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Result: Alabama Open All-Age Championship

Location: Blue Mountain, Mississippi

Post Date: Mar 8, 2021

Submitted By: Tessa Hughes


]Alabama Open All-Age Championship Winners. From L to R are: Steve Hurdle, scout Korry Rinehart with Champion Ascension, Judge Dennis Sneed, Greg Bain, Carolyn Page, Brad Kennedy, scout Stegan Smith with Runner-up Touch's Blackout, Joe Hughes, Randy Anderson, and Judge Kipp Linard.
BLUE MOUNTAIN, MISS. -- The Alabama Amateur Field Trial Club ran its 2021 Alabama Open All-Age Championship at Blue Mountain, Miss., as usual, on the beautiful Hell Creek Wildlife Management Area grounds, on January 30-31.

As always, we first want to thank Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks for the amazing effort they put into these beautiful grounds to make them so hospitable for our sport. We very much appreciate the time and effort the state of Mississippi puts into its natural resources so that its citizens can enjoy the outdoors at sporting events like field trials.

The Club would also like to thank its sponsor, Sportsman's Pride dog food along with its representative and our valued club member, Brad Kennedy, for their generous and continued support of our sport.

Attendees enjoyed delicious meals each day provided by Melissa Bain and Carolyn Page, and appreciated all the help provided by various folks, including marshals Kennedy, Ronald Thrasher, and our stake manager and secretary, Greg Bain.

We also appreciate those who drove the dog wagon, including Thrasher and, our president, Joe Hughes, who, due to a back injury, was out of the saddle.

This year we welcomed two very capable and diligent judges for our Championship, Kipp Linard of Foristell, Mo., and Dennis Sneed of Ewing, Ill. Linard also brought along with him George Hill, our longtime friend and the stake manager of many Grovespring, Mo., trials. We were pleased to see them both.

Dennis Sneed was accompanied by his lovely wife, Delenise, who joined the dog wagon drivers each day to keep up with events from that venue.

We are grateful also to Sneed for remaining to capably judge our Derby, along with the previously mentioned Greg Bain of Town Creek, Ala. We cannot overstate how much the Club appreciates the time and careful attention each judge gave to the entries in front of them.


The Alabama Open All-Age is the last qualifying stake for the National Championship, and we often have the exciting experience of watching a dog qualify for the National for the first time on our grounds. This year was no exception, with our winner seizing his trophy to garner the second rung on the ladder needed to qualify for the 2021 National Championship.

The Alabama can be a tough trial to win any year but this year was particularly challenging as our weather was raw and miserable.

The renewal was won by Ascension, handsome white and liver pointer male owned by Ted Roach of Fort Wayne, Ind., and run by Steve Hurdle.

Ascension was braced with Miller's Justifiable, pointer male run by Randy Anderson, in the third brace Saturday morning. We broke away from the clubhouse headed to the right with both dogs running strong. Justifiable had a find at 2 in the first field and looked very nice on his birds. Ascension had gone on into the beartrap field, and both dogs showed beautifully in that field, making grand casts.

They continued on running parallel to Hell Creek, with their handlers occasionally pointing them out. At 17 Ascension had an exciting find at the end of a long feed strip before we crossed Hell Creek with Justifiable backing. He stood high and tight for Hurdle to flush and shoot, and all was in order.

We continued on across Hell Creek and immediately after crossing the creek, Ascension swung to the left and carried his cast all the way around and went in to point in the far left corner of the first field, with Korry Rinehart, his scout, calling point for him. Hurdle had gone into the next field looking for his dog, and had to dismount and walk through heavy cover to get to him as Judge Linard approached from the other side. However, Ascension held beautifully for these minor delays, and Hurdle was able to get to his dog and flush for him at 24.

Ascension joined his bracemate, and he and Justifiable again showed well in the next big field on the right, with both making aggressive, sweeping casts.

After we crossed the ditch at the far end of the last field and turned back toward the clubhouse, Ascension had a find at 34 on the right under an old oak tree some Club members call "Lucy's Tree". Unfortunately, Justifiable was up after a breach of manners. Ascension, however, again was impeccable on his game. Ascension then went on to have another stunning find at 50 on the right before we crossed the steel bridge, and again he handled his birds and the shot in a mannerly fashion.

