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Field Trial Report

Region 3 Amateur Shooting Dog Championship

By Phil Townley | Apr 17, 2017
Waybetter Rocky Winner of the Region 3 Amateur Shooting Dog Championship

South Hill, Va. — The 2017 running of the Region 3 Amateur Shooting Dog Championship, sponsored by the Amateur Field Trial Clubs of America (AFTCA) and Nestlé Purina, utilized the Dick Cross Wildlife Management Area, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The Dick Cross Area, located near Boydton, Va., just west of South Hill, is made up of rolling countryside, open winter wheat fields, broomstraw and briar patches lined with hardwood, pine, autumn olive thickets, and water impoundments.

A group called The Friends of Dick Cross, which was formed by several members of field trial clubs utilizing the area, have funded the mowing of the field trial courses and most recently the hiring of a mulching machine to retake some of the open spaces taken over by autumn olive. In addition to the mowing and mulching, the group performed several maintenance tasks at the clubhouse, barn, stalls and kennels. We appreciate the efforts of The Friends of Dick Cross and applaud them for their efforts.

The 2017 Championship drew 33 dogs; 31 of which went to the line.

Judges Bruce Conover of South Boston, Va., and Eric Russell of Cameron, N. C., named Waybetter Rocky, pointer male owned by Collin and Carl Bishop of Punxsutawney, Pa., and Muriel Primm of Cream Ridge, N. J.,  and handled by Carl Bishop, as the Region 3 Champion.

Rocky drew the first brace of the three-day trial, braced with Dry Creek Geronimo, pointer male handled by Jeff Smith. Rocky and Geronimo broke away from the “Y” in the road near the clubhouse about 8 a. m., on Friday, March 10, the morning temperature already a warming 54°. Just past the cabin at 20 Jeff Smith didn’t like what he was seeing and picked up Dry Creek Geronimo.

At 28 Rocky  pointed in the hedgerow in the long field after crossing the dam. Rocky was standing in the field near the hedgerow and was very intense, holding tight for the flush and shot. At 33 Rocky was pointing in the back edge of the “bowl” area, standing just outside the brush line. Again Rocky was staunch and held for the flush and shot. At 40 Rocky pointed his bird in the back of the train trestle field; he was on point just inside the brush line. He held tight for the flush and shot, was watered and sent on.

At 51 Rocky was found standing point on the low side of the silo field, just inside the brush line. Again Rocky was solid on his birds, holding tight until gathered up by his handler to be sent on. Just as the judges were looking at their clocks about to call time, Rocky pointed in the river bottom near the gated end. Rocky held tight as a covey lifted, birds flying in several directions, Rocky keeping his staunch style throughout flush and shot. As Rocky’s handler gathered him up, time was called. Rocky ended his brace with a grand covey find!

Judge Conover commented, “Way-better Rocky ran the course to perfection, having three finds in deep cover, found standing at ‘end of time’, and maintaining his style and intensity after each flush.”

Dry Creek White Lightning, pointer male owned and handled by Jeff Smith of Beaufort, N. C., was named runner-up. “Gus” drew the third brace with pointer male Billy Jack, handled by Tommy Brigman. But due to a stomach “bug” making several people ill Tommy was unable to make the line and scratched both of his dogs. Dry Creek White Lightning ran as a bye.

Lightning broke away at the Y near the clubhouse and was standing his first bird at 7 across the first road crossing in the strip. All was in order at flush and shot. At 13 “Gus” pointed a bird in the area known as the “triangle”; all was in order for flush and shot. At 20 Gus had his third mannerly find at the cabin. At 30 he was found by the handler standing in the woods at the top of the long field after crossing the dam. A small covey was flushed with all in order.

Released, Gus crossed the field and pointed along the woodsline. As the handler moved in for the flush, instead of a quail coming up a big black snake was seen in front of him. Very carefully Gus was collected and sent on. Judge Conover remarked jokingly that Gus should have a few points deducted

because the “handler didn’t hold long enough when he saw the black snake!”

Gus was sent on and finished in sight of the breakaway in the river bottom when time was called. Judge Conover commented, “Dry Creek White Lightning was always up front, finishing way out front in the river bottom.”

It was an honor to have two respected field trial judges such as Bruce Conover and Eric Russell preside  for this Championship. Originally Mike Hester of Mebane, N. C., was to judge but due to a conflicting prior commitment Mike was unable to judge and Eric Russell accepted the assignment.

Bruce Conover is an avid hunter and pointing dog enthusiast, competing in formal pointing dog trials for over thirty years during which time he has trained and campaigned over ten field trial dogs. Bruce has been successful in obtaining fifteen open and amateur championships under both American Field and American Kennel Club banners since 1995. His judging career spans over 22 years, 125 judging assignments during which time include judging the American Brittany National Amateur Championship (three times), the 2015 U. S. Complete Amateur Shooting Dog Championship and the 2016 Vizsla National Amateur Shooting Dog Championship. Bruce currently campaigns a pointer and several Brittanys.

