Congratulations to all the kids that participated in the Bama Quail Youth Field Trial on Sunday, December 3, 2023 in Tuskegee, Alabama. This was the 21st consecutive Bama Quail Youth Trail on these grounds making it the longest consecutively run youth field trial on the same grounds in America! We had a great turnout of support for the kids and the sport they love so much! A huge thank you to the judges, Pat McPherson from Burnt Corn, Alabama and Lane Hodges of Griffin, Georgia. Both men are top notch amateur dog trainers and handlers. In fact, Hodges trained and handled the reigning National Amateur Free-For-All Champion held on Sedgefield Plantation last year. McPherson bred and trained the 2012 National Champion, Conner’s E Z Button.
Fitzpatrickians Robert Thompkins and Tony Reynolds drove the dog wagons. Kara Anne Beatrous had a tasty hot meal ready to enjoy at the lunch break. Stake manager, Darron Hendley, marshalled the trial. Purina and Oak Hill Quail Farm were our generous sponsors. Chris and Cindy Sellers of Selmer, Tennessee graciously paid the entree fees for every dog.
The weather was pleasant and bobwhites were active. Six aspiring youngsters brought 12 dogs to compete. They were Clair Street, Reese Green, Ella Grace Montgomery, Hayes Green, Addison McDuffie and Shelby Street. All but two dogs found birds.
Alabama started hosting youth field trials on a regular basis 40 years ago. The Alabama Youth Field Trial Association (AYFTA) was formed and placed into competition a revolving trophy for the annual Alabama Youth Handler of the Year. In 2009 the Hartley Carter Foundation was funded to provide a $1,000.00 post high school educational scholarship to each subsequent youth handler of the year. Just a few years ago, a revolving trophy for the runner-up youth handler of the year was placed in competition. Two years ago a $500.00 Hartley Carter Foundation annual scholarship was instituted for the runner-up handler of the year. A Junior Division for handlers 12 and under has also been started. Each youth trial will name a top dog in the Junior Division. The top Junior Division handler will be recognized and awarded for his/her success at the annual summer meeting.
Thank you to all the friends, family and parents of these kids that love and encourage them to keep this sport alive! There’s nothing like watching the excitement of a young handler bounce back to his horse with a smile the size of Texas after his dog held steady to wing and shot.