American Field

Field Trial Report

American Brittany Club National Shooting Dog Championship

By Mike Poehler | Jan 15, 2020
The Winners and Contenders. From left: Mark Claypool, Julie Nelson-Claypool, Tommy Thomas with Turning Points Shenanigans, Bob Burchett, Rick Hastings with A Trace of Bourbon With Diamonds, Judge Brian Gingrich, Judge Bruce Conover, Tom Ettinger with Just Call Me Eli, Scott Johnson, Richard Beaver with Copley Shelttany Echo of Angels and Julio Rodriguez.

Booneville, Ark. — This first year of the combined National Championships in Boone-ville, Ark., saw a slight increase in entries with a few new faces and some missing old ones. Every dog qualified could have been entered and like the lottery, you can’t win if you don’t play!

The grounds were in wonderful shape due to a decreased growing season due to spring and early summer flooding and the wonderful mowing work by the J. Perry Mikles-Blue Mountain staff from the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission.

We used all the courses and had bird contact on each one with efficient and accurate hunting by the dogs running and influenced by changing scenting conditions.

Three hundred and fifty birds were released the evening prior to the start of the Championship and fed according to the site’s planned feeding program which allowed every dog the opportunity to have multiple finds on small groups of birds as well as large coveys throughout the event.

Corporate sponsors Purina and Garmin provided their products as well as financial support for our event. Kevin Parrish “The Saddle Guy” provided a finely tooled trophy saddle for the winner.

Purina food fuels our fine canine athletes and they provided a small bag for each dog running in the Championship, along with 375 pounds of food to be split amongst the placing dogs.

Garmin provided one of their 550 Plus track and train units with the T5 Mini collar to the winner. We cannot thank these sponsors enough for their continued support and dedication to the pursuit of healthy nutrition, training, safe recovery of our dogs, as well as the comfort of their trainers and handlers while doing their jobs. These companies make it easier and more efficient than ever to do the necessary work in preparation of a national caliber dog and we are grateful for their support.

Bob Burchett and I want to thank everyone who came to compete, watch, lend a hand and pitch in daily to make this National Championship a success. They sacrificed time away from family and the usual duties of preparation for the approaching Christmas/Hanukkah season.

Judi Tipton and her staff in the kitchen prepared three meals daily that were available to all to partake in for a very reasonable cost; not to mention their pleasantness to everyone they encountered. Robert returned to pilot the dog wagon saving the passengers from the exciting rides of the prior championship’s pilot du jour program.

Linda Thomas coordinated the hospitality of the dog wagon with assistance from the kitchen staff and their homemade cookies which were outstanding.

Pros Paul Doiron, Kyle Merrill, Steve Chang, Ed Tillson, Bob Burchett, Scott Johnson and Chad Holman, along with amateurs John Perry, Bruce Heiter, Lisa Pollock, Tommy Thomas, Rick Hastings, Vince Anderson and Frank Campbell were on hand to showcase their fine strings of dogs from across the country in pursuit of the title. Thanks for your support!

Judges were Bruce Conover from Virginia and Brian Gingrich from New Mexico, both experienced judges and dog men who were a pleasure to have adjudicate this event, with their knowledge, attentiveness and positive approach to judging each and every dog on their entire performance across the full span of the hour.

For anyone unfamiliar with the cover at Booneville, if it’s growing, it either tips, tangles or pokes you and oftentimes it does it all at once. These grounds are a true test of a dog’s abilities, conditioning and drive to seek and find birds given the cover, terrain and sheer size of the courses.

The Winners

Our 2019 National Shooting Dog Champion came from the first brace, Turning Points Shenanigans (Shandi), handled by Bob Burchett for owners Julie Nelson-Claypool and Mark Claypool of Aurora, Ill.

Shandi had a forward flowing race with consistently fast speed and a pleasing, efficient gait. She finished every move she initiated, on the edges of the course taking them to their natural conclusion. Shandi had a brief absence which she erased upon return by making a large sweeping move on the far right line, bringing the edge forward and around the entire large field, across the front and slamming on point to nail a covey 150 yards after crossing the road in the continuation of that move.

Shandi had finds at 6, 15 and the detailed find at 40; her final find was along the river bank at the end of course No. 1 near the bridge, a large covey produced here. These finds were characterized by eye-catching style and intensity on point for each of Shandi’s four coveys. Her hour finished crossing the bridge onto course No. 2 swinging the right edge all the way around and crossing the front at the culvert of the Buzzard’s Roost.

