Result: Setter Club of New England
Location: Falmouth, Massachusetts
Post Date: Jun 6, 2023
Submitted By: Thom Richardson
The Setter Club of New England hosted its 2023 spring trial on April 1 and 2. The location for the trial was once again at the Frances Crane Wildlife Management Area in Falmouth, Mass., on historic Cape Cod.
The Setter Club is the oldest field trial club in New England and one of the most storied clubs in America. Their first trial, a liberated bird trial, was reportedly held near Assonet, Mass., in 1891, and their first wild bird trial was held in 1924 in Rhode Island.
Once again, the Club provided coffee and donuts in the morning, and assorted sandwiches, chips, and cold beverages for lunch. The Setter Club is one of a few that still lists all their judges in their ads. As a token of their appreciation, all judges were given a gift of a leather lead for judging this renewal.
For the renewal in 2022, I reported that the early springtime weather was outstanding; unfortunately, the same cannot be said for this year. I arrived at the grounds at 6:20 a.m. It was cool, overcast, and a bit breezy, but no rain. The conditions stayed the same for 10 minutes, and then the rain came. It rained all day, I departed the grounds at 5:30 p.m., and it was still raining.
Enough cannot be said for all the judges, club officials, handlers, and guests who toughed out the less-than-perfect weather. We were all hopeful that the weather on Sunday would improve, and thankfully it did.
With assistance from his wife, Emily, Stakes Manager Nick Hamel handled all the trial details. Under ideal weather conditions, stakes management is a monumental task. Given the poor weather conditions, Nick and Emily did a great job and are to be commended. This was Nick's first stakes manager assignment, and I am sure he will be called on again to perform this duty.
The Club is well supported by its members and club officials. Club President Mitch Nee, Vice President Tony Leone, Treasurer Tom Jay, and Secretary Jim Hathaway were all on hand to help Nick and Emily with all the details to make the trial successful. We must tip our caps to B. J. Cassio, who provided the dog wagon and set out birds for every brace. Club member Edward Marquis and his granddaughter did more than their fair share of dog wagon and bird planter duties. A huge thank you to all that helped!
As advertised, the first brace of the Open Puppy broke away at 7 a.m., under the watchful eyes of judges Kelly Hays and Jamie Nee. First place was awarded to English pointer, Blue Ribbon River, handled by professional Robert Ecker of Pennsylvania. Second place went to Brittany "Zoey," handled by owner John DiPerrio. Attitude's Spec (Ecker), a setter female, went away with the yellow ribbon.
The Open Restricted Shooting Dog stake was up next. Stakes Manager Nick Hamel stepped in for an absent judge, joining Vermonter Bob Arkley. The blue ribbon was given to an English setter, "Suzie," owned and handled by Doug Dix. Second was awarded to "Toga," a Brittany male handled by owner Paul Shirley. Third place was given to Mooselook Texas Star, a pointer male owned and handled by Jack McNulty.
After a quick break to dry off, the Phil Fogg Open Shooting Dog was off and running. We were pleased that long-time club members Jamie Nee and Bill Bonnetti had agreed to judge our premier open stake. These men have been involved in field trials for decades, owning and handling their dogs. A field of 17 shooting dogs would come to the line to be judged by Jamie and Bill.
Ledge Hill Chippewa, a setter male owned and handled by Jimmy Levesque, was the first-place dog. "Chip" had an outstanding shooting dog race, fast, always to the front. His range was just right for the Cape Cod cover and imperfect weather conditions. Both judges commented that his bird work was the best of the event. Attitude's True Grit, a setter male handled by Robert Ecker, was closest to the winner. Grit had one find and a very strong race. A slight difference in the ground race was what separated the first-place dog and Grit. The yellow ribbon went to another setter male, Lightning Flash Remington, owned by the Dix family of Vermont and handled by Brian Dix. Remi was rewarded with two finds and an unproductive. His race was not as strong as the first and second-place dogs. The judges made it a point to mention a setter dog handled by newcomer Robert Urban. The late George Johnson and Shirley bred Peat.
Sunday morning arrived with much-improved weather, mostly sunny and a slight sea breeze.
