Now accepting Hall of Fame nominations! See news section for more details.

I Accept

United Kennel Club (UKC) is an international dog registry celebrating bonds, rewarding ability, and preserving the value of a pedigree. We use cookies to capture information such as IP addresses and tailor the website to our clients' needs. We also use this information to target and measure promotional material. Please see our Privacy Policy for more information.

Skip to main content
Facebook Instagram YouTube

Event: Touch's Fire Away Named Champion; Haney's Hurricane Seeker, Runner-Up
Result: Alabama Open All-Age Championship

Location: Blue Mountain, Mississippi

Post Date: Apr 10, 2023

Submitted By: Tessa Hughes

Alabama Open AA ChS23

Alabama Open All-Age Championship Winners (from left): Ronald Thrasher, Greg Bain (club secretary & stake manager), Bridget Ledington (scout) with Touch's Fire Away, Joe Hughes (club president), Randy Anderson, Joey McAlexander (judge), Jon Lam (judge), Chris Cagle, Jr. (scout) with Haney's Storm Warning, Chris Cagle, Tessa Hughes (reporter), and David Russell.

Touch's Fire Away returned this year to seize the Alabama Open All-Age Championship trophy for the second time in a row out of a field of 25 pointers and setters when we held our annual National Championship qualifier on February 4-5. Fire Away is owned by Dr. Greg and Mrs. Carmen Adams and handled by Randy Anderson. Bridget Ledington scouted him to his win. This year's runner-up champion was Haney's Storm Warning, a white and liver male pointer running in his first all-age year owned by Chris Cagle, Sr., and Chris Cagle, Jr., and handled by Cagle, Sr. Cagle Jr. served as the scout.

The stake was held on its traditional grounds, the Hell Creek Wildlife Management Area, in Blue Mountain, Miss. Many thanks to our sponsor, Nestle Purina, for supporting our Championship and for the gift of Purina Pro Plan dog food to the winners. We also appreciate our judges, Jon Lam of Makanda, Ill., and Joey McAlexander, of Holly Springs, Miss. Both were well-qualified and gave their full attention to each dog on the ground. And the Alabama Field Trial Club cannot express enough appreciation to the Mississippi Department of Game, Wildlife and Fisheries members for all their hard work to keep the grounds immaculate, birds plentiful, and road crossings safe. We also appreciate Jack Coleman of Mississippi Game & Fish for his continued support.

Much appreciation also to Carolyn Page and Melissa Bain, who ensured everyone had delicious lunches each day of the trial. We were also able to serve breakfast and dinner this year for all participants, and we enjoyed spending extra time with our friends, some of whom we only see once a year. We appreciate their time traveling to our trial and their continued support. We are also grateful to our faithful dog wagon driver, long-time club member, and this author's father, Ronald Thrasher. Marshals included Greg Bain, Joe Hughes, and this author.

The Championship Brace

As mentioned, Touch's Fire Away, is a repeat winner, winning in 2022. He made it look easy again this year when he swept the Championship trophy with a beautiful, confident ground race and excellent bird work, all on the third-hour course Saturday morning. Touch's Fire Away was the Purina All-Age Dog of the Year for 2022, and there is a reason for this - he is a magnificent bird dog. He has something we all like to see in a field trial dog--he's simply honest. When he points, you can believe him, as there will be birds there. He is also beautiful, standing up on his toes both on the ground running and on point. He has the classic "Touch" look, almost all white, with the dainty head and tail set high on his back that is typical of Touch-bred dogs.

The weather for the brace that happened to be the one the Championship turned on was cold and clear, with highs in the low 50s. Fire Away and his bracemate, Raw Law Sugar Trouble, a pointer male handled by Mike Hester, were away fast at the third-hour breakaway. Fire Away scored a beautiful find in the first field at 4 and stood well for wing and shot. Fire Away swept around the far side of the Bear Trap field, with Anderson pointing him out as he made a magnificent cast. Many championships have been won (and lost) at this turning point, and Fire Away decided today was the day to give it all to Randy because he flipped sideways and slammed into point for a second time in the far distance. When we arrived, Anderson put birds in the air for his dog, who once again looked marvelous for wing and shot.

