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Result: American Brittany Club Grouse and Woodcock Championship

Location: Exeter, Rhode Island

Post Date: Jul 8, 2022

Submitted By: Pat Carney


American Brittany Grouse and Woodcock Open Shooting Dog Classic (center front row, from left): Brian Brevelari (judge) with Burning Glen Cover Girl, Mike Mercanti with Shirley Saratoga Britt, Paul Shirley, and Toby Tobiassen (judge).

Bridge A lot of planning and work goes in to the execution of a dual event weekend, but under the capable leadership of Bob Fleury and his reliable team of Bill and Fran Gorman taking entries, Henry Wierzbicki driving judges, handlers and dogs to and from courses and Leslie Fleury manning the lunch operation Saturday and Sunday, things were well in hand.

Our esteemed judging panel of Toby Tobiassen from New York and Brian Breveleri from Massachusetts were looking for dogs that could handle the hour, were forward, showed that they were up to the task in every respect and were well presented by their handlers.

The New England Brittany Championship (NEBCA), hosted both events. Many thanks to Purina for their support year after year of both events. And many thanks also to Garmin for their support of the ABC Grouse/Woodcock Classic/Championship.

We had a good entry, and thanks to all who showed up with their dogs to try their hand at these cover dog events. This includes many old faces, as well as some new faces, including Patty Johnston, Craig Stockwell, Kris Nordby, Robert White, MJ Haesche, and Roger King and Dennis Baum who made the trip east from Wisconsin. Additionally it was great to see three new and much younger faces at the venue learning the ropes as well . . . Brady Seuferling, Loudon Swierczynski and Ashton Shirley. Welcome to one and all.

The preceding week these three courses had continuously produced birds throughout the week for the longtail championships, and this weekend proved to be more of the same.

The first half of this double header weekend started off just after noon on Friday, the 25th with the ABC Grouse/Woodcock Championship. Under sunny skies and cool to warming weather, the plan of attack was to run two 1 hour braces on Friday and the remaining five braces on Saturday. The weatherman was predicting rain on Saturday, but no one was complaining when the rain held off, even though we were dealing with progressively cooler temps as the weekend progressed. Lacking a performance that met the judge's requirements and which included the requisite bird work, a champion was not named for this year's classic, resulting in a reversion to a Shooting Dog stake for reporting to the American Field. From brace 4, Burning Glen Cover Girl (Lucy), handled by Mike Mercanti was awarded 2nd place and from brace 3, Shirley's Brit from Saratoga (Toga), handled by Paul Shirley was awarded 3rd place.
Brace 1 - Copper Penny Heads Up (Penny-Mark Dreyfus); Centerville's Torrid Pace (Torri-Sarah Conyngham) Course 1, breakaway 12:55. Both dogs did a good job working the course, forward and handling easily for the handlers. At 5 Penny had a well-handled find. At 15 both dogs are still well applied and at a good range, with Penny very snappy and forward in her application. At 18 Penny was standing to our right about 15 feet off the trail at the bottom of the ski hill, and Torri and Sarah were continuing forward. While Mark was flushing, Torri worked around much deeper to the right and back towards us, ending up pointing in the vicinity of Penny, who by now had loosened up and self released. Sarah was able to produce the bird with all in order for Torri, and Penny was ordered up. At 26, Torri is standing to our left in some heavy cover. Unable to flush a bird, Sarah sent her on for a relocation, which in spite of a pretty wide effort came up empty-handed. At 41, Torri was ordered up for a mishandled bird. Bird count 4.

Brace 2 - CADA's Magnum White Diamond Engaugement (Sandy-Doug Ackroyd); Kip's Bay Flat Out Ridge Run N Annie (Annie); Course 2, breakaway 2:15. Sandy and Annie broke away, showing they were ready and eager for the challenge. At 8 with heavy cover along both sides of the course, Annie's bell went silent and John sent his scout to look for her. She was found standing and the ensuing flushing attempt was wide and lengthy. The relocation attempt that followed was unfortunately unproductive. In the meantime Doug continued on ahead with Sandy. At 23, after a valiant attempt, John and the rear gallery rejoined the front. It was all for naught, as at 28, Annie was ordered up for an indiscretion. The last half hour was paced more reasonably, but uneventful as we headed through a wider open area with some tall timber going downhill to a wide river. Sandy was showing plenty of bottom throughout the last 30 and hunting hard, but couldn't come up with a bird. Bird count 1.

