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Result: National Chukar Championship and National Chukar Derby Classic

Location: Frenchglen, Oregon

Post Date: Dec 29, 2021

Submitted By: Jared Tappero

National Chukar Championship and National Chukar Derby Classic

National Chukar Championship. In foreground, from left: Ed Mayhew, Judges Eric Mauck and Tom Griffin; Holly Higgins, Mark Silcocks. Top (from left): Bridget Ledington with Painted Owyhee Toad, Jim Ledington, Mike Eades with Seahawk's Bam Bam Kam, Talmage Smedley, and Alex Mauck.

The 2021 renewal of the National Chukar Championships and Derby Classic, hosted by the National Chukar Championship Association, was held this year at the Skull Creek Ranch, an in-holding of the expansive Roaring Springs Ranch headquartered near Frenchglen, Ore.

The Skull Creek grounds are located in mountainous high desert country made up of wide open vistas which consist of open grass-covered basins interspersed with large bands of sagebrush, low ridges and saddles posted with rock outcrops, mid-slope benches transitioning up-slope to rocky bluffs and ridgetops.

Wild game birds here include chukar and Hungarian partridge, valley quail, and sage grouse; for this renewal, liberated chukar supplemented the wild game bird population.

The drawing for the three stakes was held Friday, October 22, at the Diamond Inn, Denio, Nev. All stakes drew good numbers for a first running on the new grounds. The National Chukar All-Age Championship, a National Championship Qualifying stake, drew sixteen entrants; the Derby Classic, seven, and eight were drawn for the Shooting Dog Championship.

The stakes began Saturday, October 23, with the National Chukar All-Age Championship, followed by the one-hour Derby Classic and concluded with the National Chukar Shooting Dog Championship.

Weather conditions for this year's running were challenging at times. Over the span of the four-day running, competitors experienced wind, rain, snow, and some fog, as a result of what the local radio station described as "the most significant fall moisture system in the area in seventy years". Total accumulation over the four days was 2.7-inches of rain in an area that normally receives only 9 to 11 inches annually. While inclement weather and slick hillsides caused some delays, gaps in the conditions provided opportunities suitable to get the three stakes completed in a timely manner.

National Chukar Championship and National Chukar Derby Classic


Declared champion was Painted Owyhee Toad, white and liver marked pointer dog owned and handled by Bridget Ledington of New Plymouth, Ida. Runner-up honors went to Seahawk's Bam Bam Kam, white and orange marked pointer dog owned by Phil Spencer of Maple Valley, Wash., and handled by Talmage Smedley of Farr West, Utah.

Judges for this renewal were Eric Mauck of Boring, Ore., and Tom Griffin of Esparto, Calif.


The National Chukar Championship began just after 8 a.m. Saturday, October 23, and concluded late afternoon the following day. Of the sixteen dogs drawn, fourteen started; Snakebite N V and Tekoa Desert Firewheel were scratched. Of the fourteen starters, nine finished the stake, three with sufficient birdwork. One required the retrieval device for recovery, and four were picked-up, three for reasons related to faulty birdwork.

Conditions were cool and overcast, with a slight breeze; it had rained throughout the previous night.

Southwind Joy's Resurgeance (Mike Eades, owner/handler) and Highground Toby (Jeff Gilbertson and Lori Steinshouer, owners/Lori Steinshouer, handler). Joy had well-handled and stylish finds at 2 and 16. However, her race that day was not pushing the limits and she was picked up at 33. Toby was wide initially then to the front where he was found standing at 11. At the flush, the stylish setter spun and took a couple forward steps; the handler was asked to pick up.

Both Highground Gidget (Lynn Stinson, owner/Lori Steinshouer, handler) and Painted Owyhee Breeze (Bridget Ledington, owner/handler) had fabulous forward races, covering the country with speed, style, and purpose; Gidget with a little more range and show than Breeze that morning. Birdwork by either bitch probably would have changed the outcome of the stake.

Idaho's Lucky Duramax (Rich McReynolds, owner/Rich Heaton, handler) and Indian Head Whiski (Jared Tappero, owner/handler). Duramax handled well initially, then made a move and the retrieval unit was requested at about 40. Whiski's race was somewhat constrained and never hit the limits of the standard. At 50 he pointed staunchly, and went with a covey of chukar as they ran and flushed wildly.

The morning braces were completed, then a rain delay was called for the afternoon. The next morning rain delayed the start until 11a.m., at which point the last four braces were run to completion.

T's Quadrunner (Talmage Smedley, owner/handler) and Painted Owyhee Toad (Bridget Ledington, owner/handler). Toad's race that morning was impressive; big, to the front and showing handle at great range. Toad swung from one side of the big basin to the other; hunting the objectives and pushing forward with purpose. He showed style in his application and at 20 was found standing; high on both ends, all was in order at the shot. Toad finished his hour strong and forward, continuing to hunt and seeking out objectives at range. Quadrunner's race pushed the limits, was consistently forward and stylish. At 20 Quad backed Toad without hesitation, honoring through flush and shot. He finished his hour birdless.

