AFTCA Regional CH CANCELLED - View Correspondences

SBHA has CANCELLED the running of the AFTCA Region 16 Walking Championship. Thanks for all the support from SBHA participants, however, we can not join efforts with members of AFTCA Region 16 and its officers based on their actions against SBHA. Explanation is shown below.

SBHA Board Members and Sponsors,

I want to apologize to each of you for the abrupt cancellation of the AFTCA Region 16 Walking Shooting Dog Championship. It would be difficult for me to give each of you individually the specific details of conversations that led up to this cancellation so I thought the best thing to do is to share the series of conversations with you to fill in the majority of the blanks and answer the majority of the questions you may have. Please read the communications and then let me know if you have questions and I will answer them to the best of my ability.

What has happened is wrong on multiple levels. I feel we are uncovering some of the reason our sport remains in decay. There appears to be a “Good Ole Boy” network still in place and I think we are upsetting the apple cart by gaining the traction we have and by bringing new and innovative sponsors into the sport. I actually feel this is great news for us. By identifying and exposing the cause for continued decay in the sport, we will be making ground on our mission of trying to get the focus of this sport off greed and personal agendas and back on the great things the sport has to offer such as fun and fair competition, and a total focus of betterment of the sport. So I see this as a minor setback in that we will not run a Championship in which we were given permission to run and were given specific directions to follow, in which we did, only to have to deal with such arrogant and inept leadership from an organization which is supposed to be for the betterment of our great sport.

I am still amazed that even though the problem was caused by leadership within the groups we were dealing with that they were incapable of accepting responsibility for their mistakes but instead communicating falsehood after falsehood in order to put the problem back on our organization. If this is not a case of the inmates being in control of the asylum, then I don’t know what is. The actions we have dealt with are so unbecoming it makes me ashamed for the entire sport.

It is great being associated with each of you. Our mission is clear and our future is bright. I have been amazed at the acceptance I receive for the actions of this group every time I attend a field trial or have conversations with long-term trailers I know. Again, please let me know if you have any questions and onward, we go. Thanks for all you do and for the wonderful and unselfish support.


Marty Robinson
(770) 862-6568
[email protected]

SUITE 6-223

January 071 2021

Mr. Mathys,

As President and AFTCA trustee of Region 16, I have consulted with AFTCA president, Rick Stallings about the Region 16 Walking Shooting Dog Championship ad on the American Field website. There are several issues witt1 particulars including Region 16 sponsors not on the ad that need to be discussed within the Region 16 board members. I am requesting the Region 16 Walking Shooting Dog Championship ad to be suspended from the American Field website until further notice.

Hopefully, we will resolve matters over the weekend and we can move forward with a corrected Championship ad. I have spoken to Mr. Marty Robinson several times over the last couple days and will attempt to explain Region 16 requirements again. If Mr. Robinson fails to comply with Region 16 requirements, Region 16 will not sanction the Walking Shooting Dog Championship.

rron Copeland


Region 16 President AFTCA Trustee

Marty Robinson

From: Sent:
Subject: Importance:

Larron Copeland Thursday, January 07, 2021 5:28 PM
Marty Robinson
Region 16 Walking Shooting Dog Championship High

Mr. Robinson,

I am making another attempt to try to work with you on the potential Region 16 Walking Shooting Dog Championship you have requested to host February 04, 2021. Region 16, as do other regions, has requirements and standards to be able to put on a quality regional championship. The requirements I would like to address is how Region 16 ads are to be submitted. The ad must be approved by Region 16 secretary, Joe Rentz. Region 16 is sponsored by Purina and Garmin. Pruina and Garmin must be on the ad exclusively as sponsors. Region 16 in compliance with AFTCA qualifications are: Prior to this trial, a dog must have a placement in an Amateur Derby or Amateur Shooting Dog field trial along with having an AFTCA membership number accompanying entry.
Another issue is the profit/loss of the potential Region 16 Walking Shooting Dog Championship. The profit of a Region 16 trial is forwarded to Region 16 secretary Joe Rentz and if there is a loss, Region 16 secretary Joe Rentz is responsible for paying the loss
I look forward to hearing back from you as soon as possible because time is of the essence to submit a corrected ad to the American Field.

