Result: U. S. Complete National Open Shooting Dog Championship
Location: Hoffman, North Carolina
Post Date: Feb 28, 2022
Submitted By: Margaret C. Drew
Once again February brought the U. S. Complete National Open Shooting Dog Championship to the prestigious Robert Gordon Field Trial Area of Hoffman, N. C.
These 950 acres designated for field trials by the North Caroline Wildlife Resources Commission began its development in 1949, with the first trial being held in 1954. Since then additional courses were added to the present six equal one hour courses.
There is a systematic plan in place for mowing, clearing, and planting strips over the approximate 32 miles of course. Horse corals, dog kennels, a horse barn with stalls, running water in several areas, electrical hook-ups and a first class clubhouse facility are among the amenities here.
The lands were originally acquired by a federal government grant for the preservation of wildlife and forestry, especially longleaf pine. Each course has some man-made water holes, a few have brook crossings, with cleared strips 70-yard wide which are bound by piney woods. These strips have planted crops to invite wildlife.
Since 1981 the Wildlife Commission has worked with the North Carolina Field Trial Association to release quail in October. The Association has purchased a tractor and feed hopper to feed the six courses weekly. The wildlife crew at the local wildlife maintenance depot is in charge of burning, clearing, planting and mowing of the courses. A special thanks to the great job done by the state, especially Lee Criscoe.
Although horseback events at Hoffman use the six one-hour courses as laid out, the walking handlers use about 45 minutes of the normal 60-minute horseback course. We break away at the bottom of the hill below the clubhouse and follow course one for a short distance, finishing part way onto course No. 2. We finish the morning behind the barn about where the normal horseback morning concludes. In the past we have never finished course No.5 and hunted none of No. 6; consequently, we began our afternoon on Field Trial Road where course No. 5 crosses below the clubhouse and just followed onto six and finished on four.
The state has a dog/people wagon which is pulled by a pickup during each brace. The truck driver is paid by the hosting club of each event. During 2021-2022 there have two drivers. These gentlemen make a thermos of coffee to bring before arriving in time to hook up the dog wagon, go around to trailers and gather dogs and report to the 8 a.m. breakaway. There is also soda and water, and cookies for our break times.
For the 2022 six-day Championship and Derby, Greg Robinson was the driver. Greg had the usual for break times, along with bananas, apples and tangerines on some days. He made sure dog boxes had clean hay, doors were closed and locked, as well reminded riders that the wagon has cushions for those who wish a softer ride. There is water in a tank on the wagon to refill water bottles to water dogs when the temperatures rise. Greg also enjoys being a great candid photographer at each stop.
During the first morning it was noted that the back tire on the wagon was going flat, air was added at noon; however, it did not remain hard. Lee and Greg borrowed a tire from the Drew's horse trailer that evening to solve the situation. The state wildlife does not work on Friday or weekends. Thanks Greg and Lee for going above and beyond.
The returning chairman of this Championship is Tony Bingham. He is assisted by Earl and Margaret Drew. This year David Huffine joined to help with the financial records.
Judging this year's National Open Championship and companion Derby were Joe Cammisa from Butler, Pa., and John Outlaw from Warsaw, N. C. These two have extensive judging experience in all kinds of bird dog events. Those participating appreciate their long hours in their vehicles getting to Hoffman and then sitting in the saddle for six long days to judge.
Judging a trial is made easier with good judging books for recording. Calvin Curnette has judges books available that easily record points, backs and unproductives, as well as room for a brief notes. Thanks for the books, Calvin.
Several owners were present to watch, as well as many visitors who came to watch these top quality dogs compete. Handlers were from New Brunswick, Canada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, North and South, Carolina and even Florida. Seven were professional trainers and five amateurs entered dogs.
The 62 entries surpassed the 2021 entries. In fact, this is the second highest National Championship entry. The highest was 66. To this were added the 26 Derby entries.
The sportsmanship at this trial was recognized, with scouting assistance, driving vehicles that held dogs in season that could not be on the dog wagon, or in general help wherever help was needed. There was always a large gallery on the afternoon wagon ride; the morning was not always as filled due to some early morning low temperatures.
