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Event: Dragonfly wins the 2022 Running; Rentz's Hijacked named Runner-Up
Result: National Amateur Free-for-All Championship

Location: Union Springs, Alabama

Post Date: Jun 30, 2022

Submitted By: Morgan Brewer

national ama ffa22

National Amateur Free-for-All Championship Winners: Dragonfly posed by scout Brandy Gilmore, Runner-Up Rentz's Hijacked posed by owner/handler Joe Rentz, Top Qualifier Electronic Warfare posed by owner/handler Bill Goodwin, Shirley Varner, Rhonda Hughes, Jim Hughes, Kevin Stuart (judge), Bill Lee, George Kimbrell (judge), Morgan Brewer (reporter), John Neely, Darron Hendley and Joe Varner.

February 22nd is equivalent to Christmas morning in the hearts of every amateur field trialer in America. It is the commencement of the 72nd annual National Amateur Free-For-All Championship. This prestigious Championship is held at Sedgefields Plantation in Union Springs, Ala., the most celebrated grounds in the Field Trial Capital of the World. Participants from all over the country make the trek south in hopes to capture the most sought after title in the history of amateur field trials. This esteemed trial would not be possible without the continued support from Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Harbert. They will never know how much their generosity keeps this sport alive. Jason Howard, Bill Lee, Chance Kelley along with the rest of the Sedgefields Team work hard all year long grooming the grounds to be the best to ever turn a bird dog loose in America.

The board of the National Amateur Free-For-All consists of fifteen members. Each director plays a key role in the success of this trial and each year it runs like a well-oiled machine. Chance Kelley rode every single brace and was very attentive at giving direction to each handler. He, along with several board members, served as marshals and their assistance was greatly appreciated by each participant. Mr. Kenneth Newman was greatly missed this year serving as captain of the dog wagon, however Bo Brewer and Steve Hutto stepped up to the plate and kept the show running. The "dynamic duo" made sure every dog was accounted for on the wagon, and that there were plenty of refreshments as well as offered interesting conversation in between braces. Dr. Josh and Kathleen Varner and Dr. Mac and Chelley Varner graciously sponsored the refreshments on the dog wagon. Their patronage was greatly appreciated by all participants. It was a breath of fresh air to see Marcelleno's smiling face when we returned to the barn each day. He diligently washed and took care of all of the official's horses for the duration of the trial. Many thanks go out to our judges George Kimbrell of Fort Mill, SC and Kevin Stuart of Schenectady, NY. They rode hard and were very observant of every dog and handler.

A scrumptious breakfast was provided daily, prepared by two lovely ladies and sponsored by the Tourism Council of Bullock County. The list is endless of businesses, owners, handlers and well-wishers that make donations to this welcomed meal. Their contributions go toward the food, hiring of the smiling chefs as well as the welcome signs and banners that are hung in town. The Union Springs Country Club prepared lunch daily on the grounds and it was a delight to see Ginny Allen and her staff after a long morning of riding.

The nightly social events were altered last year due to the worldwide pandemic so there was much anticipation for new and old friends gathering together to celebrate our beloved sport. The "Kick-Off Party" hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Mike Green and Mr. and Mrs. Tony Gibson in honor of Mrs. Bootie Smitherman was held at Greenway Sportsman Club on Tuesday night. Two chefs from Louisiana prepared an extraordinary seafood extravaganza that was greatly enjoyed by all.

AmeriFirst Bank of Union Springs sponsored the Owner Handler party held at the field house Wednesday night. The meal was phenomenal and the fellowship was even better.
The awaited "Friends Party" was held at the home of Hunter and Addie Smith on Thursday night. This lavish event was greatly missed last year. Hunter and Addie graciously open up their beautiful home and hosted the event along with Jimmy and Catherine Bassett, Andy and Beverly Callaway, Pete and Chris Del Collo, Brandy Gilmore, Anderson and Laura Hembree, Kevin and Maureen Joyce, Charles and Heather Klink, Jim and Jane Klingler, Tom and Sue Ellen Lanier, Tommy and Renita Main, Frank Moorer, Frank and Colleen Rutland, Brian and Brooke Sanchez, Jim and Sandra Smith, Joe and Shirley Varner, and Winston and Laura Way. The food was exceptional and all had a glorious time.
The Draw Down and Dance was held Friday night at the Union Springs Country Club. David and Ginny Allen do a remarkable job managing the country club and serve the finest cuisine in Bullock County. The cocktails, food, fellowship and music were splendid and all had a grand time.

The Steak Dinner and Dance hosted by Raymond and Catherine Harbert was held Saturday night at Sedgefields Field House. Chefs Bo Brewer, Justin Green and Robert Moorer prepared the steaks. They did an exceptional job and to say the meal was superb would be an understatement. The acoustics from the Michael Stacey Band had everybody in attendance on their feet dancing the night away.

