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Event: First Annual Running of the Braeval Cover Dog Classic Wild Bird Trial
Result: Braeval Field Trial Club

Location: Ellenburg, New York

Post Date: Jun 10, 2024

Submitted By: Kelly Hays

Braeval winnersS24-

Braeval Cover Dog Classic (front): Lukas Dix. (Behind): Lightning Flash Remington with Brian Dix, Braeval Rory with Gregor McCluskey, Kris Nordby (judge), Connor McCluskey, and Pat Cooke (judge). (Not pictured): Calamy's Soul Man and Cal Robinson.

The goal of the Braeval Cover Dog Classic was to create a packaged and branded field trial to showcase dogs on wild birds at the highest level. It was also developed to give the utmost exposure to our sponsors and founded to provide a best-in-class trial for amateurs and give them 45 minutes to showcase their dogs. Another goal was to have everyone leave happy, as usually only one person leaves the event happy. We think almost all went home happy and satisfied with the event. A gift bag full of great items from our sponsors was given to each entrant, and everyone received a full-size bag of Inukshuk and a subscription to Upland Almanac, among other gifts.

Gregor McCluskey, his family, and generous supporting sponsors worked hard this weekend to put on a first-class one-of-a-kind amateur event. The camaraderie between handlers, judges, trial reporter, gallery, volunteers, and sponsors was jovial. Gregor is the founder of Braeval Apparel and the visionary behind this trial. The Braeval Cover Dog Classic was hosted on managed grouse and woodcock habitat at Bruce Bennett's On The Wing Grouse Camp in Ellenburg Center, New York. Both grouse and woodcock were produced on every course. The weather was good for running dogs, cold and blustery on both days and overcast at times.
Our judges were Pat Cooke, organizer of the New York Grouse Championship, and Kris Nordby of Connecticut. We express our appreciation for their duties as they steadfastly gave tremendous concentration and consideration to each dog on the ground for each of the six braces per day; each brace ran on a fresh, well laid out course.

The successful Braeval Cover Dog Classic wild bird trial was made possible by our great sponsors and those who contributed their time and talent to our event. We especially want to thank judges Pat Cooke and Kris Nordby, trial reporter Kelly Hays, and volunteers Bruce Bennett, Amy Dunham, Connor McCluskey, and Hailey Pipher--a special thanks to Hailey, who treated the trial dogs to a paw massage using Bag Balm. Additionally, thank you to the participants who helped when called upon.

Inukshuk Pro Dog Feed, The Upland Almanac, Muller Chokes, Bertucci Field Watches, Warners Sporting Dogs, MPE Tail Guard, Jonas Brothers (Pepi Family) Taxidermy, CSMC, On The Wing Grouse Camp, Charter Arms West Hill Outfitter (Adam Dubriske), and Braeval Sporting Apparel. We even had private donations from Joe Petruzzi.
Sponsors had their own named courses as follows to reflect the great sponsorship support of this trial:
Inukshuk Course 1 (Braces 1 and 7)
Upland Almanac Course 2 (Braces 2 and 8)
Bertucci Watch Course 3 (Braces 3 and 9)
Galazan/Muller Choke Course 4 (Braces 4 and 10)
MPE/Warner Sporting Dog Course 5 (Braces 5 and 11)
Jonas Brothers Taxidermy Course 6 (Braces 6 and 12)

By The Breed
English Pointers: 9
English Setters: 12
Irish Setters: 2
Brittany: 1

