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Result: 33rd Annual Grand National Grouse and Woodcock Invitational Championship

Location: Gladwin, Michigan

Post Date: May 20, 2024

Submitted By: Denise Peters

Grand Natl Grouse InvitS24

Grand National Grouse and Woodcock Invitational Championship. Invitational Secretary Joe Cammisa; Owner Dennis Keysor; Champion Meridith Grade Corky with handler Tammy Chaffee; Scott Chaffee; Judges Bob Wheelock and Brent Peters; RU Champion Over The Hill Merry with owner/handler Rod Lein; Reporter Denise Peters and Stake Manager Bryan Wood.

The 33rd Annual Grouse and Woodcock Invitational Championship, presented by the Grand National Grouse Championship, Inc. and hosted by the Beaverton Grouse Dog Club, was held on April 17-19 at the renowned Gladwin Field Trial Area in Gladwin, Michigan. This year's judges were Bob Wheelock of Thompsonville, Michigan, and Brent Peters of Gladwin, Michigan. Brent took the seat when Ben McKean had to bow out. Bob and Brent are both very familiar with the grouse woods. Both have been raising their own dogs, training, trialing, and judging for the past two decades. Both are very capable and experienced in the saddle. Denise Peters of Gladwin, Michigan, was the reporter, and Bryan Wood of Pinckney, Michigan, was our stake manager. The drawing was held at the Alibi Hall on Tuesday at 6 p.m. after a great pulled pork dinner hosted by the Beaverton Club and provided by the 2023 Invitational runner-up champion, Bill Siemer, in honor of B K Rolling Dice's win. Lunches were hosted by the Beaverton Club and provided by Harvey McClung, owner of the 2023 Invitational winner Chasehill Poison Ivy. Invitational Secretary Joe Cammisa handled the draw with all handlers present. After a fun evening of camaraderie, everyone went home to rest before the competition began.

The Running
Day One

How they got here.
Each day, we met at the Alibi Hall and tried to be out of there at 7:30 to get the earliest start possible.
Brace 1 was Meridith Grade Corky (ESM/Tammy Chaffee). Corky made the final 14 by taking 2nd at the Beaverton Grouse Dog Club fall 30-minute Open Shooting Dog, 2nd at the Lake States Field Trial Club Spring Classic, and runner-up champion at the North Country Shooting Dog Championship. He was braced with Shady Hills Whiskey Bonfire (ESM), owned and handled by Scott Forman. Whiskey took runner-up champion at the Northern Michigan Cover Dog Championship. Both dogs hit the ground on Courses 1 and 2 at 7:45 with the sun poking through and temperatures in the 40s. At 5, when Tammy couldn't zero in on Corky's bell, she sent in her scout (Scott) to look, with the bell coming into range immediately after. Corky worked forward, getting a little sticky, while Whiskey worked forward as well with a little better handle. At 19, Corky went on point to the right of the course as we paralleled Joy Road. Bob and Tammy went in to take a look. Tammy flushed with Corky, looking a bit loose after having been there for a while. Shot was fired at 20:33, with the find being a flipping woodcock. Whiskey continued to work consistently out front, now with a bit of separation between handlers. As we crossed over to Course 2, both handlers were now back together, with both dogs working the scrub oak cover with effort. We got to the first road crossing, where Corky was upfront, and Whiskey was working the cover hard before the road. After the road crossing, Whiskey stopped, standing tight. Scott flushed to no avail and moved Whiskey on. After we got through the pines, Corky went to the left and stopped. After a flushing attempt, Tammy tapped him on, and he kept going. Whiskey stopped again at time, taking the judge and handler a bit of time to find him. Whiskey carding a woodcock, all in order. As we walked out, we witnessed a wild flush on a grouse.