Brace 3 - Shirley's Britt from Saratoga (Toga-Paul Shirley); Marjo's Sam Son (Otis-Mark Dreyfus) Course 3, breakaway 7:55 Right from the start, Toga was really hitting cover and digging in. Otis was doing the same, but with a more forward pattern. At 12, Toga's bell was among the missing and while Otis and Mark continued on, Paul sent his grandson Ashton out to scout, which turned out to be unnecessary as in pretty short order, the front gallery was reporting Toga up with them and pointing with Otis backing. A bird was produced with everything in order. At 22 we're down along the Falls River where likely looking cover abounds. At 26 both dogs were still aggressively hunting the cover. At 27 additional scouting was needed for Toga with Paul and the judge joining in on the hunt. And at 35, Toga returned from the front and reconnected with Paul. At 42, just before the road, Otis's stand, in cover off to the right, with a relocation attempted, proved barren. And at 44, after the road crossing, both Toga and Otis are found standing. With Mark taking charge of the flushing attempt, failing to produce a bird, and calling for a relocation attempt, Paul elected to collar Toga on. This would prove to be a barren stand as well for Otis. Crossing the bridge, the course continued along the other side of the river. At 52, with Toga's bell gone again, the search is on. At 57, Toga checked in with the gallery and took off for the front without Paul. And 3 minutes later time was called. Bird count 1.

Brace 4 - Tonan Roa Just Because It's Clear Cut (Timber-Patty Johnston); Burning Glen Cover Girl (Lucy-Mike Mercanti) Course 1, breakaway 9:30 At 13, both Timber and Lucy were covering the course within bell range and staying in contact with their handlers. At 20, Lucy established point at the bottom of the ski hill on the right hand side, while Patty is continuing on with Timber. Unable to produce the bird, a relocation was in order, and with Lucy stopped again, Mike flushed a bird, a shot was fired, and all was well. Lucy is a snappy little dog, digging in to both sides of the course as we headed for the front and slid into the wide open bottom at the foot of the ski hill swinging towards the Marsh. Across the bottom Timber stayed in touch with Patty while Lucy was hitting the marshy area to our left in a desperate attempt to find more birds. With two minutes to go she skipped up the ridge to the right then dropped back down for a final go at the marsh on the left. Bird count 1.

Brace 5 - Rib River Tuff Enough (Tuff-Roger King); Centerville's Sonny (Sonny-Sarah Conyngham) Course 2, breakaway 11:00 Off the starting block, Tuff was somewhat sticky. Not so much for Sonny who is found pointing stylishly off the trail to our left. Sarah's flushing attempt produced a woodcock that was well handled. At 17, Sonny is standing again to our left about 30 yards in and when Sarah failed to produce a bird, she elected to just send him on. Tuff has been steadily expanding his game, hanging out there on much wider casts now, hitting some cover. Sonny is ranging even wider at this point as well. At 22, Sonny was scouted by John Kipp and found buried deep in cover and standing. After a lengthy flushing attempt, Sarah tapped Sonny on for the relocation which proved unproductive. At 31 a shot was heard from the front, and hope springs eternal, so they say, but not this time for Tuffy. When we reached the front gallery, Roger had Tuff on a leash. Continuing on, at time, Sonny had been out of pocket for a while and it was tracker time for Sarah. She found her dog. Bird count 3.

Brace 6 - Kip's Bay Dark N' Stormy Miss Maddie (Maddie-John Kipp); Eight Rod Romeo (Romeo-Craig Stockwell) Course 3, breakaway 1:20 At the start, both handlers are off to the races, eventually outpacing the judges and gallery by 300 yards. At 11, this proved to be an unfortunate situation for Romeo and Craig, when a shot was heard up ahead, and an apparently well-handled (but unobserved by judges) find was reported to them by Craig Stockwell. After further cautioning by the judges, handlers slowed their pace and the gallery was able to get their first good look at both dogs. Both Maddie and Romeo were hunting aggressively within bell range - Maddie tackling the cover to our left alongside the river and Romeo further front, with both dogs making some nice casts through the cover. At 30, a woodcock lifted wild on the righthand side with no dog involved. Once over the bridge and across the road, with Romeo further to the front, Maddie continued the hunt, but now at a somewhat closer range. Except for another bird that flushed wild with 2 minutes to go, there was no further dog-involved birdwork. Bird count 4 (3 wild flushes, 1 unobserved find).

Brace 7 - Cada's High Tide Jersey Boy (Kruk-Doug Ackroyd); Bye Course 1, Breakaway 2:49 Kruk was aggressively working the cover from the start, and as we approached the bottom of the ski hill he was being allowed to spend quite a bit of time in the cover to the right where it seems the woodcock like to live, but this time nobody's home. Continuing on, at 28, with Kruk stopped in cover to our right, Doug fired from back on the trail, for a stop to flush, then proceeded to collar his dog and send him on. Kruk is an all-white dog, which is so eye-catching on the ground, especially in the next wide-open section between the bottom of the hill and the marsh directly across. Once across the bottom, Kruk dug into the swamp, now on the left, and hung out there at bell range, popping out in front of Doug at the end, finishing wide and to the front. Bird count 1.
Exeter, R. I., March 25
Judges: Brian Breveleri and Toby Tobiassen

[Title Withheld]
1st-[Placement Withheld]
2d-BURNING GLEN COVER GIRL, 1684025, ??, by Magnum High Velocity-High Hopes Nite Moves. Michael Mercanti, owner and handler.
3d-SHIRLEY SARATOGA BRITT, 1668158, female, by Guinness Widgeonlee Hunrunr. Paul Shirley, owner and handler.