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Field Trial Report

Idaho Open Shooting Dog Championship

Searchin for A Rainbow Named Winner; M H Rockford Peach is Runner-Up
By Matt Huston | Oct 06, 2020
The Winners. Fom left: Gordy Jones, Mike Robbins with Searchin For A Rainbow, Judge Lori Steinshouer, Judge Marty Middleton, Matt Huston with M H Rockford Peach.

American Falls, Ida. — As wildfires raged along the West Coast, the smoke consumed the majority of the Northwest. The hazard levels were unprecedented. Many participants were eager to flee with their horses and dogs to find some semblance of fresh air in the Snake River Valley, ten+hrs away. Compound that with a local uptick in COVID-19 cases that had canceled the Region 9 Amateur and threatened the Open, a weekend of social distanced, outdoor activity chasing fancy dogs was just what we needed.

Obviously holding a trial is not possible without the support and generosity of the landowners. There is not enough gratitude that can be expressed to Albert Hornbacher, Henry Hornbacher, and the Rudeen, Matthews, and Isaac families. With six continuous courses of prime wild bird habitat amongst the rolling hills of southern Idaho, the property management of these families is unparalleled. You would be hard pressed to find a noxious weed anywhere.

When property owners take such pride in their land as we do our animals, the final product is always going to produce a world class event. Thank you to the Eastern Idaho Bird Dog Club for securing these grounds and the relationships you have built. Without Doug and Lillian Favor, Rich Heaton, Ryan Mulcahy and members for their attention to detail and work ethic, this trial would not be possible

And finally, thank you to the judges for accepting and fulfilling the arduous task of riding eighteen braces on these challenging courses. As I can attest, riding steep inclines and declines, while continuous side hilling, is not an easy task regardless of your riding condition. Couple that with keeping your head on a swivel to catch every possible scenario that arises when you are running dogs on true wild birds. Luckily, we were graced with the judicial expertise of two highly qualified and well-respected judges in Lori Steinshouer of Nevada and Marty Middleton of Utah.

Lori has handled a dog in thirteen National Championships at Ames Plantation, judged numerous championships across the West, as well as has trained just south of these grounds for decades. She brings a level of expertise that is unparalleled when it comes to expectations of a top tier bird dog on wild birds. Marty has an equally impressive record as he has judged numerous National Championships including the National Amateur Pheasant Championships in Circle, Mont., a wild bird trial, the National Vizsla Western Shooting Dog Championship and All-Age Classic, among others.

THE WINNERS

Named champion was four-year-old pointer female Searchin for A Rainbow, callname Jessie, owned and handled by Gordy Jones of Draper, Utah. Jessie is about as blue blood western royally as it gets in the pointer world. Bred by Rich Robertson Jr, she is by multiple champion Utah’s Redrock Express, he by Idaho’s Clean Sweep, one half of the champion producing and champion winning brothers. He and Idaho’s Lucky Strike, both by the famed Silver Strike. Jessie’s dam is a full sister to none other than Riverton’s Funseekin Scooter. The champion producing and champion winning son of Funseeker's Rebel and Riverton’s Blackeye Pea.

Jessie ran in brace No. 13. It was one of those mornings where we as bird hunters wake up with great expectations. The sky had cleared, the air was cool, and a slight breeze kissing the grass. Brace No. 13, course No. 1 on Sunday would not disappoint.

Searchin for A Rainbow and C K Touchdown (VF/Gingrich) were promptly cast off at 7:30 a.m. The course quickly goes to the top of a grassy knoll where we follow the ridgetop along flowing CRP fields. The field is bordered by sagebrush on the east side and rolling hills to the west as we navigate the top, a great place to show a dog. At 16:45 Jones called “Birds!” The birds were seen in the air, and Jessie standing majestically underneath. No movement as the gallery made the long ride up, handler fired, and collared her up. Nice work!

As we dropped off the ridge, the course goes into a valley and makes a sharp turn to the left. There were some tense moments if Jessie would make the turn with her handler, fortunately she did and down into the next draw they went. Point was called by Gingrich for Touchdown at 34; no birds could be produced.

As we climbed yet another ridge, the course breaks into a flat. Once on top Jones called point at 37:48. Jessie’s high head and tail were easily seen sticking above the grass. As the handler approached, a nice covey of sharptail lifted in front of the dog, all manners intact. Gingrich wished Jones good luck as he  picked up Touchdown.

As we rode along the rolling tops, there is a big bowl lined with sagebrush to our right. Jessie came over the top of the ridge, quickly located her handler and made a move back to the front, right into a big covey of Huns. She immediately slammed on her breaks with a nice stop to flush at 46. At this point, Jessie was continuing to make a show of the course she drew; showing on the ridges, across the hill faces, and always where she should be. The course ends going down the mountain to the road, with a few brushy draws coming down into the main cut. Jessie was last seen running the edge of one of these brushy draws, the wind in her face.

