2015 Hobart Ames Memorial


By:  Jim Atchison

Lester’s Jazz Man, owned by Dan Hensley and handled by Randy Anderson, won first place in the All-Age Stake at the 62nd annual running of the Hobart Ames Memorial Field Trial.  The annual renewal was sponsored by the Ames Amateur Field Trial Association and run on Ames Plantation January 12-17.  Nosam’s Walking Tall, owned by Mason Ashburn and handled by Austin Mann, won first place in the Derby Stake.  The number of All-Age entries, 52, was up significantly as the last couple of years drew 36 and 44.  Twenty Derby entries were drawn and the number of derbies compared closely with the number drawn in the most recent previous years.

Ike Todd placed Touch’s Grave Digger second for owner Keith Wright and Todd also handled Quester to the third place win in the All-Age stake.  Quester is owned by the family of the late Jim Fornear.  Second place in the Derby trial was won by Phillips’ Off Line for owner/handler Nathan Phillips and third was won by Touch’s Secret Agent, owned by Keith Wright and handled by Ike Todd.  Todd had an excellent week as he won three of the six placements that were awarded for the entire trial.

Dr. Stan Wint from Gardner, Kansas and Rodney Shoemaker from Kearney, Missouri were the All-Age judges.  Dr. Wint is a periodontist and Mr. Shoemaker has been retired more than a year from a career as a construction superintendent.  The pair live about an hour apart, one south of Kansas City and the other north so they frequently work dogs and field trial together.  Charlie Frank Bryan and Michael Shears judged the derbies.  Bryan has had many years of judging experience, including judging the National Championship. He lives in nearby Collierville, Tennessee.  Shears is a real estate developer and builder from Franklin, Tennessee and has run his amateur dogs for many years.  In addition to running dogs and judging, he is also an excellent field trial reporter.

Six full days were required for running the total of 72 dogs.  Overall the weather was excellent for field trialing.  Rain during the night and up through daylight prior to the Monday start resulted in no delay.  Monday was the worst day with occasional light mist and sparse fog.  The next couple of days were cold and cloudy all day.  About Thursday the wind shifted to the south and the remaining mornings started out with near freezing temperatures but the days became sunny with temperatures comfortable each afternoon.

Bobby McAlexander is President of the Ames Amateur Field Trial Association, Charlie Frank Bryan is Vice President and Dr. Rick Carlisle is Secretary/Treasurer.  During the drawing and on several other occasions Dr. Carlisle thanked the Trustees of the Hobart Ames Foundation for allowing the trials to be run on Ames Plantation.  The trustees are Mr. Oliver A. Spalding who is a great nephew of Mr. Ames, Mr. Robert H. Frey, and Ms. Augusta Haydock who represents Bank of America, N. A.  Dr. Carlisle also acknowledged and expressed appreciation for the generous sponsorship provided by Purina. 

Others who contributed significantly to the enjoyable week at Ames were the McKnight Family of Somerville and The Bank of Fayette County.  The McKnights and the Bank sponsored the Wayne Tate Memorial Steak Dinner on Tuesday night.  Mrs. Pat McKnight with several of her family and friends attended.  Representing the Bank were Rube Rhea, Jr. who is Chairman of the Board and Rex Brotherton.  Additionally, Otis Ozier who manages Hilliard Lyons Brokerage offices in Memphis and Dyersburg furnished sausage and biscuits at the end of the first brace each morning. 

More information about the many activities and organization that were a part of the great week at Ames Plantation will follow later in this article.  Also information Dr. Carlisle shared about changes made on the courses during the past year will be noted.  Lots of birds were moved during the All-Age Stake.  At the end of the All-Age the game contact by dogs numbered 54 and the gallery had ridden up at least 14 more coveys.   

All-Age Winners

Lester’s Jazz Man won first place with two beautiful finds and a great hour of running in brace 14.  He had birds at 27 and 55, with the first find being in deep cover where no other dog found birds throughout the week.  Jazz Man was animated and fast as he was biddable even from long distances and ran his edges completely and well.  He hunted in the right places and demonstrated excellent manners with beautiful style each time he found game.  He then punctuated all of the above with a strong finish.  After winning Randy Anderson told this reporter he had really enjoyed having the dog and earning several placements since Dan Hensley placed the dog with him.  Anderson said the winner ran really strong on the prairie and although he didn’t say it; Jazz Man also ran beautifully and strong in the venue provided by Ames Plantation.

