Winners: 1st. Hammering Hank, Noah Tomlinson, handler, 2nd. Ellie, Flint Hendley, handler, 3rd. Goldie, Daley Dalton, handler
Held on what became a bright, sunny and warm March day, the Black Belt Field Trial Association’s first youth trial was a huge success with a good entry and a slew of gallery well-wishers. Hopefully this will become an annual event. The drawing and stake took place after the conclusion of the amateur shooting dog stake on the beautiful Burnt Branch Plantation in Ochlocknee, GA. Thanks to the generosity of Eddie and Carole Sholar (Youth Field Trial Alliance supporters), who host many popular field trials during the season on these grounds, always well conducted and in high style.
This trial was offered to handlers 17 years and younger — a points trial for the Dixie Trace Youth Handler of the Year Award. The stake had 5 braces, 6 different handlers, some of who also scouted for other handlers. Thanks very much to judges Jim and Mary Ann Womack for their undivided attention to each young handler. Plenty of good-flying birds were released to supplement the bird population on the courses but as is so often the case in springtime, with green cover and already high temperatures, dogs had difficulty getting birds pointed. This did not diminish the enthusiasm of the young handlers. Many if not most of these kids have been around bird dogs, field trials and quail hunting enough to know “that’s just field trials”.
The first and third place dogs came from the second brace. First place winner, Hammering Hank, white and liver pointer male was handled by Noah Tomlinson and scouted by Flint Hendley. Hank handled nicely to the front with a big race that many feared would put him out of contention as he was not seen for some time towards the middle of his bid…only to be found far to the front of the course on point. Hank was found when third place winner, pointer female Goldie, handled by Daley Dalton, scouted by Lynn Heard, abruptly stopped to back him, having put down an exciting race herself. Hank stopped again shortly afterwards with another find in the books. Second was pointer female Ellie expertly handled by Flint Hendley, scouted by Noah Tomlinson. Flint was recently seen riding in the gallery at the Masters Open Quail Championship in Albany. No doubt, he picked up some good pointers from the pros as Ellie did a fantastic job for him. Handlers Dalton Drew, Wyatt Rehberg and Kira Jenkins did highly commendable jobs handling their dogs and all the kids showed great sportsmanship, an essential component of our sport. The large gallery on hand was obviously impressed and had a great time, vowing to put youth field trials on their “must attend” list!
Thanks to Eddie and Carole Sholar for seeing to the drawing and many of the details, to Greg Shepperd for marshaling, “Kojack” and Greg’s wife, Ashley Shepperd were also on hand to help. Thanks to Purina for their support of our sport in general and for their steadfast support of youth field trials. Thanks to Youth Field Trial Alliance supporter, Patty Ewen Sanderson (Patty’s Custom Leather and Chaps) for donating a pair of her wonderful custom chaps and Bob Johnson for donating a beautifully engraved belt buckle and whistle. These three items were the winner’s gifts. Thanks also to Lynn and Buck Heard for their mentorship of young handlers and support of youth field trials. They are the force behind the Quail Hollow Youth Field Trial which unfortunately had to be cancelled this past winter due to poor grounds conditions. All the kids received gifts from Purina, thanks to Greg Blair and each received a YFTA decal.
Thanks to all the young handlers who ran dogs and their families and friends who were there to cheer them on.
1st. Hammering Hank, Noah Tomlinson, handler
2nd. Ellie, Flint Hendley, handler
3rd. Goldie, Daley Dalton, handler
More photos available of the 2021 Black Belt FTA Youth Trial