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Event: Miller's Record Heat Wins 2023 Running Swamp Fox Classic
Result: Cock-N-Fire Field Trial Club

Location: Hoffman, North Carolina

Post Date: Feb 28, 2024

Submitted By: Roger McPherson

Swampfox OSDF23

Swamp Fox Open Shooting Dog Classic Winners (l-r): Miller's Record Heat with Casey Tracy, Silver W Jill Z with Dr. Debbie Ozner (owner), and Faithful with Mike Tracy. (Second row): Wendy Harmen, Shawn Kinkelaar, and Larry Harmen. (Standing behind Coach Johnson): Bob Youngs, Roger McPherson, Whitley Stephenson (judge), Greg Robinson (dog wagon driver), William Smith (judge) and his bride.

On December 27, 2023, top shooting dogs east of the Mississippi assembled at the renowned Robert J. Gordon Field Trial area, Hoffman, North Carolina. There is no better place in the East to show a single-minded, classy shooting dog in quest of the Southern Bobwhite quail. In recent years, December in the South's weather has made this trial brutal for dogs, horses, and handlers. The weather has often changed during the Swamp Fox from unusually cold to remarkably warm, with a cold rain the custom. In late 2023, however, the weather was morning lows in the high 30s to low 40s, with the high temperatures in the 50s--more typical for this time of the year in the southeast. The mild weather resulted in many of the owners riding to see their dogs perform as well as others: Dr. Debbie Ozner, Dr. Tom Jackson, Jerry and Kristen Moisson, Smoot Carter, Ed and Megan McCoy, and George Hickox. I apologize if I missed recognizing anyone. The expectation of seeing talented dogs traveling on far hilltops in search of game and excellent food, together with good fellowship, always makes the Swamp Fox Classic the place to be in late December. The Swamp Fox Classic is skillfully managed by the Cock-N-Fire Field Trial Club.

This year, 53 entries in the Shooting Dog and 23 in the Derby vied for Swamp Fox honors. The Robert J. Gordon Field Trial area is under the management of the NC Wildlife Department; their work maintaining the grounds is gratefully appreciated by all. The grounds were in top shape with abundant cover for generous numbers of Bobwhite quail.

The responsibility of handling the organization of the Classic, soliciting sponsors, as well as making sure everyone was welcome and all went effortlessly was again in the capable hands of Coach Allen Johnson. Assisting him were Jerry Raynor, Steve Browder (handling marshaling duties), Cliff Brown and Raymond Brown (preparing meals), and Greg Robinson (driving the dog wagon and providing coffee, drinks, and snacks during breaks). Thank you for a job well done.

A major sponsor of the Swamp Fox is AgSouth Farm Credit, ACA; without their monetary support, we would not be able to continue to host an event of this stature. A second sponsor we recognize as vital to our sport is the assistance of Greg Blair and Nestl Purina, providing dog food for the winners. The help of all sponsors is greatly appreciated.
This year's judges are very familiar with the Robert J. Gordon Field Trial Grounds in Hoffman, having handled and manned the judging duties at numerous trials over the years. Whitley Stephenson is a successful amateur handler and breeder from Smithfield, North Carolina. William Smith is a frequently sought-after judge of shooting dogs and all-age dogs residing in Nashville, Tennessee. Both gave their complete, undivided attention to each dog that came to the line and were ready to lend a hand to all participants. Their decisions were well received by handlers and the gallery.

