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Result: National Open Pheasant Shooting Dog Championship

Location: Bloomingdale, Ohio

Post Date: Nov 15, 2019

Submitted By: Joe Lordi


The Winners. Front row, from left: Jack Miller, Bill Primm, Karen Saniga, Michael Martino with Waybetter Billy, Casey Hollander, Mike Tracy with Bail Me Out. Middle: Liz Larsen, Ernie Saniga, Joe Lordi, Matt Basilone, Martha Neely, Tiffany Smith, Eric Russell, Muriel Primm, Greg Strausbaugh, Sue MacPherson, Roger MacPherson. Back: Dave McKay, Charles, Diane Vater, George Tracy, Mark Hughes, Judge John Neely, Judge George Kimbrell, George Kimbrell, Chris Catanzarite, Julie Kimbrell, Bob Reed and Alex Smith.
BLOOMINGDALE, OHIO -- The 63rd running of the National Open Pheasant Shooting Dog Championship was held on the beautiful grounds of the Mingo Sportsman Club in Bloomingdale, Ohio.

The grounds were manicured to perfection. The rolling hills allow a dog to cover the country and show to the front hunting.

This year the cover was lower, and there were more cuts, which allowed everyone to see the dogs easier. However, there was still plenty of cover for the birds.

The weather was still hot after pushing the trial back a week in hopes of cooler conditions. We did have some cool weather in the mornings, but it was still tough on the dogs and that may have been due to the dry weather for most of the summer in the region.

When the dogs did point and the handlers flushed, the pheasant were great flyers, and the coveys of chukars provided quite the challenge for the dogs. This may have been the toughest year for the dogs in the nine years I have reported this trial.

The club would like to thank Purina for its sponsorship of the trial and the fine steak handlers' dinner prepared by Mingo Sportsman Club representative Bill Monk. The steaks were delicious, and ice cream and peach cobbler were enjoyed by all.

This is the third year running at Mingo, and we hope we will be here for many years to come. The club members helped greatly, supplying water, planting birds, and cooking lunches and dinners. We are grateful for all their help.

Bill Monk is a great liaison between the clubs, and his help is greatly appreciated by the New York State Bird Dog Club.

The club would like to thank field trial Chairman Chris Catanzarite for all his work. He works tirelessly to put on a fabulous trial. He worked with the bird planters, set the course, and guided the judges the first day. His efforts before, during and after the trial are too numerous to fully detail.

Bob and Karen Reed also need to be thanked for all their work supporting this trial.

The club would like to thank Ted Faust and Mary Tracy for making sure the dog truck was on the spot, and the dogs were ready to go for the next brace. There were plenty of snacks for all. Cookies were handmade by Sue MacPherson and individually bagged. Sticky buns made by Karen Reed were also enjoyed by all.

Sal Morelli of White Plains, N. Y., hosted a dinner at the clubhouse in honor of last year's winner Palara that was enjoyed by all. He was presented with a beautiful painting of Palara by Sue MacPherson.

The club thanks judges George Kimbrell of Fort Mill, S. C., and John Neely of Albany, Ga. They gave all the dogs plenty of opportunity to state their case.

We ran three braces in the morning and afternoon, except for Tuesday when thunder and lightning were in the area and Wednesday morning when we had some early pickups and they made up the brace from the day before. The judges had a hard job, but their decision was well received.

Lastly, the club would like to thank all the handlers and owners for the large number of entries we had this year. This year Chris Catanzarite, Diane Vater, Matt Basilone, Mike Martino, Mike Tracy, Jeanette Tracy, and George Tracy each handled numerous dogs.


Tuesday morning brought cooler temperatures to start but it began to warm up quickly.

Waybetter Billy, six-year-old white and black pointer male handled by Matthew Basilone, ran Tuesday morning with Miller's Blazing Hot Chick (G. Tracy). Waybetter Billy is owned by Tom Brigman of Rose Hill, N. C. Billy is no stranger to winning. He is fresh off winning the top Purina Amateur Shooting Dog Award for 2018-2019.

They were released from the main breakaway at 8:00 a. m. Point was called for Billy off to the far right on the woodsedge, but even after an extended relocation no bird was seen. Matt took to the front, and Billy pointed with good style in the flat beyond the locust grove where a rooster lifted. Again point was called on the far-left hill beyond the pond where Matt flushed a hen with Billy looking stout for the flush. On top of the ridge to the right point was called for Billy, and again Billy stood tall as Matt flushed a pheasant.

