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Result: Region 4 Amateur Walking Shooting Dog Championship

Location: Mingo Junction, Ohio

Post Date: May 14, 2021

Submitted By: Allen Fazenbaker

Backcountry Bruiser lived up to his name, showing a powerful, bold and exciting forward race to win the Region 4 Amateur Walking Shooting Dog Championship at the Mingo Sportsman ground near Bloomingdale, Ohio. Scoring three nicely handled finds spaced evenly throughout the hour, Bruiser laid out to the front, but handled with finesse, keeping in touch with his handler Chris Catanzarite as he covered the wide Mingo grounds in the first brace of the Championship stake. He finished as powerfully as he started, with a driving pace to the front.

Championship Winners. In foreground, from left: Chris Catanzarite with Backcountry Bruiser, and Eric Munden with Suemac's Sashay.  Behind: Pete Leone, Judges Nick Mellon and Sean Melvin; Mark Hughes and Dave Hughes

Bruiser is a five-year-old pointer male by Erin's War Creek ex Backcountry Tornado, owned, bred, and handled by the veteran trialer Chris Catanzarite of Scenery Hill, Pa.

Runner-up champion was Suemac's Sashay, pointer female handled by Eric Munden of Philipsburg, Pa., and owned by the Roger McPherson family of Chesterfield, S. C. Sashay showed her stuff in the second brace of the stake, demonstrating her bird-finding ability with five finds handled to perfection. She showed a wide shooting dog race for her handler Eric, with a pleasing flow as she moved from objective to objective, always forward and always purposeful. Sashay is a seven-year-old by Chasehill Little Bud ex Richfield Stella.

The Region 4 Amateur Walking Shooting Dog Championship, as noted above, was held on the grounds of the Mingo Sportsman's Club. Located just south of the small town of Bloomingdale, Ohio, this region of Ohio is noted for its rolling to hilly terrain, a significant difference from the majority of the state that was leveled by glaciers of past times.

The Mingo grounds are the product of an old strip-mining operation. The grounds were acquired and the club established in 1950, and since that time there have been continuous improvements to enhance hunting, fishing, and field trial and dog training opportunities. The venue is located on Dawson Road, just south of the historic Long Cemetery and boasts an enclosed pavilion, extensive parking area with electrical hook-ups, and ample places to stake out horses and dogs.

The course used for the Championship was similar to the course used for horseback trials. Starting at the pavilion, the route courses south with a gradual incline, with long stretches of hedgerows. The course then swings to east, crossing over a dirt two-track, then continuing uphill to climb out of the valley, skirting around an extension of woodlands that jutes out on a point. Continuing east, the course climbs gradually, crossing a gravel road, then gradually veers southeast, still climbing, to a high point that opens to a wide field. Descending gradually, the course drops into a valley, turning north and running parallel with high tension electrical towers. Moving through the valley past a large pond on the right, the course eventually returns to the gravel road, crosses over, and moves west parallel to Dawson Road on very open terrain to return to the starting point.

The grounds overall are very open, and dog can be seen from some ways off; numerous objectives including hedgerows and feed strips are scattered on the grounds, providing an ideal venue to evaluate a field trial dog. Many have said that the grounds remind one of being in the Dakotas, and on this weekend, it seemed so.

Weather conditions during the trial were dry and fair, with cool temperatures in the morning, but warming considerably in the afternoon.

The trial chair wishes to thank everyone who helped make this Championship a success. Purina, always at the ready to support our sport, provided Purina ProPlan food for the winners.

On the Monday prior to the trial, the bird planter who was planning to help out had to cancel at the last minute, and a request was placed on social media for assistance. Hall-of-Famer Dave Hughes and his son Mark volunteered to help out, and they did just that. Bringing both a side-by-side and a four-wheeler, Dave and Mark assisted with bird planting, picking up handlers and dogs, and carrying this reporter on every brace.

For those who have not been to Mingo, rest assured that these duties are not optional; these are big grounds and a dedicated team of people must be engaged to make sure birds are out and dogs and handlers are moved in an expeditious fashion. A huge thank you to Dave and Mark for their help.

Also stepping up was Pete Leone, who served as road guard for the entire trial, keeping his vehicle on Dawson Road and moving with each brace to ensure an errant dog did not come up on the road and into potential trouble. Thank you, Pete, for an essential duty.

Also, a big thank you to Chris Catanzarite for providing horses to use as a back-up to those provided by this reporter for the judging.

Our judging slate consisted of Chris Catanzarite and Norm Meeder for the Open Derby, and Sean Melvin and Nick Mellon for the Championship. This was an excellent slate of experienced bird dog individuals, and their opinions and selections were much appreciated.

