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Shadow’s White Warrior, Carl Bowman’s Pointer, Wins Prairie Title; Touch’s Mega Mike is Runner-Up

Dominion Open Chicken Championship

By Sheldon Rogers | Oct 05, 2017
Shadow's White Warrior Winner of the Dominion Chicken Championship

Mortlach, Sask. — The Dominion Open Chicken Championship followed on the heels of the Saskatchewan Open Derby, getting underway at 8:00 a. m. on Tuesday, August 29. It was contested over four days with 46 dogs drawn and 45 coming to the line.

Rising to the top was Shadow’s White Warrior, six-year-old white and orange pointer male owned by Carl Bowman of Louisville, Ky., and handled by Robin Gates. Carding one find nearing the end of his hour on a big covey of sharptail, handled well in the open alfalfa, moving him to the top spot after one of the best braces of this year’s Championship. Judges were watching intently and hoping for game to be pointed by either dog in this brace. Both put on a good showing in the hottest part of the day with the temperature reaching close to 90°.

Runner-up came out of the 6th brace, Touch’s Mega Mike, two-year-old white and orange pointer male owned by Eddie Sholar and Ted Dennard of Leesburg, Ga., and handled by Mark McLean. Mega Mike carded two stylish finds in the first ten minutes, which is what chicken alley is known for. But it was his third find at the end of his hour on Hungarian partridge, combined with a strong finish headed up to the north end, that set him apart from the other contenders.

The venue is well known, Mortlach, Saskatchewan, Canada. It has been on the bucket list of many who compete and as an owner the trophy and bragging right to say your dog has won in Canada on the prairies . . . Well, enough said. Your typical all-age dog shows well here but to win you have to overcome many obstacles. You need to utilize the vast areas, not only in range but intelligence. Birds need to be hunted. Although bird population has seen a rebound in the last 2-3 years, dogs still need to hunt the full hour and after every big move they need to reach again up to a half mile to the next objective. Adding endurance to the list of attributes needed to be crowned champion. Mother Nature can also throw a curve ball to the perfect draw. Wind can be in your face seemingly for the full hour with little shelter for both handler and dog. Cool mornings give way to heat in a matter of hours so dogs need to be tough, too. When everything comes together for the complete hour it can be fun to watch, and leave a lasting impression.

For this year’s running drought has come back to the prairies but unlike the CRP grounds just south of the border the early harvest will leave slick terrain. It helps the competitors to some degree because it forces the birds to seek shelter in the bluffs, where in the heat they are reluctant to leave. Huns stick to the edges and in the morning chickens can be found in the small patches of alfalfa that were able to grow back with its deep root structure.

The plus side to all of this, you take this vast country and shrink it down. Your total square miles of possible bird cover gets cut it in half. For the athletes on the ground, lighter cover allows them to show well, and the good ones stand out.

Judging this renewal were Dave Noell of Laurel, Mont., and Kent Patterson of Franklin, Tenn. They are very experienced dog men with many years in the saddle judging and competing with their own dogs in top quality events. They rode at an even pace for each brace, allowing all those in competition a chance to show their dogs and giving each their undivided attention for the duration. We are always grateful for the hours they so generously give and it was a pleasure to have them here this year.

Purina as well as Garmin again sponsored these trials and their support goes a long way in keeping these trials alive on the prairies. Garmin awarded a collar to the winner and Purina provided high quality dog food to all winners as well as hosting a banquet for all in attendance. It also gives us a chance to get together with landowners and show our gratitude for allowing us to use their lands. We have become a part of their summer/fall and many friendships have been made on both sides of the border.

I believe they look forward to seeing the dog folks as much as we look forward to sharing their small piece of the world.

THE WINNERS

Champion Shadow’s White Warrior (Gates) was down in the 19th brace which started the afternoon running under a partly cloudy sky, the wind out of the northeast, temperature 86°.

White Warrior and Westfall’s Black Ace (Daugherty) were off to a quick start. Black Ace was to the northeast and swung to the front with horseback ridge in his sights. White Warrior, after cresting the ridge to the south, had Robin relying on his scout to watch and trust that he would swing back to the east. His patience was rewarded as he crested the hill pointing him out far to the front. With a little help, both made the turn up Ira’s pasture at 20, scouts able to put themselves in the right spots. They continued on with both running within five yards of each other, each stopping just before crossing the road, with point being called at 25. As judges rode up both handlers fired, reporting birds had left but both judges unable to give them credit for it.

For the next 20 minutes handlers tried to stay connected, dogs showing extreme range throughout. After swinging north and cresting the ridge the course opens up with Pelican Lake and chicken alley laid out for a big finish. Black Ace filled up the country to the north until time with no other bird contact. Point was called at 58 for White Warrior stopping in the alfalfa past the gap in the middle hedgerow halfway down chicken alley. A large covey of sharptail was put up on the flush, the dog standing with great style for the shot to finish his hour.