Billy was sent down the ridge at 34. On top of the hill going away, Billy pinned a rooster and was sent on at 44. At this point all was going as planned, and it was looking easy for both the handler and the dog. Of course, it is never as easy as we think. As we turned to head back toward camp, Billy took the center left and was not seen after we got halfway through that field. Time was called at the rock pile. Matt went to the front and his super scout Mike Martino went to the left. About six minutes after time, Mike crossed the gallery and went around the backside of the pond. He called point at 68 and flushed a chukar, then collared the dog. Mike had saved the day.

Runner-up Bail Me Out, five-year-old white and orange pointer male, is owned by Casey Hollander of Blakely, Ga., and skillfully handled by Mike Tracy. Bail Me Out was in the eleventh brace with Backcountry Bruiser (C. Catanzarite).

They were released going away on the outer loop. Mike Tracy and Bail Me Out, (Lefty) were in tune the entire hour, working in unison as a team. Mike would call on Lefty and he would respond. He continued to get stronger and stronger the longer he was down.

Lefty ran starting with the heat of the afternoon, and then it turned to hard pouring rain and finished with slightly cooler weather. Lefty took the lower side, running the edge of the sorghum and showing a nice cracking of his tail. He continued running a strong race. Mike called point going up the hill of the main breakaway. Lefty was locked tight as Mike pointed the birds just up the hill. The hard rain did not slow down as Lefty took the hill up the right side along the treeline. He was found standing on the left side high and tight as Mike flushed several chukars.

Lefty's best moves were yet to come. He took the left side of the locust grove. As we hit the flats Mike sent him out to the left, and he made a beautiful move up the hill and along the ridge. This was no doubt the best cast of the trial. He continued along the top of the ridge from left to right, showing fine class and style. He was seen going away and then showed out to the front. Bail Me Out continued hitting the cover and showing to the front. He finished the hour on the top of the hill going away not far from where he was released.

The Running

Sunday arrived with heat, making it tough on the dogs.

Miller's Vanilla Snow (G. Tracy) had two quick chukar finds on the top of the hill. Snow continued running a nice, forward race, taking an early unproductive just before going up the hill toward the rock pile. Conway Mike (D. Vater) was running a big race and had a stop to flush on the top of the ridge with Snow backing. At the bottom of the ridge both dogs had a find with all in order; they were sent on at 40. At the tree on the top of the hill Mike had a stylish find on a rooster with Snow honoring. As we headed back toward camp both dogs made nice casts. Scout called point for Snow standing in the far distance atop the hill for a pretty find after a relocation at time. Mike finished the hour up front.

Great River Mackenzie (J. Tracy) and Coosawhatchie Smooth Ride (M. Tracy) were released from the rock pile. Both dogs were making big moves. Smooth Ride stood high and tight, but Mike was not able to produce a bird in the valley before the rock pile. Smooth again looked large for a find on chukars just before the ridge. Going up the ridge, Smooth had a small bobble on chukars along the path to end his bid. Jeanette called for the retrieval unit at 45, and right after Mack was seen at the bottom of the ridge looking for his handler.

Calico's Country Strong (M. Tracy) and Bo's Lickity Split (D. Vater) broke away from the top of the ridge. At the bottom of the ridge Strong took a slight liberty on a running pheasant and was up. Bo had a stop to flush going up the hill. He had a stylish find at the tree on the top of the hill and an unproductive on the right end the of the hilltop where the handler elected to pick up.

There are some days that are just not good for bird dogs, and then there was Sunday afternoon. Not one dog had a find, and it was not for lack of trying.

Land Cruiser Benny (J. Tracy) and Miller's Heat Seeker (G. Tracy) were released at 2:00 p. m. and the heat was beyond brutal. Both dogs were hunting to the front, crossing back and forth, but as we turned left they were off to the races up and over the next hill. Both were gathered up by the rock pile, watered, and sent on. They continued to the front. Benny was charged with an unproductive and Jeanette elected to pick up. Heat Seeker continued with a strong race, but with no bird work at the far end of the course, George picked up.

North Country Girl (M. Tracy) and Good Reason Farkelberry (J. Tracy) began from the far end of the course, making strong casts to the front. Farkelberry had two early unproductives and was up at 20. Girl had a back and unproductive before Mike elected to pick up at 23.

Miller's Braveheart (G. Tracy) and Bittersweet War Cry (M. Tracy) broke away from the rock pile. Braveheart was off to the races, and George called for the retrieval unit at 20. War Cry had his battalion of supporters in the gallery with the Gillota family on hand to watch. War Cry handled and hunted the country where one would expect a dog to be. He is fast and shows fine style on the ground. You could not help but cheer for this dog to be rewarded for his effort, but it was just not meant to be. Mike elected to pick up as we reached the rock pile.

