American Field

Field Trial Report

Idaho Open Shooting Dog Championship

By Tyler Stiens, DVM | Oct 04, 2018
Championship Winners. From left: Dr. Tyler Stiens, judge; Dustin Dusenberry with Dominator’s American Rebel, Gordon Jones, Mike Mathews, Austin Turley with R C’s Bobtail and Tim Fullerton, judge.

American Falls, Ida. — The Eastern Idaho Bird Dog Club hosted the Idaho Open Shooting Dog Championship outside American Falls, Ida., beginning on September 17, following the Region 9 Amateur Shooting Dog Championship and Everton Derby Classic.

In the 26-dog Championship, pointer male Dominator’s American Rebel, three-year-old white and orange pointer male owned and handled by Gordon Jones of Salem, Utah, took the title, while pointer male R C’s Bobtail, three-year-old white and orange pointer male owned and handled by Mike Mathews of Rockland, Ida., took runner-up. Their efforts are detailed in the 13th and 3rd braces, respectively.

Judicial duties were initially slated for Doug Favor of Pocatello, Ida., and Dr. Tyler Stiens of Coalville, Utah. Doug unfortunately had an injury in the 3rd brace, coming off a horse that went down. Fortunately he did not sustain any serious injury, but was unable to continue as judge.

Glenn Conover of Great Falls, Mont., served as interim judge for the remainder of the brace until Tim Fullerton of Rexburg, Ida., stepped into the saddle for the remainder of the trial. All four gentlemen have years of experience with bird dogs and wild bird hunting and gave their full attention to the task.

Mike Robbins, Mike Mathews, and Gordon Jones supplemented the judges’ personal horses with some of their own to get around these demanding courses.

Sponsors for the trial were Purina and SportDog which donated dog food and electronic training collars to the winners.

Lillian Favor, Doug Favor, Mike Mathews, and Rose Mathews all deserve a special thanks for all the work they put into making this championship and the preceding stakes a huge success. Mike Robbins also marshalled several braces and Tim Fullerton helped with the dog wagon before stepping into the judges’ seat.

We want to express our gratitude to the multiple landowners (Albert Hornbacker, Kent Rudeen, Lamar Isaak and Kyle Matthews) who allow us to hold the trial on their grounds consisting of six courses over CRP grasslands with mixed sage patches linked by rolling hills and draws with native sharptails, Hungarian partridges, and pheasants.


Dominator’s American Rebel came to the trial as runner-up in the 2017 Pacific Coast Derby Championship. Here he had a smooth, big, forward race and went with his handler with virtually no scouting. He had a solid find to the front on a sharptail with two stops to flush, one on sharptails and one on Hungarian partridge.

R C’s Bobtail had five solid contacts with game on a tough course for birds. He had a divided find on pheasants, a stop to flush on sharptail, a back on sharptail, and two solid finds on coveys of Hungarian partridge to finish a solid shooting dog performance.

The Running

Day No. 1 started on the cool side, high 30s, but rapidly warmed up into the 80s with dry, calm conditions, making for tough scenting conditions, especially in the afternoon.

Emmalita (Turley) was seen topping the ridge heading to the south at 15. Handler called point, did not flush, stating birds had left and fired. No birds were observed by judges. The pointer female was sent on and covered the ground well but suffered an unproductive at 35 bending to the north on the ridge. At 58, staying high on the left of the drainage heading to the road, handler called point and fired. No birds were seen under judgment. Born on Fourth July (Gellhaus) used the country, going with the handler without any scouting being needed. The pointer male ended with a great race hitting all the likely spots but came up birdless.

Sampson called point for Hardwire at 20 after topping the plateau heading east with Northwoods Charles (Owens) backing. No birds were flushed. Sent forward, Hardwire got a bit off course to the south and suffered a second unproductive at 35 after having a good ground race. Meanwhile, Charles had a solid find on sharptails at 33 heading north on the plateau. At 40, making the bend to the northwest, the handler stopped the setter as sharptails lifted just in front of him, though it appeared the setter had not seen the grouse. Handler fired and sent him on. At 45, as the course bent off the ridge, back to the south, Charles had a mannerly stop to flush and finished the hour, shorter than desired.