The Swamp Fox Shooting Dog Winners
The 2023 winner came to the line in the 19th brace on Friday afternoon (December 29), handled capably by Pennsylvania professional Mike Tracy. Miller's Record Heat ("Annie"), a white and orange pointer female, is no stranger to the winners' circle (recently placing second in the Dixie Classic). She is owned by Allen Linder of Livingston, Tennessee. She began her hour with resolve- attacking the cover in quest of the elusive Bobwhite quail. At the 9-minute mark, handler hailed point. Mike dismounted quickly, putting a covey to flight. Annie maintaining her composure, game well-located with great style throughout. Her handler quickly sent her on in search of quail. Mike, sensing something special, urged Annie on as she was spied far to the front, hunting for productive cover. Mike's urging paid off as Annie made a showy cast in the New Loop. To the front, a call of point could be heard. Again, Annie had a large covey of Bobwhite pinned; handler quickly put them to flight, as Annie remained high and tight with breath-taking style. Releasing his dog, again Mike pressed his dog to continue her effort to hunt the reachable cover where a covey of quail might be located. Annie finished as she began, attacking available cover, strong to the front, an excellent forward ground effort rewarded with multiple finds.

Second place in the Shooting Dog Classic came from the 25th brace on Saturday, Silver W Jill Z, owned by Dr. Debbie Ozner of Ochlocknee, Georgia. Jill is a white, orange, and ticked pointer female ably handled by Illinois professional Shawn Kinkelaar. Jill's strong ground effort was rewarded with a find after relocation. Finding her on point, Shawn dismounted, flushing extensively for his charge. His flush attempt did not produce birds, and he then asked Jill to relocate. Her relocation proved fruitful with Shawn putting a nice covey to flight with Jill maintaining manners throughout. Released by her handler, Jill continued her pursuit of game with far-reaching casts, showing just enough to keep the attention of the judges. Jill finished her hour as she began, a strong forward ground effort.

From the 6th brace earning third was Faithful, an orange and white pointer female owned by Susan and Roger Duerksen of Hardeeville, South Carolina. Our third-place dog was handled capably by Mike Tracy. Tuesday afternoon temperatures were in the high 50s. Faithful began her hour energetically searching to the front pursuing Bobwhite. At 19 minutes into her hour, she was found pointing, indicating birds were around. Mike dismounted and soon flushed a large covey of quail, with Faithful standing steadfastly. Again, at 35, a cry of point was heard, Faithful confidently signaling that birds were nearby. Handler soon flushed another covey of Bobwhite. During this find, Faithful displayed much better style. She was credited with a solid forward ground race, always showing to the front. She finished her hour with a big forward effort hunting available cover.

December 27, our first day, began with misty rain. Eighteen minutes into the first brace, Mike Tracy called point, finding Miller's High Heat Index signifying the presence of quail. Mike dismounted his horse quickly, putting birds to air. Releasing his dog, High Heat continued hunting with a snappy way of going, finishing his hour with no other contact.

In the 2nd brace, Tug O'War was paired with Erin's Big Casino. Big Casino was found pointing at 3 minutes into this brace with Tug O'War backing. Big Casino's handler (Mike Tracy) flushed but was unable to put any birds to flight. Tug O'War also had an unproductive 14 minutes into his hour. At 26 minutes into his hour, Tug O'War was again found standing. This time, his handler, Shawn Kinkelaar, was able to quickly flush a covey. Tug O'War finished his hour to the front but was lateral as time was called.

In brace 4, Upfront's McQuade had multiple finds. His first find was on a covey at 20 minutes, Shawn quickly putting a covey to flight. At 40 minutes, McQuade was found in the woods on point. Shawn again put a nice size covey to flight. At 45 minutes, point was called again by Kinkelaar. This find was also in the woods, handler quickly putting another group of Bobwhite airborne. McQuade had a very good forward-ground effort, just not as consistent as the winners.

Brace 5 found Waybetter Rebel (Mike Tracy) recording two nice finds. Rebel was nice to watch, having a smooth but snappy way of going. Rebel finished his hour the same way he had started. His ground effort was somewhat side-to-side at times, while the winners were consistently more forward.

Brace 6 featuring Faithful ended the first day with each brace of dogs having the likelihood of finding their quarry.
On December 28, temperatures were in the mid-40s during the morning running. Brace 8 brought Hauser's Rollin Thunder (Mike Tracy) to the line. This pointer male scored a nice find at 30 minutes into his hour. His ground race was shorter than the winners, and he quartered some. He finished to the front, going strong.

