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Result: Northeastern Open Shooting Dog Championship

Location: East Windsor, Connecticut

Post Date: Nov 25, 2019

Submitted By: Andrew Campbell


The Winners. From left: Dave O'Brien, Erin Stolgitis, John Malone and Kevin Joyce, the judges; Madison MacDonald with Osceola's Seminole Wind, Mike Tracy, Mary Tracy, Eric Russell with Bully Rock, Tom Tracy and Dick Bembenek.
EAST WINDSOR, CONN. -- The Northeastern Open Shooting Dog Championship ran October 14-16 at the Flaherty Field Trial Area in East Windsor, Conn., attracting a field of 39 dogs -- 34 pointers and five setters.

Conditions were ideal with average temperatures for the three days in the low 50s, and light breezy winds, although as is noted further conditions began to change during the final afternoon signalling some abrupt weather to come.

The Flaherty Area was in beautiful condition with its New England fall colors in full effect.

With a number of strong performances to choose from the experienced judges, John Malone of Bolton, Conn., and Kevin Joyce of Schenectady, N. Y., selected Osceola's Seminole Wind, an almost-solid white pointer female owned by Devin and Casey Foster Hollander of Seabrook, S. C., and Jim and Theresa Morrell, and handled by Mike Tracy, as champion, with Bully Rock, a substantial white and liver-masked pointer male owned by Bill and Muriel Primm of Cream Ridge, N. J., and Ernie and Karen Saniga of Nottingham, Pa., also handled by Mike Tracy, as runner-up.

Over the course of the event, the judges also held the following dogs' performances in particular high regard: Coosawhatchie Smooth Ride (M. Tracy), bracemates Miller's Big Iron (G. Tracy) and Waybetter Billy (Basilone), and Miller's Blazing Hot Chick (G. Tracy).

Particular thanks and recognition is deserved for Dave O'Brien, Tom Tracy, and Gene Casale for ensuring that the course remained seeded with birds throughout the event; and to Pam Casale and Dick Frawley for ensuring that hospitality was always available for judges, participants, and spectators.

And spectators there were: several were owners -- Muriel Primm, Bob Brooks, and Allen Linder (along with granddaughter Madison MacDonald) -- while others like Earl and Margaret Drew came to enjoy the competition.

The Championship followed the same course as it had in recent, previous years. A brief description follows to orient the reader to some of the nicknames, some common, some personal, used in this report. Leaving from the corral side, the dogs headed roughly east toward the Pines, although the first planted objective would be the prominent clump of trees on the left side hereafter referred to as Copse No. 1. The course then followed the hard road around parallel to the line of mixed hardwoods sometimes referred to as Suicide Alley on the left, the prominent pond at the midpoint. Swinging around to the northwest, the course passed the Islands and then through the cut into the gently sloping backside of Fox Hill. Over the Main Culvert, past the orchard, the course climbed up along Tobacco Row and then swept back down to the southeast, coming over a small drainage and gently climbing up through assorted clusters of trees toward the clubhouse, a prominent knoll in the middle -- and while popular folklore has no particular name for this area, it will be referred to as the Park in the report. The dogs would then be asked to swing across the apron below the clubhouse before being turned southeast up the power lines and out onto the right side of the Dearborn tract, making a turnaround at its head before coming back through the Pines, out into the open bowl behind Suicide Alley. From there, the course passed through the glades below the southwest slope of Fox Hill, through Truman's Crossing, and up onto Tobacco Row once more, the dogs generally finishing their hour on the apron below the clubhouse or out onto the power lines.

Kudos also to president of the Flaherty Field Trial Association, Dick Frawley, for his work with Eversource, the company that owns and maintains the power lines, and the State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection to ensure that the hard roads, assorted drainages and culvert crossings, as well as the extensive late-summer mowing, were all in excellent shape for the fall field trial season.


Osceola's Seminole Wind ran in the fourth brace with Harbor City Sure Shot (Basilone). Out the breakaway chute, Seminole Wind swung out to the clusters of trees through the power lines before following the shoulder of the slope up to Copse No. 1, while Sure Shot initially broke right before being turned back across the face of the slope toward the same objective. Tracy raised his hat at 3, Wind standing in the hollow toward the back corner, Sure Shot honoring from a significant distance, her style no less intense, with the birds successfully produced from the tangle of striplings. Through the dip, the dogs diverged once more, Seminole Wind taking the inside edge of Suicide Alley, with Sure Shot seen far ahead in the Islands -- each stopping at 7. Seminole Wind was found in the big cut just beyond the pond, her style and manners impeccable throughout the flush and shot. She was taken forward down the inside edge on the left as Basilone produced the birds in front of Sure Shot. Into the backside behind Fox Hill, the two dogs' patterns began to distinguish themselves: Seminole Wind would identify the big, outside edge and take it to its conclusion at the main culvert, Sure Shot more often quartering across the smaller objectives ahead of it.

