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Result: ABHA National Free-for-All Championship

Location: Lavergne, Tennessee

Post Date: Feb 25, 2022

Submitted By: Kenny DeLong


Classic Winners. From left: Ronnie Rogers and Daphne Rogers with Thor For President, Michael Kennedy, judge; Ken Delong with Faith's Maximum Justice, and Tammi Joe Hopkins with All Out, and Taylor Henley, judge.

LAVERGNE, TENN. -- This prestigious Championship drew a nice field of pointers and setters, including last year's returning Champion Faith's Maximum Justice, to vie for the title at Percy Priest WMA. Two very qualified young men -- Michael Kennedy from Opelika, Ala., and Taylor Henley of Soddy-Daisy, Tenn., gave each brace their undivided attention and closely scrutinized the performances.

The TVFTC would like to thank all those who pitched in an helped during the trial, with marshalling, bird planting, scouting, dog wagoning, and the like. Justin Crook, Joe Hopkins, Gerry Addison, yours truly and others were among the volunteers. Of course, Ronnie Rogers shoulders the lion's share of the responsibility for running and managing the trial. Mrs. Rogers went all out with Daphne's Dynamo Chili (with ALL the fixin's) and home-made apple and blueberry pies for Saturday lunch. TVFTC is also very grateful for the support of sponsors SportDog and Valu-Pak dog food, without which a trial like this couldn't happen.

This area of the country had been under a snowstorm warning for several days, predicting 3-7 inches of heavy, wet snow to begin Saturday evening and continue through the day Sunday, which put the running of a final series on Sunday morning in some jeopardy. The weather during the running on Friday and Saturday was a bit on the cool side for Tennessee, but pleasant for handlers, judges, and gallery, and, in the eyes of this reporter, just about ideal for the four-leggeds. The first 45-minute qualifier brace was loosed Friday at 1 p.m. in beautiful 44 , sunny conditions with a light breeze--and three more braces followed before the days running was concluded.

With no change in the forecast for Saturday evening and Sunday, it was agreed that a difficult decision would have to be reached Saturday morning before the start of running the remaining qualifier braces. In careful consideration of the safety of all participants, not only during the trial, but on their journeys home, the Field Trial Committee decided not to a final series on Sunday morning. As a result, the Championship reverted to a Shooting Dog Classic, with the remaining braces finishing Saturday by early afternoon, under cloudy, breezy 40 skies with an occasional spit of rain.

The placements were well-received over the sumptuous meal Daphne catered in the clubhouse. Everyone gathered in fellowship and anticipation, and after a Prayer of Grace blessed a warm, delicious meal, the winners were announced. With no Championship title this year, it was agreed that last year's champion, Faith's Maximum Justice, would be invited to return and run in the finals next year.

The Classic Winner was Joe ("Twinkle-Toes") Hopkins' setter male All Out which ran in the last brace Saturday afternoon under near-perfect conditions. Joe and his charge had the course to themselves after Mr. Crook leashed bracemate Unfinished Business for a minor encroachment infraction early on.

After handling that first find pressure well, Joe flushing and firing with all in order, All Out went on to card five more quality, stylish, evenly spaced finds at 10, 12, 20, 25, and 35--all handled flawlessly. Handling kindly, he was always forward, and went everywhere you would expect a bird dog to search for Mr. Bob, finishing well to the front. This reporter knew then that he had just watched the winning performance--the dog to beat!

The runner up spot went to last year's champion, Faith's Maximum Justice, running in the last brace early Saturday afternoon. Justice ran a big, classy, fancy race, hitting the lines and cracking his tail in pleasing fashion while always being in tune with his handler. At 10 he was found standing just beyond the tree line at the corner of the field past the lake--tall and 12 o'clock tail stylish for a very impressive back of his bracemate's initially hidden find 25 yards back down the other side of the line. He went on to have a staunch, poker-straight stand on a wily running quail that handler eventually put to flight at 20 with his bracemate backing closely, and another far to the front at 25, with handler flushing the bird back over the motionless pointer's head.

Justice and his bracemate then put on a show, covering the remainder of the course and more in exciting fashion. DeLong handled the liver and white to far-flung casts down each tree line, while Justin Crook guided bracemate Bolt's DuraMax to his third and fourth finds, both dogs finishing well to the front.

Third place in the Classic was awarded to Ronnie Rogers' setter male, and last year's runner-up champion, Thor for President. Thor ran in the second brace Friday afternoon, he and his bracemate breaking away excitingly -- forward, full of energy, and occasionally testing his handler, but showing all the class of a fine bird dog. He impressed the judges with stamina and four quality finds at 12, 25 (a skittish running cock bird for which Thor stood staunchly, while Ronnie put his stretchy pants to the test in the thick stuff to eventually get some air under Lil' Bob's wings), 35, and 40. Thor held up well in relatively warm conditions and finished with a big forward cast.

