Event: Tommy Traylor Memorial Youth Field Trial
Result: Conecuh Station Field Trial Club
Post Date: Feb 15, 2023
Submitted By: Maria Bassham
Youth Handlers: Addison McDuffie, Katie Bell Varner, Sterling Woodruff, Claire Street, Shelby Street, Daly Dalton, Kira Jenkins, Reese Green, and Hayes Green. Backed by family members and well-wishers.
The 2nd Annual Tommy Traylor Memorial Youth Trial was held on November 12, 2022, on the beautiful grounds of Conecuh Station. This trial is a Dixie Trace and Alabama Youth Handler of the Year points trial. Eight 20-minute braces consisting of nine youth handlers and 16 bird dogs ran that Saturday. In attendance for this memorial trial was Tommy's wife, Kay Traylor; brother Toby (Uncle Doc) Traylor; daughters Melissa Lewis and Mindy McDuffie; son-in-law Hunter; grandchildren Clay Lewis and Addison McDuffie; and childhood friends, Tony Gibson and Blann Bell. It felt highly nostalgic to have them all come and support these kids participating in the sport they are so passionate about! We know Tommy was smiling down on the day with pride.
Judges for this very special event were Jamie Daniels of Arlington, Ga., and Claudia McNamee of Chattahoochee Hills, Ga. We were honored to have them in the judicial saddles and share their time and expertise with these young handlers. We want to thank Darron Hendley for all he does to keep this sport alive and running. These kids are our future amateur handlers; without them, this sport would not flourish. Thank you also for the delicious hamburger lunch provided by Ban and Allison Stewart. It was enjoyed and very much appreciated by all who attended. Thank you to Chris and Cindy Sellers for paying the entry fees for all the young contenders.
Tony and Becky Gibson graciously donated beautiful winners' prizes. The first-place winner received the Tommy Traylor Memorial rotating trophy placed into competition last year by Jack and Fran Miller, a first-place plaque, six commemorative silver dollars in a gorgeous wooden box, and a beautiful leather headstall donated by Roger Key. The runners-up also received plaques, silver dollars in wooden boxes, and gorgeous, handmade leather tack.
Along with our two judges joining us from across the river in Georgia, two youth handlers did. Daley Dalton and Kira Jenkins traveled from South Georgia to run with their Alabama friends. Not only are handlers Addison, Katie Bell, Reese, Shelby, and Claire, all fierce competitors, but the support and encouragement they showed each other while braced against one another were heartwarming and inspirational. Junior handler Sterling Woodruff was outfitted like a professional on his perfect pony, Shiny. From his starched white button-down shirt to his chaps, whistle, and shotgun, he looked like a pro while flushing birds at each find. Hayes Green captured everyone's attention with his tone and projection of his calls while he handled his dogs in braces No. 4 and 6. The support of these young trialers and the gallery's excitement was thrilling to watch and be a part of.
Mrs. Kay Traylor announced the winners in the clubhouse. They came out of braces No. 5 and 8. Liver and white pointer female Belle, handled by Shelby Street, took first place with an excellent showing. Belle is a retired all-age dog that has found new life in the youth leagues! Shelby's proud parents, Bucky and Meredith, were present to enjoy this big win with Shelby. Kira Jenkins expertly handled her pointer male, Jag, around the course and earned second. Reese Green returned to the winners' circle at third with her consistent performer, Josie. Josie is a very well-built German shorthair with an uncanny nose.
The Alabama Youth Field Trial Association recently started a junior division for handlers 12 and younger. A Top Dog in the junior division is also awarded at each trial. At year-end, the top junior handler will be recognized. Being twelve years old, Shelby Street also won Top Dog in the junior division with Belle.
Brace No. 1--Bo (Claire Street) and Sassy (Katie Bell Varner). Bo was on point at 5, but birds were elusive, bracemate Sassy backed. Then Sassy went on point at 6, and Bo backed; birds were flushed. Katie raised her hat a second time at pick-up, and birds were again put into flight.
Brace No. 2--Sammy (Sterling Woodruff, Junior Division) and TW Trouble (Addison McDuffie). Sammy, Sterling, and his pony, Shiny, were quite a team. Sammy had three finds along the gravel road. Sterling was outfitted handsomely upon his trustworthy steed, which handled as well as his bird dog! Addison and Trouble weren't as well rewarded for their efforts. Trouble ran big and hunted the piney woods impressively but didn't have any bird work.
Brace No. 3--Jill (Sterling Woodruff, Junior Division) and TW Passion (Addison McDuffie). Sterling and Addison were braced together again with Jill and Passion. Jill handled well for her young handler, but no birds were found. Passion had one beautiful covey find at 16, but the heat was visibly taking its toll on this contender. Both dogs finished well!
Brace No. 4--Ann (Hayes Green) and Sam (Katie Bell Varner). Ann went hunting deep to the left, and we went right, so her scout went to retrieve her at pickup, but no birds. Hayes had the best handler's voice out there! Sam hunted hard for Katie and was always to the front. He went on point at 6, but there was only a pile of feathers, and Katie took her on. No other bird work.
Brace No. 5--Josie (Reese Green) and Jag (Kira Jenkins). Exciting brace, both dogs hunted well with strong gun dog ground races. Reese and Josie had two good finds; the first was at 8 with birds in flight before the handler could flush, and the second was a divided find at 13. Kira and Jag had two finds; the first was the divided find at 13, and the second was at pickup with a memorable relocation.
Brace No. 6--Jack (Hayes Green, Junior Division) and Lucky (Claire Street). Hayes returned for another round, this time with Jack, who had his first find at 5. His second came at 14, where there were no birds but a bunch of feathers, and then a divided find at 19. Claire and Lucky had the divided find at 19.
Brace No 7--Sally (Daley Dalton) and Jenny (Shelby Street, Junior Division. The birds were elusive for Sally and Daley, with the first point finding feathers at 8 and the second finding no birds or feathers at 12. Jenny and Shelby had a single find at 10.
Brace No. 8--Bo (Reese Green) and Belle (Shelby Street, Junior Division). Bo hunted close to Reese for the full 20 minutes but did not have any bird work. Belle and Shelby's performance was strong and stylish, with Belle hunting forward and deeper than the course path. All three covey finds at 6, 10, and 19 were flushed easily by Shelby, impressing the judges.
If you are interested in youth trials, call Darron Hendley at (334) 300-5836 for more information.