Thursday, January 11, 2007
Lester’s Absolute crowned open champion
By Lisa Cole
The annual Fitch Farms-Galena Plantation National Qualifying Open All-Age Field Trial and Derby commenced Dec. 11, 2006 at the popular 7,000-acre estate of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Fitch in Holly Springs. With a prize package worth over $14,000, competitors traveled from all parts of the country to vie for the championship. There were 55 dogs competing in the Open All-Age and 10 entries of the Derby.
This year’s trial was dedicated to Sheriff Kenny Dickerson of Holly Springs. Kenny started quail hunting in Marshall County in 1973 following his assignment as an officer with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. While serving with the Highway Patrol, he was selected as Officer of the Year in 1974 for his heroic action and bravery in the line of duty for the rescue of Curtis Pitner from a burning home. Later he received the Outstanding Mississippian Award from Governor Bill Waller. Sheriff Dickerson graduated from the FBI National Academy in 1984 and was elected Marshall County Sheriff where he is presently in his third term. Most recently he received a Senate Resolution from the Senate of the State of Mississippi and House of Representatives citing Sheriff Dickerson’s heroic action in rescuing 6-year-old Morgan Shaw on July 22, 2006. The Sheriff led an exhausting 24-hour investigation by Mississippi Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies to rescue Morgan, who had been shot and left to die in a Mississippi field. Sheriff Dickerson is not only an asset to Marshall County but an exemplary law enforcement role model for the entire nation. Mr. and Mrs. Fitch were honored to have Sheriff Dickerson accept the dedication.
The Winner’s Circle
Friday, Dec. 15 was a clear cool Mississippi Day. With 56 degrees and a slight breeze moving from the north, it was a perfect weather for a field trial. Paired to compete were Lester’s Absolute, a white and liver pointer male handled by Colvin Davis, and Mississippi Hot Rod, a pointer handled by Mike Johnson. At 1:16 p.m., the dogs took to the first course in search of birds. Running hard to the front, Mississippi Hot Rod skidded on the brakes and pointed a covey near some pines to the right of the course at the five-minute mark. Lester’s Absolute backed respectfully. All was in order. Both dogs raced across the open pasture and came to a halt at the 10-minute mark near a gap to the left of the field. With tail and head high, Lester’s Absolute located the second covey. Mississippi Hot Rod backed respectfully. Shots were fired and all was in order. Six minutes later, Lester’s Absolute handsomely pointed birds on the left side of the field. Mississippi Hot Rock back respectfully. All was in order. The dogs were running hard and searching diligently for more coveys. At the 41-minute mark just before the Armadillo Bottom, Lester’s Absolute came to a screeching halt and nailed another covey. All was in order. A mile and a half away, Lester’s Absolute had his late find at the 57-minute mark near a pine thicket. Birds were flushed and all was in order. It was a great forward race and Lester’s Absolute was statuesque on each point.
The judges declared Hytest Palladin, a setter male handled by Ray Warren of Crofton, Kent., the Derby Champion. Hytest was paired against Big Creek, a pointer male handled by Larry Huffman. They were ready to run Saturday, Dec. 16. It was a sunny afternoon and 50 degrees. The dogs were turned loose on the second course at Wilson Golden Road. Both dogs were running fast to the front. Running at a fast clip, Hytest crossed a shallow creek and sand ditch then came to a halt at the top of a grassy hill. The Setter pointed with style at the 10-minute mark as Big Creek backed. Birds were flushed and all was in order. Five minutes later, both dogs rounded the next hill and pointed a covey near a corn row. Shots were fired and all was in order for the second find. Hytest took off running fast to the front. At the 18-minute mark, the Setter was on point. Big Creek backed respectfully, but no birds were flushed.
Mr. and Mrs. Fitch want to thank everyone who participated and assisted with the trial. Without the efforts of the staff and volunteers, it would not be possible to hold such an endeavor.
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