The dogs came together at 15 in the swampy dip immediately before the main culvert crossing, Seminole Wind supremely tight, Sure Shot honoring again with all integrity and intensity, clearly stopping on the facing slope at the instant she saw her bracemate in the hollow below. If you had to illustrate the magic and majesty of bracework to a newcomer, this would have been as superb an illustration as any. Both dogs swept up over Tobacco Row, Seminole Wind taking the long sweeping descent on the outside edge before popping through at the drainage crossing. Climbing up over the rise in the middle of the Park, Sure Shot was standing almost directly ahead, while the call of point came very soon afterward at 21 for Seminole Wind from out to the side. If Sure Shot's find could be complimentarily characterized as routine, Seminole Wind's find demonstrated the dog's particular intelligence and sense of purpose. Coming into the Park, she must have swung around the rise to the left and then punched through the newly-reconstructed drainage crossing and out into the apron, coming to a stop almost immediately once through the gap. While birds were readily produced out of the woody drainage for Seminole Wind, Sure Shot required a relocation to pin the bird. Seminole Wind rimmed the outside edge of the apron and dropped through into the power line chute for the long southeastern cast to the far end of Dearborn, while Sure Shot quartered once more across the left slope before being turned up the woodside edge of the Dearborn arm.

Reaching the cut at the head of the arm at 32, there was no sign of Seminole Wind, but Basilone raised his hat for Sure Shot standing in the gap and looking into the woody edge on the left. Despite an extensive relocation effort, the stand proved fruitless. In the meantime, Seminole Wind had swung wide through the turn back northwest, emerging from the woods on the right to rejoin her handler shortly before the Pines. Both dogs reunited at Copse No. 1 at 40 for a divided find, before punching out into the bowl on the way toward Fox Hill. Seminole Wind once more disappeared from view out front, while Sure Shot worked with purpose ahead through Truman's Crossing. Reaching the top of Tobacco Row, the two dogs were found at 49, invisible to each other on either side of the final, large doire of oaks, the birds kicked out of the leaf duff and low branches. Sent on, while Sure Shot finished out in the power lines going away, her pattern had lacked the same degree of forward punch that would ultimately make Seminole Wind stand out amongst her competitors, her hour finished with her disappearing out of sight over the slight rise parallel to the Pines, clearly intent on reaching the far end of Dearborn once more and with plenty of gas in the tank to do so -- her bird work, to quote one of the judges, "immaculate."

Bully Rock appeared in the seventh brace with Iron Will Suzie (Basilone). Sent off down the breakaway chute, Rock immediately punched out for the prominent copse to the left of the road, Suzie taking a little time to focus on the objective ahead. They were found at 3 at Copse No. 1, Rock on its front edge, Suzie off the far right side, both handlers electing to flush and fire at the flight of a bird. Taken on, Rock elected to take the inside edge of Suicide Alley, coming to a stop on the front corner of the big cut at 7, birds seen in the deep shadows ahead of it. Sent on around the inside of the turn and out into the open slope behind Fox Hill, both dogs came back together on the lower, outside edge, disappearing over the curvature of the hollow down beside the main culvert. At 12 Rock was found standing looking into the nasty snarl of briars to the right with Suzie honoring respectfully. An initial flushing effort drew blood, but yielded no birds and prompted a relocation that might best be described as masterful, the dog ultimately tracking the running birds some 25 yards up over a tangled rise before pinning them for the handler to flush. In the meantime, Suzie came to a stop at 19 on top of Tobacco Row, everything in order at the flush.

Both dogs swung down the hill smoothly and into the Park, Suzie coming to a stylish stop at 24 before the pair of cedars at its center, the birds running out ahead of her. For his part Rock had swung out wide around the Park and coming down the drainage toward the road came to a stop at 26, the birds readily produced from the ditch. Across the apron and out into the power line chute, Rock was sent down the outside edge of the central wooded spine toward the head of Dearborn, while Suzie was gathered up to go through the main entrance to the right. She began to cast out to the right but immediately stopped at 30, a pair of birds kicked out of the brambles at the base of the nearest tree.

Coming to the head of Dearborn, both dogs scoured the arm of trees at the cut, Suzie taking herself through while Rock stopped at 34 on the backside about a third of the way up, a bird successfully flown out into the field beyond. Reaching the Pines, Suzie shortened up after the long canter to regain the front, but climbed the shoulder toward Copse No. 1 where she came to a stop at 41.

In the meantime, with Rock largely unseen moving up the power lines chute, the call of point came for him, too, at 41 standing at the Dearborn cut where Suzie had made her find some eleven minutes before. While Suzie's find at the copse would be handled in relatively straightforward fashion, Rock required a lengthy, but masterful relocation to pin a running bird some 25 yards away near the old Ford engine block. (There followed some speculation as to whether this artifact is the source of the name "Dearborn" for this piece of the trial grounds.) Sent on, he stopped at 47 at Copse No. 1, birds easily produced ahead of him. Reaching the top of Tobacco Row at 50, the rear party saw Basilone preparing to cast off Suzie once more after a find in the final oak doire. She got a little hung up in the far northwestern corner of the property before swinging down the long downhill edge, Rock having made the long, sweeping descent with ease and grace.