Eric Russell got involved in walking field trials around 2011 after retiring after serving eighteen years in the Army. About a year ago Eric got involved in running his dogs in horseback trials. At age 43 Eric loves his pointing dogs, having kept bird dogs around most all of his life. He currently campaigns his eight to ten pointers and setters in field trial events. We thank Eric Russell for his years of service to our country.

And we thank everyone who helped make this year’s Championship successful. A lot of work goes into planning and the task of carrying out duties to keep things running smooth. A special thank you to the field trial committee which included J. J. Doyle, George Doyle, Linda and Pat Casey, Jim Jones and Jeff Smith.

George Doyle and Frank Henderson handled the dog wagon, making sure the dogs were ready at the line to keep things running smoothly.

We also thank Sharon Townley, Jeff Smith, George Doyle and Pat Casey for planting birds.

We especially want to thank J. J. and George Doyle for the wonderful meals they prepared for the handlers, guests and field trial officials. Friday’s lunch really hit the spot with a meaty and full-bodied chili which included fresh baked cornbread. Friday evening’s meal included a healthy helping of creamy cheese lasagna with fresh green salad with your favorite dressing. A special dessert prepared by the Doyles named tiramisu, meaning “the pick-me-up” was a hit. Saturday’s lunch was excellent and my favorite with a homemade creamy potato soup. Saturday evening’s meal was even better with roasted pork loin served with mushrooms reduced in port wine, roasted sweet potatoes, fresh string beans and red potatoes, garlic, parsley, butter casserole, topped off with a master salad. All meals included generous beverage servings. All meals were provided to participants, officials and guests free of charge, courtesy of Region 3. Thank you.

The Running

Friday, March 10, 54°, clear skies.

Waybetter Rocky and Dry Creek Geronimo were reported earlier.

Catch If U Can (PF/Larry King) and  Jubullee (PF/Ernie Saniga) were  away in the river bottom. At 5 Jubullee was on point in the river bottom near the gate end, Can backing, all in order. At 23 Can pointed on the edge in the train trestle field, all in order at flush and shot. At 29 Can was on point in the long field before the dam, Jubullee backing. Jubullee was moved on when Can was asked to relocate and later moved on when no bird was produced. At 34 Can pointed just before the dam crossing. After being relocated a bird was produced at 36, all in order. Jubullee had a mannerly find just before the dam at 33. At the cabin Can forgot her manners and was up at 44. Jubullee finished the course near the Y breakaway at 60.

Dry Creek White Lightning (PM/Jeff Smith) was covered earlier.

Sugarknoll Bushwacker (PM/Pete Del Collo) and Rutter’s Dusty Socks (SM/Sharon Townley) took off in the river bottom. At 7 Dusty was standing birds in the river bottom near the gate end, all in order. At 13 Bushwacker had birds pointed nicely in the silo field. At 29 Dusty found birds on the left side in the long field before the dam crossing below the cabin. All  in order here. At 29 Bushwacker pointed birds on the right side of the long field before the dam crossing and was asked to relocate before a bird was produced at 32. At 35 Bushwacker pointed at the cabin area and after an extensive search a pile of feathers was found. At 45 they were found pointing together in the strip before the last road crossing. Several birds were flushed and both handlers shot for a shared find, all in order for both dogs. Bushwacker and Dusty finished in the breakaway field at the Y. Dry Creek Jesse James (PM/Smith) and Klee’s Jake (PM/Roger Duerksen) broke away at the Y. At the cabin around 17 Jake was standing, James backing. Jake was asked to relocate and James was sent on. Eventually Jake was sent on without producing a bird, only a pile of feathers. After crossing the dam and going into the long field, both dogs were standing together for a dual find, both steady to wing and shot. James  pointed high on the silo field at 48, all in order. James found another bird at 56 in the river bottom near the gate end. He was steady to wing and shot, and finished in the river bottom when time was called at 60. Jake had been gone too long and at 60 Roger called for his retrieval device.

Sugarknoll War Paint (PM/Brian Sanchez) and Maebull (PF/Saniga) began in the river bottom. At 6 Paint was standing near the gate end, all in order. At 8 Maebull pointed a bird just before the waterfowl impoundment on the right, all in order at flush and shot. Coming into the long field before the dam crossing, Paint had a bird get up in front of him; he followed the bird across the field into a hedgerow where he pointed. Paint was up at 29. Maebull was standing a bird on the lower side of the long field before the dam crossing; all was in order. At 38 Maebull pointed at the cabin. An extensive search could not produce a bird and she was asked to relocate at 40. She flash pointed again at 41; when no bird could be produced Maebull was sent on at 43. Maebull finished in the Y breakaway field.

