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Result: Hobart Ames Memorial Field Trial Club

Location: Grand Junction, Tennessee

Post Date: Jan 27, 2021

Submitted By: Jim Atchison

GRAND JUNCTION, TENN. -- The 68th running of the Hobart Ames Memorial Classic was held on Ames Plantation January 12-16. The Classic drew 36 all-age dogs and 17 in the Derby.

The weather was ideal during the four and a half days of running on the National Championship courses of the historic property.

S F Stetson, four-year-old white and orange pointer male, owned by Larry Smith of Altoona, Ia., and handled by Larry Huffman, won the All-Age stake. Hendrix's Touch Up, pointer male owned by Guy and Burke Hendrix and handled by Steve Hurdle, won second and Touch's Blackout, also a pointer male now owned by John Harkins and handled by Randy Anderson, won third.

Touch's Walk the Line and Touch's Wild Finale won first and second, respectively, in the Derby competition. Both dogs, owned and scouted by Keith Wright, were handled by Ike Todd. Third place was awarded to Como Thunder, owned by Billy Blackwell, David and Rachel Russell and Doug Arthur. David Russell handled their dog.

Judges for the All-Age Stake were Jim Lawless from Sparta, Ill., and Mason Ashburn from Trenton, Tenn. Indianan Mike Jackson was scheduled to serve with Lawless, but became ill while traveling to Ames and was forced to return home. Ashburn's willingness to step in at the last minute was greatly appreciated and Jackson reported later in the week that he was improving at home and that, fortunately, the diagnosis of his illness was not the COVID-19 virus.

Ames stalwart Ryan Braddock stepped in to serve with Jim Lawless as the second judge for the Derby competition.

Dr. Rick Carlisle, the longtime superintendent of Ames Plantation who serves as the secretary-treasurer of the Ames Amateur Field Trial Association, oversaw that every aspect of the competition went smoothly. He was assisted by several of his dedicated associates on the Plantation, and others, who worked together ensuring that everything that needed to be done was done in a timely manner. Those associates included Ryan Braddock, Chris Weatherly, Aubrey Green, and several other men who are employed by the Plantation. Others were Joe Thompson, who ran the dog wagon, and deputies from the Fayette County Sheriff's office, who joined Aubrey Green, providing safety at the crossings of the public roads.

Ames Plantation is owned, in trust, by the Ames Foundation, which was established under the terms of the Last Will and Testament of Mrs. Julia Colony Ames. Mr. Oliver A. Spaulding, Ms. Augusta K. Haydock. Mr. Robert H. Frey, and Ms. Dian P. Quinn, representing Bank of America, N.A., are the trustees of the Foundation who permit the property to be used for this and the other trials held at Ames each year. They are the individuals to whom Dr. Carlisle expressed thanks at the gatherings when he thanked the trustees of Ames Plantation.

At the same occasions Dr. Carlisle thanked sponsors whose contributions were very much appreciated. Those sponsors include Nestle Purina Petcare (Purina), the Lander's Auto Group, and the First Baptist Church of Somerville.

Purina was again thanked for continuing to be the official dog food sponsor of this Classic. Dr. Carlisle recognized Purina for their great contributions to our sport across the nation and especially at Grand Junction. He elaborated that Purina furnishes many bags of ProPlan which are awarded to the winners, with the number of bags awarded being dependent on the placements. Purina also provided caps for all the participants, small bottles of hand sanitizer attached to lanyards for individuals, large bottles of sanitizer for use in the Rhea Building.

Also, very importantly, Purina supported the sponsoring club financially by paying for the ad on the American Field web site. Purina's presence, as the official sponsor, was further reflected by the vests worn by the judges, which boldly displayed the Purina logo. Dr. Carlisle concluded by thanking the company for all of the above, and also, for the many other things they do each year to make this trial better.

Dr. Carlisle announced that he was happy to welcome the Landers Auto Group as new sponsors of this 68th running of the Hobart Ames Memorial Classic and encouraged those present to consider Landers for their vehicle needs in the future. He elaborated that Mr. Kent Ritchey is the president and founder of the organization which holds franchises for GMC, RAM, Ford, Audi, Buick, Chrysler, Dodge, Jaguar, Jeep, Land Rover, Nissan, Volkswagen, and Cadillacs, with Tennessee locations in Collierville and Memphis and Mississippi locations in Southaven and Jackson. As field trialers, both professional and amateur, are users of heavy-duty pickups, Landers had three new trucks, a Chevrolet, Ford, and RAM, on display with signs containing contact information for the sales managers at each of their locations.