Into the Park, Rock stopped once more at 55, birds produced from beneath the twin cedars. He stopped again at 57 at the head of the draw leading into the apron. While Suzie completed the hour in good shape, Rock had shown an additional level of drive and style, exemplified in the final swing around the apron, the dog glimpsed rimming the outer edge before disappearing down over the slope toward the footbridge. He was found on point at 59 looking into one of the small oak clusters, his style no less intense for the hour's effort, time expiring soon after the shot.

The Running

Miller's Calamity (G. Tracy) and Ladywood's Miss Daisy (J. Tracy) were down in the first brace on a cool, overcast morning. Daisy set out at a strong clip, angling out toward the Pines, while Calamity climbed the low rise to the left and began to make game almost immediately. Dropping out of view, she was found on the backside of Copse No. 1 at 3, a bird kicked out of the trees. She pointed again at 7 at the big cut beyond the pond, standing off the corner clearly savoring the scent ahead of her. She headed out into the open field below Fox Hill, disappearing ut on the right side. Daisy, in the meantime, had never come back in sight after her initial breakaway cast, the handler asking for her retrieval unit at 15. Coming out of the orchard, Calamity climbed up along the right edge of Tobacco Row before being sent down the descent. Through into the Park, Calamity was found standing at 21 at the pair of cedars at its center, a passel of birds kicked out from its base. She swung through the arc of the apron, reunited with her handler at the power lines, then headed up into the easterly breeze to tackle the various small islands of trees to their left, eventually stopping at Copse No. 1 at 29, the birds readily produced, the dog shifting its feet slightly at flush. Out onto Dearborn, she took the inside edge the whole way, arcing out into the pocket at its head before doubling back and coming to a stop at 36 midway up the arm of trees. Coming out of the Pines, Calamity got hung up and came in from the side before streaking out ahead and out onto the shoulder of Fox Hill. Through Truman's Crossing, she was absent for a spell, the hope being that she had climbed Tobacco Row and stopping there. With time expiring at the top of the Row, Tracy ultimately produced his dog for the judges from behind Fox Hill.

Coosawhatchie Smooth Ride (M. Tracy) and Land Cruiser Benny (J. Tracy) channeled straight out the front, Smooth Ride arcing around Copse No. 1 to the left, stopping on the backside of the trees, Benny setting up on the front side at 3. Both handlers stepped in front to flush, Benny temporarily losing his composure at the shot -- leaving Smooth Ride with the rest of the course to himself. He was found next at 8 deep in the frontmost of the Islands; birds scooted out ahead of him, his manners perfect. Sent on around the long outside edge behind Fox Hill, he disappeared from view, only to be found standing erect down in the hollow before the main culvert at 13, his style front and back showing an even higher degree of attenuation, a single bird flushed out from the base of an oak tree. He flew up over Tobacco Row with ease, matched by his fluid descent down off the promontory and up into the Park where he stopped at its heart at 22, his tail with a little more curl this time at least until the flush. He lived up to his name throughout his hour, but his ease of motion around the apron was evident until he dropped out of sight over the slide slope only to have point called by the scout at 26 in the cluster of oaks above the path down to the footbridge. Up the power line chute, Smooth Ride pushed out to the left, climbing the low ridge to be found at 30 at Copse No. 1, birds again readily produced ahead of him. He was sent on the outside left edge of the Dearborn wooded median, only to spin around some 150 yards down the line and stand at 34, looking into a tangle of brambles and languid grass. Happily the bird was easily produced from the undergrowth and he was sent on again on his southeasterly trajectory. He was found again at the head of the Dearborn cut at 39, buried in the trees some 50 yards from the actual path looking out to the edge of the treeline -- a bird finally produced out of the dead leaf duff and bracken. Sent down the now outside edge of the spine, he crossed over to reunite with his handler for the final chute into the Pines before climbing up on the top edge and over to Copse No. 1 -- where he stopped at 47, a group of running birds chased out ahead of him. As the gallery popped out of Truman's Crossing, Smooth Ride was coming up the Tobacco Row treeline to meet his handler at its crest in perfect synchrony, gliding down the long downhill. Coming through the Park and across blow the clubhouse, he dropped out of sight to be found standing after time at the last pair of oaks, his style lofty on both ends for this final find.

High Drive Whirlwind (G. Tracy) and Steel City Karen (J. Tracy) took a little direction to get fired out front. Whirlwind eventually climbed the front slope up to Copse No. 1, stopping at 3 at its heart, the birds readily chased out ahead of him. In the meantime, Karen took the outside edge of Suicide Alley all the way around past the Islands, Whirlwind the long straightway on the right of the course -- the two coming together at the cut-through behind Fox Hill. Through the culvert crossing without incident, Whirlwind appeared to get hung up on the right side of the Tobacco Row climb while Karen swung over the hill and then gracefully sweeping downhill. (As the front party went on, word eventually came that Whirlwind had been picked up at 28 at the top of Tobacco Row.) Through the Park, Karen then cast out and around the island of trees in the far center of the apron and then dropped out of sight, reappearing across the drainage before coming forward parallel to the power line chute. Reaching the top of the Dearborn tract, Karen eventually stopped at 32, but sadly all flushing and relocation efforts proved fruitless and her handler elected to pick her up.

