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Result: National Brittany Open Grouse Championship Association

Location: Meredith, Michigan

Post Date: Jun 24, 2024

Submitted By: Kenny DeLong

National Brittany Open Grouse OSDS24

Open Shooting Dog (front, l-r): Bruce Minard with Hifive's Ruff Runner, Kenny DeLong with K Del's Eagle Magnum Hotshot, and Leeann Parnell with Springpond Rockin Sidney. (Behind): Frank Illijanic (judge), Scott Chaffee, Rob Ellis, Eric Naus (judge), and Tammy Chaffee.

A fine turnout for a long weekend of quality bird dogs and plenty of wild birds at this historic venue was welcomed by the host Club. We had good weather, good judges, good food (thank you, Steve and Shelley), and great cooperation and help from pros and amateurs alike. We thank Greg Blair and Purina for their sponsorship, the Hollister family for horses and wrangling, and a shout out to Jenny H., particularly for creating judges' gifts and providing an ever-expanding traveling store of outdoor/field trial clothing and accessories.

The 38-entry Open Shooting Dog began Friday with judges Eric Naus and Frank Illijanic watching 13 braces. The stake finished up with the six remaining braces on Saturday morning, and while birds were flown and pointed both days, they were more active in the half dozen braces the second day. The first and second-place dogs came from the seventh brace on Friday, running on Course 7 in the late morning. Kenny DeLong's "Shooter" was the first to score, with an exemplary piece of birdwork, pinning and holding a huge grey grouse deep in the cutting off the left side of the trail shortly before crossing the tote road. To both handler and judge's delight, the chicken waited until Kenny and Frank were within 15 yards until it exploded noisily in full view. There was a split second of mesmerized silence as the handler, judge, and an intensely frozen Brittany watched before the shot was fired--all in order. Several minutes later, Shooter stopped on the low right side of the trail, crossing the ridge as Bruce Minard's "Ruff Runner" was working up top. Both bells were silent as Bruce shouted, "Grouse!" The Woods King escaped, making quite a ruckus, and both handlers fired. The Pointer had been standing staunchly and high tail stylishly as the handler flushed.

On Saturday morning, 18th Brace, Course 2, Tammy Chaffee handled Leeann Parnell's classy Setter female, "Sidney," to a picturesque woodcock find in the cuttings. These three dogs ran forward and hard, searching all the likely cover and handling well. Judges had some sorting out to discuss for sure. In the end, judges agreed to award the blue ribbon to the Pointer, a close second place red to the Brittany, and third place to the Setter.

Rich Hollister and Ron Badley presided over a small but strong Puppy stake late Saturday morning, where professionals captured all three placements. The smart, consistently forward race put down by Hifive's Sweet Basil earned the Pointer first place. Bruce Minard also handled the second-place Pointer, Wilhites Michigan Honey, with a pleasing, forward effort. Setters were represented by "Joey," handled to a strong, even, yellow ribbon finish by the always capable Marc Forman.

A strong Jack Plyler Derby Classic entry of 28 dogs began after a late lunch on Saturday when six braces were run to finish out the day. Michigander Rob Ellis and "Keystone" (Jeff) Keller from Pennsylvania saw some good performances that afternoon and quite a few more when the stake resumed on Sunday morning--right on through to the last brace in the early afternoon--that produced the eventual winner. Strong, far-reaching races, even in the warm weather, separated several dogs from the pack, but each of the winners added the icing of quality grouse finds to earn their place on the podium. Here again, it was an all-pro finish. Rich Hollister ran "Tilly," the eventual winner of the Flannigan Cover Dog Derby of the Year Award, on Course 16. She covered this course extremely well and stayed forward, scoring a sweet chicken find with great style and fine manners. Running in the last brace of the stake, this Setter's performance altered the rankings, and Tilly was named the winner.
Marc Forman's male Setter, "Schuster," did a nice job on Course 13 (which has produced birds and more than a couple placing dogs this spring), pinning a grouse to earn the scarlet rosette.
Mr. Minard (again!) handled Hackberry's Wild One Saturday afternoon on Course 6 to a more moderate, but still forward and handling, race (in the heat), also scoring nicely on a fat Bonasa, making it easy for the judges to place him third.

