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Field Trial Report

American Brittany Club Pheasant Championship

By Kent D. Patterson | Nov 01, 2018
The Winners. From left: Sophia and John Harms, Hunter Harms, Kayleigh Harms, Tom Milam, Joey Rogers, Jason Babbel, judge; Tom Tracy with Maxwell’s Prickly Pete, Alicia Harms, Raus Tracy, Carla Tracy, Ed Graves, Ed Janulis, Richard Beaver with Rammer Jammer Jax, Barb Harms, Jim Harms, Ben Kuykendall, Charlie Collier, judge; Lori Ralph, Al Gorrow and Steve Ralph.

Valentine, Neb. — The American Brittany Club’s Pheasant Championship was the first “bird” classic created by the parent organization. From inception it was a West Coast staple, running from 1960 to 1971, except in 1967 when held at Baldwinsville, N. Y. In 1972, it was held at the Green River Area, Ohio, Ill., and moved about from Pennsylvania, Oregon, Iowa, and South Dakota over the years following.

In 2016 it landed on a spectacular venue, the Harms Cattle Company south of Valentine, Neb. Entries have increased each year as word has spread about courses that stretch over 26 miles across 10,000 acres of meadows and sandhills holding native populations of prairie chicken, sharptail grouse, and pheasant.

This event has a sister stake, the Region 19 Amateur All-Age Championship, held the four days prior, bringing the largest contingent of amateurs in the Brittany community to the sandhills.

Hosted by the St. Croix Valley Brittany Club, Steve Ralph and wife Lori work tirelessly to make sure all the particulars are covered.

Al Gorrow summers on this ranch and provides judges a bunk and prepares the breakfast. Lori Ralph, Alicia Harms, Barb Harms, Carla Tracy, Bill McLewis and Linda Milam made sure no one left hungry. Wednesday evening’s annual steak cookout had everyone in attendance for the aged New York strips.

The Pheasant Championship is proud to be associated with Tehrani Motors, Purina, Garmin and Cosequin. These fine partners generously provide equipment or product support of this sport.

We were blessed to have two gentlemen with a wealth of experience and knowledge look over the field of 69 starters. Charlie Collier is in the Texas Field Trial Hall of Fame and has judged a number of noteworthy championships for all breeds. Jason Babbel hails from Dunbar, Neb., with intimate knowledge of upland birds in the sandhill eco-system. He and his uncle, Todd Babbel, are known in the field trial community for their hard work and class dogs.

With a course of this magnitude, having dogs available for successive braces is a challenge. It requires someone who knows the ground, courses, gates, and equipment to safely transport humans and canines. John Harms knows the country and Tehrani Motors of Valentine Neb., provided two crew cab Polaris UTVs that allowed flawless execution of this important task.

CHAMPION AND RUNNER-UP

Named champion was Maxwell’s Prickly Pete, stylish five-year-old owned by Bo and Renae Ackerman of Clearmont, Ga., in the string of Tom Tracy, Jr. Pete was coming off an impressive runner-up performance at the ABC Chicken Championship a week earlier. Released south of Ballard’s marsh, he streaked into the hills and was found standing at 15. A pheasant was pushed south with all manners in order. He was hitting the gas pedal through the hills; as the gallery topped one hill, he was two hills ahead. He rimmed the meadows leading to the “let down” gate while the gallery was bending into the west hills. He pinned a group of sharptails at 40, a single pheasant at 48, and a larger group of sharpies at 56. As time was called, he was sailing out the front toward Big Alkali Lake.

Runner-up Rammer Jammer Jax is owned by Trey Baer of North Richland Hills, Tex., and handled by Texas pro Ben Kuykendall. Jax was released on course No. 1 and promptly got to work along the edges leading west toward the hay stacker. He was standing at 15, but Ben was unable to produce any birds. He began to stretch the front as we went west, seen infrequently through the hills. He shot across the truck meadow and disappeared into the short hills near the old home place and was found standing at 35. A group of well-located pheasants went south with all manners in order. He then probed the hills farther south with another pheasant find at 40. He was flashy and wide across the baler meadow, forward through the east hills, finishing nicely near the windmill gate.

