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Event: U. S. Complete Mid-Atlantic Open Walking Shooting Dog Championship
Result: U. S. Complete Mid-Atlantic Shooting Dog Championship

Location: Harrisville, Pennsylvania

Post Date: Apr 22, 2021

Submitted By: Mike Husenits

The 2021 running of the U. S. Complete Mid-Atlantic Open Walking Shooting Dog Championship was conducted April 22-23 over grounds under lease by the Oak Ridge Pointing Dog Club near Harrisville in Western Pennsylvania. The Greensburg Pointer and Setter Club hosted the event, which drew a light but very competitive entry of 21 dogs from the strings of three professional trainers plus three amateur owner/handlers.

The Winners. From left: Mike Husenits, Dave Hughes, Mark Hughes with Double Deuce Zeke, Jim Winnen (judge); Chris Catanzarite with Backcountry Missy, John McKellop (judge); Norm Meeder, and Joe Camissa

This Mid-Atlantic trial was the kick-off event preceding the National Walking Shooting Dog Futurity, the Gene Uhlman Memorial Puppy Classic, plus a half-hour Open Shooting Dog Stake and culminating with the U S. Complete Open Invitational Championship, making for a full week of field trials at the same venue.

Typical spring weather prevailed with extremely cold mornings and stiff wind out of the northwest made for tricky scenting conditions, especially early on the first day after we were bombarded with a morning snow squall that limited visibility to thirty yards and delayed the start to 10 a.m. Later, the wind dissipated, the sun appeared and scenting conditions seemed to improve.

Chris Catanzarite organized the event and handled all of the pre-trial arrangements plus handled his own dogs and was present both days helping anyone and everyone with their needs. Chris feared he would not be present as a Purina amateur points trial at McMinnville was scheduled to run in Tennessee and Chris has a leading candidate for Dog of the Year named Springflow's Backcountry. However, the McMinnville trial was cancelled at the last minute and Chris was able to make it on Thursday about midday.

Fortunately, several others volunteered and were on hand to assist with the necessary details to make the event run smooth. Joe Camissa, Norm Meeder and your reporter all had advised Chris to "go to the trial in Tennessee." We would handle matters here. Joe brought his UTV and provided lunches, Norm seeded the grounds with birds and Mike handled the dog wagon UTV that was generously donated by Dave Hughes.

The Oak Ridge Club deserves appreciation from all field trial enthusiasts for maintaining the courses, mowing and planting adequate strips of native grasses and grain. Current President Bill Davis plays an important support role to all user clubs. Vice-President Denise Cooper is frequently on hand, as are committee members Terry Glover, Brandon Kreuer, Steve Dudas and Secretary Beth McNeish.

An office trailer and large shed provide shelter during inclement weather; a fire pit and barbeque grills are available and watering stations are prudently distributed around the courses as well as Johnny house recall pens.

Judges were two fine gentlemen from Pennsylvania, namely John McKellop and Jim Winnen, who also provided horses for he and John. Both men have been involved in the field trial sport for more years than I can remember. They have trained and campaigned their own dogs and judged numerous important trials. They gave their undivided attention to each and every competitor. Their decision was logical and received with a hearty round of applause.

The presence and participation of new young men and women is encouraging for the future of our sport. Karah Thatcher handled her dog and helped with social activities and Justin Mason handled his pointer and was accompanied by several young interested friends.

The club and all participants extend heartfelt thanks to our sponsors, the main one being Purina who through the efforts of Area Manager Greg Blair provide dog food, advertising materials and financial support. Pennsylvania sporting goods company, Lion Country Supply, represented by Eric Munden, generously provided tasteful gifts for the judges.


Double Deuce Zeke, liver marked four-year-old pointer male, owned by Douglas E McMillen, Jr., of Dubois, Pa., and handled by veteran professional Dave Hughes, earned the title with a forward well directed classy ground race coupled with six stylish and mannerly finds.

Double Deuce Zeke, Winner of the U.S. Complete Mid-Atlantic Shooting Dog Championship

Zeke is fresh off his titular win of the Grand National Grouse Championship and has accumulated several good wins to date. Doug McMillen has accomplished quite the impressive win record as an amateur owner/handler and teams with Dave Hughes, who provides the finishing touches and the remedies for any training problems that may arise along the way.

