The 2018 Broomhill Field Trials were held September 5 to 9 in Broomhill, MB, with a total of 66 dogs participating in all events. The dogs ranged in ages of 1½ to 11-years-old.
Currently, there are only two licensed dog-training operations in Manitoba and they are both run in Broomhill. Colvin and Mazie Davis of Alabama run their kennels south of Broomhill while Robin Gates and his son Hunter of Georgia operate just west of Broomhill on Highway #345.
Each day of the Field Trials, the dogs, predominately English Pointers but a few English Setters, are taken out in what is called a “brace”. Most braces are one hour long and include the handler, their scout, someone to drive the wagon with the dogs, and other riders called the gallery and judges.
Robin and Hunter Gates arrived at Broomhill the first part of July and Colvin and Mazie Davis, due to health reasons, arrived later than usual, on August 11. The reason for coming to Canada and staying in Broomhill in particular, the first part of July and staying until the end of September, is the cooler summer months and wide-opened spaces. The dogs are trained to never actually catch the birds, but to hunt and locate the birds for the handlers to flush out. It is important to mention that the birds are by no means in any danger.
In Canada, the dogs are trained to locate prairie chickens and Hungarian partridges.
The birds were plentiful this year,” said Mazie. “A drier spring made for more birds, and there were lots of grasshoppers this year, the birds love grasshoppers.”
All the dogs at the Field Trials wear a tracker device with a radio receiver. If a dog goes missing and is not brought back within 20 minutes or 1/3 of the brace time, it is disqualified.
Owners, handlers and scouts came from Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Iowa, and North Carolina. “We even had some local Canadians, old friends from Lyleton, MB, Regina, SK and Mr. Jim Shaw came for a visit from Gainsborough, SK. Jim used to run dog trials near Gainsborough at one time,” explained Mazie.
Field Trial results:
Manitoba Championship - 22 dogs.
Judges – John Neely and Greg Shepherd.
Winner: Lester’s Georgia Time; Handler – Robin Gates, Scout – David Tinsley.
Runner up: Touch’s Adam County; Handler – Randy Anderson, Scout – Tiffany Anderson.
John S. Gates Derby - 16 dogs.
Judges –Robin Gates and Mazie Davis.
Winner: S.F. Flagship; Handler – Larry Smith, Scout – Joe Worsham.
Runner up: Snapback; Handler – Greg Shepherd-, Scout – David Tinsley.
Broomhill Open All Ages - 22 dogs.
Judges – Mazie Davis and John Neely.
Winner: Touch’s Spaceman; Handler – Randy Anderson, Scout – Tiffany Anderson.
2nd: Erin’s Longmire; Handler – Robin Gates, Scout – David Tinsley.
3rd: Valiant; Handler – Randy Anderson, Scout – Tiffany Anderson.
Broomhill Derby - 6 dogs.
Judges – Robin Gates and Mazie Davis.
Winner: Neely’s Standing Ovation; Handler – John Neely, Scout – Davis Tinsley.
2nd: Miller’s Captivator; Handler – Randy Anderson, Scout – Tiffany Anderson.
3rd: Terry’s Third Chance; Handler – Randy Anderson, Scout Tiffany Anderson.
Wayne Thompson of Melita is the president of the Manitoba Championship. Dave Dickson of Broomhill is the president of the Broomhill Open All Ages and Curtis Gervin of Broomhill is the president of the Broomhill Field Trial Foundation.
This year was quite different for Colvin and Mazie, it still took them three days to arrive in Broomhill from Alabama, but this year, they drove their car without any horses or field trial dogs. They only travelled with their two housedogs, Scrappy and Imme. “Being here for only 4 weeks, we haven’t really went anywhere,” said Mazie. “Colvin has spent some time with Brad and Curtis Gervin driving tractors and other than that we have just been visiting neighbours.”
Colvin and Mazie, along with Robin and Hunter, are very grateful to the landowners and local businesses for their help during the Field Trials and look forward to returning to Broomhill next summer. The sponsors for the Field Trials were Purina and Garmine. “We are very thankful to our sponsors or we wouldn’t be able to run the dog trials,” commented Mazie. “Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise, we will be back next summer.”