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Event: Miller's Blindsider Wins 124th Running of the
Result: National Championship

Location: Grand Junction, Tennessee

Post Date: Apr 13, 2023

Submitted By: Tessa Hughes

National Ch WinnerS23

National Champion Miller's Blindsider is posed by scout Judd Carlton, joined by owner Nick Berrong (behind), handler Jamie Daniels (left), the judges, NFTCA officials, and well-wishers. [Photo by Jamie Evans]

Valentine's Day morning delivered Ames Plantation an exciting surprise this year, as it brought us the brace of dogs that included Miller's Blindsider, who would go on to become the new 2023 National Field Trial Champion. He certainly was a sweetheart of a contender, always running to the front and hunting hard, hanging out on the edges the way we expect an all-age dog to do, and looking fine on his birds, the way a champion must do. Miller's Blindsider is a 6-year-old orange and white pointer male owned by Nick Berrong of Maryville, Tenn., and handled by Jamie Daniels of Daniels Kennels, Dawson, Ga. Judd Carlton of Cairo, Ga., Daniels's lifetime friend and a fine handler, pitched in to scout Blindsider to his win.

The Championship Brace
Miller's Blindsider ("Sam") is sired by this year's newest Hall of Fame (HOF) inductee, one of the first dogs Daniels handled at the National Championship, the remarkable sire Just Irresistible. Blindsider's dam is Miller's Bring The Heat, by National Champion Lester's Snowatch and L G White Lily (sired by Ch. White Powder Pete), so Blindsider has a star-studded pedigree to support his claim to the laurels.

Quickmarksman's Dan, a white and liver pointer male, handled by Mike Hester, owned by Larry Earls and Sam Starnes, and scouted by Korry Rinehart, was Blindsider's bracemate for the three-hour-long brace. Dan was a worthy competitor for his illustrious bracemate, a son of Quickmarksman's Tony and a grandson of Ch. White's Solid Reward.

When we started away from the field trial stables at 8 a.m. on Blindsider's brace, only the third brace in the running on our second day, conditions were cloudy and 52 degrees, although the temperature steadily climbed during the brace. Blindsider started us off with a bang with a find at 4 on the right side of the Out Front field, standing beautifully for wing and shot. He then proceeded quickly through the next fields, head and tail high as he ran, with Daniels calling point for him again at 15 once he crossed Buford Ellington at the far south end of Morgan Field. Once again, Blindsider looked spectacular on his game and held well for wing and shot. He continued confidently to the front, and Daniels called point for him again at 25 at the Turner Road Crossing. Again, Blindsider looked beautiful on point, and all was in order at the find. Dan proceeded on, as well, and Hester called point for him at 28 at the beginning of Long Turner Neck, but no birds were produced. However, Blindsider was discovered on point at the far end of Long Turner Neck, and Daniels produced birds for his dog. Blindsider held well for wing and shot. The dogs continued on through Turner Pines at a fast clip.

At 1:29, point was called again for Blindsider at the north end of the Morgan New Basin. Blindsider looked magnificent on his game when we arrived, head and tail high, and held firm for the flush. Hester decided to pick up Dan at approximately this point. Blindsider traveled on, swinging through the country. After a brief absence, Carlton collected him at 1:45 at National Championship Drive, returning him to Daniels. Blindsider scored another excellent find at 1:47 at Edward Clark South, looking beautiful on his game again and holding well for the flight of the birds.

Blindsider continued forward, experiencing brief absences but always showing well to the front. He made an excellent cast at 2:11 in the Jim Braddock field. He then showed nicely at 2:19 at Edward Clark North and showed us he was still in all-age condition by hanging out on the edge at 2:21 at the bottom of the same field. Blindsider showed again at 2:40 at Climmie Clark South, demonstrating he was still hunting aggressively to the front. The gallery folks were a little breathlessly worried we had lost him thereafter, but Blindsider had not left us. He was ever to the front and returned to his handler at 2:52 after being far across the road near the Tennessee Field. Returning to us, Blindsider continued on to the front, running hard, until time was called.

Judges, Sponsors, Contributors, Officials
National Championship Judges
We had Jadie Rayfield of Mt. Pleasant, S. C., also a Director of the NFTCA, coming to us to judge for the seventh time. Jadie has been involved in all phases of field trials for 30 years and has served in a leadership role for some time in the sport in his home state. He relies on his wealth of knowledge and experience and gives all contenders a careful and courteous eye. He is unfailingly cheerful and energetic in the saddle, and he does not miss anything going on about him in the field.

We were also delighted to have Dr. Stan Wint of Gardner, Kan., one of our newest Directors of the NFTCA, join us for the fifth time. He also has 30-plus years of experience. The "Superman" began his career in walking dog stakes with dogs such as Hall of Famer Honky Tonk Attitude and won his first championship in 1992. Dr. Wint has judged AKC trials and American Field amateur and open events. Although Dr. Wint experienced a flu-like illness for a couple of days during his time with us, he never allowed that to keep him from serving and showed each contender his undivided attention.

Tom Shenker returned to us from Hurtsboro, Ala., for the fourth time to round out our panel of judges. Tom brings much experience in our field, given that his father was a professional trainer. Tom manages the Easter Plantation in Hurtsboro, Ala. Tom always shows leadership and magnanimity in the saddle, showing courtesy and patience to all contenders, never riding off and leaving a dog or handler behind. We were fortunate also to have Melody, Tom's lovely wife, join us. Melody, like her husband, is also a blue-blooded field trialer, given that her grandfather was Hall of Fame member John Samuel Gates. We also enjoyed it when Mr. Gates's namesake, Tom and Melody's son, John Samuel (quite an athlete in his own right, having been a first-string player at Auburn University), and his new wife, Ann Jackson, drove up from Auburn to ride with us on Saturday. We enjoyed their cheerful participation and interest in the event.

One of the things that most impressed me in this, my first year as a reporter of the National Championship, was the unfailing courtesy of the judges and marshals to the contenders and handlers. Having recognized the quality and time to be dedicated to the canines they were judging, our judges seemed determined to give every entry all opportunities to be seen. Time and again, I was struck by our judges' intensity in holding up at road crossings, other natural turns, and stopping points to ensure handlers and scouts had sufficient time to gather their dogs and continue if such appeared reasonably possible. In that manner, judges ensured that dogs were not inadvertently run over at road crossings, left behind on point, etc., or otherwise if such could be avoided. They also were never peevish in their interactions with the scouts but often sent them out in one direction or another, rarely waiting for them to ask permission to leave the gallery. Their interaction with the handlers and the scouts was both professional and courteous. All of these traits in judges contribute to making a great trial.

Generous Supporters
We were also delighted to have Domenick Muoio of the United Kennel Club (UKC) join us for several of the festivities before the Championship's commencement. He also stayed with us at the Manor House and joined us in the saddle to watch the action on the first day of the Championship.

In addition to UKC, the National Championship would not be possible without the generous support of its many sponsors, including Nestl Purina, SportDOG Brand and Gun Dog Supply, Tennessee Tractor, Garmin International, Gary Lester, the Bank of Fayette County, Tucker Trail Saddles, Jeff Haggis and Haggis Saddles, Hardeman County Chamber of Commerce, Hunt & Field Magazine and Lauren Abbott, John and Susan Ivester, Area Wide Communications, Spalding Laboratories, David Kelley Jewelers, Hendrix Farms, Glovers' Eats-N-Sweets, 5 Star Equine Products, Predator Management Solutions, the First Baptist Church Grand Junction, Tennessee, the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors Association, the family and friends of Mike Perkins, the family and friends of Barry H. Saunders, the sponsors of the Whippoorwill Wild Card Memorial, the sponsors of the Waldo and Pearl Dodge belt buckle, Sportsman's Pride for its sponsorship of the Brunswick Stew event, as well as generous anonymous donors.