[As an aside, the U. S. Complete Shooting Dog Association allows handicapped owners to handle their dogs in trials. Details are available on the the U. S. Complete Shooting Dog website. This trial had three amateur handlers who have approved handicap status and did run their own dogs, with one placing.]
In the clubhouse we observed some distancing for luncheon meals. Gretchen Adsit, assisted by Ginny Emersom, Lynne Leitch, and Marie Bly volunteering to help serve or clean up, along with John Adsit always keeps the clubhouse looking spic and span. Friday noon we were treated to homemade chili by Bingham's wife and homemade cookies sent by Mrs. Cammisa. All other days were prepared by Gretchen Adsit, except for pizza on the last noon. Jim and Ginny Emerson picked up the pizzas and kept them warm until the handlers came in for lunch. Marie Bly helped get the pizza served. On Friday evening a Purina sponsored handlers dinner was served with a 79th birthday cake for Earl Drew. On Saturday evening Rev. and Mrs. Andrew Brown served a homemade banquet in honor of last year's winner, Brown's Miss April, pointer female handled by Sean Melvin. Mrs. Brown gave Earl Drew a beautiful personal rendition of "Happy Birthday." She and Earl enjoyed a little dance before grace was offered and dinner served by Ella Brown and her friend Andra.
Sponsors of U. S. Complete are Purina and Garmin. Purina sent sample two-pound bags for everyone in attendance, as well as 37.5 bags for Championship and Derby winners. Purina hats went to all winners and judges. Garmin collars went to Championship winners.
On Friday, February 11, the first brace was whistled away at 8: 15 a.m. following announcements. The walking courses start at the bottom of the hill in front of the clubhouse and follow half of the traditional one course and finish up on two. The remainder of the morning follows the regular designated courses. By lunch time we end up behind the clubhouse barn. The trial and running order was a predraw, which was posted by the U. S. Complete Secretary Jamison Crandall from Virginia. Chairman Tony Bingham's wife sent copies that were available in the clubhouse.
Sweet Grass Slim, stout orange and white setter male, owned and handled by David Huffine, was named champion. Slim was bred by Mills Hodge with Sandland Miracle Maggie by Sterlingworth Jack. Mills was recovering from hip surgery and could not be in attendance to see Slim swing through the countryside with pleasing style, happily searching in the right areas despite the climbing temperatures. He had two lengthy absences; his saving grace was that he always appeared from the front.
Scouting was Sean Melvin's son Dejean Melvin. At 54 Slim scored a tall and picturesque large covey find. After being well watered he was whistled on and disappeared ahead once again not ever hunting the path. He finished going away even after 54 minutes at 72 . One judge commented, "He just set the standard very high."
Runner-up placement went to Hirollins Gone and Done It, pointer male owned and handled by Warren Parrott. Like many of Parrott's dogs he is out of those bred by Sergio Velez in Canada. This time by Fastforward's B K Gunner ex Littlewing B K Tia.
Hirollins Gone and Done It maintained a wide-reaching pattern, never changing his positive style. His determined stride took him around the course as he checked birdy areas. After a watering at 45 he bounced forward to the left into tall grasses where he soon stood with only the top of his head and tail observable. Following a wide flushing attempt, handler tapped him on with Gone and Done It showing spectators how a relocation should be done. Minutes later he stopped again to allow his handler put a large covey to flight. All in order. The dog was once again watered heavily as temperatures were reaching 50 as he was whistled on. Gone and Done It finished with plenty of energy to spare and well to the front.
Opening brace had Double Deuse Butters, pointer male with Hall-of-Famer Dave Hughes, with pointer male Brown's Ace (Sean Melvin). The pair was ahead much of the time at a good hunting range. The first find and back of this championship took place at the top of the hill nearing the second course sign. As the handlers came into the clearing at 15, Brown's Ace was pointing and Double Deuce Butters was backing. An unproductive was recorded when no birds were flown. At 52 Butters stopped to the far right of the course in tall cover, requiring a lengthy hike for handler Hughes to reach him. As handler approached, the dog self-relocated and moved on. The hour ended as we crossed the dirt road beyond the old candy cane tree stump and entering into the field where the old turkey pens once stood. Melvin did not have Brown's Ace at this time and sent a scout to locate him.
