Result: Continental Open All-Age Championship
Location: Greenville, Florida
Post Date: Mar 1, 2019
Submitted By: Elton Bray
Championship Winners. In foreground, from left: Judd Carlton with Erin's Hidden Shamrock, standing behind is owner Sean Derrig, and Julie Miller; Mark Haynes with Showtime Sam Houston, owners Larron and Laura Copeland behind with trophy. Joined by trial officials, plantation staff and a host of well-wishers. [Photo by Chris Mathan.]
GREENVILLE, FLA. -- The 124th renewal of the Continental trials, held at Dixie Plantation in Greenville, Fla., was concluded February 1. Sixty-six pointers and five setters were drawn for the one-hour qualifying heats. Nearly 150 coveys of wild birds were seen during the eight-day duration. Dixie was in tiptop condition and was ready for the competition hunt.
The plantation was gifted to Tall Timbers Research and Land Conservancy by the Geraldine C. M. Livingston Foundation in December, 2013. Since Tall Timbers took over the 9100-acre estate it has been in a conservation easement with the Suwannee River Water Management District. Tall Timbers has done lots of research on quail habitat and has made several changes in the property's layout. All the exploration and hard work of the staff of Tall Timbers and Dixie have certainly paid off.
Judging the Championship for his second consecutive year was Jim Davis of Quitman, Ga., who has been involved in the sport and bird hunting his entire life. He is a retired plantation manager, and now co-owns and operates a training kennel for retrievers with his wife Tracy. Jim is also involved with the raising and training of Plot hounds.
He was joined this year by Mike Jackson of Battle Ground, Ind., who is retired from Henkles and McCoy Utility Company, and has bird hunted and been involved with field trials the majority of his life. He has competed his own string of dogs for several years, and has judged several major open and amateur stakes. Both gentlemen were a pleasure to ride with. Along with their past experiences and knowledge of the standards of all-age champion material, both are well qualified to have judged such a prestigious competition.
Its takes lots of hard work and dedication to host a field trial. Tall Timbers, Dixie Plantation, and the Continental Field Trial Club did an excellent job hosting this year's event. Plantation manager Randy Floyd was on hand each day to make sure the trial ran smoothly. He was head marshal each morning and made any announcements for the day before turning loose. Randy was assisted with the marshalling and trial duties by his staff: John McCormick, Hunter Lewis, and Ethan Whiddon. These young gentlemen were always on hand helping the trial officials with their horses as well as other various chores. Also helping out with the marshalling duties were club officials Mike Cheely and Larron Copeland. All of these gentlemen are to be commended for their efforts and hard work to make sure each day's running was trouble-free. John McCormick gathered the staff, judges and officials each morning in front of the tack room for prayer. It was a great way to start each day.
Starting off the trial on Friday morning were Lowrider Frank (Allen Vincent) and Touch's Gallatin Fire (Mark McLean). The temperature was 35 with clear skies. After the initial announcements and prayer by John McCormick, the dogs were released at 8:03. Nearly 50 riders were in attendance to watch the first brace of the one-hour qualifying heat. The trial kicked off with a good start with Fire having his first find at 7 just past the first break in the pines on the left side of the second field. Fire was standing tall and proud as McLean flushed the wild covey. At 22 scout Andy Daugherty called point for Frank just after crossing Livingston Road. Vincent was unsuccessful producing game on the first attempt, but after two relocations Frank had them pinned. At 25 McLean called point for Fire, and called flight of birds as judges were arriving. Unfortunately the birds were not in view. He was rewarded with his second find at 42 nearing Pike's Peak on the left side of the course, and was just as classy as his first. Frank pointed again at 46; as Vincent flushed he took a couple of steps and was harnessed. Fire completed the hour just north of the Cadillac Pond. He ran a nice, consistent, forward race.
Chinquapin Dynasty (Robin Gates) and top qualifier for the finals, True Confidence, handled by Luke Eisenhart. Confidence is owned by Frank and Jean LaNasa. Dynasty was unsuccessful at 11 just past the Chimney Block and was picked up. Confidence's first find came at 22 on the right side of the course just before entering the Gene Field. Scout Mark Haynes called point. Eisenhart flushed and all was in order. His second came at 27 on the west side of the Gene Field. He was staunch and had all spectators high in the saddle watching him now. Just before making the turn behind the Boy Scout Camp at 47, Eisenhart called point again. All was in order and he was credited with his third find. Confidence was strong and smooth throughout the 60 minutes and finished to the front on the northeast end on the Long Pond. Every time he was out of pocket, he always showed back up hunting the front. His bold ground performance and superior style around his game awarded him the honor of being named top qualifier.