THE RUNNING

A N J’s Ohio Hellion (Bob Burchett) and A Trace of Bourbon With Diamonds (Scott Johnson) were away at 8:00 a. m. under blue skies, temperature in the 50s. “Hank” had two nice finds and finished at moderate range. Trace had an unproductive, Scott electing to pick up at 45.

Molly Mae Alexander (Jack Alexander) and Starlight’s Mercury Out Ryder (Burchett) showed promise early in the hour but faded as the hour progressed with both handlers calling it quits.

Romence’s Texas Two Step (Burchett) and M K’s My Little Ammo (Johnson) were away under warming skies, both dogs going through the country in animated, eye-pleasing fashion. “Tess” was in and out of pocket and lost at 45. “BB” had an unproductive at 10 followed by a stylish pheasant find at 25. She ran over a bird moments later to end her bid.

Tequila Scorcher (Ed Tillson) and Captain Finn (Burchett) were in the last brace of the morning. “Lincoln” was styled up on a pheasant at 35, everything in order. He was at moderate range over the remainder of the hour and credited with a stop to flush at 59. Finn was a handful from the start and lost at 40.

Almaden’s Under Lock and Key (Tillson) is this year’s Garmin Award winner with a pleasing gait and application. She suffered an unproductive at 20. Ed picked up at 40. Hehi’s Slim Chipley had unproductives at 20 and 25. Burchett continued to 45 before cashing it in.

Hopes Chief of Cross Creek (Burchett) and Sparky’s Prairie Wind Gypsy (Johnson) started in the hills with both dogs at moderate range. Chief went into Ballard’s marsh and was pulled out at 20. Gypsy had a find at 15 along fenceline and was not her normal self over the remainder of the hour.

M K’s Magnificent Bandito (Johnson) and Whiskey’s Little Tip (Burchett) were at moderate range through the hills, Tip going into the marsh at 20, pulled out at 28. “Chico” had a pretty pheasant find in the meadow south of camp at 40 as both dogs ran the creek line toward the hay stacker. Chico got under the fence and went farther west. No sign of Tip as we entered the hills. Bob asked for the retrieval unit at 50, Chico seen far to the south at time.

Sniksoh Little Diamond (Johnson) pinned a pheasant near Big Alkali Lake at 25 and moved well. Kinwashkly Tempo (Tillson) had a big pleasing prairie race but couldn’t come up with a bird contact finishing on an unproductive to cap the hour with Kate backing.

Crescent City Girl (Tillson) didn’t have her mind on business this morning. Late summer rains had flooded many of the meadows resulting in carp carcasses dotting the landscape. She rolled in several; by 10 Ed had enough. Remchester’s Premium White Lightning (Johnson) had his sneakers on and was rolling in a big way. The string broke at 25.

Crossed The Line (Ty/Tillson) started the fireworks at 15 with a stylish find on a group of pheasants in the new shelter belt south of camp. After a skunk encounter, J R’s Cool Hand Luke (Johnson) was rolling nicely and we had both dogs out of the hills toward the west meadow. Luke jumped in the tank at the gate, cooled for a moment, and then stood up as a bird lifted just to the north. Ty was approaching the tank and stopped as the bird left. Ty was credited with another pheasant find at the meadow ditch and finished nicely in the hills. Luke was standing at 45, but took a few too many steps.

Alar’s Dirty Dancer (Tillson) and Touch of Bourbon Little Chug (Johnson). “Dani” flew through the sandhills, found standing at 15. A big group of pheasants lifted and she went with them. “Carson” got behind early with Scott reaching for the rope at 15.

J W B Artic Cat (Jack Alexander) and S S Rig’s Colorado Gun Runner (Tom Milam) were way under clear, cool skies as we ran west toward the hay stacker. Rigs suffered an unproductive at 5 along the bull pasture fence as “Leo” stretched the front. Both dogs were eye-catching over the hour with Rigs having a dead bird find at 20. Both finished the hour.

Ru Jem’s Last Penny (Tracy) and Alleycat’s Drought (Stan Williamson)  were forward early. At 7 Tom had his hat in the air, Penny in cover along a fenceline. Drought was in the area; Stan did not like what he saw so he picked up. Birds were pushed east and the party continued toward the old home place. Penny stood again at 19; an extended flushing effort and relocation produced a bird. She went through a mowed strip. A pheasant lifted nearby. She looked over and decided to follow it . . .