Ascension finished strong, after swinging through the horseshoe fields, he cued off his handler, negotiated past the gallery and swept on toward Hell Creek to be picked up at the one-hour mark.

The fifth brace of the trial comprised our runner-up brace. We ran it from the first breakaway due an early mishap in the preceding brace. Runner-Up Champion Touch's Blackout, pointer male, was handled by Randy Anderson and is proudly owned by John and Jackie Harkins of Mead, Okla.

Touch's Blackout was braced with Misty Morn Masked Man, pointer male (Joey McAlexander). Both dogs broke away hard with Blackout having an unproductive at 6 in the first field on the left. However, there had just been significant bird work in that spot a few moments before in the preceding brace that had caused both dogs to be picked up, so likely a great deal of bird scent was still in the vicinity. Masked Man then had a find across the rock road in the big field at 14, looking very sharp on his birds, and all was in order for that flush.

Both dogs showed nicely through the pines, but both were then absent after their handlers crossed the rock road again. Both dogs had gone across Hell Creek at the old creek crossing we no longer use, and their handlers crossed to retrieve them. Although Blackout returned, Masked Man did not, and McAlexander asked for his retrieval device at 30.

Blackout went on to have a find at 31 on the left paralleling Hell Creek which he handled beautifully, and a perfect find at the end of the long fields before we crossed the airplane landing strip bottom at 38, looking very nice for the flush. Blackout also had a very impressive find at 51 before we reached the pine tunnel. He held again very well, standing elegantly for wing and shot, and then went on to hunt hard and to the front most aggressively to finish his hour.


We opened Saturday morning to cold, damp and muddy conditions.

Dakota Nation, pointer male (Hurdle) and Miller's Select Call, pointer male (Anderson) started us off from the clubhouse. Both dogs began ambitiously, with aggressive races. Nation had a find before we crossed the rock road at 15, but Select Call was up after a breach of manners. Nation handled his first find well, looking very nice on his birds. He then experienced a brief absence at the rock road as he crossed it and went into an adjacent field. Scout Korry Rinehart took over for substitute scout, Brad Kennedy, at that juncture, and Rinehart was able to get his dog back into the pines behind the clubhouse and onto the course. Nation made some impressive casts, having another well-handled find at 47. He finished the hour strong.

Skies remained gray for our second hour, and we broke away from the game warden's house with Touch's Grey Street, pointer male (Keith Wright) and Coldwater Spectre, pointer male (Weldon Bennett). Street had a find in the first field at the treeline with Spectre backing at 2, which both dogs handled beautifully. Both dogs were then released by their scouts, and Spectre then had a find at 3 with Street backing, both dogs again elegant and intense. Bennett went in to flush for his dog. Spectre and Street held nicely. Both dogs then had a divided find at 19, which they handled well. Wright called point for his dog at 30 in the lines of pines but waved it off. Bennett asked for his retrieval unit in the long bottom when it became apparent Spectre was gone. Wright continued on, calling point for Grey Street at 50, but waving it off. Street finished the hour making strong casts in the beartrap field and the last field before the clubhouse.

The third hour was the winning brace and has been covered above.

The first brace after lunch had Erin's Outlaw, pointer male (Hurdle) and Touch's Fireaway, pointer male (Anderson). Both dogs were away well from the breakaway, and both were absent for a short time. They returned to their handlers in the first big field briefly. Hurdle called point for Outlaw; birds were flying and both dogs were up as both were seen in motion during the ensuing flight.

The fifth brace had the runnee-up and was also covered above.

The sixth brace of the day was slightly delayed as handlers and dogs had to be transported to the game warden's house for a change in breakaway location.

