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Result: U. S. Complete Open Invitational Championship

Location: Pamplico, South Carolina

Post Date: Feb 20, 2024

Submitted By: Margaret Drew

US Complete Inv ChF23

U. S. Complete National Open Invitational Championship Winners (l-r): Cliff Monroe, Tony Bingham with Smoke Rise Jake, Chris Catanzarite, Mark Hughes with Suemac's Sashay, Rodney Poston (judge), and Joe Cammisa (judge).

The National Open Invitational was held in December 2023, with 12 dogs attending. This year's running was held at the Poston Farm in Pamplico, South Carolina. Last year's champion, Glassilaun War Paint, had been retired by his owner, Jamie Nee; therefore, he did not accept the invitation. Others invited but unable to attend were Double Deuce Sage due to whelp in January and Hirollins Gone And Doneit, recovering from tendon surgery. The standard for invitation is based on national points achieved from open placements during the year. When additional dogs are needed, the national secretary goes down the list until a replacement dog accepts. Often, these replacements are not notified until late; consequently, distance, conditioning, and personal schedules interfere with accepting the honor.

Those who accepted (listed here by braces for Day One) were:
No. 1: Moonlite's Crown Jewel (PF) owned and handled by Frank Joyal from Vermont and North Carolina, and Warrior's Mean Louie (PM) owned and handled by Dennis Kivikko from Virginia.

No. 2: Grouse Hill Bullet Proof (ESM), owned by John Capocci and handled by Scott Forman from New York, and Mohawk Mill War Hawk (PM), owned by J. D. Waters and handled by Tony Bingham from North Carolina.

No. 3: Blue Ribbon's Harper Bella (PF), owned by Marty Fester and handled by Robert Ecker from Pennsylvania and North Carolina, and Suemac's Sashay (PF), owned by Roger, Susie, and Daulton McPherson, and handled by Mark Hughes from Pennsylvania.

No. 4: Backcountry Bruiser (PM), owned and handled by Chris Catanzarite from Pennsylvania, and Smoke Rise Jake (PM), owned by P. F. Rose and handled by Tony Bingham from North Carolina.

No. 5: Ramapo Mountain Doc (PM), owned by Robert Shaban and handled by Robert Ecker from Pennsylvania and North Carolina, and Ms. Lady W (PF), owned and handled by Earl Drew from North Carolina.

No. 6: Double Deuce Zeke (PM), owned by Doug McMillan and handled by Mark Hughes from Pennsylvania, and Backcountry Missy (PF), owned and handled by Chris Catanzarite.

It is interesting to note that for this Invitational Open Championship, six open-trained and handled dogs attended, and six amateur-owned and handled dogs were invited. In today's economy, more amateur-owned and handled dogs compete weekly; therefore, there are larger than usual amateur handler-qualified dogs. The dog is the key here, not the handler!

This year's location was on the Poston Farm in Pamplico, South Carolina. As handlers turned off Route 51 onto East Shirley Road, they were greeted by a large Purina banner announcing their arrival. As you turn right into the grounds, a dirt driveway takes you straight to the clubhouse and a large, mowed grass area with ample parking and room to stake out dogs and horses. Several folks travel with living quarters, and they, too, had ample room with access to water. The clubhouse served as a gathering place, outside and inside chairs. It also provided an easy serving area for lunches and Thursday evening's Purina Handlers' dinner. Lunch on Thursday was hot meatball grinders with homemade baked goods by Suzie Cammisa. On Friday, the buffet was warm "leftovers" from Thursday.