This year, in addition to the Championship, we added an Open Walking Derby, named in memory of Larry Sutter, a longtime walking field trailer who passed away in 2017 after a long battle with cancer. Larry was a nationally recognized trial attorney, and an avid field trial competitor and supporter of our sport. It is especially appropriate that the inaugural Larry Sutter Memorial Open Walking Derby be offered in conjunction with the Region 4 Championship, a stake in which Larry competed with his beloved English setters.

Larry Sutter Open Derby Winners


The Derby was run on Friday morning prior to the Championship. Taking the win for his handler and owner Ken DeLong was K Del's Eagle Magnum Hotshot, Brittany male, who scored three finds and an exciting forward race to earn the number one spot. Close behind was Miller's Arctic Icon, pointer female, with two nicely handled finds for her owner and handler Jim Winnen. Rounding out the Derby placements was Chippewa's Sundance Kid, setter male, who showed a strong forward race for his owner and handler Zack Erne.

Mingo Junction, Ohio, May 14 -- One Course

Judges: Chris Catanzarite and Norm Meeder

LARRY SUTTER MEMORIAL OPEN DERBY -- 2 Pointers, 3 Setters and

1 German Shorthair

1st--K DEL'S EAGLE MAGNUM HOTSHOT, 1685770, Brittany male, by Magnum High Velocity--K Del's Eagle's Chance to Soar. Ken DeLong, owner and handler.

2d--MILLER'S ARCTIC ICON, 1685697, pointer female, by Miller's Speed Dial--Miller's Arctic Breeze. James Winnen, owner and handler.

3d--CHIPPEWA'S SUNDANCE KID, 1690261, setter male, by Tomoka's Smokin Bigred. White Girl Wasted. Zachary & Andrew Erne, owners; Zack Erne, handler.


The Championship commenced at the conclusion of the Derby. The first brace rolled out at around 11 a.m., and five braces were completed on Friday, with the remaining braces on Saturday.

Backcountry Bruiser (PM/Chris Catanzarite) and Caliber Peak Hundredth Meridian (PM/Sarah Gomes) broke away at the barn, both dogs casted south and out of sight. Bruiser, the eventual champion, scored his first find at 8 on a hedgerow near the first turn, with excellent manners. Both dogs were observed forward and on course, displaying large casts. At 22 Bruiser was found pointing near the point of the woods, with all in order. He scored again after crossing the gravel road and heading up to the back of the course. Meridian scored his first find on the tree line moving up the hill from the road crossing, with all in order after relocation. Bruiser scored again at 37 near the pond in the backside of the course. Both dogs moved up the slot under the power lines, crossing the road to the west side again, and moving parallel to Dawson Road. Meridian pointed at 59 near the pond, but no bird could be produced by time; Bruiser finished strong and forward.

Backcountry Cruiser, Winner of the Region 4 Amateur Walking Shooting Dog Championship

In No. 2 were Faith's Maximum Justice (PM/Ken DeLong) and Suemac's Sashay (PF/Eric Munden). Justice started the bird-finding spree with a find along the autumn olive hedgerows on the backside of the breakaway stretch, with some ticking noted. Crossing the dirt track, Justice scored again near the woodland point at 16. At 19 Sashay, the eventual runner-up champion, scored her first bird around the woodland point, showing excellent manners. Both dogs continued with a bird-finding spree, with Justice scoring four additional finds, and Sashay three additional; she scored an unproductive near the pond on the backside of the course. Both dogs finished strong and forward, showing pleasing shooting dog races for the judges.

Suemac's Sashay Runner-Up in the Region 4 Amateur Walking Shooting Dog Championship

No Limit (ESF/Thor Kain) scored her first and only find along a hedgerow at 7; she suffered nonproductives at 19 and 22 and the handler elected to pick up. Thunder Man Buzzsaw (WPM/Josef Smith) scored his first find at 18, at the wooded point, with all in order. He scored again at 23 approaching the gravel road. Buzzsaw rendered a strong race, but was erratic in application. He finished the hour forward.

No. 4 had Backcountry Missy (PF/C. Catanzarite) and Hi N's Ellie (GSPF/Derrick Ream). Ellie was found pointing at 6 along the hedgerow, with Missy honoring, but no bird was produced. She scored a find at the turn, with all in order. Missy scored her first find in the vicinity, with good manners displayed. At 23 both dogs were found standing in a hedgerow at the wooded point; birds were produced with good manners displayed. Ellie was on the leash after being observed under a bird at 29. Missy continued forward with a strong drive; she scored a find at 38 in the far back of the course near the little pond, with good manners displayed. She pointed again in the valley at 52, with all in order. Missy finished forward, shortening some the last few minutes.

