Event: Miller's Heat Seeker Wins At Conecuh Station
Result: SBHA National Horseback Open Shooting Dog Classic
Location: Union Springs, Alabama
Post Date: Apr 20, 2023
Submitted By: Marty Robinson
Miller's Heat Seeker First in the SBHA National Horseback Shooting Dog Classic
The SBHA National Horseback Open Shooting Dog Classic was held February 9-15, 2023, at Conecuh Station in Union Springs, Ala. Sixty-six dogs were drawn and turned loose in a quest for this prestigious event. This trial was only an idea on a mild summer day in July of 2022. I had the privilege of spending the better part of a day with Mr. Tony Gibson (owner of Conecuh Station), in which we discussed this trial and set forth the event's parameters for it to become a reality. That July day also included Mr. Gibson showing me through the plantation and much
of the internal workings of Conecuh Station. It is a huge understatement to state that Conecuh
Station is an enterprise within itself. Tony showed me one of his latest projects which was an authentic log cabin deep inside the plantation in such a pristine and serene setting that would cause one to feel as though a painting had come to life. The year-over-year improvements are evident as Tony shares his continued vision for one of the highest-quality field trial venues in the country. Not only is Tony a visionary, but he is also a man of action who, in short order, brings his visions to bear. The SBHA and everyone attending the event remain very thankful to Tony and Becky Gibson for their unfaltering generosity and unequaled Southern hospitality.
As the start of the trial approached, the weather forecast looked like the first three days would be quite wet with rain forecasted. It is February in the South, and rain is a big part of this season. It's akin to a wet blanket you learn to partner with and work in tandem with. While rain suits were adorning the back of almost every saddle, Thursday remained dry, and Friday was dry for most of the day, with a few showers showing up occasionally. Saturday, however, was a bit of a different story. The radar showed nothing but dark green and yellow with periods of red for the entire day, so trial officials and judges agreed to suspend running for the entire day. This proved to be an excellent decision as almost two inches of rain found its way to the
ground. The remaining four days were dry and pleasant, with temperatures ranging daily from
the mid-40s to mid-60s. The rain left plenty of water on the courses for the dogs, but the horses felt like they were working out with ankle weights due to the mud in places.
The judges for the trial were Wallace Reichert of Whitesburg, Ga., and Jeff Gibbons of Prattville, Ala. Both these gentlemen were such a pleasure to have in the judicial saddles.
They both are very knowledgeable of bird dogs, always give each dog the attention required, and are always helpful to handlers during the running. Every entry received a fair and unbiased opportunity to perform. We appreciate Jeff and Wallace's willingness to give their time and dedication to this great sport. We appreciate the above measure.
The marshaling duties were superbly handled by Bo Brewer, who is always a delight to work alongside. The dog wagon was adeptly manned and operated by Bill Clem, and it was always apparent that Bo and Bill were always in sync as the transition from one brace to the next was always efficient and seamless.
Contestants and attendees were greeted each morning with a freshly prepared breakfast. Mr.
George Cole and Steve Hutto prepared these early morning delicacies. Steve wore many caps before and during the trial as he was very instrumental in the coordination of activities as well as trailering horses back at the end of each morning and afternoon's running.
Lunches and dinners were professionally prepared daily by "Banjo" (Ban) Stewart with help from his lovely wife, Allison, and daughter Amelia. The meal's quality and expert preparations had everyone clamoring for the next meal.
Sponsors are always appreciated and worthy of much recognition and support. SBHA is fortunate to have some of the best to be found. Fortunately for us, we also had representatives from two very important sponsors. From Eukanuba, we had our sponsor representative Lynn Carradine and one of the most capable nutritionists in the pet food industry, Russ Kelly. Lynn has been so supportive of our goals and has been instrumental in allowing our organization to eliminate all membership fees and the suspension of dog taxes required by the organization. Her support plays a significant role in our ability to put on prestigious events such as the National Open Shooting Dog Classic. Also in attendance was Eric Byrd of Kinetic. Kinetic is also a sponsor who has supported SBHA from the start and is committed to the goals and values of the organization. Our other sponsors are as follows: James O'Neal Dodge (Bremen, Ga.), The Saddle Guy, Hillbilly Mudd, Dogs Unlimited, SportDOG, and Gun Dog Supply.
We ask that you support these sponsors as you can and thank them for their support of our
Miller's Heat Seeker, owned by Muriel and Bill Primm, Jack and Fran Miller, and Dennis Hood and handled by George Tracy, emerged as the winner. Heat Seeker is no stranger to the winners' circle and ran in brace No. 26. At 4, he was found backing his bracemate, Phillips Wind Line. Point was called from deep into the pines at 17, and Seeker was found by scout Mike Tracy and was standing like a Trojan. George Tracy dismounted, but unfortunately, no birds could be flushed. A relocation was attempted and performed thoroughly, but the birds weren't cooperating.