The Amateur Puppy was off at 7 a.m., with Kelly Hays and Emily Hamel overseeing the field. The first-place dog was a setter female, "Sadie," handled by long-time setter enthusiast Dennis Sentner. The second-place dog was also a setter female, "Roadie," owned and handled by Maine amateur Kellie Short. Third went to a red setter, "Ragu," handled by Jimmy Levesque.
With 16 braces of amateur shooting dogs to run in the Frankie Mclaughlin Classic, Stakes Manager Hamel decided to get it started and hold up the Amateur Derby, which had only four braces to run.
Jimmy Levesque and Eric Rizza judged the Amateur Derby. First place went to North Country's Soda Pop, a setter female owned and handled by Nick Hamel. Second was "Rusty," a pointer male handled by Rich Rogers. Third was setter female "Lilly," handled by Doug Dix.
Club Vice President Tony Leone and Bailey Arkley of Jay, Vt., oversaw the Amateur Gun Dog. The blue ribbon was awarded to Robert Urban's setter male, Peat. Robert is new to field trial sports and has had some success with what I believe is his first dog. Close to the winner was "Scout," a Brittany male owned and handled by Kris Norby. Not far behind Scout was English setter female Ledge Hill Mia, owned and handled by Jimmy Levesque. The judges wanted us to shout out to a new field trialer, Lyndon Carver. Lyndon handled his setter male, "Moxie." I believe this might have been one of their first field trial experiences. Lyndon and Moxie did a very good job, according to our judges.
Our premier amateur stake is the Frankie Mclaughlin Amateur Shooting Dog. This stake is named for and in memory of long-time member and trialer Frank McLaughlin. I was lucky enough to have known Frankie, and to say he was a character would be a great understatement; he was one of a kind!
Our outstanding judging duo was Bob Arkley of Jay, Vt., and Adam Dubriske of Troy, N. H. Bob has been involved with bird dogs and field trials for years, and Adam is a professional bird dog trainer. I believe that this was one of the largest entries in many years, with 32 dogs drawn.
First place was awarded to Lightning Flash Remington, handled by Brian Dix. "Remi" had placed the day before in the Open Shooting Dog stake and came back for more in the amateur event. Not an unheard-of feat, but it tells you a great deal about this dog's ability and consistency. The dog's race was outstanding, fast, forward, and stayed connected with its handler. His bird work was exceptional; his head held high and very intense. Remi would have been tough to beat on this day with this performance.
The second-place dog, also a setter, "Dot," ran in brace No. 1 and carried first until No. 7 when Remi ran. Dot was handled by her owner, Dave Theroux. Dot carded four finds, was light on her feet, and ran like the wind, very stylish both on the ground and on her game. Her range was not as deep as Remi's, which kept her from the blue ribbon.
The yellow ribbon was awarded to Ledge Hill Chippewa, handled by owner Jimmy Levesque. Like Remi, "Chip" had placed in the Open Shooting Dog the day before. Chip always gives you 100% both on the ground and on his birds. The only difference between the first and second-place dogs and Chip was range. Remi was a little bit bigger in his range and was very, very strong on the ground.
Over the years, I have enjoyed watching all three dogs in different venues; they will be competitive for a long time.
Our judges in all stakes are commended for their attentiveness and professionalism. As we all know, the pay for judging is not great, and we are fortunate to have secured the service of these fine ladies and gentlemen.
The Club thanks Robert Ecker and everyone who entered dogs in this year's event. We hope to see all of you next year!
Falmouth, Mass., April 1 - One Course
Judges: Kelly Hays and Jamie Nee
OPEN PUPPY - 1 Pointer, 2 Setters and 1 Brittany
1st--BLUE RIBBON RIVER, 1701966, pointer female, by Double Deuce Zeke-Huckleberry's Lucky Penny. Marty Festa, owner; R. J. Ecker, Jr., handler.
2d--WEST WIND'S LAYIN IT ON THE LINE, unreg., Brittany female, by Firestarter's Crossroads-Boudreaux's Dakota Plum Button. John DiPerrio, owner and handler.
