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Result: Minnesota Grouse Dog Championship

Location: Mora, Minnesota

Post Date: Dec 19, 2019

Submitted By: David Moore, Pres. Minn. Grouse Dog Assn


Championship Winner. Front, from left: Mary Moss, Diane Wheelock, Johnathon Fricke, judge; John McKellop with Grouse Trails Pride, David Moore, judge; Ben McKean and Katherine Peterson. Behind: Ken Moss, Bob Wheelock, Chuck Wingard, Greg Gress, Steve Snyder, Ryan Hough and Duane Peterson.
MORA, MINN. -- People make things happen and remembering the people is important. People who are not with us and people who are no longer active with the club. Reuel Henry Pietz, Ron Watson, Jeff Hintz, Rolly Benjamin, Chuck Wingard, Ford Watson Bell, Chuck Ahmann, Bob Glazer, Jim Tande, Jerry Kolter, Steve Studer.

The year 1989 must have been an exciting fall for the founding members of the MGDA. The inaugural running of the Minnesota Grouse Dog Championship took place and the club's first champion was crowned, Northern Dancer, handled by Jim Tande.

The grounds of the Rum River State Forest and the Mille Lacs Wildlife Area provided again a spectacular proving place for grouse dogs. Forty-seven grouse and 23 woodcock we observed in flight from six courses.

Our current membership appreciates the founders and continues to provide hours of work to groom the proving tracks through the woods. Bert Ben-shoof, Ben McKean, Scott Anderson, Ryan Hough, David and Rochel Moore, Paul and Katie Cook, Steve and Wendy Snyder spent many days in preparation for the 30th running of this Championship. Chris Bye keeps our club's work in order with land permits, ads and takes the entries. He does the things that do not get noticed like ordering the porta potty, printing of running orders, texting permits to club members, giving directions to out-of-town guests, posting course orders and start times. The list could go on.

Chuck Wingard and Greg Gress made it down to help with trucks. Ben McKean, Ryan Hough, Greg Gress and Steve Snyder gave much time marshalling.

Johnathon Fricke of Michigan was our out of town judge this year; his eye for a field trial dog is keen. Thank you Johnathon. Your time away from your family to help us out was appreciated.

David Moore, Minnesota Club president, sorted the field with Johnathon.

Grouse Trails Pride, eight-year-old white and black pointer female, was named 2019 champion. Owned and handled by John McKellop of Guys Mills, Pa. Pride ran in the first brace on day No. 2 and carded two grouse finds. See brace No. 7 for full details.

Hershner's Grouse Gunner, eight- year-old white and orange setter male, was named runner-up for owner Scott Hershner of Bellville, Ohio and handler Scott Chaffee. Gunner made his mark with a strong field trial effort and very stirring double relocation on a grouse in high winds. The effort was made on day No. 2 on course No. 5. See brace No. 11 for full details.


Fireside Aidan (Tammy Chaffee) had a stop to flush at 20, a find at 34 with a self-relocation and was leashed. Go Peter B (Rod Lein) was on course with a driving race and good flow and at 35 his bell fell out of range. At 50 the retrieval unit was called for.

Grouse Trails Miss America (John McKellop) was forward and fluid for the hour, missing her mark on a grouse at 56. Snyder's Pioneer Scout (T. Chaffee) hunted the hour with a stop to flush on a woodcock at 6. At the road crossing Scout pointed near the ditch and a grouse was flown with all in order.

Ponderosa Mac (S. Chaffee) hunted a flashy hour with an unproductive in likely cover at 40. Hank (Lance Bressler) hit the cover likewise with a barren stand at 18. A grouse was seen after the dog was taken on.

Warpaint (Paul Cook) was surprised by two grouse just off the breakaway that proved to be a nuisance for her bid, a bummer. Quail Trap Will (S. Chaffee) was driving forward and found a woodcock at 28 deep in. At 45 he stood to no avail. At 49 he pointed with a grouse flown. At 50 he was loosed for further consideration and immediately was seen under a grouse to end his bid.