Brace 10 produced another contender, Hauser's Hard Line (Tracy). This male pointer had three well-spaced finds during the hour. During handler's flushing attempt, Hard Line lost composure. At 47 minutes, he was again found pointed, but Mike could not produce birds after an extensive effort. His overbid to contend was not as strong as the winners.

Friday, December 29, found the weather still holding to historically mild temperatures. In brace 15, Miller's Special Cinderella (Tracy) produced two finds of Bobwhite coveys. Her first find was not as crisp and solid, but she redeemed herself with a second location of a covey. As time was called, Cinderella was found on point. This, her second find, was high and tight, birds well located. Mike quickly put the birds to flight as Cinderella maintained her composure.

Hoffman, N. C., December 27
Judges: Whitley Stevenson and William Smith
SWAMP FOX OPEN SHOOTING DOG CLASSIC [One-Hour Heats] - 49 Pointers and 4 Setters

1st-MILLER'S RECORD HEAT, 1685700, pointer female, by Just Irresistible-Miller's Bring The Heat. Allen R. Linder, owner; Mike Tracy, handler.
2d-SILVER W JILL Z, 1682062, pointer female, by Ransom-Double Wild. Dr. Debbie Ozner, owner; Shawn Kinkelaar, handler.
3d-FAITHFUL, 1684597, pointer female, by Waybetter Rocky-Steel City Karen. Susan & Roger Duerksen, owners; Mike Tracy, handler.

Swamp Fox Open Derby Winners
Our judges, William and Whitley, have extensive experience judging the potential of young bird dogs. Many believe that judging the potential of youngsters is the hardest assignment one can volunteer to do (looking into a crystal ball to determine what kind of shooting dog this will be). The Swamp Fox judges gave each entrant their undivided attention and offered help to participants when required.

As the derby began, the temperatures were in the 40s; by afternoon, the weather was changing, with temperatures increasing to the 60s.

The blue ribbon was awarded to Mo's Curtain Call, a pointer female owned by J. Morrell and T. Moore of Fort Gaines, Georgia. She was handled by Pennsylvania pro Mike Tracy. Appearing in brace 11, Mo's Curtain Call displayed a good shooting dog ground race, easy handling, and always to the front attacking the cover. Her effort was rewarded with three covey finds exhibiting advanced derby manners. Mo's Curtain Call finished her half-hour aggressively hunting the cover with no let down.
Awarded second place was Upfront's Bart, a pointer male handled capably by Illinois professional Shawn Kinkelaar. In brace 4, Bart exhibited a pleasing ground race with a find on a covey at 22 minutes, displaying advanced derby manners. He also had a good shooting dog ground race, handling easily, finishing his bid hunting the cover vigorously.
From brace 7 came our third-place dog, Morgans Cash Bail ("Cash"), a pointer male guided by Virginia pro Phil Stevenson. He had a wider ground race than the other two, attacking the cover in search of his quarry. Requiring more effort to handle, he was rewarded with a find on a covey, demonstrating advanced derby manners. Cash, much like the other two, finished going away still in pursuit of game.

SWAMP FOX OPEN DERBY - 22 Pointers and 1 Setter
1st-MO'S CURTAIN CALL, 1705285, pointer female, by Miller's High Heat Index-Osceola's Seminole Wind. Tim Moore & Jim & Theresa Morrell, owners; Mike Tracy, handler.
2d-UNFRONT'S BART, 1705553, pointer male, by Chelsea's Thunder Bolt-Upfront's Southern Star. Lance & Marcie Schulz, owners; Shawn Kinkelaar, handler.
3d-MORGANS CASH BAIL, 1705409, pointer male, by Morgan's Yellow Ledbetter-Morgan's Happy Rider. Phil Morgan, owner and handler.