Do your dogs have what it takes to be the best of the best? Want to cheer
on some of the top dogs in the nation? Meet Circle of Champions and
Purina Sporting Dog Award winners
A confident, hardworking black Labrador Retriever called “Flex” powered through his first field trial season, acquiring 55 points and winning 13 Derby stakes to secure the Purina Outstanding Derby Field Trial Retriever Award. Flawless Execution – FLEX, who is co-owned by Johnny and Kathy Armstrong of Winston Salem, North Carolina, with Jane McCullough of Chester, Maryland, finished his Derby career with 95 points. “Flex is steady and focused on the line.
Turning heads with his large sculpted muscular body, gorgeous coat and thoughtful expression at bench shows across the country, a Bluetick Coonhound called “Moon” captured the 2016 Purina Outstanding Bench Show Coonhound Award. NITE CH CCH GR CH ‘PR’ Southern Flame Bad Moon Rising earned 170 points from 17 bench shows during the yearlong program. This win brings handler Michael Seets of Stonefort, Illinois, closer to his goal of winning the Purina Award with all seven coonhound breeds registered by the United Kennel Club.
A straight-tracking hound named “Adri” proved her keen desire to follow the rabbit’s scent by winning the 44th annual Purina Outstanding Field Trial Brace Beagle Award. The 2-year-old 13-inch tricolor female Beagle gave owner-handler Ben Smith of Vale, North Carolina, his first Purina Award in the sport that has his been his passion for more than 40 years. FCB Major Hill Miss Adri shot to the front of the competition at the last of six Federation field trials by winning her class.
A once-in-a-lifetime honor was bestowed on Jack Ruppe of Cowpens, South Carolina, when his 1-year-old 15-inch lemon-and-white male Beagle “Dillon” tracked to the front of the competition to win the 12th annual Purina Brace Beagle Derby Award. After more than 40 years in the sport of brace beagling, Ruppe was thrilled to win his first Purina Award. Handled by pros Bob and Lynette Coil of Bulls Gap, Tennessee, Ruppe’s Super Dillon showed his keen ability to track a rabbit by winning his class at the Mid-Dixie, Heartland and International Derby field trials.
Edging out the competition, a 15-inch red-and-white female Beagle named “Consuela” masterfully won the 12th annual Purina Brace Beagle Champion Award. Taking the lead midway through the competition, FCB Sunshine Consuela dominated with her slow and methodical rabbit-tracking style. Co-owners Pete Proctor of Vale, North Carolina, and Dennis Tressler of Valencia, Pennsylvania, took turns handling the 2 ½-year-old hound to her wins at the Mid-Dixie and Coraopolis Field Champion trials. Consuela placed second at the Loraine County Field Champion trial.
An independent, hardworking hound called “Mickie” led the pack to capture the prestigious 17th annual Purina Outstanding SPO Field Trial Beagle Award, a first for owners-handlers Joe Piercey of La Vergne, Tennessee, and Mike Reynolds of Readyville, Tennessee. FCGD Star R Mickie E, a 13-inch female, earned 168 points throughout the yearlong competition, more than 30 points ahead of the second-place finisher, having won five Purina Point field trials and placing in seven.
“Bullet” snagged his second consecutive Purina Outstanding Open Retriever Award, earning 52 points during the yearlong competition. NFC-AFC Robbers’ Stray Bullet’s achievement also marked a three-peat for handler Alan Pleasant of Black River Retrievers in Angier, North Carolina, who won in 2014 with Bullet and in 2013 with “Cane” (FC-AFC Ragin Eye Of The Storm). “Bullet is an exceptional marker and consistent on land and in water. He’s a total team player,” he says.
A Treeing Walker Coonhound named “Dennis” stood out for his independence and accuracy at nite hunts across the country as the winner of the esteemed 35th annual Purina Outstanding Nite Hunt Coonhound Award. It was a tight race for GR CH GR NITE CH ‘PR’ Ashby’s Salt River Dennis, who inched ahead of the second-place finisher by one cast win for a total of nine, earning 500 points. The 8-year-old tricolor male gifted owner-handler Doug Keaton of Culloden, West Virginia, with his first Purina Award, who says, “Dennis has a lot of heart.
Bold and powerful, “Clooney” charged through 30 field trials to capture the Purina Outstanding Derby Retriever Award with 62 points in the yearlong competition. Seaside’s Gorgeous George, owned by breeders Frank and Rita Jones of Vernon, Florida, and trained in part by Jason Baker of Baker Retrievers in Lincolnton, Georgia, finished his Derby career with 75 points and 10 wins. “Clooney is a fast learner and team player that’s always willing to please,” says Rita Jones, who handles the 2 ½-year-old male.
Turning heads with his gorgeous mahogany head, black-blanket back, and white “cat” feet at bench shows across the country, a Treeing Walker Coonhound called “Rock” became the first three-time winner of the Purina Outstanding Bench Show Coonhound Award in the 12-year history of the program. CCH GR WCH GR NITE CH GR CH ‘PR’ Preacher John the Rock earned 210 points from 21 bench shows during the yearlong race, finishing 50 points ahead of the runner-up. “Rock gave 110 percent at every show,” says handler Michael Seets, who co-owns the dog with his wife, Myra, of Stonefort, Illinois.
A quick learner and enthusiastic competitor, “Tubb” powered through 17 Amateur stakes to capture the Purina Outstanding Amateur Retriever Award with 36 points in the yearlong competition. Bred by Ken and Brenda Neil of Jupiter, Florida, NAFC-FC Texas Troubador is owned by John and Martha Russell of Gainesville, Texas. “Tubb has been impressive from the get-go,” says Martha Russell, who handled the 7-year-old male to four wins last year, as well as the final series of the 2015 National Amateur Retriever Championship in Ronan, Montana.