We continued, with both dogs to the front. They moved at lightning speed through the pines and swept across Hell Creek at 30. Fire Away showed beautifully on the far-left fields, always casting to the front, with folks in the gallery pointing him out. Both dogs were away across the small ditch at the far end of the course, with their handlers pointing them out, sweeping back toward the clubhouse at 35. Fire Away then swung into point in the first field on the way back in the line of hardwoods under Lucy's Oak Tree at 38. He once again looked magnificent as we rode to him. Anderson flushed, and Fire Away stood up like the champion he is, flawless for wing and shot. Both dogs were then seen to the front in the next fields, but Hester decided to put Sugar in the harness by the time we reached the steel bridge. Fire Away finished his race
with beautiful, ground-eating casts around the horseshoe fields, showing us he could still go the distance at pickup. Fire Away showed us he has the stuff of which champions are made, and his running at the Alabama demonstrated why he is already qualified for the National Championship.

The Runner-Up Championship Brace
Haney's Hurricane Seeker, pointer male (Russell), and Haney's Storm Warning, pointer male (Cagle), comprised the tenth brace that secured our runner-up champion. These dogs also ran the third hour, as had Fire Away. Both dogs left at a scorching pace from the clubhouse to the right. Point was called for both at 2 at the far end of the first field, and we arrived to see Storm Warning doing his thing, for which he has become a little bit famous. He stood beautifully on point, his nose completely vertical and his tail high. Both handlers went into flush and shot, and Storm Warning stood like a statute until Cagle returned to release him. Having not seen Storm Warning run before, I reflected that it is upon this bird work that this young dog must be winning these championships. But I was not entirely correct because Storm Warning had more in store for us in his hour. He and Hurricane Seeker swept on into the Bear Trap field, and things got wild, with both dogs moving at a lightning clip and sweeping far out into the distance, making it around the big field. Everyone was sitting up in their saddles, with people yelling and pointing, trying to decide whether the dogs were stopping, were on point, etc., as the dogs reached the far side. They were not tagging or tracking but switching back, hunting the side cover, and moving on. Watching a field trial dog cover the country doing what he was born to do is always breathtaking, hunting big edges at that speed.

Both dogs turned to the left and crashed through the long stretch of pines. Their handlers gathered and got them across Hell Creek, and things were on again. We also enjoyed both dogs making great casts in those big farm fields.

I think that what fully secured Storm Warning's runner-up spot was not all I've described up to this point, but his finish. Because, at 55, he was still hunting like a madman and going strong when we turned left to make our way to the Horseshoe fields. Cagle did not know how to turn into the final bend of the course at this juncture (as he had never been to this point), and Gary Lester yelled out to Cagle to put him on the left-hand side of the first Horseshoe field and let him roll. Cagle must have agreed because that's what happened next, with Cagle "blowing
the bee-bee" out of the whistle. It was hot and muddy, almost 65 degrees and sunny, yet Warning just wheeled around and steamed on, careening into those Horseshoe fields at the same speed and intensity as he had at 15 in the Bear Trap field. He was still "skinning it" in the far distance, switching back and forth, scenting game, and kicking up water in the fields at 58. Cagle had a hard time finding him at pickup, but he did. And that is how Storm Warning seized his runner-up trophy.

The Running
Whippoorwill Vette, pointer male (Larry Huffman), and Painted Owyhee Toad, pointer male, handled by the previously mentioned Bridget Ledington from Idaho, started us off in brace No. 1 Saturday morning away from the clubhouse to the right. We were delighted to have Ledington with us, given that she is a newcomer to our trial. In addition, Toad had qualified for the National Championship, and she would be his handler. It had been well over ten years since Ames had had a female handler at the National. Ledington showed she might be new to us, but she and her dog knew what they were doing, as Toad scored a beautiful find at 4 in the first field on the left, standing well for wing and shot. Vette and Huffman had continued, and we encountered them next, after coming through the thicket after the pond on the right, to see Huffman calling point for Vette at 9. However, upon relocation, Huffman chose to put Vette in the harness.

Toad scored another find before the rock road crossing at 15 on the left, where coveys are frequently found, and once again, he looked excellent on his game. All in order for the flush and shot, we continued on solo through the pines behind the clubhouse. At 19, Toad scored another find behind the clubhouse, looking excellent on point again. He then had a find in the long bottom beside Hell Creek, for which he was also mannerly, and again found birds at 40, which he also handled well again. Ledington elected to pick him up shortly after that time.