Day No. 2, Saturday, March 11,

temperatures in the low 30s with 5-10 mph wind; a light rain ended late morning, winds becoming very blustery in the afternoon.

Klee’s Tank (PM/Duerksen) and I’m Fast Forward (PF/Sammy Giddens) broke away at the Y in the road. At 12 Forward pointed in the triangle and after an extensive search was sent on without producing a bird. At 18 Tank was on point at the cabin, Fast Forward honoring. Tank was asked to relocate twice before his handler could get the bird to flush; all was in order. Forward was sent on after the first relocation of Tank. Tank was found on point at 29 in the long field after crossing the dam but was sent on after a hearty search could not produce a bird. Sammy called it a day at 29 after  Forward had not been seen since the cabin. Tank finished the course in the river bottom breakaway field.

Barcelona Bull (PM/Saniga) and Code Black (PM/Gene Hogge) were away in the river bottom. At 6 Bull was standing a bird in the river bottom near the gate end; all was in order at flush and shot. At 13 the scout called point for Code Black in the beginning of the silo field on the upper side, all was in order at the wing and shot. In the meantime, Bull pointed at 14 farther in the silo field a couple hundred yards past Black. A dead bird was found but Ernie was also able to flush a bird, and all was in order. At 18 Black pointed again farther into the silo field, all was in order at the flush and shot. Handlers were separated now by considerable distance but unknown to Gene, Black had caught up to Bull. A hawk flew out of the hedgerow just past the trestle field. Black went into the hedgerow and flash pointed briefly, just long enough for Bull to see him and honor the point; however, Black broke and moved on up the course. Bull remained until Ernie gathered him up and sent him on. At 35 in the long field before crossing the dam Bull pointed on the low side of the field; all in order.  Black had been seen just before the long field and not after. At 35 Hogge called for his retrieval device. At 53 Bull had another find in the strip before crossing the road and power line. Bull finished in the Y breakaway field at time.

Beechwood Madison (SF/S.Townley) and I’m Amazing Grace (PF/Giddens) left at the Y in the road. Madison pointed in the strip after crossing the road under the power line. All was in order at flush and shot. At 22 Grace had a mannerly find at the end of the long field after crossing the dam. Madison pointed at 29 in the trestle field but her handler only found a pile of feathers. At 39 Madison had a covey find on the high side of the silo field, all in order. Both dogs finished in the river bottom breakaway field at time.

Waycross (RSM/Roger Boser) and Shadow Oak Doc (SM/Sanchez) broke away in the river bottom. Doc had his first find at 6 in the river bottom near the gate end, very staunch, steady to the wing and shot. At 14 the dogs stood together in the silo field, both steady to the flush as both handlers shot for a shared find. At 22 they were found standing just above the trestle field. Brian took the back with Doc while Roger went in to flush; both were steady to the wing and shot. At 33 Doc pointed in the back of the long field before crossing the dam, standing in the field near the edge with staunch style. Waycross was observed coming down the edge toward Doc, finally coming to a stop after handler’s  command to “Whoa!” Waycross was sent on when Doc was asked to relocate. Brian eventually produced several birds that had moved deeper into the woods; all was in order to the flush and shot. At 40 Waycross pointed at the cabin. Doc came in and honored Waycross. Doc was sent on when Waycross was asked to relocate. Waycross was sent on when feathers were found. At 44 Waycross pointed above the chute going into the triangle. After an extensive search in the briar patch and two relocations could not produce a bird, Waycross was sent on. Doc had a covey find at 54 in the area behind Pino’s Restaurant parking lot, all in order at flush and shot. Doc was sent on to cross the road to the finishing field. Waycross had not been seen since the triangle. At 58 his handler called for the retrieval device.

Calico’s Cowboy Casanova (PM/Alex Smith) and I’m Double Rebel (PM/Giddens) were off at the Y in the road. At 5 Casanova was standing birds in the strip after the road crossing, Double Rebel was honoring. All was in order to the wing and shot and both were sent on. At 13 Casanova had a mannerly find in the triangle. At 18 Casanova pointed at the cabin; he was asked to relocate twice and then sent on after no bird was produced. Casanova was found on point at 29 in the long field after crossing the dam below the cabin, all in order. At the same time Double Rebel had pointed in the same field just farther down; all was in order. In the area just after leaving the bowl field, Casanova pointed at 33. After asking him to relocate and an extensive search did not produce a bird Casanova was picked up. Double Rebel finished in the river bottom field.

Redland’s Jacked Up (PM/Joe Rentz) and Touchstone (RSM/Boser) began in the river bottom. At 14 both dogs were standing together in the silo field.

