American Field

You just need more time than the dog . . .

By Petie Brown | Sep 10, 2019
First place High Point Open Derby Winner Strut’s Rebel Jewel, owned and handled by Matt Ford, joined by, from left: Jim Goza, Dave Vernasco and Beth Brown (right).

Back in the 1970s my family was fortunate enough to spend some time at the Quail Lodge on what was at that time the Georgia side of Dixie Plantation.

Mr. Sam Maxwell, Sr. was one of the dog trainers and handlers. Mr. Sam, an older man of small stature, tended 50-80 dogs in the kennel. While tending the morning chores and cleaning their respective dog runs, my father asked Sam his opinion on what was needed to be a good dog trainer. Sam thought for a bit, and then said, “Mr. Brown, you gotsto have more time than the dog. It heps if you smarter than the dog, but that ain’t absolutely necessary. Yes sir, you’ve got to have more time than the dog.”

With that in mind the Associated Field Trial Clubs of Florida (AFTCF) has a beautiful venue to show and train our dogs. We have plenty of training dates so we can attempt to have more time than the dogs.

We partner with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) on the Babcock Webb game management area and field trial venue. Along with Quail Forever we have eight or more trials and numerous three-day training weekends with some extended training dates available over the holidays. We are fortunate to have this association for the preservation of our field trial sport. We utilize over 5,000 acres of piney flatwoods full of native bobwhite quail. AFTCF has planned three hours-plus of continuous course both for the morning and afternoon braces, as well as diversified grounds for all-age and shooting dog stakes. We have been happy to see our quail numbers improve post Hurricane Irma. Amenities include a unique character filled clubhouse, large covered cookout area, kennels and stables making it easy to settle in and train.

Training season starts September 20 and usually the grounds are seasonably wet with plentiful birds of all sizes. While most trainers will find it warm, and sometimes rainy in the afternoon, it is most workable in the mornings, and the signs of fall can be found.

Training fees are $20 per day, or $200 for the season, and the AFTCF annual membership fee remains at $25.

The AFTCF thanks Purina, and their representative Greg Blair, for their continued support. Purina has been instrumental in promoting our sport and our club.

Purina has helped fund our trials and generously supplied Pro Plan to the winners throughout the season. We are very excited that the shooting dog stake of the Everglades trial has been approved for Purina points. We look forward to welcoming new trialers to our venue.

The 2018-2019 Dog of the Year awards were presented at the annual meeting and, unfortunately, we did not have an Open Puppy this year.

The Open Derby third place was pointer male Red Hills Luna Sea, owned by Bart Goodson, and second place to Bart’s pointer female Red Hills Sea Alice. Derby Award winner was Strut’s Rebel Jewel, pointer female owned by Matt Ford.

Third place in the Open Shooting Dog was Bart Goodson’s pointer male Debit or Credit. The club would like to acknowledge Bart’s creativity when naming his dogs. Second was well earned by Double Down Easter Sunday, pointer female owned by Dave Vernasco. First place was awarded to Funseeker’s Tex’s Coppertop, pointer male owned by Don Wood.

The Open All-Age is always exciting. We have the grounds to showcase this event. Third place was awarded to pointer male Silver’s Rebellious Gator, owned by Jim Goza. Ken and Justin Muzynski’s pointer male Holopaw Axel was second, and Don Wood’s veteran pointer male Funseeker’s Rebel Tex took first place.

Not surprising, the High Point Dog of the Year was Funseeker’s Tex’s Coppertop, owned by Don Wood. In his 80s, Don has stated on numerous occasions that he has the best dogs now that he has ever had. Could it be that he has more time for training? One of Don’s challenges has been having enough stable horsepower to keep up with his string of winners. Fred Dileo developed Tex’s Hall of Fame sire Funseeker’s Rebel. Rebel’s grandson, Coppertop, like many of his offspring we see on the Webb, has distinctive winning characteristics; a testament to careful breeding practices, and time.

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