The Winners
Winners received Inukshuk Professional Dog Feed.
Coming on the Inukshuk Course on Day One, Brace 1:
The top performing dog and winner was English Setter male Lightning Flash Remington under the whistle of handler/owner Brian Dix.
Not long into this brace, we heard his bell fall silent. Scout Tim Cavanaugh went searching and called point. Brian, Tim, and judge Pat Cooke saw the grouse standing atop the stone wall where Remi stood proud on his first of three birds, grouse, all in good order. His second bird was another grouse along a mature aspen stand. With seven minutes left on the clock, Brian called for David Theroux to scout as Tim C. was at the rear. David went in deep along a stand of spruce to find him standing. A woodcock was flushed, all in good order. Assistant trainer Lukas Dix, Brian's son, was there to watch this spectacular race.
The judge's comments: "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 independent, although pleasing to the handler and the watchful gallery."
Brian Dix and Remington's names will be engraved on the Braeval Cover Dog Classic trophy, and both first and second winners will receive a custom grouse fan tail mount donated by Jonas Brothers Taxidermy. Michael Pepi was in attendance to make this presentation.
Second-place winner Braeval Rory, an Irish Setter male owned and handled by Gregor McCluskey, was on the Upland Almanac course on Day Two, Brace 8. Rory, a young derby, hit the cover deep, staying just at the end of bell range showing a powerful forward ground race. Drumming was heard just before coming into the first cover, shortly after Rory's bell fell silent in the same direction as the drummer. Judge Pat Cooke and Gregor looked at one another, hoping to find Rory, and indeed found him standing in that area; however, no grouse was produced after a lengthy search and relocation. Rory was sent forward, and at 20 minutes, Rory was found deep in the cover standing a woodcock and all was in good order with his find. Rory finished his 45 minutes strong.
The second winner will receive a custom grouse fan tail mount donated by Jonas Brothers Taxidermy.
Third place went to Pointer male Calamy's Soul Man ("Elwood"), owned and handled by Cal Robinson on the Upland Almanac Course, Day One, Brace 2. Elwood laid out the cover nicely on the edge of bell range. He ran a stylish, handy race for Cal 20 minutes in, and he stopped on the right along an immature aspen stand, where no bird was produced. Cal sent him on his way. Elwood was found after a five-minute search, where a woodcock was produced for him with good etiquette. Third-place winner Cal Robinson received a Bertucci Field watch.


Trial gallery on course.

The Braces
Starting promptly at 8 a.m., the gallery was in for a treat on the Inukshuk Course, Brace 1, where the bar was set very high for the rest of the trial. The handlers for the next brace of dogs were left anticipating what was needed to win the day.

Asper Hill Bandit (ESF), a little snappy female handled by Jon Cullen, ran a classy ground race and hunted hard throughout, although she ran birdless. About eight minutes in, we had a wild grouse flush on the path. This course had a nice mix of soft and hard woods bordered by rock walls.

The winner, Lightning Flash Remington (ESM), was handled by Brian Dix, as we all know his characteristic style. On this course, we had a wild flushed woodcock, so for four birds flushed in total, this was a great start to our day.

Upland Almanac's Course, Brace 2, started at 9:15 a.m. Little Miss Margaret (PF), handled and owned by Tim Cavanaugh, ran deep into her cover, hitting many objectives. She stopped at a fork along an area where there was an abundance of woodcock droppings. Tim flushed around and relocated her, and she briefly stopped again, where no bird could be produced again; Tim whistled her on. Nearby, a wild flushed grouse got up. He thought she was too far. Margaret is a lovely dog to watch and navigated her cover well.


Calamy's Soul Man with Cal Robinson and Tim Cavanaugh on the Upland Almanac Course.

Calamy's Soul Man (PM), callname "Elwood," owned and handled by Cal Robinson, came in third, as noted above.

Bertucci Field Watch Course, Brace 3, started at 10:24 a.m.
Lucy's Pride (ESF), callname "Lucy," is owned and handled by Tom Jay. This snappy little Setter got right to work. Patterning nicely for Tom, she stayed relatively close and showed herself nicely for the judges. Twenty minutes into her run, she establishes point on a woodcock just off the path. Tom flushed the bird and fired his gun just as the red setter thundered by and failed to back Lucy. This dislodged her, she jumped forward, and both dogs were picked up.

Braeval Skye (ISF) is owned and handled by Connor McCluskey. Connor was instrumental in the success of this trial. His efforts and hard work should be noted. Thank you, Connor! Skye hit her cover fast and was hunting in the blink of an eye. She blended in nicely with the cover and hit many objectives, but if it had not been for her bell, she would have been difficult to see. She worked hard and fast in her 20 minutes. Unfortunately, she ran a birdless race and was picked up for a non-back.

