2019 National Championship: Week 1

William S. Smith

The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree. A chip off the old block. Like father like son. These phrases allude to the similarities and characteristics between two people. In this instance they are relating to the fathers and sons who have won the National. For a son to follow in his father’s footsteps is not unusual but in regards to field trials one who has knowledge of the work and sacrifice involved might assume that would not be the case. There are those who believe that going to summer camp to train would be a vacation, a time of relaxation and rest. But that is far from reality. A trainer is up before dawn normally six days out of seven. He waits patiently for the sun to appear over the eastern horizon so that there is just enough light to see a dog to begin the day’s work.  He works until the heat of the day forces his retreat to camp. If the temperature allows he will take out more dogs that afternoon. And then there is the roading to be accomplished to condition the dogs for the coming season. Afterwards there are still the chores to do—feeding the horses and dogs, cleaning the kennels, and all the other related responsibilities. A trainer’s day is long and the summer sometimes seems endless. Many sons of trainers have spent a number of their summers in their father’s camp. For some it was drudgery. For others it was an adventure that fulfilled their dreams and prepared them to follow in their father’s footsteps. Their goal was and is to win the National Championship, as was their father’s.

The black and white setter dog, Eugene’s Kid, brought Ed Farrior to the National in 1922. Ed would compete for 14 years and bring sixteen different dogs to the National. Two notable dogs in Ed’s string were Muscle Shoals Jake and Doctor Blue Willing.  Jake was a formidable competitor when his mind was on finding quail, but he had an unusual streak. In the twinkling of an eye Jake could transition from a hunter to a killer. If he encountered other animals such as goats, calves, or hogs he would attack and try to kill them. In the Dixie All-Age Stake prior to the start of the 1923 National he had to be leashed because he had attacked goats. During the running of the National Ed had gone searching for Jake and when he found Jake he was mangling a goat. Ed asked the judges, Cuthbert Buckle and Hobart Ames, for permission to pick up and explained that since Jake had tasted blood he would no longer hunt but seek other prey to kill. Both judges had favored Jake’s performance to that point and denied Ed’s request. Reporter Al Hochwalt described what emerged: “Jake started again and was soon found mauling another flock of goats. It took Farrior and several others to drive him off the goats. The dog was hunting no longer for the lust of blood was surging through his veins.” (Fields of Glory, pg. 372) This was the only time Ed handled Jake in the National. Just two weeks later Jake was entered in the Free-For-All and he emerged the winner. He would go on to have multiple owners and handlers throughout his career. Nominations for the 1937 renewal had surpassed all other entries with fifty-two qualified and thirty-nine starters. A second series was called with Shanghai Express handled by Henry Gilchrist braced with Tip’s Manitoba Jake handled by W. D. English and Highland Bimpkins handled by C. B. Black against Air Pilot’s Sam piloted by Ed Farrior.  Nineteen thirty-seven would be the pinnacle of Ed’s career when Air Pilots’ Sam took home the gold. Sam had a total of six bevy finds including the second series. There was a six year gap between 1938 and 1944 that Ed did not qualify a dog for the National. Nineteen fifty-one would close out Ed’s participation in the National when Piney Woodsman, white and lemon pointer, ran in the seventh brace. Muscle Shoals Jake was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1954 followed by Air Pilot’s Sam in 1956 and Doctor Blue Willing in 1959. Ed was honored in 1956 when he was elected to the Hall of Fame.

Ed Mack Farrior, Ed’s son, qualified Air Pilot’s Sam for the National in 1935 and 1936. For reasons unknown Ed’s father handled Sam in the 1937 contest and as stated above won the title. Ed and Ed Mack both were entered in the 1935 and 1936 events but they were not paired together. There were twenty-eight starters in the 1954 National.  Warhoop Jake handled by Ed Mack was teamed with Ranger’s Spunky Pete handled by Herman Smith in the eighth brace. A second series was called between Lone Survivor handled by Leon Covington and Warhoop Jake. Jake was declared the winner but Lone Survivor would get his revenge in 1955 when he achieved the National crown. The total time of the first and second series was 4’56” in which Jake had a total of six bevy finds and one single. This marked the first time that both father and son had won the National. Ed Mack had a period of seven years from 1943 through 1949 that he did not appear in the National. Ed Mack competed through the 1975 season concluding sixteen appearances in the National with twelve different dogs. Warhoop Jake joined the roster in the Hall of Fame in 1961. Ed Mack duplicated his father’s achievement when he was accepted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.

John S. Gates was affectionately known as Cap’n Gates. He established his summer camp at Broomhill, Manitoba in the mid to late 1940’s. Chess Harris’ summer camp was located just south of Pierson, Manitoba which is approximately 24 miles south of Broomhill. John and Chess were friends, both being from Alabama, and Chess influenced John’s decision to locate at Broomhill. The camp that John established is still in use today. John’s older son, John Rex, utilized it when he was training and John’s younger son, Robin, still uses the same old house that his father occupied. John bought the two-story house, a barn and one-half section of land for $1200.00. The present camp is actually the third camp that John established. The first was one mile west and one-half mile south of the present camp. The second was one mile west. When John Rex was a small boy his father took him to Antler, North Dakota to go to the post office. Chess was there and John introduced John Rex to him. John Rex later asked his Dad where Chess could find such big shoes. Chess was 6’ 7” tall and wore a size 16 shoe. John qualified Lester’ Enjoy’s Wahoo for the 1939 National. He was back in 1940 with his lone entry, Wahoo. There were twenty-four entered and Wahoo ran in the fifth brace against Homewood Flying Dutchman handled by Fred E. Bevan. Wayside Pat, handled by Jett Crawford, ran in the last brace was called back to compete against Wahoo in a second series. John went home with his first National Champion, Lester’s Enjoy’s Wahoo.  Twenty-four years later, in 1964, the nineteenth time John had competed in the National he won his second National title with the pointer War Storm when he bested the 39 other aspirants. John qualified 29 different dogs to compete in the National and he handled in a total of 60 braces. Some of the more distinguished dogs he handled were: Stanton’s Victory, Medallion, Paladin’s Royal Heir, Susan Peters, and Safari, who he handled to eight open championships. Safari, Susan Peters, and War Storm are constituents in the Hall of Fame. John S. gained admission to the Hall of Fame in 1960.