Mauck's Wyeast Owyhee Dallee (Alex Mauck, owner/handler) was moved up from brace No. 8 when Snakebite N V was scratched. Dallee's race was forward, but didn't push the standard. Hunting the objectives with high, cracking tail she was rewarded with finds at 23 and 50. Erin's Red Rose (Jim Emerson, owner/Talmage Smedley, handler) pushed the limits the first half of the brace, then was more constrained in her application during the second half. She finished her hour birdless.

Mauck's Wyeast Owyhee Jack (Alex Mauck, owner/handler) and Indian Head Intrigue (Jared Tappero, owner/handler). Intrigue was brought down from brace 8 as Tekoa Desert Firewheel was scratched. Both Intrigue and Jack showed well and pushed the limits, but neither dog produced a bird in their hour.

Both Seahawk's Bam Bam Kam (Phil Spencer, owner/Talmage Smedley, handler) and Twer's Heartbreak Ridge (Todd Schaaf, owner/handler) started off big and forward. At 14 Ridge was found standing with head and tail high. At the handler's approach the birds flushed and Ridge followed, ending his hour. Kam made a move to the far side of the valley then swung along the contour of the far wall and continued on. Pushing the limits, Kam swung low and hit some objectives then was back along the contour hunting to the front. At the far end of the basin Kam was gathered up and sent on. At 55 Kam pointed up; after a prolonged flushing attempt a bird was produced, all in order at flush and shot.

Frenchglen, Ore., October 23

Judges: Tom Griffin and Eric Mauck


[One-Hour Heats] -- 8 Pointers and 8 Setters

Winner--PAINTED OWYHEE TOAD, 1662873, pointer male, by Painted Nickel Mac--Painted Molly. Bridget & Jim Ledington, owners; Bridget Ledington, handler.

Runner-Up--SEAHAWK'S BAM BAM KAM, 1684782, by Riverton's Funseek'n Scooter--Spectre Express. Philip Spencer, owner; Talmadge Smedley, handler.


Three placements are awarded for the Derby. However, when the trial was concluded, it was found that the dog named to first, Canyon Creek Aces Peacemaker, German Shorthaired pointer dog owned by Ray and Tami Lorrando of Nampa, Ida., and handled by Ray, regrettably did not meet the age requirement to be entered and compete.

The judges were contacted and determined that the second and third place dogs be "moved up" and no third place dog named.

Judges for the Derby Classic were Todd Schaaf of Woodland, Wash., and Mike Eades of Enumclaw, Wash.

Awarded first was Painted Hank, white and liver marked pointer dog owned and handled by Jim Ledington of Eagle, Ida. Second was Painted Owyhee Coal Mine, white and liver marked pointer dog owned and handled by Bridget Ledington..

The Derby Classic began 8:30 the morning of Monday, October 25, under overcast conditions and some drizzle.

Painted Hank (Jim Ledington, owner/handler) set the bar early with an outstanding wide and forward race. Covering a lot of country, Hank handled well, and pushed the limits. Steen's Mountain Outlaw (Holly Higgins, owner/Jared Tappero, handler) was consistently forward but more constrained than Hanks. Outlaw made some nice moves and was animated in his going but did not reach out and grab the country needed to meet the standard as Hank did.

Painted Owyhee Coal Mine (Bridget Ledington, owner/handler) eared his placement with an edgy and distant effort, and required some scouting. He had a couple nice lapses in contact and made moves which pushed the limits. Coal Mine's race was to the front, showed handle, and he hunted well. While not pushing the limits, Coal was consistent in his application.

I H Pearls Blindsider (Jared Tappero, owner/handler) and Mauck's Wyeast Owyhee Jaysee (Alex Mauck, owner/handler). Blindsider, "Val," and Jaysee were neck and neck throughout their brace. Val had an early bird contact and chased. Neither pushed the limits but both were stylish, forward, and covered the country well.

Mauck's Wyeast Owyhee Ajay (Alex Mauck, owner/handler), as a bye, was animated and stylish in her going, hunted well throughout, but didn't push the limits.

Judges: Mike Eades and Todd Schaaf


[One-Hour Heats] -- 7 Entries

1st--PAINTED HANK, 1690839, pointer male, by Painted Owyhee Toad--Painted Owyhee Sagebrush. Jim Ledington, owner and handler.

2d--PAINTED OWYHEE COAL MINE, 1690525, pointer male, by Painted Owyhee Toad--Painted Owyhee Sagebrush. Bridget Ledington, owner; Jim Ledington, hander.


Declared Champion was PWK Lonewolf's B J, white and liver marked German shorthaired pointer bitch co-owned by Ray Lorrando of Nampa, Ida., and Dean Crabbs of Vale, Ore. B J was handled by Ray. Runner-up honors went to Tucalota's Rebel Rush, white and liver marked pointer dog, owned and handled by Ed Mayhew of Winchester, Calif.

