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Result: United States Amateur Derby Invitational

Location: Dancyville, Tennessee

Post Date: Jul 11, 2022

Submitted By: Jim Atchison

us-derby-12dogs (002)

Eastern Region (left to right): Matt Pendergest with Awakened, Perry Lacy with Lacy's Cool Hand Luke, David Hendricks with Pleasant Run Sally, Mike Small with Phillips Linebacker,
and Amy Spencer with Cocklebur Breaking Bad. Central Region: Jason Super with Reed's Super Spirit, Holly Rester with Rester's Powered Up, Cecil Rester with Rester's Cajun Justice,
and Jon Lam with Lam's Prime Choice. Western Region: Chris Perkins with Perkins Rebel Within, Austin Turley with Touch's Amazing Greyce,
and Dale Pool with Carbonado's Silver Sage. (Back, left to right): Bubba Spencer and judges Larry Huffman and Wallace Reichert.

The third annual renewal of the United States Amateur Derby Invitational was hosted by the group bearing the name of the competition and ran on the grounds of the West Tennessee Field Trial Association March 25-27. Invitations to compete were extended to the four high point derbies from each of the three participating regions of the country. Following one change, the dogs competing on the Dancyville, Tenn., courses included five derbies from the eastern region, four from the central region, and three from the western region.

Thanks to the efforts of Quintin and Tasha Wiseman and the committee of Todd Babbel, Rich Heaton, Jay Lewis, and Whitley Stephenson, this invitational is certainly the most well sponsored amateur trial and the winning participants are the most awarded of any amateur competition in the sport of field trialing. The corporate and individual sponsors number almost 20, with Purina being recognized and appreciated as the primary sponsor, and more, (much more), will be shared later about the generosity of the numerous sponsors later in this article.

Wallace Reichert from Whitesburg, Georgia, brought decades of experience as he returned to judge a second time, after having judged the first running which was also held at Dancyville in 2020. Larry Huffman, from nearby Michigan City, Mississippi was the second judge. His accomplishments as a winnings professional trainer are well known and he was accompanied by the AFTCA secretary, Piper Huffman, his wife. The judges' qualifications were unquestioned, and their services were much appreciated.

Phillips' Linebacker, owned by Orrin Ingram of Franklin, Tennessee and Nathan Phillips of Oakland City, Indiana was the winner at the end of his two 45 minute braces and a 56 minute call back. Nathan Phillips was unable to attend and the winner, Rex, was handled by Mike Small and scouted by Mason Ashburn. Rester's Cajun Justice was the Runner-Up. He, Ike, was handled by his owner, Cecil Rester from Angie, Louisiana and scouted by Jon Lam as the final call, "pick'um up", was yelled. Coincidently, Rester owned two of the dogs that competed from the central region.


Phillips Linebacker hunted the first hour course on Friday morning, the third hour course on Saturday afternoon, and the second hour course during the call back on Sunday morning. He found birds four minutes into the first brace on Friday near the intersection of Tripp and Blalock roads. He strongly navigated the course over land owned by Bill Currie, Allen Currie, The Honorable Skip Taylor, and Mrs. Jan McCloud until successfully finding a second covey buried deep in a gully at 38. Rex ran an even stronger race the second afternoon as he found birds in the ninth minute on Alex Rickert's land. Continuing on the holdings of Dr. Eugene Spiotta, Rex had a stop to flush at 21 and found birds again at 33 near a small pond. Appearing unwinded, he then finished the hour across the Ed McClanahan property and back toward Blalock Road. During the call back the winner pointed at 33 to the far western edge of the Coffee Gap bottom owned by Ike and Marty Todd, but the initial stand was unproductive and Small did not ask him to relocate. He continued to hunt aggressively and executed a strong finish as he returned to the front and was seen by the judges about four minutes after time was called.

Rester's Cajun Justice competed over the second hour course during his initial fifth brace run on Friday and again during the call back on Sunday. He hunted the third hour course, in the third brace, on Saturday. Called Ike by his owner, the runner-up, on the first day, pointed and Cecil Rester flushed a large covey in a field near one of the rows of pines on Dr. Spriotta's land. He continued across Rich Boumeester's land, then Larry and Janeal Humber's until he had a second find almost immediately after going back onto the Todd land. His style, manners, and appearance were excellent each time he stood. Ike ran a strong race and had a big finish but found no birds the second day. Called back, Ike again ran a strong and forward race, achieving one nice find during that effort. Cecil Rester was proud of his derby, as was Holly, Cecil's wife, who enjoyed watching from the gallery.


The judges only called back two dogs and asked one to be on standby. The club had additional birds they planned to put on the course (or courses) that would be used for the call back. However, the judges said to not put out any more birds. Invitationals, with three days of consecutive running, are designed to be endurance stakes. Desiring that no additional birds be planted may have implied that the judges wanted the call back to be a test of endurance.