Best regards, Larron Copeland Region 16 President
Region 16 AFTCA Trustee


January 11, 2021

To: Mr. Larron Copeland (AFTCA Region 16 President) and Mr. Rick Stallings (AFTCA President)

In response to the email I received from Mr. Copeland on Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 5:28 pm, I need to inform you both that the Region 16 Walking Shooting Dog Championship that had been awarded to the SBHA (Southern Bird Hunters Association) last spring will be cancelled. This cancellation is a result of offensive, arrogant and unbecoming actions committed by several AFTCA officers, Regional and National.

I wish to address these actions and those of others in the content of this letter and expose ongoing issues that are being perpetrated to the demise of the field trial sport in general and in no way is consistent with the mission as stated of the AFTCA. Your positions are fraught with inconsistencies, personal agendas and double standards and I will explain as clearly as I can why that statement will bear itself out.

We need to start at the beginning of the story which was last spring. The SBHA was formed last February with the purpose of finding ways to try and create avenues to identify ways to bring vibrancy back to our sport of field trials which has been in rapid decay for years now. As a new organization, and after conversations with Mr. Bernie Matthys of the American Field, it was communicated that the SBHA would have to provide indication of being a sustainable organization before Championships could be afforded the organization. We understood this and kept focused on doing whatever we could to find ways to rejuvenate the sport. One thought we had was to reach out to the AFTCA and request the opportunity to host both the AFTCA National Walking Shooting Dog Championship along with the AFTCA Region 16 Walking Shooting Dog Championship, a trial I have personally hosted with my club several times in the past. These trials, especially the Region 16, remains dormant most years and if run, doesn't seem to gain the interest desired. In order to secure these trials, I personally reached out to Mr. Copeland and Mr. Stallings, while another SBHA board member reached out to Mr. Joe Rentz who I believe is the past

Region 16 president. We were met with a very agreeable response at all levels and the only direction we were given, and this is a very key point, was to contact Mrs. Piper Huffman, AFTCA National Secretary, and work out all the details.
Myself and Mr. Bruce Mercer, SBHA National Secretary, contacted Mrs. Huffman on two separate occasions and were given the following directions. Related to the National trial, we would be required to only advertise and promote AFTCA sponsors, Purina and Garmin. Mrs. Huffman stated that she would place the ad in the American Field publication along with handling the drawing for the trial. Mrs. Huffman went on to direct us that for the Regional trial, our organization would have to handle all details related to the trial, and for the regional trial, the SBHA could include and promote SBHA sponsors. So with this information obtained, we communicated back to our sponsors to be sure they understood they would not be included for the National event but would be promoted at the regional trial. At no time since the request for these trials or the months following has there been any additional direction given other than the direction given by Mrs. Huffman as directed us by not one, not two, but three officers of the AFTCA. Planning and coordinating a major field trial requires months of preplanning in order to secure grounds, available dates, judges, awards, birds, etc.... So when Mr. Copeland stated in his email on Thursday the 7th of January, less than a month before the trial was
to start, that "time is of the essence", I had to chuckle because time was of the essence months ago.

Fast forward to Monday, January 4, 2021: as I was preparing the trial ad to send to the American Field, I yet had another conversation with Mrs. Huffman in order to be sure all was good and met the requirements she had given us, again following the directions of the AFTCA officers. Mrs. Huffman approved and the ad was sent to Gina at the American Field for publishing which evidently was done before close of business on that Monday.

