2023 Butch Bennett Memorial Youth Trial Report

2023 Butch Bennett Memorial Youth Trial Report

Mar 28th, 2023 | FT Results and Reports

A more pleasant spring afternoon could not have been dreamed of to complete the Red Hills field trial calendar. This was the second annual youth trial named in memory of beloved field trialer/plantation manager Butch Bennett who succumbed to a long illness in 2021. This was, however, the 5th running of this popular youth trial hosted by the GA/FL Invitational Field Trial Club on these beautiful grounds—manicured for quail, owned by the Roberts family of Tallahassee, FL. We are truly grateful to them for their generosity to our field trial community and these enthusiastic youngsters. Fast flying coveys of quail were in abundance during the afternoon ensuring all the youth handlers had opportunities to flush in front of their dogs. 

Jason Loper and Tommy Rice are the driving force behind the trial. Both accomplished dog men are dedicated to youth field trials as is evidenced by the amount of time and attention this event is given to assure its smooth running and success every spring. The gallery this year was bigger than ever. An attempted count of horses approximated 60! Other galleryites followed in UTVs to support the twelve handlers who competed in eight braces, the last being a bye. Several were newcomers to this trial including Reese and her younger brother Hayes Green who traveled with their dad, Justin, from Union Springs, Alabama to compete. Flint Hendley came down from the Leesburg area to run his pointer Ace.

Two knowledgeable judges were acquired, Charlie Chapin, owner of Elsoma Plantation, Thomasville, GA and successful field trialer Debbie Ozner of Ochlocknee, GA. Both were honored to take on the assignment. Theirs was by no means an easy task with so many good dogs pointing birds and their respective handlers doing such a great job piloting them through the courses. Thanks to both judges for their expertise and watchful eyes on all the contenders. 

First place went to attractive white and orange pointer female Wybulu’s Lonnie handled with great skill in the 5th brace by Cannon Ryan. Lonnie’s first of five finds was a masterful relocation expertly handled by Cannon. Lonnie placed third in this stake last year. Second place went to another pretty white and orange female pointer Orchard Pond Rose confidently handled by Harper King in the 2nd brace. Rose had an exciting 3-find performance. She and Harper also competed in this trial last year. Third place went to Foshalee Lou, yet another attractive female pointer expertly handled again by Wyatt Rehberg in the 3rd brace. Lou was defending her first-place wins here in both 2022 and 2021! She had three good finds, one being an exciting limb find. All three dogs ran the courses at good quail hunting range to the front. The young handlers in turn showed great rapport and confidence handling their dogs. Well done! Honorable mention went to 4th brace dog/handler teams of “Tom” handled by Kira Jenkins and “Jack” handled by Hayes Green. Judges Chapin and Ozner were especially impressed with their handling of a divided find, for which unfortunately no birds could be produced. 

Other handlers at the trial: Long-time successful youth competitor Reese Green ran her female GSP Josie in the 1st brace and pointer male Rick in the 6th brace, competently handling both dogs. Raymond Rowland, a previous winning handler in this trial, ran his attractive pointer female Beth in the 2nd brace. In the 3rd brace, Gryffn Long did a good job with her pointer male, Bandit. Kira Jenkins also ran her pointer female Kat in the 5th brace. The 7th brace handlers Hayes Green and Flint Hendley ran their pointers Ann and Ace. Flint has been successful competing in Georgia youth trials these past few seasons and Hayes shows great promise as an up-and-coming youth field trailer! Bye-dog in the 8th brace was pointer male Merle, who placed 2nd in this stake last year, again well-handled by Wyatt Watkins.  

First place winning handler, Cannon Ryan took home The Butch Bennett Revolving Trophy, a silver bowl Butch’s father Oscar, known affectionately as “Big O” was awarded for winning the prestigious National Open Shooting Dog Championship in 1981. All three winning handlers received plaques donated by Youth Field Trial Alliance, along with dog treats and Strideaway decals. YFTA Director Patty Ewer (Patty’s Custom Canvas & Leather) donated a pair of her fabulous custom youth chaps for the winning handler and canvas drink holders for all the kids. The Roberts family donated Old Meridian Plantation caps to all the competitors and cooler bags to the winners. Thanks to Bob Johnson who donated a beautiful silver belt buckle to the winner. The three winners and honorable mention handlers will also receive 8 x 10 Winners prints.

If you’re in the area and haven’t been to the Butch Bennett Memorial Youth Trial, put it on your calendar to attend next spring. It is heartening to watch these young handlers improve every year. Without question Southwest Georgia is an area of the country rich in the tradition of quail hunting and field trials. Hosting a youth trial at the conclusion of the quail season is, however, not easy as a myriad of activities take place on the plantations. Managers/dog trainers are busy burning, puppies and derbies need attention during the few still cool enough weeks to expose them to wild birds as well as many other chores that need attending to after the busy hunting/field trial season.

Youth field trials are the future of our sport. Please support them and if your club doesn’t currently offer a youth stake or gundog stake for new handlers (walking or horseback), please consider hosting one. Youth trials/stakes are non-sanctioned so can be conducted in whatever way works best for your club and members. We can all do our small part to keep our beloved sport alive and give kids the opportunity of getting hooked on bird dogs, upland birds and the great outdoors. 

Chris Mathan

P.S. My thanks again to Harold Moore who takes great delight in getting me to the action to take photographs!

Butch Bennett Memorial Youth Trial
March 19, 2023
Old Meridian Plantation, Tallahassee, FL
13 Pointers, 1 Setter, 1 GSP

For more photographs from the trial, please visit: Chris Mathan Sporting Dogs & Outdoor Images
Profits from the sale of photographs in this gallery will be donated to YFTA. High resolution digital files ($25 each); 8 x 10 prints ($50 each). Let us know which photograph(s) you’d like, then make a donation here on our website via the DONATE button on the top of the page!