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2005 Free-For-All Championship

By Kent D. Patterson

Winter had arrived in Dallas county on that Saturday morning, January 1959. Sleet pecked at the window panes of the clapboard house waking young Alva Caine to dread the difficulty of the daily work on the family dairy and cattle operation. He wasn't particularly fond of winter, even though the worst of it was only about 30 days long. Alabama just wasn't setup to handle frozen precipitation. It made everything more difficult, chores took longer, animals behaved differently, and if something could go wrong, it usually did. He savored the smell of breakfast wishing he could linger in the warm kitchen all day but his assignments were non-negotiable. First on the list was getting a count on each of the pastures that lined Safford Road to the west. The defroster was marginal in the old farm truck so he let it warm up until reminded it was running. The cab was a mixture of cold air coming through holes in the floor and the stale luke warm air from the noisy heater under the all metal dash. He wasn't old enough to have a driver's license, but he didn't need one. Pasture by pasture, he counted and recounted. If he was wrong, there was hell to pay. The cattle weren't enjoying the day anymore than he was, like weathervanes their butts into the wind and slumped over making the smallest target for the winter onslaught.

By the time he reached the last pasture, the side windows were fogged leaving only a football size opening in the front windshield that he continually wiped with his coat sleeve. At the turnaround spot opposite the Sedgefield property, he began his maneuvers. The old truck didn't have power steering so getting it headed in the opposite direction, in the right gear and away from the soft ditches was akin to wrestling a bag of wheat. It took all the strength a youngster could muster. As he cautiously made the turn, a flash of white caught his eye. The lever to roll down the window was missing so he opened the door and stood in the opening, half in and half out…expecting and fearing a calf had gotten out. Shielding his eyes against the ice pellets, it was hard to make out the movement underneath the stand of cedar trees along the Sedgefield property line. Ghost-like, the profiles of 3 quivering pointers emerged. Each tied by rope to a sapling, he wondered why anyone would be working dogs on a day such as this. The winter wind died and through the pines he heard the haunting call of Clyde Morton as he sang to Palamonium.

At that same moment, 300 miles farther south in the heart of plantation rich Florida another notable pro handler was working his charges under the unusually cool, blue sky conditions. From the radio reports, he knew winter had a grip on those to his north, all the while, savoring his ability to work the quail laden piney woods. The big, bold pointers sliced through the country with vigor. Pointing and handling covey after covey, they completed their 3 hr mission with surgical precision and were barely panting when lifted back on the mule drawn wagon. The professional's wry smile told the wealthy owners all they needed to know….the dogs were ready for Grand Junction.

February in Tennessee is like living with a fickled lover, it's a day to day affair and in the 88th renewal of the National Championship, winter was in charge. Dog after dog broke away with good intentions, but mother nature quickly exposed holes in their heart, conditioning, and mental toughness. Cold, damp conditions engulfed canine and human, treating all alike. Footing was treacherous, bird's unpredictable, brace after brace giving to the challenge. The black and white photograph recorded the judges, dignitaries, and national champion. In the center of the faded film stood the single dog that best exemplified the Amesian Standard. With a wry smile, Clyde Morton posed National Champion…. Palamonium.Fact:

Clyde Morton once turned down an offer of $8,000 for a liver and wite pointer, Palamonium, winner of the 1956 and 1959 Nationals.

There is little difference decade to decade when sculpting a champion. It takes sacrifice, commitment, patience, luck, good dog flesh and a plan. A champion is made at the intersection of preparation and opportunity. Structure a two series endurance event in a place as tough as Tara Hill Plantation and the field of talent stratifies quickly. The 5th renewal of the Deep South Brittany Free-For-All rolled out the red carpet with a devious smile. It turned out to be the biggest challenge for dogs, horses and handlers in the history of the event. Newcomers are typically confident they have confronted mud, weather, and conditions that test their program. Many leave pondering how to better prepare for next year. At Tara Hill, horses that have never quit, sometimes do…dogs that have always carried an hour…sometimes don't. A wooden plaque hangs in the kitchen of the Caine home place that states volumes about their relationship with mother nature. It reads "In the land of milk and honey, there is no such thing as inclement weather…only improper dress". You get few breaks at Tara Hill when it comes to conditions, dogs must be solidly prepared and they can't be foolish in their application. Go to the obvious objectives, use the high ground wisely and never, ever, try to beat the mud. Just like the house in Vegas, it wins more time than not.

