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Event: Winner Southern Shadows T-Bird; Runner-Up Game Nation
Result: United States Amateur All-Age Derby Invitational

Location: Dancyville, Tennessee

Post Date: May 9, 2024

Submitted By: Jim Atchison

United States Amateur AA InvitationalS24

United States Amateur All-Age Derby Invitational (front, l-r): Lance Servais with Southern Shadows T-Bird and Rita Corder with Game Nation, joined by handlers Brian Peterson and Dr. Fred Corder, Judges Mark McLean and Cody McLean, and members and guests of the United States Amateur Derby Invitational and West Tennessee Field Trial Clubs.

The United States Amateur Derby Invitational Club and the West Tennessee Field Trial Club hosted the fifth renewal of the United States Amateur All-Age Derby Invitational on the West Tennessee Club's grounds near Dancyville, Tennessee, April 5-7. Southern Shadows T-Bird, owned by Lance Servais and handled by Brian Peterson, was the winner, and Game Nation, owned and handled by Dr. Fred Corder, was the runner-up. Lance Servais and Brian Peterson are from Cecil, Alabama, and Dr. Corder is from Corinth, Mississippi.

Judges were the Georgia father/son duo, Mark McLean and Cody McLean. The credentials of both judges loudly proclaim their judicial qualifications as Mark is the handler of the current reigning Nation Champion, Touch's Gallatin Fire and Cody is Assistant Manager of Ted Turner's 9,000-acre Nonami Plantation, proclaimed to be the finest of the numerous quail inhabited plantations in Georgia. While the judges were serious and responsible while in their saddles, they were "sooo" funny and entertaining while gathered around the fire that never goes completely out while field trials are happening at the West Tennessee clubhouse.

Purina was the primary sponsor of this Invitational, and the company was represented by their consultant, Gailen Cooper, in his second return from Colorado in just over 30 days, as he judged the Open All-Age and Derby stakes hosted by the West Tennessee Club in late February. The generosity of Purina, many other generous donors, landowners, and the West Tennessee Club members will be reported later in this report. The list is so long and impressive that this Invitational may be the most awarded and most classy amateur field trial contest in the nation.

The concept of the trial and its' execution are attributable initially to Quintin and Tasha Wiseman, who are joined by a committee consisting of Todd Babbel, Rich Heaton, Whitley Stephenson, and Jay Lewis. The Wisemans and Jay Lewis were at Dancyville from Thursday through Sunday, making sure that everything went perfectly and that everyone was well cared for.

The Winner and Runner-up
Southern Shadows T-Bird won this Invitational based on the consistency of his three strong 45-minute performances. He was drawn to compete in the fifth brace on Friday, the first brace on Saturday morning, and the first callback brace on Sunday morning. His strong forward races, excellent range, and overall all-age capabilities were apparent each time he ran, and again, the consistency of those appearances was not overlooked by the judges. T-Bird had one find on Friday afternoon, at 18, while in the area of pine trees and Johnny houses located on Dr. Spiotta's land. He hunted aggressively and handled the flush and shot well for Brian Peterson. The following morning, he had birds twice, at 23 and again at 43, as he coursed the land owned by the Currie brothers, Skip Taylor, and Mrs. Jan McCloud. He found no birds during the callback but maintained his strong all-age demeanor. As the winner, Southern Shadows T-Bird won the 2024 Gary Phillips Memorial Breeders Cup for Lance Servais and Brian Peterson, his breeders.

Game Nation won runner-up for Dr. Corder with excellent performances in the fourth brace on Friday, the first brace on Saturday, and the most impressive cast of the entire contest on Sunday. He pointed at 35 on Friday afternoon, and Dr. Corder easily located the birds and shot. On Saturday morning, Game Nation had a find at 21, backed his bracemate at 23, and had an unproductive stand at 38. The strength, range, style, and reflection of the all-age standards expected of these top derbies were strongly demonstrated in his first two 45-minute races, thus earning his being called back to compete in the first brace on Sunday. While neither dog found any birds during this callback brace, Game Nation's race in that third appearance was the best of his three and was highlighted by the most impressive cast of any contender seen during the three days. That cast came near the end of the period as he literally gobbled up the edges of a large part of the land owned by Ike and Marty Todd in the final eight minutes of the brace, starting around the east edge of an upper terraced field and continuing through a narrow opening before going almost out of sight hunting the edge of that perfect place for an amazing finish.

Others Called Back
Southern Shadows Kingpin and Haney's Last Call were the other two dogs considered to be among the top four after the first two days and were invited to run in the second callback brace. Southern Shadows Kingpin, like the winner, also owned by Lance Servais, was handled by Brian Peterson and listed third, and Haney's Last Call, owned and handled by Chris Cagle, was fourth.