Others who contribute greatly to the continued success of the Championship include Jamie and Dee Evans, Jamie being the official Ames/National Championship Photographer, and Dee, his wife, both of whom are employed by Ames working with row-crop production, as well as the Ames Cultural Resources program and who work magic together to swiftly coordinate and post online the wonderful photographs Jamie captures each day of the Championship. They also post the amazing videos Dr. Rick Carlisle, Secretary/Treasurer of the National Field Trial Championship Association (NFCTA) and Director of Ames Plantation, took this year from horseback. The Evanses could also decode my handwritten morning and evening synopses of the braces and upload all of that quickly onto the Ames Plantation website. Their hard work keeps everyone informed of the progression of the trial.

Dr. Carlisle and Assistant Director Matt Backus were on hand and in the saddle each day to assist with the smooth running of the trial. Backus and his wife, Kristin, and their little son, Jones, joined us for dinner one evening during the trial and brought their darling little daughter, Penny, who had just arrived in this world four weeks prior.

Others who were in the saddle each day working hard included our Front Marshal, Ryan Braddock, and our Back Marshal, Chris Weatherly, but their duties did not start or stop there, as they also oversaw feeding, grooming, tacking up, unsaddling, and trailering plantation horses both morning and afternoon, as well as directing equine traffic. They also work hard to ensure all participants can access the accommodations/facilities they need during the trial.

Those in Ames Security were also invaluable to us, including Aubrey Green, Head of Security, organizing Joe Thompson, Chris Kelley, Zack Parsons, Jacob Jenkins, Kerry Kimery, and Greg Tapp on horseback (Tapp, a paramedic for Fayette County Ambulance Service, also served as a paramedic on call during the trial). Green also oversaw the hard work of Fayette County Deputy Ken Crawford and Marylin Woody on the roads. In addition, we are very grateful to Fayette County Sheriff Bobby Riles for allowing two deputies from the Sheriff's Department, Deputy Crawford and Deputy Ricky Wilson, to assist us with road traffic.

We would have been lost without the expert assistance of Amy Weatherly, DVM, who rose early and stayed late at Ames Brick Stables, caring for all things equine and other animals. She is a marvel, and we are grateful for her compassion and care for the animals we treasure.

Also joining us was Dr. Allan Houston, a forester/wildlife biologist with Ames, who provided the details and helpful announcements at each breakaway, and James Morrow, who drove the truck with the medical equipment and dog boxes.

We were also delighted to have Pat Bryan, Kay Carlisle, Jane Rhea, and Libby McKnight assist us at Ames Manor House as we hosted a hospitality event for owners and handlers the afternoon their dogs ran.

We were also able to provide backgrounds on each competitor with the dedication and countless hours of work contributed by Steeple Bell. Without his generosity of spirit, we would all look at the dogs each year without a deep understanding of the bloodlines that bring them to the trial, which adds so much color and history to the event.

With the assistance of all the people mentioned, this author could identify the many fields, house places, and crossing points on the morning and afternoon courses. This is Dr. Carlisle's last year as Director, and his direction and leadership will be greatly missed.

In addition, without the help of Ryan, Chris, and all of the gentlemen at Ames Brick Stables who tirelessly saddled, unsaddled, made tack adjustments, and helped her mount her horses, this author, Dr. Carlisle, and the judges could not have completed the ten days of riding at the plantation required this year to finish this trial. She notes that this trial would not be possible without all the tireless work the Ames staff do behind the scenes, rising early at 3:30 a.m. and staying late into each night. We were also incredibly grateful for NFTCA President Charlie Frank Bryan, who proceeded at all times with sound leadership, unfailing good humor, and always made everyone laugh, to boot. Without him, this author could never have made it from one place to another or even understood where she was supposed to be next. And last but not least, she certainly would not have been able to carry out her duties without the support of her husband, Joe Hughes, who also cheerfully celebrated his 62nd birthday during the Championship.

The Running
Brace No. 1--The first brace broke away at 8 a.m. on Monday, February 13. Conditions were sunny and 44 degrees with dry courses. Bonner's Bulletproof, a white and orange pointer male, handled by Randy Anderson, owned by Dr. Chris Cornman, and scouted by Bubba Spencer, and Lester's Storm Surge, pointer male, handled by Gary Lester, owned by Tommy and Bonnie Hamilton, and scouted by Korry Rinehart, started us off. Bulletproof is sired by Miller's Speed Dial, the 2020 National Champion, who also returned to compete this year. Bulletproof's dam is Miller's Martha White, sired by newly inducted Hall of Fame member Miller's Happy Jack. Storm Surge (a brother to Lester's Shockwave) is sired by the remarkable sire, Ransom, and Storm Surge's dam, Beane's Line Dancer, was sired by House's Line Up, a star on any field trial dog's pedigree. Spencer called point for Bulletproof at A. T.'s House Place at 11. The dog stood elegantly with head and tail high for the flush of the birds and the shot, and we were away again. Both dogs returned at 14 and continued on, but Storm Surge was absent for an extended time. Spencer called point again at 30 for Bulletproof before the Turner Ditch field, and again Bulletproof looked very nice on his game and handled his find very well. Then, Bulletproof was absent for a short time until Judge Rayfield spotted him on a hill at 41. He scored an elegant find at this juncture, holding well for wing and shot. At the Buford Ellington crossing, Lester requested his tracker at 1:06, not having seen Lester's Storm Surge again. Lester found his dog on point at Rube Scott Road and went ahead and reported flushing a covey of 25-30 birds. At 1:36, Bulletproof returned to the front after an absence, but his handler was out of pocket, so Amy Spencer briefly took over handling duties. Bulletproof's owner briefly stepped in to scout as Bubba Spencer was not seen. Bulletproof continued on to the front, then was absent for a short time, and then returned to the front at 1:56. Anderson returned to take over handling at 1:57. Bulletproof had his last find at 2:05 north of Edward Clark Pines. He looked fine on point again, still as stylish as ever. The birds flew out from under Bulletproof's nose when Anderson went in to flush for his dog, but Bulletproof stood firm for his bird work and the shot. He then continued on, showing nicely at 2:40 in the field in front of Lowland's, making a beautiful cast. He was still hunting hard and to the front at 2:49 at the last road crossing. Bulletproof finished his brace with no further game contact.

Brace No. 2--Anderson returned to us in the afternoon with Touch's Fire Away, a white and orange pointer male. Fire Away is owned by Greg and Carmen Adams and was scouted by Rinehart. His bracemate was Dream Chaser, a white and liver pointer male, handled by Andy Daugherty, owned by Brad Calkins, and scouted by Allen Vincent. Fire Away is last year's Purina All-Age Dog of the Year. This dog had also secured the Alabama Open All-Age Championship the week before. He is sired by House's Ring of Fire, and his dam is Touch's Maswood Anne. Dream Chaser is sired by Pleasant Run Bob, sired by Touch's Knight Rider. Interestingly, once again, Dream Chaser, on top and bottom, goes back to House's Line Up. We broke away on the afternoon course at 1:15 p.m. Conditions were sunny and 66 degrees. Both dogs were away strong from the breakaway showing nicely in the first two fields; then both turned into the cover to the left. Fire Away returned to Anderson at 17 in the Buster Graves field. Daugherty dropped to the left side to look for Dream Chaser with Judge Rayfield accompanying him. They discovered Dream Chaser on point at Buster Graves's mailbox, but no birds were flying. Dream Chaser then continued on strong but experienced another unproductive at the base of Cedar Hill at 25 and was up. In the meantime, Fire Away returned to Anderson beautifully at 27 in the Old Mounting Block field. His scout called point for him at 31 at George Kemp West, and birds were flying. Fire Away stood beautifully for wing and shot. In the meantime, a gallery member reported to the officials that he flushed a large covey of birds with his horse in George Kemp East as he rode toward the find. Fire Away continued showing nicely from time to time to the front, with his scout calling point for him again at 1:55 on the hill west of the Jack Harris cabin. However, no birds were flying upon relocation, and Anderson decided to pick him up at 1:59, concluding the day's braces.