In brace No. 2, Quickmarksman's Excalibur, pointer male, handled by Hester, and Como Rain, handled by Blackwell, were up. They left from the site of the old Game Warden's House, running fast and setting down ambitious ground races. Como Rain made a beautiful cast in the field below Steve's old house. Blackwell called point for his dog at 33 in the Rock Hill field, and David Russell got off to shoot for Blackwell. Both dogs continued across the rock road, but then Excalibur suffered an absence for some time; he was found on point in the line of pines across from the plum trees. When Hester shot for his dog, he stood well, and all was in order. Both dogs finished the hour with strong casts in the long bottom on the way back to the clubhouse, going toward the chute back to the Bear Trap field.

The Championship brace (No. 3) was covered.

Brace No. 4 started exciting from our clubhouse to the left again, with Miller's King Poast, a talented young derby pointer male (Anderson), and the beautiful Touch's Cocaine Blues, a pointer male (Anderson). Both dogs swept through the first few fields, and the next time we saw them, both were briefly on point on the left in the field before the rock road. And then, after a breach of manners, both handlers placed their young charges in the harness, thus concluding their braces.

In the second brace after lunch, we returned to the clubhouse to start again from our first breakaway. Nosam's Sweet Water, pointer male (Huffman), and Quickmarksman's Dan, pointer male (Hester), comprised this brace. This time, things went slightly smoother for a little while. Both dogs were once again away at lightning speed. When this pair of dogs reached the covey in the last field before the rock road, Sweetwater held fast at the point, looking beautiful at 11, and Dan backed nicely. Huffman flushed, and all was in order. We continued across the road, and this time Hester called point in the pines behind the clubhouse at 14 for Dan, with Sweetwater backing. The dogs looked beautiful, but when Hester went into flush, Sweetwater suffered a breach of manners, and Huffman had him in the harness. Dan stood firm for wing and shot, and scout Brody Bird carried him on for Hester. Dan went on only about 100 yards upon release before he locked down again on the other side of the course at 16. Hester flushed for his dog repeatedly; all was in order. We continued across the road with Dan solo, but by 35, Hester had him in the harness.

Next was Bozeann's Rex, setter male (Hester), and I'm Gallant, pointer male (Anderson). We were away strong from the old Game Warden's house site, with Rex scoring a beautiful find at the corner of Rock Hill. He stood well for wing and shot. Shortly thereafter, Anderson called point for Gallant on Rock Hill, and he looked nice as we arrived. However, Anderson was placing him in the harness after a breach of manners. Unfortunately, at this point, Anderson's horse unintentionally kicked Ledington in the knee (he was perhaps kicking at the dog) while she was assisting Anderson with placing Blues in the harness. This injury made her unable to walk without crutches or mount her horse with ease. She subsequently had to request the officials at the National Championship to allow her father and co-owner of Toad, Jim Ledington, to flush for her, which they granted. Still, things looked grim at first, immediately after her injury. Ledington remained cheerful during our Championship, and she spent much of her time in the clubhouse on the sofa with ice on her knee, chatting with Bain, Page, and others as we came and went. Rex continued this brace alone, running an aggressive race, but suffered an unproductive before the 20th Century Crossing. Hester then called point for him in the field near the Game Warden's house, but Rex was up after a breach of manners.

Bonner's Hot Rize, pointer male (Gary Lester), and Beeler's White Knight, pointer male (Scott Beeler) started us off the following day. They were an exciting pair of dogs, running hard and fast from the breakaway to the left. They scored a beautiful divided find at 12 on the left with the faithful covey before the rock road, both dogs looking excellent on point. Both dogs then continued, moving rapidly again, running with their tails wringing. We then found them again, behind the clubhouse in the pines at 18, once again on point. They thus notched another divided find, as both held beautifully for wing and shot. Both dogs, when released, cast forward quickly and were sighted across the rock road going into the big fields to take them along Hell Creek. White Knight continued with a solid forward race, always casting well to the front. He finished the three hours, always hunting with intensity. However, Hot Rize was lost at pickup. Neither dog had further bird work.

Next up were Superstition's Final Touch, pointer male (Bird), and Lester's Stem Winder, pointer male (Anderson). Although these handsome boys looked fabulous in the first few fields, running strong races, these two beauties also fell prey to the dangers of the first covey of quail in the field before the rock road. They were both up at 10 after a shared mishap.