On the Muller Field Choke Course, Brace 4, was Rock Solid Motion Picture (ESM), owned and handled by Brian Dix. These dogs broke away at 11:15 a.m. This young Setter hunted hard, hit many objectives, and handled tremendously for Brian. He had a very stylish forward race. He finished his 45 minutes without finding a bird.

Magic Mist Sydni (ESF) is owned and handled by Joe Dahl. This 9-year-old gal hit her cover like a 2-year-old. Unfortunately, she was unable to showcase herself as she was picked up by the judges about four minutes into her race. A woodcock got up in front of her as she ran down an incline on the right.

We broke for lunch and gathered after this brace; many folks contributed to a potluck-style meal with plenty to eat. There were many different dishes to choose from. Each entrant received a goodie bag filled with sponsor items, dog food from Inukshuk, a coffee mug from BraeVal, drink coasters, t-shirts, MPE dog protection products, and many more items. There was a raffle where names were drawn for items, such as Bertucci watches, blended whisky, dog collars, jewelry, and many more items.

We started on the MPE/Warner Sporting Course, Brace 5, at 1:05 p.m. with Greenhaven's Sophia Belle (PF), callname "Belle," owned and handled by Brad Green. She ran a nice, stylish race and worked relatively close for Brad, a foot hunter's dream dog, she handled beautifully and rarely checked in. Thirty-five minutes into her race, she stopped on the right and was unfortunately picked up for moving off point.

Henry's Susieq Dot (ESF) is owned and handled by David Theroux. If you ever get a chance to watch this dog compete, she is a force to reckon with. Shortly into this brace, Dot stopped for all to see on a hill on the right. She locked up tight and stood proud. David flushed around, where he found tons of woodcock droppings. He relocated her, she covered the area fully and then moved on. Twenty minutes in, Dot came thundering down on the left in a fur stand where a grouse got up just slightly before she slammed on the brakes to stop. She was picked up; this was a tough break for this dog.

Ch. Firestarters Crossroads (BRITM), owned and handled by John DiPerrio, ran on the Jonas Brothers (Pepi Family) Taxidermy Course, Brace 6. This dog broke away at 2:03 p.m. and hunted hard for John; shortly thereafter, he was found down an embankment along a creek standing proud. John flushed a grouse out and fired his gun, where all was in good order with this dog. We continued on, and several minutes later, a grouse was flushed up by the well-attended gallery. He stopped again early on, where John flushed, then relocated him to where no bird was produced. Later in his race, with 10 minutes to spare, he was found again standing on the right. John tried to produce a bird for him and relocated him twice. Unfortunately, no bird, and he moved on to finish his race.

Wild Apple Paskungameh Peat (PM), owned and handled by Jamie Welsh, was turned loose with a big stride forward race. He glided along the cover well but was unfortunately picked up for failing to back his bracemate.

Day Two promptly started at 8 a.m. on the Inukshuk Course, Brace 7. Hoppy's War Bird Farmgirl (PF), callname "Cashmere," owned and handled by Rob Hopkins, was turned loose. She hit her cover deep, and we rarely saw her, handling out of range most of the time for Rob; at 35 minutes in, Rob called for the tracker.

Lightning Flash Billie Sue (ESF), owned and handled by Doug Dix, hit her cover, running nicely for Doug with good range and handle. Seventeen minutes in, she stopped on the right; Doug tried to produce a bird for her, where she stood covered with woodcock droppings. He went on to relocate her, and she moved on with her run. At 35, she fell slightly behind and was found standing to the right of the path. Doug felt there might be a running grouse as Billie Sue was relocated twice; Doug decided to pick her up.

Upland Almanac Course, Brace 8 started at 9:06 a.m. with second-place winner BraeVal Rory (ISM), callname "Rory," owned and handled by Gregor McCluskey.

Wild Apple Hard Cider (PM), callname "Cider," is owned and handled by Don Keddy. This big, handsome pointer got to work handling nicely for Don, hitting objectives well on both sides of the path. At 17, he stopped very close to where we heard drumming. Don felt he was probably too far from that bird. Don tried to produce a bird for him but moved him on.

