By Steve Standley
The Dixie Trace Field Trial Association held its annual meeting and awards banquet on June 1, 2013 in Albany, Georgia at the recently renovated Merry Acres Event Center. Merry Acres was Albany’s first motel and has been a fixture in the community since the 1940’s. Its banquet hall is decorated with pictures of area plantations, people and landscapes that reflect our interests in highbred bird dogs and enjoyable days afield.
The Dixie Trace Field Trial Association was founded in 2004 to promote quality field trials in the Southeast. Dogs that perform in our immediate arena have proven to be most competitive on the national level as well. Our business meeting convened at 3:30, during which we established our 2013-2014 calendar. Our website, www.dixietrace.org is maintained by Rob Boot and he gave a most impressive PowerPoint overview of our site’s “analytics.” This shows all of the data in reference to number of visits, how visitors arrived at our website, duration of the visits and other details of that nature. He also showed everyone how to easily upload their drawings to the site. This should be a great source of information for all. Points calculation for our Association will soon be available as club members upload their trial results. Officers for the upcoming season were established and they are: Steve Standley, president; Ross Leonard, vice president; Alan York, secretary and Lynn Heard, treasurer and banquet chair.
Lynn Heard heads a core group to present this banquet and her hard work and vision are most appreciated. Assisting Lynn was her husband Buck, Laura and Larron Copeland, Polly Jackson, Kate and Paul DeLoach, Ann and Alan York, Becky and Grant Rudolph, and Shann Nichols. Eddie Sholar was important in helping secure Merry Acres as our venue. A banquet such as this could not be possible without the kindness of our sponsors. We are grateful to Plantation Supply, Ivey’s Outdoors and Farm Supply, Bennett Supply, Insurance Market, Dockery, Odom and Deriso Veterinarians, as well as Nestlé Purina Pet Care. Purina representative, Jim Smith, flew in from Minnesota to join our festivities. Artist Mary McPherson of Burnt Corn, Alabama brought a display of her beautiful work and supplied a charcoal drawing as a raffle prize. Tri-Tronics, through representative, Warner Smith, supplied a Pro-500 G3 EXP training collar. Noted trainer, Fred Rayl, offered one month of free dog training. Quality Wildlife Services supplied a “less mess feeder/waterer” to round out our valuable raffle items.
Over 60 door prizes were supplied through the generosity of B & B Tack, Backwoods Outdoors, Baell Mercantile, Gun Dog Supply, wildlife artist, Steve Kyles, Joan LaBree, Karen Norton, Dogs Unlimited, Moultrie Vet Supply, Kate DeLoach, Plantation Supply and Tri-County Ag, Joyce Blalock of Crossmark, and Momex Foods/Mike Moses. The door prizes were given away during our cocktail hour by Gail Walker and Polly Jackson. The prizes and the raffle items add so much to the festive atmosphere of this celebration. This year’s banquet was enjoyed by some 125 enthusiasts.
The 2013 High Point Dog of the Year was Elhew G Force for owner/handler Tim Moore. A beautiful 11” X 14” oil portrait of “Rex” by artist Steve Kyles was the special award of merit. Tim was also recognized as the 2013 Shooting Dog Handler of the Year. Amateur All-Age Dog of the Year went to Larron Copeland’s Lester’s Cobra with wife, Laura’s Showtime Charlie Chan as the Runner-Up. These achievements earned Larron the 2013 All-Age Handler of the Year honors. Amateur Shooting Dog of the Year award went to Elhew G Force with Heard Hill’s Queen Mary in the Runner-Up slot for owners, Buck and Lynn Heard. Amateur Derby of the Year was Juston Burson’s Mossy Dell’s Ramblin On, with the Runner-Up being Neely’s Foxy Lady, both handled by John Neely. John was named 2013 Derby Handler of the Year .The Open Derby of the Year was Sandhill Trigg, owned by Randy Peel and handled by Fred Rayl. These were some of the wonderful dogs that displayed their talents across some of the best grounds in the country. The Dixie Trace Field Trial Association owes so much to the landowners that allow trials on their properties.
The English Setter Fund used the Dixie Trace setting to award the largest post-season payout in field trial history to honor Shadow Oak Bo’s historic win of the National Championship. The Fund was represented by Collier Smith and Dorothy Hyder as they presented the check to owners N. G. (Butch) Houston and Dr. John Dorminy, handler Robin Gates, and scout Hunter Gates. This presentation added greatly to our special evening.
Prior to our banquet, Paul DeLoach represented the Dixie Trace FTA on Albany’s Fox 31 television for an interview announcing our festivities. Fox 31 and WALB of Albany both brought camera crews to our ceremony and filmed segments with Tim Moore and Elhew G Force as well as Shadow Oak Bo with Robin, Butch Houston and Dr. Dorminy.
If possible, come and join us next year as we celebrate the sport that we all admire and enjoy so much. Also, join us in the field at one of our trials and bring a friend.