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Event: American Brittany Club National Amateur Championship
Result: National Brittany Club National Amateur Championship

Location: Booneville, Arkansas

Post Date: Jan 2, 2021

Submitted By: Jan Kilpatrick

BOONEVILLE, ARK. -- What does a fish say when it hits a rock wall? DAM! The very first funny from Judge Will Smith after our introduction on the first day, first brace of the 2020 American Brittany Club National Amateur Championship.

American Brittany Club National Amateur Championship

There were more "Will" jokes interspersed throughout this Championship, delivered unexpectedly and always when I needed a good laugh. Weather for the four-day event was pretty consistent on a daily basis and included coldish mornings, mild afternoons and gusty variable winds. In spite of COVID-19, entries in both the Amateur and Open All-Age Championships were only slightly below the 2019 entries. Sometimes elbow bumps replaced hugs but welcoming smiles were visible on everyone's face or in everyone's eyes when the masks were on.

A smooth execution of this event would not be possible without the dedicated people who work tirelessly to ensure success. Kent Patterson serving his second year as Field Trial Chairman dealt with numerous judge changes, most being COVID-19 related, with composure and managed the multiple tasks associated with this position in an organized and efficient manner.

Members of the Field Trial Committee consisting of Joe Gower, Claude Kilpatrick, Bret Lindback, Jack Alexander, Steve Ralph, Bob Rankin, and Burton Wice, dedicated hours assisting Kent with the scheduling and coordination of all the national activities.

Richard Beaver served as Stakes Manager and Ed Tillson and Paul Doiron shared the Judges-Marshal duties. Bret Lindback served again as Course Marshal and he and his crew of volunteer marshals kept the gallery flowing in an orderly fashion.

Judi Tipton and crew worked hard to provide us with excellent food and beverages throughout the running.

A special thanks to Red Bailey and Brad Wells for grooming and maintaining the grounds all year, releasing and feeding the birds, and to Robert Smith who drove the dog wagon most days throughout the Amateur Championship. Joe Gower made sure fresh donuts were on the wagon each and every morning.

We greatly appreciate Purina for their long-standing support of these National Championships granting financial support and Purina Pro Plan which many consider the best sporting dog food around.

Many of us dream of winning the beautiful hand-crafted trooper saddles provided this year by Kevin Parrish, The Saddle Guy.

We thank Garmin for donating Garmin 550 Plus units to the winners. We all understand how important these devices are to the safety and well-being of our canine athletes.

It can't be overstated how important these sponsors are to our sport. The American Brittany Club looks forward to continued partnerships with all of them for many years to come.

Events held during the week of the National Amateur All-Age Championship included a horseback tour of the grounds guided by Kent Patterson on Sunday afternoon. Sunday evening's welcoming dinner was followed by the lively Amateur All-Age Championship Calcutta where the charismatic Joe Gower served as auctioneer and used humor and dog/handler/owner stories to keep the crowd entertained and drive the bidding. A big thanks to Joe.

Tuesday evening we gathered at the clubhouse to celebrate the 2019 National Amateur Champion Ru Jem's Last Penny. Jerry McGee was a delightful host with lots of Penny stories. The tables were decorated with seasonal-colored flowers, ceramic pheasants and of course, gold wrapped chocolate pennies. The generously hosted bar and a fried chicken dinner with all the fixings were enjoyed by all. We thank Jerry and crew for a most enjoyable evening.

On Wednesday, the silent auction began after dinner and continued until all the donated items were rehomed. Thursday was Thanksgiving Day and after running the final brace, placements announced and awards presented, a mouth-watering Thanksgiving feast was served followed by the annual membership meeting.

On Friday the ABC All-Age Derby Invitational was run and is reported separately.

Saturday, C V K's Spartan King ("Leo"), handled by Jack Alexander and owned by Jack Alexander and Dr. Bob Rankin, received the coveted Purina Amateur All-Age Dog of the Year Award. Winner of the Purina Open All-Age Dog of the Year Award was J W B Arctic Cat ("Kimber"), handled by Jack Alexander and owned by Jack and Crystal Alexander. Crystal made an insightful acceptance speech outlining life on the road while chasing those Championship points and thanking everyone for all their help and encouragement throughout this 2020 field trial season. What a special night for the owners of these two amazing dogs.

Judges for the National Amateur were Bonnie Hidalgo of Brighton, Colo., and William Smith of Moscow, Tenn. Both are well respected for their knowledge of bird dogs and field trialing. We thank them for their many hours in the saddle and the positive learned consideration they afforded each and every dog. Their attention and focus never wavered over the course of the trial and we thank them for their professionalism and commitment. Both expressed their desire to see dogs with a robust distant race as well as one that exhibited intensity, high style and good manners on their birds. Those dogs chosen who best represented their ideals are listed below:


The champion came from brace No. 17, Blew Me Away ("Bud"), handled by Joe Gower for owners Norm and Terry Ahl of Tucson, Ariz. Bud is a five-year-old white and orange male out of Spanish Corral's Sundance Kid and Blew By Yet.

