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Kansas Prairie Open All-Age

Gyp Hills Field Trial Club

Dream Chaser Wins First Place in National Championship Qualifier
By Doug Meyer | Nov 16, 2020
Open All-Age Winners. L to R: Dream Chaser with Allen Vincent, Randy Anderson and Matt Cochran with Valiant, Judge Alex Mauck, Westfall’s True Grit with Andy Daugherty, Jay McKenzie and Judge Larry Garner.

Medicine Lodge, Kan. — The Gyp Hills Field Trial Club again hosted our Purina Points National Championship Qualifier over the beautiful rolling prairie of the Z Bar Ranch southwest of Medicine Lodge, Kan.

This is a wild bird trial held mostly on native bobwhite quail and ringneck pheasant that populate the courses routed to take advantage of the creek and river riparian areas on this 43,000-acre oasis in the Gypsum or Red Hills.

This year while running the separate Derby courses around and below the settlement of Aetna, some us were pleased to witness a single lesser prairie chicken fly. The ranch has been involved in a major restoration effort for the little chickens and with a couple of fairly good rainfall years and their habitat improvement efforts, we’re all hoping to see more of these threatened game birds. Thanks to ownership and Z Bar managers Keith and Eva Yearout for welcoming us to their little piece of heaven in south central Kansas.

THE WINNERS AND OTHERS

Dream Chaser, three-year-old white and liver pointer male owned by Coloradan Brad H. Calkins and handled by Andy Daugherty, ran a very nice all-age race with two finds on bobwhites in the 15th brace of the stake. The second find sealed the win as Oregonian Kris Wall who traveled to the Z Bar with Judge Alex Mauck spotted Chaser pointing in the shadows left of the course in the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River bottom. Before Andy could return from the front to flush, the bobs lifted noisily on their own and Dream Chaser stood throughout and for the shot upon Daugherty’s arrival. His finish was to the front at good range where scout and handler road for him. Nice work by all especially to Kris for spotting the dog which we had all almost ridden past.

Valiant, last year’s Purina Award winner had his Kansas owner Jay McKenzie riding to watch in the ninth brace. Action came early and often for the white and liver champion. Scout Matt Cochran found him pointing off breakaway and relayed that birds had left the dog. Randy Anderson flushed and tried to relocate where the birds landed but no feathers resulted. An unproductive, but with reservations. At 15 Anderson’s hat was raised in heavy grass and wild sunflowers and a nice covey was flushed. Excitement was building as scenting conditions had obviously improved. At 30 Valiant was again pointing in a known covey location along the Cottage Creek drainage but extensive relocation produced nothing. Handler asked if he should go on and the judges said it was fine with them. At 49 Valiant scored a second clean find along the river and finished at the front to be named second.

Third placed Westfall’s True Grit ran big and had a single find at 35 on the third hour for Andy Daugherty. Owner Ryan Westfall was riding and father Bill was following along the course behind the dog wagon.

Others with good efforts but no credited bird work, in the order in which they ran, included: Greypointe Luminoso with a nice out front race; Touch’s Spaceman with a wide look at the country; S F Mapleleaf with a solid handling race and a stand at 4 where birds were not seen under judgment; Justifier who really scorched the country; SSS Stormy with a solid effort throughout; Westfall’s Wheels Up with only an unproductive to show for a strong effort, and Lowrider Frank which always looks good here.

Our thanks to the Z Bar team for allowing access to the ranch and for their help with logistics, mowing, gates and moving the bison to other areas from where the courses are mapped.

The club appreciates Purina Pro Plan and Sporting Dog leader Greg Blair for their continued support of this trial, the major circuit stakes, field trialing and dog competitions in general. A great dog food and company who supports class bird dogs.

Special thanks to Thane Yunker from the Z Bar who babysat us visitors, helped with the dog wagon and even released dogs when asked. Chuck Maxson again attended as the main dog wagon master and did a great job using his GPS system to track the field trial party and was right in place every time we needed a pick up or to change braces. Good help is hard to find and we appreciate them!

Grace Meyer provided lunches and set a fine table for the winner’s banquet served in honor of Whippoorwill Forever Wild and handler Matt Cochran, last year’s winner.

A very special thanks to Judges Alex Mauck and Larry Garner for traveling to sit in the saddles and watch our dogs this year. They are veterans of the sport with a long history of judging important field trials and working and handling their own dogs.

Alex traveled from Western Oregon which is a major journey and consented to judge other stakes in the middle of the country during his trip. Larry Garner came north and west from the Dallas area and both judges who already were well acquainted got along well and rode attentively. Thanks again for coming and looking over dogs for handlers trying to show their best on wild birds in natural bird country.

Medicine Lodge, Kan., October 19

Judges: Larry Garner and Alex Mauck

KANSAS PRAIRIE OPEN ALL-AGE [One-Hour Heats] — 31 Pointers

1st—DREAM CHASER, 1680227, male, by Pleasant Run Bob—House’s Wild Bess Again. Brad H. Calkins, owner; Andy Daugherty, handler.

2d—VALIANT, 1649524, male, by Miller’s Happy Jack—Tina’s Tear Drop. Jay McKenzie, owner; Randy Anderson, handler.

3d—WESTFALL’S TRUE GRIT, 1663635, male, by Erin’s Brave Heart—Westfall’s Irish Bell. Ryan Westfall, owner; Andy Daugherty, handler.

OPEN DERBY

The 30-minute Derby is routed from a hill top east of the former town of Aetna in a sweeping loop down through Dry Creek and into a wooly sand hill plum thicket bottom which is mowed to provide a directional path for judges, handlers and dogs at times. There are showy places to point out a running dog and turns and birds to make them hunt and go with their handlers.

Judges and the gallery were riding up birds but only a couple dog contacts were observed. We had 16 good contestants this year and the winners earned their spots. Again, Larry Garner and Alex Mauck watched attentively and named the three best. Intensive Turnin N Burnin for Steve Auxier was named first after that standard of old that said you ought to see the all age prospect out front at range three or four times during the brace. Burnin did this well with a big finish.

Second place Upfront Prairie King was high, wide and handsome as well to garner second and Sadie Firefly was pretty, flashy and forward to take third. Second and third were both handled by Allen Vincent.

Thanks again to all who entered dogs and the owners of these major circuit cream of the crop animals. We look forward to seeing all again next year in one of the few places where we compete today on wild birds making their living in a native prairie environment.

OPEN DERBY — 15 Pointers and 1 Setter

1st—INTENSIVE TURNIN N BURNIN, 1689661, pointer female, by Coldwater Odyssey—Coldwater June. Steve Auxier, owner and handler.

2d—UPFRONT’S PRAIRIE KING, 1688817, pointer male, by B K Pablo Escobar—B K Miss Millie. Lance Schulz, owner; Allen Vincent, handler.

3d—SADIE FIRE FLY, 1691207, pointer female, by Westfall’s True Grit—Ginsmoke And Lies.  Natlie Cooper, Steve Lightle & Dr. James Mills, owners; Allen Vincent, handler.

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