John Rex Gates went to Canada for the first time when he was a year old in 1941. He would return to the Canadian Prairies through 1983. The first year he competed in the National was 1964 with the pointer bitch, Lucy Jefferson. Conversely 1964 would be the last year John S. would vie. John Rex’s second appearance was in 1966 with Paladin’s Royal Flush, Technique, Mistletoe Express, Fast Jake Delivery, Iroquois, and Safari. Safari bested the field of 46 when her performance in the eighth brace was deemed to be superior by the judges, Rowan Greer and Dick Dumas. This was Safari’s ninth open championship tying her with Warhoop Jake for the most open titles. She would take sole position of first place in 1967 when she won the Dominion Chicken Championship gaining her the historic tenth open title. By winning this championship John and John Rex became the second father/son team to accomplish the feat. In 1972 John Rex realized his second National title with The Texas Squire. Squire had also won the Oklahoma Championship prior to the National. David Grubb brought Miller’s Silver Ending to the 1997 running but became ill to the point that he could not handle and he asked John Rex to substitute for him. After the running, judges Cottrell, Epp, and Hawthorne agreed that Miller’s Silver Ending’s performance outshone the other 38 contenders. This was the first time in 15 years that John Rex had handled in the National. In all John Rex would be a part of the National for seventeen years and one brace. He brought 31 different dogs to compete in those seventeen years and he handled in seventy-three braces. Some of the other significant dogs he handled are: Oklahoma Flush, Paladin’s Royal Flush, Paladin’s Royal Heir, Flush’s Country Squire, Texas Flight, Palariel Stormy Clown, Texas Silver Spur, Tar Hill Ranger, Texas Allegheny Pete, and Flush’s Wrangler. The 1965 running of the National was canceled because of insufficient numbers of quail. Because of this cancellation, John (1964) and John Rex (1966) are the only father and son to win the National Championship back to back. John Rex handled seven dogs in the National that are enshrined in the Hall of Fame; Paladin’s Royal Heir (1968), Oklahoma Flush (1976), Paladin’s Royal Flush (1978), Flush’s Country Squire (1979), The Texas Squire (1980), Texas Flight (1982), and Miller’s Silver Ending (2004).  John Rex followed his father into the Hall of Fame in 1978. He was also honored by being selected as the likeness that the statue in front of the Bird Dog Museum is modeled after.

Robin Gates went to Broomhill before he was! He said his mother was pregnant with him the first time he went in 1956. He went back in 1957 at one year old and he has returned to the camp his father established in Broomhill every summer of his sixty-one years. This is the only camp Robin has ever trained out of. Robin ran shooting dogs while John Rex was competing on the All-Age stage and then switched over when John Rex left the circuit. Robin was 28 years old when he entered his first National in 1984 with Flush’s Reedy Rogue. He is one of only a very few to win in his second attempt when the black and white pointer, Flatwood Hank, carried them both to the top of the heap in his first appearance at the championship. It was fitting that a young second-timer and a not yet three-year old took the laurels home. That first title came quickly but the next would not materialize until twenty-four years had passed, coincidentally the same number of years between his Father’s National wins.  Robin was in his twenty-first year of contending for the National in 2010 when the Carl Bowman pointer, In The Shadow, won out over the thirty-eight other competitors. Robin’s third victory would come only three years later, 2013, when the setter, Shadow Oak Bo, emptied the coffers of the Setter Fund by being the first setter in 43 years to win the title. When Bo was a very young dog Robin made the statement that he had a setter in summer camp that was capable of winning the National. The next year, 2014, Bo topped the field of forty-one to again take the garland. The last time setters had won back to back was in 1912, Commissioner, and 1913, Phillipides. Bo is the only setter to defend his crown since the immortal Sioux accomplished the feat in 1901 and 1902. Robin and John Rex became the second set of brothers to compete in the National, Robert and Fred Bevan being the first. They are the only brothers to win the National. Robin has been a part of the National for thirty years. He has competed every year since 1996. In those thirty-one appearances he has entered 32 different dogs and has handled in 88 braces. Some of his other major challengers are: Flatwood Bill, Silverwood, Resters New Wave, Joe Shadow, Broadway Silver Belle, who lost in a second series in 2004 to Miller’s On Line, Flatwood Earl, Flatwood Silver, Distant Shadow, Phillips White Twist, Phantom’s Last Dime, Shadow’s Full Throttle, Shadow’s Next Exit, and Shadow’s White Warrior. Robin’s winning of the National marks the only time in field trial history that a father and two sons have won a National title. Flatwood Hank was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995, followed by Joe Shadow in 2006 and Silverwood in 2008.

Hunter Gates went to work for his father, Robin, and scouted for him for 13 years. The last year he scouted was 2013; Shadow Oak Bo’s first win of the National. Although he did not handle any dogs in the National, he did win the Dominion Championship in Mortlach, Saskatchewan with Resters New Wave. He also won the Manitoba Championship twice with Chinquapin Spec in 2011 and Distant Shadow in 2008. He is the third generation to train out of the camp his grandfather established in Broomhill. He is currently employed by Millpond Plantation in Thomasville, Georgia.

Bud Daugherty originally from Missouri set up his summer camp, initially established by Bob Huffman, in 1966 on the outskirts of Jansen, Saskatchewan. He had the reputation of being a tough character, having ridden bulls in his younger days. He began his pro career in 1964 when he relocated to Leroy, Kansas. The day before Christmas in 1964 Bud’s house caught fire and burned to the ground destroying most of his earthly possessions. What little property survived was repossessed. Bud moved his family into a hotel in town for a short time until another house was moved to the site of the fire. Bud’s son, Andy, said that there so many cracks in the walls of the relocated house that you could tell what the weather was doing outside without having to go outside. Many would have thrown in the towel with that turn of events, but not Bud.  He had set his mind to be a trainer and nothing was going to derail his dream in spite of the hardships he encountered.  Bud had the gift of being able to evaluate a young dog in terms of their potential, whether it was good or bad. He was a hard worker working in spite of the weather conditions. Andy reported that you didn’t have to wonder if you were going to work the next day; it was a given, you were going. Bud loved what he did and he respected the horses and dogs that he worked and trained and he was diligent in their care. His first appearance in the National was in 1966 with Ranger’s Satilla Rambler. He was absent for two years and returned in 1969 with Kansas City Jake and Ranger’s Gallant Man. From 1970 through 1974 he brought The Kansas Wind, Oklahoma Paladin Pache, Warhoop Express, Call’N Raise, and Crossmatch. Three firsts happened in 1974. This was the first year Crossmatch had contested for the National, this was the first and only time that he won the National, and it was the first and only National crown for Bud. From 1975 through 1981, in addition to his entries in 1974, Bud qualified Final Request, Flush of Diamond, Pepper’s Molly Bee, Buckboard, Barshoe Ingenue, Man’s Knighted Squire, and Barshoe Buzzsaw. Bud graced the National roster for fifteen years and he handled in thirty-six braces with the sixteen dogs he qualified. Bud retired from training in 1981 and retired to his home state of Missouri. Bud handled two dogs that are in the Hall of Fame, The Kansas Wind (1982) and Buckboard (1983). Bud was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2011.

Andy Daugherty went to work for his dad as a scout in 1972 and assisted Bud for ten years. He scouted Crossmatch in 1974 when he won the National. Andy still works out of the camp in Jansen, Saskatchewan established by his Dad. Andy was 25 years old when he brought Michaels’ Express Babe, his only entry, to the 1980 affair. He returned in 1981 with Babe, Warhoop Express Boy, and Country Express Doc. The difference between Babe, Boy and Doc was that Doc and Boy were not leaving the Ames Plantation as the new champion but Babe was. In only his second crack at the title Andy had grasped what some would never be able to embrace. At the time he was the second youngest handler to win the title behind John Rex Gates who was 25 when he won in 1966. By this victory it established the third father/son team to have won the National.  Twenty-four years later in 2005 Andy would stand on the podium again with Cyprus Gunpowder. It would be his twenty-sixth appearance in this grand championship. Andy has the distinction of appearing in more Nationals than anyone ever has. He has participated in thirty-nine renewals, handled in one hundred and eleven braces with forty different dogs. He has qualified for every National since his first presence in 1980. Through the years he has contested with some pretty good dogs that were not lucky enough to secure a win. Some of those dogs were: Barshoe Buzzsaw, Barshoe Brute, Headstone, Pure Delight, Barshoe Barbarian, Barshoe Vintage, Bear Creek Bess, Lehar’s Main Tech, Lehar’s Perfect Tech, Barshoe Quickly, Barshoe Esquire, Barshoe Sting, House’s Snake Bite, Barshoe Busy, Raelyn’s Skyy, Tom Cruise, Annie Oakley, and Westfall’s Rampage. Andy’s younger brother, John (Buzzy), competed on the Shooting Dog circuit and was regarded as one of the elite handlers. His untimely death on August 12, 2018 saddened the field trial world. Both Bud and Andy handled Barshoe Buzzsaw who went into the Hall of Fame in 1988. Barshoe Brute was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1996. Bear Creek Bess followed in 2004 and House’s Snake Bite in 2013.