Driving Miss Daisy (Tracy) and Jac’s Ray of Sunshine (Holman) were released toward the east hills under warming skies. Daisy was standing at 5 but no birds were produced. Ray was skimming the hills in fine fashion, but a bird incident at 35 ended his bid. Daisy continued to impress the second half of the hour. She stood at 58 but took steps.

Jagoub’s Buzz’n Bayou (Tracy) and Chief’s Cross Plains Copper Breeze (Kuykendall) were away under cloudy skies and spitting rain. Their hour was fast, forward and showy. Unfortunately, neither had birds. They needed one.

Roustabout’s White Knight (Tracy) and J J’s Levi The Lion Heart (Joe Williams) showed promise early in the hour with “Lance” having a mannerly find at 10. Levi was cruising and showing in an eye-catching manner but suffered two unproductives to end his bid. Tom picked up Lance at 35.

Maxwell’s Prickly Pete’s (Tracy) hour was outlined earlier. High Hope’s Jac’s Original Spice (Holman) had her sneakers on as we broke away near the marsh. She held her own over the hour with a pleasing application and showing up front. As we exited the meadow at the “let down” fence she took a few too many steps on a find to end her bid.

The rain had stopped as T L M Tall Tale (Tracy) and Kokomo Josie Joe (Holman) were released. It was to be a short brace with Josie heading into the hills and not returned. “Sam” had Tom reaching for the rope at 15.

Roustabout’s Eustace (Tracy) and Crosscreek Argus Early Xmas (Holman) were away after lunch, temperatures in the high 40s. They lined out along the creek and crossed to the north where “Gus” had a stylish pheasant find at 9 with “T” backing. T slowed to a stop on a knoll of cover at 20; a relocation didn’t produce. Gus had another pair of pheasants in the hills near the hay stacker. Both dogs moved through the Alkali hills in fine fashion. In the truck meadow, T was standing on a hill with Gus backing on a sidehill to the south. A pheasant went east, all manners in order for both. Into the baler meadow, T went into the marsh, scout and handler working to pull him through toward the big hills. He showed on the far end and was seen sparingly in the hills with a going- away finish at the windmill gate. Gus had a turtle find at 58 and finished nicely along the creek at the windmill gate.

Maxwell’s Quicksilver (T. Tracy) and You Know Dasher (Steve Chang) were flashy and eye-catching going away from the windmill gate. They crossed in front of the gallery and shot toward the old home place where a bird got up on “Chick” and she didn’t get stopped in time, ending her bid. Dash was busy as we traveled east and standing just over a rise near the baler meadow. A pheasant was flushed south with excellent style and manners. He was at moderate range through the hills with Steve electing to pick up at 40 as we dropped down in the valley near Ballard’s marsh.

Shady Way’s Joker’s Hill Country Express (Tracy) and Shot of Whizki (Holman) were away at the gate just out of the big hills. “Stan” headed back up the valley, returned and went through the gate to the camp hills. He was out of pocket as the gallery headed west. He came out the hills and went into the marsh at 20 with Tom asking for the retrieval unit. Whizki was at moderate range over the first 25 with Chad electing to pick up near the camp gate.

Rammer Jammer Jax’s hour was noted earlier. Castaway Wilson (Tracy) had everyone’s attention the first half with showy moves through the west hills. He stood at 35 on a group of pheasants in the short hills to the west of the old home place. He sailed across the baler meadow and stopped at the base of the big hills on a running pheasant. Tom chased it up the hill, attempting to get it airborne. Wilson moving to end his bid.

Glade Run Irish (Tracy) and Gunbarrel Godfather Augustus (Chang) were released at the windmill and shot toward the old home place meadow, Irish taking the eastern fence and “Gus” farther south along the marsh meadow. Tom had his hat in the air at 7 just inside the fence as Irish handled a tight-sitting pheasant. Gus had gone through the gate and was standing atop a rise, Steve flushing and relocating for an extended period before taking him on. Both dogs were at moderate range through the big hills and we dropped down into no man’s land where Gus had a second unproductive. Irish continued on with a nice finish near Ballard’s marsh.