Touch's Amazing Greyce, owned by Austin Turley from Molt, Montana stood by but was not asked to run on the third morning. Greyce participated in a stand that started as a divided find in the fourth brace on the first day and demonstrated a lot of self discipline while her brace mate moved forward several times while she stood. Her manners were excellent throughout while Turley flushed, after the brace mate's handler collared him. She had one find on the second day, which enabled Turley to flush a nice covey near a johnny house on the third hour course. She had good finishes both days.


Awakened, owned by Matt Pendergest came to the competition as the high point dog from the eastern region and the overall high point dog for the year. The excellent derby ran great races both days and backed her brace mate nicely at 14 in the fifth brace on Friday. She found no birds on the second day but looked as good running as her record of previous wins would imply.

Carbonado's Silver Sage, Austin Turley's second entry from the western region, had three finds and an unproductive the first afternoon. Sage had a find at 10, marked flight a little when more birds were flushed at 17, turned around when birds were flushed at 31 and then had the unproductive at 34. He then had one unproductive in the first brace on Saturday.

Cocklebur's Breaking Bad, owned by the Bubba Spence family competed in the fourth and second braces, respectively, on the first two days. On the first afternoon he moved forward during the flushing effort of a divided find and followed birds that ran on the ground during an independent find that occurred at 41. On the second day his manners were excellent during a find that came at 43 on the second hour course.

Lacy's Cool Hand Luke handled well for his owner, Perry Lacy, but found no birds either day. On the second day he stopped once, at 25, but no birds were flushed. While he found no birds at this competition, his performances for the season were excellent as he came into the competition as the second highest point dog in the eastern region.

Lam's Prime Choice, owned by Jon Lam from Illinois came as one of the five dogs from the eastern region. He found no birds in the sixth brace on the first afternoon and nicely backed the find of his brace mate on the second morning, at 43 in, just before leaving Coffee Gap bottom near the end of the second hour course.

Perkins' Rebel Within was handled by his owner Chris Perkins, who flew from Idaho to enter the competition. Rebel came as the high point dog from the western region. On the first morning he pointed under a deer stand but moved forward significantly when the birds flew. During the sixth brace of the second day, he backed his brace mate at 21 and again at 33.

Pleasant Run Sally competed in the third brace on Friday and the fourth brace on Saturday for her owner, David Hendricks from Russellville, Kentucky. She had no birds either day but is an excellent and promising derby, as evidenced by her placements that qualified her meriting an invitation to this exclusive gathering.

Reed's Super Spirit handled by Jason Super stopped at four minutes in the first brace and then spent several minutes being seriously conscious of the possibility of birds. Yet, he never settled in and then hunted the remainder of the hour with no game. Early in the fifth brace he failed to handle a covey of birds properly and then completed the hour birdless.

The final dog in this alphabetically arranged list of entries was Rester's Powered Up. He pointed at 19 but walked forward some while Cecil Rester was attempting to flush. He then marked flight when the birds flew but regained control. He finished his time with no more birds and then had no contact with game in the fourth brace on Saturday.


"More, much more" was promised near the beginning of this article. This will take a while, but so many people, generous in many different ways, made this amazing Invitational possible. First, the West Tennessee Field Trial Association co-hosted this trial with the United States Amateur Derby Invitational Club. Members of the West Tennessee Club gathered on Wednesday, March 23, cleaning, organizing, and putting out birds for those who would arrive the following day. Bill Currie, Allen Currie, Ike Todd, Chris Mullin, Dale Pool, Gary Brown, and Crutcher Stoots were on the grounds throughout, helping the other host club and all the guests in every way needed.

The community of Dancyville's landowners who permit the three one hour courses on their properties are always outstanding sponsors and supporters the West Tennessee field trialing effort. Those landowners were named earlier in this report and appreciation was voiced for their generosity. In addition to providing significant property used on the second and third hour courses, Dr. and Mrs. Spiotta were thanked for also providing six bedrooms for visiting field trialers.

Meals and social gatherings were an important part of the Invitational. The drawing was held on Thursday night following a social hour with heavy hors d'oeuvres. Tasha prepared breakfast for everyone each morning. Lunches of pulled pork on Friday and hamburgers on Saturday were planned and prepared by Tasha and Quintin. The Friday night Purina Awards Dinner sponsored by Purina featured wonderful medium rare beef tenderloin. The Saturday night dinner for thanking the landowners and announcing call backs featured pork loin and was sponsored by Whitley Stephenson and Brian Sanchez.

