Event: Sunflower Open All-Age Classic
Result: Kansas Championship Association
Location: Blue Mountain, Mississippi
Post Date: Feb 6, 2023
Submitted By: Rachel Russell
Sunflower Open All-Age. From left: Joy and Gary Lester, Mike Lemons with Lester's Storm Surge, Judges Bill Mason and Perry Lacy, and Billy Blackwell and Steve Hurdle with Como Rain. Not pictured: 2nd place Whippoorwill Vette.
We want to extend a special thank you to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for allowing us to run on their impeccable grounds - Hell Creek WMA in Blue Mountain, Miss., Doug Arthur for driving the dog wagon/ranger, Karen Blackwell for assisting with lunches and to our judges, Bill Mason and Perry Lacy, for traveling many miles to spend three days in the saddle looking at some of the best dogs in the country. We had 19 entries and 19 starters for the All-Age and 21 entries with 20 starters for the Derby. Overall, the Sunflower Classic Open All-Age and Derby stakes were both great stakes with 21 bird contacts total, good (but hot) weather for North Mississippi and great company. Thank you to all of the handlers and owners that supported our trial.
The trial began on November 7th at a comfortable 57 degrees with a mix of sun and clouds. National Champion (2021) Coldwater Thunder, handled by Steve Hurdle, and Superstition Final Touch, handled by Brody Byrd, were turned loose at 8:00 sharp. At 14, the handlers rode up on both dogs pointed on the east line of the field immediately before the first rode crossing. Both handlers flushed and the dogs were awarded a divided find. Hurdle called point for Coldwater Thunder at 49 in the southeast corner of the big field before the pines that lead to the second road crossing; however, Superstition Final Touch failed to back and was ordered up. Hurdle took Thunder on without flushing. Thunder continued with a productive find at 57 on the east line after the road crossing and finished strong to the front just this side of the church. Bonner's Hot Rize, handled by Gary Lester, and Beeler's Texas Jig, handled by Scott Beeler turned loose at 9:27 at the old house. At 07, we rode up the first ditch crossing to see Texas Jig pointed at the end of the big field. Hot Rize made a nice cast on the south side of the field and backed appropriately. Beeler released his dog but could not come up with any birds so he took the UP and both dogs continued until shortly after the second road crossing behind the old house when Beeler picked Beeler's Texas Jig up at his own discretion. Hot Rize finished the hour deep at the end of the long bottom.
The third brace of the morning turned loose at 10:59 with Knight's Little John, handled by Gary Lester, and Como Thunder, handled by Steve Hurdle, taking the field in front of the clubhouse. Como Thunder had a productive limb find at :07 at the end of the big field at the gap before we turn left to go through the pines, followed by a find at 55 at the gap at the end of the horseshoe field before we head back east to cross Hell Creek. Lester picked Little John up at 55. Como Thunder finished the brace strong just across Hell Creek.
Whippoorwill Vette, handled by Larry Huffman, and Superstition Jake, handled by Brody Byrd took the first brace after lunch with temps in the low 70s and sunny skies. Jake scored a nice find in the pines after the first road crossing at 18; however, he failed to back at the end of the pines before they drop off into the bottom at 21 and was ordered up. Vette landed a perfect find at 21 and continued strong and to the front in the bottom along Hell Creek until he was stopped at 41 by another great find on the south side of the field immediately after the first ditch crossing. The competition cranked up as Vette scored two more impeccable finds at 48 and 56, finishing strong just this side of the church. He was later awarded second place for his performance. Lester's Storm Surge, handled by Gary Lester, and Smoke Roll, handled by Steve Hurdle had the fifth brace of the day. We rode up the first ditch crossing to see Storm Surge rounding the southeast corner shortly before he was stopped by a find at :08 in the bottom. Smoke Roll was picked up for a failure to back and Storm Surge went on to finish the brace strong in the very end of the long bottom. The last brace of the day included performances by Como Rain, handled by Steve Hurdle, and Lester's Storm Chaser, handled by Gary Lester. Both dogs rounded the left edge in the second field and stormed through the pines before crossing Hell Creek, with Como Rain continuing on as a gliding white speck along the left edge of the second field. He was stopped for finds at 47 and 53. Lester picked up at 53 and Como Rain completed the hour strong.
Coldwater Spectre, handled by Weldon Bennett, and Lester's Boss Man, handled by Gary Lester, had the first brace of the warm, sixty-degree morning of November 8th. The dogs crossed the road headed into the pines and we rode up on them pointed at 21 towards the end of the pines. They were awarded a divided find and finished the hour by the silos. Lester's Shock Wave, handled by Gary Lester, and Miller's White Reign, handled by Brody Byrd, had the second brace of the morning. We rode up the first ditch crossing to see the dogs at the end of the field, where they both stopped at 09 for a productive divided find. They went on to have another "divided" find at the island at the end of the pines just before the silos. Brody decided to take White Reign on when Lester chose to relocate Shock Wave but instead, White Reign went back and backed Shock Wave. After a second relocation, Lester was able to get the birds up for a second find. Both dogs finished in the long bottom, with Shock Wave strong and to the front at the end of the long bottom. Nosam's Sweet Water, handled by Larry Huffman, and Coldwater Odyssey, handled by Weldon Bennett, had the last brace before lunch. Bennett called point at 14 for Coldwater Odyssey and went on after showing a rabbit. Huffman had a bird contact at 38 and picked up. Odyssey went on to have a find at 45 and finished the brace in the horseshoe field before Hell Creek. Steve Hurdle had the last brace of the trial with C S Code Blue and he picked up at :41 in the field below the old house.
