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Field Trial Report

Lake States Grouse Dog Championship

By Denise Peters | Nov 24, 2021
Championship Winners. From left: Stake Manager Bryan Wood; Bob Leet; Runner-up Hifive’s Power Line with handler Bruce Minard; Judge Larry Guild, Reporter Denise Peters; Judge Joe Guzman; Deb Nihart, and Champion Shady Hills Zeena with handler Marc Forman.

Meredith, Mich. — This year we ran the 77th annual Lake States Grouse Dog Championship on October 26-29.

It was an unusually warm fall and we still had cover on the grounds. This certainly does not usually happen.

We drew a field of 39 dogs. Our numbers were smaller, we feel, due to the Grand beginning its trial just a week later on November 2.

Birds were plentiful on the Gladwin venue and many dogs were afforded the opportunity to show their talents to the fullest.

This trial, as are all of our trials, was a Purina-sponsored event. We appreciate Greg Blair and his crew who keep us supplied with dog food for our trials.

We were pleased to have Larry Guild and Joe Guzman in the saddle to judge this historic event at our coveted Gladwin Field Trial Grounds. These two gentlemen have many years of experience between them and enjoyed four days of exceptional Michigan weather, watching the best of the best dogs compete.

Named the 2021 champion was Shady Hills Zeena, handled by Marc Forman and owned by Debra Nihart of Prattsburgh, N. Y.  Zeena is a white and orange pointer with much spirit and a loving personality. This was her first championship win after several shooting dog and Derby placements. See brace No. 12 for the running.

The 2021 runner-up was Hifive’s Power Line, handled by Bruce Minard and owned by Ben and Meledye Batey of Greenbrier, Tenn. This win came on the heels of also winning runner-up at the Northern Michigan Cover Dog Championship. He's now a three-time runner-up champion.

Power Line is a well-built white and liver  pointer male that runs with great stamina and determination. See brace No. 19 for the running.

THE RUNNING

Brace No. 1 had setter males Vitali’s Grouse Ringer Pappy (Scott Forman) and Moss Meadow Seeker  (Ken Moss). The first brace began on courses 15-16. Both dogs hit the cover with the expected enthusiasm of a crisp fall morning hunt. Both bells stopped at 8 minutes in. When we found the dogs, Seeker was pointing with Pappy standing a well-mannered back. Ken flushed, producing a woodcock all in good order. We had some stops and starts, neither dog having further bird contact. These two handled well, reaching out to the edges and scouring the cover.

Fireside Aidan (SM/Tammy Chaffee) and Hifive’s Top Shelf (PF/Bruce Minard). The morning continued with cooler temperatures, perfect conditions for fall bird dogs. At 20 both bells were stopped. We sighted Aidan first, Tammy going in to flush, woodcock in the air. Not far beyond, Top Shelf stood as Bruce flushed, another woodcock taking wing. Both in good order. Both dogs were back into the cover, both bells stopping again at 23. This time we found Aidan on point with Top Shelf backing. Another woodcock was flushed, both dogs mannerly. Realizing the flight birds were here, it just got better. At 26 both dogs were again on point. Both carded a woodcock find. As we walked the end of course No. 1, Aidan pointed off to the right in the scrub oak at 30. Another woodcock to his credit. Both dogs headed across the birdfield onto course No. 2. As Aiden headed up the hill, a woodcock flushed wild to our left. Being a bit behind, we heard the repeat of a shot as Top Shelf carded yet another woodcock at 34. Top Shelf handled well, ending the hour without further bird work. At 49 we lost Aidan’s bell, but it started up again shortly after. Stopping again at 53, Tammy went in with judge in tow to look for Aidan. At 55 the shot rang out, Aidan gaining the brace advantage with a pair of grouse, all in order.

Setter males next after coffee. We headed up on to courses 5-6. Both Meredith Grade Corky (T. Chaffee) and French’s Grouse Ringer Woody (M. Forman) covered both sides of the course through the big hill working up front. At 18 we lost Corky’s bell. Tammy and judge went in to take a look. Woody was covering the area adjacent to where we lost Corky’s bell. A grouse flushed wild when we heard a shot at 19. Corky had a mannerly woodcock find. Corky stopped again at 25; after taking a look over the hill, his bell started up, Tammy moving on. At 40 Tammy sent Scott in to check for Corky; his bell started up soon after. Woody continued working forward and handling well. Woody ended the hour with continued energy, not letting up. No birds, but a nice ground race.

Backwoods Rumble (SM/Richard Hollister) and Rowling’s Star (SF/S. Forman) began on courses 7-8 with a wild grouse flush early at 2. Reaching the hardwoods, Rumble went on a ramble and raced on to his own agenda, both dogs digging deep into the cover. Rich worked hard to get him in hand, but called it when we reached the berm by the road. Star had a good ground race, but played hard to get throughout. She checked in when needed, working the cover as we went forward. After crossing onto course 8, Star continued forward. At 58 Star stopped hard. Scott flushed a woodcock all in order.

After a great lunch of hamburgers and chili, we went back out to courses 9-10 with setter males Snyder’s Pioneer Scout (S. Chaffee) and Shady Hills Whiskey Bonfire (S. Forman). Bluebird skies and wonderful weather continued. Scout and Whiskey hit the first cut, covering the ridges and valleys. At the end of the first cut at 9, Scout’s bell silenced. We looked across to the ridge and saw him on point on a very vertical side of the hill. When they got to Scout, we saw two grouse lift and heard a third. Scout stood for the wing and shot, all in good order. At 16 Whiskey pointed. A grouse lifted and Scotty shot. Both dogs continued to hit the cover. At 59 they stopped, Scout backing Whiskey. After a flushing attempt, no game was produced and this brace was over.

No. 6, the last brace of the