Result: Masters Open Shooting Dog Championship
Location: Albany, Georgia
Post Date: May 24, 2022
Submitted By: Steve Standley
From left, kneeling: Shon Powell with Nonami's Johnny Come Lately and Clay Ferguson with Miller Unfinished Business. Front row: Aaron Fulmer, Bill Primm, Tim Moor. Back- Terry James Chastain, Robbie McCue, Ronnie Beane, Polly Moore, Mike Tracy, Casey Hollander, Muriel Primm, Ray Pearce, Joel Norman, Judge Jason Williams, Delenise Sneed, Judge Dennis Sneed, Steve Wiley.
The Masters Open Shooting Dog Championship began on its time-honored date of March 1st. Spring in South Georgia is a special time. The plantation country below Albany, Ga., has been the home of this Southern Field Trial Club event since its inception.
Wildfair Plantation hosted the morning braces and an enormous thank you goes out to Wildfair owner Joe Davenport. Wildfair manager and Southern FTC officer, Kevin Beane expertly marshalled the group through these beautiful grounds. Assisting Kevin was former manager Ronnie Beane and associate Robbie McCue.
The afternoons were spent on Nonami Plantation thanks to the kindness of Ted Turner and his staff. Nonami manager and Southern Field Trial Club member Ray Pearce marshalled us through these stunning acres. Nonami associates Dustin Kirby and Larry Hudson assisted our group in the field.
These places along with nearby Pineland Plantation, Blue Springs Plantation, and Nilo Plantations have hosted these Southern Field Trial Club Championships, shooting dog and all-age, in the past. To say these places are special is like saying the Mona Lisa is a fairly good painting. Their magnitude, and very being virtually defy description. The owners and managers of these properties know what they are doing. They have a plan, developed from years of experience, scientific study, and the great offerings of Mother Nature. Their success is available to be witnessed during this grand Championship.
Appreciation is extended to the Kendrick brothers for the use of the Potter Center facilities, including the horse barn and camper hookups. Scott is their face on the property, and he is welcoming and extremely helpful.
The judges for this Championship were Dennis Sneed of Ewing, Ill., and Jason Williams of Blakley, Ga. Both men have vast experience with all the important aspects of this sport. They were totally focused to the task at hand and were kind and fair in all regards and their efforts are appreciated by all concerned.
Dennis began field trials in 1970 and he has been club member, officer, chairman, President, and served in many capacities in groups such as the Rend Lake Sportsman Club and their Egyptian Championship. He has judged from Alberta, Canada south and is widely respected. He was a dear friend of well-known professional Faye Thronberry. Dennis' wife, Delenise, came to the Championship and was excellent company. Among other accomplishments she has been the Illinois state sporting clay champion, She actively shoots and is extremely competitive at a high level of the shotgun sport.
Jason Williams is well-known to all in the southeast bird dog world and beyond into South Dakota, Montana and beyond. He has won this Championship in the past as well as many others. Mentored as a young man by Freddie Epp, he has countless experiences in the field trial world and the quail hunting world. He is an excellent horse trainer and takes a string of young stock to South Dakota each year along with a string of dogs.
Southern Field Trial Club members Tim Moore, Steve Willey, Shon Powell. and Bill Griffin were present throughout the trial and are invaluable to its success.
Purina and its representative Greg Blair are appreciated for their support. Purina feed and products fuel the health and bodies of our beloved canines. The true testing grounds are here in the field and it is here that Purina is shown to be a success.
Flint Ag and Turf provide a John Deere tractor to pull the dog wagon in the field. They also offer other financial support. The Southern Field Trial Club provided a wonderful fish fry for all.
The Champion appeared on the first day of the stake right after lunch. It was 46 degrees, sunny, and dry as Miller Unfinished Business (Joel Norman) applied himself to the first afternoon course on Nonami Plantation. Unfinished Business, or Dan, was paired with Miller's Extreme Heat (Mike Tracy). Heat suffered an early unproductive at 5. There is often a breakaway covey in this area, but they are hard to point cleanly due to the recent hunting pressure.
We were ahead with Dan as he had a good find to the fore at 14. Heat had produced his own bevy after his barren stand on the way to the front. The action continued as point was called for Dan as he stood in a pine line some 250 yards distant in the direction of the Blue Springs Rd. Joel hurried to him, flushed, and shot with all good at 22. Meanwhile at a more moderate range Tracy flushed for his composed pointer, but a relocation followed and Tracy withdrew his entry.
