2014 Annual Awards Banquet

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2014 Dixie Trace Field Trial Association Awards Banquet
By Steve Standley
Field Trial fans gathered in Albany, GA on June 7, 2014 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Dixie Trace Field Trial Association. The evening was dedicated to the founders of this organization, who envisioned an association of bird dog enthusiasts who were firm in their standards and dedicated to improving the sport. The mood was festive and celebratory as some 140 people enjoyed the fellowship and comradery which defines the Dixie Trace Association. The tables were set with attractive centerpieces and the Merry Acres Event Center staff was most attentive throughout the social hour and our wonderful meal.
Merit Awards and Banquet sponsors were Eddie Sholar, Plantation Supply; Insurance Market, Steve and Marilyn Wiley; and Nestle Purina Pet Care, represented by Pat Lamantia. Dixie Trace is grateful for all of our sponsors and we thank them all. We were so very pleased that Pat Lamantia joined our celebration.
During the social hour, door prize announcements filled the room as Mary Ann Alexander announced winners of items from B&B Tack, Bennett Supply, Baell Mercantile, The Collar Clinic, Dogs Unlimited, Gun Dog Supply, Karen Norton, Moultrie Vet Supply, Polly Jackson, R L Farms, Feed and Tack Supply, and Spalding Labs (Larry Garner.) We appreciate these donors’ support and everyone enjoyed hearing their name called out to collect a prize.
Raffle prizes are an important fund raiser for Dixie Trace. This year they exceeded our goal and the excitement built as the winners were named. Eddie Sholar won a personalized charcoal portrait from the talented Mary McPherson. Gloria Hagan, from Dixie Plantation, won a Garmin Astro 320 with a DC50 collar donated by TriTronics and Warner Smith. Lynn Heard won a beautiful lamp that featured a base with a sculpted covey of quail lifting toward a stylish shade that was adorned with a feather motif. This lovely item was donated by Becky and Tony Gibson, Gibson Home Center in Union Springs, AL. Morgan Brewer was the proud winner of a personalized pet portrait mosaic by area artist and graphic designer, Kate DeLoach. To everyone’s delight, Cody Mason, grandson of John Thompson, won a puppy donated by Joan LaBree. Joan brought a male and a female pup out of Fibber’s Elhew Grace by Miller’s Dialing In. There was no one happier than 11 year old Cody when he selected the female and Grandpa bought the male for him. Mike Moses was fortunate to win a free breeding to his choice of Erin’s Bad River, Whiskey River, or Brave Heart. This valuable opportunity was provided by Sean Derrig and Erin Kennels. Mr. Butch Houston, Dr. John Dorminy and Robin Gates offered a free breeding to 2-time National Champion and the most famed setter of our current time, Shadow Oak Bo. This was won by Ginger Jones of Bronwood, GA.
We enjoyed another impromptu contribution during our festivities when Pat Lamantia sent word to the podium that Purina would donate a pallet of their famed Pro Plan feed if we had someone that could auction it off. Buck Heard commandeered the microphone and entertained us with a lively, down home, old timey southern auction that elicited a winning bid of $1000 from professional trainer, Tommy Davis. We thank Pat, Purina, and Tommy for their gracious support of Dixie Trace.
Lynn Heard has worn many hats in our Association, including those of secretary and treasurer, all at a high level and with much acclaim. However, her greatest gift has been her development of our annual awards banquet. This year’s banquet reached a new high point. Her hard work has been witnessed by all and widely appreciated. Lynn has now stepped down from her official capacity and we are all excited to have Laura Copeland as our new banquet chair.
Officers for the upcoming season were elected in the afternoon business session and they are as follows: President, Steve Standley; Vice President, Ross Leonard; Secretary, Alan York; and Treasurer, Polly Jackson. A new item was discussed in the meeting and it came to fruition shortly thereafter. We are most excited to announce the new inclusion in our Association of the Masters Open Shooting Dog Championship, the Masters Open Quail Championship and the Continental Open Derby and All-Age Championships. The Dixie Trace Field Trial Association welcomes the addition of these prestigious Championships.
