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Result: National Open Pheasant Championship

Location: Berea, Kentucky

Post Date: Dec 27, 2022

Submitted By: William S. Smith

This stake dates back to 1926 when it was initially held in Buffalo, N. Y. After some 25 renewals, it moved to Baldwinsville, N. Y., in 1950. In the early 1970s, there was a short tenure at the Blue Marsh Area near Bernville, Pa. The last running was in 1974. After more than thirty years, the stake was rejuvenated and brought to the Killdeer Plains Area near Harpster, Ohio, in 2006 mainly through the efforts of Tom Honecker who suddenly passed away in 2010. The trial remained dormant until Dr. Fred Corder of Corinth, Miss., resuscitated the National Pheasant Championship club as President of the organization.

Due to the loss of the Killdeer Plains venue, the Championship was relocated to the Tri Valley Area near Dresden, Ohio. Dresden proved to be a challenging endeavor with little and reluctant support from the Ohio Wildlife Department. After several renewals the decision was made to relocate the trial. In 2021 the stake was repositioned to the Central Kentucky Wildlife Management Area at Berea, Ky. This area is also known as the Miller Welch Central Kentucky Wildlife Management Area.

The Kentucky Field Trial Association was very supportive of the request to host the trial in 2021 and the success of that venture made possible the return of the stake this year.

The workers from the International stake continued in their same capacities for the running of the National. The members of the International club comprise the roster of the National club in the same capacities; Dr. Fred Croder, President, Andy Cline, Secretary/Treasurer, Mike Jackson and William Smith, Directors. An additional thirty Pheasants were released for this Championship. Dr. Corder deserves all the credit for resurrecting the National Open Pheasant Championship.

Our appreciation goes to Purina for donating Pro Plan to the winners, and underwriting the add. Their support is never taken for granted, but it is always respected and highly regarded. Purina also sponsored a dinner on Saturday night that was much appreciated.

SportDog is another sponsor that greatly enhances field trials. They donated a model 2525 electronic collar for the champion and a model 1825 electronic collar for the runner-up. Our thanks for their generosity.

The goal of this event is to preserve and improve the Open All-Age Pheasant dog. The trial is a Purina points trial for the Purina Top Dog Award, and the Purina Handler of the Year Award, and it is also a National Championship qualifier.

Fifteen Pointers and one Red Setter comprised the roster of the contenders.

The trial began on Sunday morning the 16th of October. Five Pheasants and seven Quail were pointed during the eight braces. Knight's Little John handled by Gary Lester for owner Scott Griffin ran in the fourth brace and scored two Pheasant finds. He ran with purpose and searched the grounds in an intelligent manner. He was out of pocket at the end of the hour, but he was back in the allotted time. His effort earned him the runner-up spot.

Lester's Shockwave is the defending National Champion. He ran in the last brace of the National and made history when he was named Champion. He repeated that performance when he ran in the last brace on Monday morning. He added another Championship to his resume when he was named the 2022 National Pheasant Champion. He was on the board early when he pointed a Pheasant at 6 minutes into the brace. To be named Champion the winner must have work on a Pheasant. Shockwave fulfilled that requirement with a picturesque pose as he stared into a feed patch as if he could see his quarry, Shockwave was also handled by Gary Lester for owners Tommy and Bonnie Hamilton. He kept Lester and scout, Korry Reinhart, busy the remaining 54 minutes of the brace as he covered the venue at a pace that left no doubt as to his conditioning. He was absent some of the time, but when he was spied he was to the front. He was not seen when time expired, The scout found him dead ahead to the front standing at 61. The flushing attempt revealed Shockwave's second Pheasant find. He is the deserving National Pheasant Champion.

Mike Jackson from Battle Ground, Indiana and your scribe from Moscow, Tennessee filled the judicial saddles. Mike has years of experience in a judicial role and it was my pleasure to work with him. Each entry was given undivided attention.

Brace 1. Bonner's Hot Rize (Gary Lester) and Imagine (Matt Pendergest). Lady Luck abandoned both dogs this morning. Rize had a quail find a 3, but he did not want to stay with Lester and after a lengthy absence Lester took the retrieval device at 28. Imagine scored a quail find at 18 and then he disappeared. Pendergest asked for the retrieval device at 44.

Brace 2. Game Heir (Fred Corder) and Lester's Storm Surge (Gary Lester). Both dogs were in and out and that kept the handlers and scouts busy looking for them. Lester called it quits and took the retrieval device at 40. Heir was to the front at 55 and the scout found him standing at 59, A very thorough relocation failed to produce any feathers and the brace ended with Heir credited with a barren stand.

Brace 3. Morgan's Yellow Leadbetter (Phil Stevenson) and Lester's Storm Chaser (Gary Lester). Both dogs scored barren stands at 22. In a very unusual manner, they were standing tail to tail with four feet separating them both pointing in opposite directions. Both handlers flushed but to no avail. Leadbetter scored a nice quail find at 33. He finished his bid with a far-reaching cast to the front still going away when time was called. Chaser backed his brace mate at 33 with picturesque style. In addition to Chaser's unproductive at 22, he had a second barren stand at 50 that ended his chances for the title.

