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Result: Big Sky Open Shooting Dog Championship

Location: Circle, Montana

Post Date: Apr 24, 2021

Submitted By: Austin Turley

The 2021 Big Sky Open Shooting Dog Championship started Saturday, April 24, at Circle, Mont. This followed on the heels of the Region 14 Amateur Shooting Dog Championship.

The cover was standing just as it had last fall, indicating little to now snow accumulation over the past winter. The grounds proved to be exceptionally dry for a spring trial.

That said, the bird numbers were the best we have ever witnessed for a spring trial and better than many of the previous fall trials. Pheasant numbers were at a level we have never approached at any Montana trial. Over the course of five days of running there were numerous braces when fifty wild pheasants were seen. Every course had multiple pheasant opportunities. Riding in after one of the day's braces I personally rode up in excess of ten pheasants in a little over a mile. Sharptail numbers were as good as we have ever seen them in a spring trial. Hun numbers were about average for this time of year.

The multitude of birds on the courses caused difficulty for numerous participants. Many dogs being subject to birds flushing from tree rows behind them and flying over them, having to deal with running pheasants on multiple occasions, and having numerous stops to flush opportunities.

Our thanks to the many landowners that allow us to run on these grounds. Some of the land will be coming out of CRP for production this year but we were also invited to come over and remove some fencing to open up some courses.

Judges for the trial were Tim Thornton of Oberlin, Kan., and David Huffine of Wilmington, N. C. David withdrew his dogs from the trial and stepped in to help us when our scheduled judge was unable to make it. Thank you to both of these men for their attention to all the participants.


The champion, Bangert's Red Baron, came from the second brace the second day. He is owned by Patricia Bangert, who was in attendance with her daughter and son-in-law to support Red. The Bangerts brought cheesecake for all participants and undoubtedly well received. Brian Gingrich ably handled Red to this well-deserved championship title.

The Winners. In foreground, from left: Dave Noel with Bangert's Red Baron, Chris Perkins with Touch's Katrina. Standing: David Huffine (judge), Brian Gingrich, Austin Turley, Lou Qualtiere, and Tim Thornton (judge)

Runner-Up champion, Touch's Katrina, was braced with the champion and handled by Austin Turley. Kate is familiar with the winners' circle of this Championship, having won it before (2018).

Both dogs broke away well with Kate running the bigger from the start. At 10 point was called for Kate before the airstrip. A sharptail put to flight quickly over the mannerly dog. At 15 both handlers were calling point going up the hill. The dogs were standing approximately 75 yards apart. Sharptail were put to flight for Red and a hen pheasant for Kate. Both dogs' manners were beyond reproach. Leading the dogs forward birds continued to leave the area.

At 18 point was again called for Kate. No bird could be produced but Kate was committed to locating one. She relocated several times with handler flushing over her several more times before carrying her out of the area against her wishes. A rooster pheasant was seen flushing out behind us as we left the area. Much time was used up in this and a hard ride to regain the front began. At 24 Red had a good find to himself at the front. This was also accompanied by a stop to flush by Red before Kate was able to regain the front. While attempting to regain the front Turley was having difficulty getting Kate through the minefield of birds. Kate recorded two stops to flush and an unproductive due to the multitude of birds leaving ahead of handler and gallery while catching up. Kate was finally able to reach the cut hayfield where she was able to catch up to her bracemate at 34.

At 39 Kate was again pointing, south of the orchard in Death Valley. While riding to her, she courageously moved up on her own and pinned the bird, handler flushing a pheasant over her. At 44 Red was pointing with Kate backing, nothing could be produced, and the dogs headed across the creek bottom to the north. A bird was seen in the air and Red was found standing for a stop to flush at 47. At 50 Red recorded another stop to flush with the bird flying down course over Kate which mannerly stopped to flight. Both dogs crossed the cut field heading to the CRP; at time Red was ahead moderately in the CRP and Kate was finishing with a big move to the chokecherry bush.

Both dogs exhibited exemplary manners and good shooting dog races.

Three dogs put in attempts challenging the winners. In the order they ran were Perkin's Elhew River Rail with Chris Perkins, Due Respect ran by Jim Tande, and Ramblin River's Natural Man with Brian Gingrich. Rail and Respect did not exhibit the ground races that the winners did though they had a multitude of bird work. Man ran a great race to start, had the necessary bird work, but in the concluding minutes his pattern and work came unraveled.

Circle, Mont., April 24

Judges: David Huffine and Tim Thornton


[One-Hour Heats] -- 14 Pointers, 1 Setter and 8 Vizslas

Winner--BANGERT'S RED BARON, 1659495, Vizsla male, by C K Touchdown Guy--Heidi Go Seek Jones. Patricia Bangert, owner; Brian Gingrich, handler.

Runner-Up--TOUCH'S KATRINA, 1654628, pointer female, by Touch's White Out--House's Proud Mary. Austin Turley, owner and handler.

Touch's Katrina, Runner-Up in the Big Sky Open Shooting Dog Championship


The (all-age) Derby dogs were placed on race and showed that they each had what it will take to be competitive. First was Chris Perkins with his Perkins Diamond Dust. Second was Tim Thornton and his T D Sugar Show. Third was Austin Turley with Touch's Amazing Greyce.

In the (shooting dog) Derby, all contestants were placed on a multitude of birdwork each. Austin Turley handled Carbonado's Silver Sage to first for Michelle Turley. Brian Gingrich handled Burr Oak's Tommy to second for Jim Gingrich. David Huffine handled his Sweetgrass Slim to third.

Judges: David Huffine and John Junnila

OPEN DERBY -- 8 Pointers

1st--PERKINS DIAMOND DUST, 1694884, male, by Touch's Diamante--Perkins Trace of Snow. Chris Perkins, owner and handler.

2d--T D SUGAR SHOW, 1691312, female, by Funseeker's Rebel--Deep Creek Myrna. Timothy Thornton, owner and handler.

3d--TOUCH'S AMAZING GREYCE, 1693629, pointer female, by Touch's Grey Street--Intentional. Austin Turley, owner and handler.

Judges: Jeanette Heise and Louis Qualtiere

OPEN DERBY -- 5 Pointers and 4 Setters

1st--CARBONADO'S SILVER SAGE, 1691433, pointer female, by Touch's Diamante--Boudica. Michelle & Austin Turley, owners; Austin Turley, handler.

2d--BURR OAK'S TOMMY, 1695151, Vizsla male, by C K Touchdown Guy--C K Touchdown Sassy. Jim Gingrich, owner; Brian Gingrich, handler.

3d--SWEET GRASS SLIM, 1685332, setter male, by Sterlingworth Jack--Sandland Miracle Maggie. David Huffine, owner and handler.

Open Derby Winners Open Derby Winners