The always beautiful Bonner's Bulletproof, pointer male (Anderson), ran as a bye-dog on the second-hour course after Coldwater Thunder, pointer female (Blackwell), was scratched. Bulletproof left strong from the old Game Warden's House Place, putting down an ambitious race. He scored his first find on the hill before the little pine cut through before the curve in the road at approximately 30, where birds are frequently found. He looked stunning on point and held well for Anderson for wing and shot. He then scored another find after he crossed the rock road at approximately 42, once again handling his bird work impeccably. Bullet Proof then suffered an unproductive at 49 in the field below the Game Warden's House Place at 49. He finished well in the long bottom that takes you back to the chute to the Bear Trap field.

The Runner-Up Champion brace (No. 10) has been covered. Lester's Boss Man, pointer male (Lester), and Superstition's Jake (Bird) were next, away from the clubhouse to the left. Both dogs were away strong and hustled hard, making strong casts to the front. Boss Man was then absent for a significant time but returned. Boss Man garnered a find at 45 on the hill on the left before we go through the pine cut-through before the curve in the road with Jake backing nicely. Boss Man stood beautifully for wing and shot and scored another find at 53 after we came through the pines on the right, but Jake was up after a breach of manners. Boss Man finished his hour with no further bird work.

Como Thunder, pointer male (Russell), and Coldwater Odyssey, pointer male (Bennett), left strong from the Game Warden's House Place. They made good casts in the second field below the house place. However, Odyssey was not pleasing Bennett and was in the harness in the Rock Hill field. Como Thunder continued solo, with his scout calling point for him, but Russell produced no birds. He continued running an aggressive ground race but otherwise went birdless.
Blue Mountain, Miss., February 4
Judges: Jon Lam and Joey McAlexander
ALABAMA OPEN ALL-AGE CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] - 24 Pointers and 1 Setter

Winner--TOUCH'S FIRE AWAY, 1679602, pointer male, by House's Ring of Fire-Touch's Maswood Anne. Greg & Carmen Adams, owners; Randy Anderson, handler.
Runner-Up--HANEY'S STORM WARNING, 1691416, pointer male, by Valiant-Haney's North Star. Chris Cagle, Sr. & Chris Cagle, Jr., owners; Chris Cagle, Jr., handler.

The One-Hour Open Derby Classic
This year's Derby Classic winner was Beeler's White Knight, a white and orange pointer male owned and handled by Scott Beeler. He garnered this trophy from a field of 20 pointer and setter contenders. Knight scored a beautiful find on the first-hour course in the field before the rock road on "the dependable covey" to secure his trophy. He also had an aggressive forward race, always hunting hard and to the front to seize first place. He is an exciting dog to watch run, and he and his handler clearly have an incredible bond.

Mayfield Storm Charger, pointer male (Lester), took the second-place trophy. He ran a very exciting, ground-eating race on the second hour, always to the front, and he scored a lovely find almost at pickup in the field in front of the clubhouse. He handled his bird work well.

This year's third-place winner was the impressive Game Surge, a male pointer owned and handled by Dr. Fred Corder. Surge had a forward, hard-running race on the first-hour course, scoring two very nice finds, one at 3 in the first field and one at 11 in the pines behind the clubhouse. He suffered an unproductive at 56 but was still going strong at pickup to seize his third-place honors.
[One-Hour Heats] - 18 Pointers and 1 Setter

1st--BEELER'S WHITE KNIGHT, 1700938, pointer male, by Touch's Smooth Rider-Touch's Wildwood Flower. Scott Beeler, owner and handler.
2d--MAYFIELD STORM CHARGER, 1701588, pointer male, by Lester's Storm Surge-R W Susie Q. Scott Mason & Jake Davis, owners; Gary Lester, handler.
3d--GAME SURGE, 1700091, pointer male, by Lester's Storm Surge-Game Maggie. Fred Corder, owner and handler.

Alabama Open DerbyS23

Open Derby Classic Winners (from left): Joey McAlexander (judge), Joe Hughes (scout & club president) with Beeler's White Knight, Scott Beeler, Korry Rinehart (scout) with Mayfield Storm Charger, Tom Shenker, Ike Todd (scout) with Game Surge, Jon Lam (judge), and Greg Bain (club secretary & stake manager).