansans Takin’a Chance (Daniels). Bellaire had a moderate race but no bird contact and was picked up at 45. I apologize to Jamie Daniels and his owners  but I cannot find any notes on his dog’s run. I do know he was picked up before the hour.

In No.16, both Erin’s Rebel Rum (Eisenhart) and Miller’s Bushwacker (Daniels) had decent starts with moderate races. Bushwacker had two unproductives and didn’t finish the hour. Rebel Rum failed to stop to flush and was picked up at 50.

Dominator’s Rebel Heir (Daniels) was down as a bye. Rebel Heir started very strong. Made huge forward casts. Point was called at about 20 but not able to produce any birds. Rebel Heir was released and again was strong to the front. Point was called at 31, all good. Rebel Heir continued to show a good all-age race and finished the hour but was a bit lateral the last 15 minutes and didn’t finish as strong as the placed dogs.

Mobridge, S. D., August 24

Judges: Rich Heaton and Mike Jackson


30 Pointers, 2 Setters and 1 German Shorthair

Winner—TRUE CONFIDENCE, 1622365, pointer male, by Two Acre Bulldog—Bar P Anex. Frank & Jean LaNasa, owners; Luke Eisenhart, handler.

Runner-Up—MERCER MILL GRAND, 1656994, pointer male, by House’s White Hawk—Quinton’s Black Eyed Sue. Remy Trafelet, owner; Billy Wayne Morton, handler.

The Derby

The judges were very impressed with the quality of the Derbies and could tell the handlers had put a lot of work into the entries. Thirty-two dogs were drawn and all competed.

The judges were looking for an all-age race first and bird work second. Many of the entries had good medium range races. What needs to be noted is none of the 32 entries was lost on course; all handled quite well.

Placed first was Dominator’s Patchwork, pointer male owned by Nick Berrong of Maryville, Tenn., with three broke finds and an all-age race.

Second was Mercer Mill Smoke, pointer male owned by Remy Trafelet with a nice find at 8 and, again, a good all-age race. Placing third was Maswood’s Silver Spur, owned by Jerrell Bryan of Philadelphia, Miss., with a great all-age race but no bird work.

All three placements showed highly favorable  all-age potential.

OPEN DERBY — 30 Pointers and 2 Setters

1st—DOMINATOR’S REBEL PATCH, 1678133, pointer male, by Dominator’s Rebel Heir—Erin’s Little Rose. Nick Berrong, owner; Jamie Daniels, handler.

2d—MERCER MILL SMOKE, 1680943, pointer male, by Pleasant Run Bob—House’s Wild Bess Again. Remy Trafelet, owner; Billy Wayne Morton, handler.

3d—MASWOOD’S SILVER SPUR, 1680741, pointer male, by Maswood John—Autumn Storm. Jerrell Bryan, owner; Tommy Davis, handler.

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