One only needs to look as far as Alva Caine to find a man that loves the time honored sport of field trialing. A November horse accident and resulting broken pelvis had him moving cautiously but no less enthusiastic in welcoming all guests, directing traffic and attending to the smooth running of a field trial. His generosity in time, money, equipment and, of course, legal advice is without equal in the Brittany Championship realm. The Deep South Brittany Championship Association would like to thank him and wife, Katherine for their unwavering support of this notable championship. William Caine and wife, Kelly, visited for a couple of days and are wonderful ambassadors for their families in true southern style. Vic Williams, owner of last year's FFA Champion, Chancey's Jackpot Lotto, started a tradition by providing a winners feast on Wednesday night in honor of Chance's 2004 accomplishment. Everyone in attendance wasn't shy about digging in and enjoying a true southern barbeque feast. Kenny Bramlett and sons stopped by and enjoyed a happy hour during the week. Kenny generously allows the Deep South FFA courses to flow through his lease near the Sedgefield property. Dan, Clarence, and Mrs. Johnson handled all the real jobs such as daily meals, dog wagon, and seeing to the judges needs. With the ever rising number of championships, sponsors that stick with you are diamonds. The support Nutro has given this championship is truly remarkable in this day and time. Warren Montgomery began the partnership from the first event and regional representative Lisa Stoltemeir came down from Nashville with dog food, informational packets, and jackets for gifts to judges and reporter. In addition to Nutro, TriTronics continues to support the championship with a Pro 500 series training unit for the top qualifier.

We sorely missed the organizational skills of Leah Schlenker. Vance and Leah's son, Nate, was ill and she attended to his needs but as of this writing, Nate is back in the saddle and doing well. Linda Zartarian and Dennis Harkem were down from Massachusetts and helped with preparing the dog wagon each morning and the evening bird planting rounds. The ever gracious host, Paul Pollock, along with number 1 scout and driver, Tony, always had the motor home door open for anyone needing liquid refreshment. Others performing important roles from handling, scouting, marshalling, interim reporters, social coordinators, dance instructors, etc included Brooke Nicholson, Bo and Renea Ackerman, Vic Williams, Jimmy and Janet Berneathy, Jim John, Ed Tillson, Vance Schlenker, Ben and Kyle, Tom Tracy, Hans Borgman, Warren Montgomery, James and Betty Doherty, John and Sharon Kline, Jim Winnen, Bill Tate, and David Medford.


(L to R)Hans Borgman, Brooke Nicholson, Sharon Kline, Janet Berneathy, Linda Zartarian, Jimmy Berneathy with R-U Tequila's Joker Jose Cuervo, Kent Patterson-Reporter, Tom Tracy Jr with Champion Chancey Jackpot Lotta, Vic Williams, Joyce Roberts, Vance Schlenker, Judges Ken Ruff and Dick Krause, Bo Ackerman.

It was a pleasure to ride with judges Ken Ruff and Dick Krause. Men, who own, understand and appreciate championship caliber dogs and give every participant their undivided attention. Ken is the first to wear a 2X FFA title as he judged the 2001 Free For All, the first year at Tara Hill. Known for his National Champion red setters, his summer program in the sand hills of Nebraska continues to produce dogs that are hard to beat, no matter where he puts them down. Roy Allison was the other scheduled judge but in trying to get his horses in shape for the event, he had an accident the day before the championship was to start. Looking for a quality replacement judge the day before a major championship is to start is in a word….un-nerving. The Deep South Brittany Championship had only to look as far as the parking lot. Dick Krause has worn every hat one could wear at this championship, he adorned the judicial hat and carried it off with class and style. Normally, Dick has a quality dog to run in this event as noted by his Pineywoods Samiam being called back in the championship round of the 2004 FFA. He is a charter member of the Deep South Championship association and does a great deal of the "heavy lifting" when it comes to treasury, documentation, and coordination for this annual event. This year he put down the laptop and picked up the reins. Hailing from Milton, FL, Dick has judged his fair share of good pointers, setters, and brittanys in years of trialing across the deep south, particularly at the Blackwater grounds.