W. F. ‘Bill’ Rayl established his summer training grounds at High Bluff, Manitoba at the site of George Mooreland’s old camp in the mid 1960’s. Later he relocated to Langruth, Manitoba and worked there for 10 to 12 years.  It has been said that if you love your job you will never work a day in your life. If that is a true statement then Bill Rayl never worked a day because he genuinely loved what he did. He was never too tired or too busy to promote field trials. Bill’s son, Fred, testified that all in all his Dad was the most dedicated person to the sport that he had ever been around. He was, in today’s terms, a people person. Not only did he love what he did, he loved the dogs he worked and the horses he rode. He came to the National in 1963 with Bull Whip and Highway Man. He would return 15 more times and compete with 13 other dogs. The list of entrants is impressive: Blackthorn, Wahoo’s Arkansas Ranger, Possessed, Highway Lynn, Endurance, The Hugger, Builder’s Risk, Bill Possessed, Insides, Evolution, Strongman, Builder’s Addition, and Builder’s Freeboy. Fred developed Builder’s Addition under the tutelage of Bill but Fred would not run him in the National because he wanted his Dad to win the championship before he did. As a result Bill handled Builder’s Addition to the National Championship crown in 1980. As fate would have it 1980 was the last year Bill competed in the National. Builder’s Addition and Evolution are members of the Hall of Fame. Bill entered the Hall of Fame in 1984.

Fred Rayl has been on the roster of handlers at the National twenty times from 1981 through 2003. He has qualified thirteen different dogs and has run in thirty-three braces with those dogs. He is proud of the fact that the last ten years that Bill was on the circuit that he traveled with, worked with, and scouted for his Dad. Fred and Bill competed against each other on numerous occasions for the benefit of developing different trials, i.e. The Kentucky and Florida Championships. Fred left Langruth in 1990 because of the continuing restricting regulations of the Canadian government. His summer camp for the last ten years has been in Montana. In 1982 Fred brought Heritage Premonition to Grand Junction for the first time and when the dust had settled Premonition was crowned the new champion. This was the fourth father/son team to achieve a National Championship. For the only time in field trial history a son, Fred, scouted for his father, Bill, when he won the National in 1980 and then the father, Bill, scouted for his son, Fred, when he won the National in 1982. Fred is extremely proud of this achievement.  Space will not allow the listing of all the dogs Fred ran but the most notable are: Fiddler, Builder’s Freeboy, Fiddler’s Pride, Redemption, Solid Brass, Spy Hill Pride, and Ballentine. As far as the dogs he has run in the National, the performance by Redemption in 1985 and Fiddler’s Pride’s performances on two occasions stand out as the three most noted performances after, of course, Heritage Premonition. Fred has been in the dog business for fifty years.  Fiddler’s Pride was selected for entry into the Hall of Fame in 1993 and Fiddler followed in 1998. Fred’s brother, Eddie, chose the Shooting Dog circuit in lieu of the All-Age and was very successful during his tenure.  Eddie won the National Shooting Dog Championship with a litter mate to Heritage Premonition. Premonition’s line traces back to Arrival who is a Hall of Fame member.

Herman Smith brought Beau Essig’s Don to the National in 1942 and 1943. He came again in 1949 with Tip Top Bob and Allegheny Dan. In the decade of the 1950’s he came with Ranger’s Spunky Pete, Stanton Man, Lebanon Betty, Ranger’s Titan, Wayriel Allegheny Sport, Tyrolean, Riggins Spunky Pete, Satilla Ace, Satilla Midnight Sun, and Dick’s Derby Day. The 1960’s saw newcomers Satilla Ace Spades, Duces Wild, Big Pig Monagan, Satilla Virginia Lady, Norias Royal Meadow, and Flaming Star. Second Creek Squire, Prince Bontuta, and Mo Warhoop Belle toed the line in 1970 which happened to be Herman’s last National. In 1967 Satilla Virginia Lady would catapult Herman into the winner’s circle for his only National title. Herman contested for twenty-two years with twenty different dogs and handled in forty-four braces. Flaming Star was chosen for induction into the Hall of Fame in 1978. Herman was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971.

Collier Smith first appeared in 1969 with two of his Dad’s dogs, Flaming Star and Second Creek Squire. It took Collier twelve trips to Grand Junction before he realized the championship. He ran Native Tango in the first brace of the 1984 competition and she responded with eleven finds. It is unusual for a first brace performance to survive the remaining challenges, but she was up for the task. Herman and Collier became the fifth and last father/son combo to date to secure a National Championship. Collier journeyed to Grand Junction eighteen years with eighteen different dogs and handled them in thirty-two braces. He handled some great dogs during his career the likes of Mr. Thor, Wiregrass Thor, Bozeann’s Mosley, Whippoorwill Rebel, and Haulmark.  Tommy Davis handled Whippoorwill Rebel in 1983 and 1984 in the National. Collier handled him in 1985 and 1986.   Tommy took him to his two National wins in 1987 and 1989. Mr. Thor (1976), Whippoorwill Rebel (1992), Native Tango (1996), and Bozeann’s Mosley (1997), and are all members of the Hall of Fame. Collier’s brother, Rod, scouted on many occasions for Collier.  Collier mirrored Herman’s success when he was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2015.

Ed and Ed Mack Farrior, John S. and John Rex Gates and Herman and Collier Smith are the only three father/son teams to be inducted into the All-Age Hall Of Fame.

Cecil Proctor, Hobart Ames, Nash Buckingham, and T. Benton King are just four of the men who have judged the National Championship in Grand Junction and who are highly respected for their character, their knowledge, and their integrity. To say that these are the only men who have warranted this respect from the field trial community would be an incorrect statement. There are others who have earned the right to be included on that list. Jim Crouse was such a man.  Jim had earned the veneration of his peers, his associates, and his competitors by his dedication and service to the sport he loved so dearly. His commitment did not go unnoticed and in 2011 he was invited to adjudicate the greatest of all field trials—The National Championship. He filled a judicial saddle in the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 renewals. A life-threatening medical condition caused him to miss the 2016 running. He worked hard to regain his health and he recovered sufficiently to ascertain the 2017 and 2018 champions. To say that he took the assignment flippantly would be the furthest thing from the truth. He said that there were others who deserved the honor more than he. It was a statement that he truly believed and he was determined to hold high the torch of excellence raised by those who had preceded him, not just for himself but also for the responsibility of the admiration accorded him by his family. Whatever his personal goals may have been he most assuredly exceeded them. He arrived at Ames Plantation in 2011 respected for the man he was. When he had completed his assignment in February of 2018 he departed the Plantation highly esteemed and valued unaware that it was the last time he would step on those hallowed grounds. What a sad day it was when we learned of the tragic accident that had taken the life of Jim Crouse. Some men will brag about what they have accomplished. Other men will berate you with their plans of what they are going to accomplish and others will just go do it and never say a word. Jim was an example of doing what had to be done without any fanfare; he did not seek recognition. In a song by Jerry Lee Lewis there is a line that says, “he’s walking in my tracks, but he can’t fill my shoes.” Others will walk in Jim’s tracks, but his shoes will be exceedingly hard, if not impossible, to fill. Jim’s passing has created a void not only in the field trial arena but for all who knew and respected him. We will miss his dry wit, his thoughtful responses, and his dedication, but most of all we will miss the man that he was. We were blessed to have been included in his circle of friends.