Tuesday morning, January 5t h, I received a call from Mr. Joe Rentz stating that he had seen the ad and that we could not run the trial unless we took the SBHA sponsors and only promoted Purina as the sponsor. Mr. Rentz stated that he felt this may do harm to the sponsorship from Purina to Region 16. I shared with Mr. Rentz the information that has been shared to this point within this letter regarding the directions we had been given, the conversations with Mrs. Huffman and let him know this would be a major problem for us as we had made commitments to our sponsors based on the direction
given us to date. I informed Mr. Rentz that if his agenda was forced on us that we would most likely cancel the trial and that I would have to inform the public of the cancellation through social media and in doing so would "ding" region 16. After the call with Mr. Rentz I placed a call to Mr. Greg Blair, the Purina Representative for Region 16. I discussed the issue raised by Mr. Rentz and asked Mr. Blair if there was some compromise that could be reached that would allow this trial to move forward. Mr. Blair stated to me that he was fine with moving ahead with the trial and that in no way was the sponsorship with Region 16 in any jeopardy of harm. Mr. Blair also stated that many AFTCA regions utilized various sponsors and it caused no problems. I asked Mr. Blair if he would place a call to Mr. Rentz and share our conversation so that this problem as stated by Mr. Rentz could be off the table and the trial could go forward as previously planned and advertised. Mr. Blair said he would call Mr. Rentz. I asked Mr. Blair if he would text me once the conversation with Mr. Rentz was had so I could call Mr. Rentz and confirm the problem he rose was handled and we could be back on track. Upon Mr. Blair texting me that he had spoken with Mr. Rentz, I called Mr. Rentz and asked if we were good to move forward with the trial given the hurdle he brought up had been overcome. I was shocked to hear from Mr. Rentz that Mr. Blair didn't relay to him the same information that Mr. Blair had shared with me and furthermore, the issue was no longer a problem with Purina but now a problem that Region 16 had with allowing trials affiliated with Region 16 to utilize any pet food sponsor other than Purina. Well, here's another interesting point: just this weekend, I judged a region 16 sanctioned trial that has been sponsored by Sportsman's Pride for the last 5 years or so. It is my understanding that AFTCA President Rick Stallings called the chairman of this particular trial in order to change this. During the conversation, Mr. Stallings stated that the AFTCA was having a problem with Marty Robinson. Well Mr. Stallings, you don't have a Marty Robinson problem, you have an inept leadership problem within the AFTCA. As you pointed out yourself in that conversation that it appears the region 16 officers are setting on their hands. I happen to agree with you. As previously stated, there have been more than ample opportunity for AFTCA and Region 16 leadership to convey any stipulations and requirements of hosting these two trials. Furthermore, I have to question the leadership of the AFTCA president for only having one side of the story. I am a decades long member of AFTCA, if your interest truly lies in leading then why haven't you called me to ask what's going on. I would have been very happy to speak with you professionally and cordially and explain all the details I'm now having
to put into this letter.

Back to the story: The conversation with Mr. Rentz was basically left with either I bend over and kiss the ring or Region 16 would not sanction this trial. A little later in the day, I received a call from Mr. Larron Copeland, President of Region 16. During this conversation I shared with Mr. Copeland all the same set of circumstances I had previously shared with Mr. Rentz that are the same details I'm providing in this letter. Mr. Copeland was actually more understanding and even seemed to take some responsibility for the circumstances. He explained to me that there is supposed to be a 2nd Vice President in the Region who's responsibility it is to oversee the Region 16 Walking Shooting Dog Championship. At one point Mr. Copeland even stated that if it were up to him, since things didn't get communicated properly, that the trial should be allowed to run and the issues resolved before it could ever be run again. This would have been a respectful resolution and one I would have supported. But, Mr. Copeland said he would not make the decision on his own and would consult with the other Region 16 officers and get back to me. Then, Mr. Copeland said something that really got my attention. He stated that even though Purina supported him {Personally as I took it), he would still feel the same way about region 16 trials being exclusively supporters of Purina. This stopped me in my tracks and caused me to immediately want to inquire to the number of AFTCA officers who may be receiving personal gain from Purina. As a decades long member of AFTCA, I would like to know this. It also brought up another transaction I had with a Purina sales rep over the recent past. One of the Purina reps purchased a horse from me in which a large portion of the payment to me was made with Purina Pro Plan dog food. I didn't think much about it at the time but now I find myself questioning just how much goods, services and favors are possibly being purchased with Pro Plan dog food. I have also learned since this issue arose of another Purina rep who had paid for goods and services with dog food. Now let me pause and be very, very clear here. I am in no way of making accusation of wrongdoing related to these transactions. First, I am not privy to the agreement between Purina and their sales reps. Secondly, the feed could have been paid for by the sales reps. But it does cause one to objectively pause and ask the question given the statement that Mr. Copeland made to me.

