American Field

Field Trial Report

Wisconsin Cover Dog Championship

By Brent Sittlow | Nov 13, 2021
Championship. From left to Right. Tammy Chaffee, Scott Chaffee with Champion Ponderosa Mac, Judge Craig Merlington, Judge Larry Guild, and Rod Lein with Runner Up Champion Over The Hill Patty.

Augusta, Wis. — Boy, it was hot! A long, hot summer in Wisconsin carried over into September and October with unseasonable weather. It was downright uncomfortable to be in the woods temperatures quickly climbing through the 70s and topping out in the mid-80s each day. Light breeze and humidity made the mosquitos even thirstier.

There is no question the conditions hampered the trial, especially the afternoon braces. But the show must go on. To our delight, a good number of dogs got it done on the ground, and put themselves on a good mixture of woodcock and grouse, that these grounds are noted for.

Another thing these grounds are noted for is groomed trails that the club prunes and cuts each summer in preparation for the fall trials. Roger King led all contestants by logging the most hours in the woods with pruning equipment. Tom Goltz, Denny Bauman, Randy Bruder, Mike Luebke, Rod Lein, Brent Sittlow, Graham Sittlow, and Larry Davidson all tried to keep up, as we pitched in as much as our summer schedules would allow.

Of course all of this great woodcock and grouse cover would not be possible or accessible without the fine work that the Eau Claire County Parks and Forestry Department does on these multi-use grounds. Our club has developed a great relationship with the department, and are grateful for their endorsement, of our frivolities in their woods.

The Chippewa Valley Grouse Dog Club of Wisconsin is also very grateful to Purina, who once again sponsored this Championship. Purina, and Greg Blair, are easy to work with, support the sport, and have an excellent product that nearly every person I know feeds. That’s a great combination, and we thank you for that!

Judging the 2021 this renewal were Craig Merlington of Michigan, and Larry Guild of Jordan, Minn. Craig joined us many years back as a patron, when he brought a fine pair of setters to these grounds. Those setters would go on to win many trials, including big stake championships, across the county. His common sense and hardworking attitude and demeanor made spending the day with him a pleasure. It was blessing to have him back in Wisconsin to preside over our championship, and we hope to have him return again someday, when his busy schedule allows.

Larry Guild is a no stranger to our club. In fact, I think just about everybody that I know would call him a true friend. He has a key eye, good stamina, and a smooth personality that makes running under him a good proposition for anyone in the trial. Larry is a highly sought-after judge, and we were overjoyed when he agreed to come back to Wisconsin again. Thank you both!


Ponderosa Mac (Chaffee) was cut loose on the second brace of day No. 2, covering the Gasline Course. He was everything that you would ask for in a cover dog. Big forward casts that put him on birds three times with immaculate style. A woodcock find at 10 got the ball rolling. A lengthy search at 45 found him in front of a pair of woodcock. A final find, at 58, making full use of his hour, was icing on the cake.

This was Mac’s third Cover Dog Championship in Wisconsin, equaling Bloom’s Ole Dollar (Lance Bressler), which is the only other dog to engrave its name on the trophy three times.

Over The Hill Patty (Rod Lein) also had the Gasline Course, but on day No. 1. The diminutive and flashy pointer, ran a perfectly flowing, forward race that finished as good as it started. She scored a single woodcock fine on the second half of her hour, with impeccable style, and made it stand up for the duration.


Other notables included Fireside Aiden (Chaffee), which carded two grouse, and two stops to flush.  Good style on his birds and gave it his all on the Highline Course.  Rebellious Fearless Fred (Luebke) is a consummate contender on these grounds and was just a few minutes short of completing a tremendous hour. A great find on a pair of grouse, in an alder run, on the Stokley Diablo Jake course had him in the driver’s seat, until he hit a wall at 55 in 80 plus degree weather.

Thornapple Casey (Minard) was braced with the winner, and added a woodcock find to their fine hour together.  Grouse Trail’s Cracker Jack (McKellop) earned the bird finder title of the stake with 4 finds. Two on grouse and two on woodcock, on the Horse Creek Course. Brushville Burton Spencer (Waite) might have had the most impressive ground race; giving it all he had for 60 minutes in 83° weather, but came up birdless on the County H course. Flycast Rollie Fingers (Chaffee) made a good go of it, by carding two separate grouse, each late in the hour. Leslie’s Jigster (Foreman) nearly matched the runner-up in their hour together, but just wasn’t quite as crisp on the ground.

Augusta, Wis., September 29

Judges: Larry Guild and Craig Merlington


[One-Hour Heats] — 15 Pointers, 21 Setters, 1 Brittany

and 2 Irish Setters

Winner—PONDEROSA MAC, 1645586, setter male, by Jetwood—Cooper Mountain Pepsi. Steve Snyder, owner; Scott Chaffee, handler.

Runner-Up—OVER THE HILL PATTY, 1659908, pointer female, by Go Johnny Go—Beaver Creek Lucy. Rod Lein, owner and handler.


The Derby entry was robust.  The contestants used four courses in rotation, to prove their potential to Judges Brent Sittlow and Larry Davidson.

Coming out on top was setter male I’m Easy Money (Peterson) that logged a solid grouse find, late in the hour to go along with an acceptable Derby race. Dale Creek Movin Maeve (Waite) laid down a steady and mature ground race that many shooting dogs can’t live up to.  Third place was awarded to Northern Lights Elara (Degitz) which was pleasing to the eye on her trip around the East County H course.

Judges: Larry Davidson and Brent Sittlow

OPEN DERBY — 15 Entries

1st—I’M EASY MONEY, 1693862, setter male, by Jetwood—I’m Blue Who. Kyle Peterson, owner and handler.

2d—DALE CREEK MOVIN MAEVE, 1692730, pointer female, by Boumeester’s Duramax—Oday Nation. Andrea Ward, owner; Tom Waite, handler.

3d—NORTHERN LIGHTS ELARA, 1697276, setter female, by Northern Lights Sirius—Lake Effect Tilly. Sigmund Degitz, owner and handler.

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