Jadie Rayfield returned from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina for his third time for this event. He grew up in the small rural town of Chesterfield and spent his boyhood years in the outdoors. His love of hunting was developed during this time. He shot his first quail over a pointing dog at eight years of age. His father trained a dog, a son of Gunsmoke, for one of his friends. He entered the dog in a trial and won it when he tallied six broke finds. Jadie said that experience kindled the fire for him and his dad to participate in field trials. Later he and his dad established Stateline Kennels. Together they campaigned Oakhurst Ellen, a setter female, in Jimmy Edmondson’s string and Jimmy qualified her for the National. In 1985 Jadie went to work for Pete Hicks while Pete competed on the southern circuit. He has been involved in all phases of field trials by serving in all capacities as a club member, breeding, handling, scouting, and reporting. He is still involved with the Chesterfield Field Trial club that was organized in 1968 with his father as one of the founding members.

Dr. Stan Wint resides in Gardner, Kansas with his wife, Julie, of thirty-two years. Stan was ten years old when he owned his first bird dog whose lineage traced back to Haberdasher and Air Pilot. This is his first occasion to judge the National. He has been an avid quail hunter for most of his life. He attended his first field trial in 1992 at Grand River Wildlife Area in Iowa. He won his first championship in 1999 at the ABHA Open National Championship with his dog, Honky Tonk Attitude. His wins include nine NBHA National Amateur Championships, ten NBHA Open National Championships, twelve NBHA National Dog of the Year awards, and two NBHA Futurity winners. He has been named NBHA National Amateur Handler of the Year nine times. He has judged walking trials, horseback shooting dog and all-age trials in both open and amateur levels. He has been a practicing periodontist in Overland Park, Kansas for 36 years. He is an inductee into the Kansas Field Trial Hall of Fame and he serves as president of the Kansas Field Trial Association.

C. F. Bryan is no stranger to the judicial panel having previously judged this Championship eleven times. He has seen more National Champions crowned than anyone in the history of the National. He saw his first champion when he was eighteen years old and he has seen every National Champion since then (55) with the exception of 1996 when Warhoot Rogue won the title. Charlie Frank was raised on the plantation as his father, Mr. Jimmy, was Ames Superintendent for many years. Charlie Frank is the president of the NCFTA.

Knowing the courses on the Ames is essential for the efficient flowing of the trial and there are none on the Ames who know the lay of the land any better than Rick Carlisle, Ryan Braddock and Chris Weatherly. Rick and Ryan alternated serving as front marshals and Chris assisted as the rear marshal. The rear marshal’s role is equally as important as the front marshal’s responsibilities.  After a delay because of an absence or bird work the rear marshal must know all the shortcuts that will allow the judges and the handlers to regain the front in a judicious manner. Their timely directions and assistance guaranteed that everyone was always on course and in the right place.

This year marks the 123rd year since the inaugural running of the National in 1896 at West Point, Mississippi. Every renewal since 1915 has been contested on the Ames Plantation in Grand Junction, Tennessee. The drawing was held at 7:00 PM in Bryan Hall on Saturday night February 9. A large crowd was on hand to find out first hand how the dogs would be paired. A total of thirty-four were entered this year; thirty-one pointers and three setters. There were only two females entered and both were drawn in season, which simplified their pairing since they would have to be braced together. Every year a lady from the audience is selected to assist with the drawing by choosing a numbered ball that identifies a particular dog from the squirrel cage. This year Ruthann Epp, daughter of recently deceased Hall Of Fame member, Freddie Epp, was selected to perform that duty.

Many of those in attendance at the drawing travel from many various locations to attend the National. Jeff Haggis and his son, Matt, from Glencoe, Ontario had come to the Ames for their first visit. Dennis and Bonnie Hidalgo had traveled from Colorado where the temperature was -11 when they departed. Chris Rider came south from Pennsylvania to leave behind a temperature that had not been above -4 for a week. David Taylor departed Neola, Iowa a day early to escape the predicted snow storm’s arrived. Linda and Tom Milam drove in from Waco, Texas to support their friends, Tom and Margaret White, who were inducted into the Brittany Hall Of Fame and attended the drawing for their first time. Don, who is a director for the Bird Dog Museum, and wife, Linda Beauchamp, also left behind some very cold temperatures in Kansas. A very special attendee was Linda Crouse, the wife of the late James Crouse. Some of the competing handlers were on hand: Randy Anderson, Larry Huffman, Lefty Henry, and Sheldon Twer to name four. Mr. Twer had traveled the longest distance, coming from California. And as always there were many local enthusiasts present. A long-time supporter of the National and the Ames Plantation was not present and his absence stood out. Mr. Otis Ozier was injured in a freak accident while riding in the Hobart Ames Open in January. Currently he is undergoing rehabilitation and it is our prayer that he will fully recover from his injuries.

The First Week

A trophy carries dust. Memories last forever.                        Mary Lou Retton

It was overcast with the rain clouds building and unseasonably warm at 56 degrees when Game Bo and Dominator’s Rebel Heir kicked off the competition when they were loosed at 8:03. Long time handler absent from the National, Randy Downs, handled Bo with help from Korry Reinhart. New co-owner W.O. Fitch was present in the road gallery while Bo’s other co-owner, Dr. Fred Corder, was unable to attend. Heir’s owner, Jim Hamilton, was mounted to support handler, Jamie Daniels, and scout, Ike Todd. They both went to the large feed Strip on the east side of the break-away field and turned north toward Heartbreak Hill. Daniels and Todd and were both over the hill at 6 while Bo was pointed out headed to Joe Woody. Downs called point for Bo at 9 just before Ellington Road. The birds were officially seen as they lifted before Downs arrived. The first find of the 2019 National was in the book. Bo took in the Morgan field and raced over the New Basin Levee into the Avent Field. Bo was standing again at 25 pointing into a cluster of briars at the Turner Road crossing. Everything in order at the shot. Bo crossed Turner Rd and was next seen in the Turner Longneck field where Daniels arrived with Heir after a 25-minute absence. They both stayed to the front from turner Road through Edward Clark South, Turner Ditch Field, around Govan hill and both were seen as they crossed National Championship into Mary Scott. Heir notched his first find at 1:10 in the Lowlands in the first small field to the left of the course. They both went into National Championship North and just before going into Locust Turn, Heir was standing again at 1:20. Daniels flew the covey with everything in order at the shot. Bo was credited with a back even though he was facing away from Heir. They crossed National Championship again into the Tennessee Field and Downs raised his cap for the third time when he spied Bo standing in a Soybean strip. Both dogs made the loop around Morgan and went into the Supermarket Field where Bo notched is fourth and last find of the day at 1:51. Downs picked up Bo at 2:29 when it was evident he had had enough. At 2:52 Heir was standing in Milo stubble and Daniels put his birds to wing with Heir remaining staunch for the shot. Heir finished his bid in the Morgan Field when pick-up was ordered at the three-hour mark.

