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Result: Georgia Derby and All-Age Championships

Location: Waynesboro, Georgia

Post Date: Mar 12, 2024

Submitted By: Nell Mobley, Austin Sherman, and Mike Ja

2024 GA Derby Championship

Georgia Derby Championship (l-r): Champion Erin's Happy Hour with Luke Eisenhart and Runner-up Game Star with Mark Haynes, joined by Mary Kimbrell, Johnny Atkinson, Sarah Schwarz, Sarah Bull, Judd Carlton (handler of champion), Jack Schwarz, Mike Sweet (owner of champion), John Ray Kimbrell, Nell Mobley, Jerry Raynor, Ike Todd (handler of runner-up), Gary Futch (judge), Mike Jackson (judge), and Austin Sherman.

It is tradition for the Georgia Derby Championship to begin on January 2, followed immediately by the Georgia Quail Championship. The drawing was held at the home of your writer on December 30. Joining Gary Futch at the table were John Stake Manager Ray Kimbrell, Becky Futch, and Chuck Miller. Chuck prepares the drawing sheets, and Mary Kimbrell takes care of getting the judges' books ready for the judges and other officials.

The entries for the stakes were down from previous years, but the spirits of the handlers and owners were very high; 17 were drawn for the Derby and 19 for the All-Age.
We were so glad that Gary Lester was able to come and run two of his derbies. We all know that Gary was very ill for most of 2023. He was looking well. His lovely wife, Joy, accompanied him. I believe it was her first year to come to Waynesboro, the "Bird Dog Capitol of the World."

The judicial saddlers for the Derby Championship were filled with two experienced sportsmen, Mike Jackson of Battle Ground, Indiana, and Gary Futch of Statesboro, Georgia. Mike has judged for over 45 years throughout the country. Gary has judged some prestigious trials for over 10 years. Both gentlemen rode intently and named, in their opinion, the best two performers of the stake. A champion and runner-up were named, and I believe their decisions were well received. The winners ran as bracemates on course 3, brace 3.

When the winners were announced, Erin's Happy Hour, handled by Judd Carlton and owned by Mike Sweet, was named the 2024 Champion. With a close performance, Game Star was named runner-up. Ike Todd was the handler, and Dr. Corder is her owner.
Erin's Happy Hour was turned loose in the third hour of running. He took to the course running with good style, stopping at 12 with birds lifted, all in order. Judd Carlton carried him on with another excellent, stylish find at 30; birds were flushed with all in order, looking good on game. Happy Hour ran a strong, forward race, finishing the hour in front.

The championship win for Erin's Happy Hour automatically qualified him to run in the National Championship in February.
Ike Todd handled Game Star, a pointer female, to capture the runner-up title. She started strong. Point was called at 37, birds in flight and all in order. Shortly afterwards, point was called at 41. Another stylish find at 45 was to Star's credit. She ran a nice forward race for the hour and was very stylish on birds.
The Others
Under cloudy skies, with winds blowing and very cold, the first two dogs of the stake were released.

Silver Wings (Eisenhart) was not pleasing the handler and was taken up at 52. Haney's Last Call (Todd) pointed feathers at 2, 8, and 15. Point was called at 21 with good style. Todd was not pleased with his performance at 47 and requested the tracker.

Lester's Front Porch (Lester) had a find at 12 with all in order. No birds were seen at 18. Continuing the course, he was credited with a nice find at 24. Even though he was not seen for 13 minutes, he returned to complete the hour. Bandit's Hill Avenger (Todd) had a great find at 22 with birds in flight. He continued with finds at 46 and 52. The hour was finished.

Game Star and Erin's Happy Hour were reported earlier as winners.

Rampage (Eisenhart) moved on birds at 12 and was harnessed by the handler. Lester's War Bird (Lester) needed birds for a good race and finished.

Woodville's Long Hard Ride (McLean) had an erratic race and had no bird work. CKC Gun Runner (Carlton) needed birds for his nice race.

