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Articles and photos by Lisa Brown

The Field Trial Hall of Fame in Grand Junction, Tennessee held its annual induction ceremony on February 9, 2013 and, for the first time, the Cocker and English Cocker was a part of the festivities! Two magnificent dogs and two people who were critical to the success of early cocker field trials were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Their framed photographs, along with descriptive cards beneath each – which are reprinted here – are in the new cocker area of the Field Trial Hall of Fame. Their details were also presented in the annual program which lists every single dog and person that have been inducted into the Field Trial Hall of Fame since its inception in 1954.

The ceremony was led by David Smith, Executive Director of The Bird Dog Foundation, with individuals representing the various breeds introducing their inductees. As each inductee was presented, his or her picture was placed on an easel and a framed scroll recognizing the accomplishment was placed on a second easel. After the ceremony the pictures were hung in the Field Trial Hall of Fame. The scroll was given to the recipient. Recipients or their representatives were encouraged to come forward and speak abut the inductee. Our HOF chairman, Dennis Joannides, ECSCA member from Arizona, announced the new cocker inductees and welcomed all to our first ceremony.

Tom Dixon, Hilary, AdamPhoto on left:  Tom Dixon, Mrs. Harriman's grandson, and his family attended the ceremony.  L to R:  Great-Granddaughter Hilary, holding photo; Great-Grandson Adam; Tom, holding scroll, and his wife, Linda.  (Photo by Lisa Brown)

Tom Dixon, grandson of Gladys Harriman, and Joyce Bond Hurley, daughter of Lionel Bond who served as the trainer of the Harriman's Cinar dogs for over 40 years, came forward to talk about Gladys Harriman. Mrs. Hurley spoke first, telling us how her father came to the USA from England where he had trained with William Humphrey, and was ultimately recruited by Mrs. Harriman to manage the Cinar kennel and train the dogs. She shared with us that Gladys strove for perfection, even when coaching eight year old Joyce on the handling of her puppy! Mrs. Harriman was very hands-on in the training of her dogs, and although certain dogs were house-pets, she made sure she spent time with every dog in her kennel. Typically, in the off-season, she would participate in the training of three or four dogs in the fields in the morning, take 16-20 dogs on a one or two-mile hike, break two hours for lunch, and then walk another mile or two with the dogs in the afternoon. During these walks, Mr. Bond and Mrs. Harriman would discuss the progress of each dog and what needed to be done the following day. In the shooting season weekends were filled with guests who came to shoot on the estate or participate in the annual field trial in late October that was held on the property. These events required that participants conducted themselves appropriately and Mr. Bond often had the difficult task of informing guests what was expected of them!

 

Photo on right:  Tom Dixon  with scroll for his grandmother Gladys Harriman, and Joyce Bond Hurley, daughter of Lionel Bond, the Harriman's kennel manager and trainer, holder her photo.

After Mrs. Hurley's remarks, Tom Dixon came forward and thanked the Field Trial Hall of Fame for bestowing this honor on his grandmother. He noted that he, his wife and their two children had come a day early and were able to enjoy watching a spaniel field trial as the English Springer fanciers had held four days of trials to precede the induction event. Mr. Dixon said that he had not been to a field trial since he was a young boy and his children had never been to one. The Dixons love dogs and each have a six year old from the last litter of Cinar English Cockers.

 

Photo on Left: "Millie's" owners - there in spirit, but not able to attend.  Martha Calabrese and Harold Bixby. 

Unfortunately, two of the cocker inductees from the early years of cocker trials did not have representatives present despite our efforts to track down descendants. Ella Moffit did not have any children, but we had hoped that her great-nephew from the New York area would be able to attend. Alas, Hurricane Sandy interfered just as he was selling his home and moving to another. Dan McGrew, the owner of Camino Boy, also had no children. And Harold Bixby, owner of “Millie”, our contemporary inductee, was ordered by his doctors not to make the trip unaccompanied. Martha Calabrese, Millie’s co-owner, and her husband, Tom, were prevented by a family illness from coming out to Tennessee with “Bix”. Their springer friend, Mike Wallace, read a statement thanking all involved in nominating Millie for the Field Trial Hall of Fame.

The full day event was attended by several hundred people. The English Springer, Cocker/English Cocker and Labrador Retriever inductions were held in the morning session, with Brittanys, German Shorthaired Pointers, Red Setters, Pointers and English Setters being honored in the afternoon. Purina sponsored a great luncheon and The American Field Publishing Company pit on a terrific reception after the ceremonies were finished. Throughout the day there was plenty of laughter and many tears as special dogs and people were honored for their accomplishments in the world of field trials.

The original Field Trial Hall of Fame was established by the late William Brown, long-time editor of The American Field, a magazine devoted to all aspects of field trialing. He loved the concept of the Baseball Hall of Fame and wanted to create a Field Trial Hall of Fame for bird dogs and bird dog people. Many articles were published in The American Field and ultimately the Hall of Fame was founded in 1954.

 

   Photo on left:  Hall of Fame - Wall of Cocker Inductees 

 

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