2002 Quail Unlimited Purina National Championship Dog of the Year Trialby Kellie Rae Rangue
When the staff exodus began from Quail Unlimited National Headquarters in Edgefield, South Carolina, to Bronwood, Georgia, for the national dog trial, the weather was a real concern. The steady and sometimes hard rainfall was a clear reminder of last year’s trial. But as we began to set up for the 15th Annual Quail Unlimited/Purina(tm) National Championship Dog of the Year Trial, sponsored by Purina(tm) Pet Care, the sun broke through the gloomy clouds and set a beautiful stage for the weekend of March 14-17, 2002.
The field consisted of 110 dogs competing for over $5,000 in cash and prizes from Tri-Tronics(tm) and Purina(tm) Pet Care. Registrants represented 16 states ranging from Pennsylvania and Illinois to as far west as Oklahoma and Texas. The competition was intense this year in Bronwood!
The trial started at the break of dawn on Thursday with a quick-paced full day of practice. After everyone had gotten a good look at all four fields and the last practice brace had been run, several hours of story swapping and laughter filled the evening.
Friday morning started off a bit misty, but the competition began in earnest at 7:30 a.m. Only the top 16 dogs advanced to the second round of competition on Saturday. After the dust cleared a bit before 5 p.m., the field was set for the next round of competition.
The scores varied from field to field, but the top scoring dogs from each field had exceptional performances. On "A" field, James Carver’s female pointer Sarver’s Little Jody scored 915 points. Kevin Jerome’s male German shorthaired pointer Buchkshot’s "00" Buck scored 900 points. Jim Turner’s male pointer Tokeena Elhew Rex scored 711.5 points. On "B" field, Roy Burchel’s male pointer Burchel’s Dutchman scored the overall high for the day of 1,101 points. Dennis Brooks’ female Brittany BB Lady Bullet scored 969 points. Bert Currel’s female German shorthaired pointer Wild Dixie Rose scored 870 points. On "C" field, Donald Brownlee’s female German shorthaired pointer B & L Royal Flush Roxey scored 944 points. Tom Daniel’s male German shorthaired pointer Daniel’s Cryin’ Babe scored 894.66 points. Alec Sutton’s male English setter Rough River Snake scored 690.5 points. On "D" field, Alec Sutton’s male English setter Snake’s Carbon Copy scored 1,053 points. William Darney’s male German shorthaired pointer Dinnerbell’s Rostig, who was handled by Dion Bliss, scored 1,035.82 points. Nolan Huffman’s male Brittany Nolan’s Last Bullet scored 917 points. Each of these dogs and their handlers received trophies for finishing in the top three on each field. They also received Quail Unlimited Gun Dog Championship points.
Tom Daniel's Daniel's Cryin' Babe - "Babe"
That night, the Albany Area Chapter of Quail Unlimited hosted a dinner and auction. The Georgia State Council co-hosted the bar with Budweiser(tm) provided by Albany Beverage Company, and Coca-Cola(tm) providing the rest of the refreshments.
Beginning Saturday morning, the trial was a straight beat-your-bracemate competition. Three fields were utilized for the competition, which began at 7:30 a.m. Throughout the day, there were several instances when less than 20 points separated two dogs, but only the highest scorer could advance. The most anticipated brace of the day began right after lunch when Roy Burchel’s pointer Burchel’s Dutchman took the field against Nolan Huffman’s Brittany Nolan’s Last Bullet. After the 30-minute brace, Burchel’s Dutchman edged out Nolan’s Last Bullet with a score of 682 points to 501.5 points.
Saturday’s "A" field winners were Harold Hufstetler’s Pineywoods Fearless Huff and Pineywoods Buckshot with scores of 877.5 points and 782.5 points respectively. The "B" field winners were Randy Woolum’s Woolum Have Mercy with a score of 1,012 points and Jim Turner’s Tokeena Nick with a score of 920.16 points. The "C" field winners were Kevin Jerome’s Buchkshot’s "00" Buck with a score of 937 points, and the returning 2001 champion, Randy Schultz’s Julia’s Bocephus, had a score of 880 points. Other high scoring dogs included J.D. West’s Tekoa Sunrise, Jim Turner’s Tokeena Elhew Snake, Alec Sutton’s Rough River Snake and Snake’s Carbon Copy, Suvoyee Rudd’s Rudd’s Running Bobber, Harold Benge’s Stillinger’s Rocket Man and Aaron Parker’s Bragan’s Strike Baby. These dogs scored over 700 points for the day, but all of the dogs were a joy to watch.