Brace 2 saw Bundy's Buckeye Molly (ESF/Zach Erne) and Moss Meadow Seeker (ESM), with owner/handler Ken Moss, facing off on Courses 3 and 4. Molly took champion at the Lake States Grouse Championship, and Seeker won the North Country Shooting Dog Championship and took second at the Lake States 30-minute Mike Grostic Amateur Shooting Dog. At the beginning of Course 3, both dogs worked the cover on both sides of the course as we worked towards the black forest. The judges chose to use the old Course 3 route in an effort to get to Course 4 to give the dogs a better chance for birdwork. At the tubes at 22, both dogs went up the hill to Course 4, hitting the aspen cut with determination. At 23:54, Molly went on point with Molly a bit unsure. After a short flushing attempt, Molly was tapped on, and she continued to work the cover diligently. Molly stopped again at 27, with Seeker also stopping ahead of us, just over the hill. After a flushing attempt, Ken moved Seeker on as Zach flushed for Molly. Zach moved Molly on as well with no bird interaction. At 29, Seeker's bell stopped again, looking confident. A shot firing at 30, Seeker carding a nice grouse find. Seeker moved forward with a powerful stride. At 36, Seeker went on point again; Ken attempted a flush, with Seeker looking a bit loose. Ken chose to relocate at 38, with Seeker moving forward. At 48, both bells went silent. Both handlers and judges went in to find the dogs. Molly started up on her own at 50 and stopped again. At 51, we found Seeker on top of the ridge on our left, and we figured Molly was out there, too. Finding both dogs, Zach felt Molly wasn't sure and wanted to move Molly on. Due to proximity, Zach was asked to hold Molly while Ken chose to flush. During Ken's flushing attempt, Seeker again had let down. At 52, Ken chose to relocate, and Molly was released. Both dogs headed back into the hunt. Molly finished with no birdwork, and Seeker finished with no further birdwork.

After some coffee and a doughnut, we moved on to Brace 3 on Courses 5 and 6 with Dun Rovens Soozee (ESF/Richard Hollister), who took champion at the Northern Michigan Cover Dog Championship, and Cairds Cracklin Rosie (PF/Bob Little). Rosie was named champion at the Northern New England Woodcock Championship, runner-up at the North American Woodcock Championship, and took 1st at the Irish Settlers one-hour fall Open Shooting Dog. Soozee went in, covering the ravine. At 9:52, we didn't hear her bell, so Rich sent in his scout (Eric). Rosie kept working ahead with some nice groundwork. Soozee's bell came back into play, and we all moved on with both dogs in hand at Heart Attack Hill. At 18:43, Soozee went on point. Rosie went in and backed Soozee with an unsure stature. We were in a stand of hardwoods, and Soozie seemed sure. She was relocated but was unable to produce game. At the relocation, Bob moved Rosie on, and Soozee proceeded forward. As we crossed onto Course 6, Soozee continued to be a bit elusive and made a dash to the front. Both dogs were unwilling to cooperate as well as their handlers would have liked and finished with no birdwork. This was the wet brace; we all got pretty soaked.

Brace 4 commenced on Courses 7 and 8. Over The Hill Merry (PF), with owner/handler Rod Lein and Chasehill Poison Ivy (PF/John Stolgitis), came together with an exciting brace. Merry took runner-up at the Grand National Grouse Championship. Ivy won last year's Invitational, was champion of the North American Woodcock Championship, and was runner-up at the spring Southern New England Woodcock Championship. Merry made her first stop at 3:11, where a small tote road makes its way back over to the two-track in the first cut. In likely cover, she stood looking confident. After Rod flushed and no bird was moved, he relocated her at 4:54. She chose to move to the front. At 10, catching up to where we cross the two-track, Ivy was on point down the two-track on the left, past the cross-over. Merry moved into the same spot and stopped to back. After John's flushing attempt, he chose to move Ivy on, and Merry was moved on as well. Both dogs headed back up the course. Both these dogs ran a consistent race, always working forward. After we crossed the road at the end of Course 7, neither bell could be heard. Both judges and handlers went in on the search. Ivy was found first. She was found backing Merry. After a flushing attempt, the shot came at 40, with a grouse taking flight, all in order.
Moving onto Course 8, we lost both bells at 50. Again, judges and handlers went in to find the dogs. We found Ivy and Merry standing tall and tight on point, looking like a million bucks by a downed log near a small water spot. Both handlers stood back to assess the situation, agreeing that they did not like what they were seeing and chose to move their dogs on with no flushing attempt. Both dogs were pulled out of there and continued to the end of time, finishing with no further bird work.

