2019-2020 National Amateur Quail & Derby Championship Report

By William S. Smith

The National Amateur Quail Championship returned to the historic Dixie Plantation after an absence of two years to allow maintenance on the field trial courses. This trial is considered by many to be the creme de la creme of amateur trials. There was a collective sigh of relief by the field trial community when permission was granted for this trial to return to Dixie. Fifty-six were drawn to compete—55 pointers, seven being females, and one setter. Randy Floyd manages the plantation and he and his crew, John McCormick, Shannon Braden, and Dalton Vaughn, had the property in excellent condition for field trials. There’s just no place like Dixie. Gerald and Eleanor Livingston inherited Dixie Plantation from Gerald’s father, Crawford L. Livingston who was a significant investor in the Northern Pacific Railway. In fact, the town of Livingston, Montana bears the Livingston name as a tribute to Crawford. Crawford Livingston purchased the Cedars Plantation in 1926 from General William Bellamy for $8 an acre and the property was christened Dixie. Livingston began to purchase any adjoining property when it became available and eventually by the mid 1930’s Dixie encompassed some 18,000 acres straddling the Georgia and Florida border. Each state claiming approximately 9,000 acres each. The Livingstons developed Dixie into one of the finest wild quail hunting plantations in the United States. Livingston’s passion for quail hunting led him into the field trial arena where he became a successful competitor and breeder of field trial dogs. One of his champions, Lucky Strike, was featured on the cover of Life magazine in 1946. Livingston began to host field trials on Dixie and in 1937 the Continental Championship ran for the first time at Dixie where it is still contested each year.After Eleanor’s passing in 1977 most of the Georgia lands were sold and daughter, Geraldine, inherited the Florida holdings including the Manor House. The Livingston Mansion is a 14,200 square foot, three story house that was designed by architect John Russell Pope in 1936. This structure, believed to have been completed in 1940, is the only project in Florida constructed by Mr. Pope who was regarded as one of the great architects of the 20th century. The house sat vacant after Geraldine’s death in 1994 and neglect took its toll on the structure although Geraldine had established a foundation to manage her property and also stipulated that field trials would continue to be held there. The Florida legislature approved a $350,000 grant to restore the once magnificent dwelling. Tall Timbers, current managers of Dixie, made a cash donation of $150,000 to help with the restoration project. The goal for phase 1 was to repair the roof, make masonry repairs, and upgrade the plumbing and electrical systems in preparation for phase two which included a modern heating and cooling system. Phase two has now been completed and the interior work is almost finished.

The Tennessee Walking Horse stallion, Midnight Sun, has the distinction of being the first stallion to win the World Grand Championship in Shelbyville, Tennessee in 1945 and again in 1946. He was foaled June 8, 1940 and was registered as Joe Lewis Wilson. Wirt and Alex Harlin purchased the black stallion in 1944 and reregistered him as Midnight Sun. The Harlinsdale Farm sold Midnight Sun to Eleanor and Geraldine Livingston in 1957. The Livingstons made arrangements for the horse to remain at Harlinsdale Farm until his death. Midnight Sun was interred on the farm in 1965. As a gift to her mother, Geraldine commissioned a larger than life-size statue of Midnight Sun and presented it to her on her birthday in 1972. The statue stood at Dixie until it was loaned to the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association where it was on display from 2003 until 2013. The statue was returned to Dixie and placed on a knoll where it was visible from Eleanor’s bedroom window. Geraldine also commissioned a replica of the statue in a much smaller scale that Eleanor kept in her bedroom.

