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Result: International Pheasant Championship

Location: Hoffman, North Carolina

Post Date: Dec 5, 2023

Submitted By: Tessa Hughes

international pheasant chf23

International Pheasant Championship Winners (front row, l-r): Lefty Henry, Judd Carlton, Luke Eisenhart (scout) with Miller's Heat Advisory, Jerry Raynor (scout) with Touch's Shadow Rider, and Mark McLean. (Second row, l-r): Gary Winall, Joe Hughes (judge), Tessa Hughes (judge), and Carl Owens. (Third row, l-r): Claudia McNamee, Dr. Fred Corder, Rita Corder, and Stephanie Ivester, behind Carl Owens. (Fourth row, l-r): Earl Drew, Margaret Drew, Bob Youngs, William Smith, and John Ivester. (Top row, l-r): Ray Carter and Andy Cline.

On October 26, 2023, in unseasonably warm temperatures, Miller's Heat Advisory, white, orange, and ticked 5-year-old male pointer, with Judd Carlton of Cairo, Georgia, as his handler, lived up to his name and seized the championship trophy of the International Pheasant Championship at the Championship's new grounds at the Sandhills Wildlife Management Area in Hoffman, North Carolina. Heat Advisory is owned by John Mathys of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Carlton advised that this second first-place win of Heat Advisory in a National Championship qualifier was the necessary component to qualify the young dog as a competitor in the upcoming National Championship. Touch's Shadow Rider, a white, orange, and ticked 3-year-old English pointer handled by Mark McLean of Doerun, Georgia, secured the runner-up honors. This beautiful dog is owned by Bruce and Karen Norton and Dr. Reuben Richardson, all of Doerun, Georgia.

The Championship began its running at the new venue at Hoffman on Thursday morning, October 26, 2023, with 38 pointers and setters competing for the title. Conditions were sunny and dry, with a temperature of 60 degrees for the morning breakaway. The temperature quickly climbed to the 70s by mid-morning and topped 80 by mid-day. It was fairly dry on the grounds due to the drought we were experiencing, as well, although there were still some creeks and ponds with water.

Dr. Fred Corder, the Club Secretary, and Stake Manager, made opening announcements, including that, given the new grounds, the decision had been made this year that the pointing of a pheasant was preferred but not required for the naming of a champion. Dr. Corder also mentioned that Purina was generously sponsoring a dinner to support the Carolina Jamboree on Friday night, to which all were invited. He also recognized Carl Owens for his generous contribution of $5,000 to the purse. The $5,000 goes to the handler whose dog garnered the highest overall points in all four trials of the Jamboree. This author and her husband, Joe Hughes, of Moulton, Alabama, were honored to serve as judges of the Championship and the accompanying Open Derby.

We also wish to recognize all sponsors for the entire Jamboree: Course Sponsors: Red Hills Kennels, In Memory of Bill McNamee; Ike and Marty Todd, 4M Fabrications, Trachaven Kennels, and Camp Hatteras, as well as Dog Wagon Sponsors: Robyn Branch Design, High Tailin' It Setters, Red Hills Kennels, Daniels Kennels, Chad Adams & Son Stables, Crosscountry Kennels, Quail Woods Farms, and The Company-White Dogs. Other contributing sponsors included Long Leaf Dry Mix Products, Carl Owens Contracting, Inc., and Hog Slat. In addition, we are especially grateful to Purina and Greg Blair for their sponsorship of the trial and, for the provision of Pro Plan dog feed, and to Mule City Feeds, which generously donated horse feed to all participants.

So many people worked hard to make this trial a success: Greg Robinson faithfully drove the dog wagon every day, ensuring the dogs were ready to go and on the wagon and providing water, coffee, and snacks to everyone at every brace. Lefty Henry, when not in the saddle, served as another road marshal. Dr. Corder, Bob Youngs, Ellen Clements Winall, John Ivester, Claudia McNamee, Jerry Raynor, and Carl Owens all served as marshals during the trial. In addition, Rita Corder served delicious lunches each day. There is also work that goes on behind the scenes, including a great deal of care of the grounds and the quail that are put out and then fed, much of that done by the North Carolina Game & Fish Department.
In addition, Bob Youngs, John Ivester, and Calvin Curnutte toiled hard, rising at 5:30 a.m. each day of the trial to put out pheasants.