This Club has worked hard over the last couple of years to boost our Restricted/Continental Breed stakes entries. We were pleased to have a dozen entries in our Open Shooting Dog stake that ran late Sunday morning under the seasoned scrutiny of the High Five father and son team of Bruce and Neil Minard. There was a lot of bird contact (grouse and woodcock) in this event--5 of each. Shane Baxter's veteran German Shorthair Pointer male, "Doc," ran strong on Course 4 and nailed a perfect timberdoodle find at the 6-minute mark. The dog was found standing far forward, buried in the cutting on the right side, the woodcock pinned directly in front of his nose. Somewhat noisy for a mud bat, the bird got up in plain view directly in front of Doc, leaving the area. The GSP stood like a statue and watched as Shane fired. Judges agreed this was the winning performance.
Two Brittany dogs rounded out the placements, both having flaw-free contact but without the opportunity to get a bird successfully pointed. Steve McKalko's "Leo" and Josh Bambach's "JoJo" ran forward races and finished strong--good for second and third place, respectively.
All in all, it was a great trial. Placements were well received, folks were fed well and enjoyed fine fellowship, and we were graced with good weather and good performances. We thank the Lord for all our blessings and look forward to seeing folks again on August 24-25 and in the fall, October 4-6.

Meredith, Mich., April 26
Judges: Frank Illijanic and Eric Naus
OPEN SHOOTING DOG - 13 Pointers, 24 Setters, and 1 Brittany

1st-HIFIVE'S RUFF RUNNER, 1692129, pointer male, by Titanium's Hammer-Hifive's Allisin. Bob Leet, owner; Bruce Minard, handler.
2d-K DEL'S EAGLE MAGNUM HOTSHOT, 1685770, Brittany male, by Magnum High Velocity-K Del's Eagle's Chance To Soar. Kenric J. DeLong, owner and handler.
3d-SPRINGPOND ROCKIN SIDNEY, 1689212, setter female, by Springpond Rockin Autumn-Tailsup Olive. Leeann Parnell, owner; Tammy Chaffee, handler.

National Brittany Open Grouse OPS24

Open Puppy (front, l-r): Bruce Minard with Hifive's Sweet Basil, Nathan Wilhite with Wilhites Michigan Honey, and Marc Forman with Twilight's Problem Child. (Behind): Ron Badley (judge), Scott Chaffee, Rob Ellis, and Rich Hollister (judge).

Judges: Ron Badley and Richard Hollister
OPEN PUPPY - 2 Pointers and 5 Setters

1st-HIFIVE'S SWEET BASIL, 1705357, pointer female, by Hifive's Ruff Runner-Wild Apple Siri. Eric Rizza, owner; Bruce Minard, handler.
2d-WILHITES MICHIGAN HONEY, 1706758, pointer female, by Titanium's Hammer-B K Rolling Dice. Nathan Wilhite, owner; Bruce Minard, handler.
3d-TWILIGHT'S PROBLEM CHILD, 1706124, setter female, by Wayward Flyin Tomato-Twilight's Echoed Promise. Mark Deneka, owner; Marc Forman, handler.

National Brittany Open Grouse ODS24

Jack Plyler Open Derby Classic (l-r): Rich Hollister with Grouse Feather Tilly, Rob Ellis (judge), Marc Forman with Town Creek Rambler, Jeff Keller (judge), Bruce Minard with Hackberry's Wild One, and Neil Minard.

Judges: Robert Ellis and Jeff Keller
JACK PLYLER OPEN DERBY - 9 Pointers, 18 Setters, and 1 Brittany

1st-GROUE FEATHER TILLY, 1703250, setter female, by Grouse Feather Hawk-GF Southern Belle. Custis Coleman Jr., owner; Rich Hollister, handler.
2d-TOWN CREEK RAMBLER, 1702962, setter male, by Doodle Ridge Elroy-Gretna Crest Flashback. R. L. Frame, owner; Marc Forman, handler.
3d-HACKBERRY'S WILD ONE, 1710263, pointer male, by Hackberry's Elhew Chief-Deep Creek Katydid. Mike Francus, owner; Bruce Minard, handler.

Judges: Bruce Minard and Neal Minard
OPEN RESTRICTED SHOOTING DOG - 7 Brittanys and 5 German Shorthairs

1st-BAX STAR'S DOC HOLIDAY, 1688064, German Shorthair male, by Friedelsheim Freight Train-Baxtsar's Stolen Heart. Shane & Christine Baxter, owners; Shane Baxter, handler.
2d-WINDANCER'S SMOK'N JOE, 1711428, Brittany male, by Windancer Hammerin Red Rebel-Windancer's Renegade Sweet Tea. Josh & Max Bambach, owners; Josh Bombach, handler.
3d-HAYWOOD LEO McKALKO, 1697402, Brittany male, by Dogwood's Speeding Comet-Majestic Scout Boersen. Stephen McKalko, owner and handler.

National Brittany Open Grouse ROSDS24

Open Restricted Shooting Dog (l-r): Shane Baxter with Bax Star's Doc Holiday, Neil Minard (judge), Josh Bambach with Windancer's Smok'n Joe, Steve McKalko with Haywood Leo McKalko, and Bruce Minard (judge).