Touch’s Mega Mike with Mark McLean handling and Ike Todd scouting was paired with Hendrix’s Signature handled by co-owner Burke Hendrix with help from Tommy Davis in brace number 2. Guy Hendrix was mounted to support his entry and his son, Burke. Mike’s owners, Eddie Sholar and Ted Dennard, were not in attendance. The temperature was 59 degree with a steady rain falling when the call to turn ‘em loose came at 1:18. They made quick work of the break-away field and Signature was pointed out as he entered Buster Graves. Mike was out of pocket through Buster Graves and the Buster Graves Loop. At 26 McLean called point for Mike on the south edge of the Mounting Block Field. Signature had a pretty back standing in the open field a good distance from Mike. A nice covey took to flight when McLain walked in front of Mike. Mike was seen in the Horseshoe and then turned toward Peter Pugh. Both dogs entered the Chute. Todd was sent to the east in the Chute and he found Mike pointing at 46. His second find was recorded when he remained solid at wing and shot. Signature was ahead through the Agronomy fields as Mike raced to catch the front. Signature was through the Strawberry Patch and was seen as he rounded the curve at the Demonstration Plots. Both dogs were in the front by Prospect Church and Lawrence Smith and both went into Turkey Bottom. Both made a nice showing as they held the south line to the ditch crossing. At 1:31 in a feed strip on top of Pine Hill, Signature had a covey penned. He stood mannerly for the shot. At 1:33 in another feed strip on top of Pine Hill, Mike had a large covey corralled. Jonathan Burch took over the flushing duties as McLean and Todd were both absent at this time. Some estimated the bird count to be at least 30 birds when they exploded from the Teosinte. Signature suffered an un-productive at 1:46 in Kerry Seven Acres when Hendrix could not put anything in the air. Both were pointed out as they traversed Wolf Crossing and went into the Marshall Jack Harris Field. The distant call of point was heard by Davis and it was a long ride through the cut over on the west side of Wolf Crossing and across the ditch to the Chute. Signature was standing in tall grass and briars at 1:58 and an Armadillo was seen by the judges and Hendrix. Mike joined Signature as we recrossed the ditch and headed for Jack Harris Cabin Field. Once both dogs were reunited with their respective handlers, both decided to call it quits at 2:06. 

Rain clouds covered the sky Tuesday morning when the third brace got underway at 8:08. There was heavy rainfall during the night adding to the already wet and muggy conditions as the temperature stood at 57 degrees. Andy Daugherty piloted Westfall’s Black Ace with Allen Vincent assisting. Owner Bill Westfall was unable to attend today. Robin Gates handled Erin’s Longmire and Mark McLean scouted. Owner Brad Calkins was also not in attendance. Ace took the west edge and Longmire went to the food patch on the east line. They both made the turn at Heartbreak Hill and crossed Ellington Road into the Morgan Field. Longmire was standing on the hillside just west of the New Basin and Gates called point for him. Gates called flight of birds but they were not officially seen. No discredit was given here since Gates did not attempt to flush. They showed in the Turner Longneck and crossed Turner Damn. Daugherty’s cap was in the air at 39 with Ace stationary in thick bi-color. The initial flushing attempt was fruitless as well as the extended relocation and an un-productive was charged to Ace. Both dogs remained forward through Turner South, around Govan Hill, and the old Dunn property. Just west of the National Championship Road crossing Daugherty called point as Ace was styled up just inside the edge of the tree line at 1:01. Daugherty could not put anything in the air and elected to call it a day since this was Ace’s second un-productive. Longmire toured through Mary Scott and roamed through the Lowlands as it began to rain. He crossed into National Championship North and hunted down the strip of pines and locked up at 1:22. Gates flew the covey with everything in order. The muddy conditions had taken a lot out of Longmire and Gates decided to pick up at 1:41 ending the morning running. 

Touch’s Galatin Fire handled by Mark McLean and Touch’s Adams County directed by Randy Anderson were paired together in the fourth brace Tuesday afternoon. Owner Ric Peterson was riding for County with Tiffany Genre scouting. Fire’s owner, Alex Rickert, was mounted to watch his entry. Ike Todd assisted McLean. They were off at 1:18 and the sun finally made an appearance along with a sharp northern breeze. They went their separate ways through the East Pasture and Jim Miller. Fire was first into Buster Graves. Country joined Fire at the Ames Road crossing and both showed in the Mounting Block Field. Todd called point for Fire at 27 on the west side of the field. After a prolonged relocation attempt, Fire was charged with an un-productive stand. It was a long ride to catch the front in Peter Pugh and both dogs raced ahead to the Chute. They left the Chute and headed for the Strawberry Patch. Fire was out of pocket at the Patch and Anderson pointed out County by the Demonstration Plots. County slid to a stop at 59 in the Water Truck Field just before the old levee. Anderson flushed his birds with everything in order. For the next 39 minutes both dogs were seen sparingly. At 1:38 Anderson called point for County on the north west corner of Tyler Test. The initial flushing attempt was not successful and Andersson decided to save Country for another day after an unsuccessful extended relocation and picked him up at 1:43. At 1:44 McLean brought Fire in from the Water Truck Field in a roading harness. 

The sun was a welcome sight Wednesday morning especially since the mercury stood at 31 degrees. Co-owners Bruce Sooter and Steve Burns were on hand to watch Allen Vincent handle their entry, T’s Nickleback. Andy Daugherty was recruited to help Vincent. Miller’s Speed Dial completed the pairing. Owner/handler, Gary Lester, was assisted by Mark Haynes. It was 8:01 when they began. Both dogs headed toward the large feed patch on the east side of the Out Front Field. Nickleback circled around toward Vincent and then corrected and headed toward the gap in the tree line.  Lester and Haynes were both out at Heartbreak Hill looking for Dial. Daugherty found Nickleback standing in the T Piece at 10. After a lengthy relocation, an un-productive was credited to Back. Vincent was back to the front in the Avent Field and both dogs crossed Turner Road. They were seen in the Longneck Field and again when they were pointed out at Turner Basin. They were together in the North Turner Ditch Field before crossing Turner Ditch. They ranged to the front around Govan Hill and stayed forward at the National Championship crossing. They made the hard right turn into The Lowlands and Lester spied Dial standing on the east end of the first field. Dial corrected on moved ahead before Lester arrived. Nickleback was harnessed by Vincent at 1:16 at National Championship. Dial came out of Locust Turn and made a showy cast around National Championship South before crossing Turner Road into the Tennessee Field, Lester sent him up the west edge and Haynes called point at 1:31. Lester flew a good covey as Dial remained motionless. Lester sent Dial into the Morgan Field and Haynes was dispatched. Dial came to Lester out of Morgan Swamp and turned into the Supermarket Field. Dial’s heart was evident as he made a nice swing around Edward Clark South and made quick time through the Clark fields and crossed Keegan’s Ditch. He continued to hunt as he crossed Cut Over Pine Hill and through the Climmie Clark Fields without benefit of bird work.  He crossed National Championship at the Supermarket Field and Lester sent him into Morgan Swamp. He then swung through the Avent Field into Morgan where his bid ended at the three-hour mark. He had given his all.

