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Result: NGSPA Sandhills Greater Prairie Chicken Championship

Location: Dunning, Nebraska

Post Date: Dec 1, 2020

Submitted By: Robin Lambourn

DUNNING, NEB. -- We had another exciting week running dogs on wild birds at the 2020 renewal of the NGSPA Prairie Chicken Championships at the scenic Saner Ranch in Blaine County, Neb.

NGSPA Sandhill Greater Prairie Chicken Championship

This year's trial saw one significant change. For 2020, the NGSPA board of trustees voted to start the Chicken Championship two weeks later and the NGSPA Hungarian Partridge Championships two weeks earlier. The past two years, the Chicken had multiple delays due to temperatures in the mid- to upper-90s The high temperatures in Nebraska in early September made it difficult to run a safe trial with a level playing field.

The field trial committee extends its gratitude to Keith and Roberta Richardson for agreeing to run the Hun two weeks earlier to accommodate this change.

The new time slot, beginning on October 2this year, indeed yielded more favorable running conditions. The weather was cool throughout the Open Shooting Dog Championship. Temperatures climbed throughout the week, with highs in the 70s during the Open All-Age Championship, 80s during the Amateur Shooting Dog Championship, and 90s for the Amateur All-Age Classic, but the trial suffered no delays.

Besides the temperature, the running conditions were quite different from last year. Whereas last year the area had above-average rainfall and thick vegetation, this year the sandhills had almost no precipitation after July. The drought not only resulted in thinner vegetation, but clearly diminished scenting conditions.

The gallery observed birds in the air during almost every brace, but the local prairie chickens and sharptailed grouse had a difficult nesting season. Large hail pummeled Blaine County during late June and early July. Most birds observed were adults rising in singles and doubles and not large coveys of young birds. The few young birds pointed appeared to have hatched from re-nesting efforts. The cagey adult birds were very challenging quarry for the dogs, but we saw sufficient bird numbers to keep things interesting. The cream rose to the top once again, and the difficult conditions and quarry added weight to every championship title awarded.

Before describing the running, the field trial committee wishes to express its sincere thanks and gratitude to all those without whom this field trial would not happen.

Thank you to Troy and Peyton Saner for hosting us again on their slice of sandhill heaven. Troy marshalled almost every day and also judged the Amateur All-Age Classic. We also extend our thanks to Jim West and Rhonda Haukoos for lending us their training grounds and selflessly helping in many other ways. Everyone looked forward to Rhonda's delicious meals. We also could not have run the trial without Jim's help running the dog wagon, judging, and setting courses.

We were fortunate to have well-qualified judges in a year in which most have had particular difficulty finding good judges. Thank you to all of them for donating their time.

Thank you as well to our generous sponsors, who have remained committed to our trial and our sport in a time of declining marketing budgets. Purina once again provided Pro Plan dog food to the winners and financial support. Thank you to Greg Blair, Terry Trzcinski, and everyone else at Purina. SportDOG Brand also donated e-collars to the winners. Thank you to Jim Morehouse and SportDOG.

Thanks as well go out to Charter Arms for providing a Pro 209 starter pistol to the Amateur Shooting Dog Champion and Burris Optics for generously donating first-class binoculars and gift certificates. These binoculars made excellent landowner gifts right before deer season.

We also thank Dogs Unlimited for sponsoring our daily happy hour. The field trial committee extends its sincere appreciation to all these sponsors and encourages everyone to buy their excellent products if possible.

Finally, the field trial committee extends its gratitude to the many professionals and amateurs who attended, including Dan DiMambro, April Raber, Josh Nieman, Rich and Penny Robertson, Josh Neiman, Keith Richardson, Mark and Chase Verdoorn, Dick Walters, Brandon and Jen Blum, Alan Davison, Frank Verret, Greg Hellbusch, Brian Hill, Karen Niffeneger, Richie Rodgers, James Juergens, and John Holcomb. Thank you all for your support.



Jon Small and Robin Lambourn judged the Open Shooting Dog Championship, the first stake of the trial.

NGSPA Sandhill Greater Prairie Chicken Championship 2

Jon has considerable experience judging American Field and AKC horseback field trials for all breeds in many venues. Jon formerly campaigned shorthairs and currently owns pointers. Jon also competes in retriever field trials, adding to his diverse background.

Temperatures remained cool for all three days of the stake, with lows near freezing in the morning and highs in the sixties and seventies. The participants and gallery observed birds flushing in almost every brace, although most dogs had difficulty handling these wary prairie grouse.

