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Result: 79th Annual Lake States Grouse Championship

Location: Meredith, Michigan

Post Date: Dec 13, 2023

Submitted By: Denise Peters

lake states chf23

79th Annual Lake States Grouse Dog Championship (l-r): Bryan Wood (stake manager), Harold Holmes, Reggie Durant (judge), Bundy's Buckeye Molly with Andy Erne, Tom Fruchey, Zach Erne (handler), and Dave Hawk (judge).

On Tuesday, October 24, 2023, the 79th renewal of the Lake States Grouse Championship began at the Gladwin Field Trial Grounds in Meredith, Michigan. Forty-eight dos were drawn for this annual event. This Purina-sponsored event is recognized as a "Purina Points" trial and an "Invitational Points" trial.

On Monday evening, October 23, preceding the start of the Championship, our annual handlers' dinner was held at the Alibi Hall clubhouse. Club president Michael Brown, his wife Chris, and club secretary-treasurer Denise Peters put on a walleye fish fry. This is the third year our fish fry was hosted by Mike and Chris, who donated the fish from their own stores. The evening's events included some special guests being recognized for their long membership and contributions to the Lake States Field Trial Club. George Ferguson, a long-time member and board member, along with his wife Marilyn, were recognized with a plaque of appreciation for all their help over the years. Particularly the wonderful baked goods Marilyn made fresh daily for every event. They also supplied coffee and hot cocoa as well. They will be greatly missed, and we wish them all the best. We thank them for their many contributions to the club.

On display for the inaugural running of the Roger Johnson Open Derby was the new "Roger Johnson Cup," along with a nice banner and picture of Roger and his dog, Grady. The evening was made more special as we were fortunate to have Roger and Norma Johnson in attendance. On behalf of so many, past and present, we recognize Roger for his many years and contributions to this sport. His friendship, stewardship, and leadership have inspired so many. Roger is the longest-serving director of the Lake States Field Trial Club. We thank him for everything he has done.

The trial began Tuesday morning soon after 8 a.m. as conditions were acceptable. Judges for this year's event were Reggie Durant of Marquette, Michigan, and Dave Hawk of Athens, Ohio. Both judges are experienced and have been part of our community for many years. Mike Brown sat in the saddle as reporter. The contribution of their time is appreciated by our club and all who have had the opportunity to wear those shoes.

The Winners
The 2023 Lake States Grouse Dog Champion went to Bundy's Buckeye Molly, handled by Zach Erne of Rittman, Ohio, and owned by Chris Sellers of Remus, Michigan. Three-year-old Molly is a fine-looking white and chestnut ticked female Llewellin setter. She is a treat to watch and has a fancy and stylish race. This is the first Llewellin setter to have won the Lake States Grouse Dog Championship. From the information we have been able to gather, this is the first Llewellin setter to win an American Field Championship since Tony O won the Pacific Coast Championship in 1943, owned and handled by H. A. Shaw. Zach and his brother Andy, new young professional handlers, are a welcome addition to our north woods. We look forward to seeing them here again. Congratulations from all of us, here at the Lake States Field Trial Club. Molly's run is later reported in brace No. 23.

The Running - Day 1
With weather conditions favorable for our first morning, we kicked off the trial a little after 8 a.m., when lighting conditions were acceptable. In the first brace on courses 1 and 2, we saw Pine Straw Fatbottom Girl with owner/handler Dale Ash and E J Jonesy with Scott Chaffee. Both dogs left the start on a mission. Jonesy's first bird contact was a stop-to-flush at 23 on a woodcock. Shortly after, Jonesy had another woodcock find at 27, where Pine Straw was picked up for failure to back. Scott chose to pick up Jonesy at 46.

The second brace was Flambeau River Meg, with owner/handler Joe Colglazier and Wild Apple Siri, with Bruce Minard on courses 3 and 4. Meg went into hunt mode, scoring woodcock finds at 13:30 on a relocation, at 45:10 and 52. Unfortunately, there were no big birds for her today. Siri worked the cover hard but was unable to come up with game. Bruce leashed her at 52.

After our coffee break, the third brace brought Rebellious Fearless Fred with owner/handler Mike Luebke and Sycamore Creek Cody, handled by Zach Erne on courses 5 and 6. Fred gave his effort but finished with no bird contact. Cody made his first attempt at 5:30 but was unable to produce a bird and ran a race, covering the edges to finish.