One of the interesting things the Hoffman clubs do to ensure fairness in terms of bird work is to switch how each championship is run during the Jamboree and for other sequential championships. For example, because they run six courses, if they start the morning courses on one three-course sequence, the next trial they will switch, and that three-course sequence will become the afternoon braces.

For our Championship, we began the morning courses across the road from the clubhouse. Hayden Dobbins, a freelance photographer, was kind enough to join us for much of the Jamboree, and he took a photograph of all handlers and judges on hand before we began.
Joe and I were also honored to be included in the traditional Handlers' Dinner on Wednesday night at Beefeaters' Restaurant at Southern Pines. The event was attended by several, including Luke Eisenhart, Judd Carlton, Dr. Fred and Rita Corder, Toby Tobiason, William and Tommie Smith, Carl Owens, Claudia McNamee, Lefty Henry, Mike Hester, Jerry Raynor, Bob and Barbara Youngs, Randy Anderson, and Bridget Ledington. John Ivester recognized the many staunch contributors to both Hoffman's success and the trials composing the Carolina Jamboree. He also recognized Owens for his generous contributions.

The Championship Brace
Miller's Heat Advisory, our champion, Carlton, and Touch's Breakaway Fred (PM/McLean) were our last brace of the first day. Conditions were hot and sunny, with temperatures at around 80. Both dogs broke away strong, running hard. Heat Advisory is a son of Bird Dog Hall of Fame inductee Just Irresistible, and he showed some of his sire's endurance and class in his championship brace. At 17, Carlton called point for his dog on a hill on the left. When this judge arrived, Heat Advisory was standing up tall. Several birds boiled out at the flush, but Heat Advisory stood strong for the flush and shot. Carlton took his dog on, and he immediately returned to his blistering pace to the front. Carlton then found him again at around 26, making a strong cast on the right, and then we saw him swing in to the left. It is a rare dog, in hot conditions like that, who still has a strong enough nose to zoom in on game in a field thick with brush, but Heat Advisory made it look easy. Carlton called point for him at 27 as Heat Advisory zeroed in for his second find. This time, he again looked beautiful on his game, standing wing and shot.
We then had to canter to catch the front, and upon returning to the front, Heat Advisory quickly pointed again at 36. However, this time, no birds were flying for Heat Advisory, and he suffered an unproductive. At approximately this time, McLean made the decision to pick up Fred. Carlton then took his dog on, and Heat Advisory again headed aggressively to the front. He showed well in several fields, and Carlton found him again on point at 45. He looked staunch again, head and tail high, and stood well for wing and shot, with several quail boiling out around him. He was away strong again after this find and continued running strong until time was called.

The Runner-Up Brace
Touch's Shadow Rider, our runner-up champion, McLean, and Supreme Confidence (PM/Eisenhart) were in the last brace of the championship. Conditions had cooled slightly, and birds appeared to be moving. Both dogs were away fast from the breakaway, setting an exciting pace. Shadow Rider's sire is Touch's Smooth Rider, a dog who garnered more than one championship and was aptly named for the way he flowed across the ground. His progeny, Shadow Rider, inherited that same way of also eating up the country and showed that ability to us during his brace. McLean called point for his dog at 34, with Shadow Rider standing with head and tail high, looking classy on his find. He held well for wing and shot, with many birds flushed. He continued on, running hard and always hunting an ambitious race to the front. Eisenhart called point for his dog at 52, with Confidence looking good on his find and holding well for wing and shot. Both dogs continued to the front, and Shadow Rider was then found to the front again at 59, looking beautiful on point. McLean produced birds again for his dog, and Shadow Rider handled this find in a perfect manner, too. Time was called, thus concluding the brace. Eisenhart was able to secure his dog, as well, thus concluding the championship.

