2019-01-09 / Front Page

116th Field Trials Kickoff

DIANA ROYAL


The winners of the Georgia Derby Championship were announced on Monday afternoon. At left, Erin’s Lonestar Law, a pointer male and shown by Luke Eisenhart, was crowned champion, and at right, Dogwood Bill, also a pointer male and handled by Scott Jordan, was named the runner up. Pictured are, standing, from left, GAFTA Secretary Nell Mobley, Sean Derrig, John Ray Kimbrell, Mary Kimbrell, Marge Ricci, Bill Ricci, Lynn Oxendine (judge), Mark Haynes, Joe Bush, Gary Futch and Mike Jackson (judge). The winners of the Georgia Derby Championship were announced on Monday afternoon. At left, Erin’s Lonestar Law, a pointer male and shown by Luke Eisenhart, was crowned champion, and at right, Dogwood Bill, also a pointer male and handled by Scott Jordan, was named the runner up. Pictured are, standing, from left, GAFTA Secretary Nell Mobley, Sean Derrig, John Ray Kimbrell, Mary Kimbrell, Marge Ricci, Bill Ricci, Lynn Oxendine (judge), Mark Haynes, Joe Bush, Gary Futch and Mike Jackson (judge). The first winners circle has been revealed, but there are a few weeks remaining in a longtime tradition that helped put Waynesboro on the map.

Fifty-five dogs qualified for the first stake in the 2019 Georgia Field Trials competition, the Georgia Derby Championship, which kicked off on Jan. 2 at Di-Lane Plantation, and the champion was crowned on Monday afternoon. Erin’s Lonestar Law, a pointer male shown by Luke Eisenhart and owned by Sean Derrig of Chicago, took the top nods, and the runner-up was Dogwood Bill, also a pointer male, owned by Dogwood Plantation of Bronwood and handled by Scott Jordan.

This particular stake is quite prestigious, as it’s one of only a few in the world that allows younger dogs, aged two years and under, to qualify for the national championship.

Known as the Bird Dog Capitol of the World, Waynesboro has hosted the trials for the last 116 years, welcoming field trialers from all over the globe as they participate in the derby championship, as well as the three other stakes offered on Burke County soil: the Georgia Quail Championship, the Georgia Derby Classic and the Georgia Open Shooting Dog Championship, each with its own set of rules and qualifications.

Nell Mobley, who serves as secretary for the Georgia Field Trials Association, says the trials are not just a boost to the local economy but are an institution deeply rooted in the community. “The field trials bring in visitors every year, people who enjoy Waynesboro and the way our contest is run, and they come back, year after year af- ter year,” Mobley said. “But it’s not just our visitors who are involved – our community is very active as well. It’s a tradition shared between us all.”

By Monday afternoon, the dogs were back at it, this time competing in the Georgia Quail Championship, which is open to all ages. Thirty-six dogs qualified for the stake, which will end on Thursday afternoon and is being judged by Mike Jackson of Battle Ground, Ind., and Buck Daniels of Midville. These dogs qualify by either winning another recognized derby or an all-age championship.

Following will be the Georgia Derby Classic, set to begin Friday, Jan. 11. The 31 dogs participating are younger dogs who’ve won either an open or amateur stake. First, second and third place will be awarded on Sunday morning, Jan. 13, by judges Tommy Walker of Gay and Harold Johnson of Shorter, Ala.

The trials will wrap up with what’s usually the largest stake in the nation – the Georgia Open Shooting Dog Championship, set to begin Sunday afternoon and end Friday, Jan. 18. Fiftyseven dogs have qualified for the competition, and judges are Walker and Johnson.

Get On POINT at the Georgia Field Trials

The Burke County Chamber of Commerce invites the public to its annual On POINT Family Day, to be held this Saturday, Jan. 12, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event, which is free, offers a rare opportunity to see champion bird dogs and their professional trainers up close. A live demonstration is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. and many outdoor activities are planned with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the National Wildlife Turkey Federation. There will also be wagon rides to the bird dog cemetery throughout event.

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