Zeke began his stint here at 12:35 p.m. on Thursday with much of the fallen snow from the morning squall melting fast as the sun had appeared. Zeke's initial cast carried him to the hilltop along the right side where scout found him standing at 10 with bracemate coming to the scene, backing initially but soon in pursuit of the bird and taken up. Zeke handled the situation well and went forward down the steep hill to the woodsedge, casting along the bottom and pointing at 18 where he recorded his first faultless find. His next find came at 23 near the duck blind crossing followed by a third at hilltop turnback locust grove at 32.

Zeke then hunted along the top woodsedge and was found pointed solidly at 40 with a wild woodcock located precisely near the old oil well rig. As it turned out, the woodcock was a hen with chicks and she carried one off with her clutched in her beak. Two other chicks remained and hopefully she came back for them later. This was a rare event indeed. Sent ahead, Zeke added another stylish find at 46 in the far corner, then continued to ramble ahead hunting the country, always mindful of handler's direction, ending his outstanding effort with a final stand at 59 in thicket beyond the observation platform and around the corner for a very noteworthy effort.

Backcountry Missy, coming five-year-old orange marked pointer female, owned and handled by Chris Catanzarite was named runner-up on the merits of a fancy, forward, well handled ground race, five mannerly finds, a back and a lone unproductive.

Chris has accumulated quite a winning record with his "Backcountry" dogs dating back to the 1970s and having consistent winners since the beginning. Chris enjoys training and handling his own dogs in competition and has supported the sport with entries, club secretary and trial chairman duties for over 25 years.

Missy made her appearance in the first braces on Friday morning, cast off at 8:13 a..m under sunny skies, temperature around 40 . She hunted earnestly to the front, maintaining a consistent sweeping back and forth ground effort with plenty of eye appeal in her way of going. Her initial stand at 7 was a pretty back of bracemate, then ahead to the bottom woodsline where she handled a quail find at 12 with most impressive pointing style, exact location and exemplary manners, as she did on all of her bird work. Missy stood again at 19 in open field near the duck blind crossing, this one unproductive. Her next find came at 26 in a thicket near the hilltop turnback where she scored twice more at 30 and 34 along the top edge, then forward past the oil well rig and on around the turn toward the observation platform where she scored her final find at 50 with the single bird flushed way off near the corner turn.

Missy finished her stint well ahead, her race overall consistent and directed to likely objectives. Her style and composure on point left a positive impression. The difference between the champion and runner-up was overall range.


Dave Hughes handled the English setter Jars Way Leroy to a contending performance with five well-handled finds and a back. Leroy hunted with a smooth forwardly directed pattern, ever mindful of his handler, and was under strong consideration for placement.

Pistol Grip, pointer male handled by Mark Hughes had six mannerly finds and an unproductive under snowy windy conditions in the first brace. Grouse Trails Tuscarora had five finds and an unproductive plus a back but got off track to long as did Sumac's Sashay after three stylish finds and a back. Setter male I'll Be Back, handled by Mark Hughes was getting the job done with five finds and an easy handling forward race until erring on a bird at 50.

Double Deuce Sage was under consideration with five well-handled finds and a medium range race. A Distant Spec with Mark Hughes was doing great the first half with three stylish finds and hard driving race but failed to make a course turn at 30.


In order of appearance they included LaSombra which departed the front early, later found on point. Wildland Warrior racked up four backs and two finds before erring on a bird. Whisky Bonfire broke after backing bracemate. Dawson Creek ran big, got out of pocket and later found pointing. Trexette pointed pretty as a picture at 12 but was not steady. Moonlight Lilly moved on a bird at 11.

Leslie's Jigster had three good finds but was up on his second unproductive at 40. Flying Tomato failed to back at 29. Waybetter Dude was interested in foot racing with bracemate. Bruiser rambled far and wide, gone for a spell, had three finds but up at 42. Butters hunted attractively but erred on game at 30. Braggabull made huge swings and was lost at 20.

Harrisville, Pa., April 22 -- One Course

Judges: John McKellop III and James Winnen


CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] -- 14 Pointers and 7 Setters

Winner--DOUBLE DEUZE ZEKE, 1673940, pointer male, by Double Deuce Peter--Funseeker's Holiday. Douglas McMillen, Jr., owner; Dave Hughes, handler.

Runner-Up--BACKCOUNTRY MISSY, 1672663, pointer female, by Erin's War Creek--Backcountry Tornado. Chris Catanzarite, owner and handler.

A fast-moving snowstorm held up start on Thursday morning until 10 a.m. Bird Planter Norm Meeder waits for the snow to stop.