Over The Hill Patty (Rod Lein) went to work in high fashion cutting the cover like a knife, a real fun sight to see. She struck quickly with a woodcock at 6 and 14. Moss Meadow Seeker (Ken Moss) found Patty standing at 14, with no respect, and ended his bid. Patty went back to work through the mud and cover. She struck again at 40, another woodcock. At 44 a grouse was flown near her wake. At 50 she found herself behind a flighted grouse ending her bid. A class dog.

Diva Dot (Lein) and Grouse Trails Pride (McKellop). From the breakaway they were fast and fancy cutting left to right and right to left forward. Neither dog had really broken away for a cast; they seemed to be showing their acrobatic moves off. Unfortunately for Dot, while passing her handler left to right into a thick heavy stand, was caught off guard by two explosive grouse, giving her more than enough temptation. Pride was fortunate to be forward of the incident. McKellop continued with Pride, singing and allowing her to move far-reaching, flowing and forward. After the first turn she took to the front along a swamp edge; her bell fell silent. She was found standing at 25 and the flushing began. John quickly relocated his charge with no doubt. The pointer moved 25 yards on the edge and then struck a head cocked pose. A grouse was flown just in front of her. Navigated again by John's song, she took to the front flowing through the likely cover. At 46 her bell fell silent to the front. Handler, followed by judges, moved up into likely cover to find Pride posed. A grouse once again flew in front of Pride. Pride finished the hour far reaching and forward.

Grouse Trails Firestorm (McKellop) and Over The Hill Merry (Lein). The pair of pointers was loosed on championship course No. 2. A real wet start with deep mud. After the mud there is a new cut where Merry cast left and her bell went silent. Handler, myself and scout went in to find the bitch standing. As the scout and handler were approaching her stand seven grouse were flown with a report of gun powder and all in order. Two minutes later both dogs were standing on point about 15 yards apart facing opposite directions. Both handlers flushed with no avail. The next twelve minutes showed an excitement with both dogs flying through the cover. A turn approached to left with both dogs on course, though both dogs decided to go right. Handlers tried to control their charges and eventually both called for the retrieval units.

Joe (Bressler) and All Out (S. Chaffee). All Out had an unproductive at 8. Both dogs hunted the hour.

Snyder's Full Rage (S. Chaffee) and Rufus Del Fuego (Neil Anderson). High winds were prevailing at this point of the contest. The two dogs, both very strong on the ground, kept the eyes of the judges and the handlers on their toes. It was fun to see. Rufus' bell fell out of range at 45 and Anderson called for the retrieval unit after some frustration. Chaffee held on to the flying Rage. At 46 Rage's bell was no longer heard. Chaffee and judge entered a known grouse spot to look for the dog. With excitement the dog was found pointed. Chaffee flushed hard with no bird flown. Rage was taken on and she finished the hour strong and forward.

Hershner's Grouse Gunner (S. Chaffee) hit the ground in field trial fashion of a veteran grouse dog. Bracemate Jet (Johnson) was not intimidated, cutting bold moves for his handler. Both dogs were found pointed at 18. It was unclear if either was pointed or backing, though both dogs had ample view of each other so it could not have been a divided find. Handlers flushed and no bird was flown. The race continued and so did the high winds. At 41 Gunner's bell was not obvious and a scout was dispatched. Chaffee eventually decided to look in likely cover for the dog. At 48 three blows of the whistle indicated the scout had seen the dog moving to the front. Chaffee and judge were making the front and point was called. Jet was found backing Gunner. Chaffee made an attempt to flush with no luck. Jet was taken on. Chaffee let his charge look for the indicated bird. The judge watched closely. Gunner was making game and roaded into a point. Chaffee flushed with no luck and quickly sent Gunner in for another shot of Scott's intuition. The dog took a straight line like a frozen rope and in the blink of eye struck a very intense pose. Chaffee hustled in to flush a grouse. A stirring piece of working on a running bird in the wind. With time remaining Chaffee had to loose his charge in the high winds again. Gunner found the front quickly .