Westfall’s Black Thunder and Touch’s Blackout were the contestants in the sixth brace on Wednesday afternoon. Ric Peterson owns Blackout and he was on hand to lend his support to handler, Randy Anderson, and scout, Tiffany Genre. Andy Daugherty directed the movements of Thunder for absentee owner Bill Westfall. Allen Vincent, as usual, scouted for Andy. They were off to a fast start at 1:18 and they wasted no time getting to Jim Miller. Blackout was first into Buster Graves and Vincent was sent to search for Thunder. Thunder joined Blackout at the gravel drive and they both took in the Buster Graves Loop and went into the Mounting Block in tandem. Blackout traveled through the Kemp Fields and was seen at the top of the Horseshoe. Daugherty and Vincent went toward Peter Pugh looking for Thunder. Daugherty had Thunder back to the front at the pond levee at the entrance to the Chute. Front Marshal Ryan Braddock called point for Blackout when he saw him buried in weeds under a big cedar tree at 44 in Hays Crossing just west of the Agronomy Unit. Anderson arrived but could not put anything in the air. Blackout was asked to relocate. He was fast out of the brush, crossed the field road, entered a feed patch and went directly to the birds in a very quick fashion. Anderson fired as the quail lifted. Blackout was steady to wing and shot. It was a pretty piece of work. Blackout made a cast through the small agronomy fields adjacent to Ames Road and Anderson sent him toward the Strawberry Patch. Daugherty had not returned. At the Demonstration Plots at 57 Daugherty returned without Thunder and asked for the retrieval device. Blackout was discovered by a gallery rider standing in a milo strip in Sam’s Water Truck Field at 1:01. An un-productive was credited here when the relocation failed to produce quail. Blackout was not seen again by the judiciary by the time they had reached Turkey Bottom and they informed Anderson they would wait there until he could show them the dog. At 1:48 the judiciary declared Blackout out of contention.

Brace seven had Erin’s Wild Justice handled by Luke Eisenhart with Tommy Davis scouting pitted against Lester’s Jazz Man under the whistle of Randy Anderson with Tiffany Genre assisting. Jazz Man’s owner, Dan Hensley, was on hand to cheer on his entry. The temperature stood at 48 degrees—17 degrees warmer this morning compared to yesterday—when the action got under way at 8:08. Justice took the west edge to the tree line and was through the gap ahead of Man exiting the feed patch on the east side of the break-away field. Justice made the turn at Heartbreak Hill but Man was not seen here and Anderson and Genre were both searching for him. Man joined Anderson and was shortly across Ellington Road behind Justice. Justice cast along the west edge of Morgan and raced ahead to the New Basin. Man went north on the west edge of Morgan and Genre was sent out. Justice was across Turner Road when Man crossed the road. Handler and scout were out and Ruthann Epp, who was riding front, sent Man into the Longneck Field where Justice was ahead going toward Turner Basin. Man took the west edge all the way to the basin field. He crossed the levee and both dogs were ahead at the Turner Ditch Fields. Anderson resumed handling before crossing Turner Ditch. Justice and Man hunted around Govan Hill and along the Ditch past the old Dunn Property. They were both going to the likely places but were not having any luck finding the elusive quail. They crossed National Championship and continued their search; each going their separate way. Man was successful at 1:05 when he penned a covey on the west end of No Man’s Land at the intersection of the Lowlands. No exception taken to style or manners. Justice searched through the Lowlands but again without any luck and went into National Championship North, Man was out of pocket through the Lowlands and was not seen through National Championship, Locust Turn, or National Championship South. He hooked up with Anderson on the south end of the Tennessee field, evidently getting back to Anderson on his own. Eisenhart decided to save Justice for another day as he was birdless to this point and he picked up at 1:33. Man made a swing through Morgan and Anderson found him standing in the feed patch on the south side of the Supermarket Field at 1:39. He was barely visible standing in the thick Teosinte. His second find was noted as he stood for the shot. Man took in the big Edward Clark South Field and turned, at Anderson’s bidding, into No Man’s Land. When Anderson rounded the corner, he called point at 1:49. Man was in the first food patch on the south edge again hard to see in the vegetation. His third find coming 10 minutes after his second. Anderson rode for him and turned him into the Clark Fields when he continued to hunt the likely places. He crossed Keegan Ditch and was quickly over the hill and into Jim Braddic. He roamed through the feed patches without finding his quarry and headed for Tobe Polk. He took the east side of Edward Clark North and both Anderson and Genre rode for him as they wanted to prevent him going down the terraces and on to Rube Scott Road. Anderson was back after a short wait. Man went the wrong way into the Long Mudhole Field and handler and scout were both out again. After a 10 minute wait, Man was back and he went over the hill and turned into Edward Clark Pasture. He made a nice cast around the Pasture and carried it into Climmie Clark North. He had slowed some as he crossed Climmie Clark South but seemed to have a burst of energy in the Supermarket Field where his bid ended at the three-hour mark. Mr. Hensley could be proud of Man’s effort today.

The eighth brace saw the mercury rise to 60 degrees with the wind gusting 15 to 25 miles an hour making it challenging for the handlers. Touch’s Spaceman was the top dog and as such he wore the orange collar. Whippoorwill Assault wore the green one. Larry Huffman handled Assault for owners Jim and Stephanie Bickers. Jim was mounted to observe the action and Nick Thompson was scouting. Randy Anderson, who had run Lester’s Jazz Man this morning, was back to pilot Spaceman. Matt Griffith, who was mounted, owns Spaceman and Tiffany Genre was scouting. Assault raced away through the long feed patch and Spaceman took the north side of the pines. They entered Jim Miller almost together and Spaceman was pointed out at the entrance to the East Pasture Hay Field. Assault was not in sight but Huffman stayed the course confident that Assault was ahead. Spaceman and Assault crossed the gravel drive and searched the Buster Graves Loop, and were away in the Mountain Block Field. Spaceman was first to locate birds when he styled up at 25 on the south side of the Mountain Block Field. Spaceman was through the Kemp Fields and was seen in the Horseshoe. Assault was absent when Huffman topped the hill in the Horseshoe and Anderson pointed out Spaceman on the far side of the field. Thompson found Assault standing at 33 in Peter Pugh. Huffman flew a nice covey and Assault raced ahead to join Spaceman in the Chute. Spaceman was out of the Chute and Anderson turned him toward the Strawberry Patch. Assault was not seen leaving the Chute but he showed to the front by the Demonstration Fields. They were both fast and they covered the distance to Prospect quickly. Huffman and Anderson were working hard because of the wind making it difficult for the dogs to hear their commands. Spaceman was seen in the Lawrence Smith Field and Assault was also seen as he started down the hill into Turkey Bottom with Spaceman in pursuit. Both dogs failed to make the turn in Alfalfa Bottom to Pine Hill and both went ahead to the ditch crossing with Anderson and Huffman giving chase. The dogs were just west of Alfalfa Bottom and were standing 5 yards apart pointing into dense weeds. Both handlers flushed and both shot when a large covey exploded. A divided fine was credited to each dog. Seven minutes later at 1:27 Genre called point for Spaceman on top of Pine Hill in the woods edge on the east side of the hill. His third find was recorded as he remained staunch at wing and shot. They hunted through the Harris field and made the turn at Kerry 7 acres. Both went to the Strawberry Patch and both handlers rode for them. They had them back on track through the Agronomy Field and Wolf Crossing. Spaceman scored his fourth find at 1:48 at the Thomas Gilliam Cemetery in the Marshal Jack Harris Field. Assault was ahead down the ridge and Spaceman caught up in the small field before crossing Caesar’s Ditch. At 2:04 at the top of Cox’s Ridge Huffman called it quits for Assault and snapped a lead to his collar. Spaceman continued to check out the promising places with speed through Fason Bottom and up Fason Ridge to A.T’s before crossing Ellington Road. He toured the Supermarket Field and Anderson turned him into the Tennessee Field. He held the west edge to the south end of the field and Anderson called point at 2:42. Spaceman was standing in a fallen dead tree top. Anderson asked if the judiciary had seen the birds that had flushed wild. A negative response was given and Anderson shot for Spaceman. No credit or discredit was given here. Four minutes later, at 2:46 Spaceman notched his fifth and last find in the bicolor along Turner Road in the Avent Field. He crossed Ellington Road at the T Piece and completed his run for the championship still running and hunting with purpose. Anderson and Genre had to ride to catch Spaceman before he crossed the road at the Field Trial Stables.

