Event: Misty Morn Masked Man Named Champion; Dialed In, Runner-Up
Result: National Amateur All-Age Invitational Championship
Post Date: Mar 14, 2023
Submitted By: Jim Atchison
National Amateur All-Age Invitational Winners (front, from left): Jonathan Burch with Misty Morn Masked Man and Matt Pendergest with Dialed In. (Back, from left to right): Piper Huffman, Dr. Rick Carlisle, Joey McAlexander, Elise McAlexander, Judge Tom Shenker, Charlie
Frank Bryan, Pat Bryan, Judge Kirk Law, Chris Weatherly, Megan Henry, Jim Pendergest, and Ryan Braddock.
The AFTCA sponsored the 42nd National Amateur All-Age Invitational Championship on the six National Championship courses of Ames Plantation from December 12-14. The Championship was initially scheduled a week earlier but was delayed because of the weather forecast, and the rescheduled week proved to be satisfactory, with no rain the first two days and rain that caused only about an hour and a half delay on the morning of the callbacks, thus enabling the Championship to be still concluded by noon on Wednesday.
The Championship was won by Misty Morn Masked Man ("Tonto"), owned and handled by Joey McAlexander from Holly Springs, Miss. Tonto is a 7-year-old pointer male. The runner-up was Dialed In ("Claire"), a 9-year-old pointer female owned and handled by Jim Pendergest from Lexington, Ky. Tom Shenker of Hurtsboro, Ala., and Kirk Law of Dawson, Ga., judged the Championship. The pair are longtime friends, successful field trialers, and respected judges. Both have had years of experience managing plantations and providing hospitality on large
properties where quail hunting has been a primary focus. The services of the congenial pair were greatly appreciated, and their placements were unquestioned.
Purina and Garmin were, again, the much-appreciated corporate sponsors of the Championship. Purina provided caps for the dog owners, bags of dog food for the champion and runner-up, and sponsored the dinner on Monday night. Garmin gave tracking systems to both winners, and the support of the sponsors was acknowledged as AFTCA Secretary Piper Huffman voiced appreciation to each.
Appreciation was also spoken for the continuing generous hospitality of the Trustees of Ames Plantation, represented on-site by the Center Director, Dr. Rick Carlisle, and the newly appointed Assistant Center Director, Matt Backus. Also, Ryan Braddock and Chris Weatherly, long-serving managers on the Plantation, worked continuously throughout the Championship and served as marshals of every brace.
Ken Blackman operated the dog wagon. Blackman, Aubrey Green, and Piper Huffman were at every road crossing, providing safety and hospitality at the end of each brace. Sausage and biscuits were available for everyone at the end of the first brace each morning.
The bird situation at Ames was outstanding. Close to 50 coveys were moved during the contest, and numerous others were ridden up by scouts, judges, and the gallery. Not only was the covey count high, but the number of birds in each covey was large, and the birds flew powerfully. Birds were located on every course; only one dog had no birds during her two-hour effort, and some dogs were on birds six to eight times. The efforts of those caring for the birds on Ames were very apparent and much appreciated.
After delaying the Championship for a week because of the weather forecast for the previous week, the weather for two days of the three was very nice. Monday and Tuesday were cloudy, with comfortable temperatures for all involved. Hard rain with lightning came on Wednesday morning. Still, computer technology enabled weather monitoring, and the callbacks started about an hour and a half late and were finished during sprinkles and periodic light rain.
Tonya Brotherton welcomed everyone to the National Bird Dog Museum on Monday night, where Gail Haynes catered the awards dinner sponsored by Purina. Dr. Carlisle welcomed everyone to the Ames Manor on Tuesday night. Charlie Frank Bryan poured refreshments in the Gun Room before everyone enjoyed heavy hors d'oeuvres served in Mrs. Ames' dining room. While there, the callbacks for Wednesday were announced.
The Champion and Runner-up
Misty Morn Masked Man, under the whistle of Joey McAlexander, won the Championship with his powerful performance during three hours of running, coupled with his manners and style as he stood pointed seven times on birds during the contest. Additionally, he had no unproductives, as did none of the four dogs called back on the third morning. He ran first in the fifth brace on Monday. He was gone in the first hour for a while but was back to find birds at 31 and to have a second huge covey at 51. Competing in the first brace on Tuesday morning, he had birds five times. Those finds were at 8 before crossing Buford Ellington Road, at 15 on the south end of the Morgan field, at 36 with a divided find in the Turner Pines, at 47 near the Harris #2 Cemetery, and 55 near National Championship Drive. Then, called back as the top dog in the first brace, Tonto produced an excellent effort for the entire hour but found no birds. He finished the callback hour well to the front on the Mary Scott Loop. Tonto certainly pleased his owner and impressed all who enjoyed his three hours of performance.
Dialed In, owned and handled by Jim Pendergest, earned the title of runner-up with three hours of the most consistent performance of the Championship. Her efforts produced birds twice, at 14 and 48, during the third brace on Monday, four times during the last brace on Tuesday afternoon as she stood stylishly at 9, 20, 27, and 53, and twice more with finds at 23 and 58 as she ran as the bottom dog in the second hour of the Wednesday callback. She was strong, stylish, and beautiful as she pleased the judges, her owner and scout, and those who watched her on each of the three days of the contest.
