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Result: Western Open All-Age Championship

Location: Reno, Nevada

Post Date: May 22, 2019

Submitted By: Kim Simpson


The Winners. From left: Matt Smith, judge; Sean Kelly, Jarry Walton with Kelly's I B Butler, Jason Staley, judge; Rich Heaton with Touch's J Class, Marty Middleton, Sheldon Twer, Kim Sampson, Jim Rose and Bradley LaVerne.
RENO, NEV. -- The 2019 Western Open All-Age Championship began Thursday, April 18, following the conclusion of the Western Open Shooting Dog Championship. By this time the weather had warmed again and the wind was our constant companion for the duration of the stake.

Sponsors for this year's running were Purina (Jim Smith), which paid for The American Field ad, and also awarded dog food to the winners, and SportDog (Jim Morehouse), donating a 2525 training collar to the winner. A huge thank you to both for their continued support! We literally could not put on successful field trials without them.

In addition to the yearly sponsors, we are grateful for the support of Larry Smith, who treated everyone to a delicious dinner on Thursday night in honor of his dog S F Bandwagon that won this Championship last year. Thank you, Larry!

Judges for this premier National qualifying stake were Jason Staley of Murtaugh, Ida., and Matt Smith of Lamoille, Nev. We were fortunate to have two people in the judicial saddles with professional experience, expertise and a united standard of what they were looking for in the 25 dogs that were drawn. Both gentlemen rode hard for every dog and paid attention for each full hour brace, giving handlers and dogs the best chance to show well. Their positive judging was noticed and appreciated. Several dogs had impressive ground efforts and could've possibly changed the order of the named winners if they had had birds. The judges named Kelly's Rebel Louie, Idaho's Lucky Duramax and S F Bandwagon as those dogs.


Running in the 8th brace on course No. 1, Touch's J Class, seven-year-old white and orange pointer female owned by Marc Cuneo of Sonoma, Cal., and handled by Sheldon Twer, and Kelly's I B Butler, coming three-year-old white and liver pointer male owned and handled by Sean Kelly of Loomis, Cal., kept the attention of the judges and gallery from beginning to end.

Butler was all business from the moment he was turned loose. J Class took a bit of time to hit her stride, but once she did she was also singularly focused. Butler was to the front and showing periodically the first 10, then was out of sight for the next several minutes. Kelly called point at 14. The stylish dog was standing in the rocks east of the course showing perfect manners at flush and shot. Once we turned north, riding along the base of the Peterson Mountains, the dogs reconnected and shot up the huge valley.

From there on it was like watching a couple of prize fighters trading punches. First Butler, then J Class, would appear as a tiny white dot cruising through the sage, always forward, showing range and ground speed to spare as their respective handlers pointed them out. At the water trough, with seven minutes remaining, both dogs were watered and sent on. The course turned east and then south. Both handlers were trying to let their charges run but not get lost, and J Class needed a find. At 58 both dogs were out of sight. Twer rode over the hill, spotted his dog and raised his hat, calling point. The judges and gallery arrived to see the stylish dog locked up.

Twer dismounted and flushed a small covey of wild valley quail, and two pen raised chukar that were inhabiting the same area, all in order. Time was called. Kelly rounded up his dog that was on the far hill, both dogs finishing under judgment.

When the dust settled, Kelly's I B Butler was named champion and Touch's J Class, runner-up. An exciting brace!

In the first brace, Painted Mad Max (Ledington) backed at 5 and was picked up at 24, not pleasing his handler. S F Fullcolor (Smith) had a smooth forward race with a find at 5. She was picked up at 24 for a breach of manners.

Painted Owyhee Toad (Ledington) made some nice moves but overall ran conservatively and didn't have any bird contact. B M B's Freeloader (Blum) ran a good forward race with finds at 15 and 20 and a stop to flush at 48.

S F Stetson (Smith) had point called at 3 but no birds could be produced. A mistake at 23 on a stop to flush situation ended his bid. T's Quadrunner (Smedley) had a 10+ minute chase on an antelope 20 minutes into his run which ultimately zapped his energy for the remainder of his heat. He was picked up at 40.

Speck (Schillereff) was seen briefly at the breakaway but not again under judgment. S F Bandwagon (Smith) had a huge forward race for the full hour, very impressive on the ground.

Tucalota's Rebel Rush (Mayhew) ran a moderate race and had a find at 29. Point was called again at 50 but the dog moved on before the handler could flush. He finished forward. B M B's Free Ride (Blum) had a consistent forward hour but no birds.

In No. 6, Far West Ridge Runner (Wilkin) was gone from the breakaway but showed to the front at 18. He had a powerful hour on the ground but no birds. Booneville Bullet (Twer) was not seen after the breakaway, the retrieval unit requested at 30.

Far West Cowboy Slim (Wilkin) made some nice moves and had finds at 27 and 40, shortening up the last 10 minutes. West Mountain Lucky Luke (Sampson) was seen by the judges under birds at 12, ending his day.

Brace No. 8 was covered previously.

Highground Tonka (Steinshouer) started out strong and point was called high on the hillside at 10. Handler could not produce birds and after an unsuccessful relocation the dog was sent on. Birds flushed out of the rocks at 45 and the dog was seen moving, ending his bid. Seahawk's Percy (Smedley) ran a moderate race and had no birds.

Joe (Schillereff) disappeared after being turned loose and the retrieval unit was requested at 18. Highground Abra Ca Dabra (Steinshouer) had her running shoes on and the retrieval device was requested at 27.

Idaho's Lucky Duramax (Heaton) and Kelly's Rebel Louie (Kelly) started midway along course No. 1 after the previous brace ended early. Both dogs had huge forward races, running as big as the vast country would allow, but still keeping their handlers in mind. Had either dog had a find, it most likely would've caused some discussion between the judges regarding which dogs to use.

In the final brace, Rikki's Rockin Rav (Twer) chased an antelope early on and wasn't seen again under judgment. Set Up Man (Sampson) had a consistent forward all-age race but unfortunately did not have birds.

Reno, Nev., April 18

Judges: Matt Smith and Jason Staley


18 Pointers, 5 Setters and 2 German Shorthairs

Winner--KELLY'S I B BUTLER, 1675374, pointer male, by Kelly's Rebel Louie--Wells Fargo First Lady. Sean Kelly, owner and handler.

Runner-Up--TOUCH'S J CLASS, 1650430, pointer female, by Touch's White Out--Touch's Maswood Anne. Marc Cuneo, owner; Sheldon Twer, handler.