American Field

Field Trial Report

Border International Chicken Championship and Alberta Classic

By Ruthann Epp | Nov 14, 2017
Championship Winners. From left front: Westfall’s True Grit with Travis Gellhaus and Valiant with Tiffany Genre. Standing: John Ivester, Terry Renick, Judges Pat Lewis and Glenn Johnson; Larry Smith, Andy Daughtery, Ruthann Epp, Paul Falkowsky, Randy Anderson, Larry McConnell and Gordon Falkowsky. [Photos by Jody Blyth.]

Stoughton, Sask. — The 65th running of the Border International Championship was concluded with the naming of champion Westfall’s True Grit, white and liver  pointer male handled by Andy Daugherty and owned by Ryan Westfall of Liberty, Mo. True Grit made his bid on the first morning and no other could topple him from the top spot.

True Grit bested the field of 27, while Valiant, handled by Randy Anderson and owned by Jay McKenzie of Eureka, Kan., which ran in the last brace of the first day, captured runner-up laurels.

Westfall’s True Grit, whelped April, 2015, wasted no time in taking the front. Grit was standing at 3 but no birds were produced. At 10  point was again called. He stood with head and tail high as the birds flushed and the gun was fired.

After passing through the gate on the third course, the handsome pointer made bigger and bigger casts. He was reined in by Daugherty for the road crossing and then with seven minutes to go continued dead ahead until the judge raised his thumb and shouted “pick him up!”

Runner-up Valiant made a big cast off the breakaway as well. He then hunted through the wolfwillow. At 30 point was called, the marshal calling flight of the birds. Then again at 47 Valiant showed his bold style while the birds were flushed in front of him. The open country beckoned him and Valiant had a big forward finish.

Glenn Johnson of San Dimas, Cal.,  and Pat Lewis of St. Anne, Manitoba occupied the judicial saddles. Both have judged this Championship before and both love seeing these world class all-age dogs fill the country.

Glenn and his wife Vicki made quite a tour from Southern California. They stopped in Circle, Mont., where Glenn judged before coming into Canada. Glenn recently retired from the movie industry but has been in the field trial sport over thirty years.

Pat Lewis, on the other hand, still enjoys the wide open spaces for running his personal dogs. He has spent many summers training in the Stoughton area and he and the Gardners  (John and Ted) shared a dog camp up the road from these grounds.

While sharing the highlights of the 65th running with my father, Freddie Epp, I had the privilege of hearing about some of the highlights from the 9th year of running — 1963. My father and Billy Lang made their way to the Canadian prairies for the first time. The Border was held at Frobisher that year but he said within the next couple of years it was moved to Stoughton.

He remembers watching John S. Gates run Safari. Among the other handlers there were Fred Bevan, Jack Harper, Phil  Brousseau, Howard Kirk, and C. B. Newman. He said he also met Harold Ray, a teenager at the time, working for Mr. Bevan.

He remembered an incident where the judge saw birds flying and rode up to tell Mr. Bevan to pick his dog up. Fred answered, “Well, judge, you do know that ‘chickens’ don’t have to walk everywhere they want to go. They can fly of their own accord.”

So the thirty sections of land in the Tecumseh Community Pasture have been home to the Border International for at least fifty years. Peter Piper was instrumental in keeping the trial going for many years and still helps. Even if harvesting, he comes to say “good morning” and see the gallery off each day before climbing aboard his combine.

A big thank you is in order to Paul and Tracey Falkowsky for their generosity in taking the reins for the last seven years. They have spent considerable time and money to keep this tradition alive that the oldtimers started for us.  I hope it can continue with the support of the younger trainers coming on.

Paul and Gordon Falkowsky had everything ready for the trucks and trailers to turn off the grid road, unload and set up camp. Every year they arrange for a big stack of hay to be delivered to the grounds, which is greatly appreciated. Gordon was the invaluable dog truck driver besides doing anything else  needed. He even loaned his cap out when the wind took someone’s away.

As they have for many years, the local Royal Canadian Legion in Stoughton sponsored a dinner for field trial participants on Monday night. Leona Piper organized the event and was head chef for the delicious repast to delight any food critic.

The fenced area around the corrals was bustling with activity for the five days. There were twelve to fifteen rigs at a time parked in the area. Thanks to the oil and gas industry, the hotel accommodations have greatly improved in the last ten years and the local bar still welcomes all for nightly refreshments.

When the oil riggers were in town, it was difficult to find a room. Now that they are gone, things are much quieter in and out of town; and we barely notice the bobbing of the big metal pumps bringing the black gold out of the sands below as we ride across the Canadian prairie in awe of the big country, the birds, and our dogs.