At the half Dan produced game near the new structures on Blue Springs. This was also an independent find at a respectful range at about 10 o'clock to the course. Dan is a powerful dog. He has birds on his mind as he performs in this quail paradise. He again stood high and tight at 41 as Joel put his next bevy to wing.
Some 10 minutes later in view of Sam's church, Joel motioned to send his scout out to the right to look for Dan. Right then the pointer was spied frozen and statuesque ahead at 12 o'clock. There must have been a crippled bird as pointed out by the scout as Joel flushed. The judges saw what they needed to see and called for the shot, and all was good. Joel had to reload his gun for his 7th find at 59. Dan once again affirmed his championship characteristics on these glorious grounds in spite of the warm and dry conditions.
Dan is a 3-time Champion and 2-time runner-up Champion of the Masters Open Shooting Dog Championship. There are no other dogs that can make that claim. To look further one would have to recognize that he also won the National Open Shooting Dog Championship and produced a son that did the same. Also worthy of mention he has been Champion and Runner-Up Champion of the Florida All-Age Championship. Undeniable accomplishments.
The runner-up Champion, Nonami's Johnny Come Lately performed in the last afternoon brace on the 2nd day under the whistle of Ray Pearce. Johnny Come Lately, or John, is a coming 4-year-old. His race in his derby year did not hold field trial hopes so Ray decided to hunt him for a year, and he matured into the powerful classy dog that he is today.
It was 4:15, about 80 degrees and dry as John and Miller's War Bonnet (Tracy) left the north end of the property on their quest through the vast bird-ladened acres of Nonami. As Ray later said, there are a lot of "landmines" through this course, referring to the many opportunities for a mishap on game.
John is out of Ransom and a G Force female, he is high tailed and animated. He showed us that he would swing with Ray while offering big, far-ranging casts. He was powerful and eye-catching.
We crossed a field at 20 into an area of sedge and well-spaced pines which were broken up by bright green ring arounds. The orange pointer was ahead on his own when he was spied pointed in this area. As we approached a nearby tractor caused the birds to flush as Ray went toward his dog. All was handled perfectly for a good connection.
Mike Tracy withdrew his entry in this period.
At 25 Scout Dustin Kirby called point for John ahead and to the right and it couldn't have been a more scenic stand. We had to ride over there to be able to see it. He was down a chopper path leading to an oak that was about dead and leaning, its sweeping branches arcing to the ground. John was there, pointed in the shade, with the sun just lighting him up a bit. It looked like it should be painted and those of us on the scene could see the beauty of it. The dog was absolutely composed as we rode to him. Ray dismounted and flushed his birds to shoot for his dog at 25.
We went back to the course and hunted parallel to the old double pivot field on our right. Ray rode at a flat walk and let John ply his trade through the half. We topped a forward hill and Ray called out point ahead. His dog was 150 yards ahead in a mowed swath posed in perfect form. Ray dismounted, walked in and a 25-bird covey took flight as the report of Ray's gun sounded to complete the action. Dustin commented that they called this area "the breeding ground" for obvious reasons.
At 37 the course bends to the right and when John was not in sight Ray rode forward to look. Judge Sneed said that the dog pointed ahead, straight on out in an area of young hardwood scrabble. The dog moved on his own and Ray did not say a word and allowed John to work it out. He pinned the birds in a forward grid and all was in order at 39.
We continued as the course bent parallel to Hardup Rd off to our right. Ray rode calmly in the closing moments and the judges called time as John was out of sight. The call of point came from the edge of the woods toward the road. Ray went to him and handled this last find just like the preceding ones, in great style.
It was 41 degrees and sunny to begin the 2022 Masters Open Shooting Dog Championship. On March 1, Wildfair Plantation opened their gates to allow this glorious event. Wildfair manager Kevin Beane road the front to marshal us through the country. The first brace dogs were Up Front Southern Star (Shawn Kinkelaar) and Osceola's Seminole Wind (Mike Tracy). Owner Lance Schulz, from Bismarck, N. D., was in the saddle to see Southern Star point at 6 with high style. Star was asked to relocate but came up empty. Seminole Wind was not on the program on this day and Tracy requested his retrieval device at 18. There was a good bit of moisture on the ground and we all were hopeful for a birdy morning. At 20 Shawn turned toward the duck pond to see if he could gather his dog. Things did not work out and Kinkelaar pulled the plug at 30.