One would think the cloud cover and cooler temperatures would have made for a better day for the bird dogs, but Monday morning was more of the same.

Sandy Mountain Icy (M. Tracy) and Limbsmoke Skeet Rock (M. Basilone) were released just after 8:00 a. m. Icy scored first with a stylish find on chukars at the top of the hill off the breakaway. Icy then took two unproductives and was up in the flats past the locust grove. Skeet Rock made some far-reaching casts but had two unproductives and was up just past the pond in the flats.

Miller's Honor Code (G. Tracy) and Steel City Alabama (M. Basilone) were released from the top of the ridge. Both dogs traded forward casts. Honor Code had an unproductive and two finds, one was on a pheasant, before the handler elected to pick up at 50. Alabama had a slight bobble on chukars and was up.

Phillips Half Moon (M. Hughes) ran a medium race, but had two unproductives. Bully Rock (M. Tracy) had an unproductive and find before taking a slight liberty as a pheasant rose.

After lunch, Deerfield Game (M. Basilone) and Touch's Mae Mobley (G. Tracy) were off and up the hill. Mae Mobley scored first with a find on the top of the hill, Game backing. Both dogs flew up the hill. Matt called point, Game standing just over the hill for a chukar find. On the left in the locust grove, Game had an unproductive. While up and to the right, Mae had a find out of my sight. Both dogs continued ahead when there was a lapse of manners by both dogs at the bottom of the ridge.

Bail Me Out (M. Tracy) and Backcountry Bruiser (C. Catanzarite) were off in No. 11, going away on the top of the hill. This brace had a wide range of weather. It started with heat and turned to hard pouring rain and finished with cooler weather. Both dogs were running a forward race. Bail Me Out was covered under the winners. Bruiser was not seen after the rock pile and Chris called for the retrieval unit. Lightning and thunder were seen and heard not too far away, and the running was called for the day.

Tuesday morning brought cooler temperatures to start, but it did start to warm up quickly. Waybetter Billy (M. Basilone) and Miller's Blazing Hot Chick (G. Tracy) were away at 8:00 a. m. Waybetter Billy was covered under the winners. Hot Chick scored two stylish finds, one that was the talk of the gallery with at least twenty chukars taking flight. However, George called for the retrieval unit at the bottom of the ridge.

Steel City Karen (J. Tracy) and Miller's War Bonnet (M. Tracy) began from the rock pile heading toward camp. Karen had two finds on chukars before she was lost on point. War Bonnet had one find before Mike elected to pick up on top of the ridge.

Momma's Broken Heart (M. Basilone) and Hightailing Penny (M. Tracy) were swinging back and forth, but at the top of the hill when chukars out on the path taking in the sun got up everywhere, both dogs took slight liberties and were picked up.

The judges rightfully decided to run a fourth brace since we lost a brace on Monday, and we had an early pickup.

Sophie's Red Buddy (D. Vater) and Bad Prairie Moon Rising (M. Martino) were off on the top of the hill where Moon stood with good style as a pheasant lifted at the far end. Moon was not running big enough and the handler picked up. Shortly after, Buddy was also picked up without any bird work.

Kingsman (M. Tracy) and Grand Woodlands Dallas (J. Tracy) started the afternoon. Kingsman points with nice style. He stood like a bull for a find on chukars at the top of the hill. His next bird contact just before the rock pile was a communication issue between the handler and the dog, resulting in the dog being picked up. Dallas was hunting ahead making nice casts but got on the right side of the ridge and was not seen again.

Cory's Easy Holy Water (G. Tracy) and One Penny More (M. Martino) were released on the top of the hill going away. Penny had a stylish find at the end of the field just before we turn back toward camp. She did not execute the turn to the handler's liking and was picked up. Holy Water made some big casts showing to the front, but George called for the retrieval unit at 25.

Navajo Cody (M. Tracy) and Hillhavyn's Wild Child (J. Tracy) showed to the front, running with nice class, but Cody had a slight bobble and was up at the rock pile. Wild Child continued to stretch out and got better as the hour continued, but with only one find at 40 she was not beating what the judges were carrying.

Wednesday morning was downright chilly, but as the morning continued it warmed quickly. Palara (M. Tracy) and Backcountry Tornado (C. Catanzarite) were released a little past 8:00 a. m. Palara had a find on chukars along the autumn olives with Tornado backing. Palara then had a stop to flush with Tornado backing. Both dogs continued showing to the front. Tornado stood picturesque as Chris flushed a pheasant in the clump of trees across form the rock pile. Palara was not seen too much after we gained the front. Tornado had an unproductive in the flats beyond the locust grove. Tornado made a nice move on the right around the pond and continued up the ridge and down it on the left side. Unseen to the gallery, she made the swing to the right on the outer loop and showed at the end. Chris turned her and sent her back toward camp. She had a find on a rooster as we finished the outer looper. Tornado was not beating what the judges had and was picked up at 55.