THE WINNERS

Over the course of years, there are places that champion caliber dogs shine. Places that bring out their best performances, places where you can tell…they know this isn't just any old trial. Chancey Jackpot Lotto has chosen Tara Hill Plantation and the Deep South Free-For-All as his stage. His winning performance in 2004 was possibly the finest performance in the history of the championship. To come back a year later and best the field again is something that many didn't think possible but never count out a well prepared champion on championship grounds. He left the Suttle 40 in a hurry to explore the space below Tara Hill. A hedge row some 100 yds away from breakaway delayed him briefly as he was found standing on the western edge.


Chancey Jackpot Lotto in the capable
hands of his trainer, Tom Tracy, Jr.

A pair of sunning birds was put to air. He sailed west from the find and was seen briefly in the bottleneck to the lake. Showing down the hill and skimming a tree line to the east, he swapped ends on a small covey that didn't want to be disturbed as Tommy fired over a stylish find. He was headed toward the big sedge field when he stopped near the horse crossing. Birds from a scattered covey were kicked up for find number 3. A championship performance is much like a dance between dog and handler and the hour was starting to take on that feel as he flowed across the big sedge field and cruised the extreme edge of course 1 leading to a find on the long tree line back to Safford Road….birds flying into cover to the west. Sailing across Safford Road with a probe deep into the well pasture, he was seen sparingly in spaces that are hard to fill up. At time, he was seen to the far front near the Bramlett loop. Owner Vic Williams smiles most all the time, but with good reason as they judges shouted "pick em up".


Out of 38 dogs in the qualifying series, 14 were directly out of or 1 generation removed from the dual champion, 1997 National Open All Age champion, Tequila's Joker. Mix in the powerful DNA of Shady's Chick-N-Little and you get Tequila Joker's Jose Cuervo. Bred by Clem and Marilynne Little, jointly owned by Clem and Jack Brockbank, Jose launched off the top of Tara Hill like a bottle rocket and was seen on a distant tree line crossing right to left with a "show time" move. He was well forward and smooth across the big sedge field as we turned toward the Suttle 40. The long edges of the Suttle 40 framed his moves as we approached Safford Road. At 33, he was posed stylishly on a creek bank, a location where birds had lifted earlier in the day. None could be found this time and he shot across Safford Road and toured the east end and met his handler at the gap leading to Camp No Sleep. He continued to make eye catching moves to the pine knoll where he was standing on sparsely covered ground in broken sunlight. A relocation pinned running birds on the edge of the cover with excellent style and manners. He did what most should do through the Sedgefield alley and that is to take the bottom and go out the front. He sprinted over the hill at Hamilton Road and was standing at 55 on an island of cover. A nice covey put to air as he maintained his style throughout. At time, he was standing with bracemate on the backside of a tree line, running birds had been seen by the handlers but were too fast to get air borne as the handlers shot and the brace ended.

QUALIFYING SERIES

Brace 1:
Make My Day Dude (John)
Piney Run Dot (Lorenson)

If a dog wanted to make an initial impression….Dude did. He shot to a tree line some mile away turned north and faded out of sight. Dot took the line of cover to east as the party went through the woods cut. Dot's time down was a nice forward controlled effort with Dude's being bigger in dimension but a bit lateral at times. Both dogs were strong at the end with no birdwork.

Brace 2:
Breton's Castle Rocket (John)
George Dubya II (Tracy)

Rocket and George was an evenly matched pair as they swapped casts for the 45 minutes from the Bramlett House. Their journey down around the well pasture elbow and back to Safford Road was a well timed and eye pleasing show. Across Safford Road and off Tara Hill they both got out of pocket for some time and were recovered near the end of the brace with no birdwork to their credit.