The 2nd brace began at 8:30 and included Miller's Stray Bullet (Norman) and Miller's Unbridled Forever (Tracy). Unbridled had a quick find at I minute and as we approached the scene a covey lifted, Mike dismounted and walked in front of his dog and flushed the pointed covey. Unbridled co-owner Jim Morrell was in the saddle to observe. We headed west parallel to the Colquitt Ford Rd and Joel Norman had a good find on the right at 6. While regaining the front Stray Bullet located his next covey at 9. We saw a number of random coveys fly as we rode through Wildfair. At 24 Norman called point in the distant front, but as we cantered in that direction Joel waved it off. Stray Bullet had an excellent forward find at the half. Stray Bullet had even a stronger find far to the front left. This was near Highway 91. This reporter rode up about 6 coveys on the way to this distant stand. It was excellent and we headed to the right to pass near Gator Pond. A long canter ensued to regain the front.
Once there the judges called time and quickly thereafter Tracy called point to the near front. He shot for his dog.
The 3rd brace was Miller's Locked and Loaded (Tracy) and Oak Ridge Thor (Kinkelaar.) Loaded had a good find at 5 on the road edge and Mike put an exceptionally large bevy to wing and shot his gun. We passed the old pigeon house at about 7 to see Kinkelaar riding the front singing to Thor. We next passed the Long Pond on our right as we headed eastward in an area of young longleaf pines. Thor stood motionless in a mowed swath, facing our approach was we rode to him. Shawn performed the formalities to complete this attractive scene.
By 26 we passed the Wolf Pond as both handlers maintain contact with their charges as the pair hunted ahead. Things fell apart for Loaded as Tracy asked for his tracker when we were just in sight of the new grain bin. It was hot here at about 45 and Locked and Loaded was out of pocket when Tracy called it. Enthusiastic owners Bill and Muriel Primm were in their saddles to see their dog. Karen Saniga was riding the dog wagon to support her friends as we began the ride in.
The 4th brace contained the championship performance as described earlier. It was 3 o'clock on Nonami Plantation as Ray Pearce guided us through. Associate Dustin Kirby assisted. Silver W Jill Z (Kinkelaar) had owner Debbie Ozner in the field as Jill was paired with Miller's High Heat Index (Tracy.) It was indeed a high heat index at this time, but we had seen birds in vast number all day. Shawn called point early and the dog moved on voluntarily. Then at 14 Kinkelaar called point near a large oak. Shawn could not flush anything, and we had ridden up about 3 coveys on our approach to the dog. These birds were behind the dog and not within her sight as the oak blocked her view. Jill was relocated down course, but no valid work could be produced. As we approached Scott's old house at 18, Tracy rode back toward us with his tracker in his hand. We approached the north end of the Nonami course and Kinkelaar rode comfortably with his dog to the fore. The wheels ran off the cart at 27 as Jill had a 2nd barren stand. Shawn later said that he broke his own cardinal rule that he teaches in his clinics. "Never work your dog on liberated birds before entering a wild bird stake."
It was 3:50 as we released Bully Rock (Tracy) with owners Ernie and Karen Saniga mounted to watch. Joining Bully was Tug of War (Kinkelaar) in the 6th brace. At 12 Tug pointed near the golf course and Shawn walked into flush about 30 or more birds. By 16 Bully Rock located his covey just above the golf course. As Tracy rode toward him 2 separate unrelated coveys lifted but Rock stood well as his birds flushed and Mike dismounted and shot. Just before the half Rock pinned another bevy after several relocations near the main entrance road. When we regained the front Kinkelaar had Tug of War on the rope. Rock stepped back up at 34 with a well-handled covey in a little hardwood sapling triangle, still within sight of the horse barn.
Rock is a big-framed liver dog that performed well for his owners and their friends in the field as he traveled in a high tailed form. At 45 Mike was on the ground trying to raise game and after a few minutes and a conversation with Judge Williams Tracy took him on. At 50 Tracy did have a find with Rock after several relocations. He went on to finish hour without further contact.
