Here's one worth reading!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rednecks, white socks, and blue ribbon beer. My 1st field trial experience.
I just wanted to share my first field trial experience with you guys. Back in the spring my training partner, who shall remain “anonymous” and referred to herein as “M.L.”, and myself decided that we would train for and enter our first field trial derby. As the owners of two outstanding field trial prospects we were of the opinion that restricting these two “future field champions” to competing in hunt tests exclusively and not allowing them to display their true talents in the field trial circuit would not only be shameful but very much akin to “casting pearls before the swine.”
Neither of us having ever attended any kind of field trial we were clueless as to what we would be facing and really didn’t have any idea how to train for such event. So with the blind leading the blind we started training for our first field trial. Some days our dogs looked mediocre, other days they looked outstanding, yet while other days they were less than desirable. Eventually our young dogs started looking really good, at least to us they did. Before long our dogs were picking up marks, with consistency, from as far away as 400 yards!
Every day that we trained the conversation would always seem to turn to “What do you think these filed trial folks will be like?” or “Reckon what they will think about us?” and M.L. would always say “I hope that we’re not the only two rednecks there.”
Finally the big day came. While I was driving to the field trial I was thinking how out of place M.L. and myself will surely be around a bunch of pro dog trainers and field trial folks. It kinda made me think that when I return to my next hunt test I’ll more than likely be singing the lyrics to the blue ribbon beer song… “No, we don’t fit in with that white collar crowd, We’re a little too rowdy and a little too loud, There’s no place that I’d rather be than right here, Rednecks, white socks and blue ribbon beer.”
We arrived at the field trial site bright and early and finally found the derby stake. I must admit that it was somewhat of a surprise to me that the gallery was so small, only about 5 or six folks in the gallery. We were quickly informed that, although we were in the correct location, we were actually watching the “Q” and that the judges judging the “Q” would judge the derby later in the day. We decided to sit and watch and take notes. M.L. and I were a little concerned over the fact that we didn’t have white field trial jackets but instead were adorned in our hunt test camo and might not really fit in with the field trial crowd.
It appeared that ALL of the field trailers knew each other and NOBODY knew M.L. or me. The field trial folks were quick to greet M.L. and myself and we received inquiries such as “Do you have a dog running today?”, “where are you fellows from?”, and my personal favorite “So you run field trials?” We were quick to point out that “yes, we are running our dog’s in the derby today.” After that statement it seemed that every time someone else joined the gallery some one would say “this is M.L. and Lonnie Spann, they are running their dogs in the derby today” or “… they are running their first derby today” but judging by looks on their faces I can assure you that what they were really saying was “hey these two rednecks are running their first derby today, you’ve got to stay and watch this sh!t.”
After about an hour and a half of watching the Q one of the ladies in the gallery, which had grown to about ten people by now, got up and walked into the woods behind us. I heard the rustle in the leaves and turned around, however, M.L. says “you might not want to look back there, I think she is using the bathroom!” I really didn’t expect this at a field trial! I was not offended, just surprised. About half way through the qualifier the sun came out and things heated up rather quickly you could see folks shedding coats, jackets, and various other layers of clothing and I looked over to my left only three chairs away and I noticed that one fellow had removed his shirt and was basking in the sun! I immediately looked at M.L. and said “AND YOU THOUGHT THAT WE WERE GOING TO BE THE ONLY REDNECKS HERE TODAY!” Well, after basking in the sun for an hour or so, this fellow decides it’s time to answer Mother Nature’s call. He stands up, walksa distance of about 6-8 feet behind the gallery and “lets it all hang out.” I look over at M.L., who by the way, is grinning like a mule eating briars, and just when I am about to say something to M.L., this guy relieves himself of quite a large amount of highly pressurized flatulence! I might add that he did this so loud that had we have been at an HRC hunt test I think the bird boys would have thrown a bird thinking it was the handler’s duck call signaling the beginning of the test!
Finally the Q is over and it is time to let our dogs shine. Now, feeling much more comfortable and not so out of place in the field trial environment, M.L. and I finally get to face the moment of truth. I get to go first. The first bird is maybe 250 yards across a dried-up fish pond and in line with an oak tree, the second bird was to the left and at 389 yards in a rolling pasture. I go to the line and motion that I am ready for the birds. The bird on the right comes up and a shot rings out, my dog Jack nails the mark, I’m thinking hell yea, the Jack turns to the left looks at the gunners in the distant horizon awaiting the second bird, then he turns back to the first bird! I am thinking NO! Then I see the second bird come up and it falls, then a couple of seconds later you hear boom, boom. Jack turns back to the second bird but it is too late, the bird is already on the ground. I sent Jack on the first mark and he went straight to it picked it up and delivered it straight back to me. I was so proud. Then I sent him for the second bird, he ran out there about 150 – 200 yards and started drifting toward the first bird and it quickly went down hill from there. So I picked up one bird in my first derby. M.L. and I decided that maybe we would just stick with hunt tests and forget about the field trials.
Saturday afternoon I went over to M.L.’s family’s farm to train. M.L. said that he would have everything set up before I got there. When I finally arrived and M.L. showed me the setup guess what it was…derby marks! Our dogs aren’t yet two years old so who knows, you guys might just have the pleasure of running a derby or two with us this fall.
All things said and done, I would certainly run a derby again and regardless of what some people might think, I believe that the field trailers and the hunt test folks are pretty much cut from the same pattern. Perhaps you could change one word in the song lyrics and it might fit the field trial crowd a little better “No, we don’t fit in with that blue collar crowd, We’re a little too rowdy and a little too loud, There’s no place that I’d rather be than right here, Rednecks, white socks and blue ribbon beer.”