Brace 9 pitted Whippoorwill Mayhem against Game Wardon. Mayhem was handled by Larry Huffman for his owner, Ric Peterson, who was mounted to observe the action. Nick Thompson was scouting for Huffman. Luke Eisenhart blew the whistle over Wardon and Tommy Davis assisted. Dr. Fred Corder, Wardon’s owner, was not present today. It was 48 degrees at 8:05 under overcast skies when they were loosed. Wardon took the west edge and Mayhem took the east. Wardon was first through the tree line with Mayhem in hot pursuit. Neither was in sight at Heartbreak Hill when the distant call of point was heard. Thompson found Wardon standing in Joe Woody at 11. It was a good example of sportsmanship on Thompson’s part. Eisenhart flew a nice covey when he arrived with no exceptions taken to manners or style. The gallery spotted Mayhem at Joe Woody and both dogs crossed into the Morgan Field. They crossed the New Basin Levee and hunted through the L. B. Avent Field before crossing Turner Road. Mayhem took the east edge in the Longneck Field and Wardon strolled up the west edge. Eisenhart called point for Wardon at 35 in the Turner Basin Field but Wardon corrected and moved on across the levee. Mayhem took the south edge in the Turner Ditch South. Wardon was seen at the ditch crossing. Wardon made a swing through Tom Hert and was ahead around Govan Hill and Eisenhart urged him on toward Mary Scott. Mayhem had not been seen since the Turner Ditch crossing and Huffman asked for the retrieval device ay 58. Wardon was through Mary Scott and turned into the Lowlands. He hunted the rough all the way to national Championship North. He went around Locust Turn and took the west edge in National Championship South. Eisenhart put him on the east edge in the Tennessee Field where birds had been found previously. The birds were not at home and Eisenhart turned him into the Morgan Field. After a brief discussion with the judges, Eisenhart put a leash on Wardon at 1:32.

The tenth brace showcased Sleepless in Sacramento handled by Sheldon Twer with assistance from co-owner, Jim Wolthuis and Coldwater Thunder Handled by Steve Hurdle and Korry Reinhart scouting. Co-owner Cami Wolthuis was unable to attend for Sleepless. Co-owners Doug Arthur and Rachel Blackwell were in the cheering section for Thunder. Rain had been predicted for the afternoon and the prediction proved to be correct. A cold rain fell throughout the brace making it uncomfortable for man and beast. They left the break-away in tandem and took the hedge row under the power line to the east end of the field. Hurdle raised his hat at 5 for Thunder on the east end of the field in weeds and briars. Sleepless had a breach of manners and was picked up. Thunder crossed into the East Pasture Hay Field and Hurdle raised his hat again. Thunder was in the first feed patch on the south side of the center line at 14. A pair of quail flushed when Hurdle stepped in front of Thunder. At 22 Thunder was discovered standing in the Ames Horseshoe by Center Director, Rick Carlisle, who was manning a video camera for the injured Brad Harter. Hurdle flushed two Woodcocks and find number 2 was in the books. From there he streaked through the Kemp Fields and was seen in the food patches approaching the top of the Horseshoe. Thunder was sent ahead through Peter Pugh and into the Chute. Hurdle and Reinhart searched of her when she did not exit the Chute. Hurdle stayed on course and Thunder joined him just west of the Strawberry Patch. She was out of sight through the Demonstration Plots but Hurdle saw her poised again in Sam’s Water Truck Field at 1:14. She had the covey located perfectly and stood mannerly for the shot. She was not seen for the next 25 minutes but then showed directly in front in Turkey Bottom. Two minutes later at 1:39 she scored her fourth flawless find in a feed patch on the west end of the bottom. She turned up Pine Hill and was fast as she hunted through the Harris Field, Kerry 7 Acres, and the Agronomy Field. At 2:06 She recorded her fifth and last find on the west edge of Wolf Crossing standing under a large Cedar tree. She had the birds located perfectly again. For the next 54 minutes she put on an All-Age clinic. She was pointed out far to the front in the Jack Harris Cabin Field as she went off the ridge headed to the Caesar Ditch crossing. She was hunting in the rough places where the birds were supposed to be, not where the going was easy. She went up Cox’s Ridge and Hurdle worked hard to keep her on course. She was seen at the ditch crossing in Fason Bottom while the judges and the gallery were still on the hill before descending into the bottom. She went up Fason Ridge still fast and still going to the promising areas. She was far ahead at A. T’s House Place and Hurdle rode to gather her up at the Ellington Road crossing. Across the road, Hurdle sent her into the Morgan Field and time was called as she was going away. Her finish was fast and strong in spite of the rain, the cold, and the mud. Hurdle finally was able to catch up with her at the entrance to the New Basin. She had not wavered or faltered during her grueling three-hour run. She had not slowed down; she had plenty left in the tank. Her race could only be described as an All-Age effort and her bird work without exception.

The rains of yesterday and last night, the below freezing temperature, and the brisk north wind with the chill factor in the 20’s combined to make conditions miserable for the combatants in the eleventh brace on Saturday morning. Mike Hester brought Quick Marksman’s Tom Tekoa owned by L.S. Earls, who was mounted to lend support, to the starting gate with high expectations. Korry Rinehart completed the team. Touch’s White Knight owned by Eddie Sholar and handled by Mark McLean were not intimated by the conditions. Ike Todd was back to assist McLean. They were off at 8:04 and they both went to the west side of the Out Front Field. They were together through the tree line and Tom turned into the T Piece. Knight worked to the pond levee and then he also went into the T Piece. They crossed Ellington Road and both were seen on the west side of Morgan. Tom took in the New Basin and ranged on into the L.B. Avent Field. Knight was out of sight when McLean reached Turner Road but McLean spotted him in the Avent Field and rode for him and crossed Turner. Tom was MIA and Hester was also searching the Avent Field. Knight took the east edge in the Longneck. Hester returned with Tom at the east Turner Road crossing and Tom went up the west side of the Longneck. Tom reached Turner Basin and Hester sent him across the levee into the Turner Pines. McLean was looking for Knight. Tom was working in the Turner Ditch North Field and Hester whistled him on. McLean neared the Turner Ditch crossing and Knight joined him there. Hester sent Reinhart to the South side of Govan and he went into Tom Hert searching for Tom. McLean pointed out Knight as he topped Govan. McLean saw Knight stack up in the feed patch in the old Dunn Property at 60. When the judges arrived, McLean flushed the covey with Knight mannerly for the shot. Tom was till out of pocket and Hester asked for the retrieval device at 60. Knight crossed National Championship and turned into the Mary Scott Barn Field. He passed the old barn but then he doubled back and established point at the corner of the building. A single quail flew when McLean stepped in front of Knight and another one flew when McLean took hold of Knight’s collar. Knight had slowed some but he was still game. He held edges and responded to McLean’s commands through the remaining fields. At the Morgan Field, after a conversation with the judges, McLean picked up the cold, wet, shivering Knight.

