Sport: Top of the Field

For U.S. hunting dogs and their weather-beaten owners and trainers, the center of the universe is the sleepy village of Grand Junction (pop. 750), Tenn. The National Field Trial Championship, World Series of U.S. bird-dog competition, has been held there for 52 years at Ames Plantation — a 27,000-acre expanse of quail-rustled sedge and woodland with a great ante-bellum mansion, rows of hospital-clean kennels and stables floored in handmade bricks.

Grand Junction, as a result, has developed the same hard-eyed passion for champion bird dogs which The Bronx reserves for baseball players. Last week, with the town jammed to the last...