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Result: Beaverton Grouse Dog Club

Location: Meredith, Michigan

Post Date: Jun 13, 2023

Submitted By: Tammy Chaffee

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BGDC Spring Open Shooting Dog Winners (from left): Bryan Wood (chairman), Ron Levitan (judge), Rich Hollister with Back Creek Lucy, Tom Fruchey, and Scott Forman with Grouse Hill Bullet Proof. (Not pictured): Ghost Train Solitaire.

The 42nd running of the Michigan Grouse Dog Puppy Classic, in conjunction with the 17th running of the Eaton Spring Derby Classic and the BGDC Open Shooting Dog and Amateur Shooting Dog events, commenced April 21, 2023, at the fabled Gladwin Game Refuge near Meredith, Mich. The spring events sported a whopping 116 entrants! In addition to the many field trial veterans, many new faces participated in this trial and other club events this spring. We welcome them all and hope they enjoyed the game refuge, the competition, and our family of field trailers.

As is always the case, the weather in Michigan was an event in itself. The previous weeks' events struggled with temperatures in the 80s! The temperature certainly moderated to more normal and even some below-normal temperatures for the Beaverton trial, which was a welcome relief to dogs and handlers alike. The Grounds were in great shape after a few late winter storms and some minor clean-up by a crew from the Gladwin Grounds committee. Many thanks go to those hard-working folks.

The Club enjoyed all the assistance from the many participants who marshaled braces, moved cars, provided snacks and meals, and generally kept a large contingent of people moving along the ground's 16 courses. A rather large undertaking, considering the large entries. As always, shout out to the Hollisters, Rich and Jenny, for providing sure-footed and safe mounts for our judges. Also, thank you to perennial supporter Purina and their representative Greg Blair for their continued donations of Purina dog food and support for advertising costs.
After the running on Saturday, the Club hosted a well-received steak fry. After two long days of running, the nourishment was a welcome pick-up. The steaks were deliciously grilled by Ken Moss and Mike Singleton.

The Michigan Grouse Dog Puppy Classic began Saturday morning and was judged by long-time field trialer Ken Moss and newer member Jeff Sweet. They presided over 20 potential field trial grouse dogs over the puppy course at the northeastern end of the game preserve. At the conclusion, they found Confidence Squared Kelly, a female pointer owned and handled by newcomer Rachel Van Eyk as the winning candidate. According to the judges, "Kelly moved around the course efficiently with a good forward race and very little handling. Dog and handler were in tune, each knowing where the other was always. Kelly stayed in the 'pocket' for the entire brace and was a joy to watch. "Placing second was Hifive's Rolling Stone, a male pointer owned and handled by J. P. Jones. "Stone ran a strong race with style, making big casts and hitting likely cover. Stone is a well-built, handsome pointer", according to the judges. In third place was Grouse Hill Princess, a female setter owned by John Capocci and handled by Christy Helmes. The judges stated, "Princess had a good forward race right from the start, hitting likely cover and didn't require much handling. It was obvious that Christy and her pup were a team." The judges also stated that several puppies were in contention for placement, as the cool weather allowed them to show their best.

The Eaton Spring Derby Classic commenced on Saturday at the conclusion of the Open Shooting Dog on course No. 4. Judges Mike Singleton and Abraham Downer determined that the top dog was Grouse Feather Tilly, a female setter owned by Curtis Coleman and handled by Rich Hollister. Tilly ran on course No. 4 to start the competition with a very nice woodcock find, backed by her bracemate. Her hard-hunting style set the standard for the rest to follow. In second was Ralphy's Chasehill Rip, owned and handled by Brian Ralph. Rip handled course No. 6 with a strong and hard-charging forward race. In third was Northwoods Dexter, a 9-month-old male setter owned and handled by Mike Rosario. Dexter covered course 8 in a forward and consistent style that required minimal handling.

The Open Shooting Dog stake began on course No. 1 at 8 a.m. sharp. Judges Ron Levitan and Justin McGrail rode for 16 30-minute braces on Friday, finishing up with three more on Saturday morning. Plenty of ruffed grouse were heard and seen on the grounds, but getting the wily King of the Woods pointed proved difficult. The grounds were particularly dry, with no spring foliage sprouting yet, and the running lanes were wide open. If ruffed grouse are the King, then woodcock proved to be the court jesters, as they played hide and seek with dogs and handlers alike. In the final analysis, judges Ron and Justin named Back Creek Lucy, a setter female, owned by Steve Graham and handled by Rich Hollister as the winner. Lucy combined a consistently forward race with a clean woodcock find on course No. 10 on Friday. Second was Ghost Train Solitaire, owned by Ghost Train Kennels and handled by Tom Fruchey. "Bella" was steered through a tight course No. 16 at the end of the day on Friday and was rewarded with a dug-up woodcock find. Third place was Grouse Hill Bullet Proof, owned by John Capocci and handled by Scott Forman. Proof was placed on his superb race, "going to all the right places with style and power," according to the judges. The judges also liked, in no particular order, Carson Foster's Kit's Whiskey Creek Patsy, Bob Wheelock's Tupelo Honey (Bertie), and Snyder's Sadie, owned by Steve Snyder and handled by Tammy Chaffee.

