American Field

Field Trial Report

Midwestern States Shooting Dog Futurity

By Tony King | Aug 09, 2018
Futurity Winners. In foreground, from left: Laura Perkins with Grand River Mayday, Stacy Perkins with World Class Extreme Machine, Gordon Hazlewood with Levi Express Visa and Harold Gearhart with Topp’s First J R. Behind: John Van Horn and Judges Greg Gibson and Bob Lais.

Grovespring, Mo. — This year’s Midwestern States Shooting Dog Futurity provided an entertaining and appealing event for everyone in attendance. After cancelling the previous year’s running due to scheduling conflicts, this year’s 20-dog entry was a breath of fresh air that provided a rejuvenated spirit to run Derbies.

As always, the Midwestern States Shooting Dog Futurity team of Jason Kemna, Jerry Hailey and Tony King worked hard to create a wonderful and successful stake. This year’s event was not only highlighted by quality Derby performances but also maintained the convivial sportsmanship that everyone looks forward to each spring!

Sticking with tradition, there was a Friday evening Futurity dinner that featured wonderful grilled food with all the fixings prepared by board member Jason Kemna. Laura Perkins and her family also pitched in to prepare many of the side dishes. This supper is special to the program as it affords the opportunity to give thanks to owners, breeders and handlers in attendance. Also it provides the perfect stage to announce the callback dogs for the following day’s running and give away many of the gifts provided at this trial.

The MWSD Futurity has been successful not only due to the great team of board members who help run the trial each year but also due to the challenging features the Futurity design provides. The Futurity is an endurance stake with a 30-minute qualifying series and a one-hour callback to win. In the one-hour callback, the judges have the ability to brace the dogs that they choose and to place them in the running order they deem necessary. The integrity of this stake and the type of dog that takes to win it, sets it apart from many of the country’s other shooting dog Derby stakes.

The original plan for this trial was created as a shooting dog Derby stake that focuses on showcasing young dogs that potentially could be the future for the sport of field trialing and breed improvement. This trial gives breeders, judges, handlers and participants the opportunity to evaluate young dogs during the peak of the Derby development stage. One can evaluate such aspects as biddability, nose, trainability, style, stamina, presence around game and competitiveness at this trial. It is quite interesting to see the changes from the qualifying series to the one-hour callbacks. Endurance Futurities are unique in the fact that this format is conducive to giving the breeder, owner and handler an opportunity to witness their respective programs in action. The MWSD Board of Directors wishes to maintain the format and holds this field trial in high regard as one of the country’s premier shooting dog Derby stakes.

The Futurity would not be possible without its two primary sponsors. Purina and SportDog have been with the program since its rebirth and continue to be a mainstay for supporting and promoting the Futurity program. As with so many trials, Purina once again provided dog food for the winners. And SportDog provided two e-collars for the first and second place winners. One cannot express the gratitude we have for these gracious sponsors. The Midwestern States Futurity Board would like to thank them for their continued support and stalwart presence in the field trial world.

Another custom the Futurity Board believes in is giving back to its owners, breeders and handlers. In addition to the monetary payout for the winning handlers, each winning owner and handler receives custom engraved metal signs from Mustang Metals unique to the MWSD trial. Finally the first place winning handler receives a custom leather scabbard. The remaining winners receive leather tack from Borntrager Leather Company of Clark, Mo.

After judging the Missouri Open Shooting Dog Championship, Greg Gibson of Goddard, Mo., and Bob Lais of Wichita, Kan., agreed to remain in the saddle to judge the Futurity.

Although neither had ever run in the MWSD Futurity, their knowledge in breeding, developing and competing Derbies is unsurpassed For many years Greg and Bob have raised and trained their own field trial strings and competed in many Derby stakes throughout the Midwest. They understand that the goal of judging Futurity Derbies is to judge potential. They are honest, fair and decisive. The Futurity Board can’t thank them enough for their time in the saddle and attention to detail while judging the Midwestern States Shooting Dog Futurity.

This year the MWSD Board decided in order to prevent conflicting with other championship venues in the Midwest and to help maximize participation that it would be best suited to run the Futurity after the Missouri Open Championship. This arrangement paid off as a healthy entry of 20 Derbies was turned loose at this year’s running. All of the owners, breeders and handlers are critical and equally important to the Futurity process. It must be noted that Harold Gearhart entered nine Derbies to support this year’s trial. After running in nine of the ten qualifying braces, Harold was exhausted and deserves a big shout out for his commitment to this year’s event.

The Winners

Littermates Grand River Mayday (May), owned at the time of running by Grand River Kennels and handled by Stacy Perkins, and World Class Extreme Machine (Ted), owned by Brian Hamilton, Mick Marietta, and Bill Cignetti and also handled by Stacy Perkins, earned the first and second place Futurity honors. Bill Cignetti is credited with breeding the litter.