The Running
Notorious Dominator's Heir, pointer male, with Judd Carlton in the irons, and Woodville's Yukon Cornelius (ESM/Mark McLean) started us off from the first breakaway. Both dogs were away fast, running hard and to the front. Cornelius then wheeled off to the right, and McLean called point for him at 5. We found the setter standing tall, head and tail head high, in front of a thicket. McLean flushed for him, and upon relocation, we realized a dead pheasant hen was in close vicinity to Cornelius, and feathers were in front of him. McLean decided to take the dog on at that point, and Owens, marshaling for the morning, retrieved the bird from the course. Heir was not seen again after 14, and Carlton asked for his tracker at 33. Cornelius continued on, making excellent forward casts, running hard and to the front, hunting well. As the first hour course worked its way around, the course allowed the dog to naturally return to the general vicinity of where he had first pointed, although this time, he was on a different side of the thicket. McLean called point for him again at 48. Again, Cornelius looked excellent on his game, and McLean went into the thicket and, this time, produced a pheasant hen flying for the setter. Cornelius stood well for wing and shot. Cornelius went on and finished his hour strong.

Rester's Cajun Spirit (PM/Carlton) and Raw Law Sugar Trouble (PM/Hester) were in the next brace. Both dogs started away well, with Spirit setting a blazing pace. Sugar Trouble also showed well to the front. However, he was soon not seen again, and Hester had to request his tracker at 35. Spirit continued to make excellent forward casts throughout his brace, running hard and hunting well. However, no birds were flying in his hour. Not being seen at pickup, we waited until Carlton located him. Carlton then called point for him but waved it off by the time we arrived. This concluded the brace.

Painted Owyhee Toad (PM/Bridgette Ledington) and Touch's Malcolm Story (PM/McLean) were in the next brace. Toad is a snappy, forward-running dog and showed nicely to the front at all times. At 30, Ledington called Toad toward a pond, and as she did so, Toad ran into quail, stopping, but they were all around him, hitting him in the face. It proved too much for him, mannerly as he is, and he was in the harness. Malcolm Story ran a hard race beautifully to the front but was not seen after 24, and McLean requested his tracker at 45.

The fourth brace was comprised of Papa Joe (PM/Hester) and Erin's Code of Honor (PM/Eisenhart). We started away well from the breakaway behind the barns with a temperature of approximately 84 degrees and sunny. The conditions were blistering hot and so dry, and although both dogs ran well and hunted hard despite the harsh weather, both handlers requested their trackers after neither dog encountered birds, with Honor up at 29 and Joe up at 44.

Night Moon (PM/Eisenhart) and Touch's Midnight Rider (PM/McLean) were our fifth brace, with conditions still extremely hot and dry. Midnight Rider was away strong from the breakaway, but McLean picked him up at 28. Night Moon worked hard for Eisenhart, running well, and Eisenhart called point for his dog at 39. However, no birds were flying, and Eisenhart put him in the harness.

The last brace of the day was the Championship brace covered above.

We started the second day of the trial in cool weather with Woodville's Saddle Tramp (ESM/McLean) and Rester's Johnny Ringo (PM/Carlton). Both dogs were away, running hard from the breakaway down the first hill and to the right. McLean called point for his dog at 5, and we arrived to find Ringo backing nicely, as well. McLean flushed a pheasant for Saddle Tramp, and he looked beautiful on his game. All was in order on the find, and both dogs continued on. Carlton called point for Ringo at 13, but no birds were located. We went forward, but Saddle Tramp was absent. At 39, upon his return, he was in the harness, his absence having been too long. Ringo finished the hour strong and to the front but did not encounter birds.

Next up were I'm Gallant (PM/Randy Anderson) and Game Surge (PM/Corder). Both dogs ran ambitious, beautiful races away from release. At 40, both dogs were found on point, almost facing each other, on a little hillside below the soldier camp, both looking elegant on point, heads, and tails high. Anderson declined to flush, and Corder went into the thicket, but no birds were produced. Both dogs went on, running hard to the front, with Corder calling point for his dog at 48 again, but again, no birds were flying, and he picked him up. Anderson made the decision to pick his dog up at 58.