Judges for this renewal were Jared Tappero of Crane, Ore., and Travis Erickson of Lakeview, Ore.


The stake began mid-morning Tuesday, October 26, after some delay due to rain and snow, and low visibility created by fog. Eight dogs were drawn for the stake, seven of which started; M H Rockford Peach was scratched. Of the seven starters, six had birdwork and four finished cleanly.

Mauck's Wyeast Owyhee Jack (Alex Mauck, owner/handler) and Tucalota's Rebel Buck (Ed Mayhew, owner/handler). Jack had a stylish find at 4 along a rock rim, then proceeded to make moves, and had a lapse in contact, which surpassed the shooting dog standard. Buck had a well-handled find on chukar at 2 near a rocky edge, and another at 40 which produced a dead bird. Buck hunted well but his application was constrained.

Canyon Creek High Tide (Ray and Tami Larrondo, owners/Ray Larrondo, handler) and Tucalota's Rebel Rush (Ed Mayhew, owner/handler). After a nice move to the front, Rush was found standing atop a rocky bluff at 5, with high head and tail; all was in order at flush and shot for the liver and white stylist. Rush then proceeded to cover the country well and was consistently forward in his application throughout the hour. High Tide had a nice forward race, got around well, but finished her hour without birdwork.

PWK Lonewolf's B J (Ray Larrondo and Dean Crabbs, owners/Ray Larrondo, handler), as a bye. B J's race was forward and snappy, with short lapses in contact and moves which impressed; she hit objectives consistently throughout her hour. At 41 after going through a saddle to the front B J was found standing staunchly near a rockpile which produced a single chukar. From there B J was high and forward up a ridge, onto a mid-slope bench through rock outcrops and was found standing just before time. After a short relocation attempt nothing was produced.

Painted Owyhee Breeze (Bridget Ledington, owner/handler) started her hour with a stylish find at 5, sidehill on a rock outcrop. With head and tail high a lone chukar was put to air for the staunch bitch. With a strong forward race, Breeze was setting the pace when at 50 she went with a wild covey, ending her hour. and Mauck's Wyeast Owyhee Dallee (Alex Mauck, owner/handler) was consistently forward throughout; she hunted stylishly with high, cracking tail and at 55 was found standing a single chukar. Upon flush and shot, Dallee took a couple steps and was collared.

Judges Jared Tappero and Travis Erickson


CHAMPIONSHIP [One Hour Heats] --

Winner--P W K LONEWOLF'S B J, 1669081, German shorthair female, by Slicks Cuttin Wild--Prairie Wind Fast Forward. Dean Crabbs & Ray Larondo, owners; Ray Larondo, handler.

Runner-Up--TUCALOTA'S REBEL RUSH, 1662661, pointer male, by White Powder Grip--Riverton's Funseeker Riley. Ed Mayhew, owner and handler.


The National Chukar Championship Association (NCCA) would like to thank both Nestle-Purina and SportDog for their contributions and continued support of the National Chukar Championships. Thanks again, Greg Blair, Jim Morehouse, and your colleagues representing both Purina and SportDog, for your unsurpassed commitment to our sport.

The NCCA would also like to thank those who voluntarily helped out setting up camp, hauling infrastructure to and fro, assisting around camp as needed, setting up the wall tent, keeping the bird pen in order, and planting birds on the course. Special thanks to Mark and Diane Silcocks, Eric and Alex Mauck, Jim and Bridget Ledington, and Mike Eades.

Thanks to judges Eric Mauck, Tom Griffin, Mike Eades, Todd Schaaf, Jared Tappero, and Travis Erickson for lending their time and sharing their knowledge of class bird dogs, and for their persistent and continued dedication to the sport.

We would also like to thank the residents and business owners of Harney County, Ore., and Denio, Nev., for their support and enthusiastic welcome of the trial.

Special thanks to the outposts of Fields, Frenchglen, and Denio for their gracious hospitality throughout the event; all three communities are within a 45-minute drive of the grounds and have water, fuel, food, and accommodations available for the trialers.

The NCCA is sincerely grateful to the landowner and staff of Roaring Springs Ranch for graciously making the Skull Creek Ranch in-holding available for the National Chukar Championships and for providing the necessary infrastructure as needed, without hesitation, for the trial. Roaring Springs is an expansive cattle and haying outfit committed to sustainable land-use practices that exemplify dedication to conservation ethics and wildlife stewardship while benefitting the local community and economy.

The ranch staff also provided comfortable accommodations for judges, if needed, at the nearby ranch headquarters.

In addition to the beautiful landscape, abundant populations of native upland gamebirds, raptors, songbirds, waterfowl, mule deer, and elk were observed throughout the trial and many competitors were greeted at the gate by an impressive band of bighorn sheep. It is a truly special place. We thank the ranch management for making such a great venue available to us.

National Chukar Championship and National Chukar Derby Classic