Southern Shadows Kingpin backed his bracemate at 17 in the second brace on Friday morning and then had an excellent independent find west of a deer stand on Dr. Spiotta's land shortly before crossing to the north side of Fayette Corner Road. Then, in the sixth brace, he pointed, and Peterson, with considerable effort, flushed in dense briars and honeysuckle until a bird was located. Continuing back across the double bridges east of the clubhouse and around the back of the clubhouse, he executed a strong finish around the edge of a large field until the judges called time. Then, during the callback, Kingpin and Haney's Last Call stood again at the same location mentioned above while both handlers flushed until birds were seen at 26. The judges then reached their decision and terminated the brace a short while before the 45 minutes of time expired.

Haney's Last Call had one find during brace three on Friday morning. That find was at 24 in dense honeysuckle on the Todd land. He was then gone for some of the remaining part of the 45-minute brace. On Saturday morning he had an unproductive at 13 on the Taylor land. Then, after circling the back portion of the course, he pointed again at 32, but Cagle, not wanting to risk a second unproductive, took Last Call by the collar and did not attempt to flush. As mentioned in the preceding paragraph, Last Call and Kingpin shared a divided find in the callback, but time was called early, and the contest ended.

Other Contenders
The other eight contenders came into the contest with outstanding records and having earned huge numbers of points for their derby wins and placements. Their performances are reported here in the order for which they were drawn to run in the first brace of this Invitational.

Wild Covey Derecho, owned and handled by AFTCA President Tony King, and Miss Arkansas, owned and handled by Mike Lemons, from Conway, Arkansas, competed in the first brace. Neither dog found any birds; however, Miss Arkansas pointed a dead bird, and no shot was fired. Neither dog found any birds in their second-day braces, either, and King asked for his tracker before the end of the 45-minute brace.

Coldwater Crackerjack, owned and handled by Gary McKibben from Hernando, Mississippi, came to the Invitational with the second-highest number of qualifying points. He was braced with Kingpin in the second brace of the first day. He had a nice find at 6 on the McClanahan property and then a second find at 17. However, he moved a little after the shot on that find. Then, competing in the fourth brace on the second day, he found no birds but backed the point of Haney's Last Call when Cagle carried his dog forward without trying to flush.

Cocklebur Ranger Danger came to the Invitational with the highest number of qualifying points. He was handled by Bubba Spencer and competed in the third brace on the first morning. He pointed at 4 along Alex Rickert's north line, but Spencer, after finding no birds on his first flushing attempt, carried his dog on with no relocation effort. He then backed the find of his bracemate, at 24, and finished the hour. Running in the fifth brace on Saturday, Ranger Danger found no birds.

Erin's Doc Holliday, owned and handled by Jarrett Bell from Missouri, competed in the fourth brace on Friday and the second brace on Saturday. He found birds at 16 on the first morning, which Bell easily flushed. He then finished the hour with no game on Saturday.

Game Star, owned and handled by Dr. Fred Corder from Corinth, Mississippi, competed in the fifth brace on Friday and the third brace on Saturday. He finished each time but found no birds.

Southern Sweets Lane, owned and handled by Brian Peterson, competed in the last brace on Friday and the third brace on Saturday. He had a divided find with his bracemate at 4 and pointed again at 20, enabling Peterson to flush while he stood. He then backed his bracemate at 34 while Peterson stood in front of his dog before releasing him as the bracemate was asked to relocate. He had a covey at 13 in the Saturday morning brace. Nosam Silver Spark, owned and handled by Mason Ashburn from Trenton, Tennessee, was the second dog in the sixth brace and the bottom dog in the second brace on Saturday. As mentioned above, he participated in the divided find at 4 and then was unable to relocate after he initially pointed at 34. On the second morning he had an unproductive at 16 and finished the hour with no other game contact.

Dancyville, Tenn., April 5
Judges: Cody McLean and Mark McLean
UNITED STATES AMATEUR ALL-AGE DERBY INVITATIONAL [Forty-Five-Minute Heats on two Consecutive Days; Forty-Five-Minute Finals] - 12 Pointers

Winner-SOUTHERN SHADOWS T-BIRD, 1705877, pointer male, by Southern Shadows T Rex-Southern Ritz Lane. Lance Servais, owner; Brian Peterson, handler.
Runner-Up-GAME NATION, 1704928, pointer male, by Lester's Storm Surge-Game Belle. Dr. Fred Corder, owner and handler.

Hosts, Sponsors, Donors, Landowners, West Tennessee Field Trial Club Members
Correctly reporting everything that should be included in this section of the report will be a challenge. I will do my best to include all who should be mentioned and thanked. Please know that I will not intentionally exclude anyone who should be included, and I apologize in advance to anyone I might fail to mention.

As mentioned earlier, Quintin and Tasha came up with the idea for this Invitational, and they, together with their committee, take care of everything that happens year-round to prepare for this early spring event. Quintin and Tasha work all year so the three wonderful days can come to fruition each year. They seek sponsors and donors, gather qualifying records, host super qualifiers, order and organize prizes and gifts, arrange for judges, plan and prepare meals, arrange hospitality hours, and the list goes on and on. The Wisemans' efforts that go into this competition are amazing.