Touch’s Grave Digger produced game three times in brace 23 for handler Ike Todd.  He stayed to the front and found birds at 18, 32, and 58.  He demonstrated good style on his birds and was not distracted during a divided find at 32.  Grave Digger ran some big casts and ran the edges extremely well.  In addition to staying well to the front he was smooth and strong, having plenty of energy left for a strong finish.

Ike Todd also handled Quester as the senior dog produced a great performance and placed third.  Todd commented that Quester was smarter than him and older, in dog years I’m sure.  In brace 11 Quester found birds at 10 and 20.  His brace mate failed to back at 10 but Quester maintained control of the situation.  He ran a strong race and stayed to the front but checked back with Todd periodically during the hour.  Todd and Quester demonstrated really good rapport with one another as the winner dug in and really hunted the country.

The All-Age Running

Raelyn’s High Cotton, owned by Charles and Raegan Williamson and handled by Allen Vincent, and Touch’s White Knight, owned by Keith Wright and handled by Ike Todd, were the first of the 52 contenders to run.  The start was at 8:00 AM and rain had recently ended.  The ground was muddy and light fog hung in many areas.  High Cotton ran steadily throughout the hour and pointed at 54 under a cedar tree.  The judge did not see any birds and the stop was considered an unproductive.  White Knight had one unproductive also which came near the end of the hour at the north end of the corn field that parallels the Somerville-LeGrange Road.  White Knight’s ground race was outstanding.  He was super strong throughout the hour as he stayed to the front, ran edges perfectly and at a speed that never altered throughout the hour.

Randy Anderson had Shadow’s Powder Bud owned by Norris Sims during the second brace.  The second dog was Greypoint Izquidera owned by Doug Meyer and handled by Allen Vincent.  Doug Meyer was in the gallery but unfortunately his dog became lost fairly early and Vincent got his tracker at 21.  Powder Bud had a find at 25 and showed good style.  He finished the hour with no additional game.

Coldwater Warrior and White Flyer were braced together in brace three.  Coldwater Warrior is owned by Gary McKibben and Jim Crawford and handled by Weldon Bennett.  Randy Anderson handled White Flyer for Dr. Chris Cornman.  Coldwater Warrior started strong with the find of a huge covey at 5 and a stop to flush at 7.  In the late part of the hour fog was getting thicker and the dog was gone quite a bit.  However Bennett had him back to the front to finish the hour under judgment.  White Flyer had birds at 9 just before the Pine Hill Cutover but soon became lost and Anderson got his tracker at 25.

Fog was still evident after lunch as brace four started at 1:00 PM.  Randy Anderson had Phillips’ Field Line on the line for Don Stroble, who was in the gallery, and Steve Hurdle had Connor’s E-Z Button owned by Lindsey and David O’Connor.  At about 15 the whereabouts of Field Line was unknown and Anderson and a judge stayed back looking for him.  He came to the front and pointed at 25.  Toby Tobiassen flushed the birds for Anderson but the dog jumped forward and was picked up.  E-Z Button ran an excellent forward race and had one find.  The dog demonstrated throughout the hour that he was excellent rapport with Hurdle.

Randy Anderson had White Feather in brace five for Dan Hensley and Mike Hester had Buckheart’s Tomahawk for Andrew Maddux.  Tomahawk erred during a find at 25 and was picked up.  Anderson got his tracker early and the brace ended.

Scooby Doo, owned by Emily Allen and Preston Trimble and handled by Allen Vincent, was braced with Mega Blackhawk Progeny owned by Bob Craig, John Sayre, and Raines Jordan and handled by Steve Hurdle. Bob Craig was in the gallery.  Blackhawk ran a smooth and forward race with one find at 13.  He appeared to become stronger throughout the hour and handled well to the finish.  Scooby Doo backed his brace mate’s find at 13 but later became lost.  Vincent got his tracked at 47.

As brace seven started on Tuesday morning the temperature was 28 while the wind was cold from the north and the sky was cloudy.  Nothing changed all day.  At 4:45 the temperature was 29 with clouds and north wind.

Toby Tobiassen had Touch’s Blackbelt owned by Chris Rarich and Steve Hurdle had Wild and Free owned by Joe Barksdale.  Blackbelt had her first find at 2.  She continued across Buford Ellington Road and at 18 had an unproductive almost due west of the field trial stables in broom sedge.  Blackbelt was fast and finished the hour but ended with only the one nice find.  Wild and Free hunted the entire hour but had no game.

