February 2016
Outdoor Life

Having a Doggone Good Time!

 
Two gets a well-deserved hug by Addi-Mc McDuffie.  

7-year-old Addison McDuffie takes field trials by storm.

At 7 years old, Addison McDuffie of Cecil is winning titles in field trial competitions that many a young boy or girl would envy. Addison, known as Addi-Mc by her field trial friends and family, has been attending field trials all over the state with her parents, Hunter and Mindy McDuffie, since she was riding at 2. She began competing at 4 years old and in 2014, at just 6 years old, she claimed Youth Handler of the Year in Alabama, the youngest to win the title. At her most recent event at Bama Quail Field Trial Club in Tuskegee, Addi-Mc, along with her fancy setter male, Two, and her Saddle Horse, Romeo, won first place in the youth handling division.

She has been competing with Two, owned by Charles and Heather Klinck, for the last several years. Addi-Mc began competing on her favorite field trial horse and friend, 26-year old-Fireball. Addi-Mc’s parents met at the field trials when they were kids and have continued to compete, sharing their love of the sport with Addi-Mc.

When asked what exactly she does at a competition, Addi-Mc gave this explanation, "I go to the woods on my horse with my dog and my scout. My scout is usually my Dad. I blow my whistle and Two looks for birds. When I see my dog on point, I raise my hand and yell. I go to my dog and jump off my horse and flush the birds out. Then I shoot my gun. I get Two by the collar and we go find the next birds. We don’t kill the birds."

 
  Romeo and Addi-Mc McDuffie stand by while Two cools off after his run at the Bama Quail Field Trail.

Youth field trials originated in Fitzpatrick and are promoted by The Alabama Field Trial Association. A revolving Silver Trophy is given to the Youth Handler of the Year in memory of John Barnett and an anonymous donor gives a $1,000 college scholarship in memory of a young handler, Hartley Carter. Addie-Mc explained that two kids (handlers) go out together with their dogs and scouts. Each course is 20 minutes long and they only shoot blanks in their guns. Some of the kids shoot handguns, some shoot shotguns and some let their scouts do the shooting for them. Addi-Mc always has her parents, along with grandfather, Tommy "Da" Traylor, at the field trials supporting, encouraging, and teaching her. The season runs October to March with about five or six youth field trials each season.

When asked what she does when she isn’t competing at the field trials, Addi-Mc said, "I play."

The kids all play together hula hooping, driving golf carts and horsing around while they are outside on a beautiful day. Addi-Mc prefers to be outside even when she is at home. No Barbie dolls and playing with make-up for this girl! Her favorite pastime is zip-lining.

Addi-Mc will be attending the National Amateur Free For All Championship in Union Springs with her parents on February 22, 2016. That day just also happens to be her birthday. Last year, the kids painted her horses. She can’t wait to see how they will celebrate her birthday at the field trials this year!

Cindy Boyd is a freelance writer from Montevallo.