Meet Miller's Blindsider, Sam, 2022-2023 Open All Age Bird Dog of the Year
National Championship, other major championship wins highlight phenomenal year
Sam is fueled by Purina® Pro Plan® Performance 30/20
The first time Jamie Daniels laid eyes on a 1-year-old orange and white English Pointer, named Miller’s Blindsider [“Sam”], he knew the dog was special.
“It was 2017,” recalls Jamie, a longtime bird dog trainer and professional handler from Dawson, Georgia. “We were on the prairie in South Dakota and Sam just stood out,” Jamie recalls. “You see it, and you know it. You can’t teach that. You can’t train that. You can’t even explain it. This dog just had it.”
Jamie wasted no time calling Sam’s soon-to-be owner, Nick Berrong, of Maryville, Tennessee.
“Jamie said, ‘Nick, I’ve got one here and he’s the real deal,’” Nick remembers. “That was good enough for me. Jamie knows and loves bird dogs. He can train bird dogs. And he was right. It wasn’t long and Sam won the National Derby Championship in 2018 at 21 months old. He’s always been a handful. But Jamie and Sam put it all together in 2023. Sam is just a special dog.”
Miller’s Blindsider – Sam – is the 2023 National Bird Dog Champion and 2022-23 Purina Open All-Age Dog of the Year. Sam earned 1,940 points as reported by the American Field to top all competitors. Sam had wins at the Clarksville Pointer and Setter Classic, the National Championship, The Master’s Quail Championship, the Missouri Open Championship, and was runner-up at the Georgia Quail Championship.
Bred by Fran and Jack Miller of Barwick, Georgia, and whelped June 1, 2016, Sam was sired by the recent Bird Dog Hall of Fame inductee, Just Irresistible, and is out of Miller’s Bring The Heat.
“The Miller’s said they named him Blindsider because ‘nobody’s going to see him coming – he’s going to Blindside ‘em.’” Jamie says. “They named him right.”
Jamie calls Sam a “one-percenter” – the complete package. “They act like they’ve been there before, like it’s their second trip around the sun. He loves being loved on. He’s just a neat, fun dog and we’re very fortunate to have him.”
The 2023 National Bird Dog Championship
The Super Bowl of Bird Dog Field Trials is held each February at hallowed ground known as Ames Plantation in Grand Junction, Tennessee.
On the second day of competition and third brace of the 124th running of the National Championship, Miller’s Blindsider was turned loose for the breakaway. Sam started with a bang, slamming on point just four minutes into the run with the first of six impeccable finds. For the next three hours, Sam put together a stellar performance. Perhaps more impressive than the six finds was Sam’s performance on the ground – always to the front, powerful with a sustained race – still going away at the end of the three hours.
Jamie, Nick, and scout, Judd Carlton, were thrilled with Sam’s performance. But the competition would continue for six more days and many braces of talented bird dogs waiting in the wings.
“I was a nervous wreck,” Jamie says. “There were a lot of good dogs yet to run. I thought some of them might out-bird Sam, but in my mind, they weren’t going to beat him on the ground or out-style him.”
The judges agreed. With owner Nick, Jamie Daniels, scout, Judd Carlton, and family members on the steps of Ames Manor Plantation, Miller’s Blindsider – Sam – was named 2023 National Bird Dog Champion.
“I was very happy for the dog,” Jamie says. “Sam deserved it. I was happy for Nick. And I was happy for me. But I’m happier for the dog. He’s the one going through the briars.”
Once again, Sam proved he’s special. But he wasn’t done. Three weeks after winning the Super Bowl of Bird Dog Trials, Sam became the first bird dog to win the prestigious Masters Quail Championship for the third time.
Nick Berrong says the Masters’ Reporter told him no dog has ever won the National Bird Dog Championship and the Masters Quail Championship in the same year.
And Sam keeps on winning.
“Jamie’s finishing almost every trial with Sam,” Nick says. “I’m fortunate to have Jamie. He’s a great person and trainer with a great family.”
Jamie returns the favor.
“Without owners like Nick I couldn’t even go up and down the road,” Jamie says. “Without the support of my family, I couldn’t begin to make it. It takes a village. If anybody thinks they do it all on their own – I don’t believe it.”
Jamie ponders the question while he’s busy feeding Purina Pro Plan Performance to Sam and the 27 other bird dogs currently residing at Daniels Kennels.
“What’s next is up to Sam,” Jamie says. “He’s in great shape. He looks sharp right now. I do believe his time to shine is coming. I don’t think we’re done. In fact, I don’t believe a field trial is over until he runs. That may sound cocky, but that’s how I feel. People might laugh when they hear that, but laugh away.”
Jamie says he feeds Purina Pro Plan Performance 30/20 because it helps elite canine athletes like Sam perform at their best.
“Pro Plan is a high quality product and just consistently good,” Jamie says. “My dogs do the best they can do on Pro Plan Performance. I will only feed these dogs what I believe is the best product to help them perform – and that’s Pro Plan. They burn a lot of calories. Coming into an event like the National Championship, I like an extra pound or two on the dog. Not too much – no more than that – but I find it helps.”
Nick Berrong says Sam’s endurance over the three hours made his English Pointer stand out at the National Championship.
“He just does not wear out,” Nick says. “Even with the heat. Sam and Jamie won the Lee County trial in December. It was hot – in the 80s – and Sam just keeps going.”
Nick and Jamie believe Sam can continue his winning ways in 2024 if he stays healthy.
The 125th running of the National Championship is only weeks away. But nobody is counting their chickens before they’re hatched.
“There’s a lot of great dogs out there,” Nick says. “Sam has been the ride of a lifetime for me. Right now, I’m just enjoying the ride.”