The course breaks away about halfway down the driveway toward Shirley Road. The dogs receive the whistle and head west across two open fields where the crop has been harvested and the ground smooth. On each side of these fields, there are feed crops along tree lines. At about 15 minutes, the course turns south into a long field fenced on the right westerly edge, as well as having a feed crop. On the left, there is additional bird cover and feed crop, as well as thick woods and water ditches. Ten minutes later, the course bends south easterly, crossing another harvested field and into a more natural area with plenty of quail habitat. At approximately 30 minutes, the course then passes the clubhouse and crosses the entry driveway. The territory here has more natural cover, a substantial wooded area, followed by open fields with feed plots and grass cover. As this course is basically a figure 8, we do cross one pathway before finishing on the far-left side of the opening fields. There were plenty of birds there, both from the prerelease coveys several months ago and the daily quail added by the club. The bird planter was Cliff Monroe. Thanks to Cliff, as well as to Warren Parrott, for supplying a vehicle with which he could maneuver the course.

Judges were landowner Rodney Poston and Joe Cammisa from Butler, Pennsylvania. Rodney not only judged but was the perfect marshal. As Rodney raises quail for his "mini plantation," birds released were purchased from him.

Purina sent hats, banners, and food for entries. The winners received letters to have 12 and 6 large 37.5 bags of Pro Plan Sport delivered to their homes. Smaller bags were provided to all dogs that were entered. Garmin also supports U. S. Complete championships and will be sending product to the winners and the runner-up. The chairman for this championship was Tony Bingham, assisted by Cliff Monroe, National Secretary Jameson Crandall, and reporter Margaret Drew. The national secretary is responsible for all the points and keeping and sending invitations to attend. He also does the first drawing two days before the event. As the U. S. Complete Invitational is an average of two days, with a third day the option of the judges, Day Two was drawn on Thursday afternoon prior to dinner. Dog of the Day was awarded to Smoke Rise Jake. Three dogs were not eligible for the Day Two drawing due to errors in the first series. All participants were presented with a framed certificate of participation. U. S. Complete National President Chris Catanzarite was kept apprised of the progress throughout the fall. He was also involved with planning and had two dogs entered.

The Winners
Four-year-old pointer male Smoke Rise Jake was named champion, with female pointer Suemac's Sashay named runner-up. These two dogs link back to Chasehill Little Bud. Sashay is the direct daughter of Bud, and Jake is a second generation through Stoney Run's Buddy, who was from Chasehill Little Bud (x Racie Kate). Both litters were from a January whelping; Jake is 6, and Sashay will be 10 in 2024. Jake had multiple pieces of bird work on both days, with a strong ground race and good rapport with handler. Sashay scored finds both days with a consistent race.

Day One Running
Called to the line by 8:15, the event commenced with Moonlite's Crown Jewel and bracemate Warrior's Mean Louie. It was a little chilly by South Carolina standards at 38 degrees and a slight breeze. The breeze continued for most of the morning, making good conditions for the dogs and handlers, although a jacket was needed for judging or gallery riding. Moonlite's Crown Jewel had a good race; she was very light on her feet and had a consistent ground race. At 48, we all thought we finally had a bird located when we found Jewel standing proudly on a knoll backing her bracemate, who was buried deep in the cover among bamboo saplings. Despite a thorough search and relocation attempt, no birds were flown. Louie's race was at a constant hunting range and always in hunt mode.

Brace No. 2 called the only setter, Grouse Hill Bullet Proof, to the line. Bullet Proof is a sharp-looking black and white setter with a forward race as he searched all possible objectives with no success. His bracemate Mohawk Mill War Hawk was with Tony Bingham. At 24, the course swings back toward the clubhouse through some good-looking quail habitat. The judge noted to Bingham that his dog had stopped to the front on the right. As handler went to flush, a deer jumped up and ran off--Mohawk Mill War Hawk stood obediently until handler approached and took him on. The dog's mind was distracted, and he was unable to focus on his hunting task following that experience. In 6 minutes, he snapped into a promising poise; however, no birds were flushed. He repeated this routine for another 4 minutes and was then leashed by handler. This resulted in his being unable to be drawn for Day Two.

