The National Championship

William S. Smith

There is one objective that everyone who has ever participated in or who is currently participating in any sporting competition has in common. From the youngest competitor to the most seasoned veteran the goal is the same and that is to win a championship. To be crowned the best of the best. Some never get to experience the thrill of winning a championship while others are fortunate enough to relive the happening more than once. To win multiple titles is a great accomplishment, but to win the same championship in successive years elevates to a position that few achieve. The air is rare where three successive wins, a 3-peat, is attained in any sport.

The NBA was created in June of 1946. There are currently 30 teams that comprise the roster. Eleven of those teams have won two or more championships. Eight of those teams have won three or more titles.  Only three teams have won the title three consecutive years—Boston Celtics (eight straight from 1959 to 1966), Chicago Bulls 1991-1993 and 1996-1998 and the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers 1952-1954 and 2000-2002. Boston and Los Angeles are tied with the most championships with 17.

Baseball's first openly all-professional team was the Cincinnati Red Stockings, who were founded in 1869. The NL and AL were formed in 1876 and 1901, respectively. Today MLB consists of 30 teams, 15 in the NL and 15 in the AL. Fourteen teams have won two or more World Series titles. Three teams have won in successive years—Yankees three times, Athletics three times, and Giants once. These same teams have won in three consecutive years—Athletics 1972-1974, Giants 1921-1923, and the Yankees won in 1936-1939 for four in a row, and in 1949-1953 for five in consecutive years. The Yankees hold the record number of championships in all of the professional sports with 27.

Of the 28 NFL franchises to have played in a Super Bowl, 20 have actually won a championship. Through 52 Super Bowls, back to back wins has been accomplished 8 times, with one team doing it twice—New England Patriots 2004-2005, Denver Broncos 1998-1999, Dallas Cowboys 1993-1994, San Francisco 49ers 1989-1990, Pittsburg Stealers 1979-1980 and 1975-1976, Miami Dolphins 1973-1974, Green Bay Packers 1967-1968. No team has accomplished a 3-peat.

Twenty-five American and seven Canadian teams form the NHL founded in 1917. These thirty-two teams compete for the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, the Stanley Cup.  The trophy was donated by Lord Stanley of Preston in 1892 and originally was controlled by the Canadian amateur hockey clubs. When professional teams began to compete, the trophy ultimately became the NHL's exclusive award. Eight teams have won the trophy in two sequential years—Ottawa Senators 1920-1921, Detroit Red Wings 1936-1937, 1954-1955, 1997-1998, Philadelphia Flyers 1974-1975, Edmonton Oilers 1984-1985, 1987-1988, and Pittsburg Penguins 1991-1992, 2016-2017. In addition to winning back-to-back Stanley Cups, three teams have achieved a 3-peat—Montreal Canadians twice, 1956-1960 and 1976-1980, Toronto Maple Leafs 1962-1964, and the New York Islanders 1980-1983

Of the 107 winners of the National Championship, only seven have won in two successive years—Sioux in 1901 and 1902, Mary Montrose in 1919 and 1920, Becky Broomhill in 1922 and 1923, Ariel in 1943 and 1945 (the 1944 event was cancelled), Paladin in 1951 and 1952, Shadow Oak Bo in 2013 and 2014, and lastly Sunny Hill Jo in 2017 and 2018. In the 126-year history of the National no dog has won the title three consecutive years.

The 1917 National Championship marked the twenty-first renewal of the classic. The competition was scheduled to begin on January 15, but was postponed because of several inches of snow covering the course. The judges, Arthur Merriman, Hobart Ames, and Cuthbert Buckle, along with Secretary W. B. Stafford, presided over a meeting held with the handlers and owners where it was requested that the association officials delay the running until February 5 or the earliest suitable date. The request was readily accepted.

The trial reconvened on the Ames Plantation on February 5 to begin the delayed Championship, but weather conditions prohibited the running which got under way the following morning. Thirteen were drawn to compete, nine setters and four pointers. The pointer female, Mary Montrose, was handled by R. K. Armstrong for owner William Ziegler, Jr. of New York. She was braced with the setter, Candy Kid, handled by C. H. Harris and owned by C. E. Duffield. They were loosed at 8:45 and were up at 11:45. Shortly after break away Mary ranged up a sedge covered hill where she was seen on point. She moved up a step or two and pushed out a single bird and stopped. Armstrong shot for her and sent her on ahead into the bottom land. She took in the bottom while Kid scored the first bevy find of the stake. When released, Kid was out of pocket for a time and Mary was held for three minutes until Kid returned. Going on from there, Mary pointed where a bevy had been ridden up and Kid backed. Kid then scattered a covey in short lespedeza and they were down in in close proximity. Both dogs were sent to work singles. Mary quickly located two birds and Kid honored her stands. Mary scored another single after Kid had also found a single. Another covey lifted in the vicinity where Kid was working and both dogs were sent to work singles again on the downed covey. Mary took a wide turn and stopped on a different covey. She was picturesque as the birds flew and Armstrong shot. Mary soon scored again pointing into a thicket. Armstrong rode within three feet of Mary before dismounting and the bevy took to wing as the horse approached. She was steady for the shot. Mary was soon pointed again and the birds flushed wild as the judges approached. She was again solid for the shot. Soon, as the brace was nearing the end, Mary pinpointed her last find of the brace pointing into a plum thicket. She remained unmoving again at the shot. Mary finished the brace ranging far to the front. The judges agreed that Mary’s performance had been the best of the trial and she was declared the 1917 National Champion. She made history with her win because she had competed as a Derby and as such was the first Derby to win the National.

Comanche Rap, Mary’s half-brother, owned by William Ziegler, Jr. and handled by the erstwhile J. M. Avent also contended, the same as Mary, as a Derby and was credited with having a very good race.

Four setters and three pointers were drawn to run in the 1919 National running again on the Ames Plantation. Arthur Merriman, Hobart Ames, and Cuthbert Buckle more officiated the proceedings held on Monday and Tuesday January 20 and 21. Joe Muncie, the 1918 National Champion, handled by J. M. Avent was braced with Mary Montrose, the 1917 National Champion, handled by H. A. Tomlinson in the second brace to run Monday afternoon. Avent had contacted a severe case of influenza, but was determined to handle his two entries. Avent was so sick that he had to be assisted to mount his horse. The judges suggested that someone else handle Joe, but Avent declined. Avent was finally persuaded not to try to handle and he, being in no condition to carry on, yielded to the judges’ advice. Avent then withdrew Joe Muncie and White Socks scheduled to run in the first brace Tuesday morning. That left five dogs to compete. William Ziegler, Jr. owned three of the remaining dogs, Mary Montrose, Great Island Ringing Bells, and Comanche Rap. Joseph Crane would handle Ringing Bells and Comanche Rap and Mary would run as a Bye handled by Herb Tomlinson.

Some dogs need another dog to lean on, but not so with Mary she did not need a brace mate. She was independent at the start of the brace, but Tomlinson soon had her responding to his commands. Mary found her first covey in a sedge field. Her next find was after a long cast through bottom land near a small creek. A covey was ridden up by the gallery and Mary pointed where the birds were flushed, but Tomlinson sent her on without firing. Soon she was standing on the edge of the woods and recorded another faultless find. Next, she located a bevy on the edge of a corn field. When flushed, the birds went down in open woods and Mary was sent to hunt singles. She quickly notched another pretty find. She found another bunch in the woods and after the shot, she was sent to hunt singles again. Soon she was steady again along a washout and unmoving at the shot. She recorded her sixth covey find close to the two-hour mark on a covey in a ravine. Her seventh covey was hiding in a hedgerow. When Tomlinson put the birds to wing, a cripple fluttered up near Mary, but she remained staunch at Tomlinson’s warning. She got too close to a covey in the woods, but stopped quickly as the birds took to flight. As time was nearing the end of the brace, Mary recorded her ninth covey find on the edge of corn stubble. She had remained perfectly steady to wing and shot on each of her finds. The judges agreed that her performance was better than her championship win in 1917. There was no need for a second series. Mary was named the 1919 National Champion tying the record with Sioux for two National victories.

The 1920 National would be an historic event. Eight setters and four pointers would comprise the field to begin on January 19. William Ziegler would be the owner of four of the combatants, Great Island Robert the Devil, Great Island Ringing Bells, Comanche Rap, and Mary Montrose. The weather conditions would affect the running of the trial and a second series would be required to determine the winner. Arthur Merriman, Cuthbert Buckle, and Hobert Ames filled the judicial saddles. After the first two days of running, rain began and it remained steady for several days. The decision was made to postpone the trial until February 9, but the Continental Subscription Stake had not been concluded and the National Championship was delayed again until February 13.