Coldwater Odyssey, pointer male (Bennett) and Lester's Jazz Man, pointer male (Anderson) set off for an exciting race. Both dogs were ambitious, enjoyable to watch, with Jazzman having a find at 2 in the first field treeline and Spectre backing, both dogs very impressive on game. They continued on with Odyssey making it nimbly through the rock ditch first to then having a find at 3; his bracemate Jazz Man backed him. Both dogs again showed impeccable manners, and scouts Gary McKibben and Stegan Smith were quickly off their horses to help again with the dogs. Both dogs were away again, and the day seemed happy and bright for both. Odyssey then crossed the creek to have a find at 9 in the Rock Hill field, which he handled very well, also. Jazzman went on to have a find at 25 in the lines of pines, which he handled elegantly, with head and tail high for the flush. He then suffered an unproductive at 41, and was picked up at 54. Odyssey was picked up at 55 to conclude the day's running.

We were happy to welcome a first-time attendee to our trial in Chris Cagle, whose setter male, Shagtime Max, along with Raymond Double Rebel Jess, pointer male (Anderson), comprised the first brace Sunday morning. Cagle's setter unfortunately was lost after a sighting at 3 in the first field. Cagle asked for his tdevice at the first road crossing. Anderson and Jess continued on, with Jess making some nice casts, but he was up at 39 after he suffered a mishap on his birds.

Leaving from the game warden's house in the second brace of the day were Rebel Survivor, pointer male (David Williams) and Bonner's Bulletproof, pointer male (Anderson). Bulletproof had birds at 2 in the first field but was up when birds were flying. Solo scored at 7 in the Rock Hill field which he handled beautifully. He then had a significant absence, returning to his handler as we began to curve toward the lines of pines. He then had a find at 32 in the lines of pines on the far left which he handled impeccably. Solo went on to finish the hour, hunting hard to the front.

Shagtime Ole Res, setter male (Cagle) and Ransom Jack Flash, pointer male (Hurdle), were in the third brace of the day. Both dogs left from the clubhouse running hard. Flash had an extended absence before we crossed Hell Creek with Hurdle asking for the retrieval unit at 40. Ole Res made some nice casts but suffered an unproductive at 35 after we crossed Hell Creek. Cagle called point for Res at 45 after we crossed the old four-wheeler trailer but no birds were flying, and Ole Res was up.

Neely's Standing Ovation, pointer male (Anderson) and Lester's Stem Winder, pointer male (Gary Lester) were in the next brace. Both dogs ran well, although Ovation went birdless. Stem Winder made a beautiful cast along Hell Creek. He then swept around to have an impressive find at 34 at the end of the pines before we crossed the long bottom. He stood wing and shot, then went on to have another lovely find in the Rock Hill field on which he also exhibited perfect manners. Stem Winder also had a striking find in the plum trees at the end of his hour, and also finished his hour strong.

This author's horse "tied up" in the middle of the 10th brace, so she had to rely on others to advise her of the conclusion of the running. Reports were that Hendrix's Touch Up, pointer male (Burke Hendrix), and Windridge Sugar, pointer female (Eddy Taylor) set off well from the clubhouse. Unfortunately, Taylor's horse suffered a significant mishap, and Taylor had to concede after his horse came up lame. Hendrix continued on with his dog and had a find at 2 in the first field, which Touch Up handled very well. Touch Up then went on at a blazing pace to have a find in the Rock Hill field at 10. He looked very nice on his game again, standing for wing and shot without a bobble. He then was reaching and going and looking good. However, at 40, the dog had been absent for an extended time and he called it.

Tekoa Mountain Owynee, setter male (Anderson), as a bye, left on the third breakaway. He was out of pocket a few times, but showed nicely to the front and had a beautiful find at 30 before he crossed Hell Creek. He handled his bird work well on the find, and proceeded on across the creek. However, his handler called it a day at 40, thus concluding the stake.

Blue Mountain, Miss., January 30

Judges: Kipp Linard and Dennis Sneed


[One-Hour Heats] -- 20 Pointers and 3 Setters

Winner--ASCENSION, 1664823, pointer male, by Reloaded--Dialed In. Ted Roach, owner; Steve Hurdle, handler.

Runner-Up--TOUCH'S BLACKOUT, 1652345, pointer male, by Touch's White Out--B C Angelina. John & Jackie Harkins, owners; Randy Anderson, handler.


