Event: C V K's Spartan King Named Winner; Spanish Dancer is Runner-Up
Result: American Brittany Club Pheasant Championship
Location: Valentine, Nebraska
Post Date: Nov 2, 2021
Submitted By: Kent D. Patterson
The American Brittany Club's Pheasant Championship was the first "bird" classic created by the parent organization. From inception, it was a West Coast staple, running from 1960 to 1971, except in 1967 when held at Baldwinsville, N. Y.
In 1972, it was held at the Green River Area, near Ohio, Ill., and moved about from Pennsylvania, Oregon, Iowa, and South Dakota over the years following.
In 2016, it landed on a spectacular venue, the Harms Cattle Company south of Valentine, Neb. These grounds and hosts have made this Championship a "must go" event for the Brittany all-age enthusiast with courses that stretch over 26 miles across 10,000 acres of meadows and sandhills holding native populations of prairie chicken, sharptail grouse, and pheasants.
This event has a sister event -- the Region 19 Amateur All-Age Championship -- held prior that consistently brings the largest contingent of amateurs in the Brittany community to the sandhills.
Enough cannot be said of how welcoming the Harms family has been to the Brittany community. This is a working ranch and to host a weeklong event that essentially stops all ranch operations during this time of year is quite a sacrifice that doesn't go unnoticed by those of us fortunate enough to participate in these Championships.
Hosted by the St. Croix Valley Brittany Club, Steve Ralph and wife Lori work tirelessly to make sure all the particulars are covered. Other club members, Sue Januska and Bret Lindback were also on deck to lend additional support. Lori Ralph, Alicia Harms, Barb Harms, Carla Tracy, and Bill McLewis made sure no one left hungry. On Monday night, the annual steak cookout had everyone in attendance for the aged New York strips.
The Pheasant Championship is proud to be associated with Tehrani Motors, Purina, Garmin and Cosequin. These fine partners provide equipment or product in support of this sport in a broad and generous manner.
It was great seeing friends for the first time since spring. From Delaware, John and Joanne Perry; Illinois, Ray Trimble, at age 95, still riding and watching every brace; Tim Huglen of Minnesota, Gene and Sherry Stewart of Pennsylvania, whose dog Flatwood Tiger won the Pheasant Championship in 1991; Steve Chang and Maggie Kitley from Colorado, Joe Williams and Burton Wice of Missouri, Jack Alexander and Bill McLewis drove in from Ohio with Crystal Alexander flying in for the event (ask her about her stylish rental van); Jerry McGee and Tom Jagielski from Illinois, Dr. Robert Rankin from Oklahoma, Sue Januska from Wisconsin, Bret and Roxy Lindback from Texas, and Steve and Lori Ralph from Minnesota.
We were blessed to have two judges with a wealth of experience and knowledge look over the field of 32 starters. Bonnie Hidalgo comes from a family of field trailers with over fifty years of experience. She and husband Dennis currently campaign Red setters and pointers in a multitude of championships with regular success. They summer in the Nebraska Sandhills and have intimate knowledge of this ecosystem and the type of dog that it takes to win.
Jason Crook hails from the "Show-Me" state with a summer camp in North Central Nebraska. He primarily competes on the American Field shooting dog circuit, winning his share of titles.
With a course of this magnitude, having dogs available for successive braces is a challenge. It requires someone who knows the ground, courses, gates, and equipment to safely transport humans and canines. John Harms took time out of his busy schedule using his UTV to guide everyone through the scenic 26-mile course that challenged all competitors.
The champion was found in C V K's Spartan King. "Leo" is now a three-time winner of this event (2017, 2019, and 2021). The stylish seven-year-old, owned by Jack Alexander of Vienna, Ohio and Dr. Robert Rankin of Edmond, Okla., in the string of Tom Tracy, Jr., was coming off a prior season capturing the Purina Amateur All-Age Dog of the Year award.
Released in the bog pasture, he sailed to the Trout Hills gate and cruised the south margins of the course being seen occasionally, but always up front, as the trial party dropped down into the Lord meadow. He was flashy along the marsh lines and standing at 31 near the Bennett meadow with Tommy flushing birds west. He continued to carry his speed and power over the entire hour through the Alkali Feed Lot finishing strongly in the North Meadow.
Runner-up laurels were earned by Spanish Dancer, owned, trained and handled by Robbie Myers of Sargent, Neb. At three years of age, she displays great maturity and consistency in application for such a young dog. Trained primarily in the Sandhills, it was easy to observe her comfort with the terrain and game.
Released in the Bennett meadow, she went to work probing the likely places with a non-productive at 19 in the Alkali Feed Lot. As we dropped down into the Alkali meadow and north meadow, she made eye catching moves over the middle of her hour. At 55, she pinned a group of pheasants in the west pasture with all manners in order and finished nicely in the Trout Hills meadow.