Mary Montrose handled by H. A. Tomlinson was braced with Miss Pansy handled by C. H. Harris on Tuesday morning January 20. Mary began the heat exhibiting more speed and range than her brace mate. Miss Pansy scored the first bevy, but Mary soon notched her first tally in the lowlands in a thicket. When released Mary pointed again on woods edge where a large covey was flown by Tomlinson as Mary remained staunch. The birds went down in a hedgerow and Mary pointed a single. Mary made a long cast in hilly country and was out of sight for a time and was next seen far to the front on course. She was found on point in a sedge field and soon was pointed again. She was steady to wing and shot on both coveys. Both dogs were out of pocket and Tomlinson found Mary standing on woods edge with Miss Pansy backing. Both dogs were steady at the shot. The birds settled nearby and Mary scored on two singles. Mary was seen ranging ahead running as briskly as when the brace began. She was found pointing on a creek bank. The birds were where she said they were and Tomlinson flushed the birds between the two steep creek banks. Mary chalked up her seventh covey find nearing the end of the heat. It was reported that Mary finished “remarkably strong.”

A second series was announced between Cobb’s Hall owned by Ty Cobb of baseball fame and handled by C. H. Harris and Mary Montrose to begin on February 14, some three weeks after the trial had been postponed. Snow covered the ground when they were released. Both dogs cast far to the front and Mary was discovered pointing near sassafras thickets. Hall was brought in to back. Tomlinson flew the covey and fired his gun. Mary dropped on her haunches and remained steady—Hall broke shot. Hall scored an unproductive while Mary had located a pair of birds and was unmoving at the shot. She quickly found a bevy along a hedgerow and was a pretty sight at the shot. Hall found a covey and pointed again along the edge of the sedge. Mary was brought in to back coming straight downwind. She could not see Hall and she didn’t smell the birds and got too close causing the covey to lift. Mary dropped on her haunches. Mary was working game on the edge of the woods and the birds were apparently running. Mary roaded up to pen the birds. Mary recorded another covey find and also pointed a single when the birds went down close by. Mary was still running hard and was handling more kindly than Hall. She made a very strong cast to the front where she located another bevy.  Hall was missing in action and Mary was held. After approximately five minutes someone reported Hall was standing in the woods, but the birds had left when the judges arrived. The dogs were ordered up. Mary was named the winner of the 1920 National making her the first Triple National Champion.

R. K. Armstrong had handled Mary to her first National win in 1917. For reasons unknown Armstrong did not handle in the National again for William Ziegler although Armstrong did handle in future Nationals for owner Miss Marion du Pont and also for a dog that he owned, Fortissimo Veritas. Herb A. Tomlinson became the first handler of a Triple National Champion.

The 1922 National was held on the Ames Plantation on January 16, 17, and 18. Arthur Merriman, Hobart Ames and Cuthbert Buckle presided over the event. This would be the last time these three would judge this Classic together as Arthur Merriman passed away before the start of the 1923 renewal. Five setters and seven pointers would compete for the crown.

On Tuesday morning, January 17, Becky Broomhill owned by L. L. Haggin and handled by Chesley Harris was braced against Great Island Ringing Bells owned by William Ziegler, Jr., and handled by Joseph Crane. Twenty minutes into the brace in a sedge field both dogs were on point facing in opposite directions. Becky was solid at the shot but Bells chased when his covey took to the air. Becky found three singles in the sedge and then located another covey on woods edge. She was unmoving on each encounter at the shot. Becky was spied on point and Bells was bought up to back. Bells backed but kept moving up until she was alongside Becky. Both then roaded ahead until the covey flushed. Harris shot and Becky was steady, but Bells was not. Soon after Becky found three coveys in quick succession and remained true to her training at the shot. Next Becky pointed in some pines and Bells backed. They again roaded ahead until the birds flushed and both stopped.  Bells scored a find and Becky backed her. In the bottom land Becky was credited with another nice find. She then went on to record another find on the edge of a plum thicket. With one-minute left in the heat Becky notched her last find on a covey near a growth of small trees. She had rendered a faultless performance and was named the 1922 National Champion. Chesley Harris had won his first National Championship.

The event was not without controversy. Eugene’s Ghost pointed 16 coveys and 8 singles during his bid, but was not named the winner. Hobart Ames revealed later that Ghost was not considered because of scouts stationed in the woods who turned Ghost back to the course.  Arthur Merriman later wrote a critique in which he stated, “A dog that requires five or six handlers and half a dozen or more scouts to keep track on him is not a dog that should be encouraged and indeed the system is entirely wrong to place that kind.” (National Field Trial Champions pgs.175 & 177)

Becky Broomhill returned to the 1923 event to defend her crown and became the third dog in history to win the National in consequential years tying the record with Sioux and Mary Montrose.

The 1923 renewal featured 17 starters, the second highest number of entries to date; 20 being the most in 1911. Hobart Ames and Cuthbert Buckle would officiate. Wednesday morning January 17 showcased Becky Broomhill attempting to protect her trophy against her rival, Stylish Wasp, owned by Miss Marion du Pont and handled by R. K. Armstrong. Chesley Harris would handle Becky again for owner L. L. Haggin. Soon after break away, both simultaneously called point. It was observed that Becky had arrived first and Wasp followed. Becky broke when Harris fired and started to chase, but stopped on Harris’ command. Becky was faster than Wasp and was going to all the likely places. A bunch was ridden up and shortly Becky was discovered standing near a thicket. She next pointed in the Sweet Gum trees and very quickly had her fourth bevy pinned. Harris killed a bird when they flew. Becky’s next find was near a plum thicket. After a big swing, Becky was credited with another nice find. Wasp and Becky then were worked on singles and both recorded two each. Becky’s next bevy was soon in the books. After the two-hour mark Wasp began to find birds and Becky was brought in to back one of Wasp’s finds. The roles were reversed when Becky located another covey and Wasp backed. Both were worked on singles again and it seemed that the performances were comparatively the same. The big bottom land would tell the difference. Becky handled the huge bottom by making wide casts around the area. While speeding up a hill a covey flushed and Becky stopped. Her stop was deemed acceptable. Becky was worked on singles again when the covey went down a short distance away. As time was running out Wasp found two coveys and was steady for wing and shot. With one-minute remaining Becky recorded her last covey. Becky had found 10 coveys and Wasp had located six.

A second series was reckoned necessary by Ames and Cuthbert. Becky’s adversary would be Doughboy owned by E. J. Rowe and handled by J. W. Martin. The heat would last for 1 hour and 57 minutes. Becky out birded Doughboy by five coveys and a single to two covey finds. Becky had the better ground application and was declared the 1923 National Champion. Doughboy would return the next year and win the championship in 1924.

The 20 entries, nine setters and eleven pointers, entered in the 1925 titular event tied the record number of entries recorded in 1911. Once again Hobart Ames and Cuthbert Buckle presided over the running.  Becky Broomhill, attempting to capture the crown for the historic third time, was paired with Inquisitive Lady handled by Ed Farrior and owned by C. W. Campbell in the seventh brace. They were loosed at 8:58 on Thursday morning January 22. After crossing the first road, Becky appeared to be working game when a rabbit raced away and Becky went ahead. A covey was ridden up at the same spot. Was Becky unable to locate the birds or was it a rabbit she smelled? It was debatable for the judges. Lady scored first on a covey, but Becky was running strong and working the country. Birds had been hard to find and work during the trial and it was 56 minutes into the brace before Becky located the second bevy of the heat. She was staunch for the shot. Becky then pointed in open woods and when the birds flushed wild, Becky dropped to her haunches. Lady came into the woods, pointed a single and then chased. Becky’s second find was on a wood edge and she handled it correctly. In the hay meadow a covey was ridden up and Becky pointed a single. Harris flushed and tried to kill Becky a bird, but the shot missed the mark. Next Becky pointed in open country and was held to have her picture taken. Harris flushed but it was a barren stand. Harris sent her on and she found a covey and was solid when Harris fired. She was quickly on point again but this resulted in a second unproductive stand. With about thirty minutes left in the heat, Becky pointed near briar thickets, but Harris elected not to flush. With eighteen minutes left, Becky went around the briars and pinned the covey. No more contacts were recorded, but it was reported that Becky continued to hunt intelligently until time expired.

Becky Broomhill became the second Triple National Champion in only a seven-year span. What was once though highly improbable had now been accomplished twice by two female pointers in a short period of time. Chesley Harris had won his third National thanks to Becky and became the second handler to handle a Triple National Champion. By winning for the third time, the Mary Montrose Cup was retired. Becky’s owner, Louis Lee Haggin, announced that he would replace the Cup with another trophy to be known as the Arthur Merriman Cup.

