Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lawrence County Hosted First Field Trials 1899

NOVEMBER 29, 1899

The first series of trials since the organization of the Illinois Field Trial Association was held in Lawrence County last week. In the language of the Lawrenceville News, "A field trial association is an organization of sportsmen having for its purpose the advancement or the interests of those who own or train bird dogs. The Illinois organization is of recent origin, having been organized in March last. Similar organizations exist in many other states and they hold annual meetings for the purpose of testing the merits of the best thoroughbred bird dogs. These are called Field Trials. At the one held in Lawrence County this week there were 37 entries, 21 being from what is known as the Derby Stake, in which dogs under two years old can compete for prizes, and 16 were entered for the All- Age Stake, in which any aged dog may compete.

"The dogs are run in pairs or braces, each one having a handler to direct his movements over the course mapped out for them by the judges, which is generally a circle around one or more fields. 35 minutes being allowed each brace to show their qualities. The decision is given on style in motion, speed and thoroughness with which they cover the ground, accuracy in pointing birds, etc. No shooting is done, as that is not the object of the contest. The contests are in two series each."

Fifteen dogs started in the Derby Stakes, of which 15 were Pointers and 2 English Setters. The All -Age Stakes had 16 entries and 10 starters,

King's Cyrano, belonging to C.C. Cook, proprietor of the Clark County Kennels at Marshall took first prize in both the Derby and All-Age Stakes. King Cyrano, was trained by W.W. Updike, proprietor of the Maple Hill Kennel of Robinson. The dog was handled in the contest by Mr. Updike and the large number of sportsmen present had a practical demonstration of Walter's skill as a trainer. King Cyrano is only 15 months old and that he should win the first prize in both contests goes to prove that his breeding is of the highest order and his training superb. As a trainer of bird dogs the CONSTITUTION does not believe that Mr. Updike has a superior in the country. He has his dogs under perfect control, they understand him thoroughly and obey him perfectly.

The first prize in the Derby stakes was $76 and the first prize in the all-age was $52. In addition to these, elegant silver loving cups are to be donated to the persons winning the prizes three years in succession. The cups passed into the possession of Messrs. Cook and Updike and are now on exhibition in Whitaker's Palace, Lawrenceville,  in the trade window. A beautiful lemonade pitcher was given to the wife of the owners of the handsomest dog.  The pitcher belonging to Mrs. Cook, is also on exhibition at Whitaker's.

In speaking of Mr. Updike's success, the Lawrenceville Republican says: "Wm Updike, of Robinson, who trained the winning King Cyrano, was the lion of the town Wednesday evening. He bore his honors gratefully. He is acknowledged to have the best control of the dogs under his care of any man in the profession."

It is quite likely that the next field trials will be held in Crawford County.

( Ed: Note  The Robinson Constitution reported that the contest iwas witnessed by hundreds of people. Ground was first selected on Allison Prairie, but a change was made to better quail ground west of Lawrenceville.)