American Field

Field Trial Report

West Tennessee Open Trials

By Jim Atchison | Mar 06, 2018
Open All-Age Winners. In foreground, from left: Eddie Sholar with Touch’s Game Point, Ike Todd with Lester’s Private Charter and Sheldon Twer with Just Watch. Behind: Bill Currie, Sarah Fergie, Mrs. Elizabeth Reed, April Fergie, Bill Hunt, Marty Todd, Mark McLean, Blake Kukar, Scott Jordan, Josh Poole, J. P. Hathcock, Alex Rickert, Jamie Daniels, Clint Fergie, Cindy Currie and Allen Currie.

Dancyville, Tenn. — Touch’s Game Point, pointer male owned by Dr. Rueben Richardson of Doerun, Ga., and Tony Gibson of Union Springs, Ala., and handled by Mark McLean, won first place in the West Tennessee Open All-Age Stake, while Miss Stylin Sue, pointer female owned by Dr. Jim Mills and Steve Lightle of Searcy, Ark., and handled by Allen Vincent, won the Open Derby as the West Tennessee Field Trial Club hosted the annual running on February 15-18. Mark McLean also campaigned Lester’s Private Charter, pointer male owned by Dr. Reuben Richardson and Bruce and Karen Norton of Norman Park, Ga., to second place in the All-Age Stake. Third was won by Just Watch, pointer male handled by Jamie Daniels for Jack and Tracy Haines of Broomfield, Colo. Ike Todd handled both the second and third place Derby winners. Game Wardon, pointer male owned by Dr. Fred Corder of Corinth, Miss., placed second, and Touch’s Gallatin Fire, pointer male owned by Alex and Brianna Rickert of Bozeman, Mont., won third.

Forty-four were drawn in the All-Age Stake, with 17 Derby entries. They all competed over the excellent field trial courses at Dancyville.

The threat of heavy rain during the running did not cause much delay, as only a half day was lost during the five day renewal. The first and fifth days were warm with the temperature reaching well into the 70s. A cold front and rain came at about 7:00 a. m. on the second day and the temperature fell quickly from the 60s to the 40s but a short delay of the beginning of the first brace enabled a full day of running six braces. Rain, again, on Saturday morning caused the half day delay with the afternoon and all of Sunday being cloudy, mild, and windy before much warmer weather returned for the final day.

Ross Leonard of Chatsworth, Ga., and Joe Hughes of Remlap, Ala., judged the All-Age Stake. Blake Kukar, who lives at Dancyville and owns a large part of the land used for the second and third hour courses, was joined by Brandon Blum of Acton, Cal., to judge the Open Derby. The judges were all knowledgeable and experienced amateur field trialers and very committed to fulfilling their judicial responsibilities.

Purina’s sponsorship of the field trial was generous and appreciated, as evidenced by Club President Bill Currie’s praise of both Purina and Greg Blair, who represents Purina. Dr. Gene and Mrs. Gail Spiotta were great contributors to the field trial as they provided some of the land for the courses, provided housing for one of the judges, and provided dinner for everyone on Friday night as their son, Gene III, fried fish with all the trimmings.

Eddie Sholar furnished dinner for everyone on the first night as he engaged the outstanding caterer and event planner Gail Haynes from Brownsville to overload a long table with heavy hors d’oeuvres. The club hosted a barbeque dinner on Saturday night prepared by Mrs. Connie Fergie. Then club members, joined by Eddie Sholar, prepared the Sunday night dinner which included duck appetizers and other items which were all cooked on a large charcoal grill. In addition to socializing at the meals, much time was spent around an outdoor fire that rarely went out. Music and libations heightened the gatherings to party status most evenings.

In addition to Dr. and Mrs. Spiotta and Blake Kukar, president Bill Currie thanked the other landowners who permitted running on their properties. They included Skip Taylor, Mrs. Jan McCloud, Ross Callaway, Larry Umber, and the Currie brothers.

The West Tennessee Club is blessed to have a battalion of strong and energetic young to middle aged men who have worked tirelessly during every trial run at Dancyville and headquartered on the Currie Farm. They are Bill Currie, Allen Currie, J. P. Hathcock, Josh Poole, Gary Brown, Crutcher Stoots, Ike Todd, and Rich Boumeester. They did everything, which included bookkeeping, planning and marking courses, cleaning, cooking, marshalling, running the dog wagon, hauling horses, and taking care of every other detail and situation that arose. Ross Callaway joined the Curries when they put out birds.


