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Result: Northern New England Open Woodcock Championship

Location: Fryeburg, Maine

Post Date: Oct 10, 2023

Submitted By: Deb Kennedy

northern ne woodcock chf23

Northern New England Open Woodcock Championship (l-r): Russell Ogilvie (judge), John Stolgitis with Cairds Cracklin Rosie, Mike Flewelling with Boomer of Blackwater, and Barry Bassingwaighte (judge).

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow! You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
--King Lear, William Shakespeare

While we were spared a storm of Shakespearean proportions, the Northern New England Open Woodcock Championship was subject to the whims of "hurricanoe" Lee, who zigged and zagged up the Atlantic as it lurched toward the northeastern seaboard. Pearl-clutching weather commentators predicted catastrophic winds, deluges (aka cataracts), flooding, massive property damage, power lines turned into spaghetti, or... not.

After all was said and done, Lee delivered Lear-level winds on Saturday, so the judges and trial officials decided to delay the afternoon braces until the following day. Even with the interruption, all 32 of the 33 dogs entered had a chance to run over the weekend. The uncertainty over the hurricane's path caused the club to lose some entries, as well as judge Jamie Nee, who lives on Cape Cod. He reluctantly decided to stay home when the forecast was at its most dire. Jamie passed his judicial responsibilities on to Russell Ogilvie, a premier judge, reporter, and owner/handler of this year's Grand National Grouse Champion Spring Brook Maximus. Equally qualified was our returning judge, Barry Bassingthwaighte. Barry has judged the Manitoba/Broomhill All-Age Championships, Michigan Shooting Dog Championships, the North Dakota All-Age, as well as multiple Canadian regional championships. He has handled four dogs to National Amateur Vizsla Championships and also won multiple Regional Shooting Dog Championships and runners-up. To honor his judging commitment, he drove from his home near Ottawa into a hurricane, gave up traveling to France to watch the Rugby World Cup with his teammates, and left his new house project, which is at a critical point of construction. That Barry gave up France for Fryeburg shows he is not only a man of his word but a man with a deep commitment to the sport who understands what it takes to run a class event.

Earlier in August, Kellie Short and Bob Paucek helmed the course-clearing crew. The Kennedys and Roy Hargreaves provided additional labor, equipment, and bug dope. At the trial, Bruce Burnell handled lunch duty, and Cal Robinson provided all the beverages for the event. Purina provided dog food vouchers for the champion and runner-up. Many other participants helped out with marshaling and judge transport. Mike Flewelling deserves special thanks for his assistance in pulling both a truck and a van out of the mud.

The Winners
Many dogs had clean bird work and good races, but what captured and held the judges' attention were the dogs that hammered through the ferns, stayed forward, remained connected to their handlers, and had strong finishes.

Checking all the boxes was Cairds Cracklin Rosie, Robert Little's pretty liver and white pointer, who had the right stuff for the second week in a row. Rosie earned the runner-up champion title when she placed with a grouse find in the North American Woodcock Championship just days before earning the first-place spot in Maine, this time on woodcock. Rosie ran in the sixth brace on course No. 3. Handler John Stolgitis let Rosie roll through the dense ferns, mud holes, river-scoured flood plains, and blowdowns. While all the courses hold birds, course No. 3 usually has a few more, but a dog can easily get buried in the cover, making a good bell, a good scout, and a good handler very important. Rosie had all three. In addition to her three woodcock finds, her ground race wowed the judges. She powered through the ferns, making strong, forward casts. Rosie was a distant white spot on the turn and responded beautifully when called. She finished strong.

The runner-up champion honors go to Boomer of Blackwater, a 6-year-old liver and white pointer who went on to win the New England Open Grouse Championship in New Hampshire a little over a week later. Boomer's race on course No. 2 in the second brace, as well as his strong finish and stacked-up point, earned him the title. He was handled by Mike Flewelling, the dog's breeder, who told me later that he had given the dog to a young man, Cole Cullins, but that Boomer--forgive the pun--boomeranged back to Flewelling when Cole confessed he didn't have time to train him. Several other dogs came close to the winners, but none separated themselves enough to alter the judges' rankings.