When Dr. Carlisle concluded his remarks welcoming Landers' sponsorship, Steve Hurdle said, "Oh, I thought those were the first, second, and third prizes for the All-Age winners."

The First Baptist Church of Somerville has provided sausage and biscuits for everyone in the galleries at the end of the first hour each morning for the last several years. Aubrey Green has worked for Ames Plantation for forty years and been a First Baptist member for over sixty years. He takes care of having the treats and coffee for everyone each morning and told us that he is planning to retire soon. His longtime service and friendship are appreciated and he will by missed.

The safety protocol for the COVID-19 pandemic caused several changes. The Ames Manor, Bryan Hall, and the National Bird Dog Museum were closed to the public. All the gatherings and lunches were held at the Rube Rhea, Sr. Reception Center and the drawing was scaled back due to the limited space in Dr. Carlisle's plantation office area.

Tom Stewart's restaurant, The Southern Eatery, located in Holly Springs, Miss., catered great soup, sandwich, and homemade dessert lunches each day. Dr. Rick and Mrs. Kay Carlisle hosted dinners for the judges and reporter two nights and Mr. Chris Weatherly and Dr. Amy Plummer Weatherly hosted dinner in their home one night. The Wayne Tate Memorial Dinner was not held this year.

The weather was near perfect and the six one-hour courses on Ames were exceptionally dry throughout the running. Morning temperatures were consistently in the 20s and low 30s accompanied by early morning frosts, but with lots of sunshine, and temperatures increasing into the 40s or low 50s, during the days.


Open Derby Winners

S F Stetson won this Classic with his sixth-brace performance, which put him on the afternoon third hour course of the first afternoon. He produced birds for Larry Huffman five times and backed his bracemate once during the hour.

His performance included backing his bracemate at 7 and independently locating birds at 17, 25, 33, 41 while backed by his bracemate, and 48.

Owner Larry Smith would have been all smiles had he seen his dog's forward race wherein he used the country wisely. The winner looked strong as he aggressively went from feed strip to feed strip, repeatedly finding birds. Huffman's style added to the enjoyment of the hour, as he rode confidently in front of the judges with very little commotion, allowing his dog to hunt.

Hendrix's Touch Up won second place with his performance during the first morning of competition using the third hour morning course. He found birds twice during the hour, stopping the first time only 2 minutes into the hour. Hurdle did not find birds immediately but asked his dog to relocate and soon flushed. Touch Up had his second find in pines soon after crossing Turner Road and traveling west along the edge. Touch Up proved himself as a dog to admire as he moved stylishly with excellent speed and demonstrated the same style while standing pointed and during each flush.

Touch's Blackout won third place while braced with the winner in the sixth brace. He found birds for handler Randy Anderson at 7 and was backed by his bracemate during that stand. He consistently hunted in a forward manner and backed the winner's find at 41 while in deep cover in the area of hills traversed late in the afternoon. Blackout looked nice running and pointing during a strong bid well to the front.


Whippoorwill Forever Wild, owned by Phil Witter and handled by Matt Cochran, was braced with Dakota Nation, owned by Ted Roach and handled by Steve Hurdle, in the first brace of the stake. The morning was still and sunny, with lots of frost and was the coldest of the week with the temperature in the low 20s. Dakota Nation's feet were taped to protect them from the frozen ground, but he soon found his stride and produced the only birds found during the hour. His find was at 26 in a feed strip just before crossing Turner Road and entering the Turner house field. Both dogs finished on the north side of the Rube Scott Road in the Mary Scott Loop. Hurdle's dog made a nice finish around the edge of a wheat field and then going behind a lake. Matt Cochran did not find Forever Wild for a while and asked for his retrieval unit at 1:07.

David Williams had his Rebel Survivor in the second brace, while Allen Vincent handled S F Maple Leaf, owned by Dr. Robert Rankin. Maple Leaf located a huge covey at 26 in the last field before crossing the National Championship Road at Kyle's barn. Rebel Survivor had an unproductive stand at 55 and while relocating followed the gallery that was accompanying the other dog. Both dogs finished the hour well to the front.