Angel's Envy (Bob Wheelock) and Grouse Trails Cracker Jack (McKellop) were away on championship course No. 6, a big loop to left and then straight. They took the front, hunting hard with nice casts. At 8 Jack's bell fell silent. Scout and handler looked for a lengthy time and at 26 they called for the retrieval unit. Envy went on with a big flow and an effortless gait. Her bell stopped at 10, 17 and 20, all in order, each time a woodcock. She ran the hour in stride effortlessly in search of grouse.

Meredith Grade Annie (T. Chaffee) started the hour with a fast pace with style pushing forward. Grouse Trails Mighty Mouse (McKellop) began with a slighter pace, though fancy moving. Annie had a grouse find at 22, all in order. Annie carded another grouse in pines a few minutes later. Mighty Mouse did not back and was leashed. Annie was taken on with no flushing attempt. With her bracemate gone her dance let up and she was leashed.

Grouse Trails Bravado (McKellop) and Henry of Ferguson (Bressler). Henry, defending his 2018 championship win here, put on ground effort that was very strong and far reaching, Lance, a veteran of the woods, does not move like a youthful ball player anymore. It works to his dogs' advantage as it shows the rapport he has with far- reaching dogs with minimal handling. Bravado had a similar race with like respect for handler's call. It was a very eye-catching hour, pointer and setter punching deep and forward always showing while in search of a grouse. At 59 Henry's bell fell silent deep to the front in a cut. Your scribe was separated as I was with the other dog and handler. A shot was heard. Judge reported a woodcock upon the exit to the road. It was a gallant effort from last year's champion.

Moss Meadow Rambler (Moss) hunted for 40 minutes, suffered two unproductives and was leashed. Blaze's race was a runaway fire, and Ryan Hough called for the retrieval unit at 18.

Moss Meadow Doc (Moss) and Out of the Shadow (Wheelock) hit the cover in hunting fashion, pushing into likely cover, Shadow a bit faster though Doc as thorough. Shadow's bell fell silent in a forward cut, then Doc's. Shadow was located first, then Doc in front twenty yards. Handlers flushed, but no bird flown. Both finished the hour hunting.

Northwoods Sir Gordon (Ben McKean) was loosed alone when Flycast Rollie Fingers was scratched. Under sunny skies and high winds, Gordy pushed the limits of his bell, a bit hair-raising for his handler, but fun to watch. The young dog's championship debut continued the same for some time with no luck on a bird. Ben elected to end his bid at 56.

The last brace, Nobody's Shadow (Wheeelock) and Outcast Cover Cruise (Hough), a good course for birds. Both handlers dropped the reins on their charges and went for broke. Both hit the front hard and reaching for the hour only to be groused.

Mora, Minn., October 7

Judges: Johnathon Fricke and David Moore


10 Pointers and 25 Setters

Winner--GROUSE TRAILS PRIDE, 1627036, pointer female, by Erin's Stoney River--Three Stripe's Jewel. John McKellop III, owner and handler.

Runner-Up--HERSHNER'S GROUSE GUNNER, 1643421, setter male, by Quail Trap Tom--Nutter's Sweet Briar. Scott Hershner, owner; Scott Chaffee, handler.

Judges: Ryan Hough and Tim Kaufman


1st--NORTHWOODS SETTER TECH RINGO, 1680582, male, by Erin's Hidden Shamrock--Northwoods Nickel. Jeff Forsberg, owner and handler.

2d--THE HIGHWAY, 1681449, male, by Erin's Prometheus--Northwoods Carly Simon. David Moore, owner and handler.

3d--SNYDER'S PIONEER PATTI, 1683332, female, by Ponderosa Mac--Call Me Maggie. Steve Snyder & Ben McKean, owners; Steve Snyder, handler.


Open Derby Winners. From left: Tim Kaufman, judge; Steve Snyder with Snyder's Pioneer Patti, Josh Butler, David Moore with The Highway, Ryan Hough, judge, and Jeff Forsberg with Northwoods Setter Tech Ringo.