Tony Bingham with Forest Cook's German Shorthaired pointer, and Stokley's B Annie, setter female with Tony Bly. Mr. Cook was present to watch Cook's Little Katie. She was a little confused with all the people, horses and vehicles, venturing only a very short distance from handler and often turning sideway into the cover, and was picked up at 20. Stokley's B Annie had Marie Bly present to watch. Annie completed her hour in snappy fashion. She bounced and flew through the cover with eye appealing style. At 18 beyond the water hole, she wanted to remain in the woods to hunt, but was finally coaxed to move on with handler Bly. She hunted the edge near soldiers campground and stopped to happily indicate game. She tightened up as Bly stepped in front of her and a large covey erupted skyward. Shot was fired with all in order. (Tony Bly later commented that running a dog at Hoffman, completing the hour and firing his gun on a covey had been on his bucket list for a long time.)
Ramapo Mountain Doc, pointer male with Robert Ecker and Pistol Pete, pointer male with Mark Hughes. This pair made some nice casts, complementing each other much of the time. At 6 the pair were working the right of the course when Pistol Pete had a stop to flush while Doc moved along the lower edge of the same bushes. At 9 Doc had a covey well indicated with Pistol Pete backing. At 19 Doc had an unproductive. Pistol Pete covered the ground well, but two unproductives ended his bid a 54. Doc had a commanded back at 27 while Pistol Pete was standing, as well as making some good casts, although they were often abbreviated.
Brace No. 4 completed the morning, as the heat began climbing toward 70 . Redbud Country Girl, pointer female (Bingham) was paired with setter male Sweet Grass Slim (David Huffine). At 25 Bingham called for his retrieval device. (Sweet Grass Slim covered above with the Winners.)
Following lunch of homemade chili with cookies, setter males Doodle Ridge Elroy (Mark Hughes) and Grouse Hill Bullet Proof (Ecker) hunted the right places, ran with classy style at a medium to long range. However, no birds were pointed on this course even though we passed several areas where birds had been pointed the week before. One covey was ridden up by a scout.
Brace No. 6 had Triple L's Ben, pointer male belonging to veteran Lee Layman who was on the wagon to watch as Tony Bingham took him hunting. Bracemate was pointer male Stoney Run Bojangles, with veteran Donald Terrell. (Donald used the handicap provision of the U. S. Complete bylaws.) The first 16 minutes the two ranged at a challenging distance, required some scouting, as both put a strong race down. At 16 it appeared we would lose both; however, forward they marched, not really listening to their handlers, but checked in enough to remain in contention. At 40 Ben had begun to settle down, hunting happily along the side and ahead when two quail popped and his hour ended. Bojangles was absent often, touring through the course like a tornado and was picked up at 50 when on one of his wide casts he ended almost back to the barn.
The final brace of day: Wayward Flying Tomato, setter male (Mark Hughes) and setter male Dunroven's Midnight Ike (Ecker). This pair had equally appropriate races, despite the temperature having reached 77 . Nearing the hour's end point was called by Ecker, Flying Tomato also stopping as birds lifted. As Ike was on the other side of the cover it was not clear what had transpired. Neither dog was faulted
Saturday morning dawned mild and sunny, temperature at 43 when we broke away brace No. 8.
Hirollins Hot Diggity Dog, pointer male (Bingham) and Black River Sue, setter female (Sean Melvin). Breakaway was delayed a few minutes while handler went back to get his pistol; other than that the day got off to a good start. As two whistles rang out the dogs were up the slight incline, handlers close behind. As we rounded the knoll, Sue was swinging forward through the tall grasses on the left of the course, while Hot Diggity Dog laid out well to the front before checking back to settle into hunting with handler. The dogs maintained a consistent medium range, with classy motion. At 20 Melvin called point for Sue, Diggity Dog backing. Everyone in the gallery, mounted or in the car procession, was treated to a pair of tall and staunch bird dogs. Despite a lengthy search and relocation attempt, no birds were flown. The judges commented that this brace had been very enjoyable from the dogs' commendable races, a good handler pace with much give and take between handlers. We finished at the end of the brushy field beyond the old turkey pens area.