Touch's Malcolm Story (McLean) scored his first find at 3 along the east side of the Long Pond. He was high and tight on both ends. Erin's Hidden Shamrock's (Sean Derrig) first game contact came at 9 just before making the turn toward the Brown Jug. Scout Eisenhart was riding on the left side of the course and found him on point. Story had a second find at 16 just after passing the Brown Jug. Shamrock's second piece of classy bird work was just after crossing the road between the Double Ponds at 42. Shamrock was quick and hunted with a cracking tail. Both dogs completed the hour.
Friday afternoon the temperature had risen to 55 and the sun was shining in full. House's Buckwheat Hawk (McLean) and Miller's Bushwacker (Jamie Daniels). Bruce and Karen Norton, owners of Hawk, were on horseback to watch the competition. No game was produced during this hour, and both dogs slipped out of pocket. McLean asked for the retrieval device at 36, and Daniels asked for his at 42.
Lester's Ritz (Derek Bonner) and Chief's Rising Sun (John Mathys) were released heading into the Esquire Pines. Before making the turn in front of the Big House at 27, Mathys asked for the retrieval device. Ritz was strong through the Esquire Pines. He went missing for a little over five minutes but showed back up in the front at the Chimney Block. At 38 Bonner called point off the west side of the big hay field across from the Quail Lodge, had trouble flushing, so tried relocating, but Ritz would not budge. Bonner gave him the benefit of the doubt and continued flushing. He got about 30 yards out and a nice covey finally flushed. Ritz was consistent the entire hour and finished just before entering the big Garrett Field.
Erin's Muddy River (Gates) and Erin's Wild Justice (Eisenhart). Wild Justice's owner, Allen Linder, accompanied by his granddaughter, Madison McDonald, rode to watch the afternoon braces. The dogs were turned loose in the big Garrett Field and at 5 Justice was on point on the right side at the far end of the field. Eisenhart flushed a nice covey. Muddy River had a good find at 9 just before making the turn behind the plantation office. Scout Mark McLean was riding the left side and saw him on point. River's second nice piece of bird work came at 22 right behind the plantation office. After his second find, he went missing. Gates requested the retrieval device at 42. Justice was not seen at pickup.
Starting off Saturday morning in the 7th brace were Miller's Dialing In (Eisenhart) and Touch's Wild Desire (Rick Furney). Dialing In's owners Sean and Deb Hauser were on horseback. Desire was found on point at 4, but the only game flushed was a cottontail. After a 16-minute absence Furney requested the retrieval unit at 41. Eisenhart asked for his at 47.
Ace's R Wild (McLean) and Outer Limit (Garland Priddy) were released at the Chimney Block. Wild was unsuccessful at 19. McLean tried to relocate twice, but couldn't produce game. Priddy called point at 22. As he started flushing, Limit thought he should help and was picked up. Wild was harnessed at 47 before getting to the road at the Long Pond.
Lester's Sunny Hill Jo (Gary Lester) was drawn in the 9th brace. His owner, David Thompson, was present for the running. Bracemate was Erin's Longmire (Gates). Approaching the Boyd Corner at 29 scout Mark Haynes called point for Jo. Lester made several attempts at flushing. After his second relocation he decided to catch the front. Longmire was found on point at 35 and was credited with a very nice find just before getting to the crossing at the hay field house. Jo was successful finding game at 38 nearing the hay field house. Scout Haynes was riding the left side and rode up on him pointing. His second nice game contact came at 44 along the road between the Double Ponds. Longmire was there honoring his bracemate. Both dogs competed at a strong all-age pace and were complementary of each other the entire hour.
A Saturday afternoon sunny temperature of 56 brought out 64 on horseback.
Game Wardon (Eisenhart) completed the hour but was birdless. Shadow's Lord Magic had an absence at 23. Gates asked for the retrieval device at 39.
Turned loose at the water tank on the north side of the Big House were Touch's Red Rider (Eisenhart) and Lester's Private Charter (McLean). Charter's owners, Bruce and Karen Norton, were riding. He was not seen at 4 and McLean asked for the retrieval device at 19. Red was unsuccessful at 27 on the east side of the Flat Pond. Scout Mark Haynes found the dog on point on the other side of the pond. It took a couple of minutes for the judge and handler to get over to him. Eisenhart relocated him twice, but made the decision to take him on. He was credited with a nice find at 44 at the end of the Garrett Field at the No. 1 crossing. He had been missing from the front, but Eisenhart rode up on him standing. Red completed the hour hunting the front on Kudzu Hill.