The Running

Westfall’s Black Ace (Daugherty) and Lester’s Jazz Man (Anderson) broke away at 8:00 a. m. heading northwest. The two made big casts in the first pasture. After going into the next pasture Ace went east and was not seen again. Jazz Man made a big move to the west and disappeared from view. He made it back ahead at 35 but had gotten hot. He made another cast across the front near pickup but went birdless.

Daniels Creek Whitehawk (Gellhaus) and Greypointe Islamorada (Meyer) took the west side of the course and hunted the cover to the end and went out the front across the hills on the east. They showed in the next pasture, then Hawk disappeared for a spell, while Greypointe kept showing to the front. Both finished ahead near the windmill.

Westfall’s True Grit (Daugherty) was covered earlier. Phillips Field Line (Anderson) kept pace with his bracemate off the breakaway. He shortened a bit after going throug the double red gates and at 53 at the road crossing Anderson threw in the towel.

Lone Tree’s Showbiz (Gellhaus) and White Dollar (Anderson) went deep to the front. White Dollar then veered northeast at 10 and never returned. Biz stayed to the front and made big swings the entire hour for a nice race but could not get a scent of any birds to go with it.

Worsham’s Silver Comet (Worsham) and Born On Fourth July (Gellhaus) had to run straight into strong winds making the dogs more lateral than normal. Gellhaus chose to end July’s bid. Comet continued on and showed his hunting skills. At 14 point was called, the wind blowing his ears back. Comet stood at attention, plenty of scent coming his way. Birds were flushed and the pistol  fired with all in order. While his race was not extreme the pointer toughed it out and had one of the better performances.

Valiant (Anderson) was described previously. Fraser’s John Henry (Daugherty) started strong, made some casts staying in contention with bracemate. He tired at the end and went birdless.

Manteo’s Ace of Spades (Anderson) and Westfall’s Rampage (Daugherty) showed two real dog races the entire hour. At the breakaway Rampage went to the left and was brought around. Ace was forward to the gate. Both were extreme in the entire second pasture, spotted always to the front. After going into the third pasture, Rampage went forward and Ace went deep to the west and was spotted on the flats. Rampage went to the east and was brought back by his scout. Ace showed up in the front. They made it through the last gate and were spotted way to the front at pickup. If either dog had garnered bird work the outcome could have been different.

Greypointe Luminoso (Meyer) and Hush Money (Anderson) were unsnapped at the line near the windmill in the thick brush. Both dogs were forward through the rolling hills and made it through the double red gates. Luminoso was stretching out more. He was missed and the scout called point for a long ride back but no birds could be flushed. Both  were seen going to the front near time. Hush Money was found on point with all in order, but Luminoso disappeared and was not located in time.

S F Bandwagon (Smith) and Westfall’s Black Thunder (Daugherty) headed to the front off the breakaway but Thunder turned west and the retrieval device was requested when he did not return. Bandwagon was diligently hunting into the strong winds but picked up at the road crossing short of the hour.

Abberdeen’s Paid in Full (Anderson)  was in hot pursuit of a jackrabbit and after returning was short so he was picked up at the wire gap. Tekoa Mountain Bulldog (Gellhaus) headed southwest and disappeared behind the bluffs warranting a call for the retrieval device.

Miller’s Happy Jack (Anderson) and Westfall’s River Ice (Daugherty) took different directions off the breakaway. Both were having trouble working with their handlers on this windy warm afternoon. Jack had an extended absence and River Ice was not reading his handler’s signs. They were up before the hour.

Touch’s Adams County (Anderson) and Storm’s Timeline (Gellhaus) were in the last brace of the day with a 25 mph headwind. Neither could punch a hole in it. Timeline was picked up at 6, and Adams County made it to 30.

As the group was riding into camp, they spotted a fire to the west. People began readying to pull out. Randy Anderson and Paul went to check it out. It was not started on the grounds or caused by any riders but it did burn the west end of the course. Thankfully the fire was stopped so some changes were made for the next day’s courses because we could not ride over it and take a chance of reigniting.

Touch’s Blackout (Anderson) and Salem’s Annie Oakley (Daugherty)  started the morning on course No. 1. Annie had point called for her in a matter of minutes but no birds were flushed. Blackout disappeared within minutes, not returning. After going through the gate, Daugherty decided it would be difficult to unseat other performances so he ended her bid as well.

Oakfuskee Theodora (Gellhaus), as a bye, made some nice casts then disappeared. Gellhaus took the retrieval unit.

Stoughton, Sask., September 2

Judges: Glenn Johnson and Pat Lewis


[One-Hour Heats] — 27 Pointers

Winner—WESTFALL’S TRUE GRIT, 1663635, pointer male, by Erin’s Brave Heart—Westfall’s Irish Bell. Ryan Westfall, owner; Andy Daugherty, handler.