Brace No. 3--The third brace was the Championship brace and has been covered.

Brace No. 4--The afternoon brace started cloudy and 63 degrees with some wind. Game Heir, a white and orange pointer male, owned and handled by Dr. Fred Corder, with Reinhart as his scout, and Mauck's Wyeast Owyhee Jack, a white and orange setter male, handled by Alex Mauck, owned by Steven Croy, and scouted by Nick Thompson, comprised our afternoon brace. Game Heir, a son of Dominator's Rebel Heir (a relative of HOF inductee Just Irresistible), started strong and had a beautiful find at 12 in the East Pasture, standing firm for wing and shot. He then went on, hunting hard and to the front, with a subsequent find at Buster Graves at 15, which he also handled well. The beautiful Jack was away well in the first few fields. He is sired by Tekoa Mountain Patriot, and his dam goes back to Hytest Sky Hawk. Jack's handler decided to pick him up at 17. Heir proceeded on solo and had an impressive find with many birds flying at 19 at Buster Graves Turn. His handler then called point for him at 32 at George Kemp West, but no birds were flushed; however, deer were sighted leaving the area. Dr. Corder continued on with his dog and then suffered another unproductive at 47 in the middle of the Chute. At 1:44, the weather conditions deteriorated, and it began to rain. Heir then had another nice find at the top of Cox's Ridge at 1:59. He then showed nicely to the front at 2:10, making a good cast at South Cox's Ridge. He then made a pretty swing through John Fason Bottom at 2:16. Heir showed nicely at 2:37 at Big Oak Field and finished the brace at the field trial stables.

Brace No. 5--Conditions for the morning brace were partly sunny and 62 degrees. Shadow's Lord Magic, a white and liver pointer male, handled by Luke Eisenhart and scouted by Carlton, and Lester's Shockwave, our returning champion, a white and orange pointer male, handled by Lester and scouted by Rinehart, comprised our brace. Owners Carl Bowman (Lord Magic) and the Hamiltons (Shockwave) were in the gallery. Shockwave's impressive pedigree mirrors that of his full brother, Lester's Storm Surge. Shadow's Lord Magic is sired by National Champion In the Shadow, but his dam side is just as interesting in that his dam, Hello Kitty, is a product of the fabled Whippoorwill Wild Agin x Sparkles. This cross has produced countless champions, including National Champion Whippoorwill Justified, Champions Skyfall, Ransom, Whippoorwill Mayhem, Whippoorwill Forever Wild, Whippoorwill Blue Blood, and Texas Wild Agin. Shockwave was spotted at 7 on the right at Elm Tree Back. At 15, Lester gathered up Shockwave at the Buford Ellington crossing before Shockwave continued on to make an impressive cast in the next field. Lord Magic had not returned at this point. Shockwave had a nice find at 25 at Morgan Basin, looking very classy on his game and standing well for wing and shot. Lord Magic returned to his handler at the Turner Road crossing at 29. Shockwave had another find at 38 after the Turner Basin, again looking very impressive on his game. Large coveys boiled out for both finds. He then had a find on the left at 41 going into the William White Crossing, with Lord Magic backing. Again, a large covey of birds was flushed. Lester called point for his dog at 58 on Dunn's Property and relocated him, but no birds were produced. Shockwave made a nice cast at 1:05 before the pond. Shockwave made another impressive cast at South Turner Pines. The dog was briefly absent but returned to the front at 1:25 at the Turner National. Eisenhart asked for the tracker for Lord Magic at the Turner Road Crossing at 1:27. Shockwave made a beautiful cast in Big Oak field. At 1:47, the dog was spotted on the left at the beginning of No Man's Land. Lester called point again for Shockwave at 1:56 just north of Edward Clark Pines, but upon relocation, no birds were flying. Lester put his dog in the harness, concluding the morning brace.

Brace No. 6--Conditions for the afternoon brace were overcast and 70 degrees. Touch's Malcolm Story, a white and orange pointer male, handled by Mark McLean, owned by Alex and Brianna Rickert, and scouted by Ike Todd, and Hendrix's Touch Up, a white and orange pointer male, owned by Guy and Burke Hendrix, handled by Burke Hendrix, and scouted by Jonathan Burch, made up our next brace. Malcolm Story is a descendant of Touch's Knight Rider. His dam, Blackhawk's Sunflower, was a sister of the great Sparkles (previously mentioned) and is a daughter of the beautiful Rock Acre Blackhawk, a great field trial dog lost too soon in a tragic kennel fire. Touch Up bears the same illustrious pedigree as his full brother and fellow contender, Dream Chaser. After the breakaway at 1:15, both dogs cast to the right-hand side of the East Pasture, and the scouts called point for both, resulting in a beautiful divided find at 4. Both dogs stood well for wing and shot. Upon release, both dogs continued down the same feed strip and swung in to point again at 6, resulting in another divided find on a separate covey. Both dogs again held well for the flush. Both dogs were absent briefly but returned to their handlers at approximately 17. At the next road crossing, both handlers had their dogs. At 30, Touch Up was seen on the right making a nice cast. Touch Up was next seen in the Horseshoe field at 35 and then in the Chute at 38. Both dogs showed well in the Agronomy Field. Touch Up was next seen at 52. Story returned at 55. Touch Up was seen making a pretty cast on the right behind Prospect Church at 1:03. At 1:16, point was called for Story on the hill over Turkey Bottom. Although Story looked beautiful on point, no birds were produced, and McLean decided to put him in the harness, concluding his brace. Hendrix next pointed out Touch Up at 1:23 making an impressive cast at the far end of the Alfalfa Bottom. Touch Up was next seen at the top of Tyler's Test at 1:40. At 1:49, Touch Up showed nicely at the Agronomy Field. Touch Up returned to Hendrix at 2:04 before Cox's Ridge. Touch Up was sighted in the Big Oak Field at 2:45 and continued on. At 2:57, Hendrix concluded his dog's brace.