Brace No. 3 found Robert Ecker with Blue Ribbon's Harper Bella and bracemate Suemac's Sashay with Mark Hughes. This pair were eagerly off the start line, showing a promise for quail to be located. Blue Ribbon's Harper Bella ran a snappy-gaited race, which grew stronger as her hour progressed. At 25, she was casting back toward handler after a determined cast when she scored a nice quail find. As her hour continued, she became independent, requiring Ecker to demand more of her. Suemac's Sashay gets recognition for having the first find of the stake. At 20 minutes, she was hunting right to left along a grassy edge when we watched her slow her gait and then turn into the cover. Her tail was soon seen as she staunched up to await handler. Quail were flushed, and with all in order, she was collared to the corner and whistled away. With this first find under her collar, she was energized and marched strongly forward. A few of her casts during the remaining 45 minutes were wide, and a few times, I thought she had been ridden by. This had been a good brace.

Lunch followed, with brace No. 4 on the line at 12:55. Backcountry Bruiser was braced with Smoke Rise Jake. The breakaway was quick and forward, with these two powerful pointers out to see who could locate the first quail in this hour. Their patterns showed a good hunting sense as to where to attempt location. At 16, the pair were standing, Jake scoring the find and Bruiser, a back. Good style and manners for both dogs. Bruiser required some firm commands by handler to keep him under control. He did score an unproductive and a nice find at 57. The judge noted he was a powerhouse on the ground. Smoke Rise Jake had a second find at 25 before crossing the entry driveway and was obediently healed across the roadway to be whistled away as his bracemate caught the front. He had one additional find. He pointed with a high head and tail each time while staunchly awaiting flush.

Brace No. 5 was tapped to hunt at 2:16 with Ramapo Mountain Doc and bracemate Ms. Lady W. Ramapo Mountain Doc was fast on his feet off the breakaway, although settled into a sweeping hunting pattern. Along the fence by Route 51, he had quail flushed at 15. Your reporter did not see this part of the race as I was scouting my own dog; however, the judge reported that his finds were well-spaced and that he was fast on his feet. Ms. Lady W was forward with her bracemate in a tandem race until the second field. She cast to the left and out of sight, returning at 14 to continue down the left planted seed plot and disappear briefly. She was next seen well to the front, edging the crop field and into the cover. She ran an animated wide race, always forward, with a nonproductive at 54.

The final brace for Day One was on the line at 3:46; Mark Hughes had Double Deuce Zake as bracemate for Backcountry Missy. This final afternoon brace was a challenging hour. Zeke had finds at 20 and 25. He and handler Hughes get the recognition for the first covey of the stake. The course crosses a wide bare crop field at 20; Zeke was forward and seen entering the standing feedstock. He pointed and then took a second step and firmed up. He awaited flush and shot. The remainder of his hour went downhill, as he developed a stubborn side of not responding to handler or scout. At pick-up time, he was found standing along the roadside fence near the 15-minute mark. As an electronic device was used, he was not eligible for Day Two.
Backcountry Missy was making her way southeasterly about 16 minutes into the hour. A bird was seen, and she was in the area, although she did stop. The judge deemed it a stop to flush and allowed her to continue. At 20, Missy had point called by scout on the wooded edge side of the harvested field. Missy had a bad day with additional unproductives, scoring at 40 and 50. She was not invited to run on Day Two.

Day Two Running
Friday morning found heavy frost on the ground, temps 29, causing the start time to be pushed back to 8:40. Chris Catanzarite brought Backcountry Bruiser to the line as bracemate with Ms. Lady W with Earl Drew. The two were forward at the sound of the whistle and release of the collar as if shot from a cannon. We watched them pass the two breaks in the fields and head toward the field along the fenced road along Highway 51. Bruiser was hunting appropriately to the front as we made the southerly turn; however, not stopping to indicate game. He continued a powerful march forward. When he entered the open area beyond the fenced neighbor, he skirted to the right through the standing feed plot. When a scout was dispatched, point was called. I did not see what happened; however, the report given to me was "he was picked up." Ms. Lady W was well to the front, crossed the ditch by the wooden scout bridge, and then headed south. When we could see her, she was in a determined searching gait; however, nothing stopped her until a large covey lifted as she cast toward the clubhouse after a long absence, and she chose not to stop. This short brace was a surprise to all.