Chesley Harris made his debut in the National in the 1915 affair when he handled Jack A. In the thirteen-year period from 1922 through 1934 Harris dominated the National Championship; winning the crown seven times with four different dogs. He won with McTyre in 1927, Mary Blue in 1929 and 1931, Norias Annie in 1934, and of course Becky Broomhill. Harris’s seven National wins has only been bested by J. M. Avent with 8 wins, and Clyde Morton with 11 wins. “Harris’s rise to prominence as one of the top three winners of all-time in the National Championship and his move toward permanent financial security all started with Becky Broomhill. Under Harris’s tutelage Becky would claim the greatest record in the first seventy-five years of field trials with thirty-four major circuit wins, including twenty-two first places, among which are six championships (three National Championships, one National Free-for-All Championship, and two Manitoba Championships), plus two victories in the Continental Subscription Stake.” (Fields of Glory pg. 347) Upon Becky’s death, Harris buried her at his training camp on the prairies near Pierson, Manitoba.

A new record for entries was set in the 1926 edition of the National when 21, eleven setters and 10 pointers, were drawn to compete. Judges Hobart Ames and Cuthbert Buckle would call back a second series causing the trial to last six days. Feagin’s Mohawk Pal handled by F. A. Dean for owner E. M. Tutwiler was braced with Pearl Momoney handled by George Payton for owner B. K. Littlepage in the 10th brace of the first series on Friday afternoon. In this series Pearl scored an unproductive stand, two finds, and a divided find. Pal also recorded two covey finds and a divided find. Both dogs were worked on singles after Pal’s last find. The judges agreed that Pal’s work on singles was of a better quality than Pearl and Pal was called back to run Saturday afternoon against Seaview Rex owned by Mrs. O. D. Stickney and handled by R. D. Bevan. “Rex was observed on point. The spectators galloped over to the thickets. Pal was seen coming in, but he failed to back his brace mate. In the confusion that developed, a drove of doves arose from the cover and a moment later a bevy of quail flushed. Under the circumstances an exact definition on the work could not be obtained.” (National Field Trial Champions pg. 197) Soon after Rex pointed a single from the flushed covey. As the judge arrived, the bird took to wing and Rex moved up. Meanwhile Pal had come in to back. Then another single flushed wild as both dogs stood rigid for the shot. Rex completed a long cast that ended when he discovered a covey on the edge a mowed field. He was steady to wing and shot. After traversing a sizeable chunk of real estate, Pal located his elusive quarry on the edge of a thicket. Rex came in to back unaided by a Bevan command. They were both true to their training when the handlers fired. Both dogs were then worked on singles and both recorded two finds each. After a time Pal was discovered pointing into a thicket. Dean advised the judges Pal was pointing a woodcock. When the bird flew, “Pal broke and chased, but this kind of game was not taken into consideration by the judges of this quail field trial.” (National Field Trial Champions pgs. 197 & 198) On the edge of a woods Bevan called point for Dean’s dog.  The birds were heard to take to the air, but they were not officially seen. When the handlers and judges arrived, Rex was found crouching a yard or two ahead of Pal. Pal was motionless holding his point. Just what had happened was uncertain, but the judges were of the opinion that Pal’s performance slightly outshined that of Rex. Pal was declared the 1926 National Champion. It is noteworthy that Pal had completed his bid for the championship in the first series on Friday afternoon and was called back the next afternoon for the second series. His stamina was evident.

The 1928 National would welcome a new member to the judicial team. L. L. Haggin, owner of Becky Broomhill, joined Hobart Ames, and Cuthbert Buckle to officiate. Seven setters and thirteen pointers would vie for all the marbles. There would be déjà vu all over again as Yogi Berra so eloquently put it.

Feagin’s Mohawk Pal was braced in the first series with Tramp Irwin owned by R. W. Bingham and piloted by H. W. Fishel. Tramp got on the board first on the edge of a woods. He was perfect at the shot. Pal worked out a large field, crossed a small creek, and styled up in sedge grass. Pal corrected on his own and moved ahead. Tramp followed Pal and flushed a single just a Pal came to a point. Dean elected not to fire and Pal was released. Pal was pointing into a thicket alongside a creek. Dean called flight of the bird as a lone quail flew low to the ground on the opposite side of the thicket. The judges most likely did not see the bird. Dean fired. More birds flew at the shot. Pal’s next find was adjacent to a plum thicket. Everything in order at the shot. Pal made an unproductive stand in the bottom but quickly cornered a covey in a sassafras patch. Not long after, he had another faultless find. Pal went into the hills and Dean went to look for him. Two judges remained behind and they reported that Pal had scored on a covey and three singles. Pal was credited with another barren stand although a covey had been ridden up by the gallery at this point. Tramp carded another find before the dogs were ordered up.

For the second year in a row Seaview Rex and Feagin’s Mohawk Pal were called back for a second series. For the second time Pal would be asked to compete again after having run the day before. It was obvious that Pal was feeling the effects of being called into action so soon, but he soon worked the kinks out and displayed his normal form. Seven minutes into the heat, Pal located the first bevy of the series. Pal moved ahead a short distance after the shot and more birds lifted out of the thicket. Pal stopped at flight. Bevan could not put any feathers in the air when Rex pointed. When Bevan went to his horse, Rex roaded ahead and put the birds up. After working through some uneven land, Pal pointed and Rex backed. Both were steady at the shot and they were ordered up. The second series had lasted 1 hour and 18 minutes. It was agreed that Pal was the better performer and Pal had just won his second National Championship. Dean took home the purse of $1500.00.

The 1930 Classic drew another large entry of six setters and fourteen pointers for judges Hobart Ames, Cuthbert Buckle and Dr. B. E. Barham to sort through. The trial was scheduled to commence on January 20, but blizzard conditions caused the trial to be delayed until Wednesday morning, March 5. Running was completed seven days later on march 12. The first series did not produce a championship performance and four were called back for a second series. Arbu Betty and Katie Dee were called back in the first brace of the second series. Betty was owned by Robert T. Herndon and handled by J. M. Avent. Dee was owned by H. D. Vail and handled by L. T. Jones. “Had either of these dogs performed impressively, the Championship would in all probability have been awarded then and there. Neither turned in a fitting exhibition.” (National Field trial Champions pg. 221)

Feagin’s Mohawk Pal handled by F. A. Dean and owned by E. M. Tutwiler, Jr. was paired with Buck Jones owned and handled by J. T. Jones in the first series. Neither impressed enough to grab the gold. Pal was called back for the third time for a second series in his bid for the Championship. The two-time National Champion, Pal, was braced with the 1929 Champion, May Blue, handled by C. H. Harris and owned by W. C. Teagle. In the breakaway field, Pal pointed at a clump of bushes. When Dean got near Pal dropped. No birds flew and Pal worked some distance but failed to locate any game. Father on a covey was ridden up and Mary had a rabbit pointed. Pal found a covey and handled it with no exception to manners taken. Mary handled a single. Pal scored on a roadside covey. He was held after the shot to allow Mary to be brought up. They crossed the road and the gallery spied Pal pointing. He had the covey correctly located and was steady when Dean fired. Minutes later, Pal was pointing again into a sassafras thicket. Pal was motionless at the shot. Pal moved ahead a short distance and a sleeper took to wing. When several more took to wing, Pal remained steady. Pal was held again for Mary to be brought up. Pal backed Mary on a barren stand. It was 10:25 when Pal scored his fifth covey and he was ordered up. Mary was out of sight at time and Harris found her pointing in the woods. Her covey bolted when Harris approached. They were put down at 8:48 and up at 10:31. The announcement came shortly that Feagin’s Mohawk Pal was the 1930 National Champion and the third Triple National Champion.

Hugh Seals judged the Southern All-Age Stake in 1924 and was so impressed with Feagin’s Mohawk Pal’s performance that he recommended that his friend, E. M. Tutwiler, Jr. of Birmingham, Alabama, purchase him. Mr. Tutwiler struck a deal to obtain Pal and he placed him with Forest A. Dean. Mr. Dean set his sights on winning the National and directed his efforts to that achievement. Pal’s debut in the National was 1925 when Becky Broomhill won for the third time. Pal would return the next year and chalk up his first win on the way to making history. Pal fulfilled and exceeded the expectations of Tutwiler and Dean by winning the National not once, but three times. Pal would be the only National Champion for Tutwiler and Dean. Dean was the third handler to pilot a Triple National Champion.

In a span of 14 years the third Triple National Champion had been crowned. It was also historic because Feagin’s Mohawk Pal is the only setter to achieve the feat. Pal joined Mary Montrose and Becky Broomhill as the only three dogs in history to win the coveted title of Triple National Champion. The deed would be repeated by another pointer 15 years hence.

The 1941 National Championship, contested on the historic Ames Plantation, began on February 24 and concluded on March 8. Freezing temperatures and rain had caused the trial to be cancelled three days.  Forty-six had been nominated, thirty-six had been drawn. Thirty-one pointers and five setters made up the field. The trio of Nash Buckingham, Dr. T. Benton King, and Hobart Ames filled the judicial saddles as they had since the 1937 running. It would be the last year they would officiate together.