Twenty excellent dogs comprised the exciting Derby. The judges chose the three winners from the first day's running. These three ran under very harsh conditions, all three garnering bird work in spite of the wind blowing relentlessly at over 25 miles an hour. It was difficult to be heard over the wind, difficult for the handlers to ride in, and definitely difficult scenting conditions. It was muddy, overcast, in the low 30s and 40s, and frankly miserable for all who were out in this weather.

Lester's Boss Man, pointer male (Gary Lester), was a boss and ran an impressive race on the third hour in these conditions with two beautiful finds to seize the first place trophy. Bossman's first find was in the canes along Hell Creek at 13, and he tallied another handsome find at 43 in the big field in heavy cover along the other side of Hell Creek. Bossman handled both finds well despite the birds not handling things well at all. He made sweeping, ambitious casts in the big fields across Hell Creek, and always hunted hard and to the front during his hour.

Jannie Chapman, Gary Lester's new owner, joined us to watch her newly acquired dog, Bonner's Hot Rize, pointer male, take the second place honors. Hot Rize did not disappoint Ms. Chapman as he put down an aggressive ground race, making some exciting casts once we crossed Hell Creek on the third hour, and also having a lovely find at the same location as the first place dog had on the same course that morning.

Game Rebel, pointer male (Ike Todd), did a commendable job to take his third place trophy, putting down a very aggressive ground race while braced with Como Rain, pointer male (Billy Blackwell). Club members commented on how it is always a pleasure to watch Todd run a dog, as he is quiet and smooth with his handling and makes things look easy. Rebel made things look easy, too, with a classy find at the plum trees at 44, with Como Rain sliding in to back nicely. Both dogs went on to finish their hour strong.

There were so many other extremely nice Derbies that ran, but this author has to give at least one honorable mention to another of Lester's Derbies, Lester's Tidal Wave, pointer male. Braced in the first hour after lunch on Monday, Lester called point for his dog at 8 on the right just before we got to the little pond. Unfortunately, as Lester was dismounting, Tidal Wave's young bracemate appeared and did not seem keen on honoring the situation. However, Tidal Wave stood firm under this pressure.

As Lester went downhill on foot in heavy mud toward his dog, conditions momentarily outmaneuvered him, and he slipped, falling flat on his back. Nevertheless, Tidal Wave still held his ground, despite this activity going on behind him. You know you are with the pros when the other handler calmly appeared while all this happening and was understandably just as concerned about his friend, Gary, as about what was happening with the young Derbies. He collared his dog with a backward, "Bud, are you okay?" while Lester got up, flushed for his charge, and all was still in order. No one was laughing until Lester said, "Now I am going to have to ride the rest of the day with this mud all down my pants."

We were glad to see all of our old friends as well as to welcome some new ones at this year's Alabama Open All-Age Championship, mud and wind and rain regardless. The skies turned blue and bright for the last day of the Derby, and showed us that spring was not far away.

Good luck to everyone during the rest of the 2021 season, and we look forward to seeing you again next year at Hell Creek.

Judges: Greg Bain and Dennis Sneed

OPEN DERBY -- 17 Pointers and 2 Setters

1st--LESTER'S BOSS MAN, 1691814, pointer male, by Lester's Sunny Hill Jo--D J's Miss Betty. David Thompson, owner; Gary Lester, handler.

2d--BONNER'S HOT RIZE, 1687893, pointer male, by Miller's Speed Dial--Miller's Martha White. Jannie Chapman, owner; Gary Lester, handler.

3d--GAME REBEL, 1691929, pointer male, by Dominator's Rebel Heir--Game Creek. Dr. Fred Corder, owner; Ike Todd, handler.


Alabama Open Derby Winners. From left: Stegan Smith with Lester's Bossman, Delenise Sneed, Gary Lester; owner Jannie Chapman along with Greg Bain with her dog, Bonner's Hot Rize, Ike Todd with Game Rebel, Joe Hughes, and our sponsor, Brad Kennedy.