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Result: Texas Open Shooting Dog Championship

Location: Conway, Arkansas

Post Date: Feb 13, 2023

Submitted By: John Van Horn

Texas OSD ChF22

Texas Open Shooting Dog Championship Winners (from left): Judge Tony King, Ronnie Miller with Upfront's McQuade, Shawn Kinkelaar, Robby Robinson with Valiant Heir, Judge Dennis Sneed, and John Van Horn.

Commencing November 15, a Tuesday immediately following a gun deer season at Camp Robinson SUA, we started the fall season calendar of trials with the Texas Open Shooting Dog Championship. Recently we have had a shift in management, policy, and direction by the regional supervisor biologist, Stephen Fowler, and his assistant, Brad Carner, on Camp Robinson's field trial grounds. Camp Robinson has been one of the classic field trial grounds from its conception, pitting dog, horse, and handler against wild birds with open savannah grass fields that held weedy edges and Bobwhite quail. Why anyone would want to change something that works fabulously is beyond me, but here we are. The new policy proposed by Fowler and Carner included summer burns in August. Some of this was in response to their past inefficient management of the sweet gums that took over when they went to a three-year burn rotation. The AGF also started a no bush hog policy. Without a spring burn and some bush hogging, the grounds would be too thick for trialing. The final result is a patchwork of heavier than desired cover, some just right and some too thin. Any time you change management practices, there will be some controversy, and we have had some. It is not as good as it was, but it is still better than most.

We moved 6-8 wild coveys of birds per day due to the volunteer efforts by a dedicated group of field trailers that released at their expense five thousand quail. This dedicated group also has been responsible for feeding the birds as well. As a general note, by December, these are wild birds. They act like wild birds, meaning they feed when the weather is optimum for them to survive. When it is cold and frosty in the mornings, they won't leave the roost until mid-morning. When the weather is bad, they lay up under cover. For a dog to find quail, it must hunt for them. They are not along a mowed path. A dog also must be lucky enough to draw a time that the birds are moving naturally feeding. Several dogs accomplished this feat in these trials. All of them were real bird dogs you would be proud to put in your kennels and take hunting.

Before we get into the running, I need to thank our sponsor, Purina, for their generous support and the wonderful products they make to support our animals. Thank you, Greg Blair, for your efforts. Thanks to Roger Martin, who drove the dog wagon--always at the right place and time. Thanks to my wife, Sandy Van Horn, who ensured snacks were on the wagon and that lunch was hot and ready at the break. Ronnie Miller was in the saddle for every brace as marshal, as was Rita Ornsby. These are the people that made the event happen. Thank you so much for your efforts!

Our judges, Tony King from north central Missouri and Dennis Sneed from Effingham, Ill., both have considerable experience in the field trial world. Tony King currently has a strong competitor with Andy Daugherty. Dennis Sneed shared multiple accounts of his all-age experience during dinner one night. Both men have strong all-age backgrounds, and their judgments reflected that. They were searching for a dog with solid ground effort first with bird work.

This year we tried something different--Day Money. Thank you, Dennis Sneed, for your helpful advice on this topic. The top dog of the day received $250; the champion and runner-up did not receive Day Money. The winners were announced at the end of the trial. I am not sure we accomplished much with Day Money and would recommend anyone contemplating trying it to do more research than we did.

Our champion, Upfront's McQuade, handled by Shawn Kinkelaar, ran in the second brace in the afternoon on the second day. McQuade was braced with Hale's High Flyer, handled by Eddie Taylor. The dogs were released on top of the mountain. Both dogs hit the ground, digging. High Flyer did not make the turn at Dead Horse Curve at 15, and Taylor asked for the tracker. McQuade swung wide at Seawright's Cut and had to be gathered. Kinkelaar had him under control by the Oak Tree parking lot. Late in the stake with strong ground effort but no birds, Kinkelaar sent his charge up the right side of the big field heading toward the Nursery Pond. McQuade was running down Nursery Pond Road past an old bi-colored patch with a feeder. The reporter called the flight of the birds, and Tony King confirmed them. We rode to the hillside and found McQuade buried in a thicket, still pointing with style. Kinkelaar fired his gun. The judges wanted to see McQuade finish. Kinkelaar released his dog and hunted him to the Fox Pen, where he was picked up.

Our runner-up champion ran in the first brace of the second morning, braced with last year's Purina Top Shooting Dog of the Year, Wind Ridge Sugar Plum. Our start was delayed by heavy frost, which is unusual for Arkansas this time of year. Part of the new management plan by the AG&F was summer burns. The first 30 minutes of the morning course had been burned by the AG&F in August. The draught kept the cover from coming back. It turned out to be a wonderful place to show a running dog, but it did not have enough cover to hold birds on the burnt ground. Both dogs took in the country with big strides. At the mountain crossing, Valiant Heir swung wide to the right and had to be gathered as we crossed. Sugar and Taylor had already crossed the mountain and made the shooting range turn when Heir came down the paved road past the dog wagon. Heir styled up into a handsome point at approximately 15 feet from where ten riders and a doe had passed minutes before. Shawn looked over his shoulder at Dennis Sneed as if to ask what he expected. Dennis told him, "If it were my dog, I'd flush." Shawn got off his horse and flushed a large covey of quail. Heir recaptured the front, finishing strong. Sugar was lost at 50 but was found on point.

Day Money was paid to Levi Express Visa (Virgil Moore), who had two of the best finds of the stake, and Silver W Carson (Virgil Moore) with a strong ground effort. Day money was withheld on day two. Besides the champion and runner-up, no other dogs finished the hour on day two.
Conway, Ark., November 15
Judges: Tony King and Dennis Sneed
TEXAS OPEN SHOOTING DOG CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] - 31 Pointers and 3 Setters

Winner--UPFRONT'S MCQUADE, 1690419, pointer male, by Chelsea's Thunder Bolt-Upfront's Southern Star. Lance Schulz & Bjorn Peterson, owners; Shawn Kinkelaar, handler.
Runner-Up--VALIANT HEIR, 1699602, pointer male, by Valiant-Reed's Winter Spirit. Robby Robinson, owner; Shawn Kinkelaar, handler
Ed Beverly Memorial Derby
The Derby started on time at 8:00 a.m. the following day. Brady's Fresh Starter won first place, ran in the third brace, and was owned and handled by John Van Horn. Brady had a nice find at 15, showing fall derby manners. Second and third-place dogs both came out of the first brace. Game Street, owned and handled by John Van Horn, was second, with a huge strong ground effort. Hale's Country On, owned and handled by Dr. Jeffery Hale, was third. Raina's ground effort was also strong but not as fluid as the one put down by Game Street.
ED BEVERLY MEMORIAL DERBY - 7 Pointers and 2 Irish Setters
1st--BRADY'S FRESH STARTER, 1694328, pointer female, by Hale's Kickstarter-Hale's Mae Do. John Van Horn, Jr., owner and handler.
2d--GAME STREET, 1700581, pointer male, by Touch's Grey Street-Game Dot. John Van Horn, Jr., owner and handler.
3d--HALE'S COUNTRY ON, 1702469, pointer female, by Hale's Kickstarter-Hale's Mae Do. Dr. Jeffrey Hale, owner and handler.

Ed Beverly DerbyF22

Ed Beverly Memorial Derby Winners (from left): Sandy Van Horn, John Van Horn, Ronnie Miller with Brady's Fresh Starter, Robby Robinson, Judge Tony King, Virgil Moore with Game Street, Judge Denis Sneed, Rick Thone, and Dr. Jeffrey Hale with Hale's Country On.