After a great chicken lunch at the Alibi, we started Brace 5 with Back Creek Lucy (ESF), handled by Richard Hollister, and Boomer of Blackwater (PM) with handler Mike Flewelling. Blue Ribbon's Harper Bella, owned by Marty Festa and handled by Robert Ecker, could not attend, giving up a place to be filled by Back Creek Lucy, owned by Stevie Graham and handled by Richard Hollister. Lucy won the Beaverton Grouse Dog Club's fall 30-minute Open Shooting Dog stake, the spring 30-minute Open Shooting Dog stake, and the NBOGCA's spring 30-minute Open Shooting Dog stake. Boomer was runner-up at the New England Open Grouse Championship and the Northern New England Woodcock Championship. On Courses 9 and 10, these two hit the cover with purpose. It has been raining, making it hard to hear at times. At 6:41, Lucy stopped in the cutoff to the right, up on the hill. With the judge and handler going in, a flushing attempt was made. After a relocation at 8:51, Lucy went forward on her own. Boomer and Mike were ahead as we moved past the muddy ravine. At 20:29, Boomer went on point in a swale hole to our right, with Mike going in to flush. At 22, Mike moved Boomer on with no game being produced. We crossed the road onto Course 10 at about 34 with both dogs with their handlers. Lucy has been challenging Rich for control, and Boomer has been getting a little sticky at times for Mike, challenging him to keep him forward. Rich called point at 37, with no bird produced, Lucy shot to the front. At 42, both dogs were working up front, with Rich working to catch up. The weather was getting ugly; a storm was rolling in. At about 48, there was a shot. Not bearing witness, I was told that Lucy went on point with Boomer coming in to back. Rich had not caught up, so Bob asked John Stolgitis to handle Lucy. A woodcock flew, all in order. After the find, Rich had caught up. Moving forward, where we turn to head toward Heart Attack Hill, Lucy stopped on the left toward the beaver pond. Boomer was found backing Lucy. Rich called grouse and shot at 53, with neither judge witnessing the bird. Both dogs finished.

Brace 6, Courses 11 and 12, paired B K Rolling Dice (PF/Bruce Minard) and Sunkhaze Vera Masardis (PF/Mike Flewelling). Dice was the 2023 Invitational runner-up, and Vera was the champion at the spring Southern New England Woodcock Championship and took 2nd at the Southern New England Amateur Woodcock Classic. Due to a storm rolling by, we took a short break until the thunder and lightning subsided and the rain let up. Dice hit the ground with fire in her belly and, true to her name, began rolling. Vera hit the cover with enthusiasm as well. Dice out front, moving up the alley of scrub oak. Vera made a nice cast and showed back up for us. While walking up Scrub Oak Alley, we heard a grouse flush wild off to our right. At 25, Vera was making some starts and stops as Mike whoa'ed her, judge and handler going in to search. We found Vera at 27. She was relocated at 29, after a flushing attempt, and kept moving forward. Bruce kept moving forward, singing to Dice. Dice worked the edges, showing when needed. At 42, when Dice's bell stopped, she was found standing on point, staunch and tight. Bruce flushed up a grouse and shot at 43, all in order. Mike was struggling to keep Vera with him and chose to leash her. Dice did not disappoint and finished the brace as strong as she started, with no further birdwork.