Rev’n Gun Runner Tilly (Tracy) and Piney Run Jake (Patterson) were away near the new shelter belt gate. At 2 quail were sailing east with Tilly in pursuit and Jake standing in cover. Jake suffered an unproductive at 10, had a stop to flush at 15, and a second unproductive at 56.

Upland’s Trail Blazer (Tracy) and Brendi Brooks Cowboy Up (Ray Trimble). “Scout” scored a clean pheasant find at 30 as “Tuff” was wide and flashy. Scout was standing near the north marsh. Tom was unable to produce birds; however, as the gallery left, birds were seen leaving. Tuff went birdless but would have been a strong candidate for ribbons had he scored.

C V K’s Spartan King (Tracy) and Godfather’s F N Rockstar (Chang). “Leo” showed big toward the hay stacker with an unproductive at 12. He was standing again at 22 in the stacker hills. A bird got up during the relocation to end his bid. “Rocky” was flashy as the party headed toward Big Alkali Lake. He went south at the hay stacker, with a stylish and mannerly find in a small shelter belt of trees. He shifted into hunting mode from that point with Steve electing to pick up near the truck meadow.

J J’s Diablo With Rusty Tears (Williams) wasn’t feeling well and was scratched. Wichita Wild Woman (Tracy) started with a big move around the meadow with a stop to flush at 40 on pheasants. As the hour progressed she slowed. Tom picking up at 50.

Georgia White Lightening’s hour was a bit lateral. Tracy decided he wasn’t moving anything, picking up at 35. Godfather’s Lucky Nickel (Chang) was hunting hard at moderate range over the 40 minutes leading up to no man’s land where Steve reached for the rope.

Lambach’s Blew By Yet (Tracy) is a nice young dog. He streaked west from breakaway with a mannerly find near the hay stacker. His application and an unproductive over the next 35 minutes had Tom electing to pick up. Gun Creek Gangster wasn’t on his game this day and Holman ended the hour early.

It was a foggy morning in the sandhills delaying breakaway to 9:00 a.m.

Roustabout’s Blew By You (Tracy) and Ace’s One Eyed Jack (Holman). Blew smoked through the hills, showed big at the windmill but got hung up far to the south in baler marsh. It took too long to pull him out.

Kinwashkly Fat Bastard (Tracy) and Godfather’s Red Feather Gunslinger (Chang) were released at the windmill. Fatz showed well through east hills. He suffered an unproductive in the dead man zone and was picked up. Gunner was running big through the hills and went west in no man’s land, found on a porcupine with a face full of quills.

Jagoub’s Spell Caster (Tracy) was lost and counted out at 45. J J’s Fearless Sam (Gorrow) had unproductives at 10 and 45.

Kashmir (Tracy) made a huge move through the stacker hills but was far south in the meadow when counted out. He was recovered at the east gate. Dan’s Maker’s Mark had an unproductive at 10, Holman picking up.

Bella Rose (Tracy) and Arrow’s Tequila Rustler. This brace ended at 20 as “Bella” was showing nicely through hills then disappeared down in the baler marsh. “Rusty” had been at moderate range over the same period, Richard Beaver also electing to cash it in.

All In wasn’t moving anything so Tracy picked him up. Highpoint Blazin High Noon had a mannerly find at 4 but wasn’t listening to Kuykendall over the next 25 minutes so he picked up at 35.

Valentine, Neb., September 24

Judges: Jason Babbel and Charlie Collier

AMERICAN BRITTANY CLUB PHEASANT CHAMPIONSHIP

[One-Hour Heats] — 69 Brittanys

Winner—MAXWELL’S PRICKLY PETE, 1667741, Brittany male, Maxwell’s Blew By You—Maxwell’s Quick Silver. Bo & Renae Ackerman, owners; Tom Tracy, Jr., handler.

Runner-Up—RAMMER JAMMER JAX, 1659211, Brittany male, By T L M Frequent Flyer—Flatrock’s I’m Watching Youdad. Trey Baer, owner; Ben Kuykendall, handler.

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