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Event: Grouse Hill Bullet Proof Wins David Fletcher Open Walking Shooting Dog Classic
Result: Wolverine Field Trial Club

Location: Highland, Michigan

Post Date: Jul 24, 2023

Submitted By: Dave A. Fletcher

Wolverine fletcher osds23

Dave Fletcher Open Walking Shooting Dog Classic Winners (l-r): Bryan Wood, Scott Forman (handler) with Grouse Hill Bullet Proof, Leann Parnell (judge), Robert Ecker (handler) with Blue Ribbon's Harper Bella, Bob Wheelock (judge), and Arthur Bruno (owner and handler) with Bruno's Piney Run Pearl.

The Wolverine Field Trial Club, one of the oldest in Michigan in what a scribe calls the "modern age" of field trials in the state of Michigan, held its Mother's Day renewal May 12-13 over fine grounds at Highland Recreation Area near Milford, Mich.

When I refer to the "modern age" of Michigan field trials, we remember the 1970s when the late Oliver De Luca founded the Club in 1978, and Jim Cipponeri quickly joined him to help manage the Wolverine Club affairs. The club had 77 entries in the inaugural event in 1978 at the Highland grounds. I also want to make readers aware of the "early age" of field trials in Michigan when the Detroit and Brooklyn Shooting Club staged events in 1895 at Brooklyn, Mich., and the Michigan Field Trial Association held "Wild Quail" trials at Lakeview, Mich., in 1898 and 1899. Another chapter could be written about the early trials over the Gladwin Field Trial Area in the 1920s and the "Fort Custer" military venue in the 1940s at Battle Creek, Mich., at which major circuit trainers competed after their summer training on the prairies of
Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

President Jim Cipponeri was ever present, attending to all the trial duties, as his predecessor Oliver De Luca had done for some 40 years with the Wolverine Club, and his organizational skills and help from his wife Connie kept the event running smoothly. The trial was completed in two days, Friday and Saturday leaving Sunday, Mother's Day, open for participants to be with family.

Weather for the trial was of the usual May variety, cool in the low 50s at morning breakaways and into the high 70s or 80s after the luncheon. Mostly overcast, there were moments of misty rain, but it was bird-finding weather throughout both trial days. The cover on the Highland course was ideal after winter snows had flattened thick grassy areas. With little water available to the dogs on the courses, large tubs were put out on the course route where dogs can drink or be immersed and refreshed. Paul Tutro, in addition to bird release on the courses each day, looked after putting out the water tubs, and the Club thanks him for his accomplishment of these tasks. Another thank you to Paul comes from bringing the quail to the grounds from the Rob Vermeesh facility near Port Huron, Mich. We also thank Fletcher Printing for donating the three walnut plaques for the Fletcher Classic. Brian Wood announced all braces at the starting line each day. Smooth riding, mannerly horses were furnished by Rich Hollister. Jennifer Hollister introduced her line of Wolverine Club monogrammed hats, shirts, and other items. We also thank Greg Blair and Purina for their continuing support.

Judges for the Fletcher Classic were Bob Wheelock and Leanne Parnell. Judging the remaining stakes were Ken DeLong, Rich Hollister, Bill Klenner, Shawn McKellop, Paul Renius, Jim Cipponeri, and Ron Sposita.

Open Walking Puppy
Rockland Ridge Rocky was the star of the Walking Puppy stake. This contender hunted all the good-looking places, looked good moving, and ran and finished strongly. Slightly less in overall performance, yet displaying plenty of potential, were Rolling Stone, second, and Midnight Eve, third. Several more in this fine stake gave evidence they will be heard from in future events.

Highland, Mich., May 12
Judges: Leann Parnell and Ken DeLong
OPEN WALKING PUPPY - 5 Pointers and 6 Setters

1st--ROCKLAND RIDGE ROCKY, 1700815, setter male, by Grouse Hill Bullet Proof-Spata Setters Sally. Gary Chlapaty, owner; Robert Ecker, handler.
2d--HIFIVES ROLLING STONE, 1701648, pointer male, by Titanium's Hammer-Hifive's Allisin. John Paul Jones, owner and handler.
3d--DUNROVENS MIDNIGHT EVE, 1702222, setter female, by Grouse Hill Bullet Proof-Hunter Run's Maggie Mae. Jessica Hollister, owner; Richard Hollister, handler.

The Fletcher Classic
In its 15th renewal, the Fletcher Classic is the Wolverine Club's premier stake. It began 15 years ago, hosted by the Southwest Michigan/Kalamazoo Club inaugurated by Club member Mike Traxler and was later moved to Oliver De Luca's Wolverine Club to bring them help with their walking stakes, as the Club had run horseback stakes almost exclusively prior to the move.

Brace No. 4 was away at 11:31 on Friday, the initial day. The brace was a great one featuring Larry, a setter male handled by Rich Hollister, and Blue Ribbon's Harper Bella, a pointer female handled by Robert Ecker; she the recent winner of the U. S. Complete Great Lakes Regional Shooting Dog Championship over these Highland grounds. It was a great brace, both hunting the course route, wide at times, very diligently, and always striding to the front. Harper finished second, and had two excellent quail finds, was never behind the gallery, and finished
strong out front. Bracemate Larry was not far behind performance-wise and rendered two good finds and two backs. Judges carried both dogs to the final part of the stake for a placement.

Brace No. 9 turned loose at 11:45 Saturday, the second day. Bruno's Piney Run Pearl was sent to hunt. This Brittany gave us a very exciting 30 minutes. Pearl was on point at 4, standing in an open field area, lofty and solid on point. Bracemate roared in, did not honor the stand, and almost turned a somersault to point. The quail came up, bracemate going with it, and Bronco remained rocksteady and unconcerned. Bronco was a delight to watch, pretty in motion and racing to new cover. Near time, Bronco went in some cover that no others had searched, pointed at woodcock nicely, and again was stylish and rocksteady to the flush. Her performance made it three excellent dogs in the stake vying for a placement.