Brace 7, Courses 13 and 14, paired Ralphy's Chasehill Rip (PM) with owner/handler Brian Ralph and Duck Hook (PM) with owner/handler Mike Flewelling. Rip, most notably, was champion at the Grand National Grouse Championship, and he also took 1st at the spring Beaverton Grouse Dog Amateur Shooting Dog and 2nd at the Venango/Rich Tuttle Classic. Grouse Ridge Mags had to cancel, and next on the list was Duck Hook, champion at the Northeast Grouse and Woodcock Championship. These two Pointers were eager to get to it as we let them go into the scrub oaks that begin Course 13. Rip worked the cover to the road crossing. At 15, Duck Hook was not cooperating with Mike and was getting sticky in the aspen cover to the right. This area quite often seems to lure dogs away. His scout was working in the back, calling for Mike to "get on him." At 16, Rip was working the cover between the trail and the road. A grouse blew out; Rip stopped quickly, looking tight on point as Brian whoa'ed him. The shot rang at 16, with Rip loosening up and carding an STF. At 23, Mike had decided he had had enough and pulled the plug on Duck Hook. Rip continued working up front, stopping at 25. Shot was fired at 26:12, with the judge reporting that Rip had a nice grouse find. Shortly after, at 47, we found Rip on point again. He was very stylish with head high. It was starting to rain pretty good again, and while Brian made a flushing attempt, Rip stood confidently. At 49:37, Brian relocated Rip. He finished covering the course with no further bird work.
The woodcock are sitting on their nests and have been elusive. The grouse have been showing, and the drummers being heard throughout our courses all day. The first day was wet and cold, all persevering with our Michigan spring weather. Greg Blair hosted a handlers' dinner at The Camp after our first day of running on Wednesday night. Thank you, Purina, for your sponsorship and a great night of good friends and food. Joe Cammisa proudly announced that the Day Dog for Day One was awarded to B K Rolling Dice.

Day Two
Our thoughts were that the rain yesterday would bring good fortune today.

Brace 1, Courses 1 and 2, saw Chasehill Poison Ivy (PF/John Stolgitis) and B K Rolling Dice (PF/Bruce Minard). Both dogs eagerly hit the cover, with Dice heading for the edges. After 10 minutes, we still hadn't seen Dice, her bell off in the outskirts. Both handlers were working hard to keep a handle. Ivy checked in a couple of times and went back out. Course 1 has some big rolling hills, making it hard to hear the dogs when they get to the other side. Before the big hill heading towards the south boundary, Bruce went up on a ridge to get a better listen for Dice. As we went down the hill, we didn't have Ivy's bell either. John sent his scout to the left on that side hill to check. Soon after, we heard Ivy's bell. By the time we made the hard left turn, headed towards Joy Road, both dogs were reeled in. Soon after, Ivy and Dice headed out on their own agenda. Around 23:40, Bruce hadn't heard Dice's bell and thought she might be stopped. He sent in his scout to look, and at 30, when he still didn't have her bell, he went in to look as well. Dice's bell soon to be heard. We crossed over onto Course 2 at 35. John had gone ahead with Ivy, and Dice came in from Joy Road. Bruce worked to catch up to the front. At 48, Ivy came to a hard stop to the left of the course just before the first road crossing. While John flushed, Ivy looked around a bit, but her body was staunch with her tail poker straight. John tapped her on at 50, and she kept going forward. Ivy crossed the road with Bruce, still trying to wrangle Dice back in. We ended the brace with both dogs finishing, no birds.

Brace 2, Courses 3 and 4, saw Sunkhaze Vera Masardis (PF/Mike Flewelling) and Back Creek Lucy (ESF/Richard Hollister). Both dogs headed for the cover at the beginning of Course 3. Lucy was handling better today, and Vera also had a better day. Both navigated well through the black forest. They were covering both sides, staying in range. Both dogs were in hand to cross the tubes onto Course 4. At 29, Rich thought Lucy had stopped. Brent and Rich went in to the right. Lucy was found standing on the edge between the pole timber and the cut. Vera's bell also went silent. Mike sent his scout further up the hill from where Lucy was stopped. A shot at 31:54, garnering a nice grouse find for Lucy. Lucy looked great on her point. Vera soon came back into show, and all moved forward. At 36, Vera's bell stopped abruptly. We thought Lucy had stopped, too, but Rich said he had her bell. Mike and Brent went in to find Vera, and while Mike started to flush, the judge saw Lucy over the ridge. At 38, they called back that Lucy was also stopped up there. Bob and Rich also went in. Those guys can really run in the woods. Try as I might, I couldn't catch up to witness. These dogs were not together but were in the same vicinity. One could not see the other. They were a ways back in the woods, off the trail. Two shots at 39. Two different woodcock, each dog carding a find, all in order. The brace ended with no further birdwork, both dogs finishing.