The fourth brace featuring Osceola's Seminole Wind and Harbor City Sure Shot was already covered.

No. 5 had Miller's Unbridled Forever (G. Tracy) with Chippewa Warrior (J. Tracy). Both dogs took a little guidance out the breakaway chute, then made independent approaches to Copse No. 1, found pointing at 3, each blind to the other, and both handlers flushing and firing. Unbridled was sent down the inside edge of Suicide Alley, stopping at the big cut past the pond at 7. Warrior had been sent up the right side over the road, coming also stopping of his own at 9 off the front point of the Islands by a significant distance, the birds readily put up ahead of him. Both dogs cruised through the back course behind Fox Hill and climbed Tobacco Row along the treeline, both coming to a stop at 15 at the final major doire of oaks, again blind to each other. Warrior stood off a good distance in the path, Unbridled tucked in on the left side, the birds readily flown ahead of each of them. Down off Tobacco Row, they swung into the Park, Warrior coming to a stop at 21 at the pair of oaks in the center, Unbridled having a lapse of judgment and failing to honor. Warrior's extended relocation effort also proved fruitless. Across the middle of the apron, he dropped down into the power line chute and then quartered across its length, working his way into the Dearborn tract on the inside of the long woodline edge. He stopped at its top at 34, initially a little less certain than usual, but birds were flushed out ahead of him. He worked his way methodically back toward the Pines, climbing the low ridge, pointing at 42 at Copse No. 1 once more, looking directly toward the breakaway chute. With the flush of birds, knowing this was not her dog's strongest day, Tracy elected to pick up.

The sixth brace, the final one of the first day -- Miller's Big Iron (G. Tracy) and Waybetter Billy (Basilone) -- were away smartly, immediately heading for the gradual ridge to the left before cutting upslope and upwind to Copse No. 1 at 3. The twosome could have been visible to each other, Iron at roughly 10 o'clock to the cluster of trees, Billy at 7 o'clock, but each was also certainly capable of having scented birds at the same time. In any event, both handlers stepped in to flush and both fired at the sight of birds. Sent up the left edge of Suicide Alley, Billy pointed some 50 yards before the big cut at 6 turning back into the scent, while Iron stopped in the big cut soon thereafter, both dogs standing perfectly through their respective flushes. Sent on across the road, both dogs reunited at the Islands at 9, Billy honoring Iron from a significant distance, while birds were flown out of the core of the first island. Billy was sent out on the long perimeter edge behind Fox Hill, stopping down in the hollow below the main culvert, a bird flown out of the bramble cluster at 15. Catching the front once more, Billy honored in high style for Iron which he came across already pointing at the crest of Tobacco Row at 17. They both swung down the hill and into the Park, both stopping after the low rise at 23, Iron pointing into the cluster of cedars to the right, Billy into the pair of oaks to the left, birds produced from each location. Both dogs eschewed the wide outside edge, but course smoothly through the heart of the apron, once more coming to a stop together at 27 at the final cluster of trees before the footbridge. Tracy decided Iron was backing, leaving Basilone to make an extended flushing effort that eventually produced a bird some 20 yards away. Down into the power line chute, both dogs cast out to the east and climbed the low ridge toward Copse No. 1 where they were found standing together at 34 in the channel through the heart of the copse, birds readily produced ahead of them, and both handlers flushing. Up the length of Dearborn, Basilone initially raised his hat at 41, but then relinquished his dog's stylish stance as an honor upon finding Iron standing in the center of the cut, birds produced from the treeline to the south. Down the inside edge, Billy made a small double-back, leaving Iron to push forward alone along the top ridge, to be founding standing alone at Copse No. 1 at 49. While bird work was being successfully completed for Iron, the call of point came for Billy at 51 out on Suicide Alley, the dog having apparently taken a turn to the northeast upon entering the Pines. Both dogs powered through the front side of Fox Hill, and with the gallery moving at a more elegant speed through Truman's Crossing, they were found together once more at 57 atop Tobacco Row, Iron claiming the find, Billy honoring his backlit silhouette, the birds easily produced from beneath the oak canopy. Both dogs finished the hour moving strong across the apron, arguably the closest to the winners, but both needing more independent work.

The seventh brace featured Bully Rock and Iron Will Suzie and was already covered.