Brace No. 7--On the morning of February 16, thunderstorms in the area required us to cancel the scheduled morning breakaway. The announcement was made that the next brace of dogs would breakaway at 2 p.m. Pendy's Good Grace, a white and orange pointer female, owned and handled by Matt Pendergest and scouted by Matt's father, Jim Pendergest, and Touch's Amazing Greyce, a white and liver female running in season, handled by Keith Wright, and scouted by Jon Vanada, broke away in the East Pasture under cloudy skies at 67 degrees. Good Grace was sired by Reloaded, himself sired by the previously referenced House's Line Up, with Reloaded's dam being Drama Queen. Good Grace's dam is Dialed In, a competitive field trial dog herself even today. Dialed In is sired by National Champion Miller's Dialing In. Dialed In's dam was Rester's Zumba Girl, sired by National Champion In the Shadow. Amazing Greyce is sired by Touch's Grey Street. Her dam is Intentional, a sister to Good Grace. It was exceptionally muddy and wet on the course the morning of the 16th, with a great deal of standing water. In addition, the creeks were high with areas of rushing water. Pendergest called point for Grace at 4 on the far right of the East Pasture. At the flush, approximately 15 birds boiled out of the feed strip, and Grace held firmly for wing and shot, head and tail high. We then quickly rejoined Keith Wright and the other judge at the front to find Greyce making a bold cast in the far-left field at 9. Pendergest next called point for his dog at Buster Graves's driveway at 17, with Greyce backing. Both dogs looked sensational, with Grace again holding firm on her birds. Wright then called point for Greyce at 24 at the Old Mounting Block, and she held well for the flush, with Grace backing nicely. The handlers pointed out their dogs hunting hard and to the front at 26. Both dogs then showed nicely at the end of the Horseshoe field, making beautiful casts. Greyce was then spotted in the Chute on the right-hand side at 38; Judge Rayfield also pointed out Good Grace at the very end of the Chute at 38. Greyce suffered an unproductive at 42 at the end of the Chute. Both handlers had their dogs at 1:04 at the Dairy Containment Basin. At 1:07, both dogs showed at the far end of Lawrence Smith. Greyce then made a pretty cast around the far end of Marshall's Jack Harris at 1:24, with several gallery members pointing her out. Greyce was also sighted at the far end of Kerry's Seven Acres at 1:27, coming around the far end. At 1:42, Wright dropped to the right into Miller's Cove to search for his dog and called point for her. When the judges arrived, he advised that birds had already flown. He said he was going to just shoot for his dog and take her on, which he did without flushing for her. At 1:50, after crossing the creek, both handlers placed their dogs in the harness, thus concluding the brace.

Brace No. 8--We broke away from the field trial stables at 8 a.m. with unexpected brief snow flurries, overcast skies, and a temperature of 35 degrees. Painted Owyhee Toad, a white and liver pointer male, handled by Bridget Ledington, owned by Bridget and her father, Jim Ledington, and scouted by Rinehart, was the top dog in the brace. Touch's Shadow Rider, a white and orange 3-year-old pointer male running as a rookie, handled by Mark McLean, owned by Bruce and Karen Norton and Dr. Reuben Richardson, and scouted by Ike Todd, was the bottom dog. Both left at a brisk pace from the breakaway into the Out Front field. Ledington had recently suffered a significant knee injury due to a horse kicking her at the Alabama Championship, so the judges had already approved her father, Jim, flushing for Toad or dismounting to stand by Toad if backing. Toad is a grandson of Rivertons Funseek'n Scooter, a son of Funseeker's Rebel, making Toad yet another relative of Just Irresistible. Toad's dam is Painted Molly, who goes back to Double Shadow, Addition's Go Boy, and Honky Tonk Gigolo. Shadow Rider is sired by the beautiful Touch's Smooth Rider, a dog campaigned by Wright to many championships who lived up to his name with the way he glided across the ground. Smooth Rider was sired by Touch's Knight Rider, who garnered his share of trophies for Wright. Shadow Rider's dam, Touch's Gold Dance, is also interesting because she was sired by Whippoorwill War Dance, a fine star to come out of Larry and Dr. Jack Huffman's kennels. War Dance was a wild running dog with a remarkable nose that this author, as a younger girl, watched run at the Alabama Open Championship and wished she could put in her horse trailer. After a rapid breakaway, both handlers called point at 11 for their dogs on the far side of Morgan field on the left in Morgan Basin. Both dogs stood firm for their finds, wing and shot, looking impressive on point. They were about 20 feet away from each other, and coveys flew from different directions. At 26, both dogs were gathered up and crossed Turner Road. At 29, Shadow Rider made a beautiful cast around Turner Ditch Field, running with his head high and tail snapping. He then went on to have a find at 34 at the end of Long Turner Neck. He looked beautiful on his birds, standing with his head and tail high. He traveled approximately 50 yards forward upon release and locked down again in the same feed strip at about 36. McLean dismounted and flushed for his dog again, and more birds were flying. Again, Shadow Rider stood beautifully for his bird work and the shot. The dogs then continued on with Shadow Rider garnering another beautiful find at 38 at Turner Pines. At 47, Shadow Rider was seen on the far-right side after we crossed Turner Ditch. Both dogs returned to their handlers at 57 to the front. Then, both handlers had their dogs showing nicely at Mary Scott at 59. Ledington called point at 1:06 at No Man's Land but then waved it off. Both handlers had their dogs at 1:11 as we were about to cross the next road. Shadow Rider, at 1:23, made a good cast on the left-hand side in the beautiful green field of Turner National. He then went on to show to the front at Big Oak at 1:27. At 1:30, Ledington asked for her tracker. At 1:35, Shadow Rider took the left side of Morgan Field, and at 1:40, after we crossed National Championship, McLean paused by Kyle's Barn to give Rider a good toweling off due to the wet conditions. Shadow Rider then had an impressive find at 1:49 on the left in the feed strip at No Man's Alley, which he handled well, still looking stylish on his game. At 1:55, he scored another find at the end of No Man's Land, which he once again handled well. At Jim Braddock at 2:10, McLean pointed out Shadow Rider still hunting to the front. At 2:20, point was called again for Shadow Rider at Rube Scott Road, and once again, Shadow Rider handled his bird work well. After release, he was next sighted, making another good cast at 2:29 on the left after Edward Clark Pines. At 2:33, Shadow Rider was still showing to the front in Edward Clark Corral. At 2:42, Ike Todd called point for Shadow Rider for his eighth and final find at Climmie Clark South. McLean flushed and asked his dog to relocate. Rider moved, locked down, and McLean asked him to relocate again. At that point, Rider moved forward to the end of the bean strip and froze again. McLean then stepped in front, flushed again, and birds flew everywhere. Again, Shadow Rider stood firm for wing and shot. At 2:50, Shadow Rider was in the Supermarket field and continued forward until the end of his three hours.

Brace No. 9--At 1:15, we broke away from the afternoon breakaway under sunny skies at 44 degrees. Our afternoon competitors were Lowrider Frank, a white and liver 10-year-old pointer male, handled by Allen Vincent, owned by Dr. Jim Mills and Steve Lightle, and scouted by Huffman, and Westfall's River Ice, an 8-year-old white and black pointer male handled by Andy Daugherty, owned by Brad Calkins, and scouted by Thompson. Lowrider Frank is sired by Miller's Happy Jack and is out of Fairchase Jiggs, who goes back to Sooner Bandit and Sequoyah. River Ice is sired by Westfall's Black Ice, himself sired by the previously mentioned Rock Acre Blackhawk and an Elhew dam. On the bottom side, River Ice is out of Westfall's Quick Gold. Both dogs were away strong from the afternoon breakaway, with Frank taking the left side of the East Pasture and River Ice sweeping the right side. Thompson called point for Ice at 7 in the far-right bean strip. As we rode toward Ice, we traveled through the pine thicket in the middle of the pasture, and a covey of quail were flushed in that area. A bird flew out from that covey and flew directly over Ice's head from behind, startling Ice and causing him to lose some of his intensity. When Daugherty reached his dog, he went ahead and flushed for Ice, causing more birds to fly out in front of him, but Daugherty placed him in the harness thereafter, concluding his brace. Lowrider Frank, in the meantime, continued casting around the soybean field on the left side. He hunted hard and to the front consistently. Huffman rode up a covey of birds at 23. Frank garnered a find at 30 at the Old Mounting Block, looking very stylish on his game, with his tail up. He continued on until 38, after which his handler placed him in the harness, thus concluding his brace.