So the next interesting occurrence happened later on the evening of January 5t h, when I got a call from another SBHA board member who knew nothing of the discussions taking place between Mr. Copeland and me and who shared with me that Mr. Copeland had called him and made a very disturbing statement that if the SBHA didn't comply with the demands being made of Region 16 that he, Mr. Copeland, would "squash" the SBHA. Now please stop right here for a moment of reflection. Please read the mission of the AFTCA. Please understand this is an officer that the members have put their trust in to represent them in the promotion of the field trial sport. Now what would lead someone in this position to want to do harm to this great sport? Is it greed? Is it because of having his authority questioned? Is it the possibility of losing a personal benefit from a sponsor? I don't know what the motivation for such a comment, but I do know it's wreckless and unbecoming of anyone who should be representing our sport or representing the AFTCA in any capacity. The people in this sport who know me know that I have always been a positive advocate for the sport. I feel ashamed for the sport to have leadership representing it that I met with at all levels during the past few days. It seems to me that when we have a sponsor with the ability to have one group in the sport wanting to "squash" another group then it should surprise no one why the sport is in such decline. This is the best example I've ever seen of the tail wagging the dog. We have had several clubs who have wanted to become members of SBHA who have been intimidated by Purina reps. If the good people of our sport are ok with the sport selling it's soul for a few dollars and a some pallets of dog food then the decline in the sport is deserving and should be sped up even more. I know it's not a popular thing to have issues with Santa Claus but free stuff comes with a price. Can you imagine what happens if the mice ever figure out why the cheese is free?

With the facts being as I have laid out, the SBHA has officially canceled the running of the AFTCA Region 16 Walking Shooting Dog Championship. We will not bend over and kiss the ring. Like our forefathers, Americans don't do real well when asked to put up with such a deficit of leadership and then asked to kiss the ring or be "squashed"! These are the facts and I give my oath to that. If anyone should have any questions, I am available to answer them.

Here's what I would ask: I would ask any and all AFTCA officers who receive a personal benefit from Purina to either disclose this or resign your position. I would ask that both the Region 16 president and the president of the AFTCA write letters of apology to the members of the SBHA for such a display of incompetent leadership. I would ask that all regions within the AFTCA and elsewhere open up the ability of other companies to sponsor events and allow each club or organization to make their choices freely so as to prevent such a monopoly as is going on today. If our great sport is allowed to be syndicated by any sponsor then we have brought the demise on ourselves. I hope enough people will care enough about our sport to right this wrong. As I close, let me state that I do understand the level of support Purina has given to the sport and I appreciate their generosity. I am just attempting to point out that absolute power corrupts absolutely. This sport should never be a "you scratch my back and I'll scratch your back" kind of sport. In this sport we should share the motto that "we have each other's back".

Respectfully submitted,

Marty Robinson President
Southern Bird Hunters Association

Marty Robinson

From: Sent: To:

Rick Stallings < [email protected]> Monday, January 11, 20211:24 PM Marty Robinson; 'Larron Copeland' 'BRUCE MERCER'
RE: Reply

I am in receipt of your letter dated January 11,2021 received via email . I would like to point out that the conservation you referenced concerning the trial you judged was not AFTCA related but concerned the trial being a Purnia Points Trial
. Not once during the conservation did I state that the AFTCA was having a problem with Marty Robinson nor did I make the statement it appears that Region 16 officers are setting on their hands. I feel the AFTCA leadership is in good hands now and the coming years based on the executive members in place. Will inform Piper Huffman that you have elected to cancel the Region 16 Walking Shooting Dog Championship.
Thanks, Rick

