2008 APC National Field Trial

by Tom Maneely, AKC Field Representative

Beautiful and historic Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford Nebraska hosted the American Pointer Club’s 13th annual National Field Trial.  Ran from October 11th through the 17th 2008, this event drew entrants from both coasts and the Midwest.  When the dust settled a new National Champion was named in Frank N Stein handled by Steve Bailey for owner Bridget Bailey.  The new National Amateur Champion is AFC Lighting Strike owned and handled by Junior handler Mary Devos.  Ike and Mary also were third in the Open Championship.

Fort Robinson has had a long and storied history.  Started as an outpost to help with the subdigation of the Sioux Indians in the 1800’s, it has been one of the largest remount depot with over 10,000 horses and mules on the Fort, a war dog training center during WW2, a POW camp also during WW2, and a USDA beef research station.  At one time the fort was the home to Olympic equestrian teams, and sons and daughters of Triple Crown winners were among the breeding horses.  It seems natural for the fort to host bird dog National Championships.  This underused area is a wonderful place to show a bird dog.  The course is fairly straight, winding along Solider Creek, affording opportunities to show your dog along the lush, tree lined creek area or a dog can hunt the big country of hay meadows and picked small grain fields that border the creek area on both sides.  An out and back course was used.  Populations of wild sharp-tail grouse were supplemented with pen raised quail affording all entrants multiple game contact opportunities.

The American Pointer Club is dedicated to running a first rate trial.  Chairman Jack Haines and Secretary Tracy Black had made the preparations well.  Tracy was unable to attend and due to her preparations Angela Shillereff was able to effortlessly take over.  The remainder of their committee, consisting of Judith Hamilton, Chuck Savage, and Jamie O’Donnel were on hand to assist in the effort.  With the quality of individuals that make up this committee and their dedication to rewarding top flight bird dogs, the outcome of this event was sure to be a success and it was.

A national event deserves national quality judges.  Four gentlemen took the judicial saddles and they were certainly national caliber in the manner in which they conducted themselves.  Their attention was on the dogs and they deliberated the winners in a business like manner.  David Hayes of Scottsdale, AZ and George Miller of Lakewood, CO officiated both the National Open Championship and the National Puppy Classic.  The National Derby Classic and the National Amateur Championship were judged by Jim Baker of Del Valle, TX and Jack Flynn of Ashbury, NJ.  They were a pleasure to ride with and their decisions were well received.

The event began with National Puppy Classic.  Although there was a small entry there were quality performances recorded.  The winner was Flying Dutchman owned and handled by Steve Bailey.  Second was Moreland’s Big Buzz owned by John Moreland and handled by Scott Wilson.  The third place dog is named The Arsonist owned and handled by Mary Devos.  Rounding out the placements was Machone’s White Lightnin’ Owned by Eric and Jane Cook and handled by Scott Wilson.  These puppies are all from the same breeding and you can expect great things from them in the future.

The National Open Championship followed on the heels of the Puppy Classic.  Numerous quality performances were observed with the judges naming Frank N Stein the new National Champion.  Frankie is owned by Bridget Bailey and was handled by her father Steve Bailey.  Frankie put in a very nice hour on the ground.  He found and handled birds with Championship demeanor.  Steve gives all the credit for Frankie’s development to his owner Bridget, a college freshman in Georgia.  “I was just along for the ride, Bridget did all the work with Frankie”, was what he had to say about Frankie’s winning effort.  Second place was Full Force Buck for owner John Evans and handled by Scott Wilson.  Buck also put in a solid hour with very nice, well mannered game contact.  Third place went to AFC Lightning Strike.  Strike is owned and handled by Mary Devos, more on this dog and his young owner/handler later in this report.  No Limit Belle rounded out the placements for owner/handler Jim Schultz.  The judges remarked that they were looking for a dog that hunting with, and for, the handler and that had great manners on its game.  They were very happy with all dogs they placed.

The next stake to be run was the National Derby Classic.  This was a very nice bunch of Derby dogs and the judges had numerous quality performances to pick from.  The judges named Rocking Gus the winner.  Gus is owned by John Evans and was handled by Scott Wilson.  Gus used the course wisely and was shown to be very stylish on his game.  Second place was Machone’s White Lightning owned by Eric and Jone Cook and handled by Scott Wilson.  The third place dog was Houston Cowboy owned and handled by Scott Wilson.  Rounding out the placements was Hideaway’s Country Comfort.  Jeb as he is known is owned by Anne Zadrazil and was handled by Ben Garcia.

The final stake ran at this event was the Amateur Championship.  After a field of challengers had showed their best, the Judges named the new National Amateur Champion was AFC Lightning Strike for Junior handler Mary Devos.  Mary has been a fixture at this trial with her father Mark.  With Mary on the whistle and father Mark scouting, Ike put down a solid hour.  He ran to the front and was credited with two nice finds, the first of which Ike was found deep in the cover with birds right in front of him.  The judges remarked that they were very impressed with the connection between the handler and her dog.  Ike went around the course responding to Mary in the way we all like to see.  This was a great National trial for young Mary winning this event, placing third in the Open Championship, and handling her puppy to third in the Puppy stake.  The future bodes well for this spirited young lady.

Second in the Open Championship was No Limit Belle owned and handled by Jim Schultz.  Belle was 4th in the Open Championship and did a very creditable job in this stake.  He ran to the front and carded multiple finds on way to this win.  Heller’s Fiddlin Jack owned and handled by David Heller was awarded third place. The fourth place dog was Tony’s Redneck Bear owned by Bill and Tony Evans and handled by Jamie O’Donnel.

Numerous sponsors aided in the running of this event.  Purina was the major corporate sponsor.  Roy Pelton was on hand to further show the support that Purina is happy to provide.  As always it is a pleasure to spend some time with Roy.  Purina’s support is seen at most National Championships, at uncountable regional trials, and in the results their products show in our canine charges.  Also contributing to the support of this event was Hideaway Kennels, Dogs Unlimited, Tri-Tronics, Tracker, and Hesket Saddle Works.  The generous support that these businesses give is deeply appreciated.  Our support of these businesses will help gain continued support for bird dog field trials.

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