The reporter of the 1941 event elected not to give the details of each brace, only a sparse summary. A second series would not be required this year. Clyde Morton would stand on the green steps of the Manor House for the third time with another A. G. Sage owned dog, Ariel. Ariel’s sire, Air pilot’s Sam, had been on those same steps in 1937 to celebrate his National Championship. This was the first time Ariel had competed in the National, but the extravagant goings-on did not keep him from his appointed task. It was reported that Ariel was credited with five covey finds and a single bird. That he was working to the highest standards of the gun and no exception could be taken as to his pace, animation or gun manners. It was also reported that he finished “strong as a mule and still out there, going with gale force at the finish.” With this victory he has won four of the six championships in which he has run. He won on the Canadian prairies and he won on the southern venues, which testifies to his intelligence.

Twenty-seven, twenty-three pointers, and four setters, contested in the 1943 edition of the National in the 48th year since the inaugural running in 1896. Ruben Scott, Dr. T. Benton King, and Nash Buckingham returned for the second year to “sort ‘em out.” Ariel, the 1941 Champion, was entered into the 1942 affair, but was bested by his kennel-mate, Luminary. He was back in 1943 with a chip on his shoulder and he had something to prove. There would be a second series this year between Ariel and The Texas Ranger. Ranger was owned by D. B. McDaniel and handled by Jack Harper. A. G. Sage owned Ariel and Clyde Morton handled. Ariel was perfect on his five finds in the first series. His first find happened at five minutes into the brace. “From then on, his race, from the standpoint of handling, swift pace and stamina, interspersed with exquisite bird work, was something to remember!” (National Field trial Champions pg. 355) Ariel was described as being perfectly mannered, and as intense when backing as when he was on game.

The Texas Ranger discovered four finds during the first series. His presentation earned him a shot at the title when he was named to compete against Ariel in a second series.

The second series proved to be a fiercely contested duel. Ariel was the first to strike game. Ariel stood tall when Morton fired and the bevy took to wing. Both dogs were ordered to work on singles on the downed covey. Ranger pointed and Ariel snapped into a statuesque pose honoring Ranger. When loosed they left the regular course and went as they pleased. Both handlers knew that this was make it or break it time. Both dogs were handling well and going with speed. Ranger’s absences were a little longer than Ariel’s but he was running hard with seemingly little effort. Ariel almost always in the front. Ariel was seen crossing against an acre of burned-off ground along a fence-row. Almost simultaneously a large covey burst forth from under a judge’s horse. Ariel was standing majestically just ahead. Were theses the birds that Ariel was pointing? What would Morton do? Upon arrival, Morton did not hesitate to go in front of the motionless Ariel. Suddenly the tight-setting covey boiled from beneath a fallen oak branch when Morton approached. Morton walked to Ariel and stroked his head. Ranger had lagged behind and Harper was trying to bring him up. The judges had seen enough—Ariel was declared the 1943 National Champion. This would be Morton’s fourth National and Ariel would be the first of three double National Champions for Morton. 

The 1944 Classic was cancelled because of lack of birds. The 1945 event would be another historic marker for this esteemed affair. Dr. T. Benton King, Nash Buckingham, and Ruben Scott would look at the twenty-three pointers and the two setters that would vie for the prestigious title. Once again, a second series would be required. This time between Ariel and Tarheelia’s Lucky Strike owned by G. M. Livingston, of Livingston Plantation fame, and handled by George Crangle.

Ariel ran on a water-logged course in the first series. His three-hour endeavor was described as sustained brilliance. He located ten coveys during his 180-minute quest. A point every eighteen minutes! He finished on a huge cast that amazed the gallery.

Lucky impressed during his first series by his handling response, his statuesque posture on point, and impeccable manners around the gun. He handled eight coveys without error, but he also delivered three barren stands attributed to winds in advance of a coming storm that most likely had changed the behavior of the quail before the handler arrived on the scene.

It was told to the handlers in the second series that this would be a bird hunt. They would not follow the course, but would hunt toward the eastern boundary of the Plantation. Crangle was first to call point for Lucky. Crangle gave it his best, but could not produce feathers and Lucky was given an unproductive here. Morton was racing to the front after calling point for Ariel. Morton flushed and shot for the steady Ariel. Both are soon recognized as having faultless finds. Soon Lucky was on point again. The birds left him and were not seen by the judges, but were seen by Mrs. Hobart Ames who was riding nearby. Lucky was recorded with a find attributed to Mrs. Ames’ testimony. Lucky was next to locate the elusive quarry and now had three finds to Ariel’s two. Ariel quickly evened the score with Lucky backing. Lucky located another covey in a lespedeza patch and demonstrated his exquisite style on game. Moments later Morton called point for Ariel. Ariel hasn’t quite got them penned and Lucky, apparently, scenting the birds, stopped. Immediately a large covey erupted between the two dogs. Both displaying prefect manners. Down the hill Lucky notched another find. Three hundred feet farther on Ariel scored again. Lucky seemed to be tiring, but Ariel was running far to the front. Near the edge of a burned off field both dogs are standing again with Ariel in front. The birds had left and the dogs were taken on. Ariel struck the last blow when he pointed his seventh covey. Thirteen coveys were pointed in all.

With this historic win Ariel became the fourth Triple National Champion. He joins Mary Montrose, Becky Broomhill, and Fagin’s Mohawk Pal as the only four dogs in the history of field trial to accomplish the elusive feat. Morton became only the fourth handler to handle a Triple National Champion.  It has been 77 years since a dog has won the National for the third time. Currently there are no dogs in competition that have two National wins to their credit.

In 1951 and 1952 Morton would pilot Paladin to back-to-back wins of the National. It would be the last of the A. G. Sage/Morton partnership as Mr. Sage passed away before the start of the 1952 event. This collaboration produced nine National Championships with six different dogs. Morton focused mainly on three trials during his career—the National Championship, the Free-for-All, and the American Field Quail Futurity. He holds the record for National wins with eleven.

Last year COVID-19 dictated the way most of the activities were conducted.  What will the new normal be like when the pandemic is finally over? No one can answer that question at this point, but this year the activities were as close as to what has been normal in the past with covid protocols being adhered to as much as possible. There was a beehive of activity around the field trial stables as preparations were under way to make ready for the running. The Rhea Building, silent last year, was bustling with activity. It was good to see the grounds come alive after a year of hibernation. Lunches were served at Bryant Hall, also dormant last year, from 11 A.M. until 1 P.M. thanks to Tom and Linda Stewart owners of Southern Eatery in Holly Springs Mississippi. The hot soup and sandwiches box lunches were welcomed and appreciated by the directors, workers, and anyone who chose to partake of the fare.

Jadie Rayfield made the trek from Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina to arbitrate for the sixth time. He has been involved in all phases of field trials for three decades and he relied on all those years of experience to give each entry a fair shot.

Dr. Stan Wint traveled from Gardner, Kansas for the fourth time to judge this time-honored event. He also has thirty plus years of experience. He began his career in walking dog stakes and won his first championship in 1992. He has adjudicated in AKC trials as well as horseback shooting dog and all-age American Field events.

Tom Shenker journeyed from Hurtsboro, Alabama for the third time to complete the judicial panel. Tom brings a lifetime of experience because his father was a professional trainer and Tom was exposed to bird dogs, horses, and field trials at an early age. Tom manages the Easter Plantation in Hurtsboro, Alabama.

This year celebrates the126th year since inaugural running of the National and it is the 107th consecutive year it has been scheduled to be contested on the Ames Plantation with the exception of 1938, 1944, and 1965 when the event was cancelled because of a decline in the quail population. There were 23 drawn this year, 2 more than last year, with two Pointer females, one Setter male, and 20 Pointer males completing the roster. Coldwater Thunder was one of the females and also the 2021 National Champion. She returned to defend her crown. Whippoorwill Justified, the 2016 National Champion, and Millers Speed Dial, the 2020 National Champion, entered the competition in hopes of conquering their second national title. There are seven rookies making their debuts this year.

Touch’s Blackout, handled by Randy Anderson, and Whippoorwill Forever Wild, handled by Matt Cochran were withdrawn because of health issues. Knight Moon and Touch’s Red Rider handled by Luke Eisenhart were not nominated because of health concerns. 

The drawing was held Saturday night February 12 at 7 P. M. in Bryan Hall. The drawing was open to the public and was also presented live on Facebook. The drawing was conducted by NFTCA president C.F. Bryan and NFTCA secretary/treasurer Rick Carlisle. They were assisted by Marilyn Terlep, wife of the newest Hall of Fame member Dr. Terry Terlep, who handled the squirrel cage to select the numbered balls. Jamie and Dee Evans operated the live Facebook camera feed and the computer. Brad Harter made a video recording of the proceedings. Judges Tom Shenker and Stan Went were present along with Tom’s lovely wife, Melody.  Birddog Museum board member, Don Beauchamp, was also in attendance along with his personable wife, Linda, from Chaney, Kansas. Pro handlers, Randy Anderson and Larry Huffman, were also present. Bernie Matthys, former editor of the American Field, attended after he had presented the newly elected members of the Hall of Fame in the ceremony held at the Birddog Museum in the afternoon.