Brace 4. Knight's Little John (Gary Lester) and Rocky River Loaded (Phil Stevenson). John had a quail find at 8 and a Pheasant find at 14 and 30. His race was forward and pleasing. Loaded pointed at 13 and a Pheasant flushed wild but was not seen officially. He failed to back at 14 and was picked up.

Brace 5. Little More Shine (Tim Hammons) and Casey Creek Crystal Ice (Buster Tucker). Shine was independent today and the retrieval device was taken at 59. Crystal had a quail find at 18 and a Pheasant find at 63. She experienced some noticeable absences during her bid.

Brace 6. Lester's Boss Man (Gary Lester) and Pendy's Good Grace (Matt Pendergest). Man was credited with a quail find at 37. He completed the hour with no other bird work. He was absent for much of the hour. Grace had a quail find at 40 and a Pheasant find at 61. She was out of pocket several times during the hour.

Brace 7. Game Rebel (Fred Corder) and Excalibur's Ice Blade (Gary Lester). Rebel was out of contention very early. Blade was not suiting Lester and he was leashed at 30.

Brace 8. Lester's Shockwave (Gary Lester) and Game Wardon (Fred Corder). Shockwave's effort was described above. Wardon went to all the likely places and he went quickly. He was the runner-up in this stake last year and he made a valiant bid to repeat, but he was unable to locate the elusive quarry today. He was absent when time expired and Corder took the retrieval device at 62.

Berea, Ky., October 16
Judges: Mike Jackson and William Smith
NATIONAL OPEN PHEASANT CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] - 15 Pointers and 1 I Irish Setter

Winner-LESTER'S SHOCKWAVE, 1681623, pointer male, by Ransom-Beane's Line Dancer. Tommy & Bonnie Hamilton, owner; Gary Lester, handler.
Runner-Up-KNIGHT'S LITTLE JOHN, 1697531, pointer male, by Lester's Storm Surge-Bonner's Platinum Doll. Scott Griffin, owner; Gary Lester, handler.

Over the course of its long history, any number of prominent names of field trial winners, owners and handlers grace the roster of the National Pheasant Championship.

Village Boy, by Seaview Rex ex Village Girl (she won the stake in 1927) was the first back-to-back winner --1931 and 1932 -- handled by Glenn Davis. Tarlheelia's Lucky Strike won the stake twice, 1940 and again in 1943. He was owned by Mrs. Eleanor Livingston (Dixie Plantation), and handled in 1940 by Earl Crangle, and in 1943 by his father, George Crangle.

Earlier, Dewey English won back-to-back renewals in 1937 and 1938, the first with Lawless Boy, the second with Uncas Flying Devil. Four years later, 1942, he won with Titan.

Eleanor Livingston was back in the ringneck winners' circle in the 1948 with Shore's Brownie Doone, the dog handled by George Evans, who would handle four additional winners carrying the Livingston colors: Kilsyth Brownie's Son (1950), Kilsyth Rusty Doone (title withheld), 1951, Kilsyth Rusty Doone in 1952, and Kilsyth Georgia Rebel, 1954.

Earl Crangle was back in 1957 with Rumson Farm Hayride which also won in 1958.

Phil Brousseau made headlines in 1961 and 1962 with Little Frenchman (a moniker he enjoyed); Phil came back in 1963 with Rig A Jig.

Fred Arant was in New York in 1964 when he won the ringneck title with Rambing Rebel Dan and also in 1967 with Tooth Acres Hawk.

Sugarshack notched two wins of the Championship for handler Bob Lamb, the first in 1966 and the second in 1968. George Hodge handled two winners, Q's Delight in 1971, and Mission in 1973. George Bevan was another handler with two wins of the pheasant classic -- High Spirit in 1972 and Gwynedd Fury in 1974, the final year the stake was held in Baldwinsville.

After the long hiatus, the trial came to the Killdeer Plains Area where Tom Honecker handled Cedaroak Bee Sting to the title in 2007 and 2008. Quester notched back-to-back wins for handler Ray Warren in 2011 and 2012. Lefty Henry handled White's Solid Reward to the crown at Tri Valley in 2013 and 2014, and Sean Derrig, the second amateur handler, won the title with Erin's Redrum in 2018 and 2019.

Luke Eisenhart was a winning handler on two occasions with the same dog --True Confidence in 2015 and 2017.

Several owners of Pheasant Championship winners are members of the Field Trial Hall of Fame, among them: James Fornear, 2008; Raymond Hoagland, 1960; Tom Honecker, 2010; John Ivester, Jr., 2018; Allen Linder, 2016; Mrs. G. M. (Eleanor) Livingston, 1966; Claudia L. Phelps, 1962.

Likewise, a number of handlers who won the stake have been honored by membership in the Hall of Fame: Fred Arant, Jr., 1986; Fred E. Bevan, 1987; George M. Crangle, 1965; George A. Evans, 1999; Edward Farrior, 1957; Howard Kirk, 1988; William F. (Bill) Rayl, 1984; Luther Smith, 1970; Paul Walker, 1969.

[A LOOK AT THE PAST was compiled by UKC editorial staff.]

National Pheasant ChF22

National Pheasant Championship. Front row, from left: Korry Reinhart with champion Lester's Shockwave Tim Hammons with ruch Knight's Little John Pam Tucker. Back row, from left: Gary Lester Fred Corder Tommi Smith William Smith, judge, Mike Jackson, judge, Andy Cline.