It was a clear and sunny 39-degree morning on Wildfair as we released Miller's Record Heat (Tracy) and Thunderbolt Storm (Kinkelaar) in the 9th brace. At 3 e saw the breakaway covey fly as Record Heat got into them to end his adventure afield. It was not a good start to the day as Storm was out by 12 with his own infraction.
The 8th brace began with Chelsea's Mae West (Kinkelaar) and Bittersweet War Cry (Tracy.) At 6 Kinkelaar had a good find as the birds were well-located in the damp sedge. We continued to head south on Wildfair and Mae West once again stood for a strong covey. Just before the half we turned right to hunt westward on Wildfair. Kinkelaar had lost his connection with Mae West and he requested his retrieval device. War Cry went on a most attractive effort straight ahead through the golden sunlit sedge and sparsely spaced pines. He had his first covey at 30 with all good. At 46, as we continued westward the black pointer moved with a high-class tail and an animated form to connect once again at 46 straight to the fore. This drive was marred, only slightly, at 55 with an empty stand in a birdy looking spot. War Cry went on for his final find as he remained motionless at flight and gun to conclude his hour.
It was sunny with a blue sky at 9:30 as Snap Back (Greg Shepherd and Reedy Creek Dial Tone (Tracy.) Dial Tone owner Joe McHugh was in the saddle. Early on Snap Back was pointed out several times as he hunted ahead and garnered our attention.
Reedy Creek Dial Tone styled up at 11 amid a gridded wiregrass setting in the shade of a small oak. As Mr. McHugh watched the pointer remained composed as Tracy put his birds to wing and fired. Immediately after and some 150 yards distant Dial Tone pinned his own bevy and all was good.
As this writer went ahead with the Tracy entry Snap Back was visible over some 70 yards to the left driving to the fore. Shepherd was in a smooth lope as he accompanied his stylish pointer on her push up the rise and to the front. Everything about this scene was attractive. Snap pointed near Wolf Pond at 17 but no birds could be raised. Shepherd's entry continued to hunt ahead with style but a 2nd unproductive near the Duck Pond Road at 33 ended her day.
Dial hunted ahead and past the power line but the dry conditions were not conducive to our purpose.
It was 2 o'clock as we released Zumbro's Stinky Pete (Rice) and Miller's Blazing Hot Chick (Tracy) onto Nonami. Chick had a quick find at 6 under a small pine with all in order. The Primms, Muriel and Bill, were in the field for their entry but it was not to be. Tracy picked up Chick at 25 in the high and dry heat. Rice soon followed with Pete.
The Primm's had another shot with their Miller's Braveheart (Tracy) as he was paired with Nella's Belgium Brew (Rice.) Rice had a good limb find on the right near the Blue Springs line at 5. As we turned to head back to the course two other unrelated coveys took wing independently just to add to the beauty of the surroundings. Brew suffered a barren around the old church at 23. The moving gallery during the dog's relocation contributed to the contender's confusion and Tommy took the dog on. Next, Casey Hollander called point on the right across Blue Springs Road at a distance. This proved empty and Mike brought his dog on for a successful connection at 37. Past Scott's house Rice rode comfortably as Brew hunted across a distant green strip in attractive form, Tracy had Braveheart at the same time covering the country. We moved onto the north end of the courses and scout called point with Judge Williams acknowledging birds. Tracy went to his dog and shot at 52. Point was called soon thereafter for Braveheart and Tracy had a discussion with the judge. He already had one unproductive, but he out t on the line and did have a covey fly between where Mike was flushing a tractor driving around. It was all good at 55. Brew scoured the woods in good form but the brace ended without further action.
The 12th brace contained the runner-up Champion.
Thursday morning began on Wildfair with Melrose Rebel Heart (Terry James Chastain) and Cheyenne Jack (Tracy.) Owners Bill and Muriel Primm were in their saddles and their Cheyenne Jack was quick to establish point at 3 on the first fallow edge on the right. The birds were there, and they often leave early. Jack was good for the work. Rebel Heart pinned his first covey at 5 on the right front. A note from this writer, it was good to have a Chastain in the trial. Terry James' father, Terry, defined this trial for me in my early years here.