Heat Seeker was sent on and put on a ground race clinic hunting with purpose and maturely adjusting to the different terrains. Speed and drive would accurately describe the ground effort of this attractive white and orange pointer. Point was called at 52, and again, Seeker stood with majesty and confidence. Birds were, this time, put to air; Tracy shot, collared his dog, and he was again off in pursuit. Seeker strolled past the area of the pet cemetery, out through the bottoms, and point was again called at 56. Again, great style and manners were displayed with birds flushed, gun fired, and dog collared. All riding knew a rewarding performance had been
unfolding in front of all. Seeker continued to reach deep, and time was called in pines near the sawmill.
Waybetter Rebel, a white and black pointer male owned by Muriel and Bill Primm and Allen Linder, handled by Mike Tracy, garnered second place. Rebel is a well-puttogether young pointer male who should also see the winners' circle many times in the future. Rebel ran in brace No. 24, the last brace on Monday. Rebel scored a find at 25 with all in order. Point was called at 29, but no birds could be moved after a flushing attempt and relocation. Rebel's ground effort was strong reaching, and he made a point to hunt through the right places where birds should be found. His efforts were rewarded with finds at 36 and again at 50. He finished the hour with speed and range and pushed hard for the top honor. According to the judges, Rebel was the closest performance to the winner.
Bully Rock, a white and liver pointer male owned by Muriel and Bill Primm and Karen and Ernie Saniga, garnered third place. Bully Rock was handled by Mike Tracy and ran in brace No. 21. Bully Rock ran an industrious race and was business for the full 60 minutes. He scored finds at 9, 32, and 43. Point was called for Bully at 15, but a group of wild piglets was seen leaving the area, so he was taken on. He finished the hour in Phelps Bottom, still hunting and moving forward.
Brace No. 1--Southpoint's Hog Wild (PM/Tracy) with Call Me Clyde (PM/Martino). The morning started slowly as dogs hunted hard and pushed forward, but the birds did not cooperate. Clyde had an unproductive at 19, but both dogs finished the hour without birdwork.
Brace No. 2--Steel Valley Raven (PF/Jeanette Tracy) with Bittersweet War Cry (PM/Mike Tracy). Point was called for Raven at 45 and 54. Both stands produced no birds, and Raven was taken up. War Cry hunted hard for the hour but had no bird contact.
Brace No. 3--Pineywood's Legacy (PM/D. Hendley) with Miller's War Bonnet (PF/Tracy). Point was called for Legacy at 4. A large covey was spread all around the dog, and at flush, he moved slightly forward and was taken up by the handler. War Bonnet scored a find at 7, ran a classy forward race, and finished the hour.
Brace No. 4--Trumped (PM/Tracy) with Check It Out (PM/Martino). Trump had finds at 23 and 50. The find at 23 required a relocation attempt that was performed admirably. Trump had a strong-flowing race and finished the hour. Check It Out had a find at 24. A minor infraction occurred after the flush, and the handler chose to pick up.
Brace No. 5--Miller's High Heat Index (PM/Tracy) with Sandspur Belle (PF/R. Moorer). High Heat Index started fast with finds at 9, 12, and 14. Index was strong and forward but out of pocket for an extended period. The tracker was asked for at 42, and as it sometimes happens, just after the tracker was on and attempting to sync, the dog showed up. Belle also had finds at 28 and 40 and finished the hour.
Brace No. 6--Miller's Lock And Loaded (PM/Tracy) with Sunbelt's Repete (PM/Martino). Loaded had finds at 19, 28, and 36 and suffered an unproductive at 48. He finished the hour. Repete had his sneakers strapped on, and the handler asked for the tracker at 26 after an extended absence.
Brace No. 7--Miller's Upgrading The Ante (PF/Tracy) with C S Grace (PF/Martino). Ante hunted hard during the brace, but the birds weren't cooperating. Grace had finds at 3 and again at 48. She hunted the country with speed and purpose, but a slight bobble at 48 led to her being taken up.
Brace No. 8--Pineywoods Showstopper (PF/D. Hendley) with Reedy Creek Dial Tone (PM/Tracy). It appeared these two dogs made a bet while in the dog wagon as to which could log the most miles the quickest. Both were gone from the breakaway and up upon returning around 15.
Brace No. 9--Miller's Special Cinderella (PF/Tracy) with World Class Moonshiner (PM/S. Lee). Cinderella suffered unproductives at 10 and 36 and was taken up. Moonshiner had a find at 5, suffered a slight bobble at flush, and was taken up.