Brace No. 1: Big Mac (Tom Tracy) and Urban American Legend (Steve Chang). The grass was clad in dew, 49 , and the gallery in jackets as the dogs sprinted away at 8:00 a.m. Both moved well and maintained the front for the first quarter of the hour as the course runs along the southern margins of Ballard marsh. Urbie had to be gathered up from the Ballard meadow at 30 as the party heads up into the south hills. Urbie was standing at 52 near the Harsh meadow gate where Steve flushed; Urbie relocated on his own to end his bid. Mac had a nice hour but no game to his credit.
Roustabout Freddie M (Tom Tracy), as a bye, broke away at 9:25 a.m. in the bog pasture after a morning break of hard-boiled eggs and sticky buns prepared by Alicia Harms. At 10 Freddie was styled up as we entered the Trout Hills, birds were produced with all in order. At 30 Freddie had an unproductive along the marsh of the Lord meadow. Upon release, he decided to check the same area again and was picked up for a delayed chase.
Georgia's White Lightning (Tracy) and Spanish Dancer (Robbie Myers) were away at 10:17 a.m. near the Bennett meadow. Sassy's hour was detailed above. At 50 George was pointing along the fenceline of the north meadow, then relocated. He moved while Tommy was flushing to end his day.
No. 4: It had warmed to 83 when Roustabout All In (Tracy) was released as a bye at 1:30 p.m. toward the Ballard meadow. He was at moderate range up to the duck camp where he had an unproductive at 19. The trial party went through the gate at the base of the south hills at 30 and tracked west up the valley toward the windmill. We reached the Harsh meadow gate at 40 where Tommy elected to pick up.
Maxwell's Prickly Pete (Tracy) and El Grande (R. Myers) showed all-age grit as they hammered away through the Trout Hills, Lord meadow and finished coming out the Alkali Feed Lot. It was a nice hour considering the building heat with neither having a find to their credit. Truman had an unproductive.
W W's Miss Wendy Peffercorn (Tracy) and Piney Run Jake (Kent Patterson) faced 95 as they were released in the Alkali Meadow, Wendy having a find on a young bird at 5 that could hardly fly along the margins of the marsh. Jake was into the north meadow where he made a big move east and showed out front as the course swings near the east lake where both dogs were watered. Wendy stayed in the north meadow as Jake was in the west pasture hills until both went under the fence and into the west pasture at 26. Jake was standing at 31 in the west pasture where Kent put five pheasants in the air, all manners in order. Wendy scored her second find at 38 along the Trout meadow fence with nice style. Jake took the line along the creek back toward the Bennett meadow then swung east toward the mare pasture where both handlers had to go get the dogs turned toward camp. Wendy was pointed at 52 with Jake backing along the Marsh hills with a relocation producing game. Jake ended the hour along the fence toward camp.
Day No. 2, brace No. 7. It was 60 . Prairie Wind Pistol Pete (Tracy) and Piney Run Hilltop Blew (Patterson). Blew disappeared down the course as Pete worked the lines leading east along the marsh. Blew showed along the fence at 10 as we neared the Duck Camp and was seen extending the cast east into the south hills meadow. Pete was watered at 22 going into the south hills meadow where Blew was seen far to the south along the fence line. Two deer got up from the marsh and headed south with both dogs in tow. Neither scout could help as there is a fence with no gate near where the deer took the dogs. Blew was the first to return and headed up the south hills valley showing on the west end near the windmill tank. Pete was recovered and taken into the south hills where he ran over some birds at 37 and didn't get stopped in time. Scout, Crystal Alexander, did a good job of getting Blew back to the course where point was called at 38. An extended flush and relocation did not produce game. Blew continued to maintain the front with power over the remainder of the hour.
J W B Arctic Cat (Tracy) and J J's Levi the Lionheart (Joe Williams). Kimber and Levi were released near the east Harsh meadow gate. Kimber exploded north through the bog pasture with a big swing west meeting Tommy as we enter the Trout Hills. Levi maintained the front as we moved through the Trout Hills as Kimber was not seen until we came out into the Lord meadow where she was seen going the wrong direction and wasn't recovered. Levi was at moderate range through the Lord meadow with Joe electing to pick up as we neared the Bennett meadow.
Ru Jem's Dirty Dingus McGee (Tracy) and W W's Gin and Tonic (Burton Wice) were cast away in the Bennett meadow with both dogs moving nicely over the early portions of the course. "Ginny" made a big swing south as we entered the chute leading to the Alkali Feed Lot. Dingus was moving along the creek and was under a bird at 10. "Ginny" was hunting at moderate range through the Alkali Feed Lot and meadow. In the north meadow, she showed more dimension and pointed at 40 along the west pasture fence. Birds lifted and she went with them to end the hour.