Back Touch's Blue Knight ("Pete"), owned by Woody Watson, produced outstanding performances during the first two days and was one of the top two dogs called back as the bottom dog in the first callback brace. Pete had birds five times in the last brace on Monday afternoon. The first of those finds was at 30 seconds, followed by others at 3, 29, 34, and 58. On Tuesday morning, he found birds again, once at 25, in the third brace. His number of finds, strength, and style easily made him a top contender at the end of two days. Unfortunately, Pete lost style points during the callback when he stood at 30 and birds were flushed from a messy uprooted tree situation. He flagged as he stood initially and again in each of a couple of other stands on relocation, thus forfeiting his chances of placement in the championship. Hendrix's Touch Up ("Hank") was the top dog in the second brace of those invited to return for a callback during the third hour of performance. Hank, co-owned by Guy and Burke Hendrix and handled by Burke, returned to this Championship as the reigning champion, having earned the title during this prestigious contest's 2020 and 2021 renewals. Hank found birds in the first brace on Monday morning at 17, 48, and 58. He had birds again, at 20, in the fifth brace on the second day. He was strong, fast, and extremely stylish during those first days of the competition. During the callback on the third morning, he had an unproductive stand at 6 and finished the hour with less speed and strength than he had demonstrated on the first two days.
The Other Eight Competitors
In the order of running on the first day K H Game Train, owned and handled by Scott Griffin, had five finds and three backs during the Championship. On the first morning, he ran a strong and forward race as he backed his bracemate at 17 and 46 before making a nice independent find at 58. On Tuesday afternoon, he backed his bracemate at 16 and then located birds at 18, 21, 26, and 39. Game Train's excellent showing in Tennessee surely pleased his personable North Carolina owner.
Southern Shadows T Rex, owned and handled by Ric Peterson, produced birds three times accompanied by two backs during his Monday and Tuesday appearances. On the first morning, in the second brace, he found no birds independently and was gone for about 14 minutes during the first half of the hour. On Tuesday, he had birds at 16 in the fourth brace before crossing Ames, then backed at 36 and had birds again for Peterson at 39 and 44.
Rebel Survivor, owned and handled by David Williams, had birds once, at 7, during his second brace bid on Monday morning. On Tuesday afternoon, in the sixth brace, he stood at 30 seconds in an effort that involved numerous relocations for five minutes and proved unproductive. He then had birds nicely at 15 and stood again at 20, where both dogs had finds while standing no more than 50 yards apart. Afterward, Williams shot again at 27 and finally again as Rebel Survivor had an additional find at 59.
Lawless Speck went next for his Illinois handler, Jim Lawless, who, together with his wife, Kay Morrison, is actively involved in many field trials in western Illinois, specifically on the Pyramid State Park grounds. Speck was gone a good bit during his first day, third brace effort. On the second afternoon, he had birds at 8 and then again in an excellent divided find where he and his bracemate stood close to the location of the former dairy unit, once operated on Ames Plantation.
Small's White Charger ran well for his owner/handler Mike Small but found no birds Monday afternoon. On Tuesday morning, he stood once, at 36 in the Turner Pines, sharing a nice divided find with his bracemate before continuing birdless for the remainder of the hour. Handled by Gary McKibben, Coldwater Paradise had birds four times, accompanied by one back and one unproductive, during the two hours of hunting. Coldwater Paradise had birds at 16 and 25 in the fourth brace on Monday afternoon. Birds were moved again at 47 but flew before the judge could get to the site. On Tuesday morning, in the second brace, she had some delay before crossing Turner Road the first time but was back at 17 and backed her bracemate at 19. She had no birds in an unproductive stand at 30 and then scored an additional find at 47 when McKibben flushed a huge covey.
Pendy's Good Grace made a good effort for her owner, Matt Pendergest, during both the fifth brace on Monday and the third brace on Tuesday. Unfortunately, she produced no birds during either effort. Yet, Pendergest surely enjoyed his time at Ames, accompanied by Megan Henry, and scouted for his dad, Jim Pendergest, as Dialed In, the dam of Pendy's Good Grace, was the runner-up of this Championship. Fred Corder, first stood at 30 seconds in the sixth brace on Monday while both handlers shot. He continued forward and had birds with ease at 7. During the remainder of the hour, he backed his bracemate at 34 and again at 58. On Tuesday morning, in the second brace, after crossing Turner Road and hunting southward toward the Avent house, Game Heir had birds at 10. He then finished the hour with an unproductive at 15, the location of a large covey at 19 near the Avent house, and by backing his bracemate at 30.
The efforts of Piper Huffman, the hospitality and abundant birds at Ames Plantation, the generosity of Purina and Garmin as sponsors, the top-notch judges, decent weather, and certainly the performances of the highest point-earning amateur all-age dogs in the nation came together to make the 42nd renewal of the National Amateur All-Age Invitational Championship a great success.
Grand Junction, Tenn., December 12
Judges: Kirk Law and Tom Shenker
NATIONAL AMATEUR ALL-AGE INVITATIONAL
CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats on two
Consecutive Days; One-Hour Finals] - 12 Pointers
Winner--MISTY MORN MASKED MAN, 1667341, pointer male, by Miller's Dialing In-Mac's Inspiration. Joey McAlexander, owner and handler.
Runner-Up--DIALED IN, 1655274, pointer female, by Miller's Dialing In-Rester's Zumba Girl. Jim Pendergest, owner and handler.