Brace 3:
Clyde's Microbreeze (Kline)
Choc Talk's Diamond (Winnen)

D started strong and was superb on the ground from her start in the Well Pasture as Mike was of handful early. D was stopped at 20 at the Pine Knoll with birds directly in front. Her style suggesting otherwise. Mike's scout was busy as we had both dogs through the Sedgefield Alley and over the hill at Hamilton Road. D continued her forward, fast pattern being rewarded at 40 with birds on an island of cover. Mike came down the hill and eased in next to her on point. Both handlers flushed and shot. Upon release, Mike hit a tree line to the south and stood at 45. John flushed briefly and moved him up. He took a couple of steps and a bird popped to end the hour.

Brace 4:
Royal Trace of Kid (Lorenson)
Gun Runner's Lady Man (Berneathy)

Trace and Lootie was the last pair prior to a much anticipated lunch. From breakaway in the northwest corner of the well pasture, both showed their wheels early as they shot 200 yds to the a tree line and headed east. Trace was a bit of a handful down the in the corner with the scout doing a fine job of getting him turned as the gallery headed toward Camp No Sleep. Lootie was as moderate range through the early portions running the edge country with good purpose and sensibility. The Sedgefield alley was a bit sticky for both dogs but they were pulled through as we headed toward Hamilton Road. Trace was seen near the Bramlett place equipment shed as we crossed the road and headed down the hill. Lootie continued his forward edge casting style with Trace being out of pocket and not under judgment at time was called.

Brace 5:
KT's Artic Gladiator (Winnen)
Tequila Jack II (John)

Away at 12:45 after a real southern meal, Max and John headed to the woods gap and disappeared. Max appearing sluggish or possibly sick as his dimension was shorter than normal. Jack began to build and was found standing by the scout at the edge of the sawtooth oaks with nice style. Jim flushed a bird that flew north. Unbeknownst to the party, Max was back in the area and was seen chasing the flushed bird as Jim took Jack to the front. The remainder of his time down was a solid, forward, searching effort down the Sedgefield fence and was ridden for at time.

Brace 6:
Just Call Me Roy (Lorenson)
Ortho Acres Booker-T (Tracy)

Everyone buckled up for a two powerful opponents as they shot away from the Bramlett House. Roy stayed left and crossed far to the front as Booker made a deep probe toward the Sedgefield line. Roy's extended cast took him to the Pine Knoll where he was found standing. A nice relocation effort pinned a small covey with all manners in order. It took some work to get Booker from deep in cover but we had both dogs showing their speed on long lines of cover near the well pasture. Roy crossed right to left as we turned toward Hamilton Road leaving few stones unturned as he rimmed all cover to the south. Both showed exciting speed and dimension as we crossed Safford Road into the wide expanses below Tara Hill. Neither disappointed, as they filled the country up through the big sedge field. Booker was to the front and seen skimming the south side of the Suttle 40 as Roy was blistering the southeast line toward the Caine home place. Roy's cast took him up a sparse tree line along Safford Road where he stood with style, Booker coming in and backing. All manners were in order to end this standard setting brace.

Brace 7:
Royal K's Reverend (Lorenson)
Ortho Acres Phantom of TJ (Medford)

Steel gray skies canopied the release of Luke and TJ at the Well Pasture gate. Luke made the extended cast on the eastern line of cover carrying him around the bottom of the well pasture as TJ shot to the southern line of cover. Both casts took the dogs to the correct crossing as we turned toward Camp No Sleep. Luke, a nicely marked white and liver dog, was standing with style at 27 near the Pine Knoll with excellent manners. TJ was showing his wheels as he rimmed the south edge of Camp No Sleep. We had both dogs into the tricky Sedgefield Alley. Luke made it through by staying on the bottom edge with TJ taking the top edge. The topside can be dangerous as it parallels the Sedgefield fence. If a dog decides to go into the cover, that typically holds a deer, there are few options for finding the front and tough work for a scout. TJ decided to try the cover and it took quite a while to pull him out. Luke was ahead and rimming the edges along Safford Road. Both dogs crossed and finished near the Suttle 40.