Sassy Creek (J. Tracy) and Packin A Punch (M. Tracy) were off from the rock pile. It appeared early they were going to make a serious bid, with Punch scoring two pretty finds and Sassy Creek backing on the second. Both were then standing on separate clumps, and both were charged with unproductives. Creek was taken on while Punch was still working on his relocation. Sassy Creek had a find going up the hill. Things started to settle down and Mike called for the retrieval unit on the ridge. Sassy Creek was up just short of the hour.

Reedy Creek Dial Tone (M. Tracy) and Pine Straw Sweet Tea (J. Tracy) were the featured event for the twenty-first brace. They were off, starting on the outer loop and trading casts to the front. Over the hill on the way back from the outer, Dial Tone was locked in as two pheasant took flight for the flush. Sweet Tea took the inside, and Dial Tone took the outside. Sweet Tea locked in heading back toward camp with a pheasant find. She answered again on chukars along the breakaway autumn olives as she gained the front. Both dogs took the woodsedge going up the hill, and Jeanette called point with Dial Tone backing. Unfortunately, this was the same spot unproductives were taken in earlier braces. On the right at the end of the locust grove, Dial Tone was dialed in as Mike flushed a covey of chukars. Dial Tone took the right edge by the pond with Sweet Tea taking the hill on the left. Both dogs were watered before the ridge and sent on, showing to the front. Time was called in the outer loop.

Wednesday afternoon was warm, and it showed in the dogs. Sugarknoll Buzz Saw (G. Tracy) had an early breach of manners on a chukar covey. Quail Roost Accolade (M. Martino) is a classy moving dog that wants to please his handler. Unfortunately, with no bird work at 25 the handler elected to pick up.

Miller's Big Iron (G. Tracy) and Harbor City Sure Shot (M. Basilone) were unleased from the top of the ridge. Sure Shot showed class but was charged with an unproductive to the left going up the hill. Big Iron was running a little bit of his own race. Both dogs were up at the end of the outer loop.

Ladywood's Miss Daisy (J. Tracy) and Osceola's Seminole Wind (M. Tracy) broke away from the rock pile going toward camp. Mike called point for Seminole Wind but was not able to produce a bird on the right by the pond. Miss Daisy was locked tight along the main breakaway field as Jeanette flushed a covey of chukars. Wind had an absence, showing up in the locust grove. Miss Daisy took to the hill beyond the rock pile and swung wide to the front. Both dogs took to the left of the pond running up hill and across. Miss Daisy had a mannerly pheasant find on the hill. Wind answered with a find on the right side of the ridge, but was not beating what they had and was picked up. Miss Daisy had her third find on a pheasant on the left side of the ridge showing good style. She was sent down the ridge and just past the end Miss Daisy was found standing. Jeanette was off to the races to get pheasant in the air. Daisy continued hunting the fields and to the right on the outer loop was locked up as Jeanette flushed another pheasant. On the way back of the outer loop, Miss Daisy was pointing at the lone autumn olive bush. As the judge rode up, a pheasant lifted. Daisy worked the center of the outer loop trying to make game but moved on. Just over the hill at the end of the outer loop, Daisy was again standing. After a relocation, she was sent on. As the judges rode on a pheasant lifted. Daisy finished the hour strong.

Thursday morning was cool with nice cloud cover and even a few drops of rain.

Hoos English Ivy (M. Basilone) and Suemac's Tiger Rose (M. Tracy) broke away at 8:00 a. m. Ivy was off and away, running a big race at the far-left hill past the locust grove Matt elected to pick up. Rose was reaching out crossing to the front. She had a find on the far-right woodsline out of my sight, but two pheasants were seen in flight for the flush. Rose got better the longer she was down and surely seemed to be making a difference. Mike called point on the left edge at the end of the locust grove and flushed a pheasant. Rose made a beautiful swing on the hill to the left and crossed to the front. She seamlessly took the right hills crossing the beyond the pond. She then crossed to the front and back up hill when, unfortunately, a pheasant lifted. To be honest, I doubt she saw the pheasant. Mike picked up choosing not to take any chances with a young dog's development.