No. 10: had Cedar Valley Zeke (Tracy) and Godfather's FN Rock Star (Chang). Zeke and Rocky are young dogs that were eager to get started after a leisurely lunch break. They moved well over the first half of the course, occasionally showing their age and experience difference when compared to some of the seasoned dogs in this stake. Tommy elected to pick up Zeke at the Harsh meadow with Rocky getting into a bad patch of sand burs that ended his day at 53.
C V K's Spartan King (Tracy) and Marjo's Fille De La Bretagne (John Perry). "Leo's" hour was detailed above. Brie was smooth and eye-appealing over the first half of the hour as the trial party moved out of the Trout Hills into the Lord meadow. She maintained her effort over the second half of the hour but, unfortunately, didn't have any bird work to her credit.
Who Dat (Tracy) and JoWill's Daniel In The Lion's Den (J.Williams) were away near the Alkali Meadow under clear skies. Both moved well through the north meadow and west pasture. As the hour progressed, they settled into a hunting pace and were picked up at 55 near the Ballard marsh bale lot, neither with birds to their credit.
Day No. 3, brace No. 13. Overcast skies greeted those gathered at breakaway. Kashmir (Tracy) and Godfather's Red Feather Gunslinger (Chang) worked both sides of the Ballard marsh meadow to the 10-minute mark. Gunner pointed at 12 and went with the birds to get a ride on the dog wagon. Kashmir was watered at the south hills meadow and made the big swing east. He was smooth and forward through the south hills and credited with a find at 42 near the Harsh meadow. He finished ahead toward the bog pasture.
After a short coffee break, Georgia's Tiger (Tracy) and T J's Black Diamond (J. Perry) were away at 9:20 a.m. from the bog pasture. Tiger never really got going with Tommy electing to pick up at 25. Coal had a find at 10 in the Trout Hills, nicely executing a relocation to get the bird well located. He was standing again at 15 with a nice find on a cock bird with all manners in order. We dropped down into the Lord meadow with Coal having a find at 30 along the marsh in a picturesque setting. He was moving at moderate range through the Bennett meadow where he suffered an unproductive, made the showy cast around the south end of the meadow and finished up the creek toward the Alkali Feed Lot.
Jagoub's Spell Caster (Tracy) and Scooter (Chang). Tabu was coming off a great runner-up performance at the Chicken Championship the week prior but did not seem to be her usual self on this day, with Tommy electing to pick up at 15. Scooter had a stop to flush on a rooster as we entered the north meadow. Followed by a stylish turtle find at 30. He was moving nicely and found standing at 42 in the west meadow where a hen pheasant was put to air, with all manners in order. As we passed the bale lot, Scooter began to dig in and hunt then hit a rough patch of sand burrs that ended his day at 52.
A weather front was moving through the area with a forecast for thunderstorms and active lightning so running was suspended for the afternoon.
Day No. 4. There was nice northwest wind at our backs under cloudy skies as we released Blazin E Z Mac (Tracy) toward the Ballard marsh meadow. He maintained the front over the first half of his hour showing nicely along the edges as we moved into the south hills where birds were seen leaving out front on a couple of occasions but none pointed with credit on his scorecard. He did a nice job and will be under the new ownership of Ray and Mary Jo Trimble from this point forward.
C V K's Jungleland (Tracy), as a bye, was released at the gate into the Trout Hills and was in contact with Tommy over the early portions of the hour. He maintained the east margins of the course as we dropped down into the Lord meadow but was lateral and dealing with sand burrs along the hillside leading toward the burnt baler where Tommy elected to pick up.
Been There (Tracy), as a bye, was away at 9:40 a.m. in the Lord meadow and moved well as the party turned toward the Bennett meadow. As a young first year dog owned by Tom Milam and Dr. Robert Rankin, he showed his youth from time to time in maintaining the front, Tommy electing to pick up at 20 as we approached the Alkali Feed Lot gate.
Valentine, Neb., September 27
Judges: Bonnie Hidalgo and Justin Crook
AMERICAN BRITTANY PHEASANT CHAMPIONSHIP
[One-Hour Heats] -- 31 Brittanys
Winner--C V K'S SPARTAN KING, 1665065, Brittany male, by Maxwell's Outer Limits--Cedar Valley Lilly. Jack Alexander & Dr. Robert Rankin, owners; Tom Tracy, Jr., handler.
Runner-Up--SPANISH DANCER, 1687792, Brittany female, by Spanish Corral's Sonny Patch--Janee's Dirty Dancer. Robbie Myers, owner and handler.