Field Trial National Championship to begin in West Tennessee

HARDEMAN COUNTY, Tenn. — The United State’s longest running sports competition starts next week in Hardeman County.

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The 2023 Field Trial National Championship is held north of Grand Junction every year at Ames Plantation. This competition has been going on for 124 years in the country.

The event sees dog breeders and handlers from all over the US and Canada come to West Tennessee to compete in a field trial.

“We have to qualify to get here. We have to have two first place to qualify, either a championship or a national qualifying open win. And then after they’re qualified, you just need a placement in one of those events to get back here for the next year. So basically, here at Grand Junction, this is our Super Bowl,” said Randy Anderson, a Professional Dog Trainer and Handler.

The field trial works by having two dogs, usually English Pointers or English Setters, compete against one another in what is called a Brace.

Each dog will be judged by finding a covey of quail and then pointing it.

The handlers will then walk over to the dogs while they point and fire a blank round into the air to simulate a hunt, and the dog must remain perfectly still for a specific amount of time after the shot.

After this, the dog will seek another covey. During the trial, judges will be present and taking notes.

“So it’s judged on range, and to seek and find birds, and style around his game, and all of the opinion of a qualified person in the judges saddle,” Anderson said.

The handlers will run the dogs for a three hour competition. One thing a dog must have is the stamina to last for that amount of time. This is another criteria the judges will look at.

“It takes a lot of dog, you know, a strong dog to go three hours. And we’re talking about, you know, down in the middle of the course, it’s 15 miles. Approximately, 15 to 17 miles, and you know, that dog is probably doubling or tripling that in that three hours,” Anderson said.

The national championship will be held at Ames Plantation next Monday through Saturday at 8 a.m.

You can read more about the competition here.

Find more local news here.

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