Runner-up Touch’s Mega Mike (McLean) competed in the 6th brace, second of the afternoon on day No. 1. Windfall’s Size Matters (Gellhaus) and Mega Mike both capitalized on the hedgerows early. Mega Mike scored two covey finds at 6 and 11, both with great style and manners before moving west past the dug-out. Size Matters’ contact came at 5 but with a young covey reluctant to leave on the flush. Only pitching 20 yards down the row of trees, it would be too much, Gellhaus reaching for the harness shortly after the shot. Before reaching the rough pasture Mega Mike, with two finds, shortened a bit but opened up again by 45 stretching out to the trees far to the front. Point was called as Mega Mike turned in full stride standing tall with great style at 50. After the long ride to point, a covey of 10-12 Huns exploded as handler moved in to flush, everything in order. Judges reported this very impressive piece of bird work was one of the best of the stake. His final cast was with purpose, far to the front, as he reached for the bluff of trees to the north. Time was called just as Mike reached them showing he had the finish needed to win on the prairies.

The Running

The first brace broke away at 8:00 a. m. sharp, a light breeze out of the northwest and a clear sky. A small amount of precipitation the night before only left behind evidence in the form of dew on the ground.

Fraser’s John Henry (Daugherty) and Coldwater Hammer (McLean) started strong with John Henry reaching a bit deeper to start, taking the south fenceline to the end before scout was deployed at 18, returning at 28. Hammer was first to get pointed at 21 but no game could be produced. Both shortened before crossing the road. Hammer was in the harness at 49, John Henry following at 51.

The second brace began in the northwest corner of Gunningham’s section across the road. The hay flat to the west and south was short on cover leaving edges to grab but the breeze out of the northwest forced both T’s Nickleback (Smedley) and Erin’s Longmire (Gates) to want to hunt the uncut side, making them disappear quickly. Both appeared at 14 far to the front before cresting the ridge and disappearing again. Nickleback stayed connected and hunted the hedgerows to the end before making the turn to Miller’s hole. Shortening in the heavy cover had him in the harness at 51. Longmire ran the hay flat far to the south but made the turn by 28 before disappearing northwest of Miller’s hole. He was pointed out far to the front along the bull pasture at 38. Point was called by scout at 49, Longmire standing tall across the Eastmond grid. Three to four sharptails lifted at the flush, all in order. He finished the hour with speed and power, setting the bar early.

T’s Plain White (Talmage) and Touch’s Blackout (Anderson) broke away at the water tank across the road. Both had strong starts up to horseback ridge. Anderson called point at 11 with Plain White in for the back. No birds could be produced. Both ran well for the rest of the hour shortening a bit in the heavy cover but again stretching out to the hedgerows of chicken alley. Anderson called point at 59 for Blackout, Plain White again in for the back. This time a nice covey of sharptail was produced with all in order.

Touch’s Adams County (Anderson) and Grizzle (Gates) were up early. The retrieval unit was called for Adams County at 25, and Grizzle was harnessed by 30.

Westfall’s River Ice (Daugherty) and Aberdeen’s Paid in Full (Anderson) began the afternoon running across the road heading west toward horseback ridge. With temperature in the high 80s the partly cloudy skies gave some relief. The start was slow but as horseback ridge came into sight both dogs looked forward, stretching out and turning to the south. River Ice continued to run well but suffered unproductives at 25 and 55. Paid in Full shortened and was up just before crossing the grid at 35.

The sixth brace was covered earlier.

Salem’s Annie Oakley (Daugherty) was a late scratch. House’s Buckwheat Hawk (McLean) ran well to start and ran a wide forward race that sent him around the Eastmond pasture but hooked up again by 35 as we went through the quad gates. His bid for the title ended after an unproductive at 46.

The morning brought an overcast sky with smoke drifting back north as the wind that brought it down was now shifting to a southwest direction.

Lone Tree Showbiz (Gellhaus) and Valiant (Anderson) jumped across the west fenceline to take in the cover in the pasture, Valiant out 300 yards by the quad gates but Showbiz quickly making up ground. As we crossed the road both came in for water at 21 and were sent off to the ridges to the west. This time Showbiz showed heels as he turned up the Campbell pasture. Valiant suffered an unproductive at 30, Anderson electing to pick up. Showbiz finished his hour with speed and stamina that could have pushed the winners but went birdless.

White Dollar (Anderson) and Touch’s White Knight (McLean) had their handlers struggling to stay connected as the course changed back north to Miller’s hole. Although both made the turn their trouble continued now with the wind at their backs. Both ran out the front with the retrieval devices called for at 30 as we crossed the main grid.

Starting at the water tank across the main grid Tekoa Mountain Bulldog (Gellhaus) and Shadow’s Next Exit (Gates) made quick work of the ridge and were seen beyond at 12 along fenceline east of camp with scouts calling point at 18. After the long ride judges reported Next Exit backing with Bulldog carding the unproductive after a lengthy relocation by Gellhaus. Their races struggled at times as they turned into the wind, seeing both up early before crossing the road at 30.