Mark Hughes with pointer male Double Deuce Oscar and Sean Melvin back with setter female Black River Ruby. Ruby wore fast running sneakers today; we saw very little of her from the breakaway. She was rounded up via a retrieval unit at 27. Deuce Oscar maintained good range with a snappy gait. He hunted independently, required no scouting as he swung in a forward pattern. No bird contact denied his chance for a placement.
Setter female Low Country Snow with Steve Ferrell and Clayhill T Bone, pointer male with young Harry Cook, his father scouting. Low Country Snow had a promising breakaway before needing the assistance of scout Bingham. When she returned from the front she was watered and then kicked her pace into high gear, resulting in use of the retrieval unit. T Bone ran with strong tail action, made appropriate moderate casts until 44 when he suffered an unproductive. When returned to hunting he had lost his drive, went to birding and was picked up a few minutes early.
No. 11 found Mark Hughes with pointer male Double Deuce Zeke running as a bye when Gary Whitworth was unable to make the trial due to illness at home. Zeke moved around the course at a medium range, made some lateral casts, although carried himself with a positive stride thru all appropriate bird spots. At 42 he stopped, but was quickly whistled on. He had two unproductives before his hour ended.
Brace No. 12 ran after lunch, Bob Little guiding setter female Sweet Southern Belle with the pointer male Mohawk Good Advice (Harry Cook). Southern Belle glides gracefully through the cover and through the tall sweet grasses. She required a little scouting on a few casts. She scored a tall picturesque find at 33. She stood halfway up a slight hill near a downed dead tree. The breeze waved her tail feathers as she stood awaiting flush. After a lengthy attempt handler made one final pass to the other side causing a good sized covey to life, followed by more as Little reached his dog. All was perfect! In the middle of course No. 6, the course is open piney woods, with feed plots and lots of tall grass. A beautiful sight! At 49 Belle had stopped at the end of a feed patch. She had to wait a considerable amount of time for handler to approach. A lengthy search produced no quail; Little collared his dog and took her back to the path before tapping her on. Good Advice ran a stylish, forward race, with power and independence, requiring some scouting. He scored a find on the outer right edge in a feed patch at 53. When released, he raced forward and out of sight. At time he was absent requiring handler, with scout, using 15 minutes more to return him to the judges. He did not return in time.
Pointer female Miss Lady W with Earl Drew and setter male Witch City Charlie (Mark Hughes) burst off the line and began a pleasing tour of the course. Miss Lady W ran a forward fancy race at a medium to long range. Every time handler thought he had lost her she showed to the front. She was found pointing stylishly at 43; no birds were produced even after a relocation attempt. Charlie ran a stylish race at a medium range. He hunted attractively left to right, covering the edges well. At time the pair was well ahead on the inner side of the trees that grow in the center of the area near the water hole. As time neared Charlie stopped at the far end; however, no Lady was in the bushes. She was located via a retrieval unit a mile away.
Sunday morning arrived with cloudy skies under seasonal temperatures.
Brace No. 14 reported to the line just prior to 8 a.m. -- My Way Little Bud, pointer male (Bingham) and Miss Penn Star, setter female (Ecker). Her owner Dr. George Najor was present to watch. Little Bud marched toward the top of the slight hill, slamming to point at 2 with a promising pose. An unproductive here and he was tapped to move on. Miss Penn Star went right to the business of hunting, reaching the top of the slight knoll and turning left into tall grasses and then stretching into the piney woods to the cast, seen mainly by dog wagon and car gallery. She swung back toward the center of course in time to back Little Bud's second unproductive. Miss happily returned to forward casts, showing her classy style at a moderate range; however, an unproductive at 47 and a second at 52 brought an end to her day.
Brace No. 15 called Ecker to the line again, this time with pointer male Bo of Pineywood whose owner Rich Warters was present to watch. Bracemate was Warrior Zeke, pointer male (Mark Hughes). Bo ran with a bouncy gait, hitting the correct spots as he swung through the course with a consistent pace. He ended most casts with a return to handler. Zeke began with a close pattern of quartering. As he limbered up, his casts grew and we could see him searching in earnest; however, he suffered an unproductive at 16 and a second soon after bringing his hour to an end.