There is something to be said about riding your personal horses and Frank LaNasa drove 1400 miles from his home in Isanti, Minnesota to Dixie and brought his horses. Frank has been involved in field trials for over 30 years. He has been a supporter, a worker, a giver, and he has held many different positions in field trial clubs. He participates in amateur trials and he has supported the professional ranks for many years. Currently he campaigns his dog, True Confidence, under the whistle of Luke Eisenhart. In the early 1900’s Frank owned a son of Miller’s Chief and he registered him as Chief’s Prospector. Randy Downs was running Prospector in the U. S. Chicken Championship in Solon Springs, Wisconsin when he went missing. It turned out that Prospector had gone to a farm yard and had killed a couple of chickens. The farm owner shot and killed Prospector. Frank was unable to achieve any renumeration from the farm owner. Frank is certainly qualified to judge this prestigious trial and the club was fortunate to obtain his services. Charles Farquhar was the Superintendent at the Cattle Ranch near Greensboro, Alabama for 38 years. The Cattle Ranch was a facility that housed supposedly low risk inmates assigned to the Alabama Department of Corrections. Mr. Farquhar was tragically murdered by one of these inmates and his demise played a part of the history of Bill Mason. As a side note, Mr. Farquhar’s father purchased a herd of cattle in Scotland and delivered them to Hobart Ames at the Ames Plantation in the early 20th century. Bill was born and raised in Nebraska, He said the best two months of his life to that point was two months at Nebraska University until his father came and took him home. Bill met his wife in southern Alabama and after they were married, they moved to Nebraska. Nebraska didn’t work for them and they relocated to Alabama where Bill joined the ranks of professional dog trainers. Bill’s wife relayed to Mr. Farquhar that Bill was laboring to make ends meet. Mr. Farquhar offered Bill a job at the Cattle Ranch. The rest is history, Bill has been there for 36 years, succeeding Mr. Farquhar as Superintendent. The facility is now known as the M Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area. They annually hold 27 retriever and pointing dog trials, 12 Foxhunts, 11 youth hunts, and 6 fishing events. Bill has participated in amateur trials for over 30 years and he has judged many championships all across the country. His services as a judge are continually in demand. He is certainly qualified to arbitrate this event. If there is such a thing as being over qualified to judge a field trial, these two men certainly meet those standards.

Piper Huffman is the secretary for the AFTCA and she is an asset to this trial. She brought a full sack of Hardee’s sausage and biscuits every morning. She procured the food stuffs for the heavy hors d’oeuvres for the everyone invited social hours at the Commissary. She was always on the go taking care of anything that needed her attention. She also was the go-to person to coordinate the Purina sponsored dinner on Friday night that was catered and held in the Commissary. She was the grease that made the wheels of this trial run smoothly. Long-time resident of Dixie, Gloria Hagan, made sure the sandwich makings were ready for the hungry lunch crowd at the Commissary and she also assisted Piper with the afternoon social functions. Thanks Piper and Gloria for your services.

Purina sponsored this trial and their help is greatly appreciated by everyone here as well as everyone at all the other Purina sponsored events. They provided Pro Plan for the winners, which was certainly a big boost to the pocket book. The Purina logo is visible all across America and Canada. Thank you, Purina, for all you do.

Larron Copeland’s Showtime’s Mocking Jay contested in the 9th brace on Wednesday morning. She was drawn in season but she was not distracted during her 1 ½ hour quest. She was consistently forward and at times a distant forward. She responded to Copeland as they were in tune today. She was named the 2020 National Amateur Champion at the conclusion of the competition. Her performance is described later in the report.

Tommy Liesfield had high hopes when Miller’s Creative Cause was turned loose in the 24th brace on Sunday the 8th. When the dust settled Cause was named the Runner Up Champion. Perhaps Liesfield was disappointed at not being named the top dog, but he certainly could not have been disappointed about Cause’s performance. His running is described later in the report.

The competition was stiff. The winners are to be congratulated. Their victories were hard earned.

Brace #1. It was a beautiful morning on Monday March 2nd and hopes were high that the quail would be moving when Wildhawk handled by Mike Moses and Touch’s Blue Knight handled by Woody Watson kicked off the championship duel. Wildhawk was first in the books when he penned the first covey of the trial at 15 just before the first road crossing. Both dogs were hunting and were seen sparingly through the thick cover. At 44 Wildhawk notched his second find with everything in order at the shot. They made the turn at the water trough on Acorn Hill at the 1-hour mark together. Wildhawk was standing again at 1:08 north of the wye but this proved to be a barren stand with Knight being credited with a back. They were out of sight when pick up was called. Knight came in at 1:34, but Moses’ search for Wildhawk was fruitless and he asked for the tracker at 1:51 ending a promising performance.