Miller's Heat Seeker (G. Tracy) and Pine Straw Sweet Tea (J. Tracy) broke away smartly down the breakaway chute, both arriving at Copse No. 1 at virtually the same time, and both found standing at 2 off the front corner -- with both handlers firing ahead of their dogs. Down through the first gully and over the first rise, both dogs appeared to have taken the inside edge of Suicide Alley fairly evenly matched for speed, the slight advantage going to Sweet Tea. And what had started at Copse No. 1 continued for the next 25 minutes: they were found standing together at the forward edge of the Islands at 7, then at 12 in the hollow below the main culvert, Heat Seeker honored Sweet Tea from a good distance at 17 on top of Tobacco Row, and they were found standing together again at 21 in the Park. At 25 Heat Seeker once again honored Sweet Tea at the far end of the apron above the footbridge, although her extensive relocation effort subsequently proved barren. With an obvious gap between the two dogs, Heat Seeker cast out into the clusters of trees on the left of the power lines and climbed the rise, stopping at Copse No. 1 again at 31, the birds readily produced from under the low branches. Taken on up Dearborn to catch the front, he crashed into a bird at 35 at the cut and failed to stop in a sufficiently mannerly fashion. In the meantime, Sweet Tea had made it through the turn and down the inside edge of the treeline, ducking across to meet her handler for the entrance to the Pines. Going high through the trees, she was found on point at Copse No. 1 at 42, all in order for dog and handler despite a wandering covey of almost a dozen birds getting up out of the grass on the backside of the copse as the dog was being taken forward -- and she was cast loose once more for entry into the bowl before Fox Hill. Her pattern got a little choppy through the shooting field, but she then cruised down through Truman's Crossing and out onto the Tobacco Row slope, climbing the rise with relative ease. She came to a stop at 50 looking into the brambles at the base of the yellow-leafed maple, a pair of birds scurrying out ahead of her. She swung all the way out to the final corner before dropping down the center lane toward the entrance to the Park. Around the rise she came to a stylish stop, standing off the pair of cedars at 55, the low afternoon light shining through the feathers on her upright tail -- the birds easily produced ahead of her. She was sent across the center of the apron, disappearing, to be found pointing at 59 on the final copse above the footbridge, birds readily produced here, her hour expiring soon after the flush and shot.

Miller's Blazing Hot Chick (G. Tracy) and Good Reason Farkleberry (J. Tracy). Farkleberry arrived at Copse No. 1 first, but appeared to relocate himself at least once before the handlers got there at 3, and when they did, both dogs appeared to be indicating birds at the base of the single tree nearer the road rather than the copse itself. Nevertheless George opted to take an honor, leaving Jeanette to flush, the bird flying out toward the copse-proper, the dog taking himself on several steps at the shot, ending his bid. Taken down to the base of the slope, Chick was sent out to the east along the drainage before turning upslope and down the long right edge and up into the Islands. Scout called point at 10, Chick standing out on the right edge of the first major cluster, the birds easily produced ahead of her. She then powered through the backside of Fox Hill, flowing around the wooded outer edge before coming in toward the road along the drainage where she stopped below the main culvert at 15. Avoiding the well-worn path up over Tobacco Row, and instead favoring the cover strips on the downhill slope, she nevertheless connected with the final segments of the treeline before swinging smoothly down and around the long outside edge. Into the Park, she swung wide around the wall of the bowl before dropping into the apron where she got hung up temporarily before swinging forward around the outer edge and out into the power line chute. She moved smoothly and without incident up the inside edge of the Dearborn treeline, swinging out into the final pocket before reuniting with her handler at the cut, stopping at 36 some five yards from the gap itself. After the find she was sent down the inside edge of the treeline, and directed across ahead of her handler to enter the lower chute into the Pines and then up the rising shoulder through the evergreens. Chick pointed at Copse No. 1 at 43, the birds readily produced ahead of her. Out into the bowl and forward along the face of Fox Hill, she moved smoothly up the slope to Tobacco Row, pointing in the final oak cluster at 53. After getting hung up in the deep downhill corner off the Row, she then moved through the Park with ease, swinging around the outside edge of the apron with grace and purpose, stopping at 59 some 75 yards before the road crossing, looking into a thick mess of grass and brambles from which a single was miraculously flown, her final find arguably her most stylish of all -- a fitting final impression for an hour well spent.

Turned loose after lunch on the second day, the tenth brace featured Cheyenne Jack (M. Tracy) and Steel City Storm (J. Tracy). Both dogs cast out smartly, Storm already at the copse and out of sight by the time the handlers had cleared the breakaway chute. He was found standing with Jack honoring in high style at 3, a covey of birds scooted out from the trees. Jack then moved out along the inside edge of Suicide Alley, pointing at the big cut beyond the pond at 8, the birds seen in the shrubbery ahead of him before being taken on around the turn on the inside track, Storm swinging wide on the outside of the turn past the Islands. Both dogs coursed over the lower shoulder on the right of the road, Mike promptly cantering toward the culvert as his dog reached the hollow and, seeing something he did not care for, elected to pick up Jack at 15. Storm, in the meantime, had seemingly powered forward up over Tobacco Row, unseen for a spell, but he was found standing at 21 at the twinned cedars in the center of the Park, birds readily flown ahead of him. Around the apron he stopped again at the cluster of oaks above the footbridge at 25, birds easily produced from their base. Taken out to the power line chute, he powered out to the left side, working his way through the ripple of trees and up the rise. Unfortunately, Storm reached Copse No. 1 and was moving after a bird in flight at 29 to end his bid.