Pointer male Quail Cross Bo Time (Bingham) and Good Reason Farkleberry, setter male with Kerri Elfin from Florida. This pair was off the line as if shot from a cannon. Both are fast and very animated dogs, with strong tail action. Farkleberry's gait might be described as "zippy", which he maintained for the full hour. At 42 he had an unproductive, although his attempt to relocate covered a lot of ground in his "zippy" fashion. When seen during the opening minutes, Quail Cross Bo Time covered the ground in wide casts, his cracking tail evident. However, by 40 minutes the retrieval unit was requested.
Dave Hughes with setter female Lake Anna Samantha, and pointer male Hunter Run Whirlaway with Ecker. Whirlaway was seen briefly, resulting in the retrieval unit being used to locate him. Samantha swung through the grasses toward the piney woods in happy motion. Her hour ended after unproductives at 14 and 20.
Following lunch the judges were back at it by 1:30 p.m. No. 18 called Little to the line with pointer female Carids Remi and Smoke Rise Hannah, pointer female with Fred Rose. This brace was action packed and fun the entire 60 minutes. Both dogs hunted with determination, had good power on the ground, required a little scouting as they moderately covered the piney woods of the course No. 6 loop. Hannah was found standing at 34 for a well indicated covey rise before finishing her hour hunting to the front. Remi seemed gone at 57; however, that changed when the wagon gallery called point. She stood for a lengthy time for handler to approach, find birds and flush. All in order, she was tapped on for about a minute as time expired.
Blue Ribbon Harper Bella, pointer female (Ecker) and Double Deuce Sage, pointer female (Dave Hughes). Harper is a classy black and white pointer with a winning style when running; she hit the cover hard and reached outward and forward. Sage is a liver and white pointer with a happy consistent gait, hunting at a moderate range, her pattern stretching as the hour went on. At 18 Bella pointed, birds were in the air and shot taken as handler approached. Her excitement at flush and shot caused the judge to order her up. Sage backed Bella, then went on to hunt pleasingly until 50 where she had an unproductive.
Sunday was a partly cloudy day, temperature in the 40s and a cold breeze affecting both handlers and dogs.
Brace No. 20 closed the day with Mohawk Mill War Eagle, pointer male (Mark Hughes handling for Harry Cook who had to leave Saturday evening), and Smoke Rise CeCe, pointer female with Fred Rose. They were off to a promising start, classy, good range, and an early divided find in tall grass along the wooded edge at 12. However, despite a lengthy and wide search no birds were flown. Swapping sides and moving spiritedly forward War Eagle stopped again at 34 in the grass along the wooded edge, this time CeCe coming in to back. Once again, no birds were flown. War Eagle went to the wagon and CeCe was tapped to continue her search as the afternoon began to cloud in and the wind increased. After a slight 9-minute absence, CeCe appeared from the right side in the front to finish her hour.
Monday was about 23 in early morning, warming to 28 by breakaway. It was sunny, no breeze and only light areas of ground frost.
Stokley's B Ricky, setter male (Tony Bly) with Backwoods Wildfire, pointer male (Mark Hughes). Marie Bly was present to watch Stokley's B Ricky which went right to business at the sound of the whistle. He was briskly forward and immediately into the tall grass. He then cast left down across the hillside and into the piney woods. His stretching gait and animated tail propelled him up the far wooded hillside and then across the top and back toward handler. Marching forward he stopped with promising style at 23, bracemate backing; however, no birds were flown. Again at 28 he stopped indicating game, bracemate joining for a back, but again nothing was flown and he was returned to the dog wagon. From the beginning, Backwood's Wildfire moved methodically through the course, his confidence increasing during the hour as he reached wider for game. Wildfire runs with good tail action at a medium range and hunts well. As the hour drew to a close he stopped at 59 near the thicket in the middle of the long clearing near the old turkey pans. No birds were flown.
No. 22 -- Lincoln County Stoney, pointer male (Gary Whitworth) and Mark Hughes with setter male Kendal Hill Dawson. On the breakaway Lincoln County Stoney was forward and cast to the right beginning a wide cast, showing his powerful gait and equally powerful tail action. His casts were determined and purposeful as he quickly stepped around the course, finishing his hour with plenty of energy to spare. Dawson Creek's light body toured the course with a consistent effort, casting at a medium to long range. Methodic patterns from beginning to end. At 34 he scored a good covey rise, all in order for wing and shot.