Taking time for a breather, some good coffee, and a doughnut, we began Brace 3 on Courses 5 and 6. We had Boomer of Blackwater (PM) handled by Mike Flewelling and Ralphy's Chasehill Rip (PM/Brian Ralph). The dogs worked the cover back to Heart Attack Hill, Rip working up front with a bit more range and Boomer making some nice moves, handling well for Mike. Both dogs looking good going through the woods. At 28:53, we crossed over onto 6 with a wild grouse flush right after we turned, no dogs involved. Both these dogs put down a good race as we covered Course 6. When we got to the rape road and rounded the last left turn up into the aspen cut, we heard a grouse drumming at the pond. I believe the dogs, too, heard the call. Both raced to the right to cover the back of the pond and beyond. We let them hunt, and when time was running out, the handlers reeled them in to cover the last cut. Both dogs finished well, but no birds on this day.

Brace 4, Courses 7 and 8, saw Duck Hook (PM/Mike Flewelling) and Meridith Grade Corky (ESM/Tammy Chaffee). We were in the first cut when, at 5, we didn't have Corky's bell. Brent, Tammy, and scout Scott went in to take a look. Soon, Scott came out and went to the front, just in case. Before long, Corky's bell was heard upfront. At 13, Corky stopped off to the right in a stand of aspen. Scott stepped up to handle Corky while Brent and Tammy ran to catch up. Bob went in to judge, and I stayed with Mike as he went forward. Shot fired at 13:39, a pair of grouse to Corky's credit. Everyone quickly regrouped, and we went forward again. As we walked through the pole timber, Duck Hook and Corky worked the bottoms on the left. We crossed the road at 33; Duck Hook handling much better today. Corky was having a good day and handling things well. Both dogs worked the cover on 8 up to the orange gate tote road. At 54, Corky stopped off the tote road in some tight aspen. Tammy and Bob went in. Tammy made her flushing attempt with a grouse, taking flight, shot fired; all was in order. The brace ended shortly thereafter with both dogs finishing. We headed to Alibi Hall for a nice lasagna luncheon.

Brace 5, Courses 9 and 10, paired Shady Hills Whiskey Bonfire (ESM/Scott Forman) and Bundy's Buckeye Molly (ESF/Zach Erne). At 9, Molly's bell could not be heard. Judge and handler went in to take a look, with Whiskey moving through. Soon, we heard a yell from the front that Molly was up there. At 11, both were moving along the ravine between the trail and the big hill on the right in the first cut. At 21, we headed out into the newer cut. Molly is having a better run today and ranging a bit further. Whiskey was giving Scott a bit of a struggle as he wanted to hang back and hunt the cover at his own speed. At 39, both dogs were in hand on to Course 10. Whiskey, using up his power in the first half, began to let up, and at 48, Scott chose to leash him. Molly finished her brace with no birdwork.

Brace 6, Courses 11 and 12, paired Moss Meadow Seeker (ESM/Ken Moss and Dun Rovens Soozee (ESF/Richard Hollister). Both dogs took off into the scrub oaks that are on both sides of the lane at the beginning. Soozee shot off on her own agenda. We got to the turn where Rich was still trying to get a handle on Soozee, and Ken was trying to get Seeker back to the front. Rich soon reeled Soozee in at 8 as she was hung up back in the scrub oaks. At 15, Rich pulled Soozee, as she was not in cooperation mode today. Seeker moved ahead, getting the course to himself. Seeker was making some better moves today, driving a better race forward. At 29, Seeker stopped on the path ahead of us, looking confident. The shot rang out immediately with a grouse at 30. We soon crossed over to Course 12. Seeker continued to run a moderate race, always within bell range. Seeker finished his brace with no further birdwork.