Hillhavyn's Wild Child (J. Tracy) arced out to the left after clearing the breakaway chute, coming around at her handler's call through that same ripple and up the gentle ridge. Sugarknoll Buzz Saw (G. Tracy) angled out to the right before crossing back over the road toward Copse No. 1. Handlers joined the two dogs, both stopping at 3 in the center of the trees, birds seen running through the leaf duff, and both handlers firing. They then climbed up the left side of the slope and along the inside edge of Suicide Alley, Wild Child initially setting up at 6, then relocating, and then unfortunately seen under a bird. In the meantime, Buzz Saw had gone forward and out into the back course behind Fox Hill. Consistently forward, he climbed Tobacco Row without incident, then descended and entered the Park without any bird contact. He swung around the apron, then stopped at the final copse of trees above the footbridge at 23, birds produced ahead of him. Taken down to the power line chute, he cast out to the ripple of trees to the left, doubled-back briefly, and then came across the slope to begin the long straightaway to Dearborn. He was found standing at the cut at 34; for whatever reason his style a little flatter than before, the birds readily produced, but after a brief consultation with the judges, Tracy elected to end the brace.

After a busy breakaway, Palara (M. Tracy) and Grand Woodlands Dallas (J. Tracy). reached Copse No. 1 together, but Dallas was seen leaving the area after a quail. Palara was found standing at 3. Taken on, she was sent out to the east to then turned north uphill along the long woodline edge, visible moving far down that edge with both strength and ease of motion as the judges crested the little berm before Suicide Alley. She moved up into Doc's Corner in the very northeast corner of the property then swung west, skirting the Islands all together, the first (and only) dog of the stake to make this decisive, independent move and then continue building on it by swinging along the long, wooded perimeter behind Fox Hill. Palara disappeared from view for a few minutes, but Tracy continued to trust his dog's instincts to stay to the front and calmly rode to the top of Tobacco Row where he found Palara at 14 in the doire of oaks at its crest, with just a tiny movement at the flush. Turned loose once more, she continued to move with tremendous alacrity down the long downhill, but then disappeared after crossing the little drainage into the Park. While Tracy continued to ride calmly, he and the judging party reached the head of the Dearborn tract at 31 and he conceded and asked for his retrieval unit.

No. 13, the first of the third and final day, saw Miller's Lock and Loaded (G. Tracy) and Deerfield Game (Basilone) turned loose after a roughly one-hour delay due to early morning fog. Loaded blasted directly out the chute and headed for Copse No. 1, while Game initially swung out to the right and then angled across to the cluster of trees. While Loaded was seen stopped on the front-left corner, by the time the judges reached the motte at 3 Game had come to a stop to honor on the front right corner. Taken on, both dogs swung up the inside of Suicide Alley, both coming to a stop at 7 at the Big Cut, each visible and proximate to the other, but the handlers able to produce two separate groups of birds ahead of their dogs. They nonetheless came together another four times in the next 19 minutes: divided finds at 15 on top of Tobacco Row, 21 in the Park, Loaded then honored Game in high style at 25 in the final cluster of oaks above the footbridge, and then they shared another find at 29 at Copse No. 1. Out on Dearborn, both dogs preceded up the long central spine and, upon reaching the cut at its head at 35, each handler raised their hat, Game tucked inside the very front corner of the outer arm, Loaded another five yards further southeast down, birds in front of each of them. Turned down inside edge of Dearborn, the call of point came for Game at 44, looking into the bramble thicket to the right of the entrance sign, a bird readily scooted out ahead of the dog. Taken to the front, the two dogs came together once more: at 50 Game honored Loaded at the doire of oaks on top of Tobacco Row, then shared a find once more down in the Park at 55. Around the apron Loaded displayed the particular ease of his gait moving across the center of the apron, although Game extended herself to the very outside edge to swing forward. Both dogs disappeared from view to be found in two proximate but distinct locations looking into the oaks above the footbridge, birds produced from each, and time expiring shortly after each handler fired.