The winner of the 28th  Joe Hurdle Award is Touch’s Fire Away, pointer male, owned by Dr. Greg and Carmen Adams of Norfolk, Virginia. He is handled by Randy Anderson of Vinita, Oklahoma. Fire Away secured his win in a tightly contested race when he won the Alabama Championship giving him a total of 1525 points just a week before the final tabulations. The top three contenders finished within 125 points from first to third place. Mr. Joe’s grandson, Joey McAlexander, and his great grandson, Bobby McAlexander, presented the award.

The Winner

Sometimes the last is the best. That was the case when Lester’s Shockwave ran as a bye dog in the last brace of the 2022 National. Birds had been scarce and it was a do or die scenario for Lester and Shockwave.  Shockwave made it known early in the heat that he meant business when he recorded his first find at 23 in the Mounting Block field. He went on to record 4 more flawless finds and a stop-to-flush on a relocation. He was subservient to Lester the entire 3-hours and he hunted the likely places, going on his own to investigate. His speed remained constant during his bid. He stood stately on each of his finds and no exception was taken to his manners at any time. His last find was at 2:50 in Morgan Swamp. He finished in the morning Breakaway field still running strong. The announcement at the Manor House made it official.  Lester’s Shockwave is the 2022 National Champion.

The Running

“I have failed many times, but I have never gone into a game expecting myself to fail.”                                                                                                     Michael Jordan

Monday morning February 14 dawned under a cloudless azure sky. The mercury stood at 21 degrees. A good morning with the promise of a good day for a field trial. An air of excitement was evident around the field trial stables as preparations were under way for the start of the premier field trial in America.

Brace 1. Whippoorwill Justified, the 2016 Champion, handled by Larry Huffman and scouted by Nick Thompson was braced with Woodville’s Yukon Cornelius, the only setter in the group, handled by Mark McLean with help from Ike Todd when needed. Cornelius is making his rookie run. Justified is owned by Ronnie Spears who was mounted to watch the action.  Cornelius is owned by Carl Owens who was also riding for his entry. They were loosed at 8:01. Cornelius took the right side of the breakaway field and Justified took the left side and showed well working the large food patch. Cornelius crossed to the food patch and both went through the gap in the tree line together. They were out of sight at Heartbreak Hill and both scouts were out. Justified was seen in the A.T. House Place field and Huffman rode for him. Cornelius was spotted in the Agronomy Unit west of the blackout field and McLean went to turn him. They were back together in the Morgan field. Cornelius was pointed out headed for the New Basin and Justified took the old course toward L.B. Avent. Cornelius was across Turner Road first with Justified soon after. They both rimmed the lower Turner field and were seen to the front in the Turner Longneck. They hunted through the Turner fields, crossed Turner Ditch, worked around Govan Hill, explored the territory east of the old Dunn property and crossed National Championship together. Huffman’s cap was in the air at 1:07. Justified was standing in a food patch east of Mary Scott Basin with Cornelius backing. The flushing attempt was futile and an unproductive was credited here and a back for Cornelius. The scouts were out at the turn to the Lowlands. Both dogs came in on their own and crossed National Championship headed toward Locust Turn. Out of the turn, they explored National Championship South and crossed Turner Road into the Tennessee field. Without the benefit of any bord work, Huffman decided to pick up at 1:41 in the Morgan field. Cornelius hunted through the Clark fields and crossed Keegan Ditch and was up the hill in a flash. The judges saw Cornelius pointing into a mass of briars at 2:12. The flushing attempt was not successful and McLean allowed Cornelius to relocate but to no avail and he was given an unproductive. Cornelius continued to hunt the remaining 48 minutes but was unable to record a find. He finished the three hours.

Brace 2. Quickmarksman’s Dan, making his rookie appearance, was handled by Mike Hester and scouted by Steagan Smith. He was pitted against Stash the Cash handled by Gary Lester and scouted by Korry Reinhart. Dan is owned by Larry Earls and Sam Starnes; both were riding for their entry. Cash, the five-year-old rookie, is owned by Tommy Loid who rode to observe Cash and David Thompson who was absent due to the birth of a grandson this morning. They began in the East Pasture at 1:14 and both took the long feed patch into the Jim Davis field. They made the turn and headed into Buster Graves. They made the Buster Graves Loop and crossed Ames Road together. They were quick through the Mounting Block field and sped through the Kemp fields and made good swings through the field at the top of the Horseshoe. They raced ahead through the Chute and Lester spied Cash standing in a milo stubble field at 47 in the Agronomy Unit north of Wolf Crossing. Lester put a large covey to wing and Cash was a pretty picture at the shot. Six minutes later at 53 Lester called point for Cash standing in a food patch at the Strawberry Patch. As the judges arrived 4 to 6 quail flushed wild at a distance behind Cash. Lester flushed in front of Cash but could not produce any feathers and an unproductive was given here. At 54 four quail flew over Dan and he stopped in a pointing position to honor the flight and Hester fired over the standing dog. They hunted independently past Prospect Church and made the turn at the Lawrence Smith field and went down the hill into Turkey Bottom. When they entered the Marshall Jack Harris field Cash was noticeably lame and Lester picked him up at 1:33. Dan continued through Wolf Crossing and the Jack Harris field before crossing Caesar Ditch and went up Cox’s Ridge. He was beginning to shorten when he went into Fason Bottom. Hester saw him standing at 2:26 in a food patch in the Bottom. An unproductive was garnered here when Hester could not put anything to wing. Dan was tired and short and at 2:40 judge Shenker informed Hester they would be glad to continue to watch Dan until the 3-hour mark, but that he could not win the Championship. Hester thanked the judges and put Dan in a harness.

Brace 3. Coldwater Thunder, last year’s Champion, was the top dog in the third brace. The eight-year-old returned for the fifth time. She is owned by Doug Arthur, Billy Blackwell, and David and Rachel Russell and was handled by Steve Hurdle and scouted by Korry Reinhart. All co-owners were riding except Blackwell. Miss Stylin Sue, a six-year-old rookie, was the bottom dog, and was handled by Allen Vincent for owners Dr. Jim Mills and Steve Lightle with help from Andy Daugherty.  Neither Dr. Mills nor Steve Lightle could be present today. They took their separate ways in the Breakaway field and then they were in tandem headed toward the Levee. They were out of sight at Heartbreak Hill and both scouts were out. Both dogs showed to the front in Joe Woody and Thunder went across the road into the Morgan field but Sue turned back into Joe Woody. Sue was next seen on the west edge of Morgan in a food patch. Both dogs turned toward the New Basin and Sue took the old course. They raced through the Avent field and crossed Turner Road. They both showed well as they made nice casts around the lower Turner field and turned into the Longneck. Thunder took the old course at Turner Basin and Sue went over the levee. Sue was seen in the Turner North field and Thunder raced ahead through the Turner Pines. Thunder worked the Turner South field and Sue explored Turner North. They were neck and neck through Turner Ditch crossing. They swung around Govan Hill and set their sights on National Championship Drive and crossed into the Mary Scott property. Hurdle saw Sue standing at 1:07 in a feed patch just east of Mary Scott Basin and called point for her. A nice display of good sportsmanship. Vincent flew the covey as Sue was steady at the shot. Coincidently Sue’s find happened at the same time and same location that Justified’s unproductive took place the precious day—a rare occurrence.  Thunder was out of pocket. Sue made the turn into Lowlands and Thunder joined her. Both handlers sent them across the road and pointed them to Locust Turn. Hurdle called point for Thunder at 1:30 in National Championship South. Thunder was standing in milo stubble with the covey perfectly located and remained steady for the shot. They were quick through the Tennessee, Big Oak, and Avent fields and turned into Morgan. Thunder rimmed Morgan and showed nicely around the Supermarket field. Sue went into the clear-cut area south of Morgan and handler and scout were out. Thunder crossed into Climmie Clark South and Sue caught up there. They worked through the Clark fields, the Keegan field, and turned south in Edward Clark North, Daugherty called point for Sue at 2:42 in Edward Clark Corral. The birds flushed wild and were not officially seen. It was a long ride to catch the front in the Supermarket field. Sue went through Morgan Swamp and Thunder turned into Morgan. Out of the swamp, Sue turned into Morgan and Thunder joined her there. They had something left in the tank and they finished the 3-hour heat going away in the T Piece.

