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Result: 88th New England Shooting Dog Futurity

Location: East Windsor, Connecticut

Post Date: May 30, 2024

Submitted By: Margaret C. Drew

88 New England FutS24

88 New England Futurity (front, l-r): Doug Ray with Miller's Upgraded Patent, Mike Tracy with Mo's Curtain Call, Kevin Stuart with Erin's Bad Company, and Joe Lordi with High Drive Drinkaby, joined by spectators.

When the New England Shooting Dog Futurity was first proposed as a regional futurity in the 1930s, the proposal was not well received, or as historian Truman Crowles stated, "proposal did not spread like wildfire." Herbert G. Silver headed a group first proposing a regional futurity; however, although the need for more breeders was agreed upon, defining eligibility and other rules proved to be a challenge. It was necessary for the first year to sidestep futurity rules so that the first futurity was one in name only, with 17 entries running in April 1937. However, breeders and other dog people acknowledged that a regional futurity was necessary to promote bird dogs, so a regional set of guidelines was established, and 21 dogs were entered. These rules and whelping dates were adhered to until 1939, when a June whelping date helped to change the venue to run in October beginning in 1941. The futurity nominations and entries remained a regional entry base for several years, expanding in the late '70s. In the '80s, a few litters were nominated from outside New England, and entries also increased. In the early '90s, litters and entries declined again, luckily followed by a surge to 50 to 60 entries from 35 litters in the late '90s and early 2000s. During that time, there was a guaranteed purse of $2,000; however, with litter nominations declining and entries as well, this policy could not continue. The association would like to return to that position; however, litter nominations and entries are the key.

Today, futurities across the country are not as well supported as one would expect. It is a breeders' showcase, but often, breeders are not nominating their litters. It seems to me that $40 would be a fair investment to show off your breeding program. This 88th running of the New England Futurity had an increase from 12 to 18 litters nominated, with 20 derbies drawn to run. (An additional four were withdrawn just prior to the drawing.) Nominations for the 89th are ongoing. Contact Margaret at (910) 206-0079 or

The Flaherty clubhouse displays a wall of Life Patron plaques, taxidermy of upland game, various regional historic plaques, and engraved retired trophies. In an adjacent room is a large pictural history showing the building of the present clubhouse. In a second framed plaque, there are historic photos from early trials with identified patrons and dogs, and which trial is portrayed. This is a very nice historic piece. Many of the photos are complimentary of the historic keepings of the late Truman Crowles. Dick Bembenek made and donated a wooden memory board of all early New England Open winners from its origin in 1929 with spaces thru 2028. The original silver tray is well displayed at the Bird Dog Hall of Fame in Grand Junction, Tennessee. Earl and I visited there in June of 2023 and were pleased to see the additions and organization. The walk up the memory bricks is a sight to see.

The grounds at Flaherty were in excellent condition. The Flaherty committee has courses well marked with landmarks, and they have improved the courses with culverts and crushed fill, making the course safe and allowing handlers and spectators to concentrate on the dogs. The Flaherty Ground's committee has made major improvements to the area, and it is an excellent field trial area. As noted in the past, the area has ample parking, running water, bathroom facilities, a full kitchen, a pavilion, and a modern bird room.

The 88th New England Futurity once again used a single course, which broke away down the slight hill on the northeast side of the grounds beyond the horse corrals. We then moved forward toward the center of the property, where the first quail release area has of recent years been on the left of the island trees; however, this year, it was further on toward the woods and pond area. From there, it is a straight shot through the very wide meadow below Fox Hill, through the wooded area near the pond, and down the backstretch to cross the main culvert before continuing up to the top of Tobacco Barn hill and the apple tree area. Another bird spot is here, although often the birds fly across the freshly plowed field and hidden in the wooded edge. The course is now at 15-20 minutes as we make our way down toward the second culvert, which replaced the wet and muddy crossing. The dogs usually transverse the right wooded edge after leaving the top of Tobacco hill, cross at the bottom, and head for the semi-wooded area below the housing development and into the fields below the clubhouse. The 30-minute finish has dogs hunting the meadow, or usually the edges of it, below the clubhouse and reaching toward the opening cut and toward the powerline and Deerborn. If the brace is brisk, we travel under the powerlines into the area of Deerborn until time is up. Often, dogs cast toward the left and center, requiring scout assistance.

Birds for the futurity were planted faithfully by chairmen Bill Bonetti and John Stolgitis, assisted by Ameliar Perris. Once again, John also performed his "magic chef" skills for Friday evening dinner in honor of the 87th winner, Calico's Sugar 'N' Spice, owned and handled by Jeff Smith. As usual, job well done, John Stolgitis! When announcements were made, each placement received a Ziplock bag with checks for breeders and handlers, pins, and DNA information. It is the owner's responsibility to get their derby DNA certified within the year, or the placement is voided.