In brace No. 11, released at 5:56 on Saturday, were Grouse Hill Bullet Proof, a setter male handled by Scott Forman, paired with Bo of Piney Woods, handled by Robert Ecker. Proof's hunting was immediately impressive. His range, drive, and hunting of all the forward cover soon gave evidence that this could be the finest hunting effort seen so far in the stake. Next came two immaculate quail finds, style and manners superb. Proof was still going to the best-looking places and hunting with power as the pickup order came. His effort topped the Fletcher Classic.

Other starters included Annie, Zip, Kona, Lucy, Meg, and Soozie, handled by Rich Hollister; Ramapo Mountain Doc, Dun Rovens Midnight Ike, Glassilaun War Paint, Attitude's True Grit, and Sterlingworth Jack, handled by Robert Ecker; Mags and Bull, handled by Scott Forman; Penny handled by Robert Ellis; Justice and Shooter, handled by Ken De Long; Bo, handled by Bill Darr; and Luther, handled by Mike Brown.

Judges: Leann Parnell and Bob Wheelock
DAVE FLETCHER OPEN WALKING SHOOTING DOG CLASSIC - 7 Pointers, 15 Setters and 2 Brittanys

1st--GROUSE HILL BULLET PROOF, 1664897, setter male, by Waymaker Super Sam-Vitali Grouseringer Purdy. Giovanni Capocci, owner, Scott Forman, handler.
2d--BLUE RIBBON'S HARPER BELLA, 1682768, pointer female, by Bud of Piney Woods-Blue Ribbon Bella. Marty Festa, owner, Robert Ecker, handler.
3d--BRUNO'S PINEY RUN PEARL, 1690605, Brittany female, by Piney Run Jake-Piney Run Candy. Arthur Bruno, owner and handler.

Open Walking Derby
With sixteen entries in the Open Walking Derby, one expected great hunting, lots of bird work, and some rewarding performances; that did not happen. The three dogs placed were placed on their hunting effort without contact with quail. It was a very hot day, well over 80 degrees, and the heat surely affected every dog in the stake. The winners, Kaia first and Rolling Stone third, handled by owner John Paul Jones and Cover Queen, handled by owner Robert Ellis defied the heat and went hard the full heat to claim their placements.

wolverine ods23

Open Walking Derby Winners (l-r): John Paul Jones with Speed Dialing Kaia, Bob Wheelock (judge), Robert Ellis with Pine Straw's Cover Queen, Sean McKellop (judge), and Bryan Wood
with Hifives Rolling Stone.

Judges: Bob Wheelock and Sean McKellop
OPEN WALKING DERBY - 10 Pointers, 5 Setters and 1 Irish Setter

1st--SPEED DIALING KAIA, 1696795, pointer female, by Miller's Speed Dial-Phantom's Santo Sun. John Paul Jones, owner and handler.
2d--PINE STRAW'S COVER QUEEN, 1698320, setter female, by Pine Straw Black Hawk-Pine Straw's Tupelo Honey. Robert Ellis, owner and handler.
3d--HIFIVES ROLLING STONE, 1701648, pointer male, by Titanium's Hammer-Hifives Allisin. John Paul Jones, owner and handler.

Open Horseback Shooting Dog
Jim Cipponeri's Boss topped the stake with great hunting, a very forward hunting pattern, and found and handled quail with style and manners. With excellent hunting efforts but no birds, Tom Vanecek's Beauregard was second, and Bill Darr's Mercury Bo third.

Judges: William Klenner and Richard Hollister
OPEN HORSEBACK SHOOTING DOG - 2 pointers and 5 setters

1st--CRIME BOSS, 1684310, setter male, by Thornapple Hawk-Boondocks Karens Annie Girl. Will Langley, owner; Jim Cipponeri, handler.
2d--BAD RIVER BEAUREGARD, 1665144, setter male, by T's Nickleback-Straight Up Skydancing Lady. Tom Vanecek, owner and handler.
3d--FLYING MERCURY BO, 1699724, pointer, by Erin's Country Rebel-Erin's Miss Daisy. William Darr, owner and handler.

Amateur Horseback Shooting Dog
Great forward hunting and a dug-up find on quail took first place for Jim Cipponeri's Boss. Second was Tom Vanecek's Riley, with an outstanding hunting performance but no birds.

Judges: Paul Renius and Ron Sposita

1st--CRIME BOSS, 1684310, setter male, by Thornapple Hawk-Boondocks Karens Annie Girl. Will Langley, owner, Jim Cipponeri, handler.
2d--BAD RIVER RYLAND, 1687379, setter female, by T's Gunslinger-T's Unjaded. Tom Vanecek, owner and handler.

wolverine o&asd s23

Open and Amateur Horseback Shooting Dog Winner (front): Jim Cipponeri (handler) with Crime Boss. (Behind, l-r): Will Langley, Rich Hollister (judge), and Andy Johnson.

Open Horseback Derby
Joe Guzman's littermate pointers took first and third places with very good hunting efforts and good derby bird work. Ron Sposita's Katie, another littermate pointer female who had an excellent search for birds, stayed forward and had one nice find. Three dogs showed their composure and pleasant stature around Quail.

Judges: William Klenner and Richard Hollister

1st--WINDFALL MACKINAW STRAIGHTS, 1701992, male, by Knight's Last Chipster-Windfall Queen of Soul. Joe Guzman, owner and handler.
2d--DUKE'S C C KATIE, 1699933, female, by Knight's Last Chipster-Windfall Queen of Soul. Ron Sposita, owner and handler.