Brace 7, Courses 13 and 14, paired Cairds Cracklin Rosie (PF/Bob Little) and Over The Hill Merry (PF/Rod Lein). At 15, Merry's bell stopped. Bob and Rod went in to the right to take a look. It took them a long time to find Merry. When they found her, she was standing staunch. But she had been there a long time, and they were unable to produce a bird. At 16, Rosie stopped up just ahead and off to the left. Brent and Bob found Rosie, with Bob making a flushing attempt. At 18, Bob chose to relocate Rosie. She went forward a ways, stopped again at 19, and moved on again. We headed up the course and heard a grouse blow out wild, no dog involved. We crossed over onto course 14 with Merry running a more controlled race this time and was to the front. At this point, handlers were separated, Rosie being a little harder to handle and was behind with her handler. At 45, we didn't have Rosie's bell. Bob and Bob went in to take a look, along with scout Tammy. I heard "point" called out at 49. After a short time, a shot rang out at 50. I heard later the bird was a woodcock. Merry finished a sturdy brace with no birds, and Rosie finished without further birdwork. Other grouse were flushed wild, one by the cherry orchard, one by the beaver pond, and one after time in the pole timber.

At the end of the second day, the callbacks were announced. The first callback was Over The Hill Merry and Back Creek Lucy on Courses 13 and 14. The second was Meridith Grade Corky and Moss Meadow Seeker on Courses 3 and 4. In reserve was Ralphy's Chasehill Rip and B K Rolling Dice. Getting the nod for Day Dog for Day Two was Meridith Grade Corky.

Day Three
The Callbacks

The weather continued to stay cool, and we left the Alibi around 7:30. The first callback on Courses 13 and 14 included Over The Hill Merry (PF/Rod Lein) and Back Creek Lucy (ESF/Richard Hollister). Both dogs took off into the scrub oaks with game on their minds. At 4:35, Merry stopped to the right, right on the edge of the hardwoods, in sight of the path. Brent and Rod went towards Merry to find that Lucy was stopped just over the rise. Brent had to walk much further to see that Lucy was there. With both handlers on hand, Bob knelt to his knees to see what Lucy could see, and Brent looked to see what Merry could see, determining that Lucy was facing in another direction from Merry. Both dogs on point in the same vicinity with the assumption that Lucy had stopped first. A grouse busted out in front of Merry, with Rich taking a shot. Immediately, another grouse blew out in front of Lucy with Rod taking his shot. It was determined that there were two grouse and two finds (not divided)--a nice piece of birdwork. At 15, Rich didn't have Lucy's bell, and he figured Lucy was stopped again. When Rich went in to look, he called to say that Merry was found on point as well. With judges and handlers assessing, it was determined that Merry was there first, and Lucy was backing. After a flushing attempt, Merry was relocated at 17, to no avail. Rich took Lucy back to the course. Both dogs were moving forward. At around 42, both bells were silent again. These ladies seem to be working in tandem. Lucy was found backing Merry. Rod flushed; a woodcock popped up. Not popping up once but a second time right over Merry's head, Merry making a very legal marking move. She held her ground while the shot was fired, all in order. Both judges were coming out of the woods when Rich released Lucy and went forward. I followed Rich, and just ahead, he called point. The judges hustled up front as fast as they could, Brent going with Rod, as Merry shot forward. Rich fired at 46. When no bird was witnessed, Rich moved Lucy on, and she shot to the front. This creates a bit of distance between Rich and the front. I have never seen Rich run so fast. If the dogs weren't moving fast, these handlers sure were. Both handlers and dogs flew through to the end of course 14. Running out of course, we went right at the road. Rich worked hard to get Lucy back at the end. Time was called as we got almost to where Course 15 crosses the road. Both dogs finished strong, and it was a great brace to watch.

The second callback on Courses 3 and 4 saw Meridith Grade Corky (ESM/Tammy Chaffee) and Moss Meadow Seeker (ESM/Ken Moss). Corky covered the marsh to the right, showing when he needed to. Seeker spent more time in the pole timber through the first part of Course 3. At 12, Tammy sent in scout Brian Ralph right where we took the left on the old course route. Brent and Tammy also headed in when Corky's bell started up, and we all moved on. We crossed the tubes at 22 with both dogs and their handlers. At 30, Corky stopped up over the ridge on the right. At the same time, they thought Seeker had stopped further forward. When we went in, we found that Seeker was on point backing Corky. We tried to get Ken's attention, but he didn't hear us, so Brent asked me to stand with Seeker. Tammy flushed, but no bird was produced. Both dogs were back, moving forward at 33. Soon after, we thought Corky stopped over the ridge on our left. We heard Seeker come in, and we lost his bell as well. We all went in to look. Bob and Tammy went in first and were further back in the cut over the ridge. Brent and Ken also went in and were ahead of me. A grouse came out of aspen behind and to the right of me. We still had not found Seeker. Bob and Tammy were still looking for Corky further back. They found Seeker at 51 and called to us. They continued to look for Corky. When we found Seeker, Ken attempted a flush with Seeker getting a bit loose. Ken moved him on at 52, and he went back towards the course. We heard a shot, and I was told that Corky scored on a nice grouse find. We were at the end of time, both dogs finishing.

