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Event: Sterling Woodruff and Mae Win Youth Classic
Result: Shenandoah Youth Field Trial

Location: Fitzpatrick, Alabama

Post Date: Jun 7, 2023

Submitted By: Ann Grace Tompkins

shenandoah youths23

2023 Shenandoah Youth Classic Winners: (front, l-r): Brayden Renfroe and Sterling Woodruff with Mae, Reese Green with Ricky, Addison McDuffie with Rebel, and Hayes Green with Jack. (Behind): Big Woody Woodruff, Big Will, Little Woody Woodruff, Gabe Renfroe, Robert Moorer, Corbin Rhodes, Lane Rhodes, Emma Kate Reynolds, Bo Brewer holding niece Mae Woods Thomas, John Neely (judge), Morgan Brewer (judge) with niece Lou Lou Thomas, Hunter McDuffie, Mindy McDuffie, Darron Hendley, Justin Green, Anna Grace Tompkins (reporter), and Mike Green.

Shenandoah Plantation held its annual Youth Trial Classic on Saturday, March 11, 2023, on the immaculate grounds of Shenandoah Plantation, owned by Dr. John Reardon. With an outstanding draw of 24 dogs and eight hopeful handlers, it made for a good day. Judges Morgan Brewer of Union Springs, Ala., and John Neely of Albany, Ga., gave their time and knowledge for the day. The Bullock County tourism council so graciously provided a breakfast of biscuits to fuel up for the long day ahead. A delicious lunch of Chappy's Deli sandwiches with pasta salad and other sides was provided by Eric Leisy with Great Southern Lands. Many great prizes were up for grabs donated by Union Springs Home Center, Tractor Supply, and Phillips Feed and Seed, along with a beautiful, engraved plaque for each placement.

The first brace broke loose promptly at 10 a.m. after Hayes Green delivered a special prayer to watch over all the participants, dogs, and horses. It was brisk at the breakaway, but the sun shined down, which made for a beautiful morning; a gallery of 42 riders and nine buggies followed the action.

Starting the morning, we called Ella Grace Montgomery with "Ed" and Reese Green with "Rick" to the line. Both dogs made a beautiful cast for their handlers, Reese and Rick had their first find right off the bat with a plentiful covey getting up. Ella and Ed had their first find shortly after uprising another big covey of birds, with Reese and Rick making a respectful back. Reese and Rick had another nice find backed by Ed and Ella. Ella and Ed had their second find, with Reese and Rick making another nice back. A beautiful divided find ended the first brace with two happy handlers.

Brace No. 2 paired Claire Street and "Clay" alongside first-timer Luke Reardon with "Lucy." Luke and Lucy had their first find with birds getting up, as Clay covered much ground for Claire. Lucy and Luke had their second find with birds flying, and another divided find ended the second brace.

Brace No. 3 paired Hayes Green and "Bo" with Shelby Street and "Ted." These two handlers in the Junior division will have a top dog qualification at the end of the day. Bo flew through the countryside for Hayes, and they had their first find with a big pheasant getting up. Shelby and Ted made a beautiful run, and they had their first find with birds getting up; the brace ended with both dogs in the front.

Brace No. 4 was Sterling Woodruff and "Mae," also in the Junior Division, alongside Kira Jenkins and "Knot." Sterling and Mae had their first find with a big covey getting up. A divided find happened shortly after, allowing both handlers to shoot their guns. Knot handled beautifully for Kira and ran an impressive race. One more brace awaited us before we took a break and ate lunch.

On the line for brace No. 5 were Addison McDuffie with "Shrimptales" and Reese Green with "Ann." Shrimptales and Addison had a beautiful find shortly into the brace. Both dogs handled exceptionally well for the girls. Ann ran a nice race but ultimately had no bird work, but that didn't take away from their big race.

After a break for lunch, we headed back out at 1 p.m. with seven braces to go. Brace No. 6, Luke Reardon with "B," and Claire Street with "Cole" were ready to rock and roll. Claire and Cole had a find right off the breakaway with birds getting up. Luke and B had their first find with birds backed by Cole and Claire. Both dogs handled nicely for their handlers ending the brace.

Brace No. 7 paired Katie Bell Varner with "Sassy" and Addison McDuffie with "Rebel." Both dogs made a beautiful cast for their handlers. Katie Bell and Sassy had their first find with birds, and Addison and Rebel had their first find with a nice covey getting up. Addison and Rebel were on a roll having two more productive finds of pheasants ending the brace.

Brace No. 8 paired Katie Bell Varner again, with "Sam," alongside Ella Grace Montgomery and "Bell." This was an emotional brace for Katie Bell because it was her last time running in a youth trial. We have all enjoyed watching her run and grow as a handler and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors. Bell put on an impressive show as she raced through the bottoms and hills. She was on the hunt. Sam also made a nice cast for Katie Bell, and they had two productive finds. The brace ended with Bell on point for Ella and the birds getting up.

Brace No. 9 is the brace we had all been waiting for, the Junior Division boys' showdown with Sterling Woodruff and "Sammy," alongside Hayes Green and "Jake." It's always a joy to watch them work together. The handlers had two divided finds, both with plentiful birds. The boys were all smiles and showed great determination, and they were a pleasure to watch.

In brace No. 10, we see the dynamic duo again, Hayes Green with "Jack" and Sterling Woodruff with "May" on the line. Hayes and Jack started strong with a nice find with birds. They turned around and did it again with another big covey getting up. Sammy handled nicely for Sterling. They had a find with no bird work but quickly redeemed themselves with a divided find for both boys to shoot their guns.

Brace No. 11 paired Reese with "Josie" alongside Kira Jenkins and "Jag." They were ready to go, both girls running their last dogs of the day. Reese and Josie had a nice find with a pheasant getting up. Shortly thereafter, the girls had a divided find leaving another pheasant flying. Kira and Jag had their second find with guns fired, with both dogs finishing up front.

The final brace of the day, No. 12, called to the line Addison McDuffie with "Lou" and Shelby Street with "Jenny." Addison and Lou had a nice find with bird work, with Jenny making a beautiful back for Shelby. Shelby also had a nice find with birds getting up and ending the last brace, leaving all smiles on the handlers' faces and their parents. Everyone's favorite part of the day was here. It was time to announce the winners.

Everyone gathered in the shop for the announcement. Robert Moorer closely held the paper holding the winners' names, keeping everyone in suspense. This youth trial would not be where it is today if it weren't for Robert. He shows so much heart for the youth and has been an integral part of the budding careers of many youth handlers over the years, including mine. Starting with the Top Dog in the Junior Division, we have Hayes Green with Jack. Third place went to Addison McDuffie and Rebel, and second place was awarded to Reese Green and Rick. Finally, after much anticipation, the big name was called out, "First place goes to...... Sterling Woodruff and Mae!" All the winners smiled big as they collected their goodies and plaques. It was then picture time. "Grab your favorite dog and let's take a picture," was the command from volunteer photographer Van Wadsworth. Van captured the precious moments throughout the day and generously shared them with everyone. They were fantastic pictures and beautifully captured the day and the fun all had had.

Everyone hung around for live music, and some of the best food served at a youth trial. Chris Sellers of Tennessee generously provided the food, prepared by Dr. John Guber and the ever-popular Steve Hutto. The food and fellowship made for a very special evening. These kids are the future of this sport that we all know and love, and it is such a blessing to see them grow and learn so much over the years. Again, thanks to Dr. John Reardon for letting us use his beautiful plantation and to everyone who donated, whether it be prizes, entry fees, food, or just their time. We all appreciate it deeply and hope to see this sport of youth trials continue to grow.