Brace 8:
Shady's Tia Maria (Tia)
Berneathy; Tequila With A Twist (Tillson)

Away from the Suttle 40, both dogs shot parallel to Safford Road with Taryn crossing to the northern edge midway. A young dog with tremendous speed, Taryn began to entertain the gallery with her passion for kildee's in a big open field as Ed did his best to settle her down for the long haul. Tia had not been seen from her original cast as we made it to the bottleneck. At 10, the faint cry of "point" from Janet came back near the breakaway as Tia was buried in a dense hedgerow. She was so well hidden, it was difficult for the scout to find her the 2nd time. All manners were in order and she was brought to the front. Both dogs made exciting moves off Tara Hill as the party traversed the big sedge field. Both got deep on course 1 and had to be turned as we make the long muddy ride to Safford Road. Tia finished was tremendous cast along the woods line to Safford Road as Taryn was skirting the edge near the Caine home place.

Brace 9
DC PJ's Red Sun A'Risin (Berneathy)
Artic Blast (Winnen)

Rain moved in overnight and we were delayed in starting. The ditches were full of water and the already muddy conditions deteriorated, if that is possible. Both dogs elected to stay on the horse pasture line with Sonny the first to reach the woods cut. Both were at moderate range and having difficulty with the conditions to the 15 minute mark. As we hit higher ground, their application improved somewhat. A ray of sunshine with blue skies welcomed the gallery as we traversed the hill behind the lake. Rebel got behind around the lake and Jim elected to pickup. Sonny was pointed at 40 along the Sedgefield fence, Jimmy flushed extensively but produced no game. The brace ended at Hamilton Rd.

Brace 10:
Dakota Alley Cat (Tracy)
Make It A Bud Lite (Tate)

Tiger and Buddy streaked up the edge of broomsedge as we started from the Bramlett House. They crossed over the pine knoll and the tell-tale sound of barking dogs sent handlers and scouts into overdrive as deer poured out of the woods to the south. Tommy pulled Tiger out first and he promptly scorched the long line of cover near the well pasture. He pulled up with nice style at the end of the cast near Safford Road and handled a covey with style. Bill waited near the well pasture for his scout to bring the dog up and then went back himself. The other scout eventually brought Buddy to the front and Ed Tillson filled in as handler until Bill returned. Tiger got behind near Hamilton Road as we crossed Tara Hill. At time, Buddy was out of pocket and Tiger was recovered.

Brace 11:
Smarteyes Joker (John)
Rumor Too (Berneathy)

From the well pasture gate, Joker and Rumor were at moderate range over the first 15 minutes and were seen standing side by side near the Camp No Sleep gate. Both handlers fired with dogs standing proudly. Both dogs began to stretch as we rode up the hill to the pine knoll where Rumor was intensely standing. As Jimmy was flushing, Joker came in and backed nicely. Jim John was called back to the scene before Jimmy B relocated Rumor. The relocation resulted in pinning several birds with nice style and manners. Through the Sedgefield alley Joker stayed on the bottom with Rumor along the top both dogs nicely forward and carrying more speed. They crossed Hamilton Road and sailed down the hill to the finish effortlessly.

Brace 12:
TJ's Thunder (John)
Tequila Joker's Jose Cuervo (Berneathy)

Thunder and Jose were loosed in the Suttle 40 as the gallery rides diagonally to the big oak across this rectangular pasture. Thunder got back in a pocket of space to the east that took some time as the gallery rode west. Jose was seen forward and streaking down and edge leading to the bottleneck up to Tara Hill lake. At 15, Jose was picturesquely posed on a broomsedge hill near a feeder. Jimmy flushed and relocated twice to pin running birds. Thunder had regained the front as both handlers continue toward the lake. Jose had a brief deer chase that took him behind the levee where he joined Thunder as scouts worked to get them back on top of the hill. Both made nice casts to the big broomsedge field where Jose made the extended cast on an easterly line of cover. Over the next 10 minutes, Thunder began to shorten and Jose was out of pocket. At 36, Jose was recovered, disappeared near the saw-tooth oaks and found standing on a skittish covey will all manners in order. Both dogs took the long tree line toward Safford Road with Jose pointing and Thunder backing, all in order, to end the brace.