Storm’s Time Line (Gellhaus) finished the hour and ran a consistent forward race but could not get birds pointed. Neely’s Power Play was not pleasing Gates and was up early.

Manteo’s Ace of Spades (Anderson) was showing a moderate race but after a porcupine encounter along Ira’s pasture at 25 was seen coming back in the harness. Big Sky Pete (Gates) was in and out to start but by the half was starting to make some moves, finishing the hour without game.

Westfall’s True Grit (Daugherty) and Touch’s Blue Moon (McLean) began strong but shortened in the heavy cover. True Grit was on the truck at 20, not pleasing Daugherty. Moon had a good find at 10 on chickens. On his second find at 30 birds were in the air as judges rode up, the dog moving, ending his day.

Oakfuskee Theodora (Gellhaus) and Touch’s Game Point (McLean) were away just past the end of chicken alley. Game Point was moderate to start and did not make the turn up to the north end, resulting in the harness at 30. Theodora ran well to start, showing along the road pushing through the heavy cover of Gunningham’s to the south before crossing and making a big swing up the hill to a lone tree 800 yards to the northwest before dipping into the Eastmond pasture to the west. Coming through the rough pasture she again showed heels, set on hunting a single bluff along the oat field in the distance. Point was called as she swapped ends at 35 just before the bluff. After a lengthy flush and relocation no birds could be put up. Unfortunately a large covey of Huns took to the air as the judges rode off, fifty yards down wind as Gellhaus watered. The swing to the north end then back to the south was big and to the front showing intelligence using the wind as she hunted all the likely spots, but she finished the hour without birds.

The 15th brace began in the morning but by 15 a storm was taking shape to the west with lightning seen in the distance. This put a halt to the brace resulting in a one hour delay and this brace being moved to the end of the stake.

This change in weather had the birds moving as more birds were seen on the west side than the first two days, and more birds seemed to be ridden up by the gallery as the day went on.

No. 16 started where we left off just past the quad gates along the road.

Lester’s Jazz Man (Anderson) ran well but movement on nervous birds in the open ended his day at 22. Shadow’s Full Throttle (Gates) ran wider using choke cherry lane before turning to hunt the bluffs but shortening after crossing the road resulting in a pickup at 35.

Both Daniels Creek Whitehawk (Gellhaus) and Lester’s Shout Out (Gates) ran good races with independent finds during the hour. Whitehawk’s was at 12 along the hedgerows south of the bull pasture; Shout Out’s occurred at 20 along the west side of the pasture. After crossing the road at the water tank, both dogs stopped within a yard of each other as birds flew. Each handler shot and judges reported both getting credit for a stop to flush. Both finished the hour.

Born On Fourth July (Gellhaus) and Lester’s Private Charter (McLean) continued the morning trend of finding birds where we did not see them yet in either championship. Fourth July was credited with a find at 6 on sharptail in the alfalfa and at 19 had a stop to flush on Huns. He would finish his hour. Private Charter’s race came with some absences. As he caught the front at 48 point was called between hedgerows in chicken alley. Huns were reported to have left before the judges got there. Mark, thinking they were carrying better, reached for the harness.

The 19th brace was reported earlier.

Phillips Field Line (Anderson) and Chinquapin Hot Shot (Gates) both were picked up early at 32 as they could not get it going today.

Neither Westfall’s Black Thunder (Daugherty) nor Fire Line (McLean) finished their hour. Black Thunder was not pleasing Andy and was up before turning north at the Eastmond fence. Fire Line required the retrieval unit at 25.

The day started with a stronger wind out of the northeast than we had seen; smoke still lingered in the air.

Erin’s Muddy River (Gates) and Hush Money (Anderson) were up before crossing the Eastmond grid. Muddy River’s point at 21 resulted in a coyote pup jumping up during the flush. An unproductive at 33 ended his day. Hush Money backed at 21 but not putting a race together was also done at 33.

Lester’s Georgia Pine (Gates) and Westfall’s Rampage (Daugherty) ran well for 30 minutes but the turn into the wind at Miller’s hole saw both not want to push into it ending their day early.

After the lightning delay our 15th brace was moved to the end. Miller’s Happy Jack (Anderson) and Georgia’s Boy Rock (McLean) fought the strong head wind. Both dogs drifted to the northwest and never got back in time to press the winners, both coming back in the harness by 33.

Mortlach, Sask., August 29

Judges: Dave Noell and Kent Patterson

DOMINION OPEN CHICKEN CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] —

43 Pointers and 3 Setters

Winner—SHADOW’S WHITE WARRIOR, 1628517, pointer male, by In The Shadow—Rester’s Whistling Dixie. Carl Bowman, owner; Robin Gates, handler.

Runner-Up—TOUCH’S MEGA MIKE, 1669609, pointer male, by House’s Ring of Fire—Touch’s Blaylock Bess. Eddie Sholar & Ted Dennard, owner; Mark McLean, handler.

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