By: Anna Grace Tompkins, Fitzpatrick, AL
The inaugural running of the Shenandoah Open Puppy Stake was held Sunday March 13 on the impeccably kept grounds of Shenandoah Plantation in Union Springs, Alabama. A chilly but sunny day, the lovely grounds were the stage for 18 eager pups. Twenty-one were drawn, but we had three scratches.
Graciously agreeing to judge were Hunter McDuffie and his daughter, Addie, from Cecil, Alabama. Many thanks go to our host, Dr John Reardon, for opening the lovely grounds of Shenandoah for this event. Shenandoah has been the venue for youth trials for many years, the most recent being held just the day before. The youth trials have always been a great success, bringing many new faces to the youth trial world, and we appreciate Dr. Reardon’s support.
The first brace turned loose at 10 am with Easy, pointer male owned and handled by Wayne Pope and Rex, pointer mail owned by Roger Key/ Alan Atkins and handled by Roger Key. Both dogs put on a fantastic forward ground race and handled like a dream through the hills and bottoms. Rex had a find and the end of the 20-minute brace and looked magnificent as he stood stately as a statue as birds flew all around, watching Roger for his next move. Easy made a respectful pick up for his handler as the brace ended.
Brace 2 was up with Quail Roost Tipatina, pointer female, owned and handled by Susan Wells, and Fred, owned and handled by Braden Renfroe, a youth trial star. Both dogs raced across the pond dam unbothered when 6 geese flew up and into the water. They did not have any bird work but put on an excellent performance.
Brace 3 included Rhett, a pointer male owned and handled by Braden Renfroe, Quail Roost Gypsy, pointer female owned and handled by Susan Wells, and Chip, a pointer male owned and handled by Michael Kennedy. This was the first brace of the day that included three dogs instead of two, and it made for an exciting breakaway.
Chip made a beautiful and lengthy cast down through the bottoms and listened to Kennedy very well but finished behind. Rhett was very well mannered and attentive, always looking for Braden for guidance. Gypsy also made a good cast coming from behind a time or two, but was attentive to Susan and found her way back to the front with no problems. Again, the brace ended with no bird work but good performances.
At the conclusion of brace three there was a welcomed break for lunch. Selena Moorer’s signature chicken pot pie and sides were perfect on this chilly day.
The lineup for brace 4 were Rocky, pointer female owned and handled by John Neel, Sweet, pointer female owned and handled by Brian Sanderson, and John, pointer male owned by Rodger Key and Alan Atkins, handled by Rodger Key.
Rocky made a lateral and nice cast, but was short at times. Sweet made a decent cast and minded his handler very well. John made a beautiful cast and a big finish to end the brace.
Brace 5 started with Cap, pointer male owned and handled by John Neely, and Doc, pointer male owned and handled by Brian Sanderson. Both ran a good race. Doc had a productive find halfway through the brace and was very attentive to his handler. Both dogs finished their brace.
Rock, a pointer male owned and handled by Braden Renfroe, Chuck, a pointer male owned and handle by Michael Kennedy, and Quail Roost Impressive, a pointer male owned and handled by Susan Wells filled the sixth brace. No birdwork but all the pups put on an excellent ground race and were very attentive to their handlers.
The final brace of the day started with Doc, pointer male owned by Todd and Ella Grace Montgomery, handled by Robert Moorer; Shug , pointer female owned and handled by Brian Sanderson; and Sis, pointer female owned and handled by Joe Varner. Shug had a productive find. Sis, unfortunately, had a mishap halfway through and did not recover to finish the brace. Doc ran big and handled well to end the last brace on a great note.
Everyone gathered anxiously for the awards announcements. Shug, owned and handled by Brian Sanderson and Chip, owned and handled by Michael Kennedy were recognized and given honorable mention.
Third place was awarded to Doc, owned by Todd and Ella Grace Montgomery and handled by Robert Moorer. Second place went to Easy, owned and handled by Wayne Pope. First place was awarded to Rex, owned by Rodger Key and Alan Atkins, and handled by Rodger Key.
It was a fun day and enjoyed by all. Each of these pups showed potential and have promising futures. Many thanks to Dr. John Reardon for opening his beautiful place to us and to Robert Moorer for keeping everything running smooth and on time. Kudos to the rest of the Shenandoah staff for being so hospitable.
Gratitude to our judges, Hunter and Addie Mc Duffie, for taking the time to judge and give much appreciated and cherished feedback. These young dogs proved that the future is bright for the sport, and that’s what its all about.