Brace #2 featured Walnut Tree Fred handled by Steve Mills and Crouse’s White Dragon. Luck was not with Fred today, but Mills worked hard to stay in touch with the ranging Fred. At the 1:21 mark Mills called it a day and took the tracker. Dragon had a nice find at 50 just before reaching the Brown Field when the scout found him standing. When the large covey took flight, Dragon marked flight. Knight finished the brace with no other bird work.

Brace #3. Barshoe Bach piloted by John Harmon and Crouse’s Samuri Warlord left in a hurry off the breakaway and were not seen again under judgment. Harmon took the tracker at 23 and Crouse threw in the towel at 50.

Brace 4. Southern Sparkling Jule handled by Kent Cantrell was paired with Bonner’s Excalibur handled by Derek Bonner. Jule was standing at 4 and after an extended relocation proved fruitless, an unproductive was credited here. Jule was a hand full today and he was hard to keep up with. Cantrell took the tracker at 42 after a lengthy absence by Jule. Excalibur scored a back at 4. For the next hour he explored a lot of territory. He went where quail should have been, but they weren’t home today. At 1:06 east of the Cadillac Pond he was unmoving as his quarry flushed wild but were officially seen. He stood mannerly for the shot. He was out of pocket at the end of the 90 minute brace and Bonner and the scout were out. Bonner took the tracker at 1:40 when Excalibur could not be located.

Brace 5. Showers came during the night and although not predicted light showers came as everyone was saddling up for the day’s activity. A hard rain came just after 7 AM and most went back to their trailers for rain gear. Light rain was falling when Hendrix Touch Up, handled by Burke Hendrix and Game Wardon handled by Dr. Fred Corder broke away. Hopes were high that scenting conditions would be better today with the welcome moisture. The dogs were fresh and the cool temperature seemed to give them added energy. Both dogs were independent and they were going to the right places. They hunted the woods and the open fields, but the quail were not moving and efforts were in vain. Wardon finally broke the stalemate at 57 in the Cadillac Field when he penned a covey in sage grass. The birds flew before the judiciary arrived, but they were officially seen and Corder shot for the steady Wardon. Hendrix had been out of touch with Touch Up for a time and he asked for the tracker at 60. Wardon continued to explore the likely looking habitats and respond to Corder. He was far ahead and going away when his bid ended.

Brace 6. The sun had come out and rain gear was removed and tied behind the saddles. Mike Crouse brought Crouse’s Equalizer and John Harmon brought his entry, Barshoe Tolstoy to compete in the last brace before lunch. They were turned loose just north of the Bee Hive Field and almost at the Georgia line. Tolstoy was not seen after the breakaway field and Harmon took the tracker at 20. At the same time Equalizer’s scout found him standing on Boy Scout Hill. The initial flushing attempt did not produce feathers and Equalizer was asked to relocate. When released, he covered a large area with flash points at several locations. He was moving when the running birds took to wing. Equalizer was given a stop to flush. He hunted down the hill to the road and swung south on the east side of the lake. He was moving through the sage near the lake when he got too close and put birds in the air. The judges thought Equalizer need not continue and he was put in a roading harness.

Brace 7 featured Silverline Storm handled by Paul Daniel and Game Bo handled by Dr. Fred Corder. These two dogs displayed guts and determination as they battled the heat that had climbed in to the mid 70’s and the thick cover. The sandy soil also played a part in their effort. Judge Mason spied Bo standing at 36 between the Cyprus Pond and the Boy Scout House and Corder was summoned. Corder was unable to produce feathers and Bo was given an unproductive here. The combination of 70 plus degree weather, heavy cover, and sandy soil took a toll on Bo and Corder elected to pick up the hot, laboring dog at 51. Daniel followed suite at 1:03.

