Result: National Brittany Open Grouse Championship Association
Location: Meredith, Michigan
Post Date: Jun 26, 2023
Submitted By: Kenny DeLong
Open Shooting Dog Winners (l-r): Steve Graham, Rich Hollister with Back Creek Lucy, Doc Holmes with Travel Alert, Scott Borgeson (judge), Trey Rector (judge), and Dale Ash with Pine Straw Fatbottom Girl.
As was the case last fall, we welcomed a sizeable entry to the storied Gladwin grounds for the last trial of the five-weekend spring season at the end of April. We were happy to see new faces (including some fine gentlemen from Canada) and old friends--professional and amateur alike. We were blessed with swell weather, jammin' judges, legendary lunches, wonderful wrangling, marvelous marshaling, super sponsorship from Greg Blair and Purina, and capital cooperation from volunteers and trialers alike. Everything came together for a great trial.
Our showcase event was the Open Shooting Dog, with a whopping 52 entries! Judges Trey Rector, all the way from Virginia, and local Scott Borgeson, logged two full days in the saddles of the Hollister Family's finest mounts, scrutinizing a quality field of enthusiastic and experienced cover dogs. Judges were very impressed and had difficult decisions to make, splitting hairs among several hopefuls that finished clean and strong with super bird work. This resulted in an honorable mention awarded to Ken DeLong's Brittany male. This dog ran late Friday morning on course six, hard and forward, always in the likely cover, swapping ends on a timberdoodle late in the brace that Kenny flushed right over him as Shooter stood motionless in the cutting, turning his head to mark the flight.
A trio of well-known setters' high-quality work on grouse dominated the top three placements. Third place went to Dale Ash's Queenie, running in brace No. 17 on course one Saturday morning. Her race was forward and wide, staying in tune with her handler. At about 23, the setter's bell stopped well away, forward, and to the front, and her bracemate's bell fell silent shortly thereafter. Upon arrival, Dale began a vigorous and thorough flushing attempt, with Judge Borgeson finally calling out, "There it goes!" pointing some distance ahead of where Queenie stood with bracemate "Megs" (S. Forman) backing. Handler Ash fired, all in order, and the pair were sent on, both finishing strong and to the front. The second-place setter ran in the second brace early Friday morning on course two. The venerable Doc Holmes handled the hard-charging, far-reaching, and always forward Buster through an exciting half-hour, punctuated early on with a stylish stand just before the first road crossing. Doc's intensive first flushing attempt did not put anything in the air, so a tap on the head allowed Buster to relocate and pin the sneaky chicken, hard and stylish, a short distance away. Handler Holmes flushed, his cannon rang out, and all was in order with this exceptional piece of work on grouse. Buster finished far to the front but never out of touch. "Hillbilly Steve" Graham's setter Lucy has been tearin' it up of late and did not disappoint the owner, nor the adept handling of professional Rich Hollister or the gallery when she ran on course ten in the middle of the afternoon Friday. Driving far to the front from the breakaway, Lucy's bell stopped out of sight on the left at 9. As Rich approached, a grouse blew out well in front of her staunch, stylish point. All in order at the shot, and manners perfect. Four minutes later, further up the same creek bottom, she slammed on point again, held rocksteady and polished, as a woodcock was flushed and Rich fired. She finished strong, having hunted hard and forward the entire 30 minutes. Judge Rector later opined, "Lucy looked like a dog with total concentration on finding and handling birds!" A well-deserved first place and blue ribbon were awarded Saturday evening.
The Open Puppy drew 17 dogs. Adam Thomas and Scott Luther, a couple of fine, veteran setter dudes from Kentucky, ventured North to watch the young bird dogs show their potential. Like the Shooting Dog, this event also saw all setters in the money. Rich Hollister's "Eve" was the clear winner, running hard with purpose and hitting the cover on the edge of bell range. A huge forward cast at the end into the aspen across the rye field put a lock on the blue for her. Both judges agreed that Eve was a super exciting dog to watch! Second went to Brent Peters's "Doc" (no stranger to the winners' circle), who challenged the winner with his typical strong, wide-reaching race. Gary Vitali's setter male, Brew, took the yellow ribbon, settling into a nice forward race after a more moderate start.
Placements were awarded over lunch at the Junction early Saturday afternoon. For the second day in a row, Steve and Shelly McKalco treated the large international crowd to a sizeable, sumptuous spread of smoked brisket, ham, and pulled pork on homemade flour tortillas, complete with salads, desserts, and all the trimmings. These Friday and Saturday midday tailgate lunches were feasts for the ages--and word of their bounty and delectable taste bud appeal quickly spread far and wide! This reporter is sure he spotted folks on Saturday who had not been present Friday and did not appear to be dog people at all! They had likely just heard the "word on the street" or followed their noses! Better than a food truck, without question!
The Jack Plyler Open Derby Classic began after lunch on Saturday, concluding with brace No. 18 early Sunday afternoon. Judges Bob Wheelock and Marc Dozeman put up the first and second-place dogs from brace No. 6 late Saturday afternoon, running on course 16. All setters again! Marc Forman's female "Ronnie" broke away hard and stayed forward, carding a very nice grouse find about halfway through, taking the blue. Second place went to Scott Chaffee, handling Denny Keysor's "Penny," who was somewhat tentative at first but opened up nicely and stuck a woodcock solid late in the brace. Mr. Chaffee returned midday Sunday handling Denny's somewhat more moderate running setter male, "Jack," to a nice grouse find to round out the placements.