Runner-up honors came from the seventh brace, A Trace of Bourbon With Diamonds, handled by owner Rick Hastings of Kincaid, Kan. Trace was forward and exhibited great style on his find with a strong finish separating him from the other contenders, with more details on his run below.

Also in the mix was  Just Call Me Eli, handled by Kyle Merrill for owner Tom Ettinger in the fourteenth brace. Eli had three well styled finds in the last half of his hour; textbook relocation work with a fast and snappy ground race are detailed below.

In the tenth brace was Copley Shelttany Echo of Angels (Zoey), handled by Scott Johnson for owner Julio Rodriguez. Zoey was fast and forward with three finds as detailed below.

The Running

We awoke the first day of running with a 5:00 a. m. thunderstorm lasting until 6:15 a. m. with periods of frog- strangling rain and hail; not a way to start the Championship. Breakaway at 8:00 had a slight lifting mist to the air, temperatures in the mid-40s and warming to the mid- to upper-50s by afternoon; an unexpectedly beautiful day given the pre-dawn weather.

Turning Points Shenanigans was covered earlier. Waypoint Chancey Big White Cooper (Merrill) was fast and forward in his pursuit of game making very nice moves. He backed Shandi nicely at 55 and had two finds of his own at 46 and 50 characterized by beautiful style and intensity. A bobble on a relocation kept him out of the placements.

Saradac’s Dangerous Diamond Caper (Pollock) and St. Clair’s Prince Rocco Volcano Leo (Johnson) broke away on course No. 2, Rocco driving forward with great purpose and determination and Caper taking awhile to get lined out. Rocco had a find at 7 deep in the cover. Caper had a stop to flush farther ahead. As Rocco was catching the front after his find, he too had a stop to flush on the same group of birds as Caper. Rocco’s hour had some very nice moves but he became hard-headed at the first entrance of the Parish field though continued to put down a nice run once he got on the same page as Scott. He had a very nice back at 40 and a second find at 55; overall an impressive performance for the veteran. Caper was busy with five classy finds at 25, 30, 35, 40 and a nice covey at 45. Caper regained the front after Rocco’s last find and the pair finished the hour near the entrance of the last two fields before the bridge.

Arrow’s Autumn Sage (KD/Tillson) and Quail Rock Too Tough (Red/Doiron) took some time to get rolling, each working independently from the other. KD kept to the left side and Red stayed mainly to the right. At 20 KD had a find prior to the creek crossing near the pavilion field with Red having an unproductive over on the right side; both looked very stylish on point. Both handlers elected to call it a day as we approached the pavilion.

Atos (Burchett) and Shadow’s Peppermint Twist (Maddie/Tillson) broke away quickly on course No. 1 and got  to work hunting the cover. Maddie made a really nice move swinging the right edge and then disappearing prior to the culvert crossing. She remained out of pocket until the scene of Atos’ third find where Ed elected to call it a day. Atos made very nice moves, fast and snappy through the hour with finds at 15, 22, 30 and 47 and finished a field shy of the bridge crossing.

I’m Your Man (Merrill) and Jazz Em Up Arrow (Hastings) got right to work with Man having a find at 2. Man’s run was powerful and exciting, with a great find at 18 deep in the woods on the right up on the hillside — how the scout found him where he was is befuddling. He had a divided find at 45 with his last stand  along the far northern edge of the Parish field where temptation of the covey got the better of him, ending what was looking to be a serious challenge for the title. Arrow shared the divided find at 45 and had his own at 55 with nice style. Arrow’s hour ended a little over two fields before the bridge to course No. 3 and suffering two unproductives. Arrow’s pattern was very nice at times, at others exhibiting  a bit of immaturity in application; he will become a serious threat as he matures.

Once they got rolling, T N T’s Sirius Renegade Buddy Boy (Thomas) and Shadow’s Tribute To TJ (Trigger/Tillson) covered the course pleasingly. Trigger had a stylish find at 15. Buddy had a stop to flush at 16 just before turning to Mario’s hill and an unproductive at 18. Ed elected to pick up Trigger at 30 as his run was not pleasing him. Buddy had a handsome find near the old gas well, then suffered a second unproductive.  Tommy picked him up at 38.

Posted dog for day the first day:

Turning Points Shenanigans.

We awoke to a sunny morning the second day with a light frost glistening on the vegetation, temperature at 38°, warming to upper 40s in the afternoon.

