Tuesday, 30 November 2021
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Mark McLean, ‘Mike’ win Purina Top Field Trial Bird Dog award

ST. LOUIS — A largely built, athletic and intelligent white-and-orange Pointer called “Mike” ruled the major all-age circuit during the 2017-2018 field trial season with 3,219 points, besting a highly competitive field of more than 400 bird dogs to win the 55th annual Purina Top Field Trial Bird Dog Award.

Handled by pro Mark McLean of Moultrie, Touch’s Mega Mike, the dog’s registered name, earned placements in eight all-age stakes, five of which were wins, to cap the yearlong race more than 1,100 points ahead of the second-place finisher.

“Mike is one of the most consistent bird dogs I have ever handled. His style, range and supreme ability to find birds sets him apart from the competition,” said McLean, who also took home honors as the 2017-2018 Purina Top All-Age Handler.

Bred by 2017-2018 Purina Top Amateur Field Trial Bird Dog winner Keith Wright of Covington, Ind., the 3-year-old male is owned by Eddie Sholar of Leesburg and Ted Dennard of Haddock.

Sholar, Dennard, McLean and Mike were recognized at a ceremony recently in St. Louis. Their winnings included an oil painting of Mike by artist Ross Young, a satin award banner, an award plaque, a Garmin Pro 550 training collar, and a year’s supply of Purina Pro Plan brand dog food.

As Mike’s handler, McLean also received a $2,500 cash award. The Purina Field Trial Bird Dog Award program, administered and scored by a committee of experienced bird dog enthusiasts, has recognized the country’s top field trial bird dogs with their owners and handlers since the 1963-1964 season.

As a professional bird dog trainer and handler, McLean has attained his ultimate goal during his career spanning 30-plus years: winning the Purina award. Not only did McLean fulfill that dream, he took home double honors in a single season, including the 2017-2018 Purina Top Field Trial Bird Dog Award with Touch’s Mega Mike, who was among McLean’s string of dogs helping him to also capture the 2017-2018 Purina All-Age Handler Award.

“It is an honor to win the Purina Handler Award and have my name appear next to all of the great handlers who came before me,” said McLean, who also finished the yearlong race more than 1,000 points ahead of the runner-up. “This achievement is a total team effort and wouldn’t be possible without great dogs, owners and scouts — especially my son, Cody McLean — who have been a big part of my success.”

Spending six months of the year on the road traveling 5,500 miles to field trials across the country, McLean successfully campaigned four dogs to earn 2,722 points from 15 placements in all-age horseback stakes, topping 32 other handlers.

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Source: http://www.albanyherald.com/news/state/mark-mclean-mike-win-purina-top-field-trial-bird-dog/article_ea4716ae-e1cf-5fcb-a211-03b1e8cc9337.html

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