Day 1
There is no greater thrill than to hear "turn em loose" at the breakaway of the first brace. It was 61 degrees and cloudy when Dunn's Ever'n Onward owned and handled by Will Dunn and Smokin Joe's Rock owned by Joe Brunner and handled by George Brown came to the line. Onward, an orange and white pointer male had an exceptional race, regrettably no bird work, but was called back for his race. Rock, an orange and white setter male had no bird contacts but finished the brace.

One Day Queen Bee owned and handle by Lane Hodges and One Penny More owned and handled by Susan Wells were in the 2nd brace. Bee, a liver and white pointer female had picture perfect finds at 4, 40, 43 and 45. Penny, a liver and white pointer female had a nice find at 9, and unproductive at 36, a back at 43 and finished up the brace with a find at 44.
Erin's Young Offender owned and handled by Alan Atkins and Smokin Joe's Moses owned by Joe Brunner and handled by George Brown turned loose at the Coke Barn for the 3rd brace. Unfortunately there was a wreck that occurred at the 4-minute mark and the judges ordered both dogs up.

Miller's Record Heat owned by Jack and Fran Miller and handled by Fran Miller and Hightailing Pearl owned and handled by Kevin Joyce were in the 4th brace. Heat and Pearl both finished the brace but unfortunately did not have any bird work.
It was 79 degrees at breakaway behind the barn when GK's Ramblin Josie owned and handled by Justin Green and Smokin Joe's Luke (Brunner/Brown) came to the line for the 5th brace. The race was on for first time Free-For-All handler Green and his german shorthair pointer female, Josie. Time was called before Josie had any bird work. Brown picked up at 32 after a breech of manners.

Northwoods Charles owned and handled by Bill Owen and Clear Creek Jim owned and handled by John Neely were in the 6th brace. Charles had a stellar find off of breakaway. Jim had an unproductive at 39 after a lengthy relocation.

Day 2
It was 66 degrees at breakaway for the 2nd day of qualifying. Panther Creek Hank handled by Brent Cox and Sedgefield's Legacy owned by Sedgefields Plantation and handled by Hunter McDuffie turned loose at the power line for the 7th brace. It was great to see long time handler Brent Cox turn a dog loose for the first time in years. Hank finished the brace but did not have any bird contacts. Legacy, a black and white pointer male had a strong race with perfect finds at 4, 9, and 26 and was called back for his performance.

Pineywoods Bellaire handled by Darron Hendley and Deceptions Wild Justice handled by Jeffrey Gilbertson were in the 8th brace. Bellaire, a liver and white pointer female had a clean find at 4, an unproductive at 29 after an extended relocation and a second unproductive at 40.
One Day Lucky Strike (Hodges) and Millers Cover Girl (Miller) turned loose for the 9th brace. Strike, a stylish pointer male had an unproductive at 33. Girl had nice clean find at 21.
C S Trump owned by Becky Gibson and handled by Hunter McDuffie and Dragonfly owned and handled by Jim Hughes were in the 10th brace. Trump, a classy orange and white setter male had a strong front running race but time was called before he had any bird work. Dragonfly, a liver and white pointer male was always to the front and ran a great race and was called back for his performance.

It was 81 degrees at breakaway for the 11th brace. Alabama Youth Handler Braden Renfroe turned Sand Hill Buddin Up loose for his debut handling experience in the National Amateur Free-For-All Championship. He was braced with 2022 National Derby Champion Rentz's Hijacked owned and handled by Joe Rentz. Bud had an unproductive at 18, two perfect finds at 31 and 37 and an unproductive at 41 after a lengthy relocation. Jack had an exceptional strong front running race and the judges called him back to take a second look.

Goldberg, owned and handled by Pete Del Collo, and Dubose's What A Dog, owned and handled by Bobby Dubose, turned loose across from Bill Lee's driveway for the 12th brace. Goldberg, an orange and white pointer male, had an unproductive at 18. What A Dog was picked up at 28.

Day 3
It was 66 degrees at breakaway for the 13th brace when CS Little Ann owned by Tony and Becky Gibson and handled by Joe Varner and Rentz's Tipped Up (Rentz) came to the line. Ann had stylish finds at 8 and 38. Tip had a back at 8 and an unproductive at 27.
Southern Shadows T Rex owned and handled by Brian Peterson and Hi Drive Fancy Pants owned by Allen Linder and Madison McDonald and handled by McDonald were in the 14th brace. Rex and Fancy went out of pocket in what the judges have named the "Bermuda Triangle." Peterson asked for his tracker at 25 and McDonald was handed hers at 27 after her dog had been absent too long.

Dunn's Sneak'n In (Dunn) and Miller's Upgrading The Ante (Miller) turned loose at the Coke Barn for the 15th brace. Sneak'n In had a nice find at 6 and Ante honored with a back.

