Result: Tennessee Open Shooting Dog Championship
Location: Dancyville, Tennessee
Post Date: Mar 23, 2023
Submitted By: Ken Blackman
Too many years ago to mention, I took a Journalism class to fill a slot in my schedule. On the first day of class, the teacher, Miss Williams (fresh out of College) asked the class what were the key elements of a news story? Like a bunch of "knots on a log", she got no responses. One girl finally blurted out, "A Title?", and a rousing chant came from the 'Peanut Gallery". Miss Williams laughed and then, rattled off a sentence that has stayed with me for well over 55 years. 'Timeliness, accuracy, focus and a large element of interest in the subject". Well, the timeliness is gone on this article. In an age of the Internet, Facebook and Instagram most of you already know which dogs won, who handled it and who owned it. But, I'll note that at the end of the article. So, I'll put a primary focus on what and where we ran the 2023 Tennessee Open Shooting Dog Championship.
For many years the West Tennessee Field Trial Club has hosted bird dog field trials on the Currie Farm. Allen and his brother, Bill have continued the legacy, begun by their dad, Thomas, and the focal point of the grounds......the Clubhouse. It provides shelter, warmth, stabling for participants horses, visitors and their mounts, in warm, dry and comfortable facilities. As you step inside, you'll be amazed at the scores of framed pictures and memorabilia on the walls and in bookcases. A complete kitchen and creature comfort facilities are always clean and welcoming to the guests. But possibly, most impressive, those walls present the history of our sport for nearly 8 decades. On the west end of the building's exterior, you'll find a mural, painted by Marty Stoots Todd, of none other than a pointer locked up on a covey of Quail. Today' the keystone events are the West Tennessee Amateur Trials held in December. During the same weekend of the National Championship for Bird Dogs, at Ames Plantation in mid-February, the West Tennessee Open is the first qualifying Trial of the year. During decades of use, it has also hosted trials for The Volunteer Brittany Club, NBHA, US Derby Invitational and recently for the last 6 years, the Tennessee Open Shooting Dog Championship. Scrolling through past issues of "The American Field" repository at the Bird Dog Museum in Grand Junction, the reader, can easily see how the demographics of the grounds used to contest field trials near, Dancyville, Tenn., have changed. Initially, the Open Trial started at the Clubhouse and 3 braces ran westward through farm fields to the 'old schoolhouse' at the village of Dancyville on TN Hwy, 76. After a hearty lunch at the restored Dancyville School, the dogs, contestants and gallery headed back eastward, on different grounds, ending at the clubhouse. With current mapping tools, those 6 courses would have traversed approximately 16 miles (as the crow flies) to complete the day's running. Think about that when you ride your horse in today's trials! Currently, the club uses grounds graciously provided by several landowners. In addition to the Currie family, Dr. Gene Spiotta, Ike Todd, Fayette County Mayor Skip Taylor, Ed McClanahan, Alex Rickert, Larry Umber and Richie Boumeister can't be thanked enough for the use of their land. And, as long as I'm doling out thanks, the members of the West Tennessee Club officers, Dr. Marion Brown, JP Hathcock, Crutcher Stoots, and Dale Pool along with the Curries, Dr. Spiotta and a whole bunch more wives and kids who help out, certainly shows the people who come to watch and enjoy the grounds, that it takes more than just a few people to make an event like this possible. And just remember, they're all AMATEURS!
This year's Championship was seen as a 'tune up' to the National Open Shooting Dog Championship to be contested at the historic and iconic. Sedgfield's Plantation near Union Springs, Al. Thanks to the Harbert Family for hosting this significant event. Our judging panel of John Lam from Mankana, Ill., and Keith St. John of South Fulton, Tenn., [who filled in for Doug Meyer], are some of the best qualified in our Region. Jon, a consummate amateur, competes with his string of high-class Pointers. Keith along with his brother, Shannon, were schooled in Bird Dogs from by one of the best dog men in our region, Greg. Our club welcomed handlers, Eddie Taylor, Shawn Kinkelaar, Steve Hurdle, Virgil Moore and Anthony Martino, who brought 26 of the top Shooting Dogs in the Mississippi River Valley to vie for the 2023 Tennessee Open Shooting Dog Championship.
Bird Dog Field Trials run in January are always a 'crap shoot' as the fickle 'weather gods' can turn grumpy and cause delays that are just part of the game. With a delay of over a week due to the issues at the preceding week's Mississippi Open Shooting Dog Championship at the Hendrix Farm near Holly Springs, Miss., we were fortunate the grounds were in very good shape. We can't overstate the thanks we hand out to the owners of the Dancyville grounds. They provide outstanding country and present a challenge to the best of the pointing dogs of all breeds.
Our Champion, this year, came from the 2nd brace on Ike Todd's training grounds. Handled by Shawn, Lester's Another Shockwave, a coming, 4-year-old, male out of Lester's Shockwave, the 2022 National Champion, was named the 2023 Tennessee Open Shooting Dog Champion. He's owned by a veritable 'Team' comprising some of the best 'dog people' in the US. Dr. Tom Jackson, Jerry Moisson, Lance Schultz, Bjorn Peterson and Todd Mann have trusted Shawn with the dog since his early training. With several outstanding finds in open country, the judges remarked how well he challenged the grounds and handled as well as any dog in the field. His manners around the birds was impeccable, ever challenging the limits of what the standard of performance might have dictated. In some respects, one of the judges commented he was a classic 'tweener'.
The judges named "The Business Man", owned by Rick Thone, of Russellville, Ala., and handled by Eddie Taylor of nearby Red Banks, Miss., runner-up. Running in the first brace of the second day, Eddie's charge, a son of Miller's Unfinished Business, ran a much more focused and methodical hour making sure that every piece of cover was examined. His birdwork was solid and classic. He finished strong to the front and with style in his gait. The entire West Tennessee Field Trial Club continues to groom and manage the Dancyville grounds to make the trials there a classic picture of what truly challenging grounds need to be. We invite all to return next year and we expect to host more entries, handlers, owners and spectators next year.
Dancyville, Tenn., January 17
Judges: Jon Lam and Keith St. John
TENNESSEE OPEN SHOOTING DOG CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] - 24 Pointers and 1 Setter
Winner-LESTER'S ANOTHER SHOCKWAVE, 1691812, pointer male, by Lester's Shockwave-Miller's StitcH In Time. Dr. Tom Jackson, Jerry Moisson, Lance Schultz, Bjorn Peterson & Todd Mann, owners; Shawn Kinkelaar, handler.
Runner-Up-THE BUSINESS MAN, 1689560, pointer male, by Miller Unfinished Business-Tennessee Coldwater Gal. Rick Thone, owner; Eddie Taylor, handler.
Tennessee Open Shooting Dog Championship. Front row, from left: Shawn Kinkelaar; Anthony Martino with Lester's Another Shockwave; Eddie Taylor; The Business Man with Virgil Moore. Back row: Ike Todd; Chris Mullins; Julia Currie; Bill Currie; Allen Currie; Judge Jon Lam.