Bird Dog Training Seminar for Youth Field Trialers!

Bird Dog Training Seminar for Youth Field Trialers!

May 25th, 2021 | Seminars

Free-of-charge, this bird dog training seminar for Youth Field Trialers will be held at Greenway Sportsman Club, 231 Jan Drive, Union Springs, Alabama on Saturday June 26, 2021 from 9:00am to 3:00pm. This event is sponsored by Purina and the Alabama Youth Field Trial Association (AYFTA) and is free for youngsters under 18 years of age and their families. A free lunch will be provided by The National Open Shooting Dog Assoc., Sedgefields Field Trial Club, Conecuh Station Field Trial Club and the National Amateur Free-for-All Championship.

Youngsters will receive a copy of the AFTCA’s Standards to Field Trial Procedure, Judicial Practice, Handler and Bird Dog Performance courtesy of Tony Gibson and a T-shirt donated by Purina. The seminar will be tailored for boys and girls, both experienced and novice bird dog enthusiasts.

Topics will include a wide variety of subjects taught by professional and top amateur dog trainers and handlers. Topics will include field trial rules and procedures, handling skills, scouting, sportsmanship and etiquette, Bird dog breaking and training, starting bird dog puppies, horse care and safety and a round table discussion with a question-and-answer period.

This will assuredly be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for youngsters to learn so much in such a short period of time from experts in the field. Speakers will include an all-star lineup of some of the best bird dog trainers and handlers in the country. The AYFTA is extremely excited to have the following speakers committed to take time out of their busy schedules to pass along their expertise to the next generation!

Mike Tracey, from Glenville, Pennsylvania, is a third-generation bird dog trainer. Mike’s grandfather Gerald Tracey and father George Tracey are both in the Field Trial Hall of Fame. Mike followed in their footsteps and began his field trial career at the ripe old age of seven! By age 10 he had won the Pennsylvania Open Puppy Award and at 13 he won the Pennsylvania Open Shooting Dog of the Year Award. He won his first Open Shooting Dog Championship when he was 17 years old!  Mike has won the Purina Open Shooting Dog Handler of the Year 12 times, only to be equaled by his Hall-of-Fame father, George Tracey. Mike has won an amazing 136 Open Shooting Dog Championships and 101 Runner-up Championships in his career and is still going strong. Mike is destined to follow his grandfather and father into the Hall-of Fame.

Tommy Rice, from Thomasville, Georgia is one of the hottest young professional bird dog trainers and handlers in the nation. Since turning pro at the age of 28 years, he has won 9 Shooting Dog championships and 8 runner-up Shooting Dog championship titles. All this just since the spring of 2018, including the National Open Shooting Dog Championship!

Larron Copeland, owner of Showtime Plantation in Bronwood, Georgia started field trialing as an amateur at the age of 20. He has owned and handled some of the best bird dogs in the country. He won the Purina Amateur All-Age Dog of the year two times. He has won two of the most coveted titles in the sport, the Continental Open All-Age Championship twice and the Masters Open Quail Championship.

Jamie Daniels began his bird dog career under the tutelage of Hall-of-Famer Fred Dileo at the age of 22. He turned pro with his own string of dogs 9 years ago. He has bred, raised, and developed reputable winners, handling Just Irresistible, Dominators Rebel Heir, Dominators Dotted Line and Miller’s Blindsider, to name a few, to their championship titles. In a relatively brief period of time, Jamie has already amassed 20 All-Age championships including the prestigious Continental Open All-Age Championship, the Florida Open All-Age Championship, the Masters Open Quail Championship twice as well others on the prairies and elsewhere in the country.

Union Springs, Alabama native Tony Gibson has done it all in the sport. He has bred, raised and trained countless bird dogs. He has hunted, trialed and judged trials all over the country. His beautiful Conecuh Station Plantation hosts several of the most highly competitive field trials in America. No one does more for this sport that Tony Gibson. In 2016 his dog “Conecuh Station Shoeshine” won the National Open Shooting Dog Championship. Amazingly, Tony is the only amateur to date to win the highly desired Alabama Open Shooting Dog Championship. Tony was recently inducted into the Field Trial Hall-of-Fame which is the highest honor this sport can bestow. He joined fellow Bullock Countians Herb Holmes, Bill Hembree, Ed Mack Farrior, John Rex Gates, Lewis B. Maytag, George Harden, Robert Wehle and Henry Banks to enjoy this prestigious  distinction.

Chris Sellers from west Tennessee has judged several Amateur and Open Shooting Dog Championships, including the Alabama Open, the Tennessee Open, the Weimaraner National Championship and the NGSPA All-Age Invitational Championship. Chris has been instrumental in initiating a youth field trial program in his home state of Tennessee. Chris recently organized a two-day youth training event on Ames Plantation, in Grand Junction, Tennessee. A group of young handlers from Alabama traveled to Grand Junction and ran on the hallowed grounds where the professionals compete for The National Championship. The kids were also taken on a guided tour of the historical plantation and were captivated by knowledgeable speakers in several topics related to field trials, bird dogs, southern history and quail habitat. Chris has been instrumental in the popular growth of this time-honored sport in young people. 

Brian Peterson has for years been a highly successful amateur trainer and handler. He holds positions on several major field trial boards and is one of the founding fathers of the Bama Quail Field Trial. Brian takes much pride in breeding and raising his own dogs. His “Lester’s Prime Poison Lane” took the Purina Amateur Shooting Dog of the Year Award. Brian has won multiple Amateur championships including the granddaddy of them all, The National Amateur Free-for-All Championship on the fabled Sedgefields Plantation in Union Springs.

Hunter McDuffie has been field trialing bird dogs on horseback since he was a teenager. He is now a professional farrier and horse trainer. Few people know as much about horses as Hunter. Hunter also worked as a professional quail hunting guide before regaining his amateur status. He presently serves on the board of directors of several major field trial clubs and is very active in the Alabama Youth Field Trial Association. He is the current President of the Alabama Field Trial Association. Hunter’s pointer “Exit Wound” won the Purina Amateur Shooting Dog of the Year Award and has many field trial wins, most notably, he captured the National Amateur Free-for-All Championship twice and is presently the reigning champion!

***** News Flash***** Buddy Smith and Steve Hurdle will also be participating!!

Accommodations: Hotel accommodations are approximately 40 minutes away on the east side of Montgomery. Free Full Hook-up camp sites have been graciously offered by Tony Gibson and Conecuh Station Plantation. For a campsite information, contact Bo Brewer at 334-391-8388. Rooms are also available nearby at Master Rack Lodge. For Master Rack room reservations contact Steve Maxwell at 334-474-3600.

Pre-registration for the Seminar will be greatly appreciated so we can plan lunch. Please contact Darron Hendley by calling or texting 334-300-5836 or by email at

Much thanks to Mike Green for hosting this fabulous event at the Greenway Sportsman Club!