Kevin Joyce's Hightailing Maggie and Brian Sanderson's Reynolds Party Starter came to the line for the 16th brace. Maggie, a black and white pointer female, finished the brace but didn't have any bird work. It was Sanderson's first time turning a dog loose to handle in the Free-For-All. He has scouted for many but the race was on for him and his orange and white pointer male. Unfortunately Starter went out of pocket and he was handed his tracker at 37.

It was 78 degrees with a slight breeze after lunch for the 17th brace. BK Ironclad owned and handled by Brian Sanchez and Lone Tree Splash (Owen) turned loose behind the barn. Ironclad, an orange and white pointer male, had a strong race with classy finds at 16 and 36 and was called back for his good performance. Splash had a clean find at 40.

Panther Creek Merlin owned and handled by Frank Rutland and Backcountry Buddy owned and handled by Chris Catanzarite came to the line for the 18th brace. Merlin ran a great race, had a find at breakaway, a back at 14 and picture perfect finds at 15 and 30. Buddy had a find at 14 and was picked up at 40 after being out of pocket for too long.

Day 4
It was 66 degrees and overcast when Millers Packing Heat (Miller) and Smokin Joe's John (Brunner/Brown) turned loose for the 19th brace. Heat had nice clean finds at 20 and 34. John had an unproductive at 11 and was ordered up at 20 for failing to honor a back.

Miller's Upgraded Version (Miller) and Smokin Joe's Mathew (Brunner/Brown) were in the 20th brace. Version, a classy orange and white pointer male, ran a stellar race and had perfect finds at 6, 17, and 34 and was called back for the judges to take a second look. Brown was handed the tracker at 8.

Mauck's Wyeast Owyhee Jack owned and handled by Alex Mauck and Great River Yellowstone (Sanchez) were in the 21st brace. Jack, an orange and white setter male had a find at 11. Yellowstone had a nice find at 6.

Alabama Youth Handler Katie Bell Varner turned loose CS Phillips Windline owned by Tony and Becky Gibson for her debut handling experience in the National Amateur Free-For-All Championship. She was braced with Face to Face (Gilbertson) in the 22nd brace. It wouldn't be fitting if Varner didn't have fellow Alabama Youth Handler Addison McDuffie scout for her. The pair did outstanding but time was called before Windline had any bird work. Gilbertson picked up at 25.

It was 61 degrees and cloudy when Backcountry Girlfriend (Catanzarite) and Charlie's Zip Tie (Owen) came to the line for the 23rd brace. Girlfriend had an unproductive at 19, a divided find at 25 and a find at 30. Tie had a find at 14, a back at 19 and was picked up at the divided find at 25 for moving after the flush.

Born On The 4th Of July (Gilbertson) and Electronic Warfare owned and handled by Bill Goodwin were in the 24th brace. Warfare, an orange and white pointer male put on a show with 5 perfect finds at 6, 15, 24, 29 and 35. He ran a strong front running race and was awarded Top Qualifying and a spot in the callbacks for his phenomenal performance. July had clean finds at 28, 33 and was ordered up after getting to close to a single bird catching the front.

Day 5
It was 46 degrees when Dubose's Wonder Dog (Dubose) and Millers Southern Gossip (Linder/McDonald) turned loose for the 25th brace. Wonder Dog had a find at 5 and was ordered up at 22 after a breech of manners. Gossip finished the brace but regrettably did not have any birdwork.

Seekin A Thrill owned and handled by Ross Leonard and Dunn's Tried N True (Dunn) were in the 26th brace. Thrill had an unproductive at 8. True had an unproductive at 8 and Dunn asked for the tracker at 34.

Lester's Top Recruit owned and handled by Lance Servais and Sand Hill May Baby (Renfroe) came to the line for the 27th brace. Recruit ran a good strong race but did not have any bird contacts. Renfroe asked for the tracker at 30.

Backcountry Bruiser (Catanzarite) and Mauck's Myeast Owyhee Dallee were in the 28th brace. Bruiser, a orange and white pointer male had an unproductive at 8, a back at 21 and an unproductive at 33. Dallee had unproductives at 21 and 40.

It was 29 degrees after lunch when One Day La Bandita (Hodges) and Renrav's Mr. Tony's Shag (J. Varner) came to the line for the 29th brace. Hodges asked for the tracker at 27. Mr. Tony's Shag, a stylish orange and white setter male had a good race and a classy find at 22 and was called back for his performance.

Alabama Youth Handler Addison McDuffie turned Twin Willow Passion loose for the second year in a row for the 30th brace. She was braced with S B Always Dreamin' (Owen.) Dot had a great race with picture perfect finds at 14,23 and 30. Dreamin' had a find at 26 and a back at 30.