Without breeders nominating their litters, owners having their dogs prepared for the futurity, and handlers traveling to run in the futurity, there would be no futurities. Bill Bonnetti and John Stolgitis once again served as the operating committee, with yours truly, Margaret Drew, taking over the litter recording, other necessary paperwork, and a report. Drowning Creek Bird Dogs (Calvin Curnutte) provided judges' books. The trial received generous donations from Purina through ad coverage, hats, and product. The committee would like to thank the 22 supporters who allowed their derbies to be entered. This year, the entries came from 18 breeders, with seven handlers in charge of the 20 entries. As has become a tradition in New England, five amateur owners handle their own entries--three professional handlers covering the rest of the field. Accepting the judging role were Brian Sanchez and Alex Smith, both experienced with expectations for derby dogs. Both have been winners with futurity dogs here in the New England Futurity. As I was unable to attend, I certainly thank these two for the detailed notes sent to me.

The Winners
Named to the top winning position was Pointer male Miller's Upgraded Patent. As with most "Miller" prefixed dogs, this litter was bred by Fran and Jack Miller. Upgraded Patent is owned by Dr. Bob Canada and Harold Ray, under the whistle of handler Doug Ray. The judge's comment on Miller's Upgraded Patent was: "A totally super job with a very big race." His speed and range were polished by consistent style on the ground and on point. He was credited with finds at 8, 15, and 22. He was independent, although pleasing to the handler and the watchful gallery.
Brace 6 found the second-place derby, again with Mike Tracy. This time, Pointer female Mo's Curtain bred by Cassie Hollander Tracy, and now owned by Tim Moore and Jim and Theresa Morrell. Mo's Curtain Call showed good ground sense with four precise quail locations for which the handler did not need to request any relocations. Little scouting was required as Curtain Call seemed right at home with the course.

Third went to Pointer male Erin's Bad Company, bred by Sean Derrig, although owned and handled by Kevin Stuart. Erin's Bad Company laid out nicely as he paced himself from beginning to end. He hit the cover at medium range. He scored four stylish points with good etiquette. His early find was at 7, followed by ones at 16, 20, and almost time at 29.
The fourth-place dog, ironically, came from Brace 4. Allen Linder and Madison McDonald are names frequently seen in the winners' circle, and this year was no different, as they are the owners of Pointer female High Drive Drinkaby. She was bred by Cassie Hollander Tracy and handled by Mike Tracy. High Drive Drinkaby toured the course at a medium range, although always forward. She was found standing side by side at 8 for a divided find, all in order. She continued her 30 minutes with energy to continue as time was called.

The Running
A few minutes before 8 Friday morning, brace 1 was on the starting line. After just completing the judging assignment for the New England Open, handler Ronnie Rogers knew right where he wanted his setter male, Shepherd's Blackbull, to travel. This derby was bred, owned, and handled by Ronnie Rogers from Tennessee. Serving as bracemate was pointer male Pal's Prestigious Pete, bred by Bill Kerr and handled by Mike Tracy. Owners of this big and handsome pointer are Lou Palazzolo, Joe Lordi, and Mark Janiec. Owner Joe Lordi was mounted to watch and assist in scouting duties. Shepherd's Blackbull covered the ground with intelligence as he checked out the birdy areas. He was rewarded at 8 with a solid find; at 25, his handler could not locate the birds he indicated. His race was at a proper range and pace. Pal's Prestigious Pete was promptly off the line and remained in high gear without a look back, therefore being lost by 15.

Brace 2 called upon Pointer male Miller's Upgraded Patent under the whistle of handler Doug Ray. His run is covered under the winners. Bracemate was Thomas Rising Tide, a pointer male bred by Sean Derrig, although owned and handled by Jim Thomas. Thomas Rising Tide was a bit erratic in his wild and independent swing around the course. His cadence never altered, except for his proper finds at 8 and 23 and one nice back.

Brace 3 was filled by two men and their dogs, who are most involved in helping the New England shooting dog trials continue at Flaherty. John Stolgitis handling pointer male Chasehill Snoop Dog bred and owned by daughter Erin Stolgitis, with Gene Casale bringing a Guard Rail male he bred and trains, Railway Thor. This half-hour started with both dogs jumping right into a pleasing gait and marching down the slight hillside and toward the center fields. You have heard the saying that every dog has their day; apparently, this was true for Snoop Dog, for he was in a harness by 20. Not his day! Railway Thor maneuvered the course well and showed nice motion in a consistent search mode. He remained proper for wing and shot for his three well-indicated quail contacts; however, temptation had him chasing his fourth find.