Handlers moved in, flushed and shot for a mannerly divided find. At 31 Jacked Up pointed just past the bowl field, was asked to relocate, then sent on when no bird could be produced. At 35 Jacked Up pointed in the long field before crossing the dam, all was in order. Jacked Up pointed again in the long field at 36. Again all was in order here. At 42 Touchstone was on point at the cabin, all was in order. Both dogs finished the course in the breakaway field at the Y.

Day No. 3 was overcast, near 29°, 5-10 mph winds from the east.

Northern Storm Warning (PM/Roger Dvorak) and North Country Girl (PF/Dave McKay) broke away at the Y in the road at high speed. Girl had not been seen since before the cabin and handler called for the retrieval unit at 28. Storm pointed in the hedgerow to the right, coming up from the dam crossing below the cabin in some heavy cover at 30. He was asked to relocate and after a very good effort no bird could be produced. Just as Storm Warning was about to be sent on, the keen eye of Judge Eric noticed unusual behavior of the dog’s gait. A check revealed an injury to the pad of the foot. Roger indicated he was picking up his dog and rode the dog across his saddle back to the clubhouse.

J C Stoney (PM/John Campoli) and Rendition (RSM/Boser) broke away in the river bottom. At 8 scout called point behind the waterfowl impoundment dam. Handlers and judges arrived at 10 to find both dogs on point. Rendition was pointing on the outside of the brush line; Stoney was pointing just inside the cover. Both dogs were steady to the wing and both handlers shot. At 18 Stoney pointed at the silo and was asked to relocate after a bit. A bird was produced at 21, all in order. At 28 Rendition was found standing in the trestle field, was asked to relocate after a bit and a covey  lifted during the flush by his handler, all in order. At 33 Stoney pointed in the area coming into the bowl field, steady to the wing and shot. At 36 Stoney pointed in the back of the long field before the dam crossing, Rendition honoring. Rendition was sent on when Stoney was asked to relocate. After a bit Stoney’s handler produced birds at 39, all in order. At 55 after Rendition had not been seen for awhile Boser threw in the towel. Stoney finished in the breakaway field at the Y.

Redgate Sassy Pants (PF/Brent Neely) and Rockabully began at the Y in the road. At 8 Rockabully pointed across the road in the strip, was asked to relocate and handler produced a bird at 10, all in order. At 17 Rockabully pointed at the cabin and Sassy Pants honored; however, only feathers could be produced. At 23 Sassy Pants pointed just before crossing the dam below the cabin. Rockabully was honoring. Sassy Pants was asked to relocate. Rockabully was moved on and at 27 after no bird was produced Sassy Pants was moved on. At 35 Rockabully pointed in the bowl field. After an intensive search and asking Rockabully to relocate, no bird was produced. Rockabully was picked up at 38. At 54 Sassy pointed behind the waterfowl impoundment dam, all in order at wing and shot. At 59 Sassy pointed staunchly in the river bottom; handler flushed a covey, and all was in order as time was called at 60.

No Hitting No Spitting (PM/ McKay) and Rentz’s Fire and Ice (PF/Joe Rentz) were away in the river bottom. At 14 both dogs pointed at the silo field; handlers moved in for the flush and shot, a divided find in the books. At 28 Dave McKay picked up. Fire and Ice pointed at 32 in the beginning of the long field before the dam crossing, all in order for the flush and shot. Just after crossing the road at the power line at 50 Ice got birdy; a quail came up from the brush in front of her and she stopped. Rentz moved in, shot, collected Ice, moved a short distance and sent her on. In defiance of the calls from her handler, Ice went back to the area where she had just been  pointing, went deeper into the brush and pointed again. Judges returned Rentz’s retrieval unit, and she was up at 53.

Judge Conover stated, “These were tough stakes and a lot of very good dogs.”

A final note. My Garmin 62 GPS unit recorded the judges rode just over 100 miles while judging in the two and a half days, with a maximum speed of 18 mph. A true testament to the stamina these two men displayed to carry out their judicial duties despite both men wrestling with the stomach bug that debilitated so many people at the trial. My hat is off to them in respect.

Also I thank my lovely wife for loaning me her horse, offering a chance for me to give my steed a much needed break during the three day trial.

South Hill, Va., March 10 — One Course

Judges: Bruce R. Conover and Eric Russell

REGION 3 AMATEUR SHOOTING DOG

CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] — 27 Pointers, 3 Setters and

3 Irish Setters

Winner—WAYBETTER ROCKY, 1652783, pointer male, by Brown’s Tom Tom—Waybetter Reba. Carl & Collin Bishop & Muriel Primm, owners; Carl Bishop, handler.

Runner-Up—DRY CREEK WHITE LIGHTNING, 1656106, pointer male, by Sugarknoll War Paint—East Coast Jessy Jane. Jeffrey Smith, owner and handler.

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