Super Storm (ESM/T. Kain) and Wildland Warrior (PF/E. Munden) started with a find in the hedgerows at 8 by Storm; Warrior was on the leash after failing to honor. Storm was on the leash after an altercation with a quail at 16, ending brace No.5.

Brace No. 6: Dezasterous Angel of Mercy (GSPF/D. Ream) and Double Deuce Sage (PF/D. McMillen) went on a bird-finding spree in this brace, with Mercy scoring her first find at 5 on the hedgerow, then again at 9 near the turn, and again at 10. Sage likewise pointed at 10, and again at 11, with all in order. Both dogs cast up the hill and were found standing near a hedgerow at the wooded point, Mercy pointing, and Sage honoring. Mercy elected to travel with the bird and her bird-finding spree was over for the day. Sage continued the legacy with a find at 25 near the road crossing, another at 31 going up the hill towards the back of the course, at 33 near the top of the summit, a well handled stop to flush along the treeline at the top, and additional finds at 37 along the edge of the back course, at 42 near the little pond in the back corner, and again at 56 near the road crossing moving west. She showed a moderate forward pattern, but was not excessively wide due to the abundant numbers of birds pointed.

In No. 7, Deciding Point (ESF/T. Kain) and Sunny In The Bank (PM/J. Smith) were found standing separate birds at the turn; both were mannerly on their finds. Deciding Point went on a bird finding spree, including a woodcock find in the mix, but was on the leash after suffering her 2nd nonproductive at 50. Sunny jetted around the course, scoring his second find at 25. He suffered a an unproductive at time; his race was strong and forward, with bold application.

Caliber Peak Storm Warning (PF/D. McMillen) was found pointing on a hedgerow, but no bird could be flushed. Doodle Ridge Elroy (ESM/Bruce Mueller) scored his first find at 7, displaying good manners on his bird. Storm Warning was on the scoreboard at 9, with a mannerly find. Storm Warning was found pointing at 20, with Elroy backing. Crossing the road, Storm Warning was wide, but rough on the handle. Elroy suffered an unproductive at 30, across the road and up the hill. He scored a well-mannered find at 46, along the high tension wires near the big pond; he scored an additional find at time near the road crossing heading west. Elroy ran a moderate shooting dog race, to the front, and finished the hour moving forward.

Backcountry Girlfriend (PF/C. Catanzarite) scored her first find at 10, along the hedgerows, with good manners. At 13 Super Storm Liz (ESF/T. Kain) was under a bird, and was on the leash. Girl was found standing at the wooded point at 20; a bird was produced, with good manners displayed. She scored a find near the road crossing, and an additional find at 32 at the top of the summit. She finished the hour at a moderate pace.

Double Deuce Zeke (PM/D. McMillen) and A Distant Spec (E. PF/Munden) made wide casts from the breakaway; Spec was far forward, a scout was sent to locate Zeke. Spec was found on the wooded point at 18, with a bird produced. Zeke was found standing in cover on the west side of the breakaway at 21; a bird lifted, with good manners observed. Moving to catch the front, Zeke stopped at the wooded point; a bird was produced, with good manners displayed. Spec crossed the road and moving up the right side on the wood line, pointed near the summit. The bird lifted wild, and Spec decided to move with him, ending his bid. Zeke motored across the road, pointing in the woods at 41; a bird was produced. Sending him up the hill, he slammed on point in the far west corner before the turn; a covey of six birds lifted, a picturesque sight. Moving forward, Zeke pointed in cover on the west side of the valley; a dead bird was found in front of the dog, which displayed good manners. Zeke finished forward to complete the hour.

In brace No. 11, Conneaut Creek Lake Erie Storm (RSF/A. Fazenbaker), as a bye, suffered an unproductive at 7 in the hedgerow. Moving forward, she was absent, and the scout found her standing in heavy cover on the west side near the turn; a bird was produced, with good manners displayed. Casting across the two track, she was found standing in a hedgerow near the wooded point; no bird could be produced, ending her bid for a spot.

Thanks to everyone who supported the Region 4 Championship and supporting stake. We hope to see you again next year!

Judges: Nick Mellon and Sean Melvin


[One-Hour Heats] -- 13 Pointers, 5 Setters, 1 Irish Setter

and 2 German Shorthairs

Winner--BACKCOUNTRY BRUISER, 1672645, pointer male, by Erin's War Creek--Backcountry Tornado. Chris Catanzarite, owner and handler.

Runner-Up--SUEMAC'S SHASHAY, 1658242, pointer female, by Chasehill Little Bud--Richfield Stella. Roger, Susie & Daulton McPherson, owners; Eric Munden, handler.