Late Sunday morning, veterans Kenny DeLong and Tammy Chaffee hopped in the saddle to watch the Restricted Breed Open Shooting Dogs. Nice to see Brittanys, German Shorthairs, Muensterlanders, and Red setters competing in preparation for our Restricted Breed Grouse Championship on October 7! This Club will also host another half-hour Restricted Breed Open Shooting Dog at our summer trial on the last weekend of August. Judges liked the animation, forward pattern, and hunting savvy of Shane Baxter's handsome German Shorthair "Max" for first place. Al Fazenbaker's Red setter "Rosie" was close behind, running like half her age. Al's young "River" snatched third place with an animated race, staying mainly to the front while slightly less mature in his application. Restricted Open Shooting Dog and Derby placements were announced over lunch at West Gate Junction.
We want to thank all the participants and volunteers who pitched in to help move vehicles, marshal braces, set up meals, and lend a hand with the many other assorted tasks that help a field trial run smoothly. The Lord blessed us all with great competition and camaraderie. Thanks to Purina for their generous support. As always, we appreciate the good, seasoned trial horses provided by the Hollister Family. We continue to be impressed with Jenny's original styles in hats, t-shirts, hoodies, and other Gladwin Cover Dog Trial casual wear! Our judges did a fine job, some coming from quite a distance, and their decisions were well received. We were excited to see new trialers, a few different breeds (human and canine alike), and participants from across the Midwest and our northern border. We hope you enjoyed the weekend and will return for more this summer and fall. God Bless!
Meredith, Mich., April 29
Judges: Scott Borgeson and Trey Rector
OPEN SHOOTING DOG - 5 Pointers, 43 Setters and 3 Brittanys
1st--BACK CREEK LUCY, 1683067, setter female, by Peyton's Legacy Kip-Girl's Little Dixie. Steve Graham, owner; Richard Hollister, handler.
2d--TRAVEL ALERT, 1665621, setter male, by Moss Meadow Traveler-Wild Katrun. Harold Holmes, owner and handler.
3d--PINE STRAW FATBOTTOM GIRL, 1692898, setter female, by Erin's Hidden Shamrock-Pine Straw Sweet Tea. Dale Ash & Michael Reeves, owners; Dale Ash, handler.
Judges: Scott Luther and Adam Thomas
OPEN PUPPY - 6 Pointers, 9 Setters, 1 German Shorthair and 1 German Wirehaired
1st--DUNROVENS MIGHTNIGHT EVE, 1702222, setter female, by Grouse Hill Bullet Proof-Hunter Run's Maggie Mae. Jessica Hollister, owner; Richard Hollister, handler.
2d--BAXTER'S DOC HOLIDAY, 1701013, setter male, by Thornapple Casey-Baxter's Mary Katherine. Brent & Denise Peters, owners; Brent Peters, handler.
3d--VITALI'S GROUSE RINGER BREW, 1700649, setter male, by Vitali's Grouseringer Stogey-Vitali's Grouseringer Razzle. Gary Vitali, owner and handler.
Open Puppy Winners (l-r): Adam Thomas (judge), Rich Hollister with Dunrovens Midnight Eve, Brent Peters with Baxter's Doc Holiday, Scott Luther (judge), and Gary Vitali with Vitali's Grouse Ringer Brew.
Judges: Marc Dozeman and Bob Wheelock
JACK PLYLER OPEN DERBY CLASSIC - 12 Pointers, 21 Setters, 1 Brittany and 1 Irish Setter
1st--ROCK SOLID RONNIE, 1700176, setter female, by Lightning Flash Remington-Grouse Ridge Lazer. Douglas Dix, owner; Marc Forman, handler.
2d--MEREDITH GRADE PENNY, 1694628, setter female, by Ponderosa Mac-Eldridge's Beauty and Beast. Dennis Keysor, owner; Scott Chaffee, handler.
3d--MERIDITH GRADE LONGSHOT, 1699460, setter male, by Pine Straw Black Hawk-Pine Straw's Tupelo Honey. Dennis Keysor, owner; Scott Chaffee, handler.
Jack Plyler Derby Classic Winners (l-r): Marc Forman with Rock Solid Ronnie, Marc Dozeman (judge), Scott Chaffee with Meredith Grade Penny, Bob Wheelock (judge), and Denny Keysor with Meridith Grade Longshot.
Judges: Tammy Chaffee and Kenny DeLong
OPEN RESTRICTED SHOOTING DOG - 1 Brittany, 2 Irish Setters and 1 Munsterlander
1st--KAN POINT N BAX STARS MAXD OUT, 1696364, German Shorthair male, by Bax Star's Doc Holiday-Kan Point's Summer Lovin. Shane & Christine Baxter, owners; Shane Baxter, handler.
2d--CONNEAUT CREEK ROISIN DUBH, 1661626, Irish setter female, by Come Back Cutter-Come Back Bee Gee. Al Fazenbaker, owner and handler.
3d--CONNEAUT CREEK SCENIC RIVER, 1693481, Irish setter female, by Cedar Creek Talon-Cedar Creek's Skyline Belle. Al Fazenbaker & Ed Liermann, owners; Al Fazenbaker, handler.
Open Restricted Breed Shooting Dog Winners (l-r): Shane Baxter with Kan Point N Bax Stars Maxd Out, Kenny DeLong (judge), Brent Peters with Conneaut Creek Roisin Dubh, Tammy Chaffee (judge), and Al Fazenbaker with Conneaut Creek Scenic River.