Daniels Creek Whitehawk (Gellhaus) and R C’s Bobtail (Mathews) had an early contact on a large group of pheasants at 2. Both dogs were standing in a small depression, after pheasants were seen leaving. Both handlers fired. As the course turns to the west, both dogs continued to the north on the ridge and both had mannerly stops to flush on the same sharptail at 10. Continuing on course to the south, birds were seen in the air at 12. Approaching the area, both dogs were found behind sagebrush a few yards apart. Gellhaus fired but Mathews did not. Both dogs then hit the front and continued forward, topping the hill at 18. Whitehawk was in the chokecherries backing Bobtail which was on the edge. Mathews flushed a covey of Hungarian partridge, all in order. Making the bend back to the north Bobtail got behind but caught the front and after crossing the saddle and navigating the draws had an excellent find on a second covey of Huns at 45 with exceptional manners on all of his game contacts. After crossing the saddle, Whitehawk was absent for about nine minutes, but otherwise handled well and had an excellent race. Both dogs ended strongly ahead with Bobtail having an unproductive at 58.

The afternoon started dry, calm and warming into the 80s, making for challenging scenting conditions. Rebellita (Turley) got off to a great start with a strong ground race going with the handler with minimal scouting. At time she was to the front and out of judgment. Navigating the drainage just before the flattop, the pointer female was found standing a few minutes later. Handler flushed and relocated but no birds were produced. Lonetree Showbiz (Gellhaus) had a very showy race, using up the country running a big forward race, going with the handler and hitting multiple objectives. Showbiz did not find any birds during his hour.

Touch’s Diamante (Turley) and West Mountain Luke (Sampson) both had good ground races and applications. Diamante stretched it out after the first road crossing going to the north but got a bit behind and lateral after the last road crossing. Luke finished strong to the front at time. Neither pointer had any bird contact.

Zumbro Stinky Pete (Gellhaus) got off to a rough start, staying lateral on the first turn. By the time he made it to the front he was out of gas running in the still, hot and dry conditions. Constantly coming back to the handler for water and running short, he was harnessed at 23. Upland Elhew Dakota (Robbins), on the other hand, handled the heat and course very well, running big at times, but going with the handler without scouting. At 37, between the two road crossings, he had a find on a single sharptail in a small valley just before the course turns west. Sent forward, he disappeared to the front over a ridge as the course turned to the left. The handler proceeded on course, crossing the road, and waited for the pointer to show. Shortly, Dakota appeared a few hundred yards behind and to the north with a coyote in pursuit. The coyote eventually overtook Dakota and actually bit him. Robbins was able to chase the coyote off and Dakota, though bitten, did not appear to be shaken and continued on at 45. The pointer male finished as he started, strong and to the front making nice moves and hitting objectives.

Day No. 2 started in the low 40s with a mild breeze.

Redrock Rebar (Mathews) was found standing at 12 but was flagging and looked quite relaxed. A single sharptail flushed as handler approached and fired. The pointer male ran a very nice race, covering the ground and going with the handler. At 54, going up the high valley south of the stubble field, in the saddle, he had a nice find on a large group of sharptails that he handled well. Rebar ended the hour to the front on course. Picayune Utah Chief (Sampson) had point called for him at 16. Handler, not realizing birds had flushed off to the side, relocated him and a mannerly stop to flush on Huns and sharptails ensued. At 36, coming down the ridge to the north, Chief had an unproductive. From there he got lateral and stayed behind until the water tank at the road. Heading south up the ridge, he again got lateral to the left and went over the hill. Handler and scout, while trying to get him on course, had a find far to the left on sharptails which he handled and looked good on at 56. Chief ran a good race at times but didn’t respond to the handler as well as desired.

Perkins Lakeside Wildchild (Perkins) and Touch’s Katrina (Turley) drew course No. 2. Katrina had a rough start, getting behind going up a draw on the left and not catching the front until hitting the top of the ridge having an absence of about 12 minutes. At 17, as the course bends to the east, Turley called point. Riding up it became apparent that Katrina was backing Wildchild which had a solid find on sharptail. Sent forward, Katrina got lateral to the left, while Wildchild stayed on course to the east. As the course turns to the north Katrina came back and both dogs looked good as they entered chicken alley where Wildchild had finds at 30, 32, 34 and 35. Katrina had finds at 28, 32 and 35. The find at 32 was divided, others being separate. Both dogs handled the multiple contacts excellently. Heading northwest as the plateau starts to drop, Katrina had a big forward race, while Wildchild was considerably shorter and lateral at times. As the course bends to the left to drop into a small drainage, Wildchild had a sixth find at 47, handled impeccably. Heading to the west, Katrina moved to the right going out of contact but finished to the front as the course turned north at time. Wildchild finished shorter than desired.

