American Field

Field Trial Report

Region 13 Amateur Shooting Dog Championship

By Jim Cipponeri | Nov 22, 2021
The Winners. From left to right: Blake Rizzo, Chris Catanzarite with Springflow's Backcountry P, Judges Bill Klenner and Jim Yates; Ron Williams, Dr. Allen Dunbar with G F Texas Ranger, Jim Cipponeri and Chris Cagle.

Inonia, Mich. — The Region 13 Amateur Shooting Dog Championship was run the first weekend of November at the Ionia Recreation Area which sits halfway between Lansing and Grand Rapids, Mich. (thirty minutes from each city).

Region 13 officers and Canadian residents Jeff and Matthew Haggis were unable to attend due to long lasting COVID border restrictions that were not lifted until the day after the conclusion of the Championship. Jeff was in constant contact with myself and other Michiganders throughout the days leading up to and during the trial.

Nestle Purina once again sponsored the trial and offered product and financial assistance as usual.Without their participation it would be very difficult for most clubs to put on a top notch event.

Ron Williams manned the dog wagon and made sure dogs were on the line and readily available at the various breakaway sites.

Kelsie Hajek, Chris Cagle and Sandy Maclain provided snacks and refreshments throughout the weekend.

The Championship was very fortunate to secure two judges of the caliber of Bill Klenner of Belleville, Mich., and Jim Yates of Pinckey, Mich. Both men have a reputation for honesty and integrity and each has been around field trials for over 45 years. It was obvious they enjoy this great sport of field rrialing from all levels.

Participants came from Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Before dawn, bird planters Ron Sposita and Blake Rizzo loaded up the bird bags and saddled their horses. Then they had to contend with below freezing temperatures and several antagonistic bow hunters. The entire loop from headquarters on Harwood Road to the oak tree along Riverside drive takes well over a hour to complete.The course crosses three creeks and several steep hills and winds through fields, swamps and woods. Temperatures eventually warmed to the mid-40s throughout both days.


Hard to believe this was the first time Chris Catanzarite competed at Ionia. Chris was impressed with the facilities and course and commented, "I'll Be Back, win or lose."

Well, this year he won!

He co-owns the winner Springflow Backcountry P with Rick Beinhauer who are both from Pennsylvania. Backcountry P is the reigning Purina Amateur Shooting Dog of the Year (2020-2021).

The white and liver ticked pointer male was braced with Jack's Rockin Rocco in the sixth and final brace on Saturday. They were released from the farthest point west under the "old oak tree" along Riverside Drive three miles east of the little hamlet of Saranac. Breakaway was deep to the front as both dogs showed two times before the "Woods Chute". Here, Backcountry P established point on fencerow that leads from a old rock pile to Fletcher's Pond. A very lenghty attempt and relocation effort proved fruitless. P then crossed near the Sheriff's Posse Station and through Tibbets Creek where he took in the long fencerows with speed and purpose before heading up Heartbreak Hill.

P caught up with Rocco at the Guard Rail crossing on Ainsworth Road then had to be scouted hard for the next few minutes. P looked strong heading toward the gravel pit then had a superb find with good style and intensity at the 41-minute mark. His second and final find was in front of the trail riders staging area once again good manners at flush and shot. His hour ended just before the dogleg. The brace covered a lot of ground and P still exhibited plenty of vibrancy and stamina at the finish.

Runner-up champion, G F Texas Ranger (call name Joe), ran in the very first brace. Joe is a third year dog, but actually missed the majority of his first and second due to trials being cancelled due to COVID and handler's medical issues.

The classy five-year-old white and orange setter male ran with a snappy twelve o'clock tail, and was always to the front, hitting available objectives. Joe and Tim McClurg's Mac's Real McCoy  broke away from behind the clubhouse. Joe scored his first find on the hedgerow in Hires Field. Excellent composure throughout flush and shot. Real McCoy had a superb large covey find in sorghum patch where half the bevy flushed on state land and the other flushed at shot on private land. Entering the  "Old Barn Field" Joe scored again on the right side, with a single bird flushed.

After crossing the Boy Scout bridge and going up and over Logan's Lookout he entered the Christmas Tree fields, which he rimmed perfectly. A lone bird had wandered onto the edge, flushing at his approach; a perfectly mannered stop to flush occurred. We then crossed Sessions Creek and continued up through the apple orchard where he was found in the big bottom across from the shotgun range. He was hunting hard, checking the treelines, and finished going up the hill at the "Big Oak".

Ionia, Mich., November 6 — One Course

Judges: Bill Klenner and Jim Yates


[One-Hour Heats] — 15 Pointers and 7 Setters

Winner—SPRINGFLOW’S BACKCOUNTRY P, 1673025, pointer male, by Coosawatchie Smooth Ride—Backcountry Bonnie. Rick Beinhauer & Chris Catanzarite, owners; Chris Catanzarite, handler.

Runner-Up—G F TEXAS RANGER, 1679543, setter male, by Hytest Palladin—Wynona’s Shamrock Buffet. Dr. Allen Dunbar, owner and handler.

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