Brace 13:
Mr. B's Delta Dude (Borgman)
Hi Proof Whizki (Lorenson)

A cold front greeted the gallery with 40 degree weather, blue skies and winds out of the north as Dude and Whizki blasted away at 8:00 a.m. Dude took the horse pasture side as Whizki was the first through the woods cut. Dude was pointed at 15 near the Coach's place where birds were seen on the ground initially but disappeared somehow and never put to air. Whizki was extremely flashy and fast along lines near the deer tower and on towards Tara Hill Lake as Dude hunted diligently through the same areas. Whizki was out of pocket for a bit as we crossed behind the lake and found well forward at time near Hamilton Road.

Brace 14:
El Jeffe III (Berneathy)
Shambo's Dark Shadow (John)

Course 2 welcomed Jeffe and Shadow with a spacious breakaway and they took full advantage as they streaked over the hill. At 15, point was called to the east on the backside of a long tree line where both dogs were standing stylishly 20 yards apart. Handlers found birds in front of both dogs and collared them through the tree line to get back on course. At 26, Jeffe wheeled on a finger of cover that historically holds birds. A combination of nervous birds and an excited young dog ended his bid. Shadow came through the area as the other dog was going in the harness and pointed. A sleeper got up with Jim firing. Shadow was forward and swinging with the country as we crossed over Safford Road where he made a probing cast down course 4. Judges and gallery were 5 minutes on down course 3 when the faint cry of point was heard. Shadow was found by the scout near the bottleneck feeder showing exquisite style and manners on this limb find. Shadow stretched the remainder of course 3 back to the Suttle 40 and was out of pocket at time.

Brace 15:
Auten's Gentleman Kane (Berneathy)
Keystone's Double Shot (Lorenson)

Kane and Shooter were shoulder to shoulder as we left the well pasture gate sticking to the gradually eastward swinging tree line. Both got hang-up in a pine thicket just off course are we turn toward Camp No Sleep. Shooter made an eye-catching and connected move from the base of the well pasture to the Camp No Sleep gate as Kane was exploring cover to the south. Shooter is seen standing on a line of at 22 with great style. Kane popped out of cover and failed to honor. Ben sent the small covey west with Shooter maintaining his lofty pose. Shooter was at medium range through Bramlett pasture and Sedgefield Alley having a stop to flush at Hamilton Road. As he was headed over the hill, a sunning bird got up and he went with it.

Brace 16:
Diamond Hill Dan (Kline)
Maxwell's White Spirit (Patterson)

Dan and Butch streaked west from the breakaway in the Suttle 40 being seen rounding the corner at the far end near the big oak. Butch took an extended, eye catching stroll up the southern edge of the bottleneck as Dan was deep in a pocket of space to the north. Butch was recovered from across the road near the Hamilton gate and brought across Tara Hill as Dan hunted the lines below the lake at moderate range. Dan took made an extended cast down the hill, across the big broom sedge field and disappeared into the cover of the pine thicket. He remained out of pocket as the gallery made the swing behind the saw tooth oaks while Butch was probing the northern edge of course. Butch was seen with good stamina and speed down a line back toward Safford Road with Dan being recovered at 35 as both handlers rode the long muddy tree line south. Crossing Safford Road, Dan started making game down the roadside cover and stopped at 40. Several relocations and flushing attempts did not produce game. Butch finished with strength below the well pasture.

Brace 17:
Chancey Jackpot Lotto (Tracy)
Tequila Jaker (Berneathy)

Chance and Jake were well forward from the breakaway behind the Caine home place with Chance being the wider. He wasn't seen through the woods cuts as Jake maintained his edge casts near the Hog Pen. At 16, Chance was found standing near a feeder at the Coach's Place, all manners in order. Jake was in the area but stayed out of trouble as we had both dogs in the tower field. Chance shot to the far end and swung to the front as Jake worked the southern side of the course. By 22, Jake wasn't pleasing his handler and was picked up. Chance began to stretch things a bit and was seen only once over the next 15-20 minutes as the gallery crested the hill at the lake. He returned from the east and was seen sailing across the hill behind the lake as the gallery moved at a fast pace toward the Sedgefield gate. He showed his speed down the Sedgefield fence, was at heel near the gate below Hamilton Road awaiting the judges and was cast down the long tree line to the south. At time, point was called 100 yds down the line with birds in sparse cover.