Day 6
It was 55 degrees at breakway when Miller's Heatwave (Miller) and Smokin Joe's Mark (Brunner/Brown) turned loose for the 31st brace. Heatwave, an orange and white pointer female had a stellar race and finds at 6, 34, an unproductive at 39 and was called back for the judges to take a second look. Mark had a back at 6, and was picked up at 13 after moving after the flush.

Morton's Shooting Star owned and handled by Wayne Pope and Panther Creek Rose (Rutland) were in the 32nd brace. Star had a divided find at 22, a clean find at 34 and was picked up at 44. Rose, a liver and white pointer female had a divided find at 22 and two perfect finds at 33 and 42.

Pineywoods Legacy (Hendley) and Miller's Unbridled Forever owned by Neil Walker and Brian Sanchez was handled by Sanchez. Legacy had two unproductives at 23 and 26. Sanchez asked for the tracker at 22.

Springflow's Backcountry P (Catanzarite) and Hunt's Sergeant Of Arms, owned and handled by Justin Hunt, were in the 34 brace. Backcountry had an unproductive at 16 and 28 after a lengthy relocation. Arms had an unproductive at 13 and at 28 got in the middle of a big covey of birds and failed to stand tall. Hunt was handed the tracker at 31.

Neely's Business Man (Neely) and Rester's Amazing Grace (Gibson/Varner) were in the 35th brace, the last brace of the qualifying. Man, a classy orange and white pointer male had a strong race, a back at 15, two perfect finds at 36 and 45 and was called back for his good performance. Grace had a stylish find at 15.

Callbacks
It was 50 degrees for the first brace of callbacks when last years Champion, Twin Willow Ice owned by Addison McDuffie and handled by Hunter McDuffie, and Dunn's Ever'N Onward came to the line. Ice, also known as Kat, had a beautiful find at 24 and was picked up at 45. Onward ran an outstanding race and had clean finds at 21, 59 and 68.

The race was on for the 2nd brace of callbacks; the Champion and Runner-Up Champion were paired in this brace. Dragonfly owned and handled by Jim Hughes was named Champion for his amazing performance. He ran a strong front running race, was always to the front and had exceptional finds at 69 and 74. Dragonfly was named Champion in 2020 and proved himself once again two years later. Rentz's Hijacked owned by Joe and Tricia Rentz and Claudia McNamee and handled by Joe Rentz, was named Runner-Up Champion for his stellar performance. He hit every edge and ran straight to the front with an unproductive at 5 and a stylish find at 39. Jack was named 2022 National Derby Champion and once again proved he is ready to run with the big boys.

Panther Creek Merlin (Rutland) and Top Qualifier Electronic Warefare (Goodwin) were in the 3rd brace of callbacks. Merlin had a divided find at 12 and was picked up at 36. Warfare had clean finds at 12 and 36.

Sedgefield's Legacy (Sedgefields/McDuffie) and Renrav's Mr. Tony's Shag (Varner) came to the line for the 4th brace of callbacks. Legacy was picked up at 39 for being out of pocket too long. Mr. Tony's Shag was ordered up at 25 for failing to be steady.

Millers Upgraded Version (Miller) and BK Ironclad (Sanchez) turned loose on the last morning of the trial for the 5th brace of callbacks. Version had two divided finds at 25, 34, clean finds at 42, 49 and picked up at 79. Ironclad had an unproductive at 18, divided finds at 25, 34, had a find at 44 and picked up.

Miller's Heatwave (Miller) and Neely's Business Man (Neely) were in the 6th brace, the last brace of callbacks. Heatwave had an unproductive at 2, clean finds at 32 and 59 and picked up at 77. Neely was given the tracker at 77.

Purina donates four bags of dog food to the Champion, three bags of dog food to the Runner-Up Champion and two bags of dog food to the Top Qualifying Dog. Garmin donates a tracking collar to the Champion as well as the Runner-Up Champion. Gibson's Furniture and Gifts and Accessories donate the gifts for the judges and the reporter. There can never be enough thanks for the generosity of these sponsors.

Union Springs, Ala., February 22
Judges: George Kimbrell and Kevin Stuart
NATIONAL AMATEUR FREE-FOR-ALL CHAMPIONSHIP [Forty-Five Minute Qualifying Heats; One and One Half Hour Finals] - 56 Pointers, 14 Setters and 1 German Shorthair

Winner--DRAGONFLY, 1669453, pointer male, by The Crowd Pleaser-Miller's Calamity Jane Lady. Jim Hughes, owner and handler.
Runner-Up--RENTZ'S HIJACKED, 1696866, pointer male, by Redland's Jacked Up-F F Bit O'Honey. Joe & Tricia Rentz & Claudia McNamee, owners; Joe Rentz, handler.