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Result: NGSPA Sandhills Greater Prairie Chicken Championships

Location: Dunning, Nebraska

Post Date: Feb 22, 2022

Submitted By: Robin Lambourn

No Image Results

We had another exciting week running dogs on wild birds at the 2021 NGSPA Prairie Chicken Championships at the scenic Saner Ranch near Dunning, Neb. We enjoyed Goldilocks weather all week, not too hot and not too cold. For the second year, the trial ran in its later time slot during the first week of October.

The greater prairie chicken and sharptailed grouse populations seemed decent this year. The numbers of birds observed depended mostly on scenting conditions. While not in a severe drought like the Dakotas, the Nebraska sandhills are still abnormally dry. These grounds provide the ideal venue for big-running dogs.

Some light rain the day before the Open Shooting Dog Championship resulted in ample bird work during that stake. Birds became scarcer as the trial progressed, with scenting conditions improving some during the Amateur Shooting Dog Championship towards the end of the trial. Nevertheless, the judges had worthy performances in every stake from which to choose.

The field trial committee wishes to express its sincere 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 beautiful ranch. We also extend our thanks to Jim West and Rhonda Haukoos. Once again, Rhonda prepared our meals and even judged the Amateur Shooting Dog Championship. We also could not have run the trial without Jim's help running the dog wagon and setting courses.

Thank you to all of our judges for donating their time. Thank you as well to our generous sponsors. 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. 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.

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 professionals and amateurs who attended, including Dan DiMambro, April Raber, Josh Nieman, Rich and Penny Robertson, Josh Neiman, Sean Van Kooten, Brandon Blum, Alan Davison, Richie Rodgers, Kirk Loftin, Sherri Tansgrud, David Quijano, Dean Crabbs, Diane Goracke, Jerry and Peggy Langford, and Ray Larrondo. Thank you all for your support.


A pair of Iowans, Jeff Wallace and Bruce Bryant, judged this three-day stake. Both have considerable experience as amateurs owning and handling shorthairs. Almost every dog had opportunities for bird work, although the October chickens did not always play fair.

The champion, Perfection's Huckleberry (Sean Van Kooten), came from brace No. 9. Huckleberry ran a strong tweener race with two quality finds before lunch on the second day. Huckleberry's first find came at 25 on a single prairie chicken handled cleanly with style on top of a ridge. Huckleberry continued making nice, forward moves. While running a fenceline, Huckleberry scored again at 35 on a nice covey of prairie chickens loafing by the fence. His bracemate came in for a back. Huckleberry finished strongly along a sandhill ridge to the front, heading towards some distant cedars.

Runner-up Champion Canyon Creek High Tide (Ray Larrondo) ran in brace No. 4 in the middle of a warm afternoon. Tide ran with plenty of punch, always going to the right places and looking for her handler. A good move down a sandhill ridge found Tide standing in a bottom at 20. Unfortunately, a lengthy flushing attempt failed to produce the running birds. Tide was found standing ahead at time at the highest point of a tall sandhill, with her bracemate coming in for a back. A lengthy flushing attempt appeared headed towards a second unproductive. Tide's handler, however, finally kicked up a bird a good 75 yards upwind of the dog at the base of the sandhill, for a dramatic piece of bird work.

Dunning, Neb., October 4
Judges: Bruce Bryant and Jeff Wallace
[One-Hour Heats] -- 33 German Shorthairs
Winner--PERFECTION'S HUCKLEBERRY, 1672078, male, by Odyssey's Perfect Traveler--H's Double A Flagship. Chase M. Benton, owner; Sean Van Kooten, handler.
Runner-Up--CANYON CREEK HIGH TIDE, 1672987, female, by H K's Prime Cut--Uodibar's Waiting for Daylight. Ray & Tami Larrondo, owners; Ray Larrondo, handler.


The Texas team, Jerry Langford from Pilot Point, and David Quijano from Wimberley, donated their time judging the Open All-Age Championship. Both have decades of judicial experience.

Scenting conditions deteriorated significantly from the Open Shooting Dog Championship, with fewer birds handled well and more birds ridden up. The winners of this stake both came from brace No. 8 on the morning of the second day.