Brace 8. Game Throne handled by Woody Watson and Erin’s Full Throttle handled by John Ivester were the entries in the 8th brace. The temperature was in the mid 70’s and made it tough going for the dogs. Throne was stacked up at 10, but the stand was barren as Watson was unable to put anything in the air. Both dogs ranged far and wide in their search for the elusive quail and both handlers worked hard to keep their dogs headed in the right direction. Throne was spied by his scout at 49 standing just north of the Big Garret Field. Throttle came in to back and Watson flew the covey and shot. Both dogs were steady at wing and shot. Throne was quick to notch his second find at 52 about 500 yards from his first find. Throttle suffered a breach of manners here and was picked up. Throne was standing again at 55 and as Watson flushed, a rabbit was seen. Throne continued to range to the front and was watered at the trough at 1:26. Watson took Throne far to the front and pointed him out. Throttle was out of sight at pick up and the judges waited for Watson to return with him.

Brace 9. It was already 68 degrees and the humidity registered 96% when Redhill’s Rose and Showtime’s Mocking Jay began. Paul Daniel handled Rose and Larron Copeland directed Jay. They were quickly through the pines and on to the first road crossing where they were watered. They hunted separately through the Big Garrett Field and turned toward Pike’s Peak. Copeland’s cap was in the air at 31 just south of the Peak. The birds flew before Copeland arrived but they were officially seen. Both dogs were going to all the right places and they appeared to the front when they needed to. Rose was standing at 53 just west of the Manor House. Daniel flew a single bird and Rose stood at the shot. They made the turn at Acorn Hill at the hour and at 1:10 Copeland saw Jay standing in a mowed strip far to the front east of the wye in the pines. A breech of manners occurred here and Rose was leashed. An extended relocation failed to be fruitful and an unproductive stand was credited. Jay continued to hunt to the Georgia line where his bid ended. She had been persistent in her quest, her speed had not diminished, and she was still strong as she ended her bid.

Brace 10. Some days are diamonds and some days are stones and this day was stoney for Chipper Jones handled by Ruth Ann Epp and Spenser’s Ramblin Alibi handled by Jim Spencer. Jones had his own agenda today in spite of the efforts of Epp and her scout. Epp called it quits at 45. Alibi just didn’t seem to have his mind on hunting today and Spencer decided to pick up at 48. Neither dog had bird work Kudos to Jim Spencer for running his dog today.

Brace 11 showcased Barshoe Tchaikousky handled by John Harmon and Funseeker’s Texas Preacher handled by Don Wood. An unfortunate incident at 18 caused a breach of manners and Tchaikousky was leashed. Preacher battled the heat and the cover until 44 without the benefit of bird work and Wood ended his bid concerned about Preacher’s condition.

Brace 12 highlighted Marque’s Armed Robber, fresh from his run at the National, handled by John Ivester and Strut Nation handled by Scott Jordan. Jordan called point at 6 in the Esquire Pines but since the Armadillo couldn’t fly, he was taken on. It was still really warm when the sky turned a darker shade and a strong cold wind began to blow. The temperature dropped 10 to 15 degrees in a matter of minutes and a cold rain began to fall. It only lasted a few minutes and then the sun and heat came back. A very unusual weather event. Both dogs were watered just west of the Manor House at the road crossing. Ivester called point for Robber at 35 and within seconds Jordan also called point. The dogs were facing each other across a plot of sage and briars. Robber seemed to be in distress and Ivester, concerned for Robber’s health, put him in a harness. A relocation was unsuccessful and Nation suffered an unproductive. Nation was rolling through the cover and Jordan and the scout were both working hard to keep him on course but he had a mind of his own and disappeared. Jordan conferred with Judge Mason and decided to continue since the course led back to headquarters. Jordan continued until 1:05 when he took the tracker to look for Nation ending the running for the day.

Brace 13 pitted Silver’s Rebellious Gator handled by Paul Daniel and Master’s Touch handled by Tommy Liesfield against each other. They were off at 7:55 AM under heavily laden clouds and a fine mist. They made quick time by the old Cattle Barn, Preacher’s Hog Pen, and Cindy’s Oak with their sights set on Pike’s Peak. They made the first road crossing at 19 and both went into the rough on the south side of the course. Touch was staying in the thick growth and Liesfield lost contact with him. The scout brought Touch in just before the Big Garrett Field. Gator had not been seen since the crossing and Daniel took the tracker at 45. Touch was not in sight at the turn on Acorn Hill and Liesfield and his scout conferred. The scout went back and Liesfield went ahead, but he ended the brace when he asked for the tracker at 1:17 just east of the wye.