From: Marty Robinson [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Monday, January 11, 202111:12 AM
To: Larron Copeland ; [email protected]
Cc: Marty Robinson ; BRUCE MERCER
Subject: Reply

Please see the letter attached which serves as my response to Mr. Copeland's email to me on Thursday January 7, 2021. I was disappointed we had to revert to letter writing but seems to be the way of the world sometimes. Please let me know if there is anything you wish to discuss further. I would caution you to be very careful as to what and how you share things related to this issue. I appreciate your time.

Marty Robinson (770) 862-6568
[email protected]


January 11, 2021

Mr. Robinson,

First, I would like to thank you for your response however; I do not appreciate your threatening words, "cautioning me to be very careful as to what and how I share things related to this issue." Why should I be very careful? Why would you not want me to share your letter with anyone? I have nothing to hide. Anything I write to you can be shared with whomever you choose. This is the very reason I felt it necessary to put everything I was trying to explain to you in black and white. You sir, have made threats and have written falsehoods throughout your response letter.
The Region 16 Walking Shooting Dog Championship was not awarded to SBHA. The Region 16 Walking Shooting Dog Championship was granted permission for SBHA to host. With that being said, SBHA is required to follow Region 16 standards and qualifications. As I have tried to explain to you via phone and in a previous email, the Region 16 Championship ad must be approved by Region 16 secretary, Joe Rentz.
Region 16 is sponsored by Purina and Garmin. Purina and Garmin must be on the ad exclusively as sponsors. Region 16 in compliance with AFTCA qualifications are: Prior to this trial, a dog must have a placement in an Amateur Derby or Amateur Shooting Dog field trial along with having an AFTCA membership number accompanying entry. In trying to compromise with you and work through this matter, I suggested that you submit another ad listing all the above corrections and not having any sponsor(s) listed. Again, you would not compromise. I have in no way spoken against any of the SBHA sponsors. SBHA sponsors do not sponsor Region 16 Championships therefore they should not be listed on a Region 16 Championship ad.
I have been in the field trial community for over 35 years and support and promote field trials. Those who know me know I would never try to demote, hinder or prevent any field trial from happening. Your "source" is lying about me saying I would "squash" the SBHA. To stoop to such a level of slander is simply pathetic. I will say you followed proper channels with hosting the AFTCA National Walking Shooting Dog Championship. If you had followed the proper channels with Region 16 Championship all of this could have been avoided.
Mr. Robinson, you also stated in your response letter to me that if the "agenda" (I am assuming "agenda" is Region 16 Championship standards and qualifications) was forced on SBHA, then the trial would most likely be cancelled through social media and in doing so would "ding" Region 16. I'm not sure why this would "ding" Region 16.
Region 16 offered a compromise and you Mr. Robinson, declined.
Again, in your response letter, you attacked my character by stating that I personally accept Purina dog food for personal gain. I did tell you via phone call that Purina was supportive of me, being whatever trial with which I am associated. Purina has always been supportive of whatever field trial of which I have been involved. The only Purina dog food I have been awarded personally is from winning two Purina Awards and from placements at field trials I have won. You, however, stated in your response letter that you personally have been given dog food in exchange for personal gain. It sounds to me like you are trying to project your wrong doing upon me. Shame on you!
Another point I would like to broach is how Region 16 Championship money is handled. You told me that whatever money the Region 16 Walking Shooting Dog Championship

profited, you would pocket and if said championship lost money, you would pay it. For future reference, any proceeds made from a Region 16 Championship MUST go back to Region 16 and if there is a loss of said championship, Region 16 would pay.
I will end this email with me explaining to you why I pulled my Showtime Sam Houston stud service donation from the SBHA banquet. It was due to you having absolute no respect for Region 16 Championship standards and qualifications as well as trying to bully and threaten Region 16 board members to get your way. As far as I am concerned there is no need for a response.