In the fourth brace on courses 7 and 8, we saw Snyder's Sadie, handled by Tammy Chaffee, and Back Creek Lucy with Richard Hollister come to the line. Just after the two-track crossing up on that left side hill, a grouse blew out, and Sadie carded a stop-to-flush at 17. Sadie stopped again at 36, with Tammy going in for the flush, relocating at 39 to no avail. Moving on, Sadie stopped again before we got to the hardwoods. The flush produced a grouse at 43, all in order. Sadie scored again at 46 within proximity, another grouse to her credit. Lucy went on point in the first cut at 8. It took a long time to find her. A bird was called but not acknowledged under judgment. She worked forward and had a stop at 35 to no avail. Lucy stopped again, Rich going in for the flush to credit a grouse 54. Sadie worked the cover but did not have the range the judges were looking for. Both dogs finished.

After our lunch break at the Alibi, we headed to the tubes to courses 9 and 10. Mountain Top Ryn with Marc Forman met Grouse Ridge Mags with Scott Forman. In the first cut, Ryn carded a woodcock at 13 and another at 26. Mags stopped at 11 but had no bird contact. She stopped again at 20, and when no one was home, Scott chose to leash Mags. Ryn went on and stopped at 33. Marc flushed up a grouse. Unfortunately, Ryn moved and found herself also leashed.

The sixth and last brace of the day on courses 11 and 12 saw French's Grouseringer Woody with Marc Forman and Hifive's Ruff Runner with Bruce Minard. Woody made a stop at 39 with a grouse seen taking flight. He lost some of his composure on the stand, and while he made a valiant effort, he had no more bird contact. Both dogs struggled in the heat and humidity. Ruff ran fast and was a hard handle for the day and was leashed by handler at 51.

Day 2 - The day of heavy rain.
Anticipating some rain, brace No. 7 ran on courses 13 and 14. Meredith Grade Penny with Scott Chaffee and B K Rolling Dice with Bruce Minard. With both dogs making their effort for the day, both finished with no birdwork, while grouse were seen flushing wild by the gallery.

Our eighth brace on courses 15 and 16 showed Grouse Ridge Larry with Richard Hollister and Ghost Train Belle with owner/handler Tom Fruchey, coming to the line with anticipation. Larry stopped at 25, with Belle failing to back. The flush produced no game and both handlers chose to pick up before the half.

Moving to the bird field for brace No. 9, on courses 1 and 2, we had a coffee break and watched Shady Hills Whiskey Bonfire with Scott Forman and Hifive's Power Line with Bruce Minard come to the line. The humidity was high, and the temperature was rising, making it difficult for the dogs. Power Line broke loose, hitting the cover like he does. He stopped at 28 and was able to nail a woodcock on an extensive limb find. He continued to hunt the cover and hit the edges. He finished with no further bird work. Whiskey hunted the cover with no bird contact. Scott chose to leash him at the half.

With the weather still high in humidity, the 10th brace saw Fireside Sally Forth with Tammy Chaffee and Timberdoodle Farms Sal with Marc Forman. On courses 3 and 4, we saw Sally stop at 24 but was unable to produce game. Moving on to course 4, Sal stopped with Marc, able to flush a woodcock at 37. Still, in that great cover, both dogs stopped at 43, producing the outcome of Sal carding another woodcock with Sally backing, all in order. Sal had a stop-to-flush on a woodcock at 47, and another woodcock find at 53, all in order. The grouse eluded us, and both dogs finished.

The 11th brace, after a great grilled hamburger lunch at the Alibi, we went back out to courses 5 and 6 to see Baxter's Pale Rider with owner/handler Brent Peters, come to the line with Cates Rocket Girl with Zach Erne. Both dogs covered the ridges in the beginning to get to the hill. The humidity was creeping with both dogs feeling it. Rocket Girl was sticky in the pole timber before the half, and Zach called for the tracker. Preacher moved on to course 6, hitting the necessary cover in all the right places. At the end of course 6, with one minute to spare, Preacher stopped down by the pond. Both judges and handler went in, and a grouse went up. When Preacher was found, he knew the bird was gone, and when Brent saw that, he chose not to shoot. Time was up.

The 12th brace brought to the line Setter Ridge Flash Forward with Scott Chaffee and Hifive's Top Shelf with Bruce Minard. Courses 7 and 8 have been particularly plentiful with birds this fall, and everyone was in anticipation. The action started early with Flash stopping at 4, carding a woodcock all in order. Moving forward, both dogs stopped at 11. Flushing attempts caused a grouse to blow out, and a divided find was determined. Top Shelf continued to work the cover but was later leashed after a couple of unsuccessful flushing attempts. Flash made another stop at 25 but to no avail. She continued on carding a grouse at 42. After another failed attempt at 47, the brace was over.

Day 3 - Mist and intermittent rain.
Courses 9 and 10 brought us our 13th brace. Grouse Hill Pepper with Scott Forman and Flambeau River Annie with owner/handler Joe Colglazier came to the line with hopes of grandeur. This brace ended at the half with both dogs not pleasing their handlers.