Judges: Bob Arkley and Nick Hamel
OPEN RESTRICTED SHOOTING DOG - 3 Pointers, 2 Setters and 1 Brittany
1st--LIGHTNING FLASH BILLIE SUE, 1686150, setter female, by Blast Zone-Clermont Lucky Brynn. Douglas J. Dix, owner and handler.
2d--SHIRLEY SARATOGA BRITT, 1668158, Brittany male, by Guinness Du Widgeonlee Hunrunr-Jade's Tricky Du Toga. Paul Shirley, owner and handler.
3d--MOOSELOOK TEXAS STAR, 1688092, pointer male, by Elhew Snakecharm-Wild Apple Samantha. John McNulty, owner and handler.
Judges: Jamie Nee and Bill Bonnetti
PHIL FOGG OPEN SHOOTING DOG - 4 Pointers, 12 Setters and 1 Irish Setter
1st--LEDGE HILL CHIPPEWA, 1675025, setter male, by Lightning Flash Abe-Grouse Ridge Lazer. James W. Levesque, Jr., owner and handler.
2d--ATTITUDE'S TRUE GRIT, 1653218, setter male, by Ridge Creek Cody-Tall Oaks Cotton. Dennis & Hope Beauford, owners; R. J. Ecker, Jr., handler.
3d--LIGHTNING FLASH REMINGTON, 1687367, setter male, by Denco's Crockett Again-Arctic Tundra Bird Dog. Douglas J. Dix, owner; Brian Dix, handler.
Judges: Emily Hamel and Kelly Hays
AMATEUR PUPPY- 3 Pointers, 1 Brittany and 1 Irish Setter
1st--NORTH HILLS SADIE, 1703661, setter female, by Long Gone DeQuan-Cream Polk Dollie. John Sentner, owner; Dennis Sentner, handler.
2d--PAUCEK'S ROCKY ROAD, unreg., setter female, by Long Gone Porky-Paucek's Mandy. Kellie Short, owner and handler.
Judges: Jim Levesque and Eric Rizza
AMATEUR DERBY- 2 Pointers, 4 Setters and 1 Irish Setter
1st--NORTH COUNTRY'S SODA POP, 1694744, setter female, by Ponderosa Mac-Hunter's Flight Risk. Nicholas Hamel, owner and handler.
2d--OSAGE LITTLE CHIEF, 1697442, pointer male, by Hackberry's Elhew Chief-Faith On The Prairies. Richard K. Rogers, owner and handler.
3d--ROCK SOLID LILLY, 1694966, setter female, by Rock Solid Romeo-Rock Solid Reba. Douglas J. Dix, owner and handler.
Judges: Bob Arkley and Adam Dubriske
FRANKIE MCLAUGHLIN AMATEUR SHOOTING DOG CLASSIC - 10 Pointers, 17 Setters, 3 Brittanys, 1 Irish Setter and 1 German Shorthair
1st--LIGHTNING FLASH REMINGTON, 1687367, setter male, by Denco's Crockett Again-Arctic Tundra Bird Dog. Douglas J. Dix, owner; Brian Dix, handler.
2d--HENRY'S SUSIEQ DOT, 1680901, setter female, by Henry of Ferguson-Blossom's Pale Face Susieq. David Theroux, owner and handler.
3d--LEDGE HILL CHIPPEWA, 1675025, setter male, by Lightning Flash Abe-Grouse Ridge Lazer. James W. Levesque, Jr., owner and handler.
Judges: Bailey Arkley and Tony Leone
NEW ENGLAND AMATEUR WALKING SHOOTING DOG CLASSIC - 1 Pointer, 8 Setters, 1 Brittany, 1 Irish Setter and 1 German Shorthair
1st--PEAT, 1686939, setter male, by Long Gone Wallace-Christy Grouse Ridge Girl. Robert Urban, owner and handler.
2d--PINE TOP PRETTY BOY, unreg., Brittany male, by Shining Bright Oakley-Mossberg Molly Gingrich. Kristopher Nordby, owner and handler.
3d--LEDGE HILL MIA, unreg., setter female, by Backwoods Remmy-Flags Up Stella. James W. Levesque, owner and handler.
Attitude's True Grit, Second in the Phil Fogg Open Shooting Dog Classic.