B M B's Freeloader (Brandon Blum) and P W K Lonewolf's B J (Rich Robertson) broke away strongly and crested the first sandhill ahead. Shortly after, the gallery observed birds lifting, with both dogs standing staunchly at the top of the hill. After this birdwork, Freeloader rimmed a far hill, with B J on the lower part of the hill not far behind. The course curved to the east with both dogs out of sight, but they both regained the front as the gallery crossed a dirt road. Into the next large pasture, both dogs made nice moves to the front as the course turned back into the sandhills. Freeloader was found standing at the top of a hill: a large covey of prairie chickens flushed as the handler approached. Both dogs finished well to the front in an open flat.

The judges named Freeloader the champion and B J, runner-up.

Judges: Jerry Langford and David Quijano
[One-Hour Heats] -- 26 German Shorthairs
Winner--B M B'S FREELOADER, 1678664, male, by B M B's Free Ride--Hightailing Saddle's Mandolin. Brandon & Jennifer Blum, owners; Brandon Blum, handler.
RunnerUp--P W K LONEWOLF'S B J, 1669081, female, by Slicksk Cuttin Wild--P W Fast Forward. Dean Crabbs, Dean Crabbs, Diane Goracke & Ray Larrondo, owners; Rich Robertson, handler.


Rhonda Haukoos, a longtime professional, and Troy Saner, our gracious host, donated their time judging our Amateur Shooting Dog Championship. The judges had some strong performances from which to choose. They named Cuttin Wild's Rebel Yell (Mike Patrick) the champion and Twin Creeks Running Rocky (Kirk Loftin), runner-up champion.

The winners both ran in first brace. Rebel Yell kicked off the brace with a find on a rare covey of quail at 5. Around the same time, the gallery observed Rocky making a big move towards the east at 12 o'clock. The dogs continued on, both making big moves across the rolling sandhills. Rebel Yell showed had an easier handle, while Rocky was in and out of sight. As the course turned into a pasture to the west, both dogs climbed a sandhill and stopped abruptly, with prairie chickens taking flight soon thereafter. Both handlers fired and sent their dogs on for a strong finish by both.

Judges: Rhonda Haukoos and Troy Sauer
[One-Hour Heats] -- 14 German Shorthairs
Winner--CUTTIN WILD'S REBEL YELL, 1673649, male, by Slicks Cuttin Wild--C L K's Point Me The Way. Mike Patrick, owner and handler.
Runner-Up--TWIN CREEKS RUNNING ROCKY, 1685652, male, by Twin Creeks Running Ruger--P J Wildfire's Little Lexi. Kirk Loftin, owner and handler.


David Quijano and Jeff Wallace graciously judged the Open Derby Classic, run late in the afternoon on two courses meandering through rolling sandhills and along treelines at the finish. They had some exciting Derbies from which to choose. More ran off than did not run enough. The judges placed all dogs on application.

Stoney Hill's Lucky Charm (Loftin) placed first. Charm started forward and was absent for much of the brace, but showed to the front at time. Keg Creek Enforcer (Bryant) placed second. Enforcer ran a shooting dog race with good handle, finishing his lines. Ream's Spinner (Blum) placed third. Braced with the second-place dog, Spinner ran a similar shooting dog race to his bracemate's with an easy handle, leaving the judges with a difficult decision on their final two placements.

The field trial committee thanks all who attended, helped, judged, or sponsored. We hope to see everyone back in the Nebraska sandhills in 2022.

Judges: David Quijano and Jeff Wallace
1st--STONEY HILL'S LUCKY CHARM, 16977330, female, by Hi N's Zip It--Stoney Hill's Pinnacle Dee. Kirk Loftin, owner and handler.
2d--KEG CREEK ENFORCER, 1698331, male, by Roba Ranch Shake's Bank on Rising Sun--Covey Up's Princess Sophia. Keith Bryant, owner and handler.
3d--REAM'S SPINNER, 1696637, male, by B M B's Free Ride---Covey Up's Controlled Burn. Derrick Ream, owner; Brandon Blum, handler.