American Field

Field Trial Report

California Open Championship

By Sheldon Twer | Jan 02, 2018
Championship Winners. From left front: Jim Wolthuis with Boonville Bullet and Jared Tappero with Indian Head Abbigale. Standing: Bruce Hale, Sheldon Twer, Jarry Walton and Rich Heaton, the judges; Bill Owen and Linda Camarillo.

Hornitos, Cal. — The Hornitos Ranch was touched by one of the many large California summer fires. An estimated 1,000 acres were burned which essentially meant that the ground was black dirt pocked by blackened scrubs and oak trees.

The club modified the shooting dog course to avoid the burnt high country, but decided we needed to use the old course that put us 15 minutes through the blackened terrain for the All-Age. No negative consequences were observed.

The winner was Boonville Bullet, three-year-old white and orange pointer male owned by Marc Cuneo of Sonoma, Cal., and handled by Sheldon Twer.

Bullet ran on the second day in the second brace, scoring an acrobatic find on the creek bottom when he was discovered precariously perched on an outcropping looking to his left where birds were flushed at some distance.

The land lie made it possible to view his extreme casts from there to the turn and then to the tree grove. He was gathered at the begining of the fire zone where he cast to the right in the green then finished under the power poles well beyond the burnt area.

Indian Head Abbigale, with a more moderate ground, was piloted by her owner-handler Jared Tappero of Chester, Cal. The seasoned eight-year-old white and liver pointer female was credited with one good find and a back.

The judges discussed Touch’s J Class (Twer). They decided even with two good finds she spoiled an excellent ground effort when she spent too much time going lateral at the finish.

Even though Bradey Wolthuis followed the gallery replenishing coveys throughout the stake, bird work the final day came at a premium. There were some dogs found pointing with the retrieval unit and it seemed fewer with qualified finds. Birdless ground performances that could have been game changers were with Sleepless in Sacramento (Twer) and Hale’s Main Event (Bruce Hale). Main Event was found still under judgment after time backing his bracemate Highcountry Tonka (Travis Gelhaus) which relocated birds too distant to be counted.

Popular judge Jarry Walton of Reno, Nev., was back again to help the club. He has judged major championships around the country and is trusted to render fair and competent assessments. Rich Heaton of Boise, Ida., also an experienced and well respected judge who has had many sucesses with the number of dogs he has trained, came to our rescue when it was found that our slated judge, Jeff Lostak, possibly couldn’t be there for the entire stake. [Noteworthy. Both men have unusually good vision which did not always benefit the competitors.]

Hornitos, Cal., November 11

Judges: Rich Heaton and Jerry Walton


Winner—BOONVILLE BULLET, 1657164, pointer male, by Far West Gunslinger—Bodacious No Doubt. Marc S. Cuneo, owner; Sheldon Twer, handler.

Runner-Up—INDIAN HEAD ABBIGALE, 1615259, pointer male, by Kelly Talk’n Smak—Wells Fargo Mollie. Jared Tappero, owner and handler.


Landowner Landon Ichord was dined and thanked at the Purina-sponsored banquet. The other Ichords were helping their high school senior football star son, Levi, prepare for his prom that evening. The club extends our gratitude to the rest of this wonderful family and to Purina for their sponsorship. And to Jim Morehouse from SportDog who made certain that the winners received their fine e-collars.


As usual Jim Wolthuis was all over the place, cooking, scouting, bird planting and getting things done. Our thanks to his son Braidey who planted birds and generally helped around camp. To Travis who was generous with his horses. Jim and Linda Camarillo were our very gracious and competent dog truck operators. They bring their own wagon and are a most positive influence on the success of any event they help with.


An unfortunate few moments occurred when when Lori Steinshouer was put on the ground by a young excited horse. The hospital in Mariposa treated her for multiple pelvis fractures. She is now recovering at her Reno residence. Many participants offered assistance and support. We all wish her a speedy return to better mobility and good health.

S. T.

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