Tony Bingham with pointer male Decoy Lake Winning Man paired with pointer female Sumac's Sashay (Mark Hughes). A dark orange head and a body spot allowed me to keep track of Winning Man with his speedy ground pattern. The pair swung happily forward, spiritedly switching sides at medium range. By 37 Winning Man had been gone over 15 minutes and the retrieval unit was requested. Sumac's Sashay began with a snappy ground gait in a moderate searching pattern. When she became a bye dog she continued on with less excitement; the judges soon requested that she be picked up.
Brace No. 24 had Warren Parrott, with pointer male Hirollins Gone and Done It with pointer male Rock and Roll Back in Black. This pair was both very classy on the ground with great head and tail action. Back in Black did not continue hunting in a systematic fashion, becoming very independent of handler. He was picked up and returned to the wagon by the scout at 32. (Hirollins Gone And Done It covered with the winners above.)
No. 25 had pointer females, Mark Hughes with Bragga Bull and Bob Phillips with Bob's Elhew Sage. Sage was wound tight and eagerly off the start line. She hunted side to side with happy motion reaching forward at pleasing wide range. She required scouting at several turns. She was returning from a long cast from a lateral direction when she stopped and birds were flown with all in order. Touring the back loop on course No. 6 she stopped on the right hillside on the back corner, her style not her normal positive stand. Despite a wide flushing attempt and relocation, no birds were flown. She finished swinging in wide casts to the front. Bragga Bull covered the course in a casual manner, making a few longer casts, but most fairly close. She had unproductive at 45.
Darrell and Katie Gratham were on the dog wagon to watch Attakullakull, setter male (Bingham) and bracemate setter male Sterlingworth Jack (Ecker). This pair ran in warmer temperatures, although did not seem phased by the heat. Each required some scouting, although maintained a good forward attack of the course. Attakullakull ran a very independent race and finished the hour without birds, although still wanting to hunt more. Jack took wide casts and was deep in the grasses area or out of sight in the piney woods. His independence required the scout to remain constantly at attention. He stood for a large covey flush at 45 with all in order. As time was called he was moving slightly to the left of course. While walking to his dog, Jack stopped and handler called point, although no birds were seen. Time had been called.
The final brace for Monday had Smoke Rise Jake, pointer male (Bingham) and Parrot with pointer male Hirollins Talk'N Smack. This brace required two scouts shortly after breakaway. Handlers stood at the road crossing literally screaming for their dogs, while their scouts ventured well off course to turn the dogs. Talk'N Smack was returned at about 15 minutes by scout Mark Hughes. As he got within 45 feet he pointed in the woods. Handler walked to him, but no birds were produced and handler elected to pick him up. While Parrott was attempting flush scout for Jake, Roger Nooe, returned him from the other direction at 18. He too was done for the day.
Tuesday began at 26 , warming midday to the upper 40s and by the last brace we could feel the temperature dropping again. It was a good day to run dogs.
Brace No. 28 was tapped to begin at 8:02 a.m. with last year's champion Brown's Miss April, pointer female (Sean Melvin) and Stoney Run's Rebel, pointer male (Bingham). Rebel has appealing speed and a good gait. He cast lateral and made some loops back before coming to the front. He was making a good cast at 18 when he stopped at the edge of the road where a quail lifted. As handler approached more birds lifted with all in order until shot was fired and he moved. Still more birds lifted as handler took his dog out of the brush and walked to the dog wagon. Miss April came to maintain her image from 2021; however, today she was a little hesitant for the first 15 minutes, then limbering up to hunt with more focus. She had mostly lateral casts at a medium range. She is known for looking good at Hoffman; however, today was not her day. She appeared to have had a litter of pups in the past six months.
Maximum Resistance, setter male (Ecker) and Smoke Rise Bull, pointer male (Bingham). All owners were present to enjoy this morning's outing. Matt Phillips and his dad for Maximum Resistance, as well as Fred Rose and Mary for Smoke Rise Bull. Maximum Resistance was seen for about 5 minutes before disappearing. A retrieval unit was used before his hour was up. Smoke Rise Bull also was out for a run this morning, with an opening cast forward which brought him back to handler 15 minutes later. He had an unproductive at 37 near the soldiers campground. Following his find he shortened and hunted at a closer range. He had a half hour of powerful stride and good range and a second half hour at a closer range.