The last brace of day one was run with Erin's Bright Lights (Eisenhart) and Nonami's Smokin Joe (Cody McLean). Eisenhart chose to end the hour at 48 with Bright Lights not pleasing the handler. Smokin Joe had two commendable finds at 39 and 44 with good style with both. He ran a medium race and was to the front when time was called.

The final two braces were held up on the final morning. It was 28 degrees with a heavy frost resembling light snow.

No birds were pointed for the hour for Sandy Hill Ike (Raynor), which had a nice race. Comanche (Eisenhart) was credited with a good, stylish find at 16. At 40, he came from behind. The hour was finished to the front.

Erin's Firehouse Waitress (Todd) and Haney's Southern Angel (Carlton) were taken up at 20 by their respective handlers.

Waynesboro, Ga., January 2
Judges: Gary Futch and Mike Jackson
GEORGIA DERBY CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] - 16 Pointers and 1 Setter

Winner-ERIN'S HAPPY HOUR, 1703435, pointer male, by Erin's Southern Comfort-Erin's Country Nell. Mike Sweet, owner; Judd Carlton, handler.
Runner-Up-GAME STAR, 1704929, pointer female, by Lester's Storm Surge-Game Belle. Dr. Fred Corder, owner; Ike Todd, handler.

The All-Age Championship
Johnny Atkinson from Marion, South Carolina, joined Mike Jackson to judge the All-Age Championship. Johnny has been enjoying the field trial sport for many years. He has judged many championships along with weekend trials. He is very knowledgeable and respected. He enjoys running his own dogs.
The Winners
Touch's Malcolm Story, handled by Mark McLean for owner Alex Rickert, was named champion of the stake. When Story was released, he took to course 2, running with hunting on his mind. Shortly after a breakaway, he stopped with a commendable find at 12, followed by birds lifted at 31. McLean continued on with a third find at 58. The hour was finished with an excellent long-range race.

Runner-up honors went to Haney's All In. This young pointer male was runner-up in the 2023 Georgia Derby Championship. All In is owned by Steve Croy. He ran in the first brace on Thursday morning on course 1. McLean handled with commendable finds at 18 and 56. When the hour ended, he was to the front. A strong race complemented the nice birdwork.

Two other dogs performed well. The judges felt them worthy of mention--Erin's High Note (Judd Carlton) and Touch's Blue Knight (Woody Watson).

The Others
The All-Age stake began on Wednesday afternoon following the announcement of the Derby Championship winners and lunch.

Woodville's Saddle Tramp (McLean) had favorable finds at 17, 45, and 50. He finished the hour with a medium race. Miller's Heat Advisory (Carlton) had finds witnessed at 3 and 15, all in order. He ran a medium race-gone too long with a request of the tracker early in the hour.
No birds lifted off course at 42 for Touch's Shadow Rider (McLean). The hour was finished with a medium race. Confident Nation was drawn for owner Scott Jordan to handle. Luke Eisenhart handled him in Scott's absence. He was credited with a medium race but was not pleasing the handler at 45 and asked for the tracker.

Touch's Gallatin Fire's (McLean) short-range race was not pleasing to the handler and harnessed at 42. Early in the hour, Erin's High Note's (Carlton) finds were to his credit at 9, 20, and 32. His race could have been stronger; however, he finished the hour.

Haney's Silver Dollar (Cagle) was turned loose in the first brace on Thursday morning. A commendable find was credited at 41. No birds were lifted at 58. The hour was finished with a medium race to his credit. Haney's All In is reported earlier in the report as runner-up.

Chief's Rising Star (Carlton) was in the fifth brace of the stake. Multiple finds were noted at 13, 22, 28, and 50. His race could have been stronger. Touch's Malcom Story is reported earlier in the report as champion.

Touch's Midnight Rider (McLean) was not pleasing the handler and harnessed at 32. Touch's Blue Knight (Watson), with no birds seen at 14, went on for a good all in order find at 18. The hour was finished to the front.