As judges and handler made it to the road, Jones called out for his scout, Mike Robbins. Time started to click off the clock without the dog being seen. At 59 the scout raised his cowboy hat into the air, "POINT!" As the judges rode in, a pheasant took flight and handler fired. It was truly a championship performance for all who witnessed it.

Named runner-up was a three-year-old pointer female, M H Rockford Peach, callname Dottie, bred by and owned by Matt Huston, now of Washington. She was handled by Kim Sampson of Utah. Dottie, the leggy red head originally born in Oregon, is in a league of her own. By two x NSTRA Champion M H McGee’s Invogue, her pedigree lacks the titles of other competitors. Although her pedigree is littered with champions (My Mustang Sally, Elhew Fibber McGee, Rockacre Blackhawk, Game Maker, Guard Rail and Connor’s E Z Button) you  have to go back three generations to find them!

Down in brace No. 8, M H Rockford Peach  was braced with Twer’s Heartbreak Ridge (PM/Schaaf) on course No. 2. A late-night rainstorm had cured the dusty conditions from the day before, but scenting still seemed tough on the dogs. Course 2 climbs a steep ridge for the first half of the brace. Visibility while making the steep ascent is limited, as you every so often catch glimpses of a merry tail. To the left is a very steep cliff littered with brushy habitat, ideal location for wary birds. As the handlers made the climb, scouts were digging into the brush hoping a dog had not been passed up. At that time, the gallery called out that a dog was out wide to the right and forward. Sampson and Schaaf continued up the hill where Heartbreak was seen short to the front, Dottie finishing her wide cast ahead and up and over the hill. Once on top of the hill at 20, Sampson called point, Dottie standing up on the flat. As Sampson approached, sharptail started lifting in front of her dog. Sampson dismounted as birds continued to lift. As she shot, Heartbreak arrived. Through all this commotion, Dottie maintained her manners. Sampson collared her up and moved forward.

After the flat there is one last rise before we reach the highest point of the course. At 25 Dottie was just on this side of that ridge, with her head in the air gathering in the scent as she started making game. She pointed in view of all. As everyone started to ride up, a single sharptail lifted in front, nice work on very jumpy wild birds.

Quickly after being released to the front, birds were  seen taking flight. Heartbreak was. under the birds, moving and was picked up.

Dottie stopped to flush. She was then fired in front of and cast forward. Coming down from the summit of the course, it provides two great opportunities to really show a dog. Sampson took her opportunity and showed Dottie across the face of the hill perfectly, as the course makes a 120° turn.  Dottie then used the limits of the course as she made her way back down the mountain. Again, Dottie showed great as the course turns back hard to the left.

Dottie continued her cast all the way down the face of this ridge, then slammed on point at the end. Sampson made a vigorous flushing attempt as the gallery sat on the edge of their saddles. Unfortunately, no birds were produced. Dottie finished going away, a championship worthy run by dog, handler scout Rich Heaton.

THE RUNNING

Sixteen riders for the start of the 2020 Idaho Open Shooting Dog Championship. We were greeted with very dry conditions under smoky and cloudy skies.

Janee’s American Rebel (PM/Staley) and Touch’s Katrina (PF/Turley), last year’s champion, started off this year’s rendition. Dogs ran with a tight yet consistent forward race. Both dogs were seen standing at 25:30,  a few hundred yards apart. Birds could not be produced be either handler. At 48:45 birds were seen in the air with Rebel standing, again Katrina also  standing a few hundred yards off; no more birds were produced. Staley had fired and moved Rebel on. Katrina was left down where both dogs continued their pursuit. Katrina had a stop to flush at 54:30 on another group of sharpies, steady through shot. This theme would continue with poor scenting and spooky wild birds.

Janee’s Sunny Slope (PM/Staley) and R C’s Batman (PM/Mathews). The wind had picked up, making the dry conditions seem even drier. Point was quickly called for Sunny at 3 and quickly birds were in flight, with a stop to flush for Batman as he saw the birds leaving. Both handlers dismounted and fired, both dogs steady throughout. At 17 Batman had another stop to flush, followed by another at 19:22 for Sunny with Batman backing. As we climbed to the top of the course, Sunny had yet another stop to flush at 24:30. These birds were proving to be tough to pin down, no fault of the dogs. At 27:40 birds were again in the air, Sunny not taking it anymore and going with the bird. Batman was seen  was pointing at 37, yet no birds could be produced. Batman finished the hour with a consistent race.

As the clouds diminished and the sky cleared, the temperature seemed to rise drastically, evidence by the dry dust lifting underneath the horses’ hooves with each step.