White Dollar, handled by Randy Anderson for Scott Griffin, and Last Survivor, handled by Allen Vincent for Dr. Robert Rankin and Dr. Nick Knutson, were next off the line for brace eight.  White Dollar had a couple of early absences and came back but Anderson had to ask for his tracker at 26.  Last Survivor hunted steadily throughout the hour and finished but had no birds.

Next, in brace nine, Randy Anderson released Touch’s Blackout owned by Ric Peterson and Larry Huffman released The Doctor owned by Blake Kukar.  Touch’s Blackout pointed at 2, but The Doctor failed to back and was picked up.  Anderson then flushed and birds flew.  Blackout continued, running a really outstanding race and had birds again at 43 near Turner Road.  His finish, like his race, was impressive.

Caladen’s Rail Hawk and Touch’s Adams County went next in brace 10.  Rail Hawk was handled by owner, Dr. Fred Corder, and Adams County, owned by Ric Peterson, was handled by Randy Anderson.  Rail Hawk started the hour impressively achieving finds at 18, 20, and 31.  He was beautiful on his game each time but became lost about 35 and Dr. Corder ended the contest when he had to ask for his tracker.  Adams County had a good hour with birds at 31 and 45.  In fact both dogs had finds at 31 probably at least 300 yards apart.  Seeing both pointed at the same time was nice.  Adams County was gone  some at the end of the hour but the scout returned with him to finish at 63.

In brace 11 Sanders’ Buck Shot, handled by Anderson for Larry Sanders, was braced with Quester.  Quester pointed at 10 and Buck Shot failed to back and was picked up.

Mike Hester cast Tall River, owned by Eva Frigo, while Allen Vincent had Low Rider Frank in brace 12.  Frank is owned by Dr. Ben Johnson and Dr. John Beckworth.  Tall River ran pretty but was lost before the hour ended.  Hester got his tracker at 53.  Low Rider Frank had an extended absence but came back to the front and had a beautiful find at 27.  He had another find in pine trees at 51 and soon finished.

Day three, Wednesday, started cold at 26 degrees but the sun came out during the second hour and produced a beautiful afternoon with the temperature reaching around 40. 

Hackberry Hank was released by Randy Anderson for owner Jay McKenzie.  The brace mate was Prime Suspect, owned by Ron Miller and handled by Mike Hester.  Hank was picked up almost immediately.  Prime Suspect was responsive to Hester’s bidding but became lost causing Hester to ask for his tracker at 50.

Whippoorwill Wild Assault, handled by Larry Huffman for owners Dr. J. D. Huffman and Dr. Terry Terlep, was braced with the first place winner in brace 14.  Wild Assault did not find any birds but he hit every other All-Age criterion beautifully.  He was strong and stylish.  He ran every edge and each time one thought he might be gone he popped out, always in the right place.  Wild Assault carried his weight relative to making brace 14 outstanding.  Dr. Huffman rode several times throughout the week.

Following an injury Dave Grubb did not run in field trials in the Mid South in 2014 but was back this year accompanied by his wife, Henrietta.  In brace 15 Grubb released Scottish Glory owned by Larry Esterline and Allen Vincent released Oakspring Bigtime Warrior owned by Jeff Miller.  Scottish Glory started strong but did not return forcing Grubb to ask for his tracker.  Bigtime Warrior had one beautiful find to the left in woods at 32.  The covey was huge and the Pointer was stylish both on the birds and running the remainder of the hour.

After lunch Mike Hester had Quickmarksman Tom Tekoa owned by Larry Earls and Allen Vincent had Liquid Courage owned by Dr. Robert Rankin and Dr. Nick Knutson.  Tom Tekoa was one of only two Setters that ran in the stake.  He had nice style running and good ground speed through the hour but found no birds.  Liquid Courage hunted about 50 minutes without game and Vincent picked him up.

Next, in brace 17, Whippoorwill Wild Speck, owned by Dr. Corder and handled by Larry Huffman, was paired with Touch’s Firedancer, owned by Keith Wright and handled by Ike Todd.  Speck ran the entire hour and was gone at times;  finishing the hour without game.  Firedancer, a derby, ran a smooth forward race and found birds at 25 and 40. 