Pointer females next -- Gary Whitworth with Low Country Katie and Bob's Elhew Sushi with Bob Phillips. Sushi was not in sync with her handler today. She flittered from spot to spot at a medium to long range, stopping a few times. Katie had a stop to flush called by the wagon at 16 where she remained standing until handler arrived. However, as handler approached, another bird lifted and handler shot. Upon firing the shot several birds lifted. She had two points which turned out to be challenging with no birds flushed, only a rabbit and a quail. Katie had a find at 16 followed by a second bird indication at 22, which turned into several relocation attempts and points. Her medium to long ranging pattern was cut short with an early pick up.
Brace No. 31 culminated the National Open Championship for 2022. A Distant Spec, pointer male belonging to Mike Husenits with Mark Hughes with Tom Green's Shamrock's Miss Grace, setter female (Bingham). Distant Spec stopped at 10 and was soon a member of the short distance team. From what I observed, this pair hunted in tandem much of the time. They hunted happily, although not far from handlers. Miss Grace chose the easy path all day. Making slight progress and without birds, Miss was leashed by 32. Miss Grace chose the easy path. Making slight progress and without birds, Miss was leashed by 32. Spec was up a 51.
Hoffman, N. C., February 11
Judges: Joe Cammisa and John Outlaw
U. S. COMPLETE NATIONAL OPEN SHOOTING DOG CHAMPIONSHIP
[One-Hour Heats] -- 40 Pointers, 20 Setters, 1 Irish Setter and 1 German Shorthair
Winner--SWEET GRASS SLIM, 1685332, setter male, by Sterlingworth Jack--Sandland Miracle Maggie. David Huffine, owner and handler.
Runner-Up--HIROLLINS GONE AND DONEIT, 1679825, pointer male, by Fastforwrd's B K Gunner--Littlewing B K Tia. Warren Parrott, owner and handler.
The 26-dog entry was one more than the 2021 entry. Two placements are awarded. The same two judges were in the saddle. There were 22 pointers, 3 setters and a red setter. All were being looked at as possible future winners of the National Shooting Dog Championship. In other words, they were looking at body style when running and pointing, were they in sync with handler or at least biddable? Where did they hunt?
The Derby began at noon on Tuesday and finished afternoon on Wednesday. On Wednesday our breaks were a little longer as handlers were tired after their 31 braces of the Championship. At the top of a hill near the end of course No. 2 we often stop for coffee breaks. In this area there are two old while castles (otherwise know as outhouses).
The blue ribbon and engraved mug awarded to the winner went to Miller's Special Upgrade, pointer female owned by Carlos Escalante and handled by Mark Hughes. She was bred by Fran and Jack Miller by Miller's Upgraded Version ex Miller's Special Edition. She ran a wide and forward race, never needing scouting, but always hunting. She scored a covey find at 54 while heading toward the front along the edge of the long mowed grass strip before the water hole. She was solid to wing and shot.
The runner-up was The Lady Ex, pointer female owned by Cliff Monroe, handled here by Tony Bingham. Lady ran at a long range, although very much a biddable dog to handle. She is stylish as she jumps around the course, requiring no scout to keep her to the front. The judges' comment was how classy and independent she was.
This area is known as McGee's Castle. As the legend has it a reporter for the American Field who had reported Hoffman trials often had decided many years ago that this area needed some facilities and he had them erected. There is also a horse hitching post here. The wagon driver, Greg Robinson took pictures here after a lengthy snack break as he reminded everyone of the story.
OPEN DERBY CLASSIC -- 22 Pointers, 3 Setters and 1 Irish Setter
Winner--MILLER'S SPECIAL UPGRADE, 1695107, pointer female, by Miller's Upgraded Version--Miller's Special Edition. Carlos Escalante, owner; Mark Hughes, handler.
Runner-Up--THE LADY EX, 1691969, pointer female, by Bonner's Excalibur--Santee River Iced Crush. Cliff Monroe, owner; Tony Bingham, handler.