No. 3: Brian Gingrich from New Mexico with Vizsla male C K Post Route and local Doug Favor with pointer male I Got This made an impressive opening cast directly up the hill. As we climbed to the top, I Got This was standing high and proud on both ends. Birds were flushed and fired upon. This was the first find of the day where birds were flushed by the handler. As the handlers made the tight turn from the ridge into the valley, Post Route was s running up the ridge on the opposite side, the last time he was seen, a retrieval device called for at 20. I Got This started to shorten his pattern through the halfway point, as the dry heat was felt by all, and our first covey of Huns was ridden up by the gallery. At 48 birds were seen in the air with the dog coming to a stop, Favor dismounting and firing. This reinvigorated I Got This as he finished strong going away.

The last course of the morning, heading back to camp for the afternoon. Like Mike (PM/Robbins) and Touch’s Diamante (PM/Turley) showed well, with Diamante using the entire course as they made the first 90° turn. Point was called by Robbins at 17:30. The gallery saw birds take flight up the hill from the dog, but not seen by the handler or judges. Robbins would relocate, unable to produce anymore birds. As the course dropped into a big valley, it follows down the valley to the right. Diamante was seen going hard to the left. Turley rode away fast waving back to the judges. He knew his run was finished. At 41 Like Mike was standing in the bottom of the valley along the sagebrush. No birds could be produced by Robbins who elected to stay down and showed his dog well to finish the course.

After everyone had grabbed a bite to eat and swapped out for fresh horses, we cast off with  No.  5, Edelman (PM/Jones) with Wild N Easy (PM/Turley). Dogs kept good contact through this difficult portion of the course with many valleys and bowls to lose a dog. As we make a turn around the base of a large knoll, a rooster pheasant could be seen flying over the top. As everyone road up, Edelman was still standing at 22. Jones fired and all manners intact. At 36:20 Easy was on point. As Turley began to flush, the dog moved as he was unsure; no bird produced. Turley picked up. A few minutes later at the water trough, Jones elected to pick up as well.

We started brace No. 6, R C’s Bobtail (PM/Mathews) and H B V’s Lambeau Leap (GSPF/Favor),  at the water bucket, which would encompass the last half of course  No. 5. It was the warmest part of the day, and in this reporter’s opinion, very likely hard to smell birds. Both dogs gave a spirited search they used the course well. At 53 Bobtail pointed, but no birds could be produced. This would be the only course of the day where birds were not found.

Early Saturday morning the grounds received their first taste of rain in months. Moisture was quickly evaporated by the dry ground and fierce wind. It was still unusually warm for such a weather event in this part of the country.

No. 7: Bangert’s Red Baron (VM/Gingrich) and Tian Shooting Star (PF/Schilleriff). The rain did not seem to improve scenting conditions, as both dogs gave a valiant search using all of the course. Although sharpies were ridden up by the gallery, we did not see any dog action until Baron had a stop to flush at 48 on top of the ridge, all manners intact. Both dogs finished.

Brace 8 was previously noted. 

Tian Elhew Verbena (PF/Schilleriff) and M H Hot Corner (PM/Huston). Both handlers made the steep climb to the sharp turn that enters into the valley. Point was called at 18 by Schilleriff at the turn out of the valley in the sagebrush; no birds could be produced. At 20 birds were seen in the air, Corner  seen standing. Huston fired and moved this close-working dog back to the front. About this same time, Schilleriff called point, yet she could not produce a bird. Shortly after, at 25, birds were seen in the air, again Corner standing mannerly. At 35 birds were called out in the air. Huston dismounted and fired. At this time, Schileriff elected to pick up Verbena. Corner had another stop to flush at 43, again unable to pin down these wild sharptails. A large covey of Huns was ridden up by the gallery, missed by the close-working Corner, as he finished the hour.

Brace No. 10 paired Rebellita (PF/Turley) with local Perkins Trace of Snow (PF/Perkins). These dogs were my favorite brace of the stake, as their handlers put these dogs in their best light and did a tremendous job. We had a little excitement at 15 when Snow  pointed in a very likely sharptail area, yet no birds could be produced. Both dogs finished.

Fresh horses were nonexistent after ten braces on these demanding courses. But fresher horses were found and saddled for the beginning of brace No, 11.

We again saw Gingrich and Favor, this time with Burr Oak’s Born Again (VM/Gingrich) and H B V’s Ramble On (PM/Favor). At 28 Ramble On had a mannerly stop to flush on sharptails and Favor fired and moved this mannerly dog on. These dogs continued to impress on this arduous course. At 58 Favor called point way up to the front atop the hill. As the gallery rode hard up to him, a covey of Huns erupted out of the draw well before the handlers. We continued to the top where Favor did not have a point but a back, with Born Again dug into the heavy sagebrush ahead. Gingrich searched hard and fast hoping to produce anything out of the thick cover. No birds produced.

We finally jumped a cow moose and her calf, which have become a staple of this trial.