The Running
First brace: Carolina's Great Pee Dee, female pointer, ran beautifully for her owner, Frank Joyal, but went birdless. Also failing to connect with a bird was Chasehill Wicked Wilma, a pointer female handled by John Stolgitis.

Second brace: Boomer's run is covered above. His bracemate, Neo, last year's runner-up champion, was handled by Adam Dubriske. Neo had a find, but not the race this day.

Third brace: Mooselook Texas Star, a pointer male (Dubriske) for owner Jack McNulty. Tex went on a bird-finding spree with five finds, which may have shortened his race. Bracemate Remington, a male setter, wasn't at his best and was picked up by owner/handler Brian Dix.

Fourth brace: Partridge Hollow Elrumhew (Dubriske). This powerful male pointer's race was on the short side. Handler Craig Doherty picked up Wild Apple Pop's Dorothy, a pointer female, before time.

Fifth brace: Paucek's Up for Adventure, setter female, was handled by her owner, Trevor Landon. Her bracemate was pointer female, Moonlite's Crown Jewel (Joyal). Both dogs had pretty races but didn't have any bird work.

Sixth brace. Rosie is covered above.
Braced with Rosie was Once In A Bluemoon, a pointer female (Joyal) who had a nice find, but Bluey wasn't strong enough on the ground.

Seventh brace: Paucek's Little Tommy Tucker, owned and handled by Kellie Short, had a find and a strong race with one unproductive. Mike Flewelling's female pointer, Sunkhaze Vera Masardis, pointed a grouse but didn't have the ground race.

Eighth brace: Chasehills Wango Tango, a young male pointer, was wound up and showed it despite Stologitis's best efforts to keep him in the pocket. Handled by her owner, Dave Theroux, Henry's Susieq Dot, a setter female, is known as a superb bird finder; however, she didn't connect with a bird during her hour.

Ninth brace: North Country's Soda Pop, setter female (Dubriske), was picked up early for breaking at shot. Pointer male, Ralphy's Chasehill Rip (Stolgitis), was stylish, sharp on point and had a find. He was close to bumping Boomer out, but he did not finish as strong, perhaps because, for most of the hour, he lacked a bracemate.

Tenth brace: Elhew Snakewood, pointer male (Doherty), was braced with Gerald Movelle's Chewy 2. Neither dog connected with a bird, but I think the gentlemen, who are old friends, enjoyed their walk in the early fall forest.

Eleventh brace: Wild Apple Hard Cider, pointer male (Doherty), went birdless. Brute (Stolgitis) had a good race but needed a bird to edge into a placement.

Twelfth brace: The wind was an issue for both dogs and handlers, and it was after this brace that the running stopped for the day. Elwood, a big pointer male, ran for his owner, Cal Robinson, in a very stiff wind and had a mannerly find. Lightning Flash Frank, a flashy setter male owned and handled by Kelly Hays, went birdless.

Thirteenth brace: Chasehill Snoop Dog, a pointer male, was picked up for not pleasing handler Stolgitis. Super Storm Nell, a setter female (Dubriske), ran really well with a find. Her ground race knocked her out of consideration. (Nell put it together the following week to garner a runner-up champion title in the New England Open Grouse Championship at Kilkenny National Forest in New Hampshire.)

Fourteenth brace: Chasehill Poison Ivy, a pointer female (Stolgitis), had the ground race the judges were looking for, but she could not be found on point, so the tracker was employed. Elhew Snakedancer, a pointer female (Doherty), did a really nice job running the course and worked hard. She had a find, and after her run, the judges were forced to split hairs, ultimately deciding she didn't stand out from what they had.

Fifteenth brace: Deb's McKeachie Road, a setter female owned and handled by Deb Kennedy, went with a bird and was picked up halfway through her hour. Setter male Mooselook Fionn Maccool was handled by his owner, Jack McNulty. Fionn ran well, but as time neared with no birds, Jack elected to pick up early.