Purina's sponsorship, which was mentioned earlier, was huge. Their contributions included eight bags of Purina Pro Plan for the winner, four bags for the runner-up, and one bag for each other owner of the dogs competing. The Saturday evening dinner of prime rib and all the trimmings was The Purina Dinner and Awards Banquet, and that was the occasion where Quintin Wiseman, assisted by board member Jay Lewis, made several presentations and also told more about each prize and award while sharing the names of the contributors who had made them possible. Also, the callbacks for the following morning were announced. While Greg Blair was unable to attend, the presence of Purina Consultant Gailen Cooper was acknowledged and appreciated.

Wiseman shared that the Friday evening dinner of tender pork loin and the accompanying sides had been sponsored by board member Whitley Stephenson. He announced that the leading contender for receipt of the Jim Crouse Memorial Award to be given to the National High Point Dog was Cocklebur Ranger Danger, owned by Bubba and Amy Spencer, but the outcome of the Invitational could cause that to change. (However, that standing did hold, and Ranger Danger was recognized as the National High Point Dog when the Invitational ended on Sunday morning). The Leah Brigham painting provided by Brian and Brooke Sanchez and won by David Russell for last year's winner was prominently on display, as was the Jim Crouse Memorial silver tray.

Henry rifles, provided by Alex and Bryana Rickert, were presented to the owners of the Regional High Point Dogs. Those winners were Bubba Spencer for the Eastern and Chris Cagle for the Central regions. Wiseman announced that the awards and prizes to the winner would include a Haggis saddle given by Scott Griffin, the Purina Pro Plan previously mentioned, a Garmin TT25 Tracking Collar & System given by that company, a Leah Brigham painting of their dog commissioned by Brian and Brooke Sanchez, and two custom-made roading harnesses made and given by Kevin White. Wiseman also stated that the runner-up would receive a Haggis saddle given by Scott Griffin, four bags of Pro Plan, a painting of their dog on a turkey feather by Mike Kearney of Trophy Bone Artistry, and custom-made roading harnesses by Kevin White. The Gary Phillips Memorial Breeders Cup Award given by Nathan Phillips would be awarded to the breeder(s) of the winner, and saddles by B & B Tack had been given to the winners of the previously held Super Qualifiers for each region. Additionally, the winning scout would receive custom-made chaps by Patty's Custom Chaps, and all handlers, judges, and reporter would receive personalized vests given by Chris Cagle and Chris Cagle Jr.
Each handler received a swag bag containing several gifts, including caps, engraved drinking glasses,
drink cozies, and other small items. Also in each bag were Sam McKee's 360 wound care and thrush treatment products, highly touted by Wiseman as the best he ever used.

Enough cannot be said about all the work done by the West Tennessee Field Trial Club and the generosity and support of field trialing exhibited by the property owners who permit their land to be used by the club members, not just for this Invitational but for several other trials each year. Those owners, whose contiguously located properties enable the club to maintain three outstanding one-hour courses, are Bill and Allen Currie, Skip Taylor and Mrs. Jan McCloud, Ed and Alice McClanahan, Dr. and Mrs. Gene Spiotta, Gordie Jones, Mr. and Mrs. Larry Humber, Ike and Marty Todd, and Alex and Bryana Rickert. Club members who helped in various ways included Bill Currie, Allen Currie, Chris Mullin, Dale Pool, Gary Brown, Gene Spiotta, III, and Crutcher Stoots. Some started working on Thursday, putting out birds, and then members faithfully did everything the Wisemans, Jay Lewis, handlers, and guests needed them to do throughout the three days. They helped as needed with kitchen duties, marshaling galleries, managing the dog wagon, horse shuttling, feeding and watering horses, and everything else needed for a smooth operation. Additionally, with years of practice, they have mastered the arts of five-star hospitality and camaraderie. They truly make everyone feel welcome and well cared for.

So, while some celebrated into the late afternoon on Sunday, many parted for their homes, with the fifth renewal of the United States Amateur All-Age Derby Invitational wrapped up. They left hoping to qualify to be invited to return to Dancyville for the sixth, on about March 28, 2025.

United States Ama AA Derby Inv 12S24

Twelve Derbies (l-r): Bubba Spencer with Cocklebur Ranger Danger, Gary McKibben with Coldwater Cracker Jack, Dr. Fred Corder with Game Nation, Jay Lewis with Southern Shadows T-Bird, Chris Cagle with Haney's Last Call, Mike Lemons with Miss Arkansas, Jarret Bell with Erin's Doc Holiday, Tony King with Wild Covey Derecho, Brian Peterson with Southern Shadows King Pin, Mason Ashburn with Nosam's Silver Spark, Lance Servais with Southern Secret Lane, and Rita Corder with Game Star. (Behind): Bill Hunt and Judges Mark McLean and Cody McLean.