Lester's Pete Rose (Lester) and Shadow's Next Exit (Gates) broke away on the north side of Kudzu Hill. Pete's first game contact came at 8 nearing the end of field just before entering the pines. He looked good on his game and all was in order. His second piece of bird work came at 14 behind the Big Lake as Lester was heeling him to catch the front. Pete swapped ends and locked up. A very large covey was flushed. As the gallery was riding to Pete's second find, in the distance about 250 yards Exit was seen standing. Gates arrived from the front and produced a nice bevy of bobwhites. Lester called point again at 33 but after dismounting he felt the birds had already left and decided to carry on. Exit went missing at 23 and Gates asked for the retrieval device at 39. Pete competed boldly the entire hour. He had an absence at 44, but showed up at the Horseshoe Block under the power line just as pickup was called.
Sunday morning was a cool 40 with a partly cloudy sky. Turned loose at 8:01 were Greypointe Luminoso (Vincent) and Touch's Mega Mike (McLean). Owner Eddie Sholar was in attendance to support Mega Mike. After passing the second row of pines in the breakaway field at 11, scout Andy Daugherty called point for Luminoso. He was standing sure and staunch as Vincent arrived. After the flush he never moved a muscle. At 17 the dogs crossed Livingston Road and both took a left down the road. They were caught and returned to the front at 24. Luminoso's second find came at 25 on the left side of the course just past the road crossing. Mike did not have any bird work, but had a nice all-age race. Both completed the hour on the west side of the big hay field.
Chinquapin Bill (Ray Warren) and Awsum in Motion (Eisenhart). Bill and Margie Ricci, owners of Motion, were both on horseback. The dogs were released on the west end of the big hay field. Motion was credited with a nice find at 14 in the northeast corner of the Gene Field. Bill was not seen at 7 and Warren asked for the retrieval device at 25. Motion's second find was just after making the turn on the Florida/Georgia line at 26. He was staunch around his game and completed the heat nearing the Long Pond.
Salem's Annie Oakley (Daugherty) and Lester's Shutout (Gates). Unfortunately, Annie disappeared just after the breakaway and Daugherty called for the retrieval device at 20. Shutout suffered an unproductive 37 in the brown field. He was also unsuccessful at 48 just past the Double Ponds and was picked up.
The 16th brace began on Sunday afternoon at 1:42, with cloudy skies and temperature at 50 . Competing in this hour were Miss Stylin Sue (Vincent) and Funseek'n Hit Man (Daniels). Hit Man's owner, Tracy Haines, was in attendance on horseback. Sue's first find came at 12 just before the making the left swing in the Big Woods. Both judges saw the dog swap ends and point. She was given an unproductive at 27 after only a cottontail was flushed. Her second find was just on top of the hill on the left side of the Esquire Pines at 48. Scout Daugherty found her there as he rode the edges. Her final nice piece of bird work was at 53 nearing the end of the Gene Field. Her name suits her well; she is quite "stylish" around her game. Hit Man was birdless, but hunted the front the entire time. They completed the hour in the Long Field on the north side of the Big Lake.
Seminole Boss (Furney) and Stash the Cash (Lester). Boss' owner John Milton was present, as well as Cash's owners, David Thompson and Tommy Loid. They were released at the water tank on the north side of the Big House. At 16 scout Mark Haynes called point for Cash. Boss was there honoring. No game was produced. Boss was on point nearing the end of the big Garrett Field at 41. Furney called flight of birds, but they were not in view for the judges. He pointed once more at 51 behind the plantation office. The birds flushed as handler and judges arrived. Furney dismounted and shot. Lester called for the retrieval device at 53. Boss finished just entering Kudzu Hill.
Dogwood Bill (Daniels) and Shadow's Bewitched (Woody Watson). Ben Stringer was in attendance representing Dogwood Plantation. Bewitched was unsuccessful at 7 and 15. She was put on the wagon after her second. Bill was found on point to the front at 12, but no game was produced. He was credited with his first find at 22 just behind the Big Lake. He was quite staunch on point. His second classy find came at 28 at Ben's hog pond. He showed to the front well and competed at a nice strong pace the entire hour.
