Local Boykins shine

John Beckworth’s Boykin, Riley, took the blue ribbon.

CAMDEN – Blythewood and Winnsboro area dogs made a big splash in the Boykin Spaniel Society Retriever National Championship in Camden the next to last weekend in March, winning the Novice Championship, top Junior Handler and several Judges Awards of Merit (JAMs).

Penny with the JAM win.

John Beckworth of Blythewood won the Novice title in a field of 68 entries with his 5-year-old Boykin, Riley, and earned a JAM with his 2-year-old Boykin, Pennie.

“I was as proud of her as I was of Riley,” Beckworth said. “She is a young dog that is showing a lot of promise. I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for her.”

The Novice event was a two-day elimination process with several land series and finishing with a water series held in a pond featuring a lot of overgrown brush and trees for the dogs to contend with during a retrieve, Beckworth said.

“Ideally, you want the dog to swim to the bird, pick it up and swim directly back to you,” he said. “Riley was the only dog that actually swam to the bird and swam straight back to me.”

Beckworth admitted he was somewhat surprised at Riley’s performance because he has not had extensive training.

“He is a great dog, though. He loves to work and he has good marking skills. The only thing holding him back is me. I just don’t have the expertise to take him to the next level. But maybe one day I will try to get a little more formal training with him,” he said.

“I guess that was just my day,” said Beckworth who has owned Boykins for more than 30 years.

Nan Gaddy with her Boykin, Tucker

One of the JAMs in the Novice Class was earned by Nan Gaddy’s Boykin, Tucker, despite some unexpected interference with his retrieve.

“There were decoys in the water and the dogs had to swim through the decoys. My dog got tangled in one of the decoys and was pulling it. He got up on land, shook off the decoy, got back in the water and found the bird. He had a traveling companion,” Mrs. Gaddy said with a laugh, “but I was really proud of him.”

Tucker has competed in two other trials so far and has already earned the Started Retriever Title, said Mrs. Gaddy, whose family has had Boykins since the 1960s.

“My husband (Dr. Roger Gaddy, mayor of Winnsboro) had three Boykins when we met and Tucker is the second puppy I have got since then. I would like to get him to the point that I can compete with him up to the higher levels,” she said.

“I think he is going to be a really nice dog. He has a lot of heart and he is a ball of fire.”

Bill Crites, Junior Handler Blake Wooten, Dawn Crites with Hal

Tucker came from a litter produced by Bill and Dawn Crites who have Lily Pad Boykins in Blythewood. Four from that litter earned JAMs at the national trial.

“One of our dogs, Hal, a seven-year-old male, made it all the way through Novice with a Junior Handler,” Crites said. “At the end of the show Blake Wooten was awarded the Chairman’s Club for the highest scoring handler under 16. Blake’s dad is Allen Wooten, who operates Palmetto Gun Dogs in Rembert.”

Crites, a member of the Boykin Spaniel Society Board of Directors and chairman of the National Championship for the past 15 years, said this year’s event had a record turnout with nearly 300 handlers from 14 states, some from as far away as Texas and Washington State.

From left, Branch, Story and Ever