Brace 18 ended early.  Cassique’s Boss, owned by Rick Stallings and “Sam” Stallings and handled by Steve Hurdle, was braced with Miller’s Happy Jack, owned by Scott Griffin and handled by Randy Anderson.  Both dogs were lost early and the handlers got their trackers at 20 thus ending the third day.

Thursday morning started cold but the day became warm and beautiful.  Off the line at 8:00 AM was Boxwood Hotline, owned and handled by Michael Shears, and Webb’s Twisted Knot, owned by John Holland and handled by Toby Tobiassen.  Twisted Knot ran about 50 minutes and Tobiassen elected to pick him up.  Hotline stayed to the front well and was attractive running.  He stopped at 56.  Shears called flight of birds and continued to finish the hour.

Touch’s Night Rider and Whippoorwill Blue Blood were braced together for the next hour.  Knight Rider, owned by Keith Wright and handled by Ike Todd ran a good and forward race but had no birds.  Blue, owned by Dr. J. D. Huffman and Keith Wright and handled by Larry Huffman, did the same.

Stardust Chazz and Whizki’s Wild Warrior competed next in brace 21.  Steve Hurdle had Chazz, the second Setter in the stake and owned by Bob Craig, John Sayre and Scott Kermicle.  Weldon Bennett had Warrior, owned by Leland Dye.  Wild Warrior pointed at 5 but when the birds were flushed he moved and was picked up.  Chazz was strong and attractive running but he became lost and the judges called time at 40.

Next Steve Hurdle handled Dazzling in brace 22 for owners Bob Walthall and Thorpe McKenzie while Larry Huffman handled Whippoorwill Foto Op for owner Ken Blackman who was at the trial al week manning the dog wagon.  Dazzling pointed at 18 but Hurdle said the birds had left and carried his dog on.  Later Dazzling had an unproductive at 27 and another at 33 so Hurdle put him in road harness.  Foto Op had one find which was at about 20, shortly before crossing Ames Road on the first afternoon course.  She had no more birds but ran a fast and forward race.

Texas Wild Agin, owned by Ray Black and handled by Allen Vincent was braced with Touch’s Grave Digger in brace 23.  He shared a divided find at 32 but Vincent got his tracker at 38.

In brace 24 Weldon Bennett was back with Coldwater Stoner and Steve Hurdle was up with House’s Yellow Jacket.  Stoner ran a good and forward race but produced no birds during the hour.  Yellow Jacket was gone early and Hurdle asked for his tracker at 31.

Earl Connolly was in the saddle while Larry Huffman handled Nosam’s Rock Creek and Steve Hurdle had White’s Scattergun for Danny White.  Scattergun had two unproductives and was picked up.  The first occurred at 20 and the second at 31.  Rock Creek had game at 45 to the east of the field that parallels the Somerville LeGrange Road.  He then had an unproductive at 48 and continued to finish the hour far to the front on the north side of National Championship Road.

In the last brace of the All-Age stake Skyfall, owned by Bob Walthall and Thorpe McKenzie and handled by Steve Hurdle, was braced with Cole Train owned and handled by Dr. Fred Corder. Sky fall started well but did not finish the hour.  Hurdle took his tracker at 48.  Cole Train had birds off to the right at 49, then continued to cross the Keagan Ditch and had another find at 56 near the metal gate on the hill above the ditch.  He ended his nice performance with a strong finish across the far end of the Jim Braddie tract.  The stake was ended but running derbies started immediately in order to run the 10 braces of derbies by Saturday night.  Therefore announcing the placements was delayed until returning to the field trial stable and Rhea Building at lunch.

Derby Winners

Nosam’s Walking Tall won first place in the Derby Stake.  He was handled by Austin Mann with his owner, Mason Ashburn, scouting.  The fine young dog had a find at 4 and continued to find birds again in sorghum at 36.  Walking Tall applied himself throughout the hour and ran a very good forward race to earn the placement .

Phillips’ Off Line, owned and handled by Nathan Phillips placed second.  Off Line had an unproductive stand at 44 and continued to hunt until the judges call time at 60.  As Phillips went to find his dog he immediately called point and flushed birds.  The second place winner showed lots of class and potential.

Touch’s Secret Agent, owned by Keith Wright and handled by Ike Todd, placed third.  He was credited with having the outstanding find of the Derby stake as he was in a situation where he was not found for a long time but he held with the birds well located while the judges and others ran back a long distance to where he was pointed.  His appearance and the way he handled the birds was outstanding.  However placements are not made on one exciting find and when other factors were considered Secret Agent was awarded third place.