Sixteenth brace: Kalamity Cinder, a red setter female owned and handled by Deb Sloan, started a little rough but moved forward and hunted well. She got hung up on the turn, and it took a while to get her back and moving forward. She had a find on the bank, and looked great.
Panola Bacon, a pointer male (Stolgitis), also got stuck on the turn. He had a stop where the handler heard a bird go, but the judge could not confirm it. He was picked up before time.

Fryeburg, Me., September 15
Judges: Barry Bassingwaighte and Russell Ogilvie
NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND OPEN WOODCOCK CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] - 21 Pointers, 11 Setters and 1 Irish Setter

Winner-CAIRDS CRACKLIN ROSIE, 1680683, pointer female, by Daddy's Little Boy Butch-Porter Meadow Bette. Robert Little, owner; John Stolgitis, handler.
Runner-Up-BOOMER OF BLACKWATER, 1676576, pointer male, by The Guardian-Let's Roll Possum. Cole Cullins, owner; Mike Flewelling, handler.

Jean Sanderson Memorial Open Derby
By Deb Sloan

The first brace of the Jean Sanderson Memorial Open Derby set the standard for the rest of this freshmen class of bird dogs. Judges Tony Leone and Deb Sloan had to be on their toes with this group of talented youngsters. The dogs who placed gave more mature performances overall, with ground races figuring heavily in the final placements.

Taking first place was Mohawk Mill Double E, a pointer female handled by Mike Flewelling. "Doll" had just started to open up nicely when her bell stopped ahead. She might point until she aged into a shooting dog if it wasn't for her bracemate, Blackie, a setter male handled by Kellie Short, who backed Doll with a mannerly stop. Mike was called, and Judge Sloan arrived with him on the scene to find both dogs looking certain. The woodcock was flushed with both young dogs steady to flush and shot, showing advanced manners for fall derbies,

Brace No. 2 produced the second-place dog, Paucek's Woodland Jedi Leia, a setter female handled by her owner, Roy Hargreaves. He turned his charge loose with instructions to "go find a bird." That's what she attempted to do for him for 30 minutes. Her mature race kicked in quickly, and Roy let her scour all the likely spots where she'd find a bird, speaking to her only when she needed to change directions. She stopped in the second half of her brace at a blowdown. An extensive flushing attempt produced nothing, as did a relocation. Roy moved his dog on just as his bracemate entered the area and pointed in the exact same location as the relocation. The judges suspected a mischievous running grouse, and both dogs were sent on. Based on her race, Leia showed the judges her potential as a future shooting dog--a dog to watch in the future.

Third place was Paucek's Rocky Road, an English setter female owned and handled by Kellie Short. She ended up running as a bye due to scratches. Roadie ran a moderate race, which resulted in a sharply executed, finished woodcock find. The bird aimed directly at Judge Sloan's forehead, so there was no way she could miss it. Judge ducked, handler fired, and nobody was harmed.

Judges noted that several very young dogs pulled off some nice bird work during the later braces, and the future looks bright for these competitors during their fall hunting season.

Judges: Tony Leone and Deb Sloan
JEAN C. SANDERSON MEMORIAL OPEN DERBY - 4 Pointers, 6 Setters and 1 Irish Setter

1st-MOHAWK MILL DOUBLE E, 1703688, pointer female, by Mohawk Mill Big Stuff-Mohawk Mill Dolly. Erin Stolgitis & Ellen Clements, owners; Mike Flewelling, handler.
2d-PAUCEK'S WOODLAND JEDI LEIA, 1793529, setter female, by Paucek's Little Tommy Tucker-Paucek's Andromeda. Roy Hargreaves, owner and handler.
3d-PAUCEK'S ROCKY ROAD, 1704261, setter female, by Long Gone Porky-Paucek's Mandy. Kellie Short, owner and handler.

jean c sanderson odf23

Jean C. Sanderson Memorial Open Derby (l-r): Mike Flewelling with Mohawk Mill Double E, Roy Hargreaves with Paucek's Woodland Jedi Leia, and Kellie Short with Paucek's Rocky Road.