When everyone gathered for the drawing each dog owner received a jacket and a grab bag filled with caps, cups, and other gifts. Each jacket was embroidered with the Purina logo, the Invitational logo, the recipient's name and the year, 2022. The judges and reporter also received jackets. The jackets were provided by Gary and Joy Lester (The White Company) and the bags were provided by Tierra Hadley. Then on Friday night Quintin thanked all the many other sponsors and donors as he told who they were and related how their generosity enabled the Invitational to be put on in such a first-class manner and how such nice gifts and prizes could be provided. As invitationals are, by design such money losers (with 12 entries @ $250.00 each), this United States Amateur Derby Invitational is a rare exception.

Many donors provided specific gifts and/or awards, but some gave checks. Purina, Phil and Melissa Town of Rule One Investing, Scott Griffin, Whitley Stephenson, and Tierra Hadley were thanked for their donations.

Then Wiseman told of the prizes that the owner of the winning dog would take home. Those included a trophy saddle obtained from Haggis Saddles, Garmin's gift of their latest Astro tracking collar, a painting on canvas of the winning dog painted by Lisa Bigham, and Purina's award of eight bags of Purina Pro Plan. The runner-up would receive a Haggis saddle, a painting of their dog created on a turkey feather by Mike Kearney of Trophy Bone Artistry, and four bags of Purina Pro Plan. The winning scout would receive a pair of custom-made chaps from Patty Ewer of Custom Leather and Canvas. Additionally, a new Breeder's Cup Award was announced. The Gary Phillips Memorial Breeders Award, donated by Nathan Phillips in memory of his father, will be given annually to the breeder of the winning derby. Purina also gave a bag of Pro Plan to the owner of each of the 12 dogs. And Wiseman shared that saddles obtained from Bob Johnson of B and B Tack in Albany, Georgia had been awarded earlier to winners of the Regional Super Qualifiers.

The winners of the above awards were, for the most part, not known at the time they were announced. But then several other awards were given to owners in the room. The Jim Crouse Memorial Plaque for the National High Point Dog was awarded to Matt Pendergest in recognition of this year's achievements of Awakened. The donors of engraved Henry Golden Boy 22 caliber repeating rifles were announced as the rifles were presented to the owner of the high point dog from each region. The rifle for the eastern region was donated by the Keith Wright family and won by Matt Pendergest. The rifle for the central region was given by Sean and Patty Derrig and won by Jason Super. The rifle for the western region was given by Alex and Brianna Rickert and won by Chris Perkins.

The effort Wiseman put into acknowledging the generosity of the many donors and sponsors was thorough, genuine, and sincerely spoken. No one left the Purina Awards Dinner without knowing who had made the many awards and prizes possible.

This third renewal of being able to bring the 12 outstanding derbies, with some representing each region of the United States, was, again, outstanding. The quality of the dogs and the integrity of the judges who watched then, the efforts of the leaders of the two host clubs, the quality of the courses, the social aspects of the gathering, the quality of the prizes and awards, the comradery, even the weather, and every other aspect of three days in Dancyville were amazing. On the last day everyone left, headed back to many parts of the nation but looking forward to gathering again next year; back to Grove Springs, Missouri in 2023. Quintin Wiseman said we would run there either the first or second week in April. As Easter will be April 8 in 2023, this writer is projecting that we will be there the second week in April.
Dancyville, Tenn., March 25
Judges: Larry Huffman and Wallace Reichert
UNITED STATES AMATEUR DERBY INVITATIONAL [Forty-Five Minute Qualifying Heats First and Second Days; Forty-Five Minute Finals] - 12 Pointers

Winner-PHILLIPS LINEBACKER, 1695679, male, by Phillips Off Line-Phillips Silver Lady. Orinn Ingram & Nathan Phillips, owners; Mike Small, handler.
Runner-Up-RESTER'S CAJUN JUSTICE, 1691667, pointer male, by Whippoorwill Justified-Rester's Katie Lee. Cecil Rester, owner and handler.

united-states-derby-inv (002)

Mike Small and Mason Ashburn with Phillips Linebacker and Jon Lam with Rester's Cajun Justice. (Rear, left to right): Bill Currie, Julia Currie, Chris Mullin, Allen Currie, Ike Todd,
Marty Todd, Gary Brown, Dr. Gene Spiotta, Piper Huffman, Larry Huffman (judge), Crutcher Stoots, Cecil Rester, Dale Pool, Holly Rester, Wallace Reichert (judge), Quintin Wiseman,
Tasha Wiseman, Jay Lewis, Todd Babbel, Cammi St. John, Keith St. John, and Trisha Babbel.

united-states-breeders cup (002)

Mike Small (left) and Mason Ashburn with Phillips Linebacker, winner of the 2022 Gary Phillips Memorial Breeders' Cup Award.