Brace  No. 12 had repeat handlers when we were presented with Perkins Elhew River (PF/Perkins) and Touch’s Fire N Ice (PF/Turley). These handlers repeated by showing their dogs well. At 13 point was called out by the gallery way out to the front. Both handlers and judges rode off down the canyon to that direction. Birds were seen in flight by the gallery, but not by the advancing party. Unaware that birds had been produced, Turley continued to flush and then relocate, carding an unproductive. At 40:45 Turley again called point; no birds could be produced this time either. Both dogs finished the course strong and to the front.

Brace No. 13 was previously described.

Gotta Little Project (PM/Schaff) and Janee’s Unphiltered (PM/Staley). As mentioned before, this course is difficult to see dogs with the steep incline. But at 15:22 both dogs were seen pointing beautifully in the tall grass about 100 yards apart. Both handlers flushed vigorously in front of their dogs, yet neither could produce. A few minutes later, at 19:40, Unphiltered was standing. Staley flushed sharptails for the handsome dog and fired. Birds continued to erupt from all over the flat in all directions. Project was seen looking in the air at birds but not stopping and picked up by his handler. Quickly, at 23:30, Unphiltered was standing another covey of sharptails. Birds were seen as the gallery approached, and just as before, manners intact. Three minutes later Unphiltered was standing tall in the grass again. Staley covered every inch in front of his dog before finally moving him up to relocate. He ultimately would not produce any birds. Judges asked handler to pick up.

No. 15 paired Snakebite NV (PF/Schilleriff) with Perkins Beautiful Disaster (PF/Perkins). NV required some crafty riding by her scout as she experimented with the limits of the course. Disaster took a more measured approach with a consistent, forward race. Disaster carded a find at 23, dug into the sagebrush at the turn out of the valley. After thoroughly covering the ridge, she  carded another find at 38:30. After crossing the draw back to the top of the knoll, Perkins called point again at 46:45. From her body language, Perkins quickly moved her on with her first unproductive. Disaster’s race shortened as she entered a sagebrush thicket and a covey of Huns came out from the other side. Disaster was standing mannerly inside the brush; her handler fired his pistol for astop to flush at 52:45. Both dogs finished.

Both Emmalita (PF/Turley) was Rebel Stoke (PM/Marcos Puggiari) made an impressive move down the draw and the turn to the left on the course. Turley called birds, but no birds were seen by the gallery. She was fired over and moved on at 5:30. At 13:30 Turley called out birds again, but again birds were not seen by others. Turley fired over his dog, her manners intact. At 21:30 Turley called point. This time he could not produce birds. Stoke was picked up as he was not satisfying his handler. Emmalita finished strong.

The freshest horses were scrounged up for the last departure of the day and trial.

Perkins Lakeside Wild Child (PF/Perkins) and Ramblin Rivers Rollin Stone (VM/Gingrich). Stone was seen at the breakaway going away, but not again. Perkins with the course to himself called point at 17:43 but was unable to produce any birds. At 50:30 Perkins’ scout called point with Child in a very birdy looking sagebrush coulee. Unfortunately, Perkins would not produce a bird and picked her up.

For the 18th and final brace Perkins had the course to himself with the final dog, Perkins Renegade Jade (GSPF/Perkins), as a bye.  This German shorthair did an admirable job as the heat had returned for the afternoon braces. Jade would not be rewarded for her strong effor. She was only able to card an unproductive at 44. Strong finish for dog and handler.

American Falls, Ida., September 18

Judges: Marty Middleton and Lori Steinshouer

IDAHO STATE OPEN SHOOTING DOG CHAMPIONSHIP
[One-Hour Heats] — 27 Pointers, 3 German Shorthairs
and 5 Vizslas

Winner—SEARCHIN FOR A RAINBOW. 1676228, pointer female, by Utah’s Red Rock Express—Rivertons Funseek’n Abby. Gordon Jones, owner and handler.

Runner-Up—M H ROCKFORD PEACH, 1675130, pointer female, by M H McGee’s Invogue—B D’s Sassy. Matthew Huston, owner; Kim Sampson, handler.

Judges: Lillian Favor and Tim Fullerton

OPEN DERBY — 18 Pointers and 2 Setters

1st—JANEE’S SEEK’N A PENNY, 1688589, pointer female, by Riverton’s Funseek’n Scooter—Penny Markham. Jason Staley, owner and handler.

2d—EDGE’S HIDDEN CANYON, 1691532, pointer male, by Edelman—T’s Inlieu of Rum. Gordon Jones, owner; Mike Robbins, handler.

3d—DEEP CREEK MASON, 1690923, pointer male, by Funseeker’s Rebel—Deep Creek Myrna. David A. Uphoff & Tim Thornton, owners; Brian Gingrich, handler.

 

 

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