Brace 4. Hendrix’s Touch Up, a five-year-old rookie, was handled by his co-owner, Burk Hendrix, from nearby Holly Springs, Mississippi wore the red collar, Burk’s dad, Guy, is the other co-owner and he was riding to support his entry. Jonathan Burch scouted. Dominator’s Rogue Rebel, four-year-old, was also making his rookie appearance. He was handled by Jamie Daniels for owners Jack and Sarah Schwarz, who were riding to support their entry. Rebel wore the green collar. Judd Carlton was on hand to assist if needed. The temperature had risen to 69 degrees when the brace began in the East Pasture at 1:15 P.M. Both were released in the long food patch on the south side of the field. Rebel was first into Jim Davis and Up followed him after a delay in the food patch. Brad Harter saw Rebel standing in the Buster Graves Loop at 20 and called point. Daniels could not produce feathers and an unproductive was credited here. Sixteen minutes later Hendrix raised his cap at 36 at the south entrance to the Chute. An extended flushing attempt and relocation was fruitless and an unproductive was given. They hunted through the Agronomy Unit, through the Strawberry Patch, and were pointed out at Prospect Church. Rebel was standing at 1:10 just east of the Lawrence Smith barn field. It just wasn’t Rebel’s day because he suffered his second unproductive here and was put in a harness. Up was given a back here. Up traveled through Lawrence Smith, Turkey Bottom, Jack Harris, and crossed Caesar’s Ditch and went up Cox’s Ridge. He scored a nice find at 2:08 just north of Carlisle Corner. He went down into Fason Bottom and the judges saw him standing in a food patch at 2:23 and notified Hendrix. A large covey was flushed with everything in order at the shot. Up crossed Buford Ellington and went into the Supermarket field. He was standing again at 2:36 in a food patch and after an extended flushing attempt with no success, Up took too many steps and was leashed.

Brace 5. The four-year-old, Lester’s Storm Surge, returned for the second time for owners Tommy and Bonnie Hamilton. Both were horseback to witness the action. Surge was handled by Gary Lester and scouted by Korry Reinhart.  Six-year-old, Touch’s Malcolm Story, made his third bid for the title. He was guided by Mark McLean and scouted by Ike Todd. Story is owned by Alex and Brianna Rickert. Alex rode to cheer on Story. The wind was a factor this morning gusting 15 to 25 miles per hour with some gusts even higher. They were loosed at 8:01and both went east to the long feed patch. Surge was first through the tree line with Story following shortly thereafter. Surge made the turn at Heartbreak Hill. The scout was sent out for Story. They Crossed Buford Ellington and Surge went toward the swamp and Story took the food patch on the west edge. Surge was first to cross the New Basin Levee and Story was pointed out by McLean as he entered the Avent field. Both handlers called point at 27. Both dogs were pointing into a terrace between the Turner House field and the lower Turner field. It was a barren stand and both received an unproductive. Story was standing at 34 on the wood’s edge on the west side of Turner Longneck. The initial flushing attempt was futile and Story was asked to relocate. He went into the woods and went down into a small gully and started up the other side when quail took to wing. Story stopped and was given a stop to flush. Both dogs were in and out through the Turner fields and crossed Turner Ditch.  They rounded Govan Hill and crossed National Championship Drive together. Both handlers called point at 1:04, The dogs were standing about 10 yards apart facing each other just east of the Mary Scott Basin.  Both handlers flushed and a covey rose between the two dogs. A divided find was credited here. They made the turn at Lowlands and crossed National Championship again and toured around Locust Turn. Both dogs explored the Tennessee field, Morgan, the Clark fields on the north side of Championship Drive, the Keegan field, and turned south in Edward Clark North. Story was pretty standing at 2:24 just north of Pine Hill cutover. Surge was a pretty sight backing a good distance away. McLean asked if the birds had been seen and was informed that they had not. Story was sent on ahead. Surge and Story made nice moves around the field south of Pine Hill cutover and turned into Edward Clark Pasture. Story was standing for the fifth time on the north side of Edward Clark Pasture. Nothing flew during the flushing attempt and Story was relocating when a rabbit was seen leaving the area. Story was sent on ahead. Surge made some good swings through Climmie Clark north and south and was watered at the crossing where Story reclaimed the front. They were fast through the Supermarket field and turned into Morgan Swamp. Todd called point for Story standing in a food patch at 2:44. McLean put a nice covey to wing and Story stood unmoving at the shot. They both finished the 3-hour heat in the morning breakaway field still running hard.

Brace 6. Randy Anderson brought Touch’s Fire Away to the line for owners Dr. Greg and Carmen Adams who were in attendance today.  The scouting duties were performed by Steagan Smith. Away is five-years-old and making his rookie debut. The second dog in the brace was Miller’s Speed Dial, the 2020 Champion, he was handled by his owner, Gary Lester. Dial is six-years-old and this was his third National appearance. Korry Reinhart performed the scout’s duties. The wind had not abated and had many people holding on to their caps. They raced through the long feed patch on the south side of the East Pasture. Away was first into Jim Davis field with Dial close behind. Lester’s cap was in the air at 12. Dial was standing in the thick of a briar bramble and was hard to see. Lester braved the thorns and managed to put a bird in the air and then had to go deeper into the briars to release Dial. Dial was motionless at the shot. They were not seen much around Buster Graves Loop or through the Mounting Block field, and the Kemp fields. They made their next appearance in the big field at the top of the Horseshoe. Both made use of the expanse as they toured around the edge of the field. Lester called point again for Dial at 40 in the Chute. He was standing in a mowed strip with the birds perfectly located. No exception was taken to his manners at the shot. Sixteen minutes later it was Anderson’s turn to raise his cap. Away was standing in the Water Truck field at 56. The flushing attempt failed and Away was allowed to make an extended relocation to no avail and an unproductive was given here. They headed toward Prospect Church and faded out of sight. They swung around Lawrence Smith barn field and went down the hill into Turkey Bottom. They crossed into Alfalfa Bottom showing well to the front and turned up Pine Hill. Anderson called point again at 1:24 on top of the hill. An extended flushing attempt and relocation resulted in Away’s second unproductive and he was picked up. Dial was seen at 1:22 when he went up Pine Hill. He was not seen again until Lester had him at Wolf Crossing at 1:54. He went up Cox’s Ridge, down into Fason Bottom and up Fason Ridge into the A.T. House Place and crossed Buford Ellington. He made a really nice cast in the Supermarket field and turned into Morgan Swamp. He hunted along a terrace in the Morgan field and Reinhart called point for him at 2:54. Lester could not put anything to wing and an unproductive was credited here. Dial crossed Buford Ellington and finished in the T Piece. He completed the three hours.

Brace 7 was scheduled to run Thursday morning but was postponed until Friday morning because of potentially severe weather in the area. Tornado warnings were in effect with trees blown down in several locations. A torrential rain in the afternoon caused the drainage ditches to run at overflow levels. To delay was the appropriate call. Because of the delay the trial will have to continue into the second week.

Brace 7. Dr, Fred Corder of Corinth, Mississippi bred, raised, and trained the five-year old Game Wardon and he handled Wardon with help from Korry Reinhart.  This was Wardon’s fourth year to compete.  Five-year-old, Dream Chaser, made his rookie run this year with Andy Daugherty handling for owner Brad Calkins with assistance from Allen Vincent. It was very cold, the temperature at 30 degrees when the brace began. Water was standing everywhere on the course resulting from the rain storm yesterday. They were away at 8:02 and both went east to the food patch. Wardon was first through the tree line and Chaser followed after making a swing west of the levee. They both made the turn at Heartbreak Hill and crossed Buford Ellington. Chaser continued going west in the Morgan field toward Morgan Swamp and Vincent was sent out. Wardon worked through the feed patch on the west edge of Morgan and was seen at the entrance to the New Basin. Corder pointed out Wardon in the Avent field just before Wardon crossed Turner Road. Chaser was still out of pocket. Wardon took the west edge in the Turner Longneck and made the turn at Turner Basin. Wardon was seen in the Turner North field and crossed to the Turner South and headed to the ditch crossing. Chaser came from behind in the Turner South field and Daugherty picked him up at 42 thinking that he could not overcome this error. Wardon rounded Govan Hill as Corder whistled him on. Corder called point at 1:04 near the Mary Scott Basin, but waved it off. Wardon turned into the Lowlands, crossed National Championship and entered Locust Turn. Out of the Turn, he crossed Turner Road and hunted through the Tennessee field. He had no luck in the Big Oak field and rounded the corner into the Morgan field. The temperature was still standing 30 degrees. The bitter cold along with the freezing water had taken a toll on Warden and Corder decided that he had had enough and picked up the shivering Wardon at 1:32. 

