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Result: U. S. Complete Great Lakes Championship

Location: Highland, Michigan

Post Date: May 31, 2024

Submitted By: Jim Cipponeri

Great Lakes ChS24

NGSPA Great Lakes (l-r): Krysta Munden, Ron Sposita, Mark Hughes, Eric Munden with Wildland Hide The Wine, Don Knight, Paul Renius (judge), George Najor, Jim Cipponeri, Robert Ecker with Blue Ribbon Harper's Bella, Will Langley (judge), and Richard Waters.

This year's running drew a fine field of 30 championship dogs on the famed Silo Course of the Highland Recreation area 40 miles northwest of downtown Detroit. Participants came from Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Canada, and, of course, Michigan. Severe weather was predicted, but for the most part, it held off during the running. Temperatures did reach the mid-70s on both days, but the conditions did not deter the dogs' performances.

The drawing and judges' books were compiled and printed by Connie Cipponeri with the help of son, Jonathan Husinka. Michigan Field Trial Hall of Famer Dave Fletcher, a mainstay at this trial since its inception, was unable to attend while he was home helping his lovely wife Carol recuperate from surgery. We're all praying and hoping for Carol's speedy recovery. Dave will be celebrating his 90th birthday this August and is still a contributor to the field trial community. He continues to provide comprehensive and colorful trial reports and services to numerous clubs with rosettes, plaques, and 65 years of history and colorful knowledge of our sport.

Paul Tutro is a field trialer's answer to a Door Dash driver! On Friday, he delivered water tanks and water to precise locations on the course for horses and dogs. Every morning, he drove 170 miles round trip to pick up birds, fresh donuts and coffee for those in attendance, and breakfast for the judges. Paul is one of our preeminent bird planters, but a recent rib injury has placed him on the disabled list for a few more weeks. He did keep the bird bags full for his substitute liberators, Ron Sposita and Jim Cipponeri. Ron also provided lunches each day with the help of his wife, Maria. Bryan Wood announced each brace on Saturday, and Paul took over for Woody on Sunday.

The newly crowned champion, Wildland Hide The Wine (Chuck), is a 3-year-old white and orange Pointer male handled by Eric Munden. He placed in the National Shooting Dog Futurity, U. S. Complete Futurity, and recently in the National Walking Shooting Dog Futurity. He was bred by Dave and Mark Hughes and owned by Eric and Krysta Munden who raised the litter and contributed to his early development. They helped to instill the dog's natural ability with the tutelage and expertise of the Hughes family footprint. Kudos to all involved in this difficult process.
Wildland Hide The Wine had finds at 7 and again at 39. The first was near the old Mehring property, overlooking a majestic view of Beaumont Valley. Intensity and style were second to none. He reached out to all the right places and showed when needed with minimal encouragement from Eric. His second find was parallel to Pettibone Lake Road, again with excellent manners. He ran in the hottest part of the day, which usually means disaster at the sand hills of Highland. This was Wine's time to shine!

Runner-up honors went to female pointer and four-time title winner Blue Ribbon's Harper Bella. Harper is owned by Marty Festa and handled by Robert Ecker, both from Pennsylvania. Bob has been a huge supporter of this trial and the U. S. Complete Association for many years.
Blue Ribbon's Harper Bella is the result of Richard Warters's breeding of multiple champion Bud of Piney Woods and Blue Ribbon Bella.
Harper ran in the first brace with Mulberry Fields Molly. Mark Hughes handled Molly. This fancy setter finished the hour with a find and a well-applied ground race and was considered in the hunt along with her runner-up bracemate.
Harper was the defending champion from last year and set the standard for the rest of the field to beat. Several dogs put down stout performances with multiple bird contacts, but it wasn't until the final brace that eventually decided the champion. She ran the course to perfection, always forward and ranging far but not in need of any serious scouting until scout Knight echoed the welcoming ring of "point" 200 yards from handler and gallery. Sky kissing style and a single quail located a good 15 feet in a young popple stand held up until the final brace.
Several dogs had high quality performances with multiple finds. Sarah Gomes's Cal Peak Hundredth Meridian was closest to the winners.

Special thanks to Purina and Garmin for sponsoring local weekend trials and this championship. Judges Paul Renius and Will Langley were always attentive and a pleasure to have around. Their experience and knowledge of what a walking quail dog is is a prerequisite to securing quality judges. They have owned many winning dogs themselves but find time to judge when the call goes out.

Highland, Mich., April 27
Judges: Will Langley and Paul Renius
U. S. COMPLETE GREAT LAKES CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] - 30 Entries

Winner-WILDLAND HIDE THE WINE, 1697105, pointer male, by Double Deuce Zeke-Beaver Meadow Rose. Eric & Krysta Munden, owners; Eric Munden, handler.
Runner-Up-BLUE RIBBON HARPER'S BELLA, 1682768, pointer female, by Bud of Piney Woods-Blue Ribbon Bella. Martin Festa, owner; Robert Ecker, handler.