The 2nd annual Tommy Traylor Memorial Youth Trial was held November 12, 2022 on the beautiful grounds of Conecuh Station. Eight 20-minute braces consisting of 9 youth handlers, (3 of which were in the 12 and under Alabama Junior Division) and 16 bird dogs (1 Setter, 2 German Shorthairs, & 13 Pointers) ran that Saturday. In attendance for this memorial trial was Tommy Traylor’s wife, Kay Traylor; brother, Toby (Uncle Doc) Traylor; daughters Melissa Lewis and Mindy McDuffie (and son-in-law, Hunter McDuffie); Grandchildren, Clay Lewis and Addison McDuffie and childhood friends, Tony Gibson and Blan Bell. It felt extremely nostalgic to have them all come and support these kids participating in the sport they are so passionate about! We know Tommy was smiling down on the day with pride.
Judges for this very special event were Jamie Daniels of Dawson, Georgia and Claudia McNamee of Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia. We were very honored to have these two sit in the judicial saddles and share their time and expertise with these young handlers. We want to thank Darron Hendley for all he does to keep youth field trials alive and running. These kids are our future amateur handlers and without them this sport would not flourish. Thank you also for the delicious hamburger lunch which was provided by Ban and Allison Stewart. It was enjoyed and very much appreciated by all who attended. A huge thank you to Chris and Cindy Sellers for paying the entry fees for all the young contenders. Winners’ prizes were graciously donated by Tony and Becky Gibson. The 1st place winner received the Tommy Traylor Memorial rotating trophy, a place plaque, silver dollars in a gorgeous wooden box, and a beautiful leather headstall that was donated by Roger Key. Other placements received plaques, silver dollars in wooden boxes and gorgeous, hand-made leather tack.
Along with our two judges joining us from across the river in Georgia, two of the youth handlers did as well. Daley Dalton and Kira Jenkins both travelled from South Georgia to run with their Alabama friends. Not only are handlers Addie, Katie Bell, Reese, and Claire all fierce competitors, but the support and encouragement they showed each other, while in competition with one another, was heartwarming and inspirational. Junior handler Sterling Woodruff was outfitted like a professional on his perfect pony, Shiny. From his starched white, button-down shirt, to his chaps, whistle, and blank gun, he looked like a pro while flushing birds at each find. Hayes Green captured everyone’s attention with his tone and projection of his calls while he handled his dogs in the 4th and 6th braces. The support given these young trialers and excitement of the gallery was thrilling to watch and be a part of.
Reporter, Maria Bassham
1st place winner, Belle handled by Shelby Street
1st place: Belle handled by Shelby Street, 2nd place: Jag handled by Kira Jenkins, 3rd place: Josie handled by Reese Green