The 14th brace ran on courses 11 and 12. Synder's Fireside Ed with Tammy Chaffee and Travel Alert with Harold Holmes. Both dogs ran with enthusiasm, each carding a nice woodcock find. Both dogs finished without garnering the attention of the big bird.

The 15th brace ran on courses 13 and 14 with Thornapple Cody with Bruce Minard and Blast Off with Marc Forman. Cody began his brace on a mission of his own. Bruce called for the tracker before the road crossing. Blast Off made his first attempt at 27 with no one home after the flushing attempt. At 30, Blast Off stopped again, this time carding a grouse with all in order. Another stop at 41 ended his bid with the flushing attempt ending with no game.

Our 16th brace on courses 15 and 16 brought together Dun Rovens Soozee with Richard Hollister and Pine Straw's Cover Queen with owner/handler Rob Ellis. Stopping at 17, Soozee's attempt was thwarted. She prevailed with a woodcock find at 30. Moving on, her day ended with poor manners on a pair of grouse, at 50. Queen proved to be a rough handle for her owner, and he picked her up at 44.

The 17th brace saw Shady Hills Zeena with Marc Forman come to the line with Centerfold Peach with owner/handler Harold Holmes on courses 1 and 2. Zeena suffered a failed attempt at 20 but recovered quickly when she scored on a divided find on a woodcock with Peach at 23. Peach continued, handling well in the humidity, finishing with no further bird work. Zeena stopped again at 41 but was unable to produce game, ending her day.

In the 18th brace on courses 3 and 4, we saw Northwoods Atlas with owner/handler Greg Johnson and Hifive's On the Rocks with Bruce Minard. At 20, Atlas scored on a nice woodcock find. But, after not pleasing his handler, was picked up at 47. Greg spent a lot of time walking braces this week, and we hated seeing him go. On the Rocks ran a nicely handled race carding at woodcock at 31 and 44, all in order to finish as he started with great energy. Again, the big bird eluded us.

Day 4
In the 19th brace, we saw Pistol Patch Bullet with Scott Forman and Ponderosa's Copper Penny with owner/handler Rob Ellis come to the line on courses 5 and 6. Bullet stopped at 20 but failed to produce game. Bullet backing Penny at 17. Later, at 47, he stopped again, carding a nice grouse find for Scott. Penny handled well for Rob, carding a grouse find at 19 and at 46. Her style on her points, keeping her from the podium.

We had Meridith Grade Corky with Tammy Chaffee and Sutter's Backwoods Rumble with Richard Hollister come to the line for our 20th brace on courses 7 and 8. Rumble made his first bid at 13, scoring on a grouse find. His handler chose to leash him at 35. Corky had a failed attempt at 13 and was also picked up by his handler at 41.

The 21st brace ran on courses 9 and 10 with Grouse Hill Bella with Marc Forman and Baxter's Indian Arrowhead with Brent Peters. Indy covered the first cut with fervor. At the end of the cut, we lost his bell, and the scout was sent in. Soon after, both judge and handler went in to look as well. When Indy couldn't be recovered in due time, the tracker was called for. Bella had a stop-to-flush on a grouse at 38 and later scored on a woodcock find at 44. She finished with no further bird work.

Our 22nd brace started on courses 11 and 12 with Resin with Marc Forman and Grouse Hill Bullet Proof with Scott Forman. Resin stopped first at 20, unable to produce game. He was later picked up by his handler. Proof's bid was short as well, as Scott chose to pick him up as well before the half.

Brace No. 23 ran on courses 13 and 14 with Bundy's Buckeye Molly with Zach Erne and Kit's Whiskey Creek Patsy with Scott Chaffee. Both dogs headed into the scrub oaks at the beginning, with Molly making the first bid at 15. Zach flushed up a grouse, and Molly stood staunchly with good manners. All was in order. Patsy worked the cover but was picked up at 22 when she wasn't pleasing her handler. Molly continued with a woodcock find at 33. She handled well, was biddable, and continued a smooth and even forward race with no holes. She finished with no further bird work. Her style was great and very attractive.

The 24th and last brace of the day was on courses 15 and 16. We saw One Acre Wood Bandit with Trey Rector, braced with Rowling's Star, handled by Scott Forman. Bandit hunted the cover well, had a failed attempt at 18, and finished with no bird work. Rowling's Star made a biddable attempt to win but was unable to come by that elusive grouse. She had three successful woodcock finds and finished strong.

After four days of running the championship, we concluded Friday afternoon. We headed to the Alibi for the announcements. The runner-up for this year's championship was withheld.