A Trace of Bourbon With Diamonds’ (Hastings) and Magnum High Velocity (Gauge/Anderson). Upon breakaway Trace drove forward on course No. 1 and took to the left edge forward with Gauge working the cover and tree islands on the right. Gauge had some indecision in his application early, improving after his first find at 16 prior to the Lick Creek crossing,  Trace backing. Gauge had a second find after the Lick Creek crossing. Trace had his lone find farther forward along the right edge at almost the same time. After a lengthy flush Rick relocated Trace, which looked beautiful on point throughout both flushing attempts and Rick’s cannon shot. Catching the front, Trace was cautioned heavily to back Gauge’s third find, which required a relocation. Gauge relocated nicely; his bid ended due to a breach of manners during the second flushing attempt. Trace’s application and range grew as Rick relaxed during the hour. Trace finished the hour making a nice move along the riverbank across the front ending near the bridge at time.

Sanbar’s Legendary Evening (Hershey/Burchett) and T J’s Black Diamond (Coal/Perry) were loosed on course No. 2 taking the river edge on the right, Coal making a nice move to the end with fast and fluid style. Hershey, running in his last Nationals, made some very strong moves in the Parish field; operating on the “handler optional” mode at times and having a beautiful find at 45. A breach of manners during the flush ended his bid on his own terms. Coal had an unproductive 14 with Hershey backing on his own, Bob not present. After catching the front, Coal had a beautiful find on a large covey along the Old 109 road grade at the entrance to the Parish field. He continued his hour with speed, growing in fluidity of application as time progressed, though inconsistency kept him out of the placements.

Woodsong’s Honky Tonkin Hank (Johnson) and High Hopes Jac’s Original Spice (Holman) swung the right edge of course No. 3 working it forward and across the front to pick up the left edge. Hank dug deep in the woods at times and was fast and snappy,  and staying on the edge. At 15 Hank went missing, not returned to judgment; a disappointment to say the least. Spice worked well for Chad, making some very nice moves and growing in range and application during the middle third of the hour. She had stylish finds at 51 and 55; her range and speed decreased some toward the end of the hour, though her application remained solid.

Marjo’s Fille De La Bretagne (Brie/ Perry) and Copley Shelttany Echo of Angels (Zoey/Johnson) were away on course No. 1 with speed and purpose, taking separate sides of the course. Zoey drove forward and out of sight and Brie on the left scored on a covey close to the gallery putting on a good show at 7. Brie had two more solo finds; at 35 on a large covey and at 44 by the double gates and finally at 48 where she shared a divided find on the east/west treeline. Brie was speedy with a flowing gait and generally handled well. She had a few rough spots, though her pattern improved during the hour. Somewhat slower toward the end, Brie finished by making a beautiful move after crossing the bridge and swinging the entire right side around to the Buzzard’s Roost. Zoey was fast with a fluid gait and beautiful way of going, stretching forward from the start and remained that way most of the hour. Zoey had three finds starting  at 23, a divided find at 48 and her final find after making a beautiful move working deep and across the front along the river’s edge to the bridge, then crossed the bridge onto course No. 2. She hung the left edge out of sight to be found pointed at time on a nice covey. Zoey ended her hour with style, good application, a nice pattern and a kindly handle overall to garner fourth place.

Leona Valley’s Sonny Red Side Up (Doiron) and Gun Creek Gangster (Doc/ Holman) were loosed on course No. 2, taking a little time to warm to the task. Doc made a really nice move on the outside edge at the Old 109 Bridge, swung it around counter-clockwise and forward. Chad wasn’t pleased with Doc’s overall performance and elected to call it a day shortly after. Red worked the overgrown road grade of Old 109 and had a beautiful covey find near the first entrance of the Parish field with really nice style. As we neared the second entrance to the Parish field, Paul elected to call it a day as Red’s overall performance wasn’t pleasing him either.

Campbell’s Razz Ma Taz (Campbell) and Sovereign’s Legendary Cowboy (Duke/Burchett) were away at the second entrance to the Parish field on course No. 2. Razz carded his first find at 6 off the tree clumps near the northwest corner of the field approaching Old 109 with nice style. Duke ran with an energetic gait and flew around the woodsedge upon release, quickly picked up Old 109. He continued to run with great speed and application having an unproductive at 15 and making wide, impressive moves while on the ground. A breach of manners on a find ended Duke’s bid at 27 which was directly after release from a well-executed stop to flush after crossing the bridge to course No. 3. Frank had difficulty getting Razz forward after the Old 109 road grade, not regaining the front until Duke’s day ended. Razz had a second covey at 48 across the field from the pavilion. Razz finished the hour with a pleasing pattern.