Miller's Hennessy (Basilone) took a little time to get into high gear, Bail Me Out (M. Tracy) initially swinging wide into the cluster of trees on the left, before both came together at Copse No. 1 at 3, Hennessy honoring with nice style, while the bird was kicked out of the undergrowth. Speeding up the inside edge of Suicide Alley, Bail came to a stop roughly 25 yards before the big cut at 6, very stylish on his birds throughout the flush and shot. Hennessy, in the meantime, had swung out on the right and up toward the Island, coming to a stop at the very front at 8, the birds easily produced. Through the back course behind Fox Hill, Bail quartered across the sideslope a couple of times before eventually identifying the long Tobacco Row treeline and climbing it at speed, only to discover Hennessy already there at 15 and immediately stopped to honor as soon as he clearly had line of sight. They descended the hill, Bail again looking a little less definitive in his pattern, but both entered the Park and disappeared. Bail was found standing near the twin cedars in the center at 18, with all in order, while Hennessy had swung out wide around the slope behind. They both moved around the apron without incident and then emerged into the power line chute, Hennessy climbing up the low-angle slope to Copse No. 1 where he pointed at 25, the birds directly in front of him. Taken up Dearborn, both dogs stopped at its head at 30, Hennessy right at its culmination in the gap, Bail roughly five yards further deeper in the trees, a bird flushed out of the gap between them. Coming through the Pines, the two dogs were found up at Copse No. 1 at 37, otherwise invisible to each other on different corners of the cluster, birds produced ahead of each of them. Out again once more onto the Tobacco Row slope, both dogs made the climb, Bail heading directly for the treeline and coming to a stop in the final oak doire at 45, the birds easily produced ahead of him. After descending the slope, he came to a stop once more at the cedars at 49, although despite an extended relocation effort, he was unable to locate a bird for the judge. In the meantime, Hennessy had connected on the other side of the apron at 52 in the oaks above the footbridge -- but the two dogs came back together in the power line chute and climbed out to Copse No. 1, Bail honoring Hennessy at 57, the birds lifting off from behind Hennessy's back leg. The two dogs finished up their hour disappearing over the low rise up the middle lane out toward Dearborn.

Miller's Just Plain Rowdy (G. Tracy) and Urban Fantasy (Basilone) broke away smartly down the chute and then came in toward Copse No. 1 from both sides, Fantasy from the left and Rowdy from the right, with Fantasy visibly stopping out on the ridge. Nevertheless upon reaching them at 2, Basilone elected to take an honor while Tracy easily produced birds ahead of Rowdy. Sent forward, both dogs made short work of the inside edge of Suicide Alley and crossed over the road to the Islands, and in a reversal of roles, Rowdy appeared to stop first, only for the gallery to discover he had stopped to honor Fantasy with all the style he had been bred for -- the birds easily produced from the heart of the front cluster. They both moved swiftly through the back course behind Fox Hill and up over Tobacco Row, Rowdy stopping to point in the oaks at the very top at 15 -- while Fantasy cruised over the promontory and then, after a little doubleback, completed the long downhill line. Into the Park, and both dogs were found standing at 19 -- Rowdy at the pair of oaks to the right, Fantasy the cedars to the left. Tracy flushed a single out immediately ahead of his dog with a small covey of 5-6 birds also rising out from the grass between the two dogs at his shot. Into the apron below the clubhouse, with Rowdy edging out Fantasy ever so slightly for ground speed but also running the longer outside track, both dogs nonetheless reached the final cluster of oaks above the footbridge at the same time. Upon reaching them at 23, both dogs appeared standing together, birds produced and both handlers firing. Into the power line chute and while both dogs broke left into the hagg of trees, Fantasy disappeared, until the call of point alerted the handler and judge that he was in fact standing just behind a screen of shrubbery on the edge of the drainage that demarcates the lower edge of the bowl to the northeast with a bird produced from the grass at 27, a unique find for the trial. Rowdy, in the meantime, had climbed the ridge to Copse No. 1 only to come to a stop once more at 28, with everything in order. Out on Dearborn, the two dogs were found together at the final cut at 34, although with independent finds -- Fantasy on the left side of the cut, Rowdy the right, each handler able to produce birds ahead of them. On the return leg, both dogs shortened up some through the Pines, Rowdy appearing to regain his punch past Copse No. 1 and out into the bowl -- while Fantasy tackled the low shoulder of Fox Hill and out to Truman's Crossing in more methodical fashion. As the gallery exited the crossing dip, Rowdy appeared to the southeast and climbed the regular treeline up Tobacco Row. Fantasy, in turn, came to a stop at 49 at the final oak cluster but, despite a thorough relocation effort, it proved fruitless. Through into the Park, Rowdy came to a stop in its center at 53, birds easily produced ahead of the stylish dog. Both dogs now together, they swung across the apron and were found standing together at the final copse of oaks on its far side at 55, both handlers flushing and firing. The final cast out into the power line chute characterized the preceding hour, Rowdy punching out with a little more power and consistency than his bracemate Fantasy, although still without the same degree of independence as the winners.

It didn't take a meteorologist to prescribe the unsettled weather moving in steadily over the course of the final morning. By the time the afternoon braces began, while the temperature had dropped only a couple of degrees, the wind had increased significantly out of the southeast, largely staying between 10-15 mph, but gusting above 20 mph at times; the rain held off until roughly 20 minutes after the Championship had ended, but would ultimately drop almost 2" before midnight. The birds didn't need a meteorologist either to know change was coming, some choosing to bunch up and hunker down, others becoming increasingly spooky with the gusting winds. In either event, the final braces of the afternoon struggled with the change in conditions.