Meredith, Mich., October 24
Judges: Reggie Durant and Dave Hawk
79TH LAKE STATES GROUSE DOG CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] - 11 Pointers, 36 Setters and 1 Llewellin Setter

Winner-BUNDY'S BUCKEYE MOLLY, 1694731, Llewellin setter female, by Chaseaway Bondhu-Earlywine's Bomber Lynds. Chris Sellers, owner; Zachary Erne, handler.
Runner-Up [Withheld].

The Open Puppy began Saturday morning with Ken Moss and Mike Lareau sitting in the saddle. We drew seven puppies, all eager to show their stuff on our new puppy course. Sutter's Little Red Vixen, an English setter female handled by Richard Hollister and owned by Paula Giulitto, took first on the podium. She really applied herself, going to the cover and handling with ease. Her hunting instincts standing out above her competitors. Second place was awarded to Neff's Catch Me Get Me, a setter male handled by Marc Forman and owned by Virginia Neff. This pup applied himself well with enthusiasm and handled throughout the 20-minute course. Twilight's Problem Child took third. This English setter male was also handled by Marc Forman and owned by Mark Deneka of Stewartsville, New Jersey. Again, his application and biddable handling brought him to the podium.

The first inaugural running of "The Roger Johnson Cup" Open Derby also began Saturday morning with an outstanding group of 27 young derbies. Eric Naus of Petrolia, Ontario, Canada, and Deb Sloan of North Monmouth, Maine, served as judges for this event. We had our work cut out for us to get all 14 braces in, but we did it with the help of all the competitors. Roger and Norma Johnson were on hand, blessing us with their presence for this first of what will be many bids for the "Roger Johnson Cup." We can easily say that everyone wanted the privilege of taking this cup home for the first time. This year's winner was Grouse Feather Tilly, an English setter female, handled by Richard Hollister and owned by Custis Coleman of Henrico, Virginia. Tilly had a championship-caliber race, holding a blistering pace and handled well. She stayed independently forward on the edge of bell range with a grouse find. Second place went to Miss Buttons, a pointer female, handled by Scott Forman and owned by Albert Gehm of Syracuse, New York. Buttons had a nice forward running race with a divided find on a woodcock and grouse. Her more mature race put her second on the podium. Mia Star, an English setter female, handled by Stephen McKalko and owned by George Najor, took third place honors. She also had a nice forward race with a divided find on a grouse and woodcock. She also had another independent woodcock find to her credit.

We would like to thank everyone who joined us. All club members who helped and all the participants who helped move cars, marshal braces, and keep the game rolling. Thank you to Purina for your support.

Lake States Grouse ODF23

The Roger Johnson Open Derby Winners (l-r): Bryan Wood (stake manager), Eric Naus (judge), Grouse Feather Tilly with Richard Hollister (handler), Roger and Norma Johnson, Miss Buttons with Scott Forman (handler), Deb Sloan (judge), and Mia Star with Steve McKalko (handler).

Judges: Eric Naus and Deb Sloan
THE ROGER JOHNSON OPEN DERBY - 9 Pointers and 18 Setters

1st-GROUSE FEATHER TILLY, 1703250, setter female, by Grouse Feather Hawk-GF Southern Belle. Custis Coleman Jr., owner; Richard Hollister, handler.
2d-MISS BUTTONS, 1703415, pointer female, by Double Deuce Zeke-Shady Hills Zeena. Albert Gehm, owner; Scott Forman, handler.
3d-MIA STAR, 1702751, setter female, by Windstar-Hometown Queen. George Najor, owner; Stephen McKalko, handler.

Lake States Grouse OPF23

Open Puppy Winners (l-r): Mike Lareau (judge), Sutter's Little Red Vixen with Richard Hollister (handler), Tom Fruchey, Neff's Catch Me Get Me with Marc Forman (handler), Ken Moss (judge), and Twilight's Problem Child with Deb Nihart.

Judges: Mike Lareau and Ken Moss
OPEN PUPPY - 1 Pointer, 5 Setters, and 1 Brittany

1st-SUTTER'S LITTLE RED VIXEN, 1706341, setter female, by Sutter's Backwoods Rumble-Dun Roven Briar. Paula Giulitto, owner; Richard Hollister, handler.
2d-NEFF'S CATCH ME GET ME, 1705378, setter male, by Wayward Flyin Tomato-Twilight's Echoed Promise. Virginia Neff, owner; Marc L. Forman, handler.
3d-TWILIGHT'S PROBLEM CHILD, 1706124, setter female, by Wayward Flyin Tomato-Twilight's Echoed Promise. Mark Deneka, owner; Marc L. Forman, handler.

Lake States Grouse Roger Johnson CupF23-

Roger and Norman Johnson with the "Roger Johnson Cup."

Lake States Grouse FergusonsF23

George and Marilyn Ferguson were presented with a plaque of appreciation for their many years of supporting our club by making baked goods and serving coffee and cocoa daily to all our contenders.