Every President’s Day, a 99 year tradition takes place on a member plantation of the Georgia Florida Field Trial Club in the Red Hills Region. Members gather to celebrate their wild coveys of quail, family friendships and rivalries that have spanned generations, and most importantly, their beloved bird dogs.
Since 1916, Club members have come outfitted in their finest, from riding boots to the feathers in their hats. Even their handsome wooden quail wagons are shined for the occasion. While there are many member spectators, only 24 member plantations can run a dog, split up into twelve braces of two. Imagine a day long hunt with plantation owners mounted in wagons and on horses underneath tall pines and amongst the wiregrass, competing to take home the coveted title of best bird dog. Two judges, one from the Club and a non-member, set out on their horses with the gallery to judge the best pointer. The judges count and score each dog’s points and honored points over a thirty minute window. As a point occurs, the dog’s owner shoots a favorite gun in the air to break the covey and move the dog on.
Midday, everyone breaks for lunch on a scenic piece of the plantation where the Club dines under a massive white tent and speculates on who has brought the best dog. After lunch, the Club parades back into the pines where the second group of bird dogs perform. After the last brace, the Club makes their way back to the tent where the winners are announced and the plantation owners with the top three dogs are awarded trophies.
Congratulations to this year’s winner! 1st Place: Kathy Folsom, 2nd Place: New Hope Plantation and 3rd Place: Melrose Plantation.
Kevin’s salutes the Georgia Florida Field Trial Club for the traditions they’ve upheld for over a century. They’re fine stewards of the land, love the wildlife and working animals that make it enjoyable, and make running around in the woods fashionable – a few of our favorite things!
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