2015 Dixie Trace Field Trial Association Awards Banquet
By Steve Standley
Merry Acres Events Center in Albany, GA was once again the setting for the festivities that surrounded the Annual Dixie Trace Field Trial Association’s Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet. Laura Copeland accepted the mantle of banquet chair for this celebration and her taste and talent came into full bloom as she was assisted by daughters, Harley and Summer in a presentation that highlighted the vision of this Association. This year we featured numerous silent auction items that attendees could examine throughout the social hour and dinner. These items were beautifully displayed on several long, L-shaped tables on the left side of the podium. On the right side of the podium, and under cover from prying eyes were the individual merit awards and a wonderful painting of the 2015 Dixie Trace Field Trial Association Top Dog.
Banquet sponsors were Eddie Sholar/Plantation Supply, Steve and Marilyn Wiley/Insurance Market, and Nestle Purina Petcare. Their contributions to the sport and their continued support of Dixie Trace are much appreciated. Silent auction items and donors included Garmin Pro 550 training collar/Garmin and John Rex Gates; offshore fishing trip for 4/Eddie Sholar; male English Cocker puppy/Emily Williams; female English Cocker puppy/Joan LaBree; stud service for Erin’s Wild Justice/Allen Linder; stud service for Sugarknoll War Paint/Pete and Chris Del Collo and Allen Linder; half-day inshore fishing charter at Carrabelle Beach, FL/ Neil Walker; $250 gift certificate/Bennett’s Feed and Seed; pointer belt buckle/Bob Johnson; 8 autographed books by Tom Word; wildlife art print by Mary McPherson; Wilton Armetale chip and dip tray/ Becky Gibson and Gibson’s Home Center; $100 gift certificate/ Ivey’s Outdoors, monogramed gun scabbard/Harold Johnson; 2 containers of Glyphosate herbicide/Tim Moore and Polly Jackson; quail decanter set/Larron and Laura Copeland; set of 6 engravable glasses/Place on Pointe Gifts; quail Spode plate/Ivey’s Outdoors; and barbed wire and rifle shell picture frame, Larron and Laura Copeland. The kindness and generosity of these contributors reflects their interest and support of this wonderful sport. This year’s fund raising reached a new height and our Association looks forward to using these funds to help support field trials into the future.
At the business meeting, trial schedules were worked out and the Cedar Valley FTC joined our Association. Last year, the Continental Open Championships, both All-Age and Derby, and The Master’s Open Championships, both All-Age and Shooting Dog brought their prestigious Championships into our group. The Southeastern Shooting Dog Championship will change grounds this year and it will be contested over Bengi and Theresa Griffith’s famed Senah Plantation. Senah’s manager, Joel Norman, represented the Plantation in this transition. Harold Johnson came to represent the Alabama Shooting Dog Championship’s entry into the Dixie Trace fold. The location for this historic event is to be decided.
During this meeting we also had an informative report from our web administrator, Rob Boot. Rob is an invaluable asset to our Association. We recommend signing up for our electronic newsletter on our site, www.dixietrace/.org for information on all of our trials. We announce the trials, show the drawings and give the results in a very timely manner. When you sign up, an email blast will be sent to you throughout the season for each of those events. In addition to our gratitude to Rob for his wonderful design, we need to thank volunteer, Kate DeLoach, for posting all of the upcoming trials and the results of each trial, at its conclusion.
Once again our Association voted to continue the $1000 water tank sponsorship at Dixie Plantation in support of this grand and historic venue. Tall Timbers Research Station is doing work at Dixie that is invaluable to understanding the wild bobwhite quail’s survival in the wild.
Officers for the upcoming 2015/2016 season remain as they were: Steve Standley, president; Ross Leonard, vice president; Alan York, secretary; Polly Jackson, treasurer. Laura Copeland graciously agreed to remain as banquet chair.
Our social hour began at 5 o’clock and some 100 attendees poured in and greeted each other. All of the wonderful silent auction items were on display and participation was magnificent. As the banquet began, deep appreciation was expressed to the landowners whose properties we are allowed access to. A look at our schedule will reveal some of the most superb venues available in the country. Without these sharing landowners, the shape of the Dixie Trace landscape would be quite different. Thanks were also offered to the men and women who take the time to judge these events. It is a position deserving respect and knowledgeable judges are most important to the history of this sport. We thank Eleni Hamm for taking pictures during our banquet.
The Merit Award portion of our banquet brought numerous first time attendees as the addition of several major championship trials to the Dixie Trace roster rewarded some of the nation’s top dogs. The 2015 Dixie Trace Field Trial Association High Point Dog of the Year was Erin’s Wild Justice, owned by Allen Linder of Livingston, TN and handled by Luke Eisenhart. Points were garnered from his titular win at the Continental All-Age Championship with 89 dogs entered and a second place award at the 68-dog Lee County Open All-Age event. Allen and Luke were surrounded by family and friends to receive the beautiful painting that Alabama artist, Mary McPherson, created to honor this top performer. Erin’s Wild Justice also won the trophy for 2015 Open All-Age Dog of the Year.
Open Shooting Dog of the Year laurels were earned by Allen Linder’s and Chris and Pete Del Collo’s Sugarknoll Warpaint, handled by George Tracy. George also captured the Runner-Up Open Shooting Dog of the Year with Miller’s Vanilla Snow for owners Tommy and Bonnie Hamilton. 2015 Open Derby of the Year went to Shadow Mountain Jacklyn, handled by Steve Hurdle for owners C.W. and Patty Moore. The Runner-Up Open Derby of the Year was awarded to Bengy Griffith’s Miller’s Unchained Melody under the whistle of Joel Norman.
Alan Atkins directed his Conway Twitty to multiple placements to secure the Amateur Shooting Dog of the Year Trophy. Runner-Up Amateur Shooting Dog of the Year went to QPK Bossman and handler Joe Rentz. The Amateur Derby of the Year award was gained by Southern White Boy who is owned by Woody Watson. Joe Rentz made a second trip to the podium to receive recognition for Redland’s Jacked Up as Runner-Up Amateur Derby of the Year. Larron Copeland continued his Amateur All-Age winning ways with Saddle Up Sally. Shadow’s Bewitched earned the Runner-Up Amateur All-Age Dog of the Year for owners Bo Houston, Adam Houston, and Woody Watson under Woody’s direction.
At the end of the Merit Awards the silent auction winners were announced. Each item was attractively displayed and there were many participants. Excitement was in the air as the successful bidders came up front to claim their special items. All was festive as the evening concluded and the Association’s goal of illuminating the sport in a positive light seemed full and in focus. In the evolution of our Association, as with the anticipation of the pup or coming derby, we can look forward to the next steps in building a better tomorrow for our beloved sport.
The Dixie Trace Field Trial Association was started to promote quality field trials in the southeast. We are fortunate in having some of the best dogs in the country competing in our events and they are able to perform over some of the greatest country in our sport. The ideals that are pursued in the field and the ideals that are held within the fellowship are and should remain lofty. We look forward to a successful 2015/2016 season and hope that everyone’s dog will be the best that it can be. Invite someone new to a trial this year and expose them to this grand tradition.