Brace 14 had Sioux’s Showboat handled by LJ Lundstrum and Sim’s Ramblin Rex handled by Junior Sims. They toured around the breakaway field and wasted no time going by the Georgia line. Both were far ahead at the Boy Scout Cabin and they crossed the road together. Lundstrum found Showboat standing just over the crossing in a mowed strip in a sage patch at 33. The birds exploded as Lundstrum approached—Showboat remained solid as they flew over him and at the shot. They were together on the road around the pond neck and both handlers were out wide to turn their dog back on course. At 47 Rex was standing just before the Brown Jug Field with Showboat backing. Showboat was taken on as Rex relocated to pen the running covey—a nice piece of work. At about the hour mark Lundstrum called point for Showboat just before getting to Boyd Corner. It was a marshy area and before Lundstrum got to Showboat he corrected and when he moved an alligator struck at him, thankfully missing the mark. Rex was on birds again at 1:08 east of the Brown Field with towering Live Oaks all around. Showboat backed for the second time. Rex displayed acceptable manners at wing and shot. About 300 yards from that stand Rex was pointing again at 1:10. Rex was asked to relocate for the second time and he was successful again in corralling the running covey. Rex stopped again at 1:19 but this proved to be a barren stand and an unproductive was garnered here. At the 90 minute mark both dogs were far to the front and the handlers had to ride for them.

Brace 15 costarred Dialed In handled by Jim Pendergest and Barshoe La Traviata handled by John Harmon. The brace was delayed to allow a band of showers to pass through the area and began at 2:20. Traviata was seldom seen and it was believed he did not make the turn at Boyd Corner. Harmon continued until 20 and asked for the tracker. Dialed In, the 2019 Amateur All-Age dog of the year, made some nice moves between the breakaway and Boyd Corner where she was watered. She went the wrong way after the turn and Pendergest rode for her. She returned to the front but her mind was not on hunting. She had been in season and Pendergest elected to pick up at 27.

Brace 16 was contested by Erin’s Redrum handled by Sean Derrig and Dakota Nation handled by Ted Roach. Redrum was standing at 14 east of Hickory Hill which proved to a barren stand after an extended relocation. Nation was standing at 16 a little further east of Hickory Hill. Nation’s help in the flushing attempt earned him an early exit. Redrum was seldom seen by the judiciary as Derrig continued to ride wide and lateral. Derrig, on several occasions, continued to point out Redrum far to the left and right of the course. Redrum was not seen for a time when a distant call of point was heard. Redrum was seen standing by the dog wagon at the main road almost at the headquarters at 1:22. The dog wagon was able to alert the scout and he called point. The dog was approximately one mile from the course. It was a long ride back to Redrum. Derrig flushed a covey and shot. No exception taken to Redrum’s manners. Derrig crossed the pond dam as pick up was called. Derrig called point at 1:31 south of Kudzu Hill. A relocation attempt was successful and Derrig flew the covey. When the birds flew Redrum took too many steps and Derrig whoaed him.

Brace 17 on Friday highlighted Pendy’s Good Grace handled by Matt Pendergest and Cheyenne Nation handled by Scott Jordan. It was 7:55 AM on a beautiful morning with clear skies and no rain. If any rain gear was visible, it was tied behind a saddle. They both took the west edge and held the line past the rows of pines. Grace hooked up with Pendergest at the Preacher’s Hog Pond and headed for Cindy’s Oak. Nation came to Jordan in the green field prior to the first road crossing. They crossed the road in tandem and almost immediately Grace wheeled into a point. Nation backed. The birds were officially seen when they took to wing before Pendergest reached Grace. Pendergest fired as Grace remained motionless, but Nation had a breach of manners and was leashed. Two minutes later at 20 Grace was standing again in the sage, Pendergest could not produce any feathers after a relocation attempt and an unproductive stand was credited. Grace was seen in the Big Garrett Field when she made the turn to Pike’s Peak. She was watered at the Peak and sent ahead toward Cadillac Pond. She crossed the levee and made some good moves as she hunted through the undergrowth. She was AWOL at Acorn Hill and both handler and scout were out. She was back at the wye with Pendergest. She was still running strong through the Gene Field when the judges called pick up.

