Sunflower Open All Age Classic
November 8-10, 2014
Cedar Oak Plantation, Sunday, November 9th at one p.m.; Turn’em loose! Sky Fall, young first year dog, versus Game Buck, seasoned veteran. The faith shown by Sunny Hill Plantation, Bob Walthall, and Thorpe McKenzie in their young first year dogs and handler Steve Hurdle with scout, Nick Thompson came to fruition. Cedar Oak is tight! The number 1 course has many twists and turns, yet Steve rode attentive to the judges’ pace, and confidently showed his charge on cast after cast. Both dogs would show casting out the end of field after field. On several occasions we rode hard as birds were seen in the air, yet dogs not in the vicinity. At 59, Hurdle has his hat up, Sky Fall shown standing. Birds located out front. We knew we had something to hang our hats on at pickup. Game Buck not shown on game.
Touch’s White Knight has had a great Fall season and the rapport between he and Ike Todd, handler, was very obvious. He found a feeding covey at 8, and backed his bracemate, House’s Yellow Jacket, at 30. He drew the 3rd hour, a difficult course to show a big going dog on. But show he did, ran the country as good as you could ask and finished his hour out front, with plenty of gas left in the tank.
Third was the “other” Sunny Hill first year dog, Dazzling. And dazzle she did. Drawn out immediately following her kennel mate, Sky Fall, she had big shoes to fill. Drawn with W.W. Wild Speck, Larry Huffman, both dogs started very strong. Larry, looking hard as Speck had his running shoes on. Both scouts were working hard to keep both dogs on course and out front. At about 30, Dazzling was showing on a regular basis, always one field away, or going out of one as we were coming in. Showing great rapport with handler. Birds were ridden up, but neither dog was shown standing until 55 when Dazzling pointed in an island of timber and Egyptian wheat. Birds were shown running and finally flushed. Speck not shown on birds.
It was a tough stake to win and judge. In no particular order: Connor’s EZ Button was shown on game twice, with a huge race; Wind Talker for Randy Downs was shown regularly and had a good find. Cole Train for Dr. Fred Corder was shown on game with a good race. Both Stardust Chazz and WW Blue Blood were shown on birds on the breakaway. Blue Blood was standing again at 17 but lost out the front door. Touch’s Knight Rider for Ike Todd had birds at 55 after a showy race. House’s Yellow Jacket, stood twice, but paled beside his bracemate described earlier.
Our thanks to the Jay Blackman family for use of such a beautiful facility, Cedar Oak Plantation. Barry Thrasher, manager, drove our dog wagon and was go-for and jack-of-all our needs. Especially, I want to say I cannot thank enough Dr. Fred Corder for essentially making the Sunflower a happening trial. Dr. Corder works the plantation, and made all the arrangements for us. Steve and Karen Hurdle do it all, take entries, arrange for lunches, coordinate with those running at Hell Creek and the Southern. There are four trials all on top of each other, and we all try to draw around each other. It all works out.
We always start the Sunflower with our Derby. Although short on entries this year, we were long on quality. Dunn’s Breakout, Will Dunn, was braced with Talladega, Steve Hurdle. Both dogs ran big out front races with independent bird work. Placed first and second respectively. Placed third was Bayou Meta Jim for owner Ronnie Spears, handler Tom Shanker. Jim ran a huge out front, showy race. No doubt in anyone’s mind he needed birds. By far the best Derby race we had, but “woulda, coulda, shoulda” only counts in fairy tales. Ronnie stayed for the All Age and marshaled many braces for us. Our thanks to this gentleman and sportsman.
Our judges, Charlie Frank Bryan and Chris Weatherly, come with a most impressive background. Charlie Frank has judged the National Championship for many years, and Chris, who is staff at the Ames Plantation, has ridden every brace for a long tenure. These two are fun to be with, hard on all, and both love the game. A better duo of gentlemen you could not ask for.
Thanks to all who came and rode and participated. The galleries were large and all seemed to enjoy. It was good to get to see and talk to Dr. Jack Huffman. Whipporwill Farms are in good hands and still producing those great dogs. Larry, Piper, and Wyatt always lend class to any trial. Our handlers all worked hard to help each other, and that was greatly appreciated.
See ya’ll next year!
Bud and Patty