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!
| Tailored for the Sporting Lifestyle |
Written by guest blogger: Meghan Lodge
As many of you hunters know, no two sporting dogs are the same, even within the same breed. Some just have an amazing drive to perform and will perform their tasks with precision and a confident grace that makes your chest swell with pride. Others may not operate as smoothly, but still get the job done. Then there’s that select few – the eccentric failed sporting dog that thinks flushing a bird is barking at it until it flies away and retrieving is an exercise game for the owner. My Remi darling falls in the latter category, for sure!
Remi was a rambunctious and mischievous adolescent Boykin Spaniel known as Madison when we met her. Her first owners weren’t prepared for her boundless energy or penchant for hunting moles in the backyard. We adopted her, and my husband renamed her “Remington High Brass” after the only shell his father’s beloved 16 gauge shot gun would shoot. He clearly had high aspirations for her to be a fine bird dog.
It’s true – you can teach an old dog new tricks, but you sure can’t teach drive or passion! Remi took to chasing bumpers and balls across the yard like a champ, but her only aspiration was to pounce and “kill” it rather than bring it back. The first time she heard a gunshot, she dropped her ears and peed. She’s also not very fond of the tractors that are in the neighboring fields every plowing and harvest season. We won’t even discuss staying quiet (or still) in a hunting scenario!
If you have never heard of a Boykin Spaniel, you probably also haven’t heard their slew of nicknames, which includes “swamp poodle” and “little brown dog.” One attribute these little spaniel darlings often share (Remi included) is their ability to not rock the boat…literally. Small and lithe, Remi makes an excellent car passenger. She finds her spot and doesn’t move until we arrive at our destination. On a boat, she is content to sit or lie down and watch the clouds float by over the water. On her favorite place, the couch, she curls into the smallest ball, making her an excellent TV watching companion.
I guess you could say Remi is from the “other side” of sporting breeds. Although she’s no hunter, she has lots of energy and a great personality, making her a wonderful and fun family dog, traits that sporting dogs all share – at least, all the ones I’ve ever met! We were thrilled she won the Kevin’s Catalog contest, representing the Boykin Spaniel proudly on the front cover. She certainly hammed it up for the photography crew!
**Kevin’s note: We were thrilled to have Remi on our cover too! In fact, we received so much great press about her we invited Meghan, her owner to tell us a little more about her!
About Meghan – our guest blogger!
Meghan Lodge is a Thomas County native that grew up barefoot in the country and enjoyed early summer mornings with a fishing pole and her dog. She enjoys fishing, deer hunting, and bird watching. She lives with her husband and their two dogs and cats. They are expecting their first child this February. She is a contributing blogger with Dogster http://www.dogster.com/author/meghan-lodge and has her own blog http://www.ohmypibbles.blogspot.com/ dedicated to pit bull advocacy and other animal issues.