Nevertheless, the judges had several worthy performances from which to choose their winners.

The champion, Chicoree's Riden High Trixie (DiMambro), came from the sixth brace. Trixie started with a stylish back at 5. Trixie's race grew more powerful and ambitious as the hour progressed, with minimal handling. Trixie made an impressive move at 30 through a valley while the gallery rode along a sandhill ridge above, swinging around to the front as the course turned left. Another big move along a fence line was rewarded with a covey find at 38. Trixie pointed stylishly, high on both ends, as the covey lifted.

Trixie finished stronger than she started, cutting a strong wind while she hunted the downwind side of a sandhill.

Runner-up champion, Autry's Natural Chromoly Steel (Nieman), callname Molly, ran in the third brace. The judges had considerable difficulty separating the two winners. Molly broke away with a big cast to the east. Shortly after she returned, Molly's handler called point at 5 while she stood on the backside of a sandhill. The judges observed a single chicken flushing after the call of point while Molly stood mannerly. Molly continued to make big swings around the serpentine shooting dog course presented to her and finished strong. Molly had perhaps a more consistently powerful race from start to finish than the champion, but the champion required less handling with a comparable race and had a superior piece of bird work. Molly also suffered a nonproductive at 31.

Other dogs that pushed the winners included P W Evolution's Primo's Re-Creation (Robertson), call name Spike, running in the second brace. Spike made an impressive cast soon after breakaway around an adjacent sandhill, showing far to the front. Spike had a stylish find at 40 on a five-bird covey.

P W Indian Brook Heads Up (Robertson), call name Enzi, also piqued the judges' interest in the last brace of the stake. Enzi scored a very broke covey find at 13. This particular covey appeared to have hatched very late. One of the chukar-sized birds flushed five feet in front of the dog and landed five feet behind the dog while Enzi handled the pressure with aplomb. Enzi carded another covey find at 37 in a bowl to the front. Unfortunately, nonproductives at 47 and 55 pushed Enzi out of contention.

Dunning, Neb., October 2

Judges: Robin Lambourn and Jon Small


CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] -- 35 German Shorthairs

Winner--CHICOREE'S RIDEN HIGH TRIXIE, 1685125, female, by Riden High Rudy--Chicoree's Sparkle in Her Eye. Rondal J. Alexander, owner; Dan DiMambro, handler.

Runner-Up--AUTRY'S NATURAL CHROMOLY STEEL, 1675658, female, by Slicks Cuttin Wild--Autry's California Gold Rush. Daniel Autry, owner; Josh Nieman, handler.



We were fortunate to have Peter Coppens and David Quijano judge the Open All-Age Championship.

NGSPA Sandhill Greater Prairie Chicken Championship 3

Peter has extensive experience campaigning shorthairs as an amateur. Peter also chairs the National German Pointing Dog Association National Championship in Illinois. David is a successful amateur from Texas with many judging assignments to his credit. David agreed to replace Warren Eizman on short notice, who suffered an injury before the trial.

The judges named BMB's Free Ride (Blum), callname Lewey, the champion and withheld the runner-up placement.

Lewey ran in the fifth brace in mid-afternoon. Temperatures were in the mid-seventies with clear skies. Braced with Riden High Rudy (DiMambro), both dogs broke away in all-age fashion, with Lewey running a ridge to course right and Rudy making a huge cast up another sandhill to course left. After a nonproductive at 30, Lewey continued to run the ridges until he was found standing on the backside of a hill at 52, with a single chicken lifting as the riders approached. Simultaneously, Rudy came in for a mannerly back. Lewey, along with his bracemate, finished strong to the front.

Other dogs had prairie all-age performances but did not have birds. The judges ordered a runoff between two such dogs to fill their second placement. The two dogs whose initial hour merited extra opportunity were Rudy and Lambourn's Surface to Air Missile (Nieman), call name Sam. Rudy was braced with the champion, and his initial hour is described above. Sam ran his first hour before lunch in brace three. Sam's application grew as the hour progressed. Sam and his bracemate made a big move at 30 onto the neighbor's property. Sam was later seen rimming a sandhill ridge a half mile to the front, finishing his cast across the road in the adjacent section at time. Unfortunately, neither Sam nor Rudy scored bird work during the runoff the following afternoon.

As the NGSPA running rules require a find on the species in a species championship, the judges withheld their second placement.

Judges: Peter Coppens and David Quijano


CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] -- 19 German Shorthairs

Winner--B M B'S FREE RIDE, 1660979, male, by Kimber Tactical--Time To Pay The Piper. Brandon Blum, owner and handler.