The above derbies were excellent and several others of the 20 competing also had birds and nice ground races.  Overall, the Derby Stake was very good with many demonstrating excellent All-Age potential. The performance of several of the dogs reflected the hard work of their handlers.


Much effort, planning, organization, and cooperation are necessary to sponsor and host a field trial.  This year is the centennial year of The National Championship being hosted at Ames Plantatio.  That being said, one should not be surprised that the entire week of this 62nd renewal of the Hobart Ames Memorial Field Trial went so smoothly.  Many people worked hard before, during, and probably after the running.  They include the following and this reporter apologizes for any oversights, which are certainly not intentional.   

Dr. Rick Carlisle’s title is now Director of the Ames Educational and Research Center of The University of Tennessee.  In that role he works for The University but explains that the University’s contribution to the annual budget of the Plantation is quite small.  Ultimately he and those who represent the University are accountable to the Trustees of the Hobart Ames Foundation.  The Foundation owns the Plantation and the revenue generated by the Plantation funds almost everything that takes place there.

Dr. Carlisle outlined several changes that have been made on the six field trial courses during the past year.  He explained that during a meeting with handlers at the 2014 National Championship the handlers asked for more cover on the courses.  Thus less mowing has been done and more cover is provided.  Additionally Dr. Carlisle said they mowed narrower strips through the cover than in previous years.  Using a seven foot rotary mower instead of a 15 foot mower gives the quail more advantage to move from the open into cover and not be as likely to be killed by hawks.  He also noted that 140 feed strips and plots are established, some being sorghum, some soybeans, and some corn.  The quail population appears to be good this year.  The coveys were large and the birds were strong and few like quail should fly.  There were never any problems with getting the quail airborne.    Lots of birds have been found in the earlier trials run on the property this year, and as noted earlier lots of birds were moved during this trial.

People began to gather at Ames on Saturday, January 10.  The drawing was then held at 7:00 PM that evening in Dr. Carlisle’s office.  Charlie Frank Bryan spun the squirrel cage and drew numbers to determine the order of running.  Dr. Carlisle announced each dog as drawn and the only exceptions were accommodations to not force a handler to run more than two braces back to back and for dogs drawn in season.  Kay Carlisle (Mrs. Rick) sat behind him at a keyboard and recorded the running order and printed it at the end while also e-mailing a copy to each handler in order for them to make their travel plans. 

Chris Weatherly and Ryan Braddock are employees of the plantation and they, accompanied by William Smith, who often volunteers on the plantation, took care of the horses of the judges and reporter, in addition to their own and those of others who were guests.  Mark Yearwood assisted at the barn.  Weatherly, Braddock, and Smith, together with Dr. Carlisle were also the marshals during every brace of the running.

Ken Blackman handled the dog wagon all week.  The wagon is new to the plantation and was given to the plantation by Mary Honecker from the Cedar Oak Plantation.  Twenty boxes are on a four wheel trailer and steps at the rear give easy access to a center isle between the boxes which have cushions on top providing comfortable seating for anyone who might in some instance want to ride the dog wagon.

Aubrey Green and others monitored every road crossing and controlled traffic to provide safety for dogs, horses, and riders.  Green also reported that Randy Patterson who usually mans the dog wagon is doing better.  Patterson had neck surgery, then later fell and broke ribs and had other complications.  However he is mending well and promised to be back soon.

Vera Courtney, always smiling and loving everybody, was the photographer throughout the stake.  She must have made hundreds of pictures of dogs, handler, and the gallery during the six days.

Catherine Dean and her staff prepared great lunches every day at Bryan Hall.  She owns Me and My Tea Room at Dancyville and provided real, made from scratch, home cooked type food every day.

The Judges and reporter enjoyed special attention two nights as they were dinner guests of the Weatherlys on Thursday night and the Carlisles on Friday night.  Both Dr. Amy Weatherly, who is a veterinarian, and Mrs. Kay Carlisle, who is employed by Fayette Academy, work full time and were kind enough to come home after work and prepare wonderful meals which were accompanied by gracious hospitality.  Very Nice!  

In conclusion the 62nd running of the Hobart Ames Memorial was a great success and the experience of being there was outstanding.