Miller's White Reign, owned and handled by Virgil Moore from Canyon, Tex., competed in the third hour braced with the second-place winner, Hendrix Touch Up. White Regn ran a predominately forward race, but finished the hour with no birds.

Texas Wild Rex, owned by Brad Kennedy and handled by Allen Vincent, was paired with S F Full Colors, owned by Jack Montgomery and Tracie Hamons, while handled by Steve Hurdle. Neither dog finished the hour, as Hurdle elected to pick up at 41 and Vincent at 45.

The fifth brace had Whippoorwill Vette, owned by Earl Connolly and handled by Larry Huffman, braced with Misty Morn Masked Man, owned and handled by Joey McAlexander. Both dogs finished the hour but produced no birds.

The temperature was 25 , with lots of frost and sunshine, on the second morning when Randy Anderson released Lester's Jazzman, owned by Dan Hensley, and Steve Hurdle released Erin's Ty Breaker, owned by Ted Roach. Jazzman failed to make a difficult 90 turn early in the hour and continued north, while the course went to the west. He never crossed Buford Ellington Road and Anderson asked for his retrieval device at about 15. In the meantime, Ty Breaker was on course and had a nice covey at 15 at the south end of the Morgan field, which put him almost due west of the morning breakaway. He then finished the hour, but had no additional game.

Touch's Indiana Joan, owned and handled by Keith Wright, was braced with Lowrider Frank (Allen Vincent) in the eighth brace. Frank is owned by Dr. Jim Mills and Steve Lightle. Neither dog found any birds, but the pair both ran beautiful races. Neither dog was ever behind during the hour and they were exciting to watch.

Brace No. 9 ended early. Justifier, owned by Dr. Robert Rankin and handled by Allen Vincent, pointed at 9 but moved while Vincent was flushing and was picked up. Miller's Special Call, owned by Don Stroble and handled by Randy Anderson, pointed at 20, but the stand was unproductive and Anderson picked him up after the flushing attempt.

Coldwater Odyssey, owned by Andrew and Debra Agnew and handled by Weldon Bennett, and Bonner's Bullet Proof, owned by Dr. Chris Cornman and handled by Randy Anderson, were released after lunch. Both dogs finished the hour, with Odyssey in a strong forward position, but neither dog found any birds during their 60-minute effort.

In brace No. 11, Larry Huffman had Nosam's Sweet Water, owned by Jeff Busby, and Randy Anderson had Touch's Fireaway, owned by Dr. Greg Adams. Fireaway pointed at 31 but no birds were flushed. A lengthy relocation effort followed and continued into a nearby sand ditch, but still no birds were found. Afterward Anderson elected to pick him up. Sweet Water backed Fireaway's unproductive and then continued until near the end of the hour, when Huffman picked up at 56.

The last two in the second day of competition were Wild Creedence, handled by Matt Cochran for Kevin Guest and Dray Williams, and Whippoorwill Wild Assault, owned by Jim and Stephanie Bickers and handled by Larry Huffman. Wild Creedence was lost early and Cochran got his retrieval unit. Wild Assault was gone some, but returned. However, Huffman picked him up at 28.

The temperature was 40 and the sky was sunny when Randy Anderson loosed Dixon's Rolling Stone, owned by Kevin Dixon, and Dr. Fred Corder loosed his Game Wardon. Game Wardon had an early unproductive and ran well, but had a second unproductive when found pointing after time was called. Rolling Stone also had an unproductive, which occurred as he approached National Championship Road and he was picked up at that time.

Neely's Standing Ovation and Ransom's Jack Flash went next. Randy Anderson had the former for N. G. "Butch" Houston while Billy Blackwell handled the latter, which he co-owns with his daughter, Rachel Russell. Standing Ovation had an unproductive at 33 and was picked up at 43. Jack Flash became lost and Blackwell got his retrieval device at 39.

Miller's Justifiable, owned by Jay McKenzie and handled by Randy Anderson, and Miss Stylin Sue, owned by Dr. Jim Mills and Steve Lightle and handled by Allen Vincent, were loosed for brace No. 15. Both dogs were fast and aggressive, but had no birds. Justifiable finished the hour and Sue was picked up at 44.