From the top of the ridge, Song Writer (M. Martino) and High Drive Whirlwind (G. Tracy) were sent on. Whirlwind was locked up near the bottom of the ridge as Tracy flushed a pheasant, and he was sent on. Song Writer was running a big race out of my sight until we hit the far end of the outer loop. Both dogs showed to the front, coming back from the outer loop. Both dogs needed to be turned as we headed to the breakaway field. Song Writer had a stylish find on chukars on the right of the main breakaway fields, with Whirlwind backing. Then Whirlwind followed with a tricky stop to flush. On the hill a pheasant was seen on the path near Whirlwind, and he was ordered up. I don't believe Song Writer made the turn up the hill to the rock pile, and Mike called for the retrieval unit.

The last brace of the morning featuring Miller's Hennessy (M. Basilone) and Winterset's Attitude (M. Tracy), away at the beginning of the locust grove. Both dogs made strong forward casts before being gathered up before the ridge and sent on. Hennessy was picked up on the ridge at 20 without bird work. Attitude continued on the outer loop but was also picked up without bird work at 30.

Steel City Storm (J. Tracy) and Miller's Miss Calamity Jane (G. Tracy) were sent out from the breakaway just after 2:00 p. m. in the afternoon heat. Jane had a find on top of the breakaway hill. Both dogs were swinging to the front. Storm had an unproductive going up the ridge. Both dogs were up at 30.

Wayward's Flying Tomato (M. Hughes) and Waybetter Rocky (M. Tracy) were released from the top of the ridge. Rocky was jacked up for a find at the bottom of the ridge and sent on. Tomato had a slight infraction and was up at the next hill. Rocky was high and tight on both ends as Mike flushed a rooster at the top of the hill on the left. He took the outer loop and just on the right was dialed in for his third find just before the end of the loop. Rocky was sent out and about halfway down on the way back took to the left up the hill and was rewarded with another pheasant find. He finished the outer loop over the hill, and Mike heeled him to the fields past the rock pile. Rocky took the right side and crossed out front to the left. He was gathered up and turned going up the main breakaway hill. He cruised up and over hitting the autumn olive bushes on the right before being sent up to the right side of the feed patch. Mike called point on the far left across from the rock pile, and with Rocky standing tall Mike flushed a pheasant. Mike reloaded and sent Rocky through the locust groove. He was watered at the pond on the flat and sent up the left hill. As we reached the second pond point was called for Rocky on the hill, and again all was in order and Rocky was sent on. Shortly after on the right he was locked up as Mike tried to flush but was not able to show the judges a bird. Mike elected to send Rocky on with 90 seconds left. Rocky finished the hour going down the ridge.

Miller's Lock and Loaded (G. Tracy) and Bo Bunda (M. Martino) were released down the ridge. Loaded scored one stylish find before a quick second contact that ended his bid. Bo is an easy moving dog that shows fine style on his birds. He had two finds and an unproductive before the handler elected to pick him up.

Friday morning was chilly, but it was still more of the same with bird work at a premium.

Great River Dan (M. Basilone) and Cheyenne Jack (M. Tracy) were off along the main breakaway. The gallery was riding up pheasants, but the dogs were having a tough time pointing. They both hunted to the front. Dan was pointing going up the edge with good style, but a pheasant lifted as Matt got to Dan and that proved too much temptation. Jack also had a mistake going down the ridge.

Chippewa Warrior (J. Tracy) and Miller's Unbridled Forever (G. Tracy) broke away down the ridge. Warrior made a nice move down the ridge onto the left of the hill and was rewarded with a pheasant, and he took his reward. Miller's Unbridled was lost on point in the outer loop.

Double M's Smokin Gun (D. Vader) and Gun Runner Carli (M. Tracy) left from the rock pile going toward camp. Both were making nice casts showing to the front. Smokin Gun was picked up at the end of the locust grove when a pheasant got up behind him. Carli was handling and trying to please, but with no birds as we got to the outer ridge the handler elected to pick up.

Urban Fantasy (M. Basilone) and Armstrong Mountain Dustie (M. Tracy) were off up the hill. Both dogs had infractions on either side of the autumn olive strips.

Miller's Just Plain Rowdy started back at the main breakaway with George Tracy salivating at having the course to himself. Just Plain Rowdy had other plans as he went up the hill; just on the other side, the birds got the best of a dog one more time.

Bloomingdale, Ohio, September 22

Judges: George Kimbrell and John Neely


CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] -- 69 Entries

Winner--WAYBETTER BILLY, 1652782, pointer male, by Brown's Tom Tom--Waybetter Reba. Thomas Brigman, owner; Matt Basilone, handler.

Runner-Up--BAIL ME OUT, 1659355, pointer male, by Great River Ice--Summerhill Black Label. Casey Hollander, owner; Mike Tracy, handler.