Heard Hill’s Queen Mary, a classy English pointer owned by Lynn and Buck Heard of Colquitt County, was recently named the Runner Up Champion at the National Amateur Shooting Dog Invitational Championship.
Capturing the title of Champion was Great River Class, another English pointer female. Class is owned by Jack and Brian Sanchez of Long Island, N.Y. The honors came on Dec. 16.
This championship trial is a competition by invitation only of the top 12 amateur shooting dogs in the United States. Dogs came from Kansas, Missouri, Alabama, New York, Illinois, Florida and Georgia to compete for this prestigious title. Each year dogs earn points for their placements throughout the field trial season. The Amateur Field Trial Clubs of America is the governing organization for amateur clubs. The AFTCA maintains the database for wins and the points for all member clubs in America. They are also responsible for extending the invitations to this field trial. Points are awarded as follows: 3 points for 1st place dog times the number of dogs drawn; two points for second place dog times number of dogs drawn and one point for third place dog times the number of dogs drawn.
Unlike other championships, the Invitational is a grueling three-day event requiring dogs to demonstrate endurance, stamina and impeccable manners. All 12 dogs run one hour each on the first two days. At the end of the second day, the judges call back two to six dogs to compete again on the third day.
Queen has been in this elite group twice before, competing at the legendary Dixie Plantation, Greenville, Fla., in 2010 and then in 2011 at Grove Springs, Mo. This trial was held at Round Pond Plantation, Leslie, Ga., owned by the Sandy Walker family. It was a particular joy for her to win her Runner Up Champion title at this venue, according to a press release from Heard Hill. Queen was given to Lynn and Buck Heard, of Colquitt County, in 2008 by the Walker family in appreciation of the Heard’s gift to them of a Tennessee walking horse. Round Pond is a family plantation consisting of 4,800 acres replete with long leaf pines, wire grass, majestic oaks and an abundance of quail.
In 2010 Heard Hill’s Queen Mary was named the Purina Amateur Shooting Dog of the Year. She also holds regional championship titles from Region 14 in Circle, Mont., and Region 6 in Holly Springs, Miss.
“Queen exemplifies the ease of handling criteria essential in a shooting dog,” the press release said. “Although Buck handles Queen most often with Lynn scouting, Lynn has handled her to many wins.”
Lynn Heard has been quoted as saying that “a blind man could handle Queen; she’s that easy.”
Buck Heard attributes his interest and love of field trialing to the influence of his dad, Duck Heard, who had field trial dogs in the 1940s. After Jack, Buck’s brother and he were born, there was no time for trialing. Although he gave up his dogs, Duck Heard remained interested in field trialing throughout his life sharing his memories with his sons.
Heard Hill’s Queen Mary was named after Buck’s mother, Mary. Buck Heard says he is sure his mother would be proud of her namesake’s winning ways.
Judges for this event were Robin Gates and Bubba Moreland, from Leesburg, Ga. Both are well known professional dog trainers on the field trial circuit and are highly regarded successful trainers known all over the United States and Canada.