Starting off Monday morning with the 19th brace -- Touch's White Knight (McLean) and Erin's Redrum (Derrig). It was a cool 37 , but warmed quickly with the sunshine. Redrum suffered an unproductive at 17 just after crossing Livingston Road. Knight was also unsuccessful at 22. Eisenhart was scouting for Redrum, but rode up on Knight pointing at 38 headed up Pike's Peak. McLean tried flushing, but could not produce game. On his third relocation attempt, Knight had them pinned and was credited with a nice find. Both completed the hour nearing the Chimney Block.
Lester's Georgia Time (Gates) and Dunn's Tried'n True (Eisenhart). True's owners, Will and Rita Dunn, were present on horseback. He went missing at 41 and Eisenhart called for the retrieval device at 55. Time completed the heat just south of the Brown Jug.
Miller's Blindsider (Daniels) and Chinquapin Legacy (Slade Sikes). Blindsider's owner Nick Berrong was in the gallery. The dogs were released at the Brown Jug. Blindsider's first nice piece of bird work was at 18. Scout Judd Carlton called point between the Boyd Corner and the Brown Field. All was in order. Legacy suffered an unproductive at 21. Blindsider's second find came at 30 nearing the Double Ponds. Daniels rode up to him on point ahead. His third nice game contact was just past the Double Ponds at 36. He was high and tight. Just before making the turn heading to Joe's Oak Block at 50, Legacy carded a nice all-age find. He suffered his second unproductive at 58 and was harnessed. Just as pickup was called, Daniels held his cap up in the air once more. He felt the birds had already flown, so there was no attempt to flush. Blindsider was bold and forward for the duration of the heat.
S F Mapleleaf (Vincent) and Spencer's Rambling Lawman (Fred Rayl). At 16 the gallery was making the left swing in the Big Woods. Daniels was riding in the gallery and spotted Mapleleaf on point on the left side of the course. Vincent arrived and flushed a nice covey of bobwhites. She was unsuccessful at 26 at the end of the Big Woods. Vincent decided to put her on the wagon at 44. Lawman was not seen at 28 and Rayl asked for the retrieval device at 45.
Touch's Smooth Operator (Furney) and Dominator's Rebel Patch (Daniels). Patch's owner, Nick Berrong, was present. The dogs were turned loose at the road crossing entering the Esquire Pines. Operator pointed at 22 on the north side of Livingston Road. Furney took several attempts at flushing, but was unsuccessful. Daniels called for the retrieval device at 24. Operator was not seen at pickup nearing the Oil Drum Field.
Erin's Lonestar Law (Derrig) and Westfall's Black Thunder competed in the 24th brace. Thunder had a very nice find at 32 entering Kudzu Hill. Neither dog was in view at time at Ben's hog pond.
Just Watch (Daniels) and Miller's Speed Dial (Lester) started Tuesday morning off. It was partly cloudy and 42 . Speed Dial was hunting the far edge of the field before making the turn headed to the road crossing at 11. He started getting birdy and pointed. Lester called point and when the judge arrived he dismounted and flushed a very large bevy. After crossing Livingston Road at 20 both dogs were seen pointed on the left side of the course. The birds flew rewarding each a nice divided find. On top of Pike's Peak at 26 Just Watch pointed on the right side of the course. Daniels called flight of birds, but they were not seen so he carried his dog to the front. Daniels called point again at 57, but again the birds flew before the judge arrived. Speed Dial ran a smooth forward race. Just Watch was also strong on the ground. They both finished going up the hill near the Chimney Block.
T's Nickleback (Vincent) and Dominator's Rebel Squire (Daniels) were released at the water tank above the Chimney Block. Squire had a nice find at 9 on the north side of the Sportman's Pride Water tank. Scout Judd Carlton rode up to the dog and called point. As Squire was catching the front at 12, he swapped ends. Daniels was unsuccessful flushing game on the first attempt, so he relocated. On the relocation Squire assisted with the flush and was harnessed. Just before entering the Gene Field at 13 scout Andy Daugherty called point for Nickleback, and he was credited with a gratifying find. His second nice game contact came at 20 just entering the Gene Field. His final find was on the left side of the course along the Florida/Georgia line when Daugherty called point once more at 28. Unfortunately, he was unable to create game at 35 and 40 and was picked up.
Miller's Hennessy (Rayl) and Shadow's Full Throttle (Gates). Hennessy's owner, Bill Clem, was in attendance for the brace. A light sprinkle started to fall just at the dogs were turned loose. Throttle suffered an unproductive at 5 just behind the Boy Scout Camp. Hennessy had a very nice find to the front at 15 just before crossing behind the Long Pond. He was very classy around his game. The covey was large and appeared to have more than 30 birds. Both dogs were absent at the Brown Jug. Gates asked for the retrieval device at 40, and Rayl at 41.