It was still windy and cold when the twelfth brace got under way at 1:17 P.M. Brad Calkins owns Westfall’s River Ice and Andy Daugherty handles him. Andy’s brother, Pat, scouted when called on. Robin Gates handled Lester’s Georgia Time for owners Baker Hubbard and Jim Clark who were on hand for their entry. Luke Eisenhart assisted Gates. They were together down the power line hedge row until about half way to the end of the field and both made a foray into the feed patch on the south side of the field. They were both seen in the East Pasture Hay Field going north. They turned east at the handlers’ bidding and Daugherty raised his cap at 16 for Ice standing on the east end of the hay field on the wood’s edge. It was a barren stand and Ice was credited with an an-productive here. At 21 Georgia Time was pointing in the Buster Graves Loop where Woodcocks were found on Friday. This also proved to be an un-productive stand for Time. Daugherty held up at Ames Road and waited for Gates to catch up and both dogs were away in the Mounting Block Field. They checked out the thicket in the middle of the field and then both headed toward the Kemp Fields. Time was pointing again at 28 on the west end of the Mounting Block Field and when Gates walked in front of the statuesque pointer, the birds exploded out of the tangle of briars and weeds. Ice was already across the Kemp Fields and when Gates released Time he sped away to catch up with Ice. Ice was seen at the top of the Horseshoe and Time was close behind. They both went into the Chute and Time went into the rough to the east and Ice stayed on the west edge. At the North end of the Chute Gates called point for the third time for Time. The initial flushing attempt was fruitless as well as an extended relocation effort and Gates leashed Time because of this second un-productive stand at 55. Ice had moved through the Agronomy Field and notched his first and only find at 53 at the entrance to the Agronomy Unit. He was by the Strawberry Patch but he was not pleasing Daugherty and he was picked up at 1:03 ending the first week’s running.

A very wet spring caused the planting of crops to extend until the middle of July. As a result the planting of the food patches was delayed until the last of July. A total of 262 Feed Patches were planted—126 on the morning course and 136 on the afternoon course for a total of 216.8 acres planted. This year Teosinte, Grain Sorghum, and Milex were the three food sources used in the feed patches. Teosinte is the common name of a wild grass that grows in several areas of Mexico and Central America.  Scientists believe that teosinte is the ancestor of maize and is the closest wild relative to modern corn. The wild teosinte has several characteristics that help it survive in the wild. There is no real cob and the seeds break away from the stalk when mature, making dispersal more effective. The seed coat is hard, and seeds can remain in the ground waiting for the right environmental conditions to germinate and grow. The seeds are dark with a mottled pattern. Also strips of Soybeans, Grain Sorghum, and Corn were left in the harvested fields totaling another 32.8 acres.  That's a grand total of 249.6 acres of food sources available for the released quail and other wildlife that will take advantage of the abundance. In addition to the late planting the wet weather also caused the cancellation of the selective burning of the field trial courses and of the sapling control program for the second successive year.

The quail release program was completed in September. Three release dates on 6, 13, and 27 saw 6200 quail released in twenty count coveys in equal amounts on the morning and afternoon courses.

 

Mowing and blocking of the courses was also delayed because of mechanical issues and the unavailability of equipment due to the late harvest. Grooming of the courses was completed the first week in January just prior to the start of the Hobart Ames Memorial Open. The cover is higher this year than it has been for the past several years because of the abundance of rain through the summer. Lanes were cut through the flora as usual but little could be done to reduce the height of the vegetation.

There are many parts in the operation and workings of this event in order for it to be successful. Planning for next year's event begins almost immediately at the conclusion of the current trial. Only a few of the workers that have a responsibility for the day to day operations are ever seen by the attendees. Most of the critical duties are performed out of sight. Those who work at the Brick Stable where the horses of the officials are stabled and cared for are some of those invisible people. Each morning the horses are saddled and then trailered to the morning breakaway where they are united with their riders. When the horses return after the morning running each horse is washed and groomed before being returned to their respective stall. The afternoon horses are saddled and made ready for the after lunch brace. When they return to the stable at the conclusion of the brace, the horses are washed before being stalled. Then all the saddles are washed before being placed in the tack room. The feeding of the horses begins at 5:00 A.M. for the twenty head inside the stable and the twenty in the outside pens. The day is not finished until all the horses are fed and watered, the hay mangers filled, and the last saddle is hung in the barn. The work day begins before the sun is up and often times ends when the sun has set. Jamie Evans, Ryan Braddock, and Chris Weatherly supervise and assist with these chores daily. Plantation employees Steven McKeen, Mark Yearwood, Roberto Garza, James Morrow, Austin Cisco, Ethan Marcum, Michael Fletcher, and Jacob Lay are the personnel who perform this essential and much appreciated service.

Is there a performance by a certain dog in the last thirty years that you would like see? Impossible? Not so. Brad Harter returned this year for his 32nd time to video the National. Without his videos the past performances are only memories, but thanks to Brad those performances can be seen again. Brad’s videos are available for purchase through his Pleasant Hill website. Instant replay is common place in televised sports today. Brad’s videos are not instant but they are replays and because they are those great performances are still available for viewing. Brad sustained a life-threatening injury this past fall when a limb broke out of the top of a dead tree he was cutting down fell on him crushing his hip. Doctors inserted a steel rod and steel plates in his hip to repair the extensive damage. Brad was able to walk with the assistance of a cane, but he was unable to ride.  Brad put together a plan to secure video coverage. Rick Carlisle, Chris Weatherly, and Ryan Braddock manned video cameras to obtain mounted footage and Ken Blackman videoed from stationary positions at the road crossings. There will be a video of this year’s competition available for purchase.

Senior Research Assistant Jamie Evans is responsible for updating each day’s synopsis of the running on the web page. Jamie takes hundreds of photographs during the National. He and Brad spend the early part of each night selecting the photos and information to post. Jamie updates the web page twice daily with each brace's performances and these updates are a quick way for those who cannot attend to keep track of the progression of the trial. Jamie also oversees the transportation of the judges and other officials if the braces end prematurely. Jamie has many other duties that keep him very busy during this time, but he is seldom recognized by the casual observer. Jamie’s wife, Dee, also assists with the web page each night and is a valuable and appreciated helper. My thanks to Jamie again this year for sharing his research of the Ames Plantation.