Awards & Recognition

Awards & Recognition

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Purina Sporting Dog Award winners

Dog Articles

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Securing his 10th Purina Handler Award in the program’s 28-year history, third-generation professional handler Mike Tracy of Glenville, Pennsylvania, is the 2015-2016 Purina Top Shooting Dog Handler. Tracy is narrowing the gap for the record number of Purina Top Shooting Dog Handler Awards won between him and his father, George Tracy, who has tallied 12. During the 2015-2016 season, Mike Tracy and his eight-dog string dominated the shooting dog circuit with 12 wins from 20 placements out of 26 Purina Point-earning field trials entered, garnering 2,676 points.

Stylishly and reliably on her A-game throughout the 2015-2016 season, a 2-year-old Pointer called “Dot” captured the fourth annual Purina Top Shooting Dog Derby Award. Rentz’s Fire and Ice, a white-and-liver female, presented pro handler Jeanette Tracy of Glenville, Pennsylvania, with her first Purina Award. Tracy, notably the first female winner in the Purina Shooting Dog Award program’s 34-year history, says, “Dot is a dependable dog.

Capping a yearlong race that was neck-and-neck until the end, a confident and competitive Pointer called “Cliff” came out on top to win the 34th annual Purina Top Shooting Dog Award. The 7-year-old white-and-liver male, officially known as World Class Cliff, clinched the award with 1,535 points, just 20 points ahead of the second-place finisher. Handled by pro Stacy Perkins of Crestline, Kansas, Cliff is co-owned by Mick Marietta and Brian Hamilton of Pittsburg, Kansas, and Bill Cignetti of Frontenac, Kansas. “Cliff has a lot of brains and bird-finding ability,” Hamilton says.

A 3-year-old white-and-liver male Pointer called “Patch” commanded the all-age circuit this past season, notably including an impressive win at the 2016 National Championship for Field Trialing Bird Dogs, to capture the 53rd annual Purina Top Field Trial Bird Dog Award. Outperforming 105 dogs, CH Whippoorwill Justified had six point-earning placements, tallying 2,082 points, during the yearlong race. Patch gifted owner Ronnie Spears of Jacksonville, Arkansas, and pro handler Larry Huffman of Michigan City, Mississippi, with their first Purina Award.

Pro Luke Eisenhart of Albany, Georgia, reigns as the 2015-2016 Purina Top All-Age Handler, his fourth Purina Handler Award in the past five seasons. Eisenhart and his eight-dog string ruled the all-age circuit during the yearlong program, placing in 14 all-age horseback stakes and garnering 2,536 points. “One man doesn’t win the Purina Award on his own.

A small dog with a big heart, “Pat” more than sized up to the competition by placing in every derby all-age horseback stake he was entered, earning 944 points and outperforming 43 dogs, to capture the fourth annual Purina Derby Top Field Trial Bird Dog Award.

Not your average “Joe,” a 3-year-old Pointer was hospitalized a few nights halfway through the 2015-2016 season due to swelling in the throat caused by a virus, but overcame all odds and bounced back to win the ninth annual Purina Amateur Top Field Trial Bird Dog Award. Owner-trainer Larry Smith of Pleasant Hill, Iowa, handled CH S F Bandwagon to placements in nine all-age horseback stakes across six states, tallying 1,106 points and outperforming 83 dogs earning points this past season.

A consistently accurate rabbit-tracking hound named “Brave,” owned and handled by Alfie Williams of Finleyville, Pennsylvania, outshined the competition to win the 43rd annual Purina Award for the Outstanding Field Trial Brace Beagle. The 2-year-old 13-inch tricolor male Beagle clinched the coveted award by winning his class at the last of six Federation field trials. Williams attributes his success with FCB Sun-Dell Lil Brave to the hound’s easygoing style and intent focus when tracking. “It truly has been an outstanding year,” Williams says.

A 1-year-old 13-inch tricolor male Beagle called “BJ” wowed to win the 11th annual Purina Brace Beagle Derby Award. FCB Veteran’s BJ was trained by breeder-owner Bill Pope of Bessemer, North Carolina, who, after 58 years in the sport, credits his special hound and partnership with Hall of Fame beagler Russ Arend of Macclenny, Florida, with his winning the prestigious award. “BJ is something out of the ordinary,” Pope says. “You don’t see dogs like him every day.

For the second consecutive year, a 13-inch tricolor Beagle called “Aesop” captured the Purina Award for the Outstanding SPO Field Trial Beagle. Earning 238 points in the yearlong competition, FCGD Cable’s Aesop is the first repeat winner in the 16-year history of the Purina Award. The 6-year-old hound, with owner-handler John Cable of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, won 14 field trials and placed in 24 of the 30 Purina sponsored field trials. “Aesop’s greatest quality is consistency,” Cable says.

A 7-year-old male Labrador Retriever called “Bullet” captured the 2014 Purina Outstanding Open All-Age Retriever Award by earning 60 points in the yearlong competition. Winning seven of the eight trials during the spring, NFC-AFC Robbers’ Stray Bullet wrapped up the year by taking first at the 2014 National Open Retriever Championship in November in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Qualifying for all-age competition at just 15 months of age, Bullet earned his FC-AFC title by age 3 and was a 2013 National Open Finalist and 2014 National Amateur Finalist.

A small but powerful white-and-lemon English Coonhound called “Dixie” won the Purina Outstanding Nite Hunt Coonhound Award, becoming the first English female to win in the award’s 34-year history. GR NITE CH ‘PR’ Moores Hardtime Dixie, who is 6 years old, is handled by pro Jody Jessup of Rural Hall, North Carolina, a six-time Purina Award winner. “Dixie’s natural hunting ability, tenacity and athleticism contributed to this win,” Jessup says.