Closest to the winners was Dave Emert's setter male Sho Me Mo, running in brace 3 Friday afternoon. While more moderate and perhaps less consistently forward than the winners, Mo had nice finds at 4, 12, 20, 30, and 35, with an impressive honor at 8.

LaVergne, Tenn., January 14

Judges: Taylor Henley and Michael Kennedy


[Forty-Five-Minute Qualifying Series; One-Hour Callback] --

5 Pointers and 12 Setters

[Title Withheld.]

1st--ALL OUT,1658806, setter male, by All In--Walnut Hills Rebel Onpoint. Joseph & Brittany Hopkins, owners; Joe Hopkins, handler.

2d--FAITH'S MAXIMUM JUSTICE, 1660276, pointer male, by Nelson's Van Max--Wild Apple Faith. Kenric J. DeLong, owner and handler.

3d--THOR FOR PRESIDENT, 1663680, setter male, by Agent J--For Star Dirty Dancer. Daphne Rogers, owner; Ronnie Rogers, handler.


Derbies and Puppies were run Saturday afternoon, and we were fortunate enough to just beat the incoming weather before dusk. Shooting Dog judges continued in the saddle to look at the Derbies and concurred on placing the two dogs in the brace first first and third.

First place went to pointer male May's Legacy of Justice (son of Ch. Faith's Maximum Justice) which resembles Daddy running far forward with a cracking tail, while handling kindly. "Freedom" was found standing rigid and poker-straight in front of the last objective in the last field as we came through the cut and turned left with a minute left. Handler DeLong saw a cock bird running, and made the flushing attempt unsuccessfully, then turned around to walk back toward the statuesque liver and white, only to see the hen sitting ten feet in front of the pointer. The bird was flushed, Kenny fired, and Freedom turned to mark with no further movement.

Second was awarded to Gerry Addison's classy setter female, Whisper Ridge Purdey. More moderate in her range, but no less driven and energetic, she put on a bird-finding show, carding five finds with appropriate Derby manners, including broke stands on her last two. She handled very well for Gerry and showed great savvy in her application.

Third place orange and white pointer male ran an exciting big race with the winner, that had judges smiling and nodding the entire half hour. Going through the last cut, "Fred" turned right and scorched down the line, slamming on point near the end. This was a particularly wily and annoying bird that required Justin and Fred to relocate a few times and get into the thick thorny stuff (both dog and handler had the wounds to prove it!) to produce the bird.

Taylor stayed in the saddle to watch puppies , but was joined in judging by Joe Hopkins, as Mr. Kennedy had young charges of his own to run.

With only an hour's rest, DeLong's young pointer male "Freedom" grabbed the top spot in the Puppy Stake with a snappy, forward searching run and a broke find at 15 on the woods edge near the end of the course, finishing far forward, coming nicely to the handler's whistle signal when time was called.

Second place went to Mike Kennedy's liver and white pointer "Chip", which started a bit more tentatively, but opened up very nicely, making some nice moves and finishing very strong. Third was awarded to Justin Crook's, "Fred", which put down a nice big race, testing his handler ranging laterally at times, looking good on the ground and finishing to the front.

A heartfelt thanks to all who helped make this a great trial.

Thanks be to God for our blessings.


ABHA OPEN DERBY -- 2 Pointers and 4 Setters

1st--MAY'S LEGACY OF JUSTICE, 1695469, pointer male, by Faith's Maxim Justice--Chasehill Mighty May. Kenric J. DeLong, owner and handler.

2d--WHISPER RIDGE PUNDY, 1690816, setter female, by Vitali's Grouseringer Tony--Whisper Ridge Dottie. Gerald G. Addison, owner and handler.

3d--P B HURRIN HOOSIER, 1696778, pointer male, by Erin's Lone Star Law--Three Stripe's Bullseye. Brian Stockrahm, owner; Justin Crook, handler.

Judges: Joe Hopkins and Taylor Henley

ABHA OPEN PUPPY -- 6 Pointers and 2 Setters

1st--MAY'S LEGACY OF JUSTICE, 1695469, pointer male, by Faith's Maxim Justice--Chasehill Mighty May. Kenric J. DeLong, owner and handler.

2d--KENNEDY'S CHIP PFF THE BLOCK, 1698357, pointer male, by Crouse's White Dragon--Kennedy's Lil Sunshine. Mary Louise Kennedy, owner; Michael Kennedy, handler.

3d--PB HURRIN HOOSIER, 1696778, pointer male, by by Erin's Lone Star Law--Three Step's Bullseye. Brian Stockrahm, owner; Justin Crook, handler.