Event: Kentucky Quail Classic
Result: West Kentucky Field Trial Club
Location: Kevil, Kentucky
Post Date: Jan 30, 2024
Submitted By: Mary Sue Schalk and Joe Hopkins
Kentucky Quail Classic Winners (l-r): Ike Todd, Allen Dunbar (judge), Stegan Smith (scout) with Haney's Storm Warning, Chris Cagle Jr. (owner), Mary Sue Schalk (scout) with Barshoe Forget Me Not, Joe Hopkins (judge), Allen Vincent (handler) with Dunn's True Reign, Isaiah Todd, and Mike Crouse.
The 2023 Kentucky Quail Classic All Age and Derby stakes were held on November 28 and concluded mid-afternoon on December 1. As with tradition, the trial ran immediately following the Quail Championship Invitational, thus retaining some Invitational competitors along with other top dogs from those handlers choosing to stay for the event. Thirty-five dogs were drawn for the Kentucky Quail Classic, one English setter to the 34 pointers. The Derby stake also had a solid draw of 16 pointers.
Joe Hopkins of London, Kentucky, and Allen Dunbar of Oconto, Wisconsin, judged both the All-Age and Derby stakes over the course of four days. Both men are accomplished in their own right in the field trial world and are promoters of the sport. Hopkins, a staple in the National Bird Hunters Association, has recently started a podcast and, through this venue, is promoting the sport in a big way! His enthusiasm, wit, and great communication skills make for pure entertainment. In his free time, he is a strong competitor both in walking and horseback stakes with his small but mighty string of English setters. A positive addition to any field trial event, Hopkins gave full attention to all participants, and his efforts were much appreciated. Dr. Dunbar, who prefers to be called Allen, is well known for his performance as a veterinarian in the sporting dog world. His contributions to injury repair and rehabilitation are immeasurable, especially to those personally affected. He, like Hopkins, is also a strong competitor, primarily in horseback shooting dog stakes. His Grouse Feather moniker is familiar to most who follow the sport, and his English setters are a force to be reckoned with in competition. A diligent analyst, Dunbar rode forward and gave all competitors his full attention from beginning to end.
Throughout the week, each day's running started promptly at 7:30 a.m. Alan Benson handled the dog wagon responsibilities, as well as ensuring lunch was provided for participants. Mike Crouse rode as front marshal when he was not competing, and Mary Sue Schalk also helped marshal. The West Kentucky Field Trial Club appreciates the time of volunteers to help the week run smoothly.
Haney's Storm Warning required little to no handling for a majority of his bid for owner/handler Chris Cagle Sr. An audit of all applicable, appropriate, and desirable lines, edges, and objectives was found almost always with Storm Warning being right where he needed, thundering handsomely far and away to the front out of sight only to be seen again at distances slicing through acreage like a razor blade. A brave forward cast on the morning course out of sight resulted in the handler's hat in the air several minutes later just over the rise to find Storm Warning standing statuesque in his customary fashion, high on both ends. Birds were put to wing without a muscle's twitch from the dog named first at the conclusion of the trial. As the brace advanced, the desire for game visually supercharged the dog and only made him stronger, finishing the hour several hundred yards down the inside line of the large power lines going away at pickup. Storm Warning also backed King Post at 45 in his trademark stance.
Barshoe Forget Me Not kept all in the gallery and judicial saddles far from fading through the rigors of three days riding when she scorched the earth under her feet with a scintillating ground game, a jovial disposition, and high cracking tail. Field after field, Forget Me Not was making all the right moves while handling elegantly for her handler, Allen Vincent, with the gas pedal clearly to the floor. If the handler asked, Forget Me Not responded not only with the response but also with unforgettable class through her advance. An unproductive at 42 was all but masked by her masterclass ground race and was rectified with a find at 54, proving herself a bird finder in addition to a sight to see on the ground, earning her second-place honors.
Rounding out the placements, Dunn's True Reign had the ground race of a true all-age competitor and showed it both early and late in his hour. Handling confidently, handler Allen Vincent managed an even and forward advance after the dog would disappear only to affirmatively see True Reign taking the next obstacle as if a script was written for him. A mannerly and quick action find was recorded at 20 with all in order, True Reign would back his bracemate shortly thereafter at 32. He finished his hour just as he began, strong to the front, earning him the third-place spot on the podium.
In the first brace, Korry Rinehart handled Ascension, paired with Randy Anderson and Slick Water Frac. Ascension ran diligently but did not achieve the all-age race established by later braces. He finished his hour. Frac never found harmony with his handler and was picked up at 38.
Como Thunder, handled by David Russell, ran with handler Anderson and Touch's Cocaine Blues. Thunder ran strong, with some brief absences. He had the first find of the trial, locating a known covey at 54. All in order, he finished his hour strong. Touch's Cocaine Blues to find and keep to the front; however, he did back Como Thunder at 54 and finished his hour.