Brace 18 began in the Bee Hive woods when Erin’s Hidden Shamrock handled by Sean Derrig and Small’s White Stryker handled by Mike Small were whistled on. They were not long going by the Georgia line and crossing the road at the Boy Scout Cabin together. The Handlers waited at the crossing for the judges. At the crest of the rise Styrker didn’t make the turn and Small and the scout were out with Judge Mason waiting in case he was needed. Small caught up before we passed the neck of Long Lake. Both dogs and handlers were far to the front as we approached the Brown Jug Field. The handlers and dogs were wide in the pines as we approached Boyd Corner at 49. Both dogs were watered at the corner. Shamrock was standing at 53 just east of the Brown Field. A lengthy relocation was not productive. The handlers were working hard to keep on course as they went by the Double Ponds. Small spied Stryker standing at the Goat House at 1:12. Another relocation transpired that also failed to produce a bird. The brace ended at Joe’s Oak with both dogs far ahead.

Brace 19 featured Touch’s White Knight, a recent competitor in the National, handled by Eddie Sholar and Erin’s Ty Breaker handled by Ted Roach. They were ready to run and they made dust fly in the already dry breakaway field. The scouts were busy all the way to Boyd Corner where both dogs were in sight. Sholar went into the Big Woods confident that Knight was ahead. Roach had to ride for Breaker. Knight had not been seen since the Boyd Corner and Sholar told Judge LaNasa at 39 “I surrender” and took the tracker. Roach continued until 55 where he decided pick up as Breaker was not suiting him.

Brace 20 began northeast of the Manor House at the east end of the Long Field. Mohawk Mill Trail Warrior handled by Gary Winall and SF Bandwagon handled by Larry Smith each took an opposite side of the field and headed for the road crossing. They were watered at the crossing and Warrior was standing just southeast of the manor house at 31. Warrior was standing along the side of a field road facing a tangle of weeds and briars. Winall could not put anything to wing and Warrior was asked to relocate. Warrior worked through the tangle over a wide area and he hit the birds hard. He was intense when the bevy burst into the air just ahead of his flared nostrils. Bandwagon had been MIA and he hooked up with Smith while Warrior was relocating. They worked through the pines and went by the Flat Pond. Bandwagon turned into the Oil Drum Field and Warrior continued on to Pike’s Peak. Winall rode for Warrior and brought him back at the Big Garrett Field. They made the turn and Warrior was standing at 59 behind the Plantation Office, Bandwagon was backing, The stand proved to be fruitless and both made the turn across the Rodgers Pond levee and went toward Kudzu Hill, Bandwagon nailed a single at 1:11 on Kudzu Hill, They worked through the green fields and were watered at the road crossing. They were sent across the road and both hunted the likely places until the brace ended at the 90 minute mark in the Horseshoe Field.

Brace 21 featured former National Champion Dunn’s Tried N’ True handled by Will Dunn and SF Stetson handled by the well-traveled Larry Smith. The action began early when True nailed a covey about 100 yards from the breakaway with True true to his training. Both True and Stetson were standing at 40 in a likely location but neither handler could produce feathers and unproductives were credited to both dogs and this ended Ture’s bid. Stetson hunted hard until the 80 minute mark where he scored a covey find. Stetson finished the brace with no other bird work.

Brace 22 had Phillip’s Offline piloted by Mike Small and Lester’s Prime Poison guided by Brian Peterson. They were quick off the mark and they were fast as they explored the terrain making it difficult for their handlers to keep track for the first 45 minutes and then they settled in. They hunted hard for the full 90 minutes but neither was able to locate the elusive quarry.

