Thomas Nealan Thomas Jr.
7/18/1986 – 4/28/2022
Nominated by Mike Poehler
Tommy loved the sport of field trialing, and dogs were one of the largest loves of his life; in 1994, he got his first Brittany named Blaze as a companion and hunting dog. In 1994, Tommy and his mother joined the LaSalle Brittany Club, beginning an odyssey that became the eventual focus of his life. He became immersed in the world of dog shows and field trials where he competed with his dogs, obtaining AKC titles and championships in the pursuit of bettering the Brittany as a breed, owning 18 over his short lifetime. Tommy finished his dogs to the following titles: 2 JH, 9 CH, 1 GCH, 7 FC, 5 AFC, 6 DC, and 1 GFC. Tommy’s dog TNT’s Raise’N A Ruckus was the first dog of ANY breed to obtain Dual Grand status; Rae & Tommy also earned two placements at the ABC Gun Dog National Championships. He hunted his dogs on released and wild birds in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and South Dakota.
Tommy was a person who only knew friends he hadn’t met yet and would help anyone who asked him; always positive in nature and smiling, having time for everyone. These traits led to an area of Tommy’s life where he truly excelled – Handling and Scouting dogs in Field Trials. In this environment, he was eventually tagged as “Lunch Box” for his ability to eat a lot at the end of a day in the field. “Lunch Box” graciously lent others a horse or his time; Tommy was always scouting for friends, eventually scouting for professional trainers Tom Tracy for a few seasons and Bob Burchett for the last 6 years.
His travels took him to field trials in 20 states, expanding his friend base everywhere he went, across multiple breeds and through judging weekend trials and Championships over the last 14 years. Tommy handled multiple Brittanys in Gun Dog and All-Age for himself and others at the National level, earning a total of 6 placements: 2 National wins and 4 other placements. He also scouted multiple other National winning and placing dogs for their handlers, always making a good team better. From what I could put together from placement photos, Tommy scouted dogs to 8 National wins, 7 National 2nds, 3 National 3rds, and 7 National 4ths, between Open and Amateur stakes from 2009 to 2021. That’s 31 National placements that Tommy had a hand in over 12 years; possibly higher. Tommy judged the 2016 ABC Gun Dog National Amateur Championship in Ionia, MI and served as a ABC National Gun Dog Championship Field Trial Committee member on multiple occasions.
Tommy was also a benefactor to the sport by availing and developing his and his mother Linda’s property in Thayer, IA for the sport of field trialing; popularly known as The Bird Dog Ranch; his part of the property being known as Double T Farms. Weekend trials, hunt tests, Championships and Classics of multiple breeds were held there over the years, including the AKC National Gun Dog Championships and a Springer Spaniel National Championship.
The Field Trial Community will long remember his contributions to the sport and the lives of those he encountered everywhere. As an organ and tissue donor, Tommy helped others even after his passing.
Al Cropek Jr
Marsha & Joe Luisi
Amy & Dave Pluth
Steve & Lori Ralph
Sherry & Gene Stewart