Brace No. 10--We broke away from the field trial stables at 8 a.m. on February 18 at a brisk 23 degrees under sunny skies. There was some ice in areas of standing water, but the ground was not entirely hard-frozen. Miss Stylin Sue, a white and liver pointer female handled by Allen Vincent, owned by Dr. Mills and Lightle, and scouted by Huffman, and Westfall's Wheels Up, a white and black pointer male handled by Daugherty, owned by Bill Westfall, and scouted by Thompson, made up our tenth brace. Miss Stylin Sue is a direct descendant of Champion Ransom. Her dam is Coldwater Snow, sired by multi-Champion Coldwater Warrior, whose sire was the previously mentioned Champion Whippoorwill War Dance. Snow's dam, Thunder Snowy, was sired by National Champion Lester's Snowatch. Wheels Up is sired by Westfall's Black Ace and is out of Westfall's Quick Trick, a sister to competitor Westfall's True Grit. Wheels Up took the left side of the Out Front field while Sue swung away to the right. Both dogs were spotted hunting to the front at 5 in the next field. Wheels Up showed up at Joe Woody at 10, but Sue was not with Vincent. Sue did not cross over into Morgan Field and had not by 16, with Vincent holding back to look for her when Thompson called point for Wheels Up. When Daugherty went to flush upon arrival at 17, many birds boiled out for the shot. All being in order, Wheels Up continued on the course. Wheels then had another pretty find at 28 at L.B. Avent House Place, and Sue returned with Vincent at approximately the same time. Marshal Chris Weatherly reported that Vincent's horse had fallen with him, and Vincent had lost his glasses in the fall. Vincent pointed out his dog at 34 making a nice cast on the left-hand side of Long Turner Neck. Wheels Up hunted well, casting happily around Turner field at 34. At the end of Long Turner Neck, Daugherty called point on the right for Wheels Up again at 39, flushing a large covey for his dog. Both dogs then continued through Turner Pines. Sue then had a beautiful find in Turner Pines at 44 on the right, holding well for wing and shot. Scout Huffman, Vincent's longtime friend, quipped to Vincent, as they moved forward with the dog to release her after the find, that since Vincent had lost his glasses in the horse wreck, Sue would have to be his "seeing eye dog," eliciting quite a laugh from his friend and the gallery. Sue continued on with her snappy race and was then sighted to the front at 55 at the end of the Tom Hurt field. Wheels Up was also spotted on the left-hand side. However, Daugherty decided to pick up Wheels Up at 1:06 at the end of that field. By the time we reached No Man's Land and took our hard right, Sue was absent, with her scout out looking for her, but she continued to be absent. When we reached National Championship Drive at 1:27, Vincent requested Sue's tracker, thus concluding her brace, as well.

Brace No. 11--Our afternoon breakaway for our eleventh brace began at 1:15 p.m. with sunny skies and a temperature of 50 degrees. The dogs competing were Erin's Code of Honor, a white and orange pointer male, handled by Eisenhart, owned by Allen Linder, and scouted by Carlton, and Game Wardon, a white and liver pointer male, handled by Dr. Corder and scouted by Rinehart. Erin's Code of Honor, a 3-year-old rookie, is sired by Erin's Redrum, and his dam is Erin's Miss Maggie, a granddaughter to National Champion Whippoorwill Wild Agin. Game Wardon is a son of Caladen's Rail Hawk and a grandson of the previously mentioned Rock Acre Blackhawk. On the dam side, Wardon is out of Game Creek, a granddaughter of the great Champion Game Maker, yet another star in any dog's pedigree that this author also had the good fortune to watch compete. Bryan remarked about Game Maker that "he could find birds in the Wal-Mart parking lot." Wardon lived up to his heritage by quickly finding birds in the first five minutes of his brace, as did Code of Honor. Both dogs were away fast from the breakaway into the sunshine, streaking down the far-right side in the bean strip, with both scouts dispatched by 3 to look for them. Point was called for both, and the dogs scored a divided find in the high part of East Pasture on the right in the bean strip at 5. Both dogs looked beautiful on their game and stood firm for wing and shot. Code of Honor swung away from the birds and the feed strip and went with his handler, but Wardon, when released, swung toward the feed strip again and encountered a separate large covey of quail approximately 50 yards from the first covey. When he did, he failed to stop before flushing them, and Dr. Corder placed him in the harness at 7, thus concluding his brace. Code of Honor continued on, hunting to the front and always showing nicely. At 19, Eisenhart called point for him before Buster Graves's driveway on the right in a feed strip along the edge of the field. However, even on relocation, no birds were flying, and Code of Honor suffered an unproductive. He then swept on, always hunting hard and looking enthusiastic as he ran, but he was not pleasing his handler by the time we crossed over Ames Drive. Eisenhart placed him in the harness at 30, and his brace was also concluded.

Brace No. 12--Our morning breakaway began at 7:58 a.m. with overcast skies and a temperature of 57 degrees. Dogs comprising the brace were Westfall's True Grit, a pointer male, handled by Daugherty, owned by Westfall and scouted by Vincent, and Haney's Storm Warning, a white and orange pointer male handled by Chris Cagle, owned by Chris Cagle, Sr. and Chris Cagle Jr. and scouted by Chris, Jr. True Grit is sired by Erin's Brave Heart, sired by the well-known Erin's Bad River. On the bottom side, he is out of Westfall's Irish Bell, who goes back to Caladen's Rail Hawk on her bottom side, and great grand-dam Caladen's White Powder Rail. The fabled newcomer to the Championship, Storm Warning, having garnered so many points in his first all-age year to take the Joe Hurdle Award, is sired by HOF member Champion Valiant, himself sired by Miller's Happy Jack. Things are also interesting on the bottom side of Storm Warning's pedigree, given that his dam, Haney's North Star, has many spangles in her pedigree: she is by Pete's Greystone Joe, a son of Ransom. His dam was Lips Sealed, who was in turn sired by the great National Champion, Connor's E Z Button. On the bottom side of Haney's North Side's pedigree, she is a granddaughter of the previously mentioned Touch's Knight Rider. Both dogs were away strong from the Out Front field and continued on to the front across National Championship Drive into Morgan field by 11, setting a swift and ambitious pace. True Grit garnered a find at 17 in Morgan Basin, looking beautiful on point and standing firm for wing and shot. When Vincent led the dog to the left after the shot and released him, the dog immediately had a stop to flush of the same covey at 18. We returned to the main gallery at 23 at L. B. Avent's House Place with both dogs present by the time we crossed Turner. When we crossed National, both dogs were sighted at 26 at the far end of Long Turner Neck making beautiful casts. At 35, Daugherty rode through a covey of birds at the end of Long Turner Neck. Daugherty did not have his dog when we came through this area. At 39, True Grit garnered a beautiful find in Turner Pines, with Storm Warning backing. At 48, True Grit was sighted at the left-hand side of Tom Hurt. Cagle gathered up Storm Warning at 52 after we had passed through Tom Hurt at the next road crossing. At 59, Storm Warning was sighted when we crossed over to Mary Scott at National Drive. At 1:10, point was called for Storm Warning on the far left in No Man's Land. When we arrived, Cagle flushed for his dog, who stood with head and tail high, and all was in order. We continued, and at 1:30, Daugherty called point for True Grit at the site of the old Big Oak in heavy cover with Storm Warning backing. Both dogs looked very impressive on game. Daugherty flushed for his dog but moved no birds, so he relocated True Grit. On relocation, one bird was flushed while True Grit was in motion, and Daugherty placed him in the harness, thus concluding his brace. When we crossed over National again, Storm Warning was continuing on to the front, and he garnered another find at 1:50 on the left at the beginning of No Man's Land. At 2:10, he was still hunting hard and to the front. He had a beautiful find at 2:24 at Edward Clark North. At 2:29, he garnered an impressive find at Edward Clark North, with a bird flying before Cagle got to him. Nevertheless, Storm Warning stood firm for wing and shot, head and tail high. At 2:44, he showed nicely at Climmie Clark. At 2:52, Storm Warning showed well at Morgan Field on the far left at 2:56. We crossed over Buford Ellington and continued on with Storm Warning to the front, and he finished his three hours with the field trial stables in sight, still hunting to the front.