Touch’s Game Point won first with a strong, forward, and far-reaching race through the second hour course in the second brace of the stake. He had three finds for Mark McLean, which came at 16 in an area of very old bicolor, at 39 in a narrow swampy area between two large bottoms owned by Blake Kukar, and at 45 after turning west toward Ross Callaway’s headquarters and remaining on the south side of Coffee Gap Road. He showed himself impressively, always on the edges of large bottoms which are part of the course he drew. Game Point’s race and style were topnotch and the eight-year-old pointer’s performance proved to be unbeatable.

Lester’s Private Charter, also handled by McLean, won second on the same course in brace No. 5. He applied himself throughout the hour with a strong race and did all the right things while he made large casts and held faithfully to every edge until the completion of each cast. Private Charter had birds one time, which was when he was found pointed about three minutes after the judges had called for pickup at the end of the brace.

Just Watch placed third for Jamie Daniels with his performance in brace No. 16. He backed his bracemate’s unproductive at 2, found birds independently at 19 on relocation near Coffee Gap Road, had a second find at 34 and then an unproductive at 42. The fine dog showed well throughout the hour and has a bright future as he is only four years old at this time.


Touch’s Mega Mike (McLean) and S F Bandwagon (Larry Smith). Both of Mega Mike’s owners were at the trial to watch their dog which won first place last year in the Open Derby at this trial. Bandwagon found his first covey at 2 in a row of pine trees that border Blalock Road. Both dogs were bold and strong as they gobbled up the course throughout the hour until they shared a divided find at 51. The action of both dogs was nice to watch and the first hour of the contest passed quickly.

Touch’s Game Point (McLean) was previously covered. Unfortunately, Cole Train was lost early and Ike Todd asked for his retrieval unit at 21.

House’s Buckwheat Hawk (Mark McLean) had a nice find at 9 on the north side of Coffee Gap Road, but the contest ended at 19. Coldwater Odyssey had birds and Hawk backed, but when Weldon Bennett flushed the birds his dog jumped forward and Hawk followed. Both dogs were eliminated and lunch followed soon.

Brian Hodges had Hodges’ Beast Mode in brace No. 4 but had a long absence causing the judges to give the handler his retrieval unit at 35.

Lester’s Private Charter (McLean) was previously reported. Allen Vincent asked for his retrieval unit at 16 for Oakspring Big Time Warrior.

Motor City Rock Star (David Grubb) and Lewey (Brandon Blum) competed in the sixth brace. Both dogs had birds at the same time, at 19, along the same line but several hundred yards apart. Both handlers flushed and the finds were clean. However just afterward, at 22, Rock Star knocked a single and was picked up. Lewey finished the hour with another find at 52 west of the clubhouse, and then had an unproductive at 54. His 60 minutes were up at 4:51 p. m. and Eddie Sholar’s dinner soon followed.

Touch’s Gravedigger (McLean) and Miller’s Speed Dial (Gary Lester) were loosed at 8:00 a. m. on Friday morning. Grave Digger was lost and McLean got his retrieval unit at 19. Speed Dial ran the course well in really unpleasant conditions but found no birds. He had an unproductive at 54 and continued to finish the hour.

Touch’s Blue Moon (McLean) and Stash the Cash, a Derby handled by Gary Lester. Stash the Cash had an unproductive at 1 which Blue Moon backed initially. However, Blue Moon soon moved a few steps and was picked up. Lester’s dog then had additional finds at 16 and 20, but had a second unproductive at 30 so the brace was concluded.

American Icon (Grubb), one of four setters in the stake, was braced with Lowrider Frank (Vincent). Neither dog was able to locate any birds during their run.

Misty Morn Masked Man, a Derby owned by Joey McAlexander, ran alone in brace No. 10. Elise and Bobby McAlexander rode in the gallery to watch Masked Man’s outstanding responsiveness to Joey’s every direction. Joey gave the dog ques primarily by turning his horse one way or another and the dog went where directed every time. However, he had not found any birds at 50 and Joey picked him up when he returned to a place near Blalock Road.

Hendrix’s Signature (Burke Hendrix) and Boxwood Vortex (Michael Shears). Vortex had an unproductive at 16 and ran the remainder of the hour with no birds found. Hendrix elected to pick his dog up at 45.

Blackhawk’s Diana (Grubb) had no birds. S F Mapleleaf (Vincent) had one find near the end of the hour.

After the Saturday morning rain and delayed start, Coldwater Merle (Burl Hicks) and Whippoorwill War Dog (Larry Huffman) broke away at noon. Huffman picked War Dog up at 12. Hicks’ dog ran well and made no fatal errors while making the full circle around the Taylor and McCloud property but a judge had a short conference with the owner and he picked up at 40 when returning to the well.

Jamie Daniels picked up Funseek’n Hit Man at 16. David Grubb picked up American Shadow shortly thereafter.

Brace No. 15 ended early also. Touch’s J Class (Sheldon Twer) and Las Animas Fancy (Huffman) started together. However, both dogs were lost during the first half hour and the handlers got their retrieval units at about the same time while behind Dr. and Mrs. Spiotta’s house.