Sandhill Trig (Rayl) and Touch's Secret Agent (Furney). Gary Futch was in attendance on horseback to support his Secret Agent. It was cold and raining for the majority of the afternoon. Agent was unsuccessful at 9 before making the left swing in the Big Woods. Trig was seen on point at 18 in the Big Woods and Agent were there backing. Both stood tall and proud as Rayl flushed the large covey. Nearing the end of the lake at 34 scout Michael Martino called point for both dogs. Agent had the birds and Trig was there honoring. Agent's second find came at 44 in front of the Boy Scout Camp, and Trig's second was at 53 just after entering the Esquire Pines. Agent performed a nice smooth ground race and Trig complimented him well. They both finished on top of the hill in the Esquire Pines.
Westfall's River Ice (Daugherty) and Game Throne (Gates) broke away in the Long Field on the north side of the Big Lake. Gates was searching for Throne at 17 and was riding toward the Chimney Block when he called point. A nice bevy was produced and all was in order. Ice was credited was a satisfying find at 28 on the edge of the hay field in front of the Quail Lodge. Throne's second classy piece of bird work was just behind the planation office at 55. As he was catching the front at 57, he wheeled around and pointed again. A single was flushed crediting him with a third find. Both completed the hour just before crossing the levy headed to Kudzu Hill.
Showtime Mocking Jay (Larron Copeland) and Greenfield's Queen (Furney). Queen's owner, John Milton, was present for the running. Jay's first game contact came at 15 at the Horse Shoe Block by the power lines. Scout Jamie Daniels found him on point. The birds flew just at Judge Jackson arrived. His second came at 22 behind the Big Lake. Jay pointed once more at 42 nearing Paul's hills, but was not successful at producing game. Queen went birdless and was harnessed at 58. Jay finished hunting the front on China Berry Hill.
Wednesday morning was partly cloudy and a chilly 31 . Starting the last day of the qualifier in brace No. 31 were Westfall's Castaway (Daugherty) and Erin's Rebel Rum (Judd Carlton). Mike Moses was in attendance on horseback to watch his Rebel Rum and his Wild Hawk that competed in the 32nd brace. Castaway was credited with a nice find at 10 just before making the swing headed to the road crossing. Scout Allen Vincent was riding the left side after crossing Livingston Road and called point for Castaway. Daugherty was able to produce a single. He was unsuccessful at 44 nearing the Cadillac Pond, and finished nearing the Gene Field. Rum had an absence at 7 and Carlton asked for the retrieval device at 24.
Showtime Sam Houston (Copeland) and Wild Hawk (Carlton) were turned loose at the hay field. Nearing the end of the hay field at 4, Hawk pointed. He was bold and stylish as he stood when the large bevy was put in the air. Houston's first find came at 18 on the left side entering the Gene Field. Scout Mark Haynes was searching the edge when he saw him on point. His second nice piece of bird work came at 32 nearing the road crossing before entering the Esquire Pines. It was a nice find to the front. His head was high and tail poker straight. Both dogs competed at an all-age pace. They were forward the entire hour and both had a nice rapport with their handlers. They finished at the corner of the Long Pond.
Westfall's Black Ace (Daugherty) and Awsum Country Justice (Eisenhart). Margie Ricci was in the gallery to watch her young Country Justice, while Bill Ricci watched from the dog wagon. They were released at the corner of the Long Pond. Justice took a notion to flush his own game at 23 and was harnessed. Ace had an absence at 19 and Daugherty asked for the retrieval device at 32 between the Double Ponds.
Wednesday afternoon brought forth the 34th brace with Tee's Wild Man (Gates) and Dominator's Rebel Heir (Daniels). They were turned loose at 1:45 with partly cloudy skies and the temperature at 43 . At 22 Heir was not seen in the front, and in the distance the judges thought they could hear someone calling point. Judge Davis and Daniels took out around the pond toward the Hagen house to assess the situation. As they arrived some spectators were trying to catch up with the gallery and spotted Heir on point. Daniels had to relocate his dog a couple of times, but was able to produce game. Tracy Swearingen was scouting Man, and as he neared the goat house at 26 he called point. When Gates flushed the birds got up all around him. Both completed the 60 minutes in the Long Field north of the Big House.