Brace No. 13--Chinquapin Legacy, a white and black pointer male, and Woodville's Yukon Cornelius, a tri-color setter male, were up next to make their championship bid, breaking away at 1:15 p.m. Legacy was handled by Slade Sikes, owned by E. L. and John Baker, and scouted by Jamie Daniels, and Cornelius was handled by Mark McLean and scouted by Korry Rinehart. Cornelius's owner, Carl Owens of Charleston, S. C., was in the gallery to watch his dog compete. Legacy is out of Chinquapin's Reward, and his dam is Hilltopper Solid Anne, sired by Solid Reward. Cornelius is sired by Caladen's Davinci (aka Merritt's Leo), and his dam is A Tarheel Miss Bo, a daughter of two-time National Champion Shadow Oak Bo. Although both dogs were away strong from the breakaway in pleasant weather at 70 degrees, overcast skies, and breezy, neither dog garnered bird work on the coveys that had been somewhat faithful in the East Pasture but continued on with blistering speed. Unfortunately, Legacy was not spotted again for some time. Cornelius, in the meantime, scored a find at 22 at the Old Mounting Block, looking very handsome on his game. Legacy was absent at this time. Cornelius continued into Cedar Hill at 25. Not having encountered his dog again, Sikes requested his tracker at 41 on the west side of Buster Graves, thus concluding his brace. Marshal Weatherly reported Sikes did locate Legacy nearby on point thereafter and flushed birds for him. McLean pointed out Cornelius at 41 at the Agronomy Unit making a solid cast. At 52, McLean called point for Cornelius again on the left in a thicket after the demonstration farm pasture. However, even after relocation, no birds were produced. By the time we reached Sam's at 1:00, McLean had decided to place Cornelius in the harness, thus concluding his brace.

Brace No. 14--Miller's Speed Dial, a white and orange pointer male, owned by Mick Marietta and handled by Anderson, and Touch's Breakaway Fred, a white and orange rookie pointer male, handled by Mark McLean, owned by Eddie and Carole Sholar, Ted and Marsha Dennark, Bruce and Karen Norton, and Gary and Becky Futch, were our final contenders for the Championship on Tuesday morning, with conditions at 54 degrees and cloudy starting at 8 a.m. from the field trial stables. Speed Dial swept the Championship in 2020 and was a four-year return contender. Speed Dial is a descendant of Miller's Dialing In. His dam is Old Road Lou, whose dam was Joe Shadow's Dixie, sired by the indomitable and beautiful HOF member Joe Shadow, a bird-finding machine if there ever was one. Touch's Breakaway Fred is by Touch's Mega Mike, sired by House's Ring of Fire. His dam is Touch's American Baby, a sister to another contender, Touch's Fire Away. She is, like her brother, another descendant of House's Ring of Fire. Both dogs left running hard from the breakaway and were through the Out Front field within two minutes. They had us sitting up in our saddles and watching for what would happen next as we moved on through the next few fields. When we reached National Championship at 10, Anderson had Speed Dial, and Speed Dial was then quickly casting to the right on Morgan field. Fred then quickly joined and took the left-hand side of Morgan field, as well. Both dogs were moving on at a rapid pace. Fred garnered a beautiful find at 15 at Morgan Basin, standing firm for wing and shot. After a brief discussion with Marshal Braddock, McLean and Carlton took him around the far corner of the stand of trees to join the gallery from the right-hand side, and we rejoined at approximately 20. The dogs reached the top of L. B. Avent House Place by 21, still traveling at a high rate of speed. At 24, both dogs were sighted on the left-hand side of Turner field. Both handlers called point on the left side of Turner, but upon arrival, handlers were warned that deer had just been seen leaving the site, so both decided to take their dogs on without flushing. Again, both dogs took opposite sides of Long Turner Neck at the same blistering pace, sweeping through the country and making exciting casts. At 28, Fred was seen on the far west corner of Long Turner Neck, making a beautiful cast, while Speed Dial was on the far west corner, also looking good. Both dogs had disappeared by the time we reached the end of the long field, but then Jamie Daniels, riding in the gallery, pointed out Fred in the far distance to McLean, advising he was across the pond dam on the other side on the left and saying that perhaps both dogs were there. When we arrived at 34, we found both dogs were standing in Turner Pines, with Speed Dial backing. Again, both dogs were posed with heads and tails high, looking like the champions they are, and McLean went into flush for his dog. All was in order on the point, and we continued on. Both dogs had returned to the front at 38 after the find. At Spencer Govan Hill, McLean pointed his dog out at 42 to the front. Both dogs were again sighted at 47, traveling at a good clip on the right. At 53, just past the Dunn Property, McLean called point for his dog on the low side of the field in heavy cover on the right, with Speed Dial backing. As we approached, McLean yelled that a bird was flying, but the judges did not see it. McLean flushed for his dog but produced no birds, with Fred thus suffering an unproductive, and continued on. At 1, Speed Dial was seen making game in the far-right pasture in Mary Scott across from the first pond, and Anderson called point for him. Upon arrival, Anderson called point for his dog, who held firm for wing and shot, head and tail in the air. When we arrived in No Man's Land, McLean called point for Fred on the left at 1:05 in heavy cover in an area where we had moved birds in earlier days. However, McLean was unable to flush them on that particular day and so relocated Fred. Fred scored no birds and thus suffered an unproductive. However, once released, Fred traveled to another location in a different field approximately 50 yards away. Judge Rayfield accompanied McLean to the new site, whereupon Fred tightened up, and McLean flushed for his dog again at approximately 1:08, producing birds, and Fred again held firm for wing and shot.

At the next crossing of National Championship Drive, both handlers decided to terminate their dogs' braces at 1:14, thus concluding the running of the 124th National Championship.

The Announcement of the Winner
Via website announcement, Ames provided that approximately one hour after the conclusion of the final brace (this year, at approximately 10:40 a.m.), the officials of the NFTCA would gather on the front steps of Ames Manor House to announce the Winner of the 2023 National Championship. In keeping with tradition, all public and press members were invited to attend the announcement, take photographs, congratulate the winners, and attend the reception that followed.