Best regards,

Larron Copeland Region 16 President AFTCA Region 16 Trustee

Marty Robinson

From: Sent: To:

Marty Robinson
Tuesday, January 12, 2021 7:51 AM Larron Copeland
Marty Robinson RE: Response

Mr. Copeland,

While your response to me yesterday, January 11 at 8:20 pm was very entertaining, it was mostly void of the truth. You know it and I know it. Your last sentence partially read, "there is no need for a response", I agree it's not deserving of a response but a response is necessary due to the fact in society today, when one is wrongly accused, society thinks it's because there is no defense and the accused is in agreement. Therefore, I offer the following.

The issue is very simple, even simple enough for this dumb-old field trailer to understand. The issue is that these qualifications you keep referring to are so important to create this crossroad but weren't important enough to be shared to anyone hosting the Region 16 Championship by any officer of Region 16. Please truthfully answer these simple questions: Should the Region 16 requirements now being discussed, should they have been made know to the club or group who would be hosting the trial? Who should have been sure these requirements were discussed? Were these requirements discussed? If you answered the last question with yes, then when and by who?

We both know they weren't discussed until a month before the trial was scheduled to start. This is too late to move the goal post when we had taken the direction we were given which was to work out all the details with Mrs. Huffman and that's exactly what we did. The National did go off without a problem because the proper requirements were shared with us and we followed the direction. Had the requirements of Region 16 been timely given, the trial would have also gone off without an issue. The fact is we planned the trial according to the information as we were directed, made commitments to our sponsors based on that information and then last week when it was discovered that the requirements weren't as you expect them to be related to Region 16 requirements, the problem is now ours and I am supposed to go back and go back on my commitments. I deal with regulatory agencies every day. This is exactly what most citizens deal with these days. Someone is given a position of authority beyond there leadership capabilities and then when the regulatory agency makes an error, somehow it becomes the citizens fault and the citizen is the one to bear all the inconvenience. This is the crux of the problem and we both know it. You actually came close to admitting it last week when you were talking about this being the role of a 2nd Vice President. I don't understand all the workings and structure of the AFTCA or its Regions so I ask again, how is a club or group supposed to know these requirements. Where can they be found. I think the answer you will have is, "you should have asked", in which I would respond I would have except for the direction I was given was to work out the details with Mrs. Huffman. It was stated to work out the details with Mrs. Huffman on just the National trial, it was work out the details with Mrs. Huffman as both trials were being discussed.

A couple other problems with your response: Please read it again and I think you'll see that I didn't make accusations of you speaking against any SBHA sponsors. If you took something that way it wasn't meant that way because I don't believe you have. When you offered to have "no" sponsors on the ad as a compromise, you need to realize I had already made commitments and don't take breaking a commitment lightly. When you stated that I attacked your character by stating you personally accept Purina dog food for personal gain, you are misquoting. I simply replayed your own words as you spoke to me, "even if Purina didn't sponsor me (this is you speaking), I would still vote this way". If you disagree with that statement, then we'll just have to agree to disagree as those were your words. You stated that I stated that I had been given Purina dog food for personal gain, another misstatement on your part. I stated I had been repaid a financial debt by a Purina Rep. with dog food. This is a true statement and I stand by it. You said that I said whatever


money the Region 16 Championship profited that I would pocket the money. Again, you are embellishing this to support you narrative because what I said was that the several times my club has run this trial in the past, the club was on the hook financially. If the trial made money, the funds reverted to the club, if the trial lost money it was on the club to pay. I'm not sure how or why you are wanting to twist things around. In your closing couple of sentences, you state that your actions are a result of me having no respect for Region 16 Championship standards. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Had the standards been communicated timely we would have had none of this to deal with. It's not that I don't respect standards, it's that I detest double standards, especially when they are attempted to be shoved down my throat by the same individuals who caused the problem by inadequate communication and leadership.
Sincerely, Marty Robinson
(770) 862-6568
[email protected]


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