We all stayed busy as Jack had an unproductive at 6 after a relocation. Back to the front Rebel Heart had his next bevy out front at 11 during this crisp, cool morning. When we regained the front at 14 Tracy had a find with Jack as Rebel Heart came into honor. Right after that, Chastain had his hat in the air, and all the reasons that you come to this trial flood you. Birds were flown, the dog stood high, the gun was fired. It was the Masters on Wildfair! On his way to regain the front this stylish liver pointer offered his next covey at 21.
During all the above Jack had his own independent find at 19 with all good. After the half we entered a fallow field that runs east to west for approximately one thousand yards. The Primms' Cheyenne Jack took it to the end in high form. Their close friend Ernie Saniga was mounted to enjoy the action. About six or so grids past the field point was called ahead and to the left. Chastain rode over accompanied by Judge Williams as someone nearby called flight of birds. Once there Terry James consulted with Jason and fired his gun at 41. We continued westward in the gridded sedge to the left of the long field and Rebel Heart stood again at 44. As handler approached birds got up behind the dog, Terry James continued to walk and another bevy flew from the side of his dog. Once in front of his pointer, yet again more birds lifted from in front of the dog. Judge Sneed asked Terry James which covey he wanted to claim. Terry James' response was the covey in front of his motionless dog. The hour ended right after this attention getting show.
Next up, at 9:20 was Charitable Deed (Rice) and Miller's Heat Seeker (Tracy) the latter owned by the Primms. We could hear the trucks ahead on Highway 91 to our west. We continued about of a mile toward the highway before we turned right toward Gator Pond.
By 22 we had ridden past Deed, call name Rachel, and Tommy eased back to flush the birds for his staunch pointer. We continued north with the pond on our left. By 51, near the Long Pond, Rachel had another group pointed. At the conclusion of this Tommy had a discussion with Judge Williams and decided to harness his entry. Heat Seeker was out by this time.
Rice's next entry was Frank Rutland's Panther Creek Rosie as she was paired with Waybetter Rocky (Tracy.) By 7 we approached the south end of Wolf Pond with the pair to the front. Rosie climbed the forward hill attractively and continued northward as Rice held his horse in a smooth flat walk.
Scout Jack Kimbrell had his work cut out for him in trying to help keep an eye on Rocky's effort. Scout Terry James Chastain called point at 21 for Rosie. She stood amongst a small group of oaks and the find was good.
By 37 Rocky was out of contention and Rice put his dog on the rope.
The 16th brace began on Nonami with Oahe Buck (Rice) and Tallaokas Sun Dial (Jason Loper.) These 2 handlers are close friends and often work dogs together. This was not meant to be their morning. Rice had an empty stand at 6 in the warm, dry conditions.
Loper had the right kind find at 14, out front, dog standing in the shade, where a large covey was flown to excellent manners. We continued north on Nonami, and Sun Dial stood ahead near the Blue Springs grain bins. Something didn't please Jason and he harnessed his dog.
Owner Mac Stidham was in the saddle for his Oahe Buck as the classy pointer hunted the property as he should. He continued his application until Rice pulled the plug at 43.
Mac Stidham had 1 more bullet as his Grand Prairie Thrill (Rice) was loosed with Iron Bully. Owners Ernie and Karen Saniga were present for the brace as Bully had a find at 1 minute with all in order. His day ended early as he was not pleasing his handler.
Thrill made some good moves on past the church and connected with a covey at 21 with all in order. Thrill pinned her next bevy at 25, right off the golf course, in an area of low briars. By 32 we turned away from the golf course and Thrill dug in and went from view. Tommy went to look for her and found Thrill pointed. Rice had to work a bit to put the covey to wing but did so at 33. It was an encouraging effort, but the brace ended without further action to end the Championship.
We all rode in for the announcement.
Albany, Ga., March 1
Judges: Dennis Sneed and Jason Williams
MASTERS OPEN SHOOTING DOG CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] - 34 Pointers
Winner-MILLER UNFINISHED BUSINESS, 1661405, male, by Just Irresistible-Miller's Bring The Heat. Benjy Griffith, owners; Joel Norman, handler.
Runner-Up-NONAMI'S JOHNNY COME LATELY, 1694190, male, by Ransom-Pinewood's Jenny Bell. R. E. Turner, owner; Ray Pearce, handler.
Judges, from left Jason Williams and Dennis Sneed.