This brother and sister dynamic duo sired by Miller’s Happy Jack and World Class Snow put on a classy, mature, two day bird-finding and handling demonstration. May and Ted both exhibited the necessary class, speed, biddability, and mature bird work throughout this endurance stake. They both possessed the grit and mental stability to handle the pressures of the two days of running.

In the qualifying series, each of these young talents had nice pieces of bird work and solid 30-minute performances to earn the opportunity to be called back. In the one hour finals, May showed her talents and extremely good nose by having multiple dug up woodcock finds on course No. 2. Throughout her hour she punched the front end with speed and grace. Her snappy gait and willingness to handle earned this fancy white and liver female the top laurels. Her display of natural ability and sharpness around game might have been the separating factor between these two littermates.

Not to be outdone by his sister, Extreme Machine was also sharp throughout. In the final series this powerfully built white and orange pointer male provided an upfront running performance coupled with four mature finds. At times he filled the country with his own brand of speed and animation all the while meeting the necessary criteria of becoming a future champion and earning the second place spot.

John Van Horn’s young setter talent Levi Express Visa put down what could be described as the most workman-like effort in two days of the Futurity. The white and orange stoutly built setter male showed thorough, steady and consistent for two days while all the time maintaining contact with his owner-handler. Levi showed maturity around game and a pin-point nose.

Virgil Moore of Canyon, Tex., is shown as Visa’s breeder.

In his initial series, he earned callback honors by putting down a smooth up front, not extreme, but consistent application with a very nice piece of bird work. In the final series, Levi went to work in the same manner having three clean finds and displaying a nice back on course No. 3. Levi ran the country with a smooth gait and a lofty style. Although a bigger Derby, Levi handles his size gracefully and moves nicely. Levi

definitely displayed some of representative traits of his sire and previous Futurity contender Oklahoma Credit Card. Levi is a very nice Derby and should mature into a topshelf contender.

Topp’s First J R, a handsomely built white and black pointer male handled by Harold Gearhart for owners Luke and Ria Topp, earned the final placement in this year’s Futurity. J R is by Merrihill’s Bravo and Dave Merritt’s winning female Aaron’s Mae Be Good. Dave Merritt bred the litter.

Right out of the gate it was apparent that Luke had wild bird hunted J R all season as his approach varied and adapted to course changes.

In the initial series, J R rendered a very smooth, forward shooting dog race coupled with a dug up find. In his final hour J R again applied himself well with a powerful, searching performance and four pieces of bird work. J R is a classy animal and shows extreme style around game. For a young dog, he possesses a tremendous nose and stands back off his birds. His search was animated and classy. In the final hour, it was apparent as the brace went on this youthful competitor struggled to resist the temptations of so many bird contacts. If Topp’s First J R continues to develop, he too should have the capability of becoming a worthy competitor and one that owners Luke and Ria will be proud of.

In conclusion, this year’s Midwestern States Futurity was a tremendous success. All of the winners, the callback dogs and many of the other participants demonstrated the sound efforts of well-planned breedings. The Midwestern States Shooting Dog Futurity would like to thank all of the breeders, owners and handlers who continually support this program. Each year the Futurity’s success is based on a new crop of young Derby prospects. Without the continued support of breeders nominating litters and owners putting their Derby prospects in the capable hands of pro trainers or amateur owners running their own dogs this unique endurance stake would not succeed. The MWSD Futurity Board of Directors would like to thank each and every one involved in raising litters, developing puppies and bringing capable Derbies to this event. Over the last several years, this program has maintained a steady course and the future looks bright.

Grovespring, Mo., March 8

Judges: Greg Gibson and Bob Lais


[30-Minute Qualifying Heats; One-Hour Finals] 15 Pointers and 5 Setters

1st—GRAND RIVER MAYDAY, 1676398, pointer female, by Miller’s Happy Jack—World Class Snow. Grand River Kennels, owner; Stacy Perkins, handler.

2d—WORLD CLASS EXTREME MACHINE, 1669614, pointer male, by Miller’s Happy Jack—World Class Snow. Brian Hamilton, Mick Marietta & Bill Cignetti, owners; Stacy Perkins, handler.

3d—LEVI EXPRESS VISA, 1667037, setter male, by Oklahoma Credit Card—Signature Ridge Cody. John Van Horn, Jr., owner and handler.

4th—TOPP’S FIRST J R, 1672426, pointer male, by Merrihill’s Bravo—Aaron’s Mae Be Good. Luke & Ria Topp, owners; Harold Gearhart, handler.

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