After a short-lived loop-de-do during the first 5 minutes of his hour, Bud started showing the judges what they were looking for as he straightened out and surged to the front, making long fast casts down the edges and hunting all objectives near and far. Bud looked like a million bucks on his two covey finds, the first at 30 and another at 50 both of which he handled with intense style and perfect manners.

Bud finished as strong as he started, moving rapidly to the front rightfully earning the coveted title of 2020 National Amateur Champion.

Runner-up champion was Tequila Scorcher ("Lincoln"), handled by Richard Beaver, and owned by Charles "Bernie" Crain of Raymore, Mo. Lincoln is a ten-year-old orange and white male out of Almaden's River of Shadows and Tequila With A Twist. Lincoln is no stranger to the winners' podium at these Nationals, having been there in 2018 with a 4th place in the National Open Championship.

A true field trial veteran, Lincoln ran an intelligent forward race reaching for all objectives in his search for birds. His one bird find occurred at 45 where he was observed standing tall and tight along the tall grassy outside edge of Parish Field. Lincoln maintained stately manners through a prolonged flush and shot. As he moved forward Lincoln finished his hour moving at a practical range and speed still hunting hard.

Third was J W B Arctic Cat ("Kimber"), handled by Jack Alexander, owned by Jack and Crystal Alexander. Kimber is a four-year-old orange and white female out of Maxwell's Outer Limits and Chancey's Frozen Asset.

Kimber had a successful 2020 field trial season and was awarded the 2020 Purina All-Age Dog of the Year for all her solid consistent efforts.

Kimber's winning style was displayed with snappy far-reaching casts and intense style on her two covey finds, one at 25 and the other at 30. An unproductive was logged at 43 when birds could not be located in a heavily snarled tree line but Kimber exhibited perfect manners through the search and relocation. Kimber finished her hour moving forward fast with enthusiasm and energy to spare.

Also in contention was Spanish Corral's Sonny ("Patch"), owned and handled by Joe Gower of Auburn, Cal. Patch is a nine-year-old white and orange out of Spanish Corral's Sundance Kid and Midas Blazin Amber Skies. Patch was the 2015 NAFC Champion and has returned every year since, placing third in 2018.

Patch was hunting hard from the get go and scored his first find at 15 which he handled with style and manners. Patch locked up at 32 while traversing the river's edge where a large covey took flight as the handler made his way into the area with Patch standing tall and tight through the flush and shot. At 50 Patch pointed into some heavy, hard to penetrate undergrowth at the road edge. It didn't take long for handler to decide to move him on down the road. Patch finished to the front moving at a judicious rate and range.

Judges Award of Merit was bestowed on the bottom dog in brace No. 8, M K's My Lil Ammo ("BB"), owned and handled by Nick Blasi of Wichita, Kan. BB is out of Shiksoh Free Boy and Chief's Nubbins Ridge Runner.


First Day, Monday, November 23, experienced a two-hour fog delay. Temperature ranged from 40 to 58 , light variable winds.

C V K's Spartan King ("Leo"/Jack Alexander) and Spanish Dancer ("Sassy"/Robbie Myers). Both dogs were loaded with a full head of steam had handlers dispatching their scouts in both directions of Course 1. In the vicinity of the big oak a call of point was heard deep from the right side of the road. As we approached, Leo was standing staunchly into some tall grass off a narrow game trail. Handler flushed a small covey and Leo whirled around taking a few steps to follow their flight and was picked up for this indiscretion. There had been no sighting of Sassy since the breakaway. The judges called time-out for her at 10:15.

Maxwell's Heavy Hitter ("Gabe"/Kevin Rogers) and Spanish Corral's Sunny Patch (Joe Gower). Gabe and Patch were working hard from the get go in search of birds. Patch's run is described in the Recognized section above. In spite of Gabe's determined and strong hunting pattern throughout his hour, he never had any bird contact.

Crescent City Girl (Nola"/Barry Steinmetz ) and J W B Arctic Cat ("Kimber"/Jack Alexander) are two remarkable female athletics that are always gallery pleasers when they run. Kimber's run is described in the Recognized section above. Unfortunately, Nola, though patterning the cover like a pro never had bird contact during her hour.

