Result: National Open Pheasant Championship
Location: Berea, Kentucky
Post Date: Oct 30, 2021
Submitted By: William S. Smith
The 2021 renewal of the National Open Pheasant Championship was held October 17 at the Miller-Welch Central Kentucky Wildlife Area near Berea, Ky.
This stake dates back to 1926 when it was initially held in Buffalo, N. Y. After some 25 renewals, it moved to Baldwinsville, N. Y., in 1950. In the early 1970s, there was a short tenure at the Blue Marsh Area near Bernville, Pa. The last running was in 1974. After more than thirty years, the stake was rejuvenated and brought to the Killdeer Plains Area near Harpster, Ohio, in 2006. After the loss of that popular venue, to the Tri Valley Area near Dresden, Ohio.
The stake has had another change of venue, for 2021 at the Miller Welch Central Kentucky Area.
Judges Bill Brown of Berea, Ky., and Mike Branscum of Nancy, Ky., occupied the judicial saddles for this event. Sixteen dogs were entered in the competition, fifteen pointers, and one Red setter, that began on Sunday, October 17, 2021.
Dr. Fred Corder breeds, raises, and trains his dogs. His program is working as evidenced by sweeping the placements in the National Open Championship. Game Rebel, a first-year all-age contender, is half way to the National Championship by besting the field to be crowned National Open Champion.
The white and liver youngster made his bid in the first brace and it held up to the challengers that followed. Game Wardon repeated his runner-up feat by being named to the same position that he had earned in the preceding International Championship. Dr. Corder owns and handled both dogs. Their races are described below.
Willow' Silver River (Stevenson) was looking for new territory, but she was not concerned that her handler was not with her. Stevenson asked for the retrieval device at 22. Game Rebel (Corder) was found on point by the opposing handler, Stevenson, at 18. Stevenson called point for Corder and Corder put up a pheasant at 20. Quickly afterwards at 22 Rebel scored a huge covey find on quail. It was estimated that thirty quail erupted just ahead of Rebel's nose, but he did not flinch--pretty good for a first-year dog. Rebel hunted the remainder of the hour making some nice swings, but without any other bird work. His race was always to the front and he was not just running--he was hunting in all the right places.
Brace No. 2. Stash the Cash (Lester) and Storm's End (Pendergest) began quickly with Cash scoring a pheasant find at 4. Luck was not with either dog today as both went birdless the rest of the hour until point was called for Cash at 59. Cash marked flight when the covey took to the air, but no exception was taken by the judges.
The 2021 National Champion, Miller's Speed Dial, handled by Gary Lester, was braced with Game Wardon, handled by Fred Corder. Dial's scout found him on point at 8 on a limb find. Lester flew a quail covey and Dial was on the board. Dial's only other bird work was at 31 on another quail find. Wardon was credited with a pheasant find at 45 and a find on quail at 53. They both made some nice moves to end the hour. Wardon's application had been superior in that he was working with ease as he hunted at a distance throughout the hour. His class was exhibited on his two finds as he stood rigid for wing and shot.
Lester's Shockwave (Lester) and Pendy's Good Grace (Pendergest) began the first brace after lunch, Grace quickly scored a quail covey find at 4, This was her only bird work of the stake, although she completed the hour. Shockwave notched a quail find at 18 and hunted the likely places until Lester called point at 40. Lester could not put any feathers in the air and an unproductive was credited here. Both dogs finished the hour without any other bird work.
No. 5 had Casey Creek Crystal Ice (Buster Tucker) and Broken Halo (Stevenson). They hunted the likely spots until 12 when Halo was spied by Stevenson on point. The stand proved to be barren. Crystal scored a nice pheasant find at 24 before entering the Bearwallow Woods. Halo was next on the board at 36 with a quail find. Halo scored his second unproductive at 59 ending his chances and Crystal backed. Crystal finished the hour with no other bird work.
Lester's Boss Man (Lester) and Little More Shine (Hammons). Bossman was not responding to Lester and he took the retrieval device at 36. Shine was credited with a barren stand at 31 in the woods where her scout found her standing. She had a find on quail at 42 where she marked flight. She was standing again at 45 and when the birds flushed wild, she took too many steps ending the hour.