According to Judge Justin McGrail, "The heartbreaker of the trial was a newer handler, Mike Rosario, running a male setter named Wally. He pointed a woodcock about 60 seconds off the breakaway. He looked like he was posing for the cover of a magazine, beautiful throughout a long flushing attempt. Finally, we got the bird up pretty close to him, and he couldn't quite contain himself at the shot. Took a few minutes to get him picked up, and I found myself wishing I could see more."

Rich and Ricky Hollister adjudicated a starting lineup of 24 dogs in the amateur event. Coming out on top was Ralphy's Chasehill Rip, a derby-age male pointer owned and handled by Brian Ralph. Rip was fancy and forward, staying in the pocket. Just as Rip came to a stand on a grouse, his bracemate commenced flushing the wily bird, but Rip remained staunch throughout. An impressive find for a young dog. In second was Stokely B Annie, a female setter owned by Tony Bly and handled by Brian Ralph. Annie ran fast and fancy like her kennelmate, staying in the pocket for her owner. Near time, Annie dug up a grouse, with all in order at wing and shot. Third was awarded to Faith's Maximum Justice, a male pointer owned and handled by Ken DeLong. "Justice" ran a big, hard-charging race coupled with a mannerly woodcock find at time.

Meredith, Mich., April 22
Judges: Ron Levitan and Justin McGrail
BGDC SPRING OPEN SHOOTING DOG - 2 Pointers and 36 Setters

1st--BACK CREEK LUCY, 1683067, setter female, by Peyton's Legacy Kip-Girl's Little Dixie. Steve Graham, owner; Rich Hollister, handler.
2d--GHOST TRAIN SOLITAIRE, 1683701, setter female, by Ghost Train Cody-Ghost Train Sassy. Ghost Train Kennels, owner; Tom Fruchey, handler.
3d--GROUSE HILL BULLET PROOF, 1664897, setter male, by Waymaker Super Sam-Vitali Grouseringer Purdy. Giovanni Capocci, owner; Scott Forman, handler.

Judges: Abraham Spencer and Mike Singleton
EATON SPRING DERBY CLASSIC - 11 Pointers, 22 Setters and 1 Brittany

1st--GROUSE FEATHER TILLY, 1703250, setter female, by Grouse Feather Hawk-GF Southern Belle. Custis Coleman, Jr., owner; Rich Hollister, handler.
2d--RALPHY'S CHASEHILL RIP, 1697746, pointer male, by Panola Bacon-Chasehill Little Izzy. Brian Ralph, owner and handler.
3d--NORTHWOODS DEXTER, 1701733, setter male, by Snyder's Pioneer Scout-Northwoods Cedar. Mike Rosario, owner and handler.

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Eaton Spring Derby Classic Winners (from left): Bryan Wood (chairman), Abraham Downer (judge), Rich Hollister with Grouse Feather Tilly, Brian Ralph with Ralphy's Chasehill Rip, Mike Singleton (judge), and Mike Rosario with Northwoods Dexter.

Judges: Ken Moos and Jeff Sweet
MICHIGAN GROUSE PUPPY CLASSIC - 6 Pointers and 14 Setters

1st--CONFIDENCE SQUARED KELLY, 1703363, pointer female, by True Confidence-My Lucky Day. Rachel Van Eyk & Thomas Butler, owners; Rachel Van Eyk, handler.
2d--HIFIVES ROLLING STONE, 1701648, pointer male, by Titanium's Hammer-Hifive's Allisin. J. P. Jones, owner and handler.
3d--GROUSE HILL PRINCESS, 1702135, setter female, by Grouse Hill Bullet Proof-Spata Setters Sally. Giovanni Capocci, owner; Christy Helms, handler.

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Michigan Grouse Puppy Classic Winners (from left): Bryan Wood (chairman), Tom Butler, Rachel Van Eyk with Confidence Squared Kelly, Jeff Sweet (judge), J. P. Jones with Hifives Rolling Stone, Ken Moss (judge), and Grouse Hill Princess with Christy Helmes.

Judges: Rich Hollister and Ricky Hollister
AMATEUR SHOOTING DOG - 2 Pointers, 17 Setters, 3 Brittanys and 2 German Shorthairs

1st--RALPHY'S CHASEHILL RIP, 1697746, pointer male, by Panola Bacon-Chasehill Little Izzy. Brian Ralph, owner and handler.
2d--STOKELY B ANNIE, 1667183, setter female, by Stokely's Frankie B-Fernwood Cove's Bella. Tony Bly, owner; Brian Ralph, handler.
3d--FAITH'S MAXIMUM JUSTICE, 1660276, pointer male, by Nelson's Van Max-Wild Apple Faith. Kenric DeLong, owner and handler.

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Amateur Shooting Dog Winners (from left): Bryan Wood (chairman), Brian Ralph with Ralphy's Chasehill Rip, Ricky Hollister (judge), Brandy Ralph with Stokely B Annie, Rich Hollister (judge), and Ken DeLong with Faith's Maximum Justice.