Brace 18:
TJ Apache (Tilson)
Keystone's White Label (Lorenson)

Bandit and Hank left the Bramlett place throwing mud with an eye on the far pine knoll. They rimmed the cover and streaked over the hill as the gallery had a nice view of their extended cast to the well pasture fence. Both continued to impress as the course turns back toward Hamilton Road. They were in and out of pocket over the next 15 minutes but showed to the front as we crossed Safford Road and went down Tara Hill. Bandit showed at the far end on an impressive swing right to left as Hank rimmed the island of cover to the north. At 37, Hank was standing with style near a single pine. Birds lifted from branch cover underneath as Hank maintained his poise. Both dogs were forward and consistent we went into the backside of the Suttle 40. Hank stopped along the fence line at Safford Road, a bird lifted, and he moved on. Bandit finished on the other side of the field at moderate range.

Brace 19:
G&M Hi Spirit Rowdee Radar (Kline)
Harlan County Cowboy (Medford)

These two made an impressive start by taking the long well pasture line that parallels Safford Road. They got hung-up for a bit down in the corner but soon showed as the course turns south. Cowboy hunted the cover on the hill near the Camp No Sleep gate as Radar took the line of cover on the opposite side of the course. Cowboy showed his lofty style as he was found standing under the canopy of pines in the Bramlett pasture as David put a single to flight with all manners in order. Both dogs hit the gap into the Sedgefield Alley with pop. Radar disappeared along the bottom as Cowboy went into cover along the top of the hill. Cowboy was recovered at Hamilton Road and was strong down the hill. Radar was not recovered to end the brace.

TOP QUALIFIER

Just Call Me Roy, handled by Ben Lorenson for affable owner, Tom Ettinger took the top qualifier spot. One of the consummate bird dogs on the all age circuit today, Roy is a major contender anytime and anywhere he is released. TriTronics proudly presented Ben with a 500 series training collar for a great performance in the qualifying series.

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

Brace 1:
Tequila Jack II (John)
Just Call Me Roy (Lorenson)

A cool, brisk 33 degrees had everyone in their warm gear as Jack and Roy seemed to appreciate being first. Jack had everyone gawking as he made the1/4 mile move to the far tree line and streaked north. Roy started that way but bent to the front about halfway across. Both dogs navigated the woods cut with aplomb and were seen briefly near the Coach's place. Roy streaked south toward the saw-tooth oaks as the gallery moved toward the deer tower. At 17, the scout cried point for Roy as he had the saw-tooth oak covey pinned dead-to-rights. Jack was seen briefly at the far end of the tower field as Roy was released toward the lost pasture. He was glued to the edge and crossed to the front at the far end. We traversed the big broom sedge field without Jack and seeing Roy briefly as he streaked up the hill toward the lake. I will henceforth refer to a triangular piece of run-off ground below the lake as the "Bermuda triangle". It seems to swallow up dogs, handlers, and scouts year after year and rarely does anyone have a good idea of what exactly happened. It is a piece of ground that innocently invites dogs in but is reticent in letting them go. 2005 would be no exception…Roy was seen streaking down a cedar lined fence, entered the triangle and was gone for 20 minutes. He was recovered at 54 in time to flash down the Bramlett Creek bottom. Jack, missing since 22 minute mark had Jim asked for the tracking receiver at the levee.