In reserve, Ralphy's Chasehill Rip (PM/Brian Ralph) and B K Rolling Dice (PF/Bruce Minard) were not called back to run on Day Three. The group then headed back to the Alibi for the final announcements. Grand National Secretary Joe Cammisa thanked the board of directors and all those who made this happen; the Beaverton Club, who hosted this event and who all know, lost our beloved Wayne Fruchey on April 18. A huge thank you to Purina, who plays a big part in what we do. Stake Manager Bryan Wood thanked all the professional and amateur handlers who helped, along with their wives. Bryan had more to share and said, "You all need to hear this because you all worked hard!" Before thanking the judges and reporter, he wanted to thank some people who helped move cars, marshaled, and always do a lot of things. Thanks to secretary Joe Cammisa who does a lot of work; Eric Naus, Bruce Minard, Brian Ralph, Ken Moss, Scott Chaffee, Mike Francus, Scott Forman, John Stolgitis, Mike Flewelling, Rich Hollister, Bob Little, Chris Jaeger, Owen Comeau, Craig Doherty, Rod Lein, and Tom and Mark Fernandez, who all helped tremendously. He thanked Tom and Kelly Fruchey for their help during a personal loss. We had some folks help with food, and they should be noted--Suzie Cammisa, Shane and his wife Susan did the pork dinner; Diane Wheelock, Paula Giulitto, and Dennis Keysor helped deliver and set up breaks with coffee and doughnuts. Bryan quoted, "Something that I have not done before, but needs to be addressed," we have a group of ladies who have worked their butt off. These are "the ladies of the grouse woods": Anne Naus, Christy Helmes, Paula Giulitto, Denise Peters, Tammy Chaffee, Jennie Minard, and Jen Hollister. Thank you, "Ladies of the Grouse Woods!" Thank you to Richard and Jennifer Hollister, who wrangle the best horses around. Boots, Ed, and Dusty made the three days go without a "hitch." Joe then thanked judges Bob Wheelock and Brent Peters and reporter Denise Peters. He then awarded them with gifts in gratitude for their work.
Bryan Wood then announced the winners with Grand Secretary Brian Ralph awarding pins to the 2024 Invitational Runner-Up Champion, Over The Hill Merry, owned and handled by Rod Lein of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and the 2024 Invitational Champion, Meridith Grade Corky, owned by Dennis Keysor of Harrison, Michigan and handled by Tammy Chaffee of Clare, Michigan.
Congratulations to the winners and to all who competed. Fourteen of our grouse woods' finest!

Grand Natl Grouse Inv JudgesS24

Judges: The Judges: Brent Peters on "Dusty" and Bob Wheelock on "Boots". Without these great horses, owned and wrangled by Richard and Jennifer Hollister, the job would be much harder to accomplish!

Gladwin, Mich., April 17
Judges: Brent Peters and Robert Wheelock
GRAND NATIONAL GROUSE AND WOODCOCK INVITATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats on Consecutive days; One-Hour Finals] - 8 Pointers and 6 Setters

Winner-MERIDITH GRADE CORKY, 1681353, setter male, by Ponderosa Mac-Call Me Maggie. Dennis Keysor, owner; Tammy Chaffee, handler.
Runner-Up-OVER THE HILL MERRY, 1678045, pointer female, by Grouse Trails Cracker Jack-Diva Dot. Rod Lein, owner and handler.

Grand Natl Grouse Inv GalleryS24

Gallery: Each brace, every day, we were blessed with a huge gallery of onlookers.