Brace No. 2 was Ecker with Ramapo Mountain Doc and Bingham with Smoke Rise Jake. These two briefly displayed an unfavorable start, each doing "dog stuff" after a long night in his crate. Jake was first to begin a real hunting cast, traveling well to the left, where he was stopped by quail along a steep bank along a water channel. Scout called point at 5, where Jake stood shivering, proud and sure. Handler Bingham made his way down the embankment and thrashed around with the judge watching closely. Finally, a quail was seen running under branches. Shot was heard, and Jake awaited the handler to return and take him on. After the handler led Jake toward the course, he was released to continue. He obediently moved forward and out of sight, entering the road field well ahead of his handler. From the front, we could hear Ecker and judge indicating that Jake was upfront. Judge Cammisa told Bingham to make his way through the middle cut so as to catch the front. Upon arrival at the far end of the field, Ecker and judge stated that they had not seen what had happened but thought Doc was backing. After looking the situation over, Bingham decided not to attempt flush, as he felt the two dogs were sight-pointing each other. Both dogs were taken forward and returned to hunt. This was a "non-event." At 25, Jake pointed, although no birds were flown, and Doc, returning from a long cast, was watered as he approached the vicinity. Soon, both dogs were hunting to the front. At 34, Jake pointed, and Doc backed. There was a long flushing attempt. At 45, Jake had a nice covey find. Nearing 55, a hawk was seen lifting from the side, although no bird was seen, and Jake was spotted well to the front.

Brace No. 3 contained Grouse Hill Bullet Proof with Forman and Blue Ribbon's Harper Bella with Ecker. This pair had an eight-minute hesitant start, each checking in closely and not casting forward in a search for game. Once whistled on and encouraged by handlers, the hunting got started. At 28, Bullet Proof stood solid, facing a patch of seed crop, although with an old-fashioned style. To everyone's disappointment, a nonproductive was scored. At 50, both dogs were hunting where we could all watch; Bullet Proof showing his determined hunting mode, although ranging a little further as the hour progressed. Blue Ribbon's Harper Bella was making several long independent casts and had to catch handler on a few occasions on this second day. At 24, Ecker called point for her, and after a flushing attempt produced no quail, he declared a pile of feathers and collared Harper on.

Brace No. 4 followed the best "leftovers" lunch one could ask for. Suemac's Sashay, with Mark Hughes, hunted independently most of the hour, checking in enough to keep everyone watching. She scored a three-bird covey find at 56 as she neared the end of her thorough coverage of the course. Warrior's Mean Louie, with Dennis Kivikko, hunted the course with good application and nice style; however, a stop to flush ended his hour early.

The final brace had to run as a bye-dog; however, Moonlite's Crown Jewel did not seem to mind. Handler and owner Frank Joyal set out for a nice hour's hunt. Jewel checked the sides of the course as she should and continued a forward pattern. When the course changed terrain, she would check for handler. Nearing the clubhouse, she stopped with impressive style and remained staunch after two coveys flushed--one to her right side some 20 feet away with 12 birds ridden up by your reporter and the second flushed by handler on the far side of a downed tree in front of her. This time, 20 birds thundering skyward. One of the nicest pieces of birdwork in the stake. Handler did not finish his hour.

Pamplico, S. C., December 14 - One Course
Judges: Joe Camissa and Rodney Poston
U. S. COMPLETE OPEN INVITATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats on Consecutive days; One-Hour Finals] - 11 Pointers and 1 Setter

Winner-SMOKE RISE JAKE, 1684876, pointer male, by Stoney Run's Buddy-Smoke Rise Mariah.
P. F. Rose, owner; Tony Bingham, handler.
Runner-Up-SUEMAC'S SASHAY, 1658242, pointer female, by Chasehill Little Bud-Richfield Stella. Roger, Susie & Daulton McPherson, owners; Mark Hughes, handler.

US Complete Inv Ch12EntriesS24

All Twelve Entries.