It was a warm balmy day with all the great old doors of the Manor House standing open when we gathered on its green painted front steps to listen to Secretary Carlisle announce that Miller's Blindsider was our new 2023 National Champion. Nick Berrong, Blindsider's owner; Jamie Daniels, his handler, along with Daniels' wife, Allison, their two children, Rose Marie and Thomas; Daniels's parents, Neil and Penny Daniels of Cherry Lake, Fla.; Allison's dad and his wife, David and Angie Williams of Huntingdon, Tenn. (David is a long-time AFTCA Trustee and hosts many field trials, both open and amateur on his land); and Allison's mother, Gelda Dooley, also of Huntingdon, were all present for the announcement. Judd and Ivie Carlton of Cairo, Ga., were also there. Korry and Kody Rinehart (Korry's brother) also joined us; Korry, like Judd, has also scouted Blindsider to several of his previous wins and has long been a fan and supporter of this dog.

Gary Lester also joined us on the steps, having been acknowledged as a contributor to the great success of this year's trial, having generously donated 6,000 birds (approximately $30,000 worth). Also joining us were all three of our judges, Shenker, Rayfield, and Wint, our President Bryan, along with Pat Bryan, Kay Carlisle, Libby McKnight, our long-serving Marshals Weatherly and Braddock, Matt Backus, Joe Hughes, and many others who had worked hard to make our trial a success, as well.

As we stood in the sunshine on the old porch steps and milled around in the spring breeze, I liked to think that Hobart and Julia Ames, the original owners of Ames Plantation, would have been pleased to see all the people still gathering at their beautiful home over 100 years later to eat, drink, and celebrate the finest bird dog in the land. Although we do many things that are perhaps without much purpose, and these days spend much of our lives looking at our phones, the time we spend in the saddle riding after these gallant dogs is never wasted. Instead, with field trials, we gain lifelong membership in a unique fraternity of sportsmen and women. We bond with fine animals and people in ways that only ever improve our lives. If you have not visited a field trial or the National Championship, plan to join us next year.

Other Activities
The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
We began our festivities for the 124th Field Trial National Championship with the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, February 11, at the Bird Dog Museum. The reception and all events occurring at the Bird Dog Museum throughout the week were provided courtesy of Nestle Purina. The United Kennel Club (UKC), Ainley Kennels and Fabrication, Avery Sporting Dog, Garmin, and Gundog Central sponsored the reception.

We had an exceptionally large crowd at the ceremony, with at least 125 people in attendance, which was exciting after the pandemic and all the time in which we were kept separate from our friends. It was good to be back together again and see each other.

Honorees included the great champion, Just Irresistible, an English pointer male, who won the Florida Open All-Age Championship and the Border International Championship, as well as runner-up in the Southeastern Quail Championship as a derby, out of a field of 82 dogs, the latter a feat having never been accomplished before. He competed in the National Championship as a stunning contender, as well. Stud was owned by the young Mary Devos and handled by Jamie Daniels. Just Irresistible is the sire of this year's champion and has had a remarkable impact on the breed. Daniels thanked the many people who made Stud's success possible, including, but not limited to, his scout, Judd Carlton.

The other canine honoree was pointer Miller's Happy Jack, an 18-time Champion/Runner-up Champion. He, too, had a profound impact on the breed, siring such winners as Miller's Speed Dial, 2022 National Champion, Miller's Dialing In, 2015 National Champion, and was the grandsire to Dunn's Tried'n True, 2019 National Champion. He is also the sire of Lowrider Frank. He was owned by Griffin and handled most of his 40 championships and runner-up championship wins by Anderson. Griffin and Anderson spoke about the joy Jack gave them in the years he lived and how much he contributed to the sport and improving bloodlines. His long-time scout Tiffany Genre was also on hand, as well. Anderson also recognized Jamie Brightwell and Rich Robertson for their contributions as Jack's scouts.

Non-canine honorees were professional trainer Fred Rayl, who has had an illustrious long-time career as a stellar handler of several championship dogs, including famous dogs such as Heritage's Premonition, Endurance's Grand Slam, Builder's Risk, Builder's Addition, and Fiddler. Rayl has won countless championships, including the 1982 National Championship and the Purina Award with Heritage Premonition, as well as the Masters (4x), the Florida (5x), the Continental All-Age (2x) and Continental Derby (4x), the Georgia All-Age (2x) and Georgia Derby (5x), the Southeastern (2x), the Quail Invitational (4x), the Kentucky (3x), the U.S. Chicken (8x), the All-America Quail (3x), All-America Chicken, All-America Derby, The Dominion Chicken and The Saskatchewan Chicken championship, and International Pheasant championship (2x).

Everyone was excited to recognize our other honoree, the well-known and extremely talented dog man, and long-time scout for 50-plus years, David Johnson of Lake City, Fla. Johnson is the unfailingly polite gentleman on whom Robin Gates relied for many years. He scouted champions such as Shadow Oak Bo and over 130 others to championships. He is an absolute canine genius and well-regarded by all who know him.

In the German Shorthair Pointer group, we inducted Dean Crabbs and Keith and Robbi Gulledge for their contributions to the sport. We also inducted Kyle's Hightailing Luke into the HOF, owned by Robert Reynolds.

In the Brittany Spaniel group, we inducted Mary Crawford into the HOF for her generous contributions to the sport.

Pre-Trial Reception and Drawing
At 5 p.m. on Saturday, we gathered at the Ames Manor House for a reception to honor the 2022 National Field Trial Champion, Lester's Shockwave, a pointer male handled by Gary Lester. Many guests attended to celebrate our champion as we traditionally gather before the drawing.

We then convened immediately thereafter at Bryan Hall to conduct our drawing for the running of the Championship. First, Secretary Carlisle, who chaired the meeting, recognized others in attendance, including his wife, Kay, his son, Ben, and his family, and his youngest son, Jordan. Dr. Carlisle indicated that he would serve as a backup judge and ride each brace in that capacity. He also noted that NFTCA President Bryan and his wife, Pat, were present and that Bryan would be assisting with the drawing. Bryan has been attending the National Championship for over 40 years. Carlisle also advised that he would be videotaping the dogs' finds due to Brad Harter's unfortunate absence due to his and his wife, Tina's, health issues this year.

Dr. Carlisle also noted that several directors were either here or would be with us later, including Dr. Corder, his wife Rita and Bryan, and his wife, Pat. He also indicated that Dr. Terry Terlep and his wife, Marilyn were on their way to join us later, as well as Bobby McAlexander, Matt Rhea and his wife, Kristen, and William Smith and his wife, Tommi. Other directors unable to attend included John Ivester and Dale Bush, the Vice-President, and his wife, Cathy.

Dr. Carlisle noted that Jamie and Dee Evans would be recording the event for broadcast via Facebook Live. Carlisle recognized our front and back marshals for the event, Ryan Braddock and Chris Weatherly, respectively.

Dr. Carlisle also paused to recognize those in the field trial fraternity who had passed away in the past year, including Mr. Joe G. Walker, Collierville, Tenn., former NFTCA Director and member of the Hall of Fame; Steve Tucker, Southaven, Miss., founder of Tucker Saddlery, and first saddle sponsor of the National Championship by donating a brand new Montreal Royal Canadian Trooper's Saddle to the owner of the winner; Joe Barksdale, Kentucky, a long time fine bird dog man who also assisted Curtis Miles, former NFTCA Director, in procuring a new dually truck with a 36' trailer for the transportation of Ames horses and cattle; Ted Baker, owner of Chinquapin Farms, Lake City, Fla., who tirelessly hosted the Florida Championship on his grounds and competed in the National Championship ever year his dog qualified; Rich Robertson, Sr., father of Rich Robertson, Jr., a great dog man who competed with Rich Jr. in the 1980s; Ruth Bozeman, of Caledonia, Miss., who was the brains behind the development of the great setter Bozeann's Mosley; and Dr. Joe Maddox, of Dothan, Ala., the great canine/bird dog veterinarian we all knew and loved who was a resource to all and who judged several field trials, as well.

