Awards & Recognition

Awards & Recognition

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

Dog Articles

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A 2-year-old white and orange-ticked female Pointer, Dazzling, is the winner of the second annual Purina Derby Top Field Trial Bird Dog Award. Co-owned by Thorpe McKenzie and Bob Walthall of Tallahassee, Florida, and handled by professional Steve Hurdle of Hickory Flat, Mississippi, “May” earned 840 points, which included winning the Sunflower Classic Open Derby and Georgia Open Derby Championship and taking second in the Hobart Ames Open Derby and the Carroll County Open Derby. She was sired by the 2008 National Champion Whippoorwill Wild Agin. Walthall and McKenzie are longtime friends.

A 5-year-old white-and-orange female Pointer, Cocklebur Treasure Quest, is the 2013-2014 Purina Amateur Top Field Trial Bird Dog. The first bird dog for owners Bubba and Amy Spencer of Medon, Tennessee, “Ellie” earned an impressive 1,274 points to win the seventh annual Purina Award. “Ellie is a very smart and logical dog who is consistent and predictable,” says Bubba Spencer. Newcomers to the sport, Bubba and Amy Spencer together trained Ellie, learning as they went along.

“Duke,” the 2012-2013 Purina SPO Beagle Award winner, is “a genuine rabbit dog who always gives 110 percent,” says co-owner and handler Jay Long of Sunbury, Pa. The 5-year-old 13-inch tricolored male hound proved his keen ability totrack a rabbit by winning eight field trials and placing in 21 of the 23 events he competed in. FC GD Shady Boy Gooch’s & Brinsky’s Lil Duke won the 14th annual award by outperforming 4,800 Beagles. He is co-owned by Gino Casseri of Warsaw, N.Y., and Eddie Gooch of Franklinton, N.C. Duke is fed Purina Pro Plan SPORT Performance 30/20 Formula.

A 7-year-old black male Labrador Retriever called “Pete” is the 2012-2013 Purina Open All-Age Retriever. NFC-AFC Seaside’s Pelican Pete, who was handled by Steve Yozamp of Kimball, Minn., earned 43.5 Open points plus 5 bonus points as the winner of the 2012-2013 National Open Stake. Winning the Purina Award with Pete was a dream come true for owner Robert Zylla of St. Cloud, Minn. ”Pete had a phenomenal year,” Zylla says.

Although small for her breed, a 3-year-old female Treeing Walker, called “Flirt,” dominated the 32nd annual Purina Nite Hunt Award competition.

The 2012-2013 Purina Outstanding Derby Dog is a 2-year-old black male Labrador Retriever named Aarrow. Owned and trained by Barton Clark of Harrington, Del., Aarrow had a phenomenal year, earning 10 wins and 20 placements. “He’s a happy dog, and a great dog to work with,” says Clark, who has competed in retriever trials since 1985. “He’s one of those dogs with a great personality, who’s good with everybody and has the genes and talent to go with it.” Looking forward to Aarrow’s All-Age career, Clark says, “He already won an Amateur this year.” That Amateur Stake was won in Savannah, Ga.

Flashy good looks helped a 2-year-old male Treeing Walker, called “Rock,” win the ninth annual Purina Bench Show Award. Handler Michael Seets of Stonefort, Ill., who co-owns Rock with his wife, Myra, knew he had “a diamond in the rough” when he first saw the hound at 14 months old. A three-time Purina Award winner, Seets began practicing with Rock at fairgrounds before shows, turning him into a winner who outperformed 2,033 hounds. WCH NITE CH GR CH ‘PR’ Preachers John the Rock took five state championships and the American Coon Hunters Association World Show.

A 5-year-old black male Labrador Retriever called “Nike” captured the 2012-2013 Purina Outstanding Amateur Retriever Award, earning 42 points, which includes seven Amateur wins. “Nike is the best dog I’ve ever had, no question,” says owner Paul Foster of Medford, Ore., who ran his first dog in 1943. “He won this first field trial on his first birthday and went on from there. He’s a superb marker with intensity and drive.” AFC Rockliffs Justdoit entered 18 trials and finished 14, tallying seven wins and 10 placements.

Professional handler Mike Tracy of Glenville, Pa., won his eighth Purina Top Shooting Dog Handler of the Year Award with 15 dogs that earned 34 point placements. The Purina Top Shooting Dog Award winner, Great River Ice, captured the majority of the winning, with 11 placements, including five Championships and four Runner-Up Championships. Other prominent Championship winners were Calico’s Touch of Class, Richfield Finnegan, Richfield Silver Lining and Octavio. A third generation professional handler, Tracy grew up in the shooting dog sport.

Six-year-old white-and-orange male Pointer, “Ice” proved his amazing talents as the winner of the 2012-2013 Purina Top Shooting Dog Award. Co-owned by a father and son, Joaquin “Jack” and Brian Sanchez of Greater River Kennels in Central Islip, N.Y., Ice earned 4,185 points, the second highest ever recorded in the Open competition.

A stylish, big-running male Pointer called “Colt” is the 2012-2013 Purina Top Field Trial Bird Dog. Formally known as Stallion, the 4-year-old liver-and-white Pointer, who was handled by Tommy Davis of Dawson, Ga., earned 2,087 points to capture the Purina Award. Colt, who won four Open All-Age Championships and one Runner-Up Championship, is the first Purina Award winner for the father-son co-owners, Dr. Davey Deal and Dr. Ron Deal of Chickasaw Kennels in Macon, Ga. “This means so much to win this award,” says Davey Deal.

Professional handler Luke Eisenhart of Tiskilwa, Ill., is the Purina Top All-Age Handler of the Year for the second consecutive year. Eisenhart handled a string of 10 dogs to 21 point-earning placements, earning 3,214 points. “At the start of the year, I kept getting seconds and thirds,” he says. “The last half of the season things just came together.” Eisenhart comes from a prominent bird dog family. His maternal grandfather, the late Gerald Tracy, handled the first Purina Top Shooting Dog in 1983, and his uncle, George Tracy, has won a record 11 Purina Top Shooting Dog Handler Awards.