Brace 8. Westfall’s true Grit was back for his fifth try to win the gold wearing the red collar. He was handled by Andy Daugherty, scouted by Allen Vincent, and owned by Ryan Westfall. Grit was kicked by a horse in last year’s event and had to be picked up. He has recovered from that incident and shows no effect from the kick. Owners John and Sue Ivester’s Marques Armed Robber returned for his third run at the title. He is seven-years-old and was handled by Lefty Henry. John Ivester was riding along with his daughter, Stephanie, to support their entry. He was scouted by Korry Reinhart. It was 43 degrees at 1:09 when they were turned loose in the East Pasture. They wasted no time getting to Jim Davis. Unfortunately this was the last time Grit was seen and Daugherty took the retrieval device at 36. Robber went through Buster Graves and crossed Ames Road into the Mounting Block field. He continued on through the Kemp fields and showed at the top of the Horseshoe. He was quick through Peter Pugh and entered the Chute. He was standing at 38 and Henry asked the judges if they had seen the birds. The answer was negative and Henry said they had pitched a short distance away. After a relocation attempt he asked the judges if they wanted him to point the downed birds. He sent Robber to where the birds were sighted down and Robber pointed a single. A find was given here. Robber was handling well as he toured the Agronomy Entrance fields, the Strawberry Patch, the Water Truck field, and was soon by Prospect Church. He went down into Turkey Bottom and up Pine Hill. He was pointing in a weed patch at 1:26 but the stand proved to be barren. Robber explored the remaining course all the way to A.T’s House Place without the benefit of bird work. Judge Shenker informed Henry that they would be happy to look at Robber for the remainder of the 3 hours but that he could not win the Championship, Henry picked up at 2:32 ending the day’s running.   

Brace 9. Lowrider Frank was the top dog in the 9th brace. The nine-year-old is owned by Dr. Jim Mills and Steve Lightle. He was handled by Allen Vincent on his third quest for the roses and scouted by Andy Daugherty. Touch’s Gallatin Fire wore the green collar for owners Alex and Brianna Rickert and handler Mark McLean. Alex was mounted to watch the action. He was scouted by Korry Reinhart on his fourth time to run in the National. They went their separate ways in the Breakaway field. Fire was through the tree line first. Fire made the turn at Heartbreak Hill. Frank was missing in action and handler and scout were both out. Fire was standing at 15 in a soybean strip in the Morgan field. McLean flew the covey and Fire was staunch at the shot. Frank regained the front in the Morgan field and he took the old course toward the Avent House field. Frank was with Fire in the Avent field and they crossed Turner Road. They were down the hill in a flash and both showed well in the Turner Longneck. Fire was across the Turner Basin dam and Frank came in from the woods and crossed into the Turner Pines. Daugherty found Frank pointing in a food patch at 38 in the Pines. Vincent put the birds to wing and Frank remained true to his training. Frank toured Turner North and Fire explored Turner South before they crossed Turner Ditch. Fire was next seen making a nice cast around Tom Hert and both were seen headed toward National Championship Drive. Fire made a showy cast around The Mary Scott barn field and then headed toward the Lowlands with Frank close behind. Fire made the turn into the Lowlands, but Frank did not and he was not seen again under judgment. Vincent asked for the retrieval device at 1:24. Fire scored an unproductive in the Morgan field south of the Supermarket field at 1:34. Fire crossed the road and raced to the intersection of No Man’s Land and Edward Clark South where he penned a nice covey in a soybean strip at 1:50. Fire went into No Man’s Land and locked up at 1:53. Birds were not seen officially and McLean sent Fire on ahead. Fire hunted through the Clark fields, the Keegan field, Jim Braddic, and Tobe Polk before he reached Edward Clark North. McLean found him standing at 2:27 looking into a briar thicket. An extended flushing attempt and relocation merited an unproductive stand and Fire was picked up.

Brace 10. The two-year-old Game Heir is the youngest of the contestants this year. He is owned and handled by Dr. Fred Corder. Jonathan Burch assisted when needed. He wore the red collar. The green collar was worn by the three-year-old rookie, Lester’s Boss Man. He is owned by David Thompson and handled by Gary Lester. David is not a stranger to the winner’s circle being the owner of two-time National Champion, Sunny Hill Jo. Man was scouted by Korry Reinhart. The sun had raised the mercury to 52 degrees at 1:09 when the action started. Both dogs went to the hedgerow between the two fields on breakaway. Man was quickly down to business when he scored the only find of the brace at 10 on the north end of the East Pasture Hay field. No exception was taken to his manners at the shot. Heir was in the lead going into Buster Graves and Man went to the south side of the field. The scout found Man standing in a large food patch at 17. An extended relocation attempt was fruitless and Man was credited with an unproductive. They crossed Ames Road and took in the Mounting Block and Kemp fields. They were spotted in the horseshoe and that would be the last sighting of Man. Lester took the retrieval device at 1:17. Heir was handling well and going to the right places, but he was not able to locate any quail. Heir went down the hill into the small Caesar field and disappeared. After a search by Corder and Burch, Corder took the retrieval device at the 2-hour mark ending the first week’s running.

Because of the cancellation of the running on the 17th, braces 11 and 12 were scheduled to run on Monday the 21st. The long-range weather forecast for the week of the 21st predicted strong storms and heavy rain for Monday through Thursday. It was doubtful that the trial could be continued the first four days of the week. In the 114 years of the National running on the Ames Plantation it has never run on Sunday. But for the safety of people, horses, and dogs, concern for the economics of the owners and handlers, and to give each entry an equal chance at the Championship, tradition was broken and the last two braces were run on Sunday the 20th. The decision was met with approval from all concerned. It was the right decision.

Brace 11. Miller’s Blindsider returned for the second time to challenge for the title. He was handled by Jamie Daniels with help from Korry Reinhart. Blindsider’s owner, Nick Berrong, was mounted to support his entry. Westfall’s River Ice was handled by Andy Daugherty with help from Allen Vincent. The seven-year-old Ice is owned by Brad Calkins who allowed him to compete for the fifth time. They were off at 8:02. The temperature was 38 degrees. Blindsider was first over the levee and Ice followed. Both scouts were out at Heartbreak Hill and Daugherty went toward A.T’s House field. Blindsider crossed Burford Ellington and continued south in the Morgan Field. Reinhart was dispatched. Blindsider was around the house place and Ice joined him there. They went over Turner Road together. Ice made a swing around the lower Turner field and Blindsider went out on the road. Reinhart was out again to turn Blindsider back. Ice was standing at 35, but it proved to be a barren stand. Blindsider was back in the Turner Pines and Ice went into Turner North, Vincent found Ice on the north side of the field standing at 48. When Daugherty approached, the birds lifted wild and Daugherty fired. It was a good find for both Ice and Vincent. They crossed Turner Ditch and were around Govan Hill. They were both seen at the Dunn Property. Blindsider crossed into Mary Scott and Daugherty went up the road in search of Ice. Blindsider made the turn into Lowlands. Daugherty was back with Ice, but Ice would not respond to Daugherty and he was leashed at 1:08. Blindsider crossed National Championship Drive and entered Locust Turn. He hunted through National Championship South, the Tennessee field, the Big Oak field and turned into the Morgan field. Blindsider had not had any bird work and Daniels picked him up at 1:37.  

Brace 12. Thirty-six years ago Bluff City Mike was braced with Thunderclap in the 17th and last brace of the 1986 National. Mike’s performance earned him a National title. History was repeated this year when Lester’s Shockwave competed in the 12th and final brace was declared the new Champion. He ran as a bye. He is four-years-old and this is his second time to try for the brass ring. He is owned by Tommy and Bonnie Hamilton and was handled by Gary Lester. Korry Reinhart was on hand to help when called on. It was 62 degrees at 1:12 when the last brace of the 2022 National kicked off. Shockwave wasted little time in the East Pasture. The scout was sent out in Jim Davis to go to The East Pasture Hay Field to look for Wave. Wave made the turn into Buster Graves and was seen just before going into the Buster Graves Loop. He crossed Ames Road and Lester called point at 23. Wave was standing on a tree line on the south side of the field. Lester flushed the birds and Wave was steady at the shot. Ten minutes later Wave was pointing again in a food patch on the west side of the Horseshoe. This covey had not been previously seen. Wave was motionless at the shot.  He was through Peter Pugh and was on point again at 45 in the Chute where he notched his third find. He ran through the Agronomy fields, by the Strawberry Patch, and by Prospect Church before making the turn at the Dairy Barn. Lester called point again at 1:20 just before entering the Lawrence Smith Barn field. Lester could not put anything to wing and he asked Wave to relocate. During the relocation, Wave was credited with a stop-to-flush. Wave went down into Turkey Bottom and up on Pine Hill. He explored the Harris field, the Seven Acres field, the Agronomy field, through Wolf Crossing, the Jack Harris Cabin field, and went down to the Caesar Ditch crossing. He was up Cox’s Ridge, through Carlisle Corner and went down into Fason Bottom. He carded his fourth find at 2:23 in a feed patch in Fason Bottom. He scored his last find at 2:50 in Morgan Swamp. He finished, still running strong in the morning Breakaway field. He had set the bar, but there were no other contestants to contend.

