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? Track the current Purina® Pro Plan® Champions Cup
standings and review past winners in the Circle of Champions and the Purina Awards.

Dog Articles

93 Results

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.

The winner of the inaugural Purina Derby Top Field Trial Bird Dog Award is a 2-year-old liver-and-white male Pointer called “Hawk.” Earning 2,318 points, Game Strut, as the dog officially is known, won the National Derby Championship and the All-American Derby Championship and was Runner-Up Champion at the Georgia Derby Championship. Hawk is co-owned by Vick Etheridge of Corinth, Miss., and Steve Scott of Hartford, Ala.

A 5-year-old white-and-liver female Pointer, called “Mae,” captured the Purina Amateur Top Field Trial Bird Dog Award earning 1,085 points, which included winning two Amateur Championships and one Runner-Up Championship. Breeder-owner-handler Cecil Rester of Angie, La., describes Rester’s Fannie Mae “as the best bird dog I’ve ever had.” A competitor in amateur stakes since 1976, Rester says, “Bird dogs must have bird sense, and Mae was born with it.” Rester also credits his wife, Holly, who helps raise and socialize puppies, for the success.

Mike Tracy Wins Seventh Purina Top Shooting Dog Handler Award

Professional handler Mike Tracy of Glenville, Pa., captured his seventh Purina Top Shooting Dog Handler Award. With a string of 13 dogs, Tracy won a personal best 13 champion­ships and totaled 5,545 points.

Our Big Bully Is Purina Top Shooting Dog

A 5-year-old white-and-liver male Pointer, Our Big Bully, owned by Erwin and Karen Saniga of Nottingham, Pa., and handled by Mike Tracy of Summerhill Kennels in Glenville, Pa., rallied from 32 points behind the leader going into the final trial of the 2011-2012 season to win the Purina Top Shooting Dog Award.

With six bird finds in the Canadian Open Shooting Dog Championship in May in Ontario, Big scored 240 points and finished the season with 2,718 points.

‘Pepper’ Is Purina Top Amateur Shooting Dog

Through consistent performances, a 5-year-old white-and-black female Pointer named Neely’s Hot Pepper accumulated 10 placements and 2,155 points to capture the Purina Top Amateur Shooting Dog Award.

Connor’s EZ Button Wins Purina Top Field Trial Bird Dog Award

The 5-year-old white-and-orange male Pointer, Connor’s EZ Button, called “Button,” is the winner of the Purina Top Field Trial Bird Dog Award. A stylish, big-running dog, Button tallied 2,515 points. He won five open champion­ships, two of which were three-hour stakes.

“I think Button’s winning those two endur­ance trials — the Quail Championship Invitational and the National Championship — speaks the loudest,” says owner David O’Connor of Bullard, Texas.

In his first year since converting to all-age field trials from shooting dog competition, professional handler Luke Eisenhart of Tiskilwa, Ill., won the Purina Top All-Age Handler Award with 3,656 points. He captured 22 field trial wins with 11 dogs.

A 2-year-old white-and-liver female Pointer called “Zeva” is the winner of the inaugural Purina Top Shooting Dog Derby Award. Earning 1,319 points, Awsum Country Girl, as she is officially known, won the National Shooting Dog Derby Championship, the U.S. Quail Shooting Dog Futurity and three Derby Classics under professional handler George Tracy of Glenville, Pa. She is the first Purina Award winner for owners Bill and Margie Ricci of Powhatan, Va. “Zeva is a stylish dog with tremendous bird-finding ability,” says Bill Ricci, who did the early training on the precocious bird dog.

FC Elder’s Rebel Run Major, a 7 1/2-year-old 15-inch tricolor male Beagle, recently was honored as the 13th annual Purina Outstanding Small Pack Option Beagle out of 4,600 hounds competing for the honor.

“Major” won 10 field trials and placed in 19 of the 20 Purina Point field trials he entered, accumulating 72 points. Owner-handler John Elder Jr. says it was Major’s “Good line control, super nose and keen intelligence to work with confidence when tracking a rabbit” that led to his winning the prestigious Purina award.

“Aero is just a wonderful dog for an amateur to own,” says co-owner David Furin. “He has a calm, focused disposition when he’s going to the line, and his work ethic is fantastic. He’s the same dog every day.”


A 4-year-old male English Coonhound, CH GR NITE CH ‘PR’ Halies Red River (“Red”), was honored as the 2011 Purina Outstanding Nite Hunt Coonhound. During the 31st annual competition, Red earned 600 points from 15 of 23 events.

It was co-owner Jody Jessup’s fourth consecutive year to handle the Purina Award winner. “This fourth award is the most special to me,” Jessup says, “because Red is mine and my wife’s dog.”