Chief's Cross Plains Copper Breeze (Craig Rucker ) and Jagoub's Spell Caster ("Tabu"/Tom Jagielski) were the first brace of the afternoon but cut short when Copper was seen under a large covey on the left side of the road at 20. These birds flew in every direction and Tabu, which had been diligently hunting the right side of the road ran over a quail and failed to stop ending her run at 21. The dogs were gathered up and we crossed Lick Creek for the breakaway of brace No. 5.

A N J's Ohio Hellion ("Hank"/Mike Poehler( and Piney Run Hilltop ("Blew"/Kent Patterson) broke away after the Lick Creek crossing, Hank casting to the left and Blew the right. At 5 point was called for Blew deep down the right side treeline but handler was unable to produce any birds. At 15 Hank was on point in a heavily wooded treeline down the left side of the road. Handler disturbed the running birds enough for the judge to see them, then shot, with all in order. After rejoining the front forward, judge advised Blew had an orderly find at 23 in the vicinity of the double gates. Hank moved forward hunting hard but had no further bird contact. Blew had another point at 58 but no birds could be located and time was called.

Brace No. 6: Driving Miss Daisy II ("Daisee"/Burton Wice) and Marjo's Fille De La Bretagne ("Brie"/John Perry) shared a find at 5 with all in order. Brie pointed at 40 just after crossing the Horse Bridge in the center mott at the start of Course 3. A bird was flushed, shot fired with all in order. At 30 Daisee was found leashed and enjoying a mud bath so obviously her time on the ground was finished. Brie pointed at 55 in a wooded gully adjacent to the road and after much searching, running birds were observed by the judge and Brie given credit for another nice find just before time was called.

Posted: Spanish Corral's Sunny Patch and J W B Arctic Cat.

Tuesday, November 24, temperature ranged from 36 to 58, with light variable winds.

Brace No. 7: Wild Wild Willie (Steve Cosgriff ) and Sniksoh Little Diamond ("Kate"/Bruce Heiter). Kate went flying to the opened gate on the right and was not seen for an extended time. Willie got right to work pointing a big covey at 5 where he spun around on the flush but made no forward motion so was moved on. Just in the nick of time, she showed up, checked in and continued her run. At 37 Kate and Willie shared a find, both dogs exhibiting good manners. Willie pointed again at 55 but self-relocated on the extended search and was ordered up. Kate finished her hour showing signs of fatigue.

Rusty Ridge Where U Been (Joe Gower) and M K's My Lil Ammo, ("BB"/Nick Blasi) had their running shoes. Been's first cast put him well out of the gallery view but he rejoined up at the old bridge and proceeded to run the big loop in Olympic time. Instead of making a right turn onto the course road Been went straight ahead into the man-eating tangles where he encountered a huge covey which led to his demise. BB ran an animated forward race not letting a single objective go unsearched. BB exhibited all the traits these judges were looking for in an all-age performance but was not rewarded with any bird work. Because of her superior ground effort, she was awarded the "Judges Award of Merit."

Piney Run Jake (Kent Patterson) and Diamond Hill Ain't My Fault ("Scout"/Lisa Pollack). Jake ran a big race, perhaps too big and stealthy, as the retrieval device was called for at 50 after an extended absence. Scout was running a moderate race and had a nice find at 38 with all in order but at 50 he was observed under a covey thus ending his run.

TNT's Raise A Leprechaun ("Dex"/Tommy Thomas) and TJ's Black Diamond ("Coal"/John Perry) hunted hard over course No. 1 with Coal having a clean covey find at 30. Both dogs were pointing in separate areas of an overgrown feed strip just off the road. Dex took too many steps on the flush at 40 thus ending his hour. Birds could not be located for Coal so handler moved him out of the area. Coal continued hunting hard but slowed down towards the end of his hour.

Spanish Corral's Big Iron ("Colt"/Joe Gower) and B N T's Sonndance Kid Rock ("Rocky"/Trasa Fowler). Rocky was a bit growly on the breakaway but Colt paid him no mind just turned on the afterburners leaving him to resolve his own aggravation which he did by chasing birds at 10. Colt continued forward, running the lines and going to all objectives in a pleasing all age application but encountered no birds.

Brace No. 12: Brigadoon's Hi Proof Moonshine ("Hooch"/John Perry) and Ru Jems Last Penny (Steve Ralph). Penny was a bird-finding machine. Her first find came at 3 in the center motte just minutes from the breakaway. Hooch came through, running right past her and was picked up for failure to honor. Penny worked the birds with impeccable manners and was moved on. Penny's snappy fast casts took her to all the right places as she continued her bird-finding ways, posting clean finds at 20, 30, 32 and 35 all handled with impeccable style and manners. Penny was found standing again at 45 but as the handler approached, she took a few steps which pushed the birds up thus ending her hour.