Day No. 2 posted dogs: A Trace of Bourbon With Diamonds and Copley Shelttany Echo of Angels.

Day No. 3 dawned with temperatures in the mid-40s; an early fog lifted prior to breakaway.

Touch of Bourbon Little Chug (Carson/Johnson) and Scout Upland Trailblazer (Tillson) greeted the day with vigor. Scout made strong moves from the beginning of course No. 1 and disappeared to the front prior to the culvert crossing not to be seen under judgment again, prompting Ed to call for the retrieval unit. Carson was making some nice moves but it readily became apparent that he was not running with his usual speed and winning application. As a precaution Scott elected to pick him up and have him checked out.

Starlight’s Mercury Out Ryder (Burchett) and Just Call Me Eli (Merrill) broke away in high gear with gaits that evoke the illusion of floating over obstacles and cover. Ryder made some beautiful, sweeping moves until his day ended. Having initially backed on Eli’s find at 31, Ryder decided not to participate further in Eli’s bird work. Kyle asked Eli to relocate which he did beautifully, pinning the birds and standing tall through the flush and shot. His second find came at 47 upon the second entrance into the Parish field, in the pines  on the right and requiring another well executed relocation on a running single. Eli’s last find was at 59 near a large vine tangle, after crossing Old 109, in the second field along the left edge with high style and intensity. Eli ran with speed and good application putting together a very nice hour with minimal detraction; he just slowed a bit near time.

K Nine’s Finale’s Way To Go (Allie/ Doiron) and Godfather’s F N Rockstar  (Rocky/Chang) broke away on course No. 3 with some hesitancy, eventually taking to the left edge and worked it forward with Rocky pointing stylishly at 6 and very staunch. A lengthy flushing attempt by Steve took its toll, with Rocky suffering a breach of manners to end his bid. Now, by herself, Allie exhibited great speed and was fun to watch when her pattern, application and speed all came together. Many western dogs never see this much cover as they typically run desert type areas with sparse and low cover; trees, brush and thick grass are rarely encountered. Ally eventually put together a string of beautiful moves; even when her pattern was off, she was flying around working things out. At 47 Ally pointed just past the beaver pond,  a small covey produced here. At 57 Ally had an unproductive in a very birdy looking area; no bird  produced in spite of a lengthy relocation as time expired.

Hope’s Chief of Crosscreek (Burchett) and Piney Run Three Sheets to the Wind (Jib/Merrill) started slowly on course No. 1 with an agenda of their own. Chief elected to apply lots of cover scent just off the breakaway and displayed some bull-headedness. Chief  made some nice deep reaching moves and had a really nice find on a running covey at 12 before the Barking Dog House. Jib came in and backed at a distance. Upon relocation Chief nailed the covey near where Jib was previously backing. Handling the flush and shot with style, Bob took him on. Jib was fast and reaching at times but his pattern wasn’t pleasing Kyle who elected to pick up early. After the first Lick Creek Crossing and near the road crossing Bob elected to call it an early day as well.

K Nine’s On The Loose (Lucy/Doiron) and J B’s Full Speed Ahead (Captain/Johnson) broke away strong with Captain being fast and snappy but suffering some inconsistency in direction and application. Scott elected to pick him up after backing at 14. Lucy had three finds, the first being at 5 on a covey, another at 14 and again at 27. Lucy looked great on point and made some nice moves but her overall performance wasn’t pleasing Paul who elected to call it a day at 45 near the Buzzard’s Roost after crossing the bridge to course No. 2.

Godfather’s Lucky Nickel (Chang) and Sovereign’s Chasing Legends (Hobey/Burchett) got to work immediately, with Nickel pointing at 3 and Hobey backing. Nickel made some great moves and looked beautiful on point with his second find at 33 requiring a relocation; a bobble on relocation ended Nickel’s bid. Hobey was hunting hard, digging into some thick cover which caused him to get sticky at times and not run with his usual “hammer down” application. Bob elected to pick up at 40.

Day No. 3 posted dog: Just Call Me Eli. Our final day dawned overcast, temperatures in the mid-50s with a projected high in the 70s and sunny.

Almaden’s Under Lock And Key (Oudi/Tillson) and Marjo’s Leftover (Halie/Perry) got to hunting immediately and disappeared ahead, both dogs making nice moves independently and staying forward. After the first Lick Creek crossing, Halie was found pointing a small covey with Oudi coming in and backing nicely at 14. At 16 Oudi had an unproductive. Both dogs continued making nice moves up to the large field heading downhill where Oudi disappeared for awhile. Halie was next seen briefly on the right edge of the next field and was not returned to judgment. John called for the retrieval unit at 40. Oudi returned to Ed approaching the pond near the double gates where he was then found pointing at 48, looking sharp. Oudi finished his hour working the various edges ahead and then wide to the right at time.