Lightning Flash Dude (ESM), owned and handled by Miss Bailey Arkley, was on the Bertucci Watch Course, Brace 9. The breakaway was at 9:55 a.m. It wasn't long before the well-attended gallery heard both bells fall silent. This was a woodcock flushed by the other handler; it was considered a divided find, all in good order, and both dogs were staunch on point. Dude was working hard in several areas where woodcock would most certainly be. Bailey worked hard to produce a bird for him, edging him onto a relocation while the other handler moved on. He was moved on again by Bailey, and she chose to pick him up after this second attempt at flushing a bird. Dude worked hard in his 30 minutes.

Ivy, owned by Jamison Marquis and handled by Jimmy Levesque, charged forward at the breakaway and planted herself deep in the cover. Ten minutes in she had her first woodcock find, considered a divided find, all in good order. Thirty minutes in, Ivy backed her bracemate nicely and was moved on by her handler after no bird was produced. It should be noted that Jamison's company, MPE, was one of many generous sponsors of this trial. His company features many useful safety products for canine athletes. Thank you, Jamison!

Ledge Hill Chippewa (ESM), owned and handled by Jimmy Levesque, was cut loose at 11:01 a.m. on the Muller Choke/Galazan Course, Brace 10. He had the course to himself as his bracemate had scratched. "Chip" laid down a hard, tremendously forward ground race. At about 10 minutes in, Chip stopped on the right, along a gradual decline. He was moved forward, and in just a few moments, he slammed a staunch point. Jimmy produced a woodcock for him all in good order. Additionally, he had a great grouse find along an embankment for all the gallery to witness. He stood proud as Jimmy fired his gun. The most heartfelt loss for Chip occurred two minutes to time. With a strong performance, Jimmy called him forward, and Chip knocked up a woodcock. The gallery felt this loss with Jimmy as Chip was asked to be leashed up.

Ms. Antebellum (PF), callname "Jenny," owned and handled by Tim Cavanaugh, ran on the MPE/Warner Sporting Dog Course, Brace 11. This nice Pointer, per Tim, has not had much trial experience, but he wanted to give her a good experience in cover that demonstrated good bird numbers for us. Tim chose to pick her up early on as she was not digging into his liking.
Lightning Flash Frank (ESM), owned and handled by yours truly, Kelly Hays, was turned loose with his bracemate Jenny. He hit his cover with a stylish race-hitting cover where you would find both woodcock and grouse. I moved him forward and along nicely and heard his bell fall silent briefly; as I approached him, he moved on. The gallery reported several walked up grouse and one woodcock in the distance. Frank finished going strong in the allotted time but ran birdless.

The final brace, No. 12, began on the Jonas Brothers (Pepi Family) Taxidermy Course with Rock Solid Tucker (ESM), owned and handled by Doug Dix. The breakaway occurred at 1:29 p.m. Both dogs hit separate objectives right away, and Tucker's bell fell silent at 1:35, where a woodcock was produced for him, all in good order. He continued in a stylish manner and was found on point again about five minutes after his first find. Doug could not produce a bird for Tucker and was relocated twice.

Ch. Little Miss Bella (PF), a small fiery Pointer owned and handled by Tim Cavanaugh, hit the course and was gone in the blink of an eye. She hunted with tremendous drive and cadence. At about 25 minutes after she established point, Tim was unable to produce a bird for her, and she moved on. She finished her 45 minutes in good form but found no birds.


Dogs were treated to a paw massage with Bag Balm provided by Hailey and Bag Balm.

Ellenburg, N. Y., April 20
Judges Pat Cooke and Kris Nordby

1st-LIGHTNING FLASH REMINGTON, 1687367, setter male, by Denco's Crockett Again-Arctic Tundra Bird Dog. Brian Dix, owner and handler.
2d-BRAEVAL RORY, 1700621, Irish setter male, by Braeval Ghillie-Braeval Skye. Gregor McCluskey & Braeval Kennels, owners; Gregor McCluskey, handler.
3d-CALAMY'S SOUL MAN, 1678673, pointer male, by Erin's War Creek-Woodcock Haven Stella. Calvin C. Robinson, owner and handler.


Gift Bags Sponsors.

Braeval winners2S24

Mueller Choke Course with Brian Dix and Joe Dahl.