Power Play (Gates) and Dunn's True Issue (Eisenhart). Claudia McNamee, owner of Issue, was in attendance on horseback. They were turned loose in the Long Field on the north side of the Big House. Play went missing at 2 and Gates got the retrieval device at 19. Making the swing in the big hay field in front of the Quail Lodge at 27, Eisenhart called point. He tried flushing with three relocations, but was unsuccessful. Just before pickup, behind the plantation office, Eisenhart called point once more. This time he was rewarded with a very satisfying find. After the flush pickup was called.
Rounding off the qualifying series in the 36th brace as a bye dog was Westfall's True Grit (Daugherty), released on top of Kudzu Hill. His first attempt at finding game at 4 was not successful. At 57 scout Allen Vincent was riding the edges as we entered Paul's hill when he found Grit on point. He stood quite staunch as the birds were put in the air. He completed the hour in front of the North Double Pond.
The judges called back fourteen pointers and two setters to compete for the championship title. To be called back out of 71 starters is a great honor. Judges Davis and Jackson had their work cut out for them in making the decision on which dogs they wanted to compete for the one-hour and fifty minute heats.
The finals began on Thursday morning at 8:00. It was a cool 31 and a light frost covered the ground. Competing in the first brace was top qualifier True Confidence. His owners Frank and Jean LaNasa were present. Frank was in the gallery on horseback. He was paired with the setter male Erin's Hidden Shamrock, owned and handled by Sean Derrig. Shamrock was hunting the left edge of the field before making the turn to the road crossing. As he neared the far corner at 9, he started acting birdy. As Derrig was riding over, Shamrock styled up. When Derring flushed more than 30 bobwhites flew. Just before entering the Gene Field at 1:05, Confidence was credited with a nice forward find. On the left side of the course at 1:07, Derrig called point. There he was awarded his second find. Confidence's second nice game contact came at 1:27. He was bold around his game and a very large covey was flushed. His final find was at 1:36 just behind the Boy Scout Camp. Scout Mark Haynes called point and as we were riding to the dog styled up, the birds flew. After making the turn in front of the Boy Scout Camp at 1:43, Shamrock was seen pointed on the left side of the course. Derrig make several flushing attempts and relocations. On the final relocation, the birds flew to the side of Shamrock. He stopped immediately and was given a stop to flush. Both athletes completed the 1:50 at the Long Pond. Shamrock was strong the entire time. He was always to the front and kept a good rapport with his handler. He required only minimal scouting, and was very elegant around his game. This performance earned him the honor of being named runner-up.
In the second brace of the callbacks was two-time National Champion Lester's Sunny Hill Jo, owned by David Thompson; and Touch's Red Rider, owned by Tucker Johnson. They were released at the corner of the Long Pond. Jo went missing from the front at 27 and Lester called for the retrieval device at 45. Nearing the hour mark, Rider was not seen and Eisenhart asked for his retrieval device.
Thursday afternoon the temperature was 55 . The sun was shining brightly.
Erin's Longmire, pointer male owned by Brad Calkins, and Lester's Pete Rose, pointer male owned and handled by Gary Lester. Mrs. Joy Lester rode the wagon for the afternoon in support of her husband and Pete. Just past the goat house at 31, Longmire had a nice forward find. Gates was riding the edge and spotted him on point. He went missing at 46 and Gates got his retrieval device at 1:03. "Joe" had an extended absence and Lester was handed his retrieval unit at 1:18.
Drawn in the 4th brace was setter male Awsum in Motion, owned Bill and Marge Ricci (present in gallery), and Miss Stylin Sue, pointer female owned by Dr. Jim Mills and Steve Lightle.They were released in the hay field directly across from the Big House. Making the turn behind the plantation office at 41, Sue was credited with a nice find on the left side of the course. Her second came at 50 on top of Kudzu Hill on the left side. A nice covey was flushed in front of her. At the same time, on the opposite side of the course, Eisenhart called point for Motion. A nice bevy was flushed for him as well. Motion had an absence and Eisenhart got the retrieval device at 1:09. Vincent was handed his at 1:20.