Sandridge Big Iron made cause for both judges to sit up in the saddle, making big swings and distant casts in the third hour. Handled by Allen Vincent, Big Iron had a find at 25 in good order and finished his hour. His bracemate, Bonner's Hot Rize, was not pleasing his handler, Korry Rinehart, who picked him up at 38.
Bridget Ledington was in the handler's saddle for the 4th brace, running her dog Painted Owyhee Toad. The connection was strong between Toad and Ledington; however, his ground coverage was not that of an all-age dog this time. David Hendricks, also an owner/handler, ran his dog Pleasant Run Sally with Ledington. Sally is a fancy female who made a beautiful bid and had an early find at 8. She applied herself dutifully and filled the grounds but, unfortunately, was lost at pickup.
Allen Vincent turned loose Texas Wild Rex in the 5th brace but requested the tracker at 28. His bracemate, Lester's Front Porch, was handled by Gary Lester. Front Porch ran strong the first half of his hour. He did have an unproductive but continued and finished his hour.
To complete the first day of running, Anderson ran I'm Gallant with David Russell and Haney's Hurricane Seeker. I'm Gallant ran intently, making good casts and hunting in sensible locations. Although he had an unproductive at 30, he did locate birds at 47 and was able to handle them with class as the birds flushed across his muzzle. He finished his hour. Hurricane Seeker took large bites of the country from the start; his handler worked diligently to keep him in check, but with long absences, Russell did ask for the tracker at pick up.
For the second day of running, Gary Lester started the day with the 7th brace and Miller's King Post. The canine athlete put together a very good ground race, showing linearly and disappearing, only to be seen again advancing on another field edge. At 30, King Post backed his bracemate Haney's Storm Warning and tried to make game on an edge under the power lines. No birds could be lifted, although the handler did produce feathers at the dog's stand. He finished his hour.
Randy Anderson returned in the 8th brace with No Strings Attached and, unfortunately, was not pleased with the dog picking him up at 30. Mike Crouse was braced with Anderson running Crouse's Heart of Dixon. "Hearty" ran with the strength of a bull. With intermittent absences, he did require some assistance to regain connectivity with his handler. At the end of the hour, the handler's hat was in the air riding to the front on a known covey location where birds were confirmed in front of the dog's stand and a shot fired with all in order.
Chris Cagle Sr. returned to handle Haney's Silver Dollar in the 9th brace. Silver Dollar all but emulated his string-mate, blowing down edges and lines like straight-line winds with a high cracking tail and enthusiasm. Silver Dollar indicated birds on a stand on the edge of a bramble where an extensive flushing effort ensued, eventually resulting in confirmation of a stubborn duo of quail. His bracemate, Dunn's True Reign, backed with all class. Silver Dollar went on, maintaining a solid ground effort; another extensive and long flushing effort would be required at pickup, with Silver Dollar being found by the bracemate's handler on yet another edge of a very large and intimidating slash pile. Nevertheless, the handler climbed, stomped, scaled, and pressed through the thick island of cover but with no birds out to fly to close out the hour.
After lunch, Gary Lester turned loose Lester's Shockwave to kick off the afternoon and the 9th brace. He reeled out early in his run but troubled his handler with frequent returns and early exits on casts made. Regardless, the bird-finding prowess of the dog shone through regardless of the ground efforts, with two intact and mannerly finds at 35 and 53 minutes. He finished his hour. His bracemate, Coldwater Odyssey, struck early at 9 but after an unproductive flushing attempt, the dog was asked to relocate by handler Weldon Bennett. Birds were inadvertently evicted on the relocation, ending Coldwater Odyssey's hour early.
Stylishly and with the grace of a ballet dancer, Crouse's Tennessee Game Kate bound around the course with far-reaching casts with a spirited ground application evident with a high cracking tail as she bladed through the various bean field edges and wood lines. Several times, she emerged from cover breaks only to eat up the numerous field edges as if her run was a choreographed dance. Her lone find came shortly before pickup at 55 with birds precisely located. She finished her hour going away and enjoyed by all. Owned and handled by Mike Crouse, Game Kate was carried in the placements by the judges until the final day, but with such a performance rendered, the dog was named honorable mention.
Bonner's Bulletproof, handled by Randy Anderson, kept his string of performances rolling into the classic, piecing together a respectable showing on the ground responding to his handler's requests, marking moves in and away to the front at allowable places on course requiring little to some handling. Initially found to be backing his bracemate shortly before pickup at 55, Bulletproof was collared due to a breach of manners.
To finish day two, running the 12th brace, Weldon Bennett turned loose his second dog, Coldwater War Cry. After not making the turn across the culvert at 20, Bennett asked for the tracker to retrieve him. Braced with War Cry, Lester's Stemwinder had glimpses of excellence showing at times and requiring encouragement at times. Randy Anderson handled Stem Winder and located the dog standing at 15. He handled his birds mannerly and finished his hour.
For the final day of the Kentucky Quail Classic, Allen Vincent ran Firefly's Invictus with Gary Lester and Lester's Storm Surge. The 13th brace of the trial ran the first hour of the six hours of running. Firefly was harnessed after a lengthy absence off the breakaway; Storm Surge finished his hour to the front.