Brace 2:
Ortho Acres Booker-T (Tracy)
Royal K's Reverend (Lorenson)

The contestants sailed down Tara Hill after an early coffee break. Booker seen at the far end right to left as Luke was glued to the eastern tree line. Both exploded into the big sedge field and went to the extremes of course 1. Booker was seen briefly near the Coach's place as Luke was recovered and directed toward the Suttle 40 where he maintained a forward, edge running pattern. At Safford Road, Tommy had not recovered Booker and asked for the tracker. Luke hit the bottom of the well pasture and was standing at 38 with nice style. Ben moved a small covey from thin cover. He shot toward Camp No Sleep and was eating up real estate on the north side of the course to the Bramlett Pasture where he was found standing near the pine knoll. His intensity and location were excellent as birds were put to wing. The precarious Sedgefield Alley trip was handled well with him shortening a bit near the end of the hour at Hamilton Road.

Brace 3:
Shady's Tia Maria (Berneathy)
Bye

Tia was in the last brace of the morning by herself as the only other female in the championship (Rumor Too) was in heat and on the Berneathy string as well. Her early moves appeared to be driven by hormones as they were not always well directed but as the hour passed she began to settle into more of her normal self. At 30, she hit the pine thicket and disappeared. She was found standing near the saw-tooth oaks with nice style as Jimmy flushed a running covey. Gaining focus, she began running the lines back toward Safford Road in an eye pleasing fashion. She handled difficult cover below the well pasture with ease and shot west on a line toward the Bramlett house. She was standing at 52 having pinned birds near a feeder at the top of the well pasture. Upon release, Tia crossed to the northern edge of the space and began rimming the line toward Hamilton Road. She swapped ends on a finger of cover that traditionally holds birds as Jimmy sent them east. She finished up a line of honeysuckle parallel to Safford Road.

Brace 4:
Rumor Too (Berneathy)
Bye

Ms Johnson's lunch had everyone a bit sluggish as Rumor left the breakaway from Safford Road with zest. She got behind briefly at the woods cut but regained the front quickly as we headed to the hog pen. At 15, she handled a stop to flush well and continued to hunt objectives in a smart fashion to 30 where a cast up the western edge of the big broom sedge resulted in a statuesque find at the limestone gully. All manners were in order and she continued at moderate range toward Hamilton Road. A long cast below the Bramlett House with a swing to the pine knoll found her standing on a small covey lounging in the broken light of the canopy. Rumor maintaining excellent style throughout. She finished near the well pasture gate on a tree-line going northeast.

Brace 5:
Hi Proof Whizki (Lorenson)
Tequila Joker Jose Cuervo (Berneathy)

see above Off Tara Hill, Whizki took the right side and was stretching the course as we turn into the back of the Suttle 40. He went deep into course 1 and needed to be pulled out for the southerly swing toward Safford Road. He was picking up steam as we arrived in the Suttle 40 showing well along the angular lines as we crossed into the well pasture. He took the bottom edge of the pasture and stood at 31 with Ben flushing several birds out of a fencerow. Excellent style and manners exemplified. Continuing to carry nice speed he was in and out of pocket through Sedgefield alley and was standing beside his bracemate on the backside of an island of cover at 55. Birds were flushed for a proud pair of stylish brittanys. He disappeared upon release and point was called at time. Again, both dogs were side by side with handlers indicating running birds were seen but nothing produced to end the brace.

Brace 6:
Chancey Jackpot Lotto (Tracy) see above
Shambo's Dark Shadow (John)

Shadow was stopped at 3 on the same hedgerow that held his bracemate but on the opposite side and with a different group of birds. He style, as always, impeccable. He was taken through the cover and released next to his bracemate. He sailed across the barren bean field and took the far line to the north. He was out of pocket over the next 10 minutes but seen briefly below the lake as the gallery traversed the hill up near the crest. He was seen for the last time as we crossed the big sedge field.

RESULTS


Alberta, Al., February 3-6, 2004
Judges: Ken Ruff and Richard Krause
Deep South Brittany Free-For-All Championship
[45 min qualifying heat] [1 hr championship heat]
38 Brittanys


Winner
Chancey Jackpot Lotto
Brittany Male, by Hired Gun Lucas
X Rooster's Little Bambino
Vic Williams & Joyce Roberts, owners
h Tom Tracy



Runner-Up
Tequila Joker Jose Cuervo
Brittany Male, by Tequila's Joker
X Shady's Chick-N-Little; Jack Brockbank and Clem Little, owners;
h Jimmy Berneathy


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