Runner-Up—VALIANT, 1649524, pointer male, by Miller’s Happy Jack—Tina’s Tear Drop. Jay McKenzie, owner; Randy Anderson, handler.

Border Open Derby

The companion Derby promptly started at the conclusion of the Championship. The writer joined Glenn Johnson for judicial duties.

Ten Derbies competed for the placements. The first and second placements were bracemates in the fourth brace of the stake. Executive Action, big white juvenile handled by Randy Anderson and owned by Ric Peterson  of Gilbert, Ariz., was exceedingly strong. He showed extreme to the front. He went through the gap and showed on the right until out of sight. He was spotted a few minutes later showing across the front, south of the windmill. He made it around the windmill and trucked it back north despite the strong headwind. He caught scent of a jackrabbit and briefly chased before going through the last gap and finishing strongly ahead.

Bracemate Triple Shots Notorious Ways, handled by Travis Gellhaus and owned by Kevin Packard  of Lodi, Cal., took second and made some independent moves. He was taking the far eastern edge of the pastures but lost his way for awhile. He showed back up at the windmill, made the turn, shortened up into the wind when heading back north but got another surge and finished in the next pasture.

Third place Worsham’s Silver Charge, owned and handled by Missourian Joe Worsham, had to handle in some heavy cover. He made a couple wide casts and showed inclination to point and had a pretty finish to the front.

Judges: Ruthann Epp and Glenn Johnson

OPEN DERBY — 10 Pointers

1st—EXECUTIVE ACTION, 1671410, pointer male, by Touch’s Black Out—Dare To Compare. Richard Peterson, owner; Randy Anderson, handler.

2d—TRIPLE SHOTS NOTORIOUS WAYS, 1670061, pointer male, by Erin’s Red Rum—Snowatch Erin’s Nell. Kevin Packard, owner; Travis Gellhaus, handler.

3d—WORSHAM’S SILVER CHARGE, 1673028, pointer male, by House’s Ring of Fire—Touch’s Maswood Anne. Joe Worsham, owner and handler.

Alberta Open All-Age classic

The Alberta Classic started under a  little cooler conditions. Clint Blyth of Fleming, Saskatchewan and his wife Jody joined the field trial group on Monday so as to be ready for judging.

Clint and Jody both began field trialing in the 1970s and actually met at a field trial. As a teenager Clint spent summers with Collier Smith training in Saskatchewan. He made the trip to Alabama several times before his career as a consultant to oil and gas companies. He trained and competed with his own dogs for some years.

Jody does lots of wildlife photography so we were privileged to have her take shots of field trial life and those of the winners.

Pointer females braced together in the seventh brace on the first course of the morning took the two top spots. Salem’s Annie Oakley, seven-year-old pointer female, was the winner. Annie, handled by Andy Daugherty and owned by Dr. James Santarelli of Springfield, Ill., has shown well at this trial in previous years and this time earned the top honors.

Second was Oakfuskee Theodora, handled by Travis Gellhaus and owned by Jason Brooks of Pine Mountain, Ga. The two rimmed the first pasture quickly before going through the first gate. Both hunted the low areas where in years past birds were found. With the drought this year, some of the birds’ patterns changed. Annie reached deep toward the big bluffs. Both ran a forward race and were rewarded at 50 when point was called along the ditch on the left side of the course just before making the turn at the burned area. They were styled up here. Birds were flushed and both handlers fired. Handlers had their arms in the air pointing them out to the front when time was called.

Third placed Manteo’s Ace of Spades, handled by Randy Anderson and owned by Paul Falkowsky of Calgary, Alberta, was in the ninth brace. He ran an extreme race to the front, hunting the right objectives and showing in the right places. He showed the prairie race that people come to the Canadian prairies to see but was birdless throughout the hour.

Judges: Clint Blyth and Glenn Johnson

ALBERTA OPEN ALL-AGE CLASSIC [One-Hour Heats] — 26 Entries

1st—SALEM’S ANNIE OAKLEY, 1623725, pointer female, by Smokey Knight—Good Night Tramp. Dr. James Santarelli, owner; Andy Daugherty, handler.

2d—OAKFUSKEE THEODORA, 1665314, pointer female, by Phantom’s Slimbucktoo—Ringafire’s Moonshine. Jason Brooks, owner; Travis Gellhaus, handler.

3d—MANTEO’S ACE OF SPADES, 1641448, pointer male, by Sharp Shooter—Sedgefields Hot Chapter. Paul Falkowsky, owner; Randy Anderson, handler.

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