High Velocity Copper Magnum (Colt/ Anderson) and Josey’s Jazz Em Up Rascal (Hastings) covered the ground with pleasing gait and speed. Shortly after breakaway Rick showed some promise as a rodeo hand while both dogs disappeared ahead. These young dogs took turns making nice moves as well as showing their immaturity. Colt got things sorted out and made some promising moves as we entered the Parish field and headed to the back horseshoe loop. Upon exiting the loop, Rascal pointed in the middle of the motte of pine trees at 36, Colt backing. Rick produced the birds and fired his cannon. Both dogs then swung along the north edge of the Parish field and displayed the exuberance of youth together upon a covey, ending their hour early.

Sonny’s Hot Summer Breeze (Doiron) and Starlight’s Callisto Moon (Cal/Burchett). This pair was fun to watch. They were interested in each other early, eventually separating and warming to the task. Breezy had a find at 14 at the near side of the field with all in order. Cal had a find at 16 on a large covey on the opposite side of the same field. Instead of taking the bridge to course No. 3 across, Cal elected to swim the Petit Jean River and flew up the opposite bank impressively. He worked the rivers edge of course No. 3 and pointed there at 26 with Breezy backing; another large covey was produced with all in order. Moving on a short way, Cal had a mannerly stop to flush on another covey. Breezy had a covey find at 41 before Mario’s hill and a third at 47 after crossing Lick Creek and entering the pavilion field. Just prior to exiting the pavilion field Breezy pointed to the front with Cal coming in and backing perfectly on his own. This stand resulted in an unproductive for Breezy and time expired for the pair just after gas well hill. Both dogs did a nice job, yet short of pressing the placing dogs.

Together at first, Hoochie Coochie Man (Carl/Tillson) and Sniksoh Little Diamond (Kate/Johnson) separated with Kate making early moves. Once Carl warmed to the task, he made nice moves as he disappeared upfront. Carl made a brief reappearance then disappeared for good, Ed calling for the retrieval unit at 38. Kate pointed at 22 after crossing Lick Creek but ended in a unproductive. She had a find at 28 after the road crossing. After she made a big move on the right edge of the large field nearing the double gate section, Kate pointed at 41 on the field edge prior to the turn toward the double gates. Her last find was a covey at 53 along the river past the double gates. A very nice performance, her pattern improving as the hour progressed, though sticky and shorter at times.

Grade Eight Bolt (Johnson) and Coos Triple Six (Booner/Perry). Upon breakaway Bolt headed for the cover on course No. 3 and dug in deep past the Buzzard’s Roost, far into the corner and refused to turn. Unhappy with this attitude, Scott ended Bolt’s day calling for the retrieval unit. Boomer also ran inside the cover, having a stop to flush at 13. Running fast and on the edge, Boomer’s find came at 20 with style at the last clump prior to entering the Parish field with all in order. Upon breaking away from the find, Boomer pointed on the edge of a large puddle with a clump of cover on the opposite side, requiring John to wade deep to flush. This sacrifice ended in an unproductive and soggy feet. Boomer’s second unproductive ended his day at 30.

Firestarter’s All In (Booker/Tillson), as a bye, broke away and hooked hard right near the exit of the back horseshoe loop running the course backward. With a great team effort Booker made it back to the front heading around northern edge of the Parish field with great speed and carried the hillside parallel to Ed and around to the Old 109 road grade where he then dug deep right into the woods across the road bed and perpendicular to the course. Returning from the woods adventure, Booker flew down the road bed where he pointed a covey at 25 with all in order. Upon release, Booker took off on his own agenda heading back into the woods. Ed elected to call it a day.

Booneville, Ark., December 5

Judges: Bruce Conover and Brian Gingrich


Winner—TURNING POINTS SHENANIGANS, 1665954, female, by Masked Jack of Diamonds—Copley Wincrest Grand Theft Auto. Julie Nelson-Claypool & Mark Claypool, owners; Bob Burchett, handler.

Runner-Up—A TRACE OF BOURBON WITH DIAMONDS, 1658738, male, by Touch of Bourbon Little Chug—Sniksoh Little Diamond. Rick Hastings, owner and handler.

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