Just Watch’s (Daniels) effort was covered earlier. Doug Arthur, who co-owns Coldwater Thunder (Hurdle) with Rachel Blackwell, was in the gallery. Thunder did not have a very good hour as she had an unproductive at 2, a stop to flush at 15, and two backs. She is a great dog but was just off her usual game.

Setter Stardust Chaz (Hurdle) and Hightailinit Pure Jasmine (Twer). Co-owner Bob Craig was in the gallery for Chaz. Twer picked up Jasmine at 12 near the well. Chaz had two unproductives, the second coming at 51, so the brace was over early.

Miller’s Bushwacker (Daniels) ran alone in brace No. 18. Bushwacker completed 45 of the 60 minutes before Daniels elected to pick him up.

Daniels elected to pick up setter Shearjoy’s Unforgiven before the end of the hour.

Whippoorwill Wild Assault (Huffman) and Strut Nation (Scott Jordon) both ran good races and stayed well to the front to finish the entire hour. Wild Assault had no birds. Actually, Strut ran an exceptionally fine race and had one piece of bird work at 14. Unfortunately, the bird work was a little less than perfect and that may have influenced the decision of the judges.

Sheldon Twer handled Sleepless in Sacramento with the dog’s owner Jim Wolthuis scouting, braced with Sinbad’s Rumor (Daniels). The only bird work for either dog during the hour occurred at 14 when the pair had a divided find along the east side of a long field while they were headed north toward the Russell Grove Church which is on the Fayette Corners Road.

Dominator’s Rebel Heir (Daniels) and Booneville Bullet (Twer). Neither dog had any bird work and both were picked up before 60.

Dancyville, Tenn., February 15

Judges: Joe Hughes and Ross Leonard

OPEN ALL-AGE [One-Hour Heats] — 39 Pointers, 4 Setters and

1 German Shorthair

1st—TOUCH’S GAME POINT, 1628381, pointer male, by Miller’s Happy Jack—B C Angelina. Dr. Reuben Richardson & Tony Gibson, owners; Mark McLean, handler.

2d—LESTER’S PRIVATE CHARTER, 1668186, pointer male, by Ransom—Nilo Discovery. Dr. Reuben Richardson & Bruce & Karen Norton, owners; Mark McLean, handler.

3d—JUST WATCH, 1658756, pointer male, by Rivertons Funseek’n Scooter—Just Wait Bess. Jack & Tracy Haines, owners; Jamie Daniels, handler.


None of the Derby winners had any bird work but they proved that they definitely had all-age potential, as did most of the others of the 17 entries.

Miss Stylin Sue, white and liver pointer female, won the stake and did everything right along the way. In fact, she fulfilled the old adage that all-age dogs almost run off but then come back. Her Oklahoma handler Allen Vincent may have had a few doubts but she always showed up far to the front and in the right place. During her 30 minutes in the spotlight, she made some big moves and stayed on her lines perfectly as she completed each cast.

Game Wardon, white and liver ticked pointer male, placed second as he continuously demonstrated a powerful and nice gait. He took full advantage of an opportunity to impress the judges as he hunted the edges perfectly along the far side and around the big bottoms which are on the second hour course. He stayed to the front almost continuously and handled well for Ike Todd.

Todd also handled white and orange pointer male Touch’s Gallatin Fire to the third place win. He ran really well around the entire loop from the well and around the Taylor and McCloud properties. Gallatin Fire took advantage of an opportunity to show well for a great finish. He proved himself to be a very nice dog and may have been challenged and encouraged by having an excellent bracemate. Dogs, like people, often perform better when they are working with a competent companion. Alex Rickert, who owns Gallatin Fire, was in the gallery.

Judges: Brandon Blum and Blake Kukar

OPEN DERBY — 16 Pointers and 1 Setter

1st—MISS STYLIN SUE, 1674906, pointer female, by Ransom—Coldwater Snow. Dr. Jim Mills & Steve Lightle, owners; Allen Vincent, handler.

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

3d—TOUCH’S GALLATIN FIRE, 1675102, pointer male, by House’s Ring of Fire—Touch’s Sandy. Alex & Brianna Rickert, owners; Ike Todd, handler.


A lengthy conclusion is not necessary. Sixty-one excellent dogs competed in front of competent and fair judges as the members of the West Tennessee Field Trial Club hosted another outstanding open trial. Those who attended enjoyed five days in an environment of friendly, warm-hearted people. While in that humble clubhouse and with those people, we felt an appreciation for the past and had an excitement for looking to the future. We left Dancyville hoping they will keep the fire going, both literally and figuratively, for many years to come.

J. A.

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