Rob Boot has agreed to remain webmaster for our web site, www.dixietrace.org. We are fortunate to have Kate Deloach who has increased her knowledge of WordPress just in time to step into day-to-day updating of our site through the upcoming season. Thanks go to Rob in designing and establishing this professional site.
For the second consecutive year the High Point Dog of the Year was claimed by Elhew G Force for his owner, Tim Moore. Tim’s mother, Katherine Moore and his niece, Melanie Moore came to enjoy the evening with him as Tim was awarded an 11×14 drawing of “Rex” by Mary McPherson of Burnt Corn, AL. The 2014 Shooting Dog Handler of the Year also went to Tim Moore. All-Age Handler of the Year was won by Robin Gates, with Tony Reynolds accepting the award. 2014 Derby Handler of the Year was John Neely. John, again had the Amateur Derby of the Year with Neely’s Rock and Roll. Runner-Up Amateur Derby of the Year went to Lovern’s Red Rider for owner/handler David Lovern. Amateur Shooting Dog of the Year was awarded to Crouch’s Scoot Coot for Jeff Crouch, as Buck and Lynn Heard’s beloved Heard Hill’s Queen Mary garnered the Runner-Up award. Top Amateur All-Age Dog of the Year went to Showtime Charlie Chan for Larron and Laura Copeland. Elhew G Force acquired the Runner-Up spot in this class as well. Open Derby of the Year went to a dog that enjoyed major success this season, Fire Line. Fire Line is owned by Eddie Sholar and handled by Mark McLean. Runner-Up Derby of the Year laurels went to Shadow’s Cruiser, owned by Eddie Sholar and handled by Tom Shenker. Handled by both Tim Moore and Doug Ray, Elhew G Force was awarded Open Shooting Dog of the Year. Twice the Ice, handled by Greg Shepherd, for owner Eddie Sholar, gathered the Runner-Up award for Open Shooting Dog of the Year. We celebrate all who were rewarded in their achievements and their devotion to the sport.
Not officially rewarded with plaque or trophy are the landowners and their staffs in honoring the tradition of this sport by providing incredible grounds for the continuation of horseback field trial competition. So gracious and so sharing, we would like to thank the owners of Shadow Oak, Conecuh Station, Quail Run, Chickasaw, Nonami, Pineland, Wildfair, Blue Springs, Round Pond, Pretty Pond, Showtime, Dixie, and Burnt Branch Plantations, as well as The Redlands and Ken B Farms, and the Pat O’Neall Field Trial Grounds. Please be sure to thank these landowners for their gift.
At the conclusion of the Dixie Trace Merit Awards, we, for the second time, were fortunate to host the English Setter Award. Mr. Butch Houston and Dr. John Dorminy were present to accept the Award for their famed, Shadow Oak Bo. Collier Smith and Dorothy Hyder were on hand to perform the formalities. Two years in a row winning the National Championship and two years in a row to win the top setter award is reason enough to have a party. Handler, Robin Gates was unable to attend, but we are most proud for all involved. It is widely known the great contributions that Butch Houston has made in the field trial world. This is the culmination of a lifetime of devotion to this avocation and we commend him and his friend, John Dorminy, in their great success. Many thanks are also due to Dorothy Hyder for her years of work and devotion in tracking these funds and all of the statistics that need to be sorted out to honor these canine athletes.
The success of this wonderful banquet highlights many of the things that are “right” about our sport. The fellowship, high mutual interest, and celebratory air of the gathering were most uplifting. The Association was blessed financially thanks to support of people and companies previously mentioned. In the Dixie Trace Field Trial Association By-Laws, Article II, under the heading of Objectives is the following declaration: “To promote bird dog field trial activities in the Southeastern United States.” With that thought in mind, after a unanimous positive vote, our Association has delivered a check in the amount of $1000 to Dixie Plantation to sponsor a water tank during the trials there. We encourage all parties that are interested in this world class venue to participate financially at some level to show the field trial communities’ support of the continuation of the Continental Championships.
Please make an effort to attend some our trials next season and try to join us for our banquet in Albany, GA early in June of 2015.

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