NGSPA Sandhills Greater Prairie Chicken Championship 4

Peter Coppens returned to the saddle for the Amateur Shooting Dog Championship, with Greg Hellbusch joining him to judge the twenty-one entries. Hellbusch is successful amateur from the Kansas City area. Scenting conditions deteriorated during this stake as the temperatures rose.

The judges awarded the championship to BMB's Samsquanch (Blum), call name Sam, running in the sixth brace at the end of the day. Sam bested the rest of the field with a strong shooting race and a great finish along a ridge. Sam started with a stylish back at 10, followed by a mannerly find at 42.

The judges withheld the runner-up placement, although a few other dogs had a championship-quality ground game but finished without bird work. Of note, Snowy River's White Out (Chase Verdoorn), call name Willy, had the judges hoping he would find birds in the tenth brace. Willy ran a powerful shooting dog race, handled well, and finished strong.

The judges also commented that Hi Tailyn's Talented Texan (Keith Bryant) ran a spirited race in the seventh brace with great ground speed and a smooth gait. Tex stayed to the front and handled kindly throughout his hour. At the end of the stake, however, the judges had no difficulty choosing their winner.

Judges: Peter Coppens and Gre Hellbusch


SHOOTING DOG CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] -- 21 German Shorthairs

Winner--B M B'S SAMSQUANCH, 1669573, male, by Trueblue's B D K Ace Inthe Hole--Time To Pay the Piper. Brandon Blum, owner and handler.



David Quijano returned to judge the Amateur All-Age stake with Troy Saner. Unfortunately, the judges could not find an all-age performance paired with acceptable bird work. Therefore, the stake reverted to a Classic, giving first place to B M B's Free Ride (Blum) and second place to Snowy River's Top Gun Maverick (Hellbusch). Nevertheless, all who attended enjoyed watching some impressive ground races, including some exciting young all-age prospects.

Lewey had another strong run with all-age application in the second brace. Lewey's handler retrieved him after Lewey missed a sharp turn at 8, but Lewey remained to the front thereafter. Lewey suffered an unproductive at 50 after he was found standing on a limb and finished his hour to the front.

Maverick took second place running in the fourth brace of a ninety-one-degree day. Maverick started strong and pushed forward throughout his run. Maverick made a big swing at 15 around a stock pond to course left, showing back up to the front. Maverick continued to run with all-age purpose throughout his hour but did not finish quite as strong as the winner. Keep an eye on this exciting young dog.

Judges: David Quijano and Troy Saner


CLASSIC [One-Hour Heats] -- 8 German Shorthairs

Winner--B M B'S FREE RIDE, 1660979, male, by Kimber Tactical--Time To Pay The Piper. Brandon Blum, owner and handler.

Runner-Up--SNOWY RIVER'S TOP GUN MAVERICK, 1;678766, male, by Snowy River's Full Strut--Cajun's Bad Habit. Greg Hellbusch, owner and handler.



The open derby showcased some energetic young prospects, with several fine performances from which the judges could choose. Jim West and Brandon Blum graciously agreed to judge. Jim is a well-known professional with decades of experience with many breeds. In particular, Jim is known for some of the great German wirehairs and shorthairs that he has trained and handled over the years. Brandon is a formidable amateur handler. The derby was run in the heat of a very warm day, and the judges placed all three winners on run.

The first and second placements both came from the second brace, with Horicon Havens Fireball (DiMambro), call name Archie, placing first and P W That Was Then This is Now (Robertson) placing second. Both dogs made all-age casts and showed all-age potential. The judges had difficulty separating the two dogs, with the difference being that the winner was marginally more forward and finished out of sight. Karma Is A Dee (DiMambro) placed third with a biddable shooting dog application that showed potential to expand with seasoning.

The field trial committee thanks the many who attended, helped, judged, or sponsored. We hope to see everyone back in the Nebraska sandhills in 2021.

Judges: Brandon Blum and Jim West


OPEN DERBY CLASSIC -- 6 German Shorthairs

1st--HORICON HAVENS FIREBALL. [Placement Voided].

2d--P W THAT WAS THEN THISIS NOW, female, by Rio's Rising Renegade--P W Extraordinaire. Keith & Roberta Richardson, owners; Rich Robertson, handler.

3d--KARMA IS A DEE, 1691262, female, by Greyrock's Mile Marker--No Sleep Til Brook Lynn. Charles Edward Lane II, owner; Dan DiMambro, handler.