Both Thunderbird Finn (Gellhaus) and Northern Prairie Addition (Conover) had good application in their races. At 16, topping the hill before swinging to the southwest, both dogs were standing, with Prairie Addition backing. Gellhaus stated birds had left, none seen by the judges. Gellhaus fired and both dogs continued down the valley. At 52, coming along the slope to the north, both dogs were observed in the bottom standing. Conover attempted a flushing attempt, without birds being observed. Gellhaus took the back. Both dogs finished the hour with Finn being the bigger running of the two.

The afternoon of the second day was cooler with a steady breeze compared to day No. 1.

Lonetree Splish Splash (Owen) had some nice moves in the 10th brace, went with the handler well but finished the hour without bird contact. R C’s Batman (Mathews) got off to a rough start going wide and was absent until topping the hill after the first road crossing. The pointer male settled in afterward, had some nice moves but also ended the hour without bird contact.

Tucalota’s Rebel (Mayhew) was up early at 12 for chasing sharptails on the left hand side of the plateau. Tekoa Mountain Jamie (Owen) did not handle well and was running shorter than desired. At the first road crossing, coming off the hill, Jamie got behind and disappeared. The retrieval device was called for at 38.

Gellhaus handled Knight’s White Lady for Owen, who was still looking for Tekoa Mountain Jamie from the previous brace. Perkins Trace Snow (Perkins) and Lady both disappeared over the ridge to the north as the course turns west. Both dogs got back on course as it turns to the south heading uphill. At 8 birds were seen in the air and Lady was picked up for moving with them. Snow was standing and sent on by handler. Making the bend to the west, point was called for Snow; no birds could be produced. Turning down the ridge to the north, Snow made a nice move to the next ridge to the west and was applying herself well to the terrain. At 23 she was seen standing on that ridge. After an initial flushing attempt and relocation, handler picked up for a second unproductive, ending her bid.

The final day and brace of the Championship started cool with a steady breeze from the south, shaping up for ideal conditions.

Dominator’s American Rebel (Jones) and Prairie Tank (Conover) hit the ground running, both pointers taking the ridge south with Rebel having the longer range. At 12, traveling on the ridge and topping a hill, a single sharptail was seen flying. Both handlers, seconds later, riding side by side, called point. Tank was about 30 yards to the front, where the sharptail had flushed. Rebel was seen standing about 350 yards to the front on the next hill. While Conover was dismounting and shooting over Tank, a single sharptail got up near Rebel, which exhibited excellent manners while Jones rode to the pointer and fired. Sent forward, Rebel made excellent use of the surrounding hills, hitting the ridge to the west as the course travels south in the long valley and also hitting the hill east of the saddle as the course turns north. Tank was lateral going through the valley and needed to be scouted coming up the valley. Going north down the ridge at 35, Rebel had an unproductive on the left side in a small depression just before the course turns to the east leaving the ridge. Tank disappeared to the front coming down the ridge but made the turn and both dogs were watered at the road tank at 39. Released to the south, both pointers made good moves up the ridge with Tank going to the left running the edge of the CRP, while Rebel stayed to the front. At 46, as the course takes a slight left bend, a large group of sharptail flushed just below the ridgeline in a depression. Tank had disappeared behind a small hill. Rebel was standing upwind of where the birds came up, while Tank was lateral and out of the scent cone as well. Continuing onward, both dogs shortened going through the sweet clover and then were absent for a few minutes coming down the drainage to the road. As the drainage opens up handlers were ahead, with Rebel being short and Tank out of judgment, having not been seen since hitting the head of the drainage. At 56 a covey of Hungarian partridge flushed behind and to the left of the gallery flying down the drainage and over Rebel which had a mannerly stop. Handler fired. Meanwhile Tank’s scout called point from where the same Huns had just flushed. Riding back to the scout, Tank was seen running through the sage brush and handler claimed his scout was mistaken about Tank being on point. Both pointers crossed the road and finished the hour to the front.

American Falls, Ida., September 17

Judges: Tim Fullerton and Dr. Tyler Stiens


[One-Hour Heats] — 22 Pointers and 4 Setters

Winner—DOMINATOR’S AMERICAN REBEL, 1666722, pointer male, by Rivertons Funseekin Scooter—Pearl Again. Gordon Jones, owner and handler.

Runner-Up—R C’S BOBTAIL, 1661790, pointer male, by White Powder Grip—Rivertons Funseeker Riley. Mike Mathews, owner and handler.

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