No dogs posted Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 25, Temperature ranged from range 36 to 58, light variable winds

No.13: Turning Points Shenanigans ("Shandi"/Julie Nelson) and Just Call Me Lucky Ned Pepper, (Frank Campbell). Just after the Lick Creek crossing, Shandi was found on point at 18 under a big cedar. After an exhaustive search and relocation Shandi stepped on a bird out in the open which flew out of the area. Shandi received a stop to flush for her effort and was moved forward. Ned's one find came at 38 and after an thorough search and relocation the running birds were spotted, the shot fired with all in order. Both dogs finished the hour ahead hunting hard.

Carpe Diem (David Lincoln) and Lambachs Blew By You (Blue/Kevin Rogers). Carp took off fast, was briefly seen at 18 then disappeared for good. Blue took off with purpose and had his first covey find at 15 where he showed intensity and style through the flush and shot. At 18 Blue stood majestically, surrounded by a large covey in a heavily tangled meadow in Parrish Field. Handler flushed a large covey with Blue exhibiting perfect manners through the shot. Blue was released and headed for an unknown destination and was never returned to judgment.

Gun Creek Gangster ("Doc"/Donna Janulis) and Farm Girl ("Pearl"/Bruce Heiter). Pearl pointed briefly at 10 but pushed the birds up before handler flushed. She was done for the day. Doc handled pleasantly and had a nice covey find at 30. He then made a big move, was under a covey and picked up at 38.

In No. 16, there was a scratch. Hurricane ("Banjo"/Rodger Fiorito) found birds at 15 and 35 which he handled with intensity, style and good manners but his overall run fell short of what the judges were looking for in an all-age performance.

The winners, Blew Me Away and Tequila Scorcher, are described in The Recognized section above.

El Grande ("Truman"/Robbie Myers) and S R's Blew By Typhoon ("Ty"/Joe Gower). Ty made short work of his time by pushing birds up at 2 in the center motte just after breakaway. Truman was unable to get his mojo going so handler elected to pick him up at 40.

Day No. 4, Thanksgiving Day, November 26, conditions were similar to the previous day.

Brace No.19 M K's Magnificent Bandito ("Chico"/Dave Lincoln) and Brendi Brooks Cowboy Up ("Tuff"/Ray Trimble). Chico was away fast and forward. At 30 the retrieval device was handed over. Tuff ran his heart out for Ray. There is a distinct visible bond between this dog and his handler. Tuff had two nice covey finds; one at 10, another at 20, both handled with style and manners. Tuff had a remarkable finish that had me and most of the gallery mesmerized. It wasn't a powerful cast but the fluidity and length of it made it easy on the eyes. Tuff and Ray worked in sync as Tuff crossed over from the river's edge to the far treeline which runs parallel to the lane then crossed the road to the far treeline which he ran to the end just as time was called. At the request of the judges, I rode to tell Ray time was up and congratulated him and Tuff for a finish well done. I then lifted Tuff up onto his scout's saddle for a much-deserved ride to the dog wagon.

Alleycat's Drought (Stan Williamson ) and SKFMiss Cheap Bourbon Whiskey ("KD"/Steven Foster) shared a divided find on a big covey at 20 with all in order. Drought pushed a covey at 55 to end his hour. KD finished her hour but her application had become erratic.

High Hopes Jac's Original Spice (Ron Gulembo) and Arrow's Tequila Rustler ("Rusty"/Richard Beaver). Spice had an inconsistent run with a back at 50. Rusty started out slowly but began making some excellent moves over the woody, winding course No. 3 terrain. Rusty logged an unproductive at 50 but had no bird contact during his hour.

Posted: Blew Me Away and Tequila Scorcher.

No. 22: Hehi's Slim Shipley (Matt Healey) and I'm Your Man ("Gus"/Kent Patterson). Slim was unable to put it all together so handler picked him up at 40. Gus was pleasing to watch as he moved with purpose and fluidity across course No. 1. Gus carded three clean finds at 30, 37 and 58 which he handled with style and manners. A pleasing performance by Gus.

The last brace being completed we headed back to camp to hear the results and reward the winners!

Booneville, Ark., November 23

Judges: Bonnie Hidalgo and William Smith


CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] -- 43 Brittanys

Winner--BLEW ME AWAY, 1661514, male, by Spanish Corral's Sundance Kid--Blew By Yet. Norman & Terry Ahl, owners; Joe Gower, handler.

Runner-Up--TEQUILA SCORCHER, 1642501, male, by Almaden's River of Shadows--Tequila With A Twist. Charles B. Crain, owner; Richard Beaver, handler.

American Brittany Club National Amateur Championship 2