American Field

Roger Bryant Amateur Walking Shooting Dog Classic

Highland Field Trial Club

By David A. Fletcher | Feb 05, 2018
Roger Bryant Classic Winners. From left: Ron Sposita, Bill Nelson with Highbank’s Back’N’Black, Blake Rizzo, judge; John Bodo with Pepper Jack Wood, Mark Beniak, Jim Cipponeri, Dave Heavlin, judge, and Tom Vanecek with Bad River Rutherford.

Highland, Mich. — The third renewal of the Roger Bryant Amateur Walking Shooting Dog Classic was staged by the Highland Field Trial Club on December 9 over the silo course of the historic Highland Recreation Area grounds. The snows came, travel was difficult, cutting the entry to 12, which actually got to the grounds and competed. Driving conditions were not favorable for those entries distant to the grounds. The snow itself amounted to slightly in excess of three inches and was a deterrent to the released birds moving about and trying to fly. But birds were pointed almost every brace, competitors hunted hard and the winners left their mark.

The classic was completed in one day, Saturday.

Quail were ordered from the breeder for this event but the flock was down with medical problems so chukars were furnished at the last minute. They tended to bury in the snowy cover when released and were not easily flushed.

Saturday was chilly, in the high 20s, but not by any means an impossible day to work dogs. Club members were present and working hard to make this event happen in the persons of Ron Sposita, president, who liberated the birds, and marshalled. Mark Beniak, vice-president, brought the coffee and donuts, transported lunch from Little Caesars, and filled the bird bags. Director Tom Vanecek released birds and club secretary-treasurer Dave Fletcher took entry money, announced and got the braces moving and paid the bills. Dave also reported and took the pictures. Director Dr. George Najor was present, helped and ran his dog. The owners who attended and handled their dogs were the feature of this event. They came, were enthusiastic, socialized and competed without blaming the weather and the entire group had a great time despite the snow. The Miotto contingent from the Metro Toronto, Ontario area did not let the weather interfere with their plans and were present. Judging was in the capable hands of Vince Rizzo of Davisburg, Mich., and Dave Heavlin of Pinckney, Mich., both experienced and seasoned in pointing dog field trials.

The Winners and Others

The winner was Highbank’s Back’ N’Black, pointer male owned and handled by Bill Nelson of Riley Township, Mich.

Black hunted the snowy course as if the snow hanging heavily on the cover was of no significance, reached out to the brush and hunted it like the veteran he is, making one good cast after another, especially in the second half of his heat when he warmed to his task noticably. His bird find was a great one . . .  “on a limb,” as they say, and the stature on point and manners at flush were excellent. Black was jumping hard at the end of his heat. Black boasts nine placements evenly divided between open country walking and grouse and woodcock events.

Second was Pepper Jack Wood, setter male owned and handled by John Bodo of Howell, Mich. Pepper Jack was named winner in this classic last year. This time down he scored a pair of good finds on chukar, and they were not good fliers on this occasion. He was stylish and sure on point throughout. His hunting was consistent this time down but not in excess of the word moderate. There was a lot of snow to run through. Pepper Jack has 21 previous placements.

Tom Vanecek’s Bad River Rutherford was third logging a pair of chukar finds, both extremely well done. His race was moderate at times, but can be attributed to conquering the snowy cover. Overall the dog gave his all and put down a good hunt. “Rusty” has 34 previous placements.

Canadian Northern Gold, the Miotto entry from Canada, tossed a strong challenge to the winners. His hunting was right at the top of the stake, but he was unfortunate . . . no bird contact.

The Running

Shortly after 8:00 a. m. the stake got underway over the snowy landscape.

Joan Jett (Sposita) was hunting nicely until a chukar had difficulty getting airborne with everything covered in snow. An easy catch for Joan. Double Tap (Beniak) was making nice casts, looking for birds, but everything covered in snow was seemingly not totally to his liking. No birds for Double Tap this time down.

Duke’s Tuscadero (Sposita) crashed the snow and hunted for birds. He had a nice point midway but on this occasion hunted a bit on the moderate side. Faith’s Maximum Justice (DeLong) was good looking in motion, hunted the course well but was birdless.

Hey U Gabby (Najor) and Walker (Kurtz) hunted well, not wide, or forceful, but busy every minute looking for birds. No birds pointed this time down.

Bad River Rutherford (Vanecek) and Canadian Northern Gold (Miotto). The latter hunted with great effort and determination to find birds but was birdless. If Gold had found and handled a bird there is no question he could have topped the stake. “Rusty” hunted moderately in the snow, looked hard for and found chukar twice, all the work well done.

Pepper Jack Wood (Bodo) hunted hard for birds, rewarded by two good finds on chukar. Style and manners at flush were excellent. Journey (Kurtz) hunted and came around nicely but failed to find birds this time down.

Highbank’s Black’N’Black (Nelson) won this stake with a find on the end of a very reaching cast. His work on birds was topnotch and his finish strong and purposeful. Rocky (Parnell) was moderate in range but not in attention to hunting. A birdless but commendable effort.

Highland, Mich., December 9

Judges: Blake Rizzo and Dave Heavlin


1st—HIGHBANK’S BACK’N’BLACK, 1664098, pointer male, by Nelson’s Van Max—Hifive’s Peddle Pusher. Bill Nelson, owner and handler.

2d—PEPPER JACK WOOD, 1627073, setter male, by Terhaar’s Elvis—Grouse River Princess. John Bodo, owner and handler.

3d—BAD RIVER RUTHERFORD, 1641535, setter male, by Emmy’s Apple Jack—Quail Trap Kate. Tom Vanecek, owner and handler.

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