Dr. Carlisle then announced the winner of the Joe H. Hurdle Top Dog Award, a memorial awarded to honor Mr. Hurdle and given to the dog that acquired the most points each year to qualify for the National. The dog's owner receives a pin handcrafted by David Kelley of Kelley Jewelers, Somerville, Tenn. The 2023 winner was Haney's Storm Warning, owned by Chris Cagle, Sr., and Chris Cagle, Jr., and handled by Chris Cagle Sr., garnering 1,725 points. Joey McAlexander and Bobby McAlexander, Jr. were on hand to present the Hurdle Award to the Cagles.

Thereafter, Dr. Carlisle announced we were going to begin our drawing, noting that two dogs were held out of the drawing with the understanding they could compete the following year: Confident Nation, a pointer male, owned by Scott Jordan and handled by Luke Eisenhart, and Rester's Cajun Spirit, pointer male, owned by Allen Linder, and handled by Judd Carlton (it is worth noting that Cajun Spirit is an extremely talented derby sired by this year's National Champion, underscoring how important bloodlines are in this sport).

Dr. Carlisle also read the rules of conduct for the running of the Championship and indicated that running would begin Monday at 8 a.m. for the morning brace and at 1:15 p.m. for the afternoon braces at the appropriate breakaway sites unless otherwise provided by the judges and officials. After we concluded our drawing, ensuring that the one pointer female in season, Touch's Amazing Greyce, was suitably placed with another female, we closed the evening meeting.

[Dr. Carlisle also acknowledged the 2023 National Championship sponsors and supporters during the reception, included with the report at].

The Kick-Off Party
At the Kick-Off Party Sunday evening, a silent auction was well-attended by guests, with proceeds going to fund the important work of the Bird Dog Museum. Several items were available for bidding, including jewelry, tracking and training collars, handmade baskets and pottery, rain gear, glassware, cookware, a laptop, and many other noteworthy and valuable items. Greg Blair of Purina made a speech recognizing the impressive performance of last year's National Champion, Lester's Shockwave. Handler Lester then graciously took the podium to make a few remarks about his dog and his talented performance. We then enjoyed an excellent barbeque meal catered by Gail Haynes, wife of professional handler Mark Haynes, and concluded our preliminary celebrations before the running.

Natl Ch Judges (l to r) Tom Shenker Dr Stan Wint  Jadie RayfieldS23

Judges (l to r) Tom Shenker, Dr. Stan Wint and Jadie Rayfield.

Grand Junction, Tenn., February 13
Judges: Jadie Rayfield, Tom Shenker, and Dr. Stan Wint
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP [Three-Hour Heats] -- 28 Pointers and 2 Setters

Bonner's Bulletproof, pointer male, by Miller's Speed Dial-Miller's Martha White. Dr. Chris Cornman, owner; Randy Anderson, handler. With
Lester's Storm Surge, pointer male, by Ransom-Beane's Line Dancer. Tommy & Bonnie Hamilton, owners; Gary Lester, handler.

Dream Chaser, pointer male, by Pleasant Run Bob-House's Wild Bess Again. Brad Calkins owner; Andy Daugherty, handler. With
Touch's Fire Away, pointer male, by House's Ring of Fire-Touch's Maswood Anne. Greg & Carmen Adams, owner; Randy Anderson, handler.

Quickmarksman's Dan, pointer male, by Quickmarksman's Tony-Witt's Snow Angel. Larry Earls & Sam Starnes, owner; Mike Hester, handler. With
Miller's Blindsider.

Game Heir, pointer male, by Dominator's Rebel Heir-Game Snow. Dr. Fred Corder, owner and handler. With
Mauck's Wyest Owyhee Jack, setter male, by Tekoa Mountain Patriot-San Jac's Gypsy. Steve Croy, owner; Alex Mauck, handler.

Shadow's Lord Magic, pointer male, by In the Shadow-Hello Kitty. Carl Bowman, owner; Luke Eishenart, handler. With
Lester's Shockwave, pointer male, by Ransom-Beane's Line Dancer. Tommy & Bonnie Hamilton, owner; Gary Lester, handler.

Touch's Malcolm Story, pointer male, by Touch's Knight Rider-Blackhawk's Sunflower. Alex Rickert, owner; Mark McLean, handler. With
Hendrix's Touch Up, pointer male, by Pleasant Run Bob-House's Wild Bess Again. Guy & Burke Hendrix, owners; Burke Hendrix, handler.

Pendy's Good Grace, pointer female, by Reloaded-Dialed In. Matt Pendergest, owner and handler. With
Touch's Amazing Greyce, pointer female, by Touch's Grey Street-Intentional. Austin Turley, owner; Keith Wright, handler.

Painted Owyhee Toad, pointer male, by Painted Nickel Mac-Painted Molly. Bridget & Jim Ledington, owners; Bridge Ledington, handler. With
Touch's Shadow Rider, pointer male, by Touch's Smooth Rider-Touch's Gold Dance. Bruce & Karen Norton & Dr. Reuben Richardson, owners; Mark McLean, handler.

Lowrider Frank, pointer male, by Miller's Happy Jack-Fairchase Jiggs. Dr. James Mills & Steve Lightle, owners; Allen Vincent, handler. With
Westfall's River Ice, pointer male, by Westfall's Black Ice-Westfall's Quick Gold. Brad Calkins, owner; Andy Daugherty, handler.

Miss Stylin Sue, pointer female, by Ransom-Coldwater Snow. Dr. Jim Mills & Steve Lightle, owners; Allen Vincent, handler. With
Westfall's Wheels Up, pointer male, Westfall's Black Ace-Westfall's Quick Trick. Bill Westfall, owner; Andy Daugherty, handler.

Erin's Code of Honor, pointer male, by Erin's Redrum-Erin's Miss Maggie. Allen Linder, owner; Luke Eisenhart, handler. With
Game Wardon, pointer male, by Caladen's Rail Hawk-Game Creek. Dr. Fred Corder, owner and handler.

Westfall's True Grit, pointer male, by Erin's Brave Heart-Westfall's Irish Bell. Ryan Westfall, owner; Andy Daugherty, handler. With
Haney's Storm Warning, pointer male, by Valiant-Haney's North Star. Chris Cagle, Sr. & Chris Cagle, Jr., owners; Chris Cagle, Sr., handler.

Chinquapin Legacy, pointer male, by Chinquapin Reward-Hilltopper Solid Anne. John & E. L. Baker, owners; Slade Sikes, handler. With
Woodville's Yukon Cornelius, setter male, by Caladen's Davinci-A Tarheel Miss Bo. Carl Owens, owner; Mark McLean, handler.

Miller's Speed Dial, pointer male, by Miller's Dialing In-old Road Lou. Mick Marietta, owner; Randy Anderson, handler. With
Touch's Breakaway Fred, pointer male, by Touch's Mega Mike-Touch's American Baby. Bruce & Karen Norton & Gary & Becky Futch, owners; Mark McLean, handler.

Winner--Miller's Blindsider, 1674983, pointer male, by Just Irresistible-Miller's Bring The Heat. Nick Berrong, owner; Jamie Daniels, handler.

Jamie Daniels scout Judd Carlton  Jamies dad Neil DanielsS23

Miller's Blindsider with (l to r) handler Jamie Daniels, scout Judd Carlton and Jamies's dad Neil Daniels.