Congratulations to the winners! First Place was awarded to Lester's Storm Surge, hanlded by Gary Lester, scouted by Korry Rinehart and owned by Tommy and Bonnie Hamilton. Second Place was awarded to Whipporwill Vette, handled by Larry Huffman, scouted by Nick Thompson and owned by Earl Connoly. Third Place was awarded to Como Rain, handled by Steve Hurdle, scouted by Brody Byrd and owned by Billy Blackwell.
Blue Mountain, Miss., November 7
Judges: Perry Lacy and Bill Mason
SUNFLOWER OPEN ALL-AGE CLASSIC [One-Hour Heats] - 18 Pointers and 1 Setter
1st-LESTER'S STORM SURGE, 1681624, pointer male, by Ransom-Beane's Line Dancer. Tommy & Bonnie Hamilton, owner; Gary Lester, handler.
2d-WHIPPOORWILL VETTE, 1682323, pointer male, by Whippoorwill Justified-S J Kentucky Sue. Earl Connoly, owner; Larry Huffman, handler.
3d-COMO RAIN, 1687713, pointer male, by Skyfall-Catch Me Dot. B. K. & Rachel Blackwell, Doug Arthur & David Russell, owner; Steve Hurdle, handler.
Sunflower Classic Open Derby
The Derby stake started at the old house on the second course immediately following the All-Age stake under sunny skies and record-breaking temperatures in the mid-80s. Game Mode, handled by Ike Todd, and Rex, handled by Steve Hurdle, were in the first brace; however, Hurdle scratched Rex shortly before the start of the derby stake. Game Mode finished the 30-minute brace. The next brace turned loose at the silos south of the church and included Touch's Edge Patch, handled by Ike Todd, and Mike, handled by Steve Hurdle. Todd picked Touch's Edge Patch up at 12 and Mike finished the brace in the next field over from the long bottom, alongside Hell Creek. The third brace turned loose at the clubhouse and included performances by Haney's Silver Wings, handled by Ike Todd, and Beeler's White Knight, handled by Scott Beeler. Both dogs could be seen headed towards Hell Creek at the end of the second field and again, strong and to the front after crossing Hell Creek. Beeler's White Knight finished at the end of the second field after crossing Hell Creek. C S Glow Plug, handled by Steve Hurdle, and Haney's All In, handled by Ike Todd had the last brace of the day and both dogs completed the brace just before crossing Hell Creek headed back to the clubhouse.
The stake continued into Wednesday morning under, once again, warm and partly sunny skies. Rob's Choice, handled by Rob Englert, and Touch's Edge Bill, handled by Ike Todd, started the morning off with some much-anticipated bird work. Bill had a productive find in the pines at 21 and both dogs finished the brace. Miller's King Poast, handled by Gary Lester, and Haney's Hurricane Seeker, handled by Ike Todd, put on a show for the second brace of the morning. As we crossed the first ditch crossing, both dogs were seen rounding the big field before the pines and seen again just before pickup past the silos before the church. Game Surge, handled by Ike Todd, and Mr. Arkansas, handled by Mike Lemons, turned loose at the house for the third brace of the morning. Game Surge had a find at :05 at the end of the big field before the pines and both dogs finished at the silos. Ike Todd handled Southern Shadow Bob and Weldon Bennett handled Coldwater War Cry in the fourth brace. Bennett requested the tracker at 20 and Bob had a find at 23 on the edge along Hell Creek just past the long bottom. Ike Todd handled Game Cake and Gary Lester handled Mayfield Storm Chaser in the fifth brace. Both dogs finished the brace in the field before the second ditch crossing. The sixth brace included performances from Shagtime Sunny, handled by Ike Todd, and Arkansas Threat, handled by Mike Lemons. Glimpses of Arkansas Threat could be seen, with him powering to the front and hunting the edges. He was nowhere to be seen at pickup; however, he was rounding the front when we rode into the field before crossing Hell Creek headed to the clubhouse. Shagtime Sunny finished the brace as well. The trial concluded with a bye - Knight's Hill Bill, handled by Ike Todd, and he was picked up on the first course in the pines behind the clubhouse at 11.
Congratulations to the Winners! First Place was awarded to Beeler's White Knight, handled by Scott Beeler, scouted by Steve Hurdle, and owned by Scott and Charles Beeler. Second Place was awarded to Miller's King Post, handled by Gary Lester, scouted by Korry Rinehart and ownerd by Al Briarson and Jannie Chapman. Third Place was awarded to Arkansas Threat, handled by Mike Lemons, scouted by Rob Englert and owned by Mike Lemons.
SUNFLOWER OPEN DERBY CLASSIC - 20 Pointers and 1 Setter
1st-BEELER'S WHITE KNIGHT, 1700938, pointer male, by Touch's Smooth River-Touch's Wildwood Flower. Scott R. & Charles Beeler, owners; Scott Beeler, handler.
2d-MILLER'S KING POAST, 1702090, pointer male, by Lester's Storm Surge-R W Susie Q. Al Briarson & Jannie Chapman, owners; Gary Lester, handler.
3d-ARKANSAS THREAT, 1700971, pointer male, by Lester's Storm Surge-Game Maggie. Mike Lemons, owner and handler.
Sunflower Open Derby. From left: Billy Blackwell with granddaughter Anniston Russell, Scott Beeler with Beeler's White Knight, Judge Bill Mason, Gary Lester with Miller's King Post, Ferrel Miller, Doug Arthur, Mike Lemons with Arkansas Threat and Rachel Russell.