Coldwater Thunder, handled by Billy Blackwell for Rachel Russell and Doug Arthur, went next braced with Tekoa Mountain Oyhee Jack, handled by Randy Anderson for owner Alex Mauck. Thunder had birds at about 5 directly south of the location of the former hog unit. Jack came in and Anderson got him whoaed to back. Thunder then finished the hour with no more birds and Blackwell had his dog back at 1:07 for the judges to see. Anderson asked for his retrieval device at 38 in order to locate Jack.

The 17th brace had Touch's Grey Street, owned and handled by Keith Wright, paired with Big'n Wild, owned by Phil Witter and handled by Matt Cochran. Big'n Wild had birds at 19 where the course made a 90 right turn near the location of the Plantation's former dairy unit. Both dogs finished the hour, with Grey Street proving to be fancy and forward running, but finding no birds.

Coldwater Spectre and Jacked Up Jasper went last, in the 18th brace. Weldon Bennett handled Spectre with his owner, Gary McKibben, scouting. Setter Jacked Up Jasper was handled by Virgil Moore, had an unproductive at 40 and another at the time of pickup. Spectre looked good and moved well, was pointed after pickup, but moved during the flight of birds. Thus, the 2021 renewal, the 68th, Hobart Ames Memorial All-Age competition came to an end.

Grand Junction, Tenn., January 12

Judges: Mason Ashburn and Jim Lawless

OPEN ALL-AGE [One-Hour Heats] -- 34 Pointers and 2 Setters

1st--S F STETSON, 1674396, pointer male, by S F Bandwagon--S F Rushhour. Larry Smith, owner; Larry Huffman, handler.

2d--HENDRIX'S TOUCH UP, 1681400, pointer male, by Pleasant Run Bob--House's Wild Bess Again. Guy & Burke Hendrix, owner; Steve Hurdle, handler.

3d--TOUCH'S BLACKOUT, 1652345, pointer male, by Touch's White Out--B C Angelina. John Harkins, owner; Randy Anderson, handler.


Open Derby Winners

The three Derby winners had a total of four finds. As mentioned earlier, the first and second place dogs are owned by Keith Wright and handled by Ike Todd.

Touch's Walk the Line ran a strong forward race, wherein he started strong and never let up. He scored one find. Touch's Wild Finale won second and carded two finds, which were clocked at 40 and 60. He started more slowly than his kennel mate, but then proved there was justification for his name, both with his movement and ability to find birds. Ike Todd's manner of handling dogs and the rapport that is obvious between him and the dogs he trains is most admirable. His derbies appear to bond with him and show potential as he prepares them for successful all-age careers.

Como Thunder, won third under the whistle of David Russell who co-owns the dog with his wife, Rachel, Billy Blackwell, and Doug Arthur. Thunder produced an excellent performance and nicely located birds at 49 to earn the third-place win. Thunder is youthful based upon his age.

David and Rachel Russell are youthful and now the parents of a beautiful little daughter. David readily admits that he never heard of a bird dog field trial before he started dating Rachel. But, wow! He has hit the ground running and is loving the sport, with enthusiasm that is much needed and very welcome.

Judges: Ryan Braddock and Jim Lawless

OPEN DERBY CLASSIC [One-Hour Heats] -- 17 Pointers

1st--TOUCH'S WALK THE LINE, 1692248, male, by House's Ring of Fire--Touch's Lemon Drop. Keith A. Wright, owner and handler.

2d--TOUCH'S WILD FINALE, 1692346, male, by Whippoorwill Wild Agin--Touch's June Carter. Keith A. Wright, owner; Ike Todd, handler.

3d--COMO THUNDER, 1687714, male, by Skyfall--Catch Me Dot. B. K. & Rachel Blackwell, Doug Arthur & David Russell, owners; David Russell, handler.


In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted our lives so drastically and which affected the social and dining parts normally associated with this trial, the HAMFTC again sponsored an outstanding 68th renewal of this Classic.

The combination of the great venue, hosts, generous sponsors, weather, judges, quality dogs, committed owners, expert handlers, and numerous other elements came together perfectly on Ames Plantation January 12-16, 2021. Even with worldwide health concerns continuing; the promise of the impending availability of vaccinations, and the positive attitudes of field trialers resulted in our leaving Ames Plantation looking forward to returning for the 69th renewal of this Hobart Ames Memorial Classic in 2022.