Brace 23 was short as Dragonfly was scratched by Jim Hughes and Dunn’s True Reign handled by Will Dunn vanished at the 30 minute mark.

Brace 24 showcased the eventual Runner Up Champion Miller’s Creative Cause handled by Tommy Liesfield and Ascension handled by Ted Roach. Cause set the tone early when he was discovered standing at 7 in the pines. A large covey erupted just as the judge arrived with Cause rigid for the shot. Ascension gave it his best but Roach decided to save him for another day at the 50 minute mark as he was birdless at that point. Five minutes later at 55 Cause looked like he had ‘em but it was a barren stand. Cause had been rolling up to this time and he continued to impress with his speed and desire as he speed through the cover. He made an impressive move as the gallery watched him cast around a large slew and then take a field edge out of sight far to the front. His race was focused and undiminished for the entire 90 minutes.

Brace 25 pitted Mohawk Mill Image handled by Gary Winall and Showtime Sam Houston handled by Larron Copeland. At less than a minute Houston pointed the same covey that Tried N’ True pointed the previous morning. Three birds lifted that Copeland did not see and when he whistled Houston to move up the rest of the covey ended Houston’s bid. Image avoided the action around Houston and was diligent in his search and handled kindly for Winall. He finally was successful at 56 when he notched his first find. At 66 he scored his second and last find. His effort was not lacking but Lady Luck was not in his corner today.

Brace 26 brought Touch’s Malcom Story handled by Eddie Sholar and Chief’s Rising Sun handled by John Mathys to the line. Quick finds seemed to be in vogue but Story’s stand at 5 resulted in an unproductive. Story was poised again at the 10 minute mark with Sun backing. It was a pretty picture as both dogs remained motionless at the shot. Story and Sholar just couldn’t get on the same page today and Sholar called it quits at 25. The cards seemed to be stacked against Sun today. He hunted hard but suffered barren stands at 50 and 70 and was picked up.

Brace 27 highlighted Meadow’s Fast Break handled by Ted Roach and James Pond Bull handled by Woody Watson. Bull joined the quick find club at 3 and stood mannerly for wing and shot. He was gone for some time and Watson picked him up at 35. Break ran a consistent forward race and was rewarded at 60 with a covey find. He finished the brace with no other bird work but his effort was commendable.

Brace 28 featured Walnut Tree Blue handled by Steve Mills and White’s Crossbow handled by Danny White. Blue just missed the quick find club but he scored his first find at 15. The race was on as Blue and Crossbow traversed the Plantation grounds in their search. Blue notched his second find at 50 with everything in order. Both completed the 90 minute marathon. Crossbow did not have any bird work.

Judges LaNasa and Mason wanted to acknowledge good performances and that honorable mention should go to Game Wardon, Sim’s Ramblin Rex, Mohawk Mill Trial Warrior, Meadow’s Fast Break, and Walnut Tree Blue.


National Amateur Derby Championship

 The Derby Championship boasted a notable entry with 26 vying for the top spot. There were 21 pointer males, 4 pointer females, and 1 setter male. The competition was extremely competitive with some quality performances that might have won the gold at another time and another place, but just barely missed the mark here. Judges Reid Hankley and Terry Chastain were looking for All-Age potential and they were not disappointed. They gave their full attention to every entry and rode at a consistent pace for the entirety of the trial. They accepted the responsibility of judging fairly and equally knowing a difficult task lay ahead considering the quality of the entry. They were in full agreement that Confident Nation, pointer male, owned and handled by Scott Joran had given a performance that warranted him being named the 2020 National Amateur Quail Champion. Nation scored three sterling finds and his race indicated he was ready for all-age competition. The runner-up spot went to Showtime Game Changer, pointer male, handled by Larron Copeland. Larron and Laura Copeland are the owners of Changer. Changer had one find on a covey and was impressive as he toured the course with speed and purpose all the while demonstrating his all-age qualities. There was a slim margin separating the winner and runner-up.

Thanks to Tall Timbers for allowing the use of Dixie Plantation for this competition and thanks to all those who participated making this a fun time and an enjoyable experience.