Sidelights and Recognitions

 

The practice of inviting the owners and handlers to the Manor House Gun Room every afternoon after the running was reinstated this year. It was a time to “get to know” one another little better. It was a function that was missed last year.

A special guest this year was Todd Kellum representing the UKC. He has visited some of the major trials this season including the Open Invitational at Paducah, the Florida Championship at the historic Chinquapin Plantation, and the storied Continental at the renowned Dixie Plantation (Livingston Place).  His enthusiasm for horseback field trials is refreshing. The UKC has recently released digitally The Field on their web site with plans to print the newsletter in the near future. Everyone is looking forward to the day when once again they can hold the printed copy. Thank you, Todd Kellum, and the UKC.

Brad Harter returned for the 35th year as the official videographer of the National. If there is a performance that you would like to see, Brad’s Pleasant Hill Productions can provide you with a DVD going back 34 years, and this year’s action will be available soon after the completion of the trial. Brad has kept the historic performances of past National Champions available for viewing through his efforts of videoing. Brad records the action from horseback with assistance from mounted riders Chris Weatherly, Ryan Braddock, Larry Garner, and Rick Carlisle. Ken Blackman filmed from stationary positions along the course. 

Jamie Evans is the Senior Research Assistant or Ames Plantation and he wears many hats. He coordinates the day-to-day operations of the Ames. You will find him at the morning and afternoon breakaways photographing the dogs and handlers competing in that brace. Jamie gets a snapshot of the owners if the owners are present. He is the official photographer and he stays busy fulfilling that responsibility. The photos he takes, along with Brad Harter’s shots are sorted each afternoon after the running and then some of the photos are added to the web page every night. Jamie, along with his wife, Dee, are responsible for the daily updates on the web page. Along with the photos, they include the synopsis of every brace. Many who cannot attend in person rely on the daily updates to keep up with the action. Their service is appreciated by many.

The busiest man at the National this year was Korry Reinhart. He scouted in 10 of the 12 braces. His scout horses are some of the finest in field trials and he takes his responsibilities very seriously. 

Ryan Braddock performed the duties of the front marshal. Chris Weatherly, fully recovered from a serious neck injury, was back assuming the duties of the rear marshal. Chris goes with a handler to search for a wayward dog to make certain the handler does not lose his way back to the stables. Chris is also known as the “lost dog marshal.” The marshals do a good job of keeping everyone on course. NCFTA president, C. F. Bryan, was unable to ride this year because of a slow to heal knee replacement. It is the first time in many years that he was not able to ride.

The quail release program was conducted with three different release dates in September. A total of 6200 birds were released on the morning and afternoon courses. The blocking of the courses did not begin until three weeks after the last release in order to give the new tenants time to acclimate to their new surroundings. All of the birds were released into feed patches to make readily available a food source for them. Teosinte, maze, millet, and grain sorghum are the grains used for food sources in the patches.

Jamie Evans, Ryan Braddock, and Chris Weatherly supervise and assist with the chores daily that are necessary for maintaining the fluidity of the National. Their days are long, starting before first light and many times lasting until early evening. Ryan and Chris supervise the horses that are to be used for the morning and afternoon braces. They are responsible for transporting the morning horses to the Field Trial Stables. In addition to Ryan and Chris, the Brick Stable crew is comprised of Plantation employees Mark Yearwood, Michael Fletcher, Matt Meyer and Jacob Lay.

Purina, Garmin, Ainley Kennels and Fabrication sponsored the annual National Field Trial Championship Kickoff Dinner at the Bird Dog Museum on Sunday evening February 13 beginning at 6:00 P.M. Southern style B-B-Q with all the trimmings served. This event is always a full house event and is a highlight of the festivities associated with the National Championship. It is the one event that is a must not miss affair.

Purina is celebrating the 129th year of continued service to the agricultural community and pet owners. They are the official dog food sponsor of the National. They furnished a year’s supply of Pro Plan to the winning handler and a sample to each participating handler. The Purina Logo is visible from coast to coast and border to border. Purina is a major supporter and sponsor of field trials. They are the sponsor of Ross B. Young’s oil painting of the previous year’s Champion and they help financially with a contribution to help defray the cost of this Championship. They gifted a one-of-a-kind National Championship cap to the handlers, owners, and club officials for the 35th consecutive year. Purina was represented by Karl Gunzer, and Greg Blair, area manager in charge of the entire Bird Dog segment. Bob West, long-time employee now retired from Purina, but still promoting Purina, returned for the festivities at the Museum.  Purina also presented thermos bottles adorned with the Purina logo, and an extremely attractive large canvas overnight bag to the judges, officers, and directors of the NFTCA which were valued by all who received them. Purina’s generosity and sponsorship of this event is very much a reason for the success of the National and many other trials.

Sunshine Mills, a 50+ year family business, is the manufacturer of Sportsman’s Pride Dog Food, headquartered in nearby Red Bay, Alabama was welcomed back to their sponsorship role.  They also provided a year’s supply of Professional 30/20 product to the winning handler. Sportsman’s Pride made a monetary contribution to the National Field Trial Champion Association to help defray the expenses associated with conducting a quality event. They also sponsored the Brunswick Stew and B-B-Q on Thursday afternoon February 17th. They have in the past sponsored the Stew during the second week of running, but graciously agreed to readjust their schedule. Their willingness to compromise was greatly appreciated. Our thanks to David Boyette, Rickie Hitt, and Ryan Brown for their support. Recently retired, David Brown, came to ride several days in the gallery.

The Bank of Fayette County will provide a cash supplement of $2000.00 to the winning handler.

The First Baptist Church of Grand Junction served sausage and biscuits every morning in the Rhea Building at no cost on a first come first serve basis. Ladies from Hickory Valley, Grand Junction, Saulsberry, LaGrange, Bolivar, Middleton, Somerville, Tennessee, and Shannon, Mississippi were present daily to assist in serving hot coffee, hot chocolate, soft drinks, water, and snacks that were available each day. The Rhea Building located at the Field Trial Stables was a very popular place.

Aubrey Green, head of security for the 40th year, oversees the security teams that patrol the grounds and assist with traffic control at the road crossings. Paramedic Greg Tapp rides every brace and his services have benefited those who needed medical assistance. Other members of the security team are: Joe Thompson also serving for the 40th year, Chris Kelly, Zack Parsons, Kerry Kimmery, and Jacob Jenkins. They provide protection at the road crossings and assist in gallery management. Ken Blackman records the number of gallery riders each day. All of these folks provide a valuable service. Thanks also to Sheriff Bobby Riles and his deputies, Moses Allen (retired), Ken Crawford, and Ricky Wilson, for their assistance throughput the trial.

My thanks to Ken Blackman who stood out in the cold to count the gallery riders. He is the official counter and his service is very much appreciated.

The roster of the members of the NFTCA reads as follows: Charles F. Bryan, president, Dale E. Bush, vice-president, and Dr. Rick Carlisle, secretary/treasurer. The directors are: John Ivester, Bobby McAlexander, Dr. Terry Terlep, Dr. Fred Corder, Jadie Rayfield, Matt Rhea, William Smith, and Dr. Stan Wint. It is the responsibility of this body to operate this trial per the stipulations of Mrs. Ames’ will.

The NFTCA is saddened by the passing of Dr. Jack Huffman, a longtime supporter, friend, and member of the NFTCA. May he rest in peace.

 

Gallery Participation---2022 National Championship

Date

Mon 2/14

Tue. 2/15

Wed.2/16

Fri. 2/18

Sat. 2/19

Sun. 2/20

Totals

AM

51

53

47

33

41

47

272

PM

62

67

71

41

84

46

371

Totals

113

120

118

74

125

93

643

Running cancelled on Thursday 17th                                                          Ken Blackman

 

 

 

                   Quail Count 2022 National

 

 

Morning  Course

 

 

 

 

Afternoon   Course

 

 

 

First Week

 

Second Week

 

First Week

 

Second Week

 

Dog

Gallery

 

Dog

Gallery

 

Dog

Gallery

 

Dog

Gallery

Brace

Finds

Finds

Brace

Finds

Finds

Brace

Finds

Finds

Brace

Finds

Finds

1

 

 

11

1

 

2

1

1

12

5

 

3

2

2

13

 

 

4

2

 

14

 

 

5

2

2

15

 

 

6

2

 

16

 

 

7

1

1

17

 

 

8

1

 

18

 

 

9

3

1

19

 

 

10

1

 

20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

8

6

Total

1

 

Total

7

1

Total

5

 

Brace 7 scheduled to run Thursday the 17th was postponed because of inclement weather and rescheduled for Friday the 18th.