Friday morning brought cloudy skies and a temperature of 44 . Competing in the fifth brace was Miller's Blindsider, pointer male owned by Nick Berrong, who was in attendance on horseback. Blindsider was paired with pointer male Miller's Speed Dial, owned and handled by Gary Lester. After passing the second row of pines at 8, a spectator spotted both dogs on point at Cindy's Oak block. Both handlers arrived and flushed a nice covey, the dogs rewarded with a divided find. Speed Dial had a second classy piece of bird work at 21 on the left
before making the turn at the Flush's Wrangler Water Tank. His final find came at 36 on top of Pike's Peak. All was in order. At 40 Daniels called point for Blindsider; Speed Dial was there honoring. A rabbit came out of the brush and both were taken by the collar. As they were leading the dogs to be eleased, a covey got up. Blindsider was not credited with a find, but was not discredited with an unproductive. No flushing had occurred. Unfortunately, a mishap involving both dogs occurred at 1:13 and both were harnessed.
The 6th brace produced the champion, Showtime Sam Houston, pointer male owned by Larron and Laura Copeland of Bronwood, Ga. Sam was paired with Game Throne, pointer male owned by Bo Houston and Chip Brian. They were released in the Gene Field. Sam's first staunch piece of bird work came at 23, nearing the Boy Scout Camp at the Old Pinion Point Game fenceline. Scout Mark Haynes was riding the left side and watched him swap ends. At 36 scout Scott Beeler called point for Throne just before crossing the end of the Long Pond. Gates produced a single. Sam's second find came at 1:20 just before crossing at the Double Ponds. His style and manners were just as classy as his first. Riding on Paul's Hill just before making the turn toward Joe's Oak Block at 1:36, Copeland rode up on Sam pointing for a third time. Copeland produced a nice covey. A fourth and final find came at 1:44 just the other side of Joe's Oak Block. Both completed the heat between China Berry Hill and Cocklebur Bottom. Sam was bold the entire heat. After each short absence, he always showed to the front, either on point or intensely hunting. He didn't require much scouting and handled fashionably. His topnotch ground race and manners and style around his game earned him the honor of 2019 Continental Champion. This has been a dream of Larron Copeland for many years. "My dream has come true," he said. "This was a big number on the bucket list."
Just Watch, pointer male owned by Jack and Tracy Haines, and Touch's Secret Agent, pointer male co-owned by Gary Futch and his wife Becky. Just entering the pines behind the breakaway field at 4, Agent swapped ends right in front of his handler. Furney dismounted and produced a nice bevy. Watch came in from the side to honor. Agent's second find came at 13 along the hay field before entering the Big Woods. Just Watch was unsuccessful at 32. Daniels took several attempts at flushing and relocating, but no game was produced. Scout Scott Beeler called point at 41 for Agent on the far left side behind the lake. Unfortunately, by the time Furney and the judges arrived, the birds had already flown. Just Watch was credited with a nice piece of bird work at 1:11, making the swing by the Chimney Block. Scout Judd Carlton called point. Daniels arrived and flushed. All was in order. Agent was picked up at 1:26 at the Flat Pond. Just Watch suffered a second unproductive at 1:47 before entering the Big Garrett Field and was on the wagon.
Rounding off the finals in the 8th brace was Wild Hawk, pointer male owned by Mike Moses who was present for the running, paired with Tee's Wild Man, pointer male owned by Brad Woodie and handled by Robin Gates. Wild Hawk produced game at 43 behind the Big Lake. He was hunting the front and Carlton found him on point. Man had an extended absence and Gates called for the retrieval device at 46. Wild Hawk was credited with a nice second find at 51 just north of Ben's Hog Pond. He was successful again at 55 on top of Hickory Hill. He was quite stylish on his game for all three. At 1:10 scout Jamie Daniels called point for Hawk nearing the Old Dove Field. He called flight of birds before anyone arrived, so no birds were in judgment. Carlton was handed the retrieval device at 1:11, and Hawk was put on the wagon.
Greenville, Fla., January 25
Judges: Jim Davis and Mike Jackson
CONTINENTAL OPEN ALL-AGE CHAMPIONSHIP
[One-Hour Qualifying Heats; One-Hour and Fifty-Minute Finals] --
66 Pointers and 5 Setters
Winner--SHOWTIME SAM HOUSTON, 1662402, pointer male, by Just Irresistible--K F Alias. Larron Copeland, owner and handler.
Runner-Up--ERIN'S HIDDEN SHAMROCK, 1649459, setter male, by Ridge Creek Cody--Erin's Skydancer. Sean Derrig, owner and handler.
Showtime Sam Houston Winner of the Continental Open All-Age Championship
SOME SIDELIGHTS AT DIXIE
For as long as most can remember, Dixie Plantation staff member Alpha "Too" Bright has manned the dog wagon. He retired after last year's running.
