SECTION, Ala. — You know sometimes when you hear a story and it feels like there’s something greater at works? Well for a Mount Carmel man, and a dog named Chief, that was the case at the end of February.
Chief, a German Shorthaired Pointer, belongs to and is trained by Kevin Pixley, a Mount Carmel native who’s the CEO and founder of the Wabash County Quail Club.
Pixley’s been battling cancer for quite some time, and recently has been at Indiana University receiving chemotherapy, thus hasn’t been able to spend much time with Chief, or in the Quail Club. Prior to his bout with cancer, Pixley was an active member of the club, and could often be found at McDonald’s in Mount Carmel as part of the morning breakfast club.
With Pixley sidelined due to his ailment and receiving treatment in Bloomington for weeks, Cody Lewis had been working with Chief, along with his dog, and when it came time for the United Field Trialers’ Association’s National Championship in Section, Ala. from Feb. 27 to Feb. 29, Pixley’s fellow Quail Club members sought someone to accompany Chief down to the championship.
Dogs often need some form of guidance, a voice they’re familiar with to have success at such endeavors, so they opted to have Lewis work with and bring Chief down, citing his familiarity with the canine.
Chief was one of 250 dogs that made the trip south, with dogs coming from virtually all over North America. And as Bill Geurin professed, Chief was truly an underdog entering the event.
His past times were nothing spectacular to suggest he was capable of pulling off a victory over such a contested field, but as seeming divine intervention would have it, Chief blazed off to a phenomenal start.
Chief’s excellence in the first couple days earned him a spot in the final day, with the crop of canines trimmed down to 45 vying for the championship.
That excellence continued into the final day, where Chief secured his spot as a National Champion, accompanied by Lewis, who helped achieve a remarkable accomplishment for Pixley.
It truly was an incredible feat for Chief, as well as Lewis, to win the championship without Pixley’s direction. And though Pixley continues to battle cancer, he can certainly let out a big smile at his dog’s accomplishment.