Brace No. 10--Miller's Flowers And Lace (PF/Tracy) with S B Always Dreamin (PF/B. Owen). Point was called for Lace at 17 but proved unproductive. She hunted hard for the hour but went birdless. Dreamin had a nice find at 23 and hunted classy and industrious for the hour.
Brace No. 11--The Secret (PM/J. Tracy) with J C L's Hap (PM/Tracy). Secret took off at breakaway and was not seen. The handler requested the tracker at 26. Hap was hunting nicely but was birdless at 31 and was taken up.
Brace No. 12--Hauser's Rollin Thunder (PM/Tracy) with Backcountry Buddy (PM/Martino). Thunder pinned a large covey on the ridge at 8 and was found backing his bracemate at 24. These two were way forward and eating up real estate. The tracker was requested for Thunder at 37. Buddy had a nice find at 24. He had long absences, and the tracker was requested for him at 42.
Brace No. 13--Ironstone's Dark Horse (ESM/Martino) with Dunn's Ever'n Onward (PM/W. Dunn). Dark Horse had a find at 28. He hunted hard for the hour but was birdless after the one find. Onward was wide and forward and not seen very often throughout the hour.
Brace No. 14--Hauser's Hard Line (PM/ Tracy) with Hillhavyn's Good Time Rail (PF/Martino). Hard Line hunted through the landscape but with no birds, was taken up at 44. Rail had a picturesque find at 10 with a nice covey being flushed. Point was once again called at 59 but proved unproductive.
Brace No. 15--Hillhavyn's Wild Child (PF/J. Tracy) with Miller's Million Dollar Penny (PF/Tracy). Wild Child scored a nice find at 17, with all in order. After moving on, Child found a small bevy of wild piglets. She was taken on, reaching deep on the edges and making an excellent ground effort. She got deep and out of pocket, and the tracker was requested at 45. Penny had a find in a feed strip at 11. She hunted well and later shortened slightly and was taken up at 45.
Brace No. 16--Miller's Newest Version (PF/B. Owen) with Jolene Jolene (PF/Tracy). Version scored a find at 49 and busily hunted the hour. Jolene was off to take someone's man and was not seen after the breakaway; the tracker was requested at 18.
Brace No. 17--Dunn's True Reign (PM/Tracy) with Face To Face (ESM/Martino). Reign ran large and forward throughout the brace but went birdless. Face had finds at 4 and 20. Point was called again at 51, and no birds could be flushed after a relocation attempt. Another find was scored at 57. Face's range had shortened the last half of the brace.
Brace No. 18--Dunn's Sneak'n In (PM/W. Dunn) with Miller's Automatic Upgrade (PM/Tracy). Sneak'n In was strong and forward. He rimmed the Chopper field and went deep. The tracker was requested at 21. Upgrade also was off to the races shortly after the breakaway, and the tracker was requested at 20.
Brace No. 19--Backcountry Pure Gold (PF/Martino) with Calico's Sky's The Limit (PF/Tracy. Pure Gold was a very light-footed and attractive dog on the ground. She floated through the country and had a find at 54. Limit was on point at 4, but no birds could be produced. Point was called for her again at 17, and after a relocation attempt, birds could not be produced, and she was taken up.
Brace No. 20--Miller's Record Heat (PF/Tracy) with Hillhavyn's Major Tom (PM/Martino). Record Heat was heated up as she was off to the races after the breakaway, and the tracker requested at 25. Major Tom hunted the hour with a solid forward race rimming fields and cutting up the piney woods but had no bird work.
Brace No. 21--Bully Rock (PM/Tracy) with McFay's Dire Straits (PF/Martino). Bully Rock was covered earlier. Dire Straits hunted hard and garnered backs at 15 and 43.
Brace No. 22--Faithful (PF/Tracy) with Steel City Avenger (PM/J. Tracy). Faithful suffered an unproductive at 7 after being found on point and a relocation attempt. She hunted busily, and after a discussion with the judge, the handler elected to take her up at 35. Avenger was gone early, and the tracker was requested at 25.
Brace No. 23--Deception's Wild Justice (PM/Martino) with Lone Tree Splish Splash (PF/B. Owen). Wild Justice was out of pocket early, and the tracker requested at 20. Splash had finds at 38 and 45. She hunted busily for the hour.
Brace No. 24--Waybetter Rebel (PM/Tracy) with R Q's Saddle (PM/J. Tracy). Waybetter Rebel was covered earlier. Saddle ran a strong forward and reaching race but eventually was out of pocket, and the tracker requested at 48.