Touch's Breakaway Fred (McLean) was gone from the handler too long, resulting in a request for the tracker at 36. Haney's Storm Warning (Cagle) was not doing the job he should. Therefore, the retrieval device was requested at 42.

Woodville's Yukon Cornelius (McLean) finished the hour with no birds. James Pond Knightranger (Watson) had an all in order find at 47. The race could have been stronger, but the hour was finished.

Hunt's Fireball (McLean) ran as a bye and picked up at 22.

Country Own (McLean), a second bye for McLean, resulted in a request for the tracker at 25.
Hunt's Rollin' The Dice (McLean) ran as a bye. Had a find at 5. A breach of trouble at 11 resulted in a pick-up.

Judges: Johnny Atkinson and Mike Jackson
GEORGIA QUAIL CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] - 16 Pointers and 3 Setters

Winner-TOUCH'S MALCOLM STORY, 1675103, pointer male, by Touch's Knight Rider-Blackhawk's Sunflower. Alex Rickert, owner; Mark McLean, handler.
Runner-Up-HANEY'S ALL IN, 1698756, pointer male, by Ransom-Haney's North Star. Steve Croy, owner; Mark McLean, handler.

Some Sidelights
Purina Nestl Pet Care continues to support our trials year after year. They sponsor two handlers' dinners, provide feed certificates to winners, and sample 2-pound bags to handlers along with gifts for the judges. Purina is fortunate to have Greg Blair, field consultant, on their staff.

The Burke County Chamber of Commerce funds advertising in the UKC Field. These monies are generated through hotel/motel tax revenue. Ashley Roberts is president of the Chamber. She makes certain gifts are given to the handlers and judges.
Lunches were provided by Wimberly House Ministries, KJ's IGA Supermarket, Craig Elliott, Gary and Becky Futch, and GFTA.

The fish fry is always a big hit. Funding is provided by owners of the 2023 Derby Championship (Allen Linder) and the All-Age Championship (Scott Jordan). Members of the Waynesboro Exchange Club take care of the cooking.

All clubs need one like Chuck Miller. Chuck is employed by Green Ag, managed by the Vice President of GFTA, Art Lively. Art allows Chuck all the time he needs to take care of daily duties. He picks up the birds daily at Pat Johnson's bird farm and releases them every morning at 6:30. Chuck takes care of the stable and clubhouse clean up.

The judges reported that many coveys of wild birds were seen. President Gary Futch rides every day to marshal. He brings his "mule" to maneuver around the grounds.
John Ray Kimbrell is the stake manager and takes care of the dog wagon. His grandson, Austin Sherman, a junior in college, serves as a daily marshal and reporter.
Mickey Stewart, owner of Bird Dog Motors, provides a pickup for John Ray to pull the dog wagon.
Ryan Meckel, wildlife technician at Di-Lane, does a great job preparing the courses prior to the trials. Ryan is a very enthusiastic individual and wants to make certain that the needs of the GFTA are met.
Di-Lane Plantation is owned by the U.S. Corp of Engineers and leased to the Georgia government for the use of the field trials. In turn, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources is responsible for management.
I have served as secretary of GFTA since 1981 and trial chairman since 1999. I am 88 years of age, and it is time for someone else to assume my duties. My grandson, Craig Elliott, has assumed this role. Of course, as long as my health allows, I will be around to help in any way I can. It has been a very rewarding experience for me.

2024 GA Quail Champioship

Georgia Quail Championship (l-r); Champion Touch's Malcolm Story with Haily Moreland and Runner-up Haney's All In with Jerry Raynor, joined by Mike Jackson (judge), Mary Kimbrell, Johnny Atkinson (judge), Wood Watson, John Ray Kimbrell, Nell Mobley, Mark McLean (handler), Steve Croy (owner of runner-up), Gary Futch, and Becky Futch.