Taking over the official duty this year was Til Hankley who certainly took on the role as dog wagon driver with great honor. He was always in behind the gallery to ensure he was on hand at a moment's notice. Til had many that accompanied him each day to watch the event. He would also pass out the refreshments between heats, and see to all needs for everyone involved. As someone in the gallery stated, "Til is the perfect man for the job."
Of course, the trial could not go on without the help of Gloria Hagen who has lived on Dixie her entire life. Her late mother and grandmother also lived and worked on the plantation their entire lives. Gloria cooked meals for the judges and other trial official most every night. She made sure the houses were clean, laundry was done, and even set the coffee pots. Gloria helps out with the lunches each day and assisted with the auction and sponsored dinners. Her dedication and support are appreciated by all.
Andrea Barstow is also a major asset to the trial. She is the secretary for Dixie Planation and handles all the incoming donations and outgoing expenses. Andrea helps with many various tasks throughout the running, and was in charge of the order for the silent and live auction that was held on Wednesday night after the running. She was also in charge of selling the raffle tickets for the over and under shotgun. Andrea is greatly valued for all of her hard work.
Without the help of sponsors and donations the trial could not go on. A huge thank you goes out to Jim Smith and Purina for helping out with such a big event. Another big shout out goes to Brad Kennedy and Sportsman's Pride. These two companies are huge supporters of the sport and are to be commended for all their time and investments. Planation Supply out of Albany, Ga., supplied the snacks and drinks for the dog wagon. Others to be recognized for their cash donations and support are: Jason Williams, Equine and Anvil, Mike Cheely, Parker Chevrolet, Hunter Drew/The Wright Company, Ag-Pro, Julie Livingston Ripley, and many more various individuals and companies.
Each year there are water tanks placed evenly along the six courses for the horses and dogs. These tanks are also sponsored and a sign is placed on each one. They include: Jim Hamilton, Dixie Trace FTA, Sportsman's Pride, Karen and Bruce Norton, Mike Shea, Hank Bush/Bush Development Group, Sean Derrig/Covey Pointe Plantation, Dr. Ron Deal, David Thompson, Doyle Hancock & Sons Construction, and Bill and Margie Ricci.
I reported my first trial at age 19, and have reported several prestigious stakes over the past several years. Being asked to report the Continental Championship was a great honor. This is one of those I'll never forget. I was able to meet many people I've only heard and read about, and was able to watch many great performances during the eight days at Dixie. This was my third trip to Dixie Planation, and I am already looking forward to my next.
Steve Standley has been your scribe for this Championship for the past several years. Due to a health-related issue, doctor's orders would not allow him to ride the full eight days. He did, however, come to visit and ride for a couple of days. I enjoyed meeting him and visiting with him. He is on the mend and expects to be back in full swing by next year's running.
Gallery attendance was high most days. On a couple afternoons there were as many as 70 spectators present, ranging for five years old to persons in their upper 80s.
Garland Priddy and his wife, Kathy, were present for most of the running and rode nearly every brace. Jack Swartz and his family were also there again this year, and didn't miss many braces themselves.
There were many owners present for most of the trial as well this year and could be seen on horseback most every day. Some of them include: Gary Futch, Tracy Haines, Bruce and Karen Norton, Bill and Margie Ricci, Claudia McNamee, Nick Berrong, and Larron Copeland. It was a pleasure riding and visiting with all of them.
On Saturday night, Ag Pro Tractor Dealerships and Julie Livingston Ripley sponsored a steak dinner for handlers, owners, trial officials and spectators. The club also hosted a silent and live auction. All items were donated and the club appreciates all the donations and top bidders. Your scribe was asked to be the auctioneer for the live sector. A double barrel shotgun was sold for $1800 to the highest bidder. The steaks were nicely prepared and enjoyed by all.
Purina sponsored a fish fry that was served at lunch on Wednesday.
Before the last day of competition, I had the privilege of visiting will Tall Timbers representative Clay Sisson who gave me some insight on goals of Tall Timbers Board of Trustees. He stated, "Tall Timbers is committed to the Continental Field Trial Club. Our goal is to have the best wild bird field trial in the nation. We are setting up an endowment campaign to ensure the longevity of this goal. Not just for Dixie Plantation, but for all of Tall Timbers property and research. The endowment will be set up so that one can contribute specifically to the Continental Field Trial Club and Dixie Plantation, as well as all of their other projects. All contributions and donations are greatly appreciated by Tall Timbers.
"Without the help from field trialers and their efforts, it would be hard to continue to reach our goal."