Allen Vincent handled Mayfield Storm Charger in the 14th brace. He was charged fully for his time residing in large expanses of real estate with an absence of significance in the middle of his run. Birds would be located by Mayfield Storm Charger late with two finds at 50 and 55. He finished his hour strong. His bracemate, Touch's Fire Away, made cause for attention when striking birds early at 8 after rimming a bean field edge merging onto a perpendicular wood line where scent abruptly stopped the dog in his tracks, cranking his head high into the air. Birds were raised, and Fire Away continued with moments of grandeur and moments of wanting more. His handler, Randy Anderson, knowing what placements would require, picked up the dog at 45 minutes.
In the 15th brace, the only English setter in the Classic, Wynona's Nickleback Sugar, located a bevy not found by any previous competitors at the base of a cluster of small trees on a secondary field edge found by her scout early in the hour. A beautiful stance by the female produced an expertly located covey. Sugar would not realize an effort customary of her resume nor demanding of honors for this trial and was put into the harness at 35. Randy Anderson handled Miller's Speed Dial, which was strong from the moment of being loosed, and the tracker requested at 16.
Black and white pointer male Crouse's Quiet Man ran strongly as customary of his performances in the 16th brace. Owned and handled by Mike Crouse, "Duke" experienced several long absences but showed himself in places, proving himself to be an all-age competitor. A find at 53 with all in order would show the dog's efforts to find birds during his headstrong run as he would finish the hour in hand to his handler's delight after their efforts. Scott Beeler handled Beeler's White Knight with Crouse and Quiet Man. White Knight stood at the one-minute mark in a sparse edge of a bean field, but no birds could be sourced there nor in the adjacent wood line behind said crop buffer. Adamant about another discovery of quarry, Beeler's White Knight would go on point again at 9 in another bean field, indicating birds in the woody cover on the edge. A concerted flushing effort followed by a relocation would prove otherwise; Barshoe and White Knight were harnessed.
The final brace of the stake Barshoe Forget Me Not's performance was recounted with the winners, as she was handled to second place by Allen Vincent.
Kevil, Ky., November 28
Judges: Dr. Alan Dunbar and Joe Hopkins
KENTUCKY QUAIL CLASSIC [One-Hour Heats] - 34 Pointers and 1 Setter
1st-HANEY'S STORM WARNING, 1691416, pointer male, by Valiant-Haney's North Star. Chris Cagle, owner and handler.
2d-BARSHOE FORGET ME NOT, 1692349, pointer female, by Whippoorwill Justified-Greypointe Invierna. Robert Gum, owner; Allen Vincent, handler.
3d-DUNN'S TRUE REIGN, 1680537, pointer male, by Dunn's Tried'n True-Dunn's Get Out Sue. Norris Sims, owner; Allen Vincent, handler.
THE DERBY STAKE WINNERS
There were 16 derbies drawn, and eight braces concluded. Several young dogs had bird work, including the top three dogs. The first-place dog was Lester's War Bird owned and handled by Gary Lester. He had a strong all-age raceband and was consistently found to the front. Full Ride, owned by Kevin Dixon, earned second place with a strong performance for handler Randy Anderson. Third place was Bandit's Hill Avenger handled by Ike Todd. Avenger's owner, Ann Forrester, was on hand for his performance. A solid field, with enjoyable performances. The field of young dogs was a nice ending to a week of enjoyable bird dog work.
Judges: Dr. Allen Dunbar and Joe Hopkins
OPEN DERBY - 16 Pointers
1st-LESTER'S WAR BIRD 1705485, male, by Lester's Storm Surge-R W Susie Q. Gary Lester, owner and handler.
2d-FULL RIDE, 1702143, male, by Dixon's Rolling Stone-Dixon's Girl's Got Rhythm. Kevin Dixon, owner; Randy Anderson, handler.
3d-BANDIT'S HILL AVENGER, 1702642, male, by Touch's Smooth Rider-Bandit's Hill Daisy. Ann Forrester, owner and handler.
Note: Many thanks to all those who continue to support our field trials in Western Kentucky. We certainly could not have our events without those who come year in and year out. I would specifically like to thank the pros who support both the Quail Championship Invitational and Kentucky Quail Classic annually. I also want to thank the members of the West Kentucky Field Trial Club, Alan Benson and Vincent Major, for their dedication to our annual events. Thank you to sponsors Purina and SportDOG, and participants and owners. Last but not least, thanks Dad, Mike Crouse, for fueling the fire, ordering the birds and being there always. Best of luck as the season continues for all!
-Mary Sue Schalk, West Kentucky Field Trial Club President
Open Derby Winners (l-r): Gary Lester (owner/handler), Allen Dunbar (judge), Korry Rhinehart (scout) with Lester's War Bird, Bridget Ledington (scout) with Full Ride, Randy Anderson (handler), Ann Forrester (owner) with Bandit's Hill Avenger, Stegan Smith (scout), Ike Todd (handler), and Joe Hopkins (judge).