Lester's Storm Surge, fresh off his win of the International, took the field with Lester handling hoping for a second championship win. He was animated with a busy tail as he toured the grounds. Lester and his scout were working hard to stay in touch with the hard-running Surge. Surge was standing on the edge of a food patch at 17 and Lester called point. A pheasant took to wing when Lester stepped in front of the motionless dog. No exceptions were taken to manners when Lester fired. Surge worked hard the for the remaining hour, but he was not credited with any other bird work. Game Heir (Corder) was fast off the breakaway. He covered a lot of territory quickly. He scored a find on a pheasant at 27. He watched intently as his quarry flew away. He kept Corder and the scout busy as he was far ahead and hard to see in the thick cover. He was last seen under judgement at 45. He was probably in contention when he disappeared. Corder took the retrieval device when the hour ended.
No. 8: Cole Train (Corder) was scratched because of torn pads. Lester's Another Shockwave (Lester) went to the likely places, but Lady Luck abandoned him today. He finished the hour without the benefit of any game contacts.
Berea, Ky., October 17
Judges: Bill Brown and Mike Branscum
NATIONAL OPEN PHEASANT CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] --
15 Pointers and 1 Irish Setter
Winner--GAME REBEL, 1691929, pointer male, by Dominator's Rebel Heir--Game Creek. Dr. Fred Corder, owner and handler.
Runner-Up--GAME WARDON, 1676189, pointer male, by Caladen's Rail Hawk--Game Creek. Dr. Fred Corder, owner and handler.
A LOOK AT THE PAST
Over the course of its long history, any number of prominent names of field trial winners, owners and handlers grace the roster of the National Pheasant Championship.
Village Boy, by Seaview Rex ex Village Girl (she won the stake in 1927) was the first back-to-back winner --1931 and 1932 -- handled by Glenn Davis. Tarlheelia's Lucky Strike won the stake twice, 1940 and again in 1943. He was owned by Mrs. Eleanor Livingston (Dixie Plantation), and handled in 1940 by Earl Crangle, and in 1943 by his father, George Crangle.
Earlier, Dewey English won back-to-back renewals in 1937 and 1938, the first with Lawless Boy, the second with Uncas Flying Devil. Four years later, 1942, he won with Titan.
Eleanor Livingston was back in the ringneck winners' circle in the 1948 with Shore's Brownie Doone, the dog handled by George Evans, who would handle four additional winners carrying the Livingston colors: Kilsyth Brownie's Son (1950), Kilsyth Rusty Doone (title withheld), 1951, Kilsyth Rusty Doone in 1952, and Kilsyth Georgia Rebel, 1954.
Earl Crangle was back in 1957 with Rumson Farm Hayride which also won in 1958.
Phil Brousseau made headlines in 1961 and 1962 with Little Frenchman (a moniker he enjoyed); Phil came back in 1963 with Rig A Jig.
Fred Arant was in New York in 1964 when he won the ringneck title with Rambing Rebel Dan and also in 1967 with Tooth Acres Hawk.
Sugarshack notched two wins of the Championship for handler Bob Lamb, the first in 1966 and the second in 1968. George Hodge handled two winners, Q's Delight in 1971, and Mission in 1973. George Bevan was another handler with two wins of the pheasant classic -- High Spirit in 1972 and Gwynedd Fury in 1974, the final yer the stake was held in Baldwinsville.
After the long hiatus, the trial came to the Killdeer Plains Area where Tom Honecker handled Cedaroak Bee Sting to the title in 2007 and 2008. Quester notched back-to-back wins for handler Ray Warren in 2011 and 2012. Lefty Henry handled White's Solid Reward to the crown at Tri Valley in 2013 and 2014, and Sean Derrig, the second amateur handler, won the title with Erin's Redrum in 2018 and 2019.
Luke Eisenhart was a winning handler on two occasions with the same dog --True Confidence in 2015 and 2917.
Several owners of Pheasant Championship winners are members of the Field Trial Hall of Fame, among them: James Fornear, 2008; Raymond Hoagland, 1960; Tom Honecker, 2010; John Ivester, Jr., 2018; Allen Linder, 2016; Mrs. G. M. (Eleanor) Livingston, 1966; Claudia L. Phelps, 1962.
Likewise, a number of handlers who won the stake have been honored by membership in the Hall of Fame: Fred Arant, Jr., 1986; Fred E. Bevan, 1987; George M. Crangle, 1965; George A. Evans, 1999; Edward Farrior, 1957; Howard Kirk, 1988; William F. (Bill) Rayl, 1984; Luther Smith, 1970; Paul Walker, 1969.
[The foregoing addendum was compiled by American Field editorial staff.]