Brace No. 25--C S Trump (ESM/Brewer) with Miller's Extreme Heat (PF/Tracy). Trump got off to a strong start with a limb find on a ditch line deep into the piney woods. A large covey was flushed, and the dog demonstrated superb manners. This was a great way to start a new day. Unfortunately, Trump was out of pocket after this find, and the tracker was requested at 28. Extreme Heat scored a nice find at 26 in a plum thicket. At 42, the handler checked with the judges, and Heat was up at 44.
Brace No. 26--Phillips Wind Line (PM/Martino) with Miller's Heat Seeker (PM/Tracy). Miller's Heat Seeker was covered earlier. Wind Line ran a strong forward race. He scored a find at 4 with his bracemate backing. He also scored a find at 45 and then failed to back his bracemate at 52, which ended his bid.
Brace No. 27--C S Plains Drifter (PM/B. Brewer) with Waybetter Rocky (PM/Tracy). Drifter hunted hard but was birdless at 36 and was taken up. Rocky suffered an unproductive at 9, had a find at 14, and then scored immediately following at 16 while getting back to the front. Rocky was bird hunting and was harnessed at 36.
Brace No. 28--Neely's Business Man (PM/J. Neeley) with Miller's Southern Gossip (PF/Tracy). Business Man got down to business and laid down a solid forward race throughout the hour. He was pointed at 30 near the propane tank with all in order. His race was impressive, and more bird work could have changed the outcome. Gossip pointed a group of wild piglets at 29 and was taken on. Point was called at 49 with birds flushed. Gossip was not pleasing her handler
and was taken up.
Brace No. 29--Erin's Big Casino (ESM/ Tracy) with Electronic Warfare (PM/B. Goodwin). Casino had a back at 12. An extended absence ensued, and he was taken up at 32. Warfare had a find at 12 but had a slight breach at flush and was harnessed after discussion with the judge.
Brace No. 30--Cheyenne Jack (PM/Tracy) with Stride (PM/S. Hurdle). Jack suffered an unproductive at 33 and was taken up. Stride had finds at 29 and again at 41. Stride wasn't
pleasing his handler and was taken up after flush at 42.
Brace No. 31--Charlie's Zip Tie (ESM/B. Owen) with Miller's Strolling For Gold (PF/Tracy). Zip Tie was out of pocket early, and the tracker was requested at 37. Strolling For Gold had a dug-up find at 12 with all in order. Shortly after the find, she was out of pocket and eventually picked up at 37.
Brace No. 32--Bronco Bully (PM/Tracy) with Towncreek Hardaway Red (PM/Martino). Bully got forward and deep early. When not seen at the end of Chopper Field, the tracker was requested. Red was hunting hard but came up with an injured foot at 25 and was taken up.
Brace No. 33--You could not set up a better ending to such an excellent and competitive trial. How about bringing two heavyweights, George Tracy and Steve Hurdle, to the line to conclude the trial? George brought Miller's Blazing Hot Chick (PF) to the line, and Steve brought C S Code Blue, who had just won the National Open Shooting Dog Championship the week prior at Sedgefields Plantation. You can't write a script like this! Chick had a find at 22 on pine ridge and shortly after at 24 as she entered bottoms. Her final find came at 43. Code Blue had a stylish find at 22 in bottoms past the graveyard.
This trial was hugely successful, with competitive performances, great fun, and unlimited sportsmanship. The accounting of the braces is as accurate as my notes allow, but if omething was missed or inaccurately reported, please forgive me. Writing on a horse during the action is challenging, but nothing was written to be inaccurate or offend anyone.
After the trial, when the winners were announced, Mr. Gibson said he would like this trial to continue. We plan to return this trial to Conecuh Station during the week following the National Open Shooting Dog Championship. We will work diligently to improve the trial and continue improving each year. We appreciate everyone who supported the trial in any way, and we hope to have another great trial in February of 2024.
Union Springs, Ala., February 9
Judges: Jeff Gibbons and Wallace Reichert
SBHA NATIONAL OPEN SHOOTING DOG CLASSIC [One-Hour Heats] - 61 Pointers and 5 Setters
1st--MILLER'S HEAT SEEKER, 1674886, pointer male, by Just Irresistible-Miller's Bring The Heat. Bill & Muriel Primm, Dennis Hood, Jack & Fran Miller, owners; George Tracy, handler.
2d--WAYBETTER REBEL, 1689139, pointer male, by Dominator's Rebel Heir-Calico's Country Song. Allen Linder, Muriel & Bill Primm, owners; Mike Tracy, handler.
3d--BULLY ROCK, 1674970, pointer male, by Bully Bragg-Bullerina. Muriel & Bill Primm, Ernie & Karen Saniga, owners; Mike Tracy, handler.
Bully Rock Third in the SBHA National Horseback Shooting Dog Classic