The sixteenth brace featuring Waybetter Rocky (M. Tracy) and Steel City Alabama (Basilone) turned loose after lunch, Rocky breaking out to the left and through the archipelago of trees to the left before swinging up the ridge and dropping out of sight behind Copse No. 1, Alabama taking the more direct route to the obvious objective, but after an initial flirtation with scent took itself on. Tracy sent Rocky across the marshy bottom and up the edge of Suicide Alley where he disappeared from view. Alabama sailed up to the Islands where he came to a stop at 7 on the front edge of the first clump, all in order as the bird was scooted out of the undergrowth. He cruised around the outside woodsedge behind Fox Hill and crossed the main culvert, taking the obvious line up the Tobacco Row treeline. At its crest he reached the final cluster of oaks, initially pointed a running bird and then committed a breach of manners. At that point Tracy asked for his retrieval device, acknowledging that he had lost contact with his charge.

No. 17: Miller's Braveheart (G. Tracy) and Calico's Country Strong (M. Tracy). Turned loose, Braveheart immediately broke to the east, headed for the pines, Country Strong cutting across the damp bottom and up to Copse No. 1 where she stopped at 3, birds easily moved out of the tree base. Sent through the damp aisle to the left of the road, she climbed up the inside of Suicide Alley. In the meantime Braveheart had powered forward up the right side, standing well off the front of the Islands ahead at 6, the birds easily produced ahead of him. Taken on, Country Strong struggled to find and keep the outside edge but persisted on the lower slope, crossing over the culvert and then climbed out wide of the orchard on the right. She disappeared from view temporarily but was found standing on the front shoulder of the Tobacco Row treeline at 15, the bird easily produced ahead of her. Upon reaching the Park, however, George Tracy acknowledged he no longer had contact with his dog and asked for his retrieval device, at which point Mike Tracy also conceded that he was not beating what was already in the judges' books.

Cory's Easy Holy Water (M. Tracy) and Momma's Broken Heart (Basilone). Out the initial breakaway chute, Broken Heart swung right toward the pines but came across the front at his handler's call, ringing Copse No. 1 without any indication of bird contact. Holy Water also swung wide out to the right and disappeared. Broken Heart next climbed out of the dip and up along the inside of Suicide Alley before swinging northeast out to the Islands -- coming to a stop on the uphill side of the first cluster at 7, the birds readily produced. In the meantime, Tracy asked for his retrieval device in acknowledgement that the dog had likely continued undaunted on its quest to the southeast. Around the back of Fox Hill, Broken Heart began a flashy move on the outside edge of the woods, crossing the main culvert and tackling the Tobacco Row climb on the left grassy side. Upon reaching the crest of the climb at 16, however, Basilone elected to pick up, the dog not pleasing him.

Bittersweet War Cry (M. Tracy) and Grand River Dan (Basilone) was an abbreviated brace. After an initial point for Dan at 3 on the very front edge of Copse No. 1, with War Cry honoring, both dogs coursed up the inside of Suicide Alley and headed over toward the Islands in tandem. Upon reaching the objective, however, and while not precisely seen by the judges and reporter, both dogs' demeanor abruptly shifted -- prompting both handlers to canter forward and collect them up at 7.

Miller's Vanilla Snow (G. Tracy) ran by herself into the increasingly blustery wind. Reaching Copse No. 1, she initially stopped some 15 yards downwind of the trees but after an initial flushing effort, she was asked to relocate, stopping some 10 yards closer to the cluster, birds successfully located ahead of her. She then cruised up to the Islands and came to a stop on the uphill side of the first clump of trees at 9, birds easily scooted out ahead of her. Criss-crossing across the lower slope behind Fox Hill, Snow stopped in the hollow before the culvert at 14, a small covey scattered out ahead of her -- the birds, no doubt, already beginning to huddle up in anticipation of the weather. Up over Tobacco Row, she reached the large doire of oaks at the top at 19 -- and had obviously swung back around into the wind to point the cluster of birds ahead of her. She descended off the promontory and swung gracefully around its outer edge before punching into the Park and out of sight. She was found on point at 24 in front of the twin cedars, the birds scurrying out of the lead duff with her handler's encouragement; nevertheless, aware that today his dog was not showing the same degree of pace or intensity as the winners, Tracy opted to spare his dog further effort. The rain came hard and heavy soon after.

East Windsor, Conn., October 14 -- One Course

Judges: John Malone and Kevin Stuart


[One-Hour Heats] -- 33 Pointers and 6 Setters

Winner--OSCEOLA'S SEMINOLE WIND, 1682240, pointer female, by Just Irresistible--Osceola's Patty Cake. Devin & Casey Hollander & Jim & Theresa Morell, owners; Mike Tracy, handler.

Runner-Up--BULLY ROCK, 1674970, pointer male, by Bully Bragg--Bullerina. William & Muriel Primm & Karen & Ernie Saniga, owners; Mike Tracy, handler.