Brace 4 called Pointer female Backcountry Snake Eyes, bred by Mike Martino and owned by and handled by Chris Catanzarite with pointer female High Drive Drinkaby (covered under the winners). Backcountry Snake Eyes had a moderate side-to-side pattern, checking with the handler often. She had a divided find at 8 and a successful stand at 15. The pair were found standing at 8 for a divided find, all in order.

Brace 5 was on the ground by mid-morning, this time Doug Ray bringing pointer female Millers Enhanced Upgrade, a littermate to Miller's Upgraded Patent. The breeders and owners are Jack and Fran Miller. The bracemate was setter female Shepherd's Blackfoot Jane, a litter duplicate by Ronnie Rogers as breeder, owner, and handler. Millers Enhanced Upgrade rolled forward around the course with purposeful hunting. He stood pleasingly at 8 and 17 with all in order. Shepherd's Blackfoot Jane also laid out there with a rhythmic lick at a medium range, swelling to her toes as the handler approached for her finds at 8 and 15.

Brace 6 was next on the line with pointer female Mo's Curtain Call, bred by Cassie Hollander Tracy, now owned by Tim Moore, and Jim and Theresa Morrell, with Mike Tracy handling. (Covered under the winners). Bracemate was pointer female Mohawk Mill Miss You, bred by Gary and Ellen Winall, although owned by Bill Mc Fadden, with John Stolgitis handling. Mohawk Mill Miss You started her 30 minutes with a snappy burst of energy, disappeared briefly, and was picked up early.

Hatteras Storm Watch, an setter male, made up Brace 7. The breeder was Doug Hinton, and Jett Ferebee, the owner, with Doug Ray handling again. Bracemate was pointer male Erin's Bad Company, covered under the winners. Doug Ray, Jett Ferebee, Kevin Stuart, and Doug Hinton are longtime supporters of the New England Futurity. These four and several others have nominated litters year after year, handled dogs, and even judged this futurity. Hatteras Storm Watch dove into the course immediately, driving straight away with a find at 8. He was a little bit directionally challenged, which led to his being harnessed at 15.

Brace 8 had Pointer male Higby Arcade Fire, whose breeder and owner, Judith Hamilton, was mounted to watch as John Stolgitis handled. Bracemate was pointer male Hausers Unhinged, bred, and owned by Sean and Deb Hauser, with Mike Tracy handling. Higby Arcade Fire had an eye-catching race, seldom in the path, always searching for game. He altered his pace as he investigated likely cover spots, locating quail at 7 and 20. No scouting was needed. Hausers Unhinged was quickly off the line with a determined purpose; however, by 15, he had faded into the horizon, and the handler took the recovery device.

As the afternoon wound down, two braces remained. Brace 9 found Mike Tracy with pointer female GJF Oakley, bred and owned by Greg Fried. Chris Catanzarite was the owner and handler for pointer female Backcountry Champagnesupernova, as the bracemate. She had been bred by Mike Martino. GJF Oakley was not up to par this afternoon and was picked up before 10. Backcountry Champagnesupernova followed the late afternoon slump as well, with a halting breakaway before drifting side to side in a casual forward pace. She did have quail indications at 6 and 24. She did not complete her 30 minutes.

Brace 10 ended the 88th Futurity with setter male Hatteras High Tide, bred by Doug Hinton and owned by Jett Ferebee with Doug Ray, and bracemate pointer male Erin's Envy, bred by Sean Derrig, owned by Joe McHugh and handled by Mike Tracy. Hatteras High Tide hesitantly left the breakaway, had quail pointed by 5, and was in the harness by 7. I am not sure of the why for his abbreviated time on the ground. Erin's medium-ranging race was highlighted by good pointing style for finds at 5, 12, and 18. He shortened his pace after the third find and went into a closer hunt mode. He was in the harness at 18.

East Windsor, Conn., April 26 - One Course
Judges: Brian Sanchez and Alex Smith
88TH NEW ENGLAND SHOOTING DOG FUTURITY - 16 Pointers and 4 Setters

1st-MILLER'S UPGRADED PATENT, 1704924, pointer male, by Miller's Upgraded Version-Miller's Special Edition. Bob Canada & Harold Ray, owners; Doug Ray, handler.
2d-MO'S CURTAIN CALL, 1705285, pointer female, by Miller's High Heat Index-Osceola's Seminole Wind. Tim Moore & Jim Morrell, owners; Mike Tracy, handler.
3d-ERIN'S BAD COMPANY, 1703998, pointer male, by Erin's Redrum-Erin's Bella Braveheart. Kevin Stuart, owner and handler.
4th-HIGH DRIVE DRINKABY, 1705283, pointer female, by Miller's High Heat Index-Osceola's Seminole Wind. Allen Linder & Madison McDonald, owners; Mike Tracy, handler.