Rester's Cajun Justice (PM/Eisenhart) and Touch's Gallatin Fire (PM/McLean) comprised our ninth brace. It was extremely hot by this time. Both dogs ran ambitious races to the front, with McLean calling point for Fire at 24. However, no birds were seen. At 37, Eisenhart called point for Justice, but after a breach of manners, he put his dog in the harness. McLean called point for his dog at 38, and he looked excellent on his birds. He held well for the find and the shot. However, at 46, McLean requested his tracker, thus ending Fire's brace, as well.

For brace No. 10, Touch's Fire Away (PM/Anderson) and Quickmarksman's Excalibur (Hester) were our competitors. Fire Away was found on point at 12, but no birds were flying. At 37, he was seen again on point, looking beautiful, and Anderson produced birds. Fire Away held well for wing and shot. He went on to the front, running a good race. At approximately 47, having not been able to locate him, Anderson looked to the right with scout Ledington as we waited by a road crossing for the dog. Hester requested the tracker for Excalibur, having located him at the crossing. At that point, Fire Away showed up, and his owner, Dr. Adams, riding in the gallery, took over as handler for a short time until Ledington could be deputized as handler to run him until Anderson could return to the front. Fire Away traveled well under both and finished the hour to the front.

The next brace was comprised of Slick Water Frac (PM/Anderson) and Heisman (PM/Hester). Again, the heat was extreme, and it was very dry. Both dogs ran valiantly to the front but were up at approximately 20 due to the harsh conditions.

Rentz's Hijacked (PM/Eisenhart) and Lester's Storm Chaser (PM/Henry) made up our final brace of the day. By this time, it had begun to cool off some, and at least field "larks" had begun moving. Hester, Henry's scout, called point for Storm Chaser at 17, discovering him in a cool, shady spot, standing with his tail high, looking intense on his game. When Henry went into flush for Storm Chaser, who stood well for the flush, head, and tail high, birds flew in every direction, which the dog handled without fault. We continued back to the front to find Eisenhart calling point for his dog at 20, with Hijacked looking beautiful and Storm Chaser backing. A pheasant boiled out of heavy cover, which Hijacked handled well, along with the shot. Both dogs were then in a fast, hard race to the front. At 35, the handlers called point for both dogs, with both dogs standing with their heads and tails high. At the flush, both dogs stood well for birds flying. Both dogs finished the hour.

The next brace, brace No. 13, was made up of Miller's Wide Out (PM/Anderson) and Erin's High Note (PM/Carlton). Both dogs hunted hard and to the front, with Wide Out scoring an elegant find at 53. Carlton requested his tracker after his dog's absence at 51. At pickup, after not being able to locate Wide Out, Anderson discovered him on point. Wide Out handled his second find beautifully as well, thus concluding his brace.

Erin's Wild Atlantic Way (ESM/Eisenhart) and Southern Nation (PM/Henry) were in our next brace. Atlantic Way scored a beautiful find at 18, holding well for the flush and shot. At 30, Henry called point for his dog, with Atlantic Way backing. However, no birds were flying. At 41, with Southern Nation absent, Henry requested his tracker. Atlantic Way finished his hour with no more bird contact.

Bonner's Bulletproof (PM/Anderson) and Aucilla Jim (PM/McLean) were in our next brace. McLean called point for Jim at 40, with Bulletproof backing. However, no birds were flying. Bulletproof was in the harness at 30. Having no bird work, Aucilla Jim was in the harness at 50.

Haney's All In (PM/McLean), and Nighthawk's Rebel (PM/Eisenhart) were away hard in the next brace despite the harsh hot conditions. Both dogs ran aggressive races to the front. However, no birds were moved in their brace, and by 45, they were in the harness.

Erin's Perfect Storm (PM/Eisenhart) and Touch's Cocaine Blues (PM/Anderson) were in the next brace. Again, we were in the heat of the day, at approximately 84 degrees and sunny. No birds were moving, and both dogs were in the harness by approximately 23.

The next brace went similarly birdless, although both dogs ran beautifully: No Strings Attached (PM/Anderson) and Game Heir (PM/Corder).

Hoffman, N. C., October 26
Judges: Joe Hughes and Tessa Hughes
INTERNATIONAL PHEASANT CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] - 36 Pointers and 3 Setters

Winner-MILLER'S HEAT ADVISORY, 1685672, pointer male, by Just Irresistible-Miller's Bring The Heat. John Mathys, owner; Judd Carlton, handler.
Runner-Up-TOUCH'S SHADOW RIDER, 1697543, pointer male, by Touch's Smooth Rider-Touch's Gold Dance. Bruce & Karen Norton & Dr. Reuben Richardson, owners; Mark McLean, handler.

Tom Honecker Memorial Open Derby
Moss Hill Conference Call, white, liver, and ticked pointer female, handled by McLean, ran an ambitious, fast race to the front in the hottest part of the day, at approximately 84 degrees, to secure her first place trophy in the Tom Honecker Open Derby. She fought hard to get her placement out of a field of 25 exceptional derbies. McLean called point for his dog at 17, and we found her standing with her head and tail high. After McLean flushed for her extensively in a thicket while she stood motionless, Dr. Corder pointed out that a pheasant was walking out of the back of the brush. Upon release, Conference Call set a fast pace to the front again, and at 29, McLean called point for her again. Conference Call stood up beautifully, even for the flush, and McLean shot over her with birds flying. This concluded her brace.

Woodville's Long Hard Ride, a white, black, and tan setter male, handled by McLean, was in the last brace of the derbies and ran a fast, snappy race to the front, always hunting hard. In the last minute of his brace, he was found on point, looking outstanding. He held well on his bird work, never wavering, and thus concluded his brace to secure his second-place trophy.
Erin's Happy Hour, a pointer male handled by Carlton, took third place in the derby. Happy Hour ran a fast, beautiful race to the front in the hottest, driest part of the day, always looking good. At approximately the mid-point of his brace, Carlton called point for Happy Hour, and he, too, looked beautiful on point. However, despite extensive flushing, no birds were flying, but Carlton did locate a large pile of feathers. Happy Hour finished his brace ever to the front without losing strength or speed.

Tom honeckekr odf23

Tom Honecker Memorial Open Derby Winners (front row, l-r): Carl Owens with Moss Hill Conference Call, Jerry Raynor with Woodville's Long Hard Ride, and Luke Eisenhart with Erin's Happy Hour. (Second row, l-r): Dr. Fred Corder, Lefty Henry, Mark McLean, Tessa Hughes (judge), Joe Hughes (judge), Claudia McNamee, Judd Carlton, Ray Carter, and Andy Cline.

TOM HONECKER MEMORIAL DERBY - 21 Pointers and 4 Setters
1st-MOSS HILL CONFERENCE CALL, 1702105, pointer female, by Dial Direct-Lady Lou. Brian & Emily Spear & Buck & Lynn Heard, owners; Mark McLean, handler.
2d-WOODVILLE'S LONG HARD RIDE, 1705218, setter male, by Woodville's Saddle Tramp-Yukon Gold Rush. Carl Owens, owner; Mark McLean, handler.
3d-ERIN'S HAPPY HOUR, 1703435, pointer male, by Erin's Southern Comfort-Erin's Country Nell. Mike Sweet, owner; Judd Carlton, handler.

International Pheasant Ch lineupF23

The line-up of competitors and participants at the morning breakaway. (L-r): Lefty Henry, Earl Drew, Margaret Drew, William Smith, Rita Corder, Jerry Raynor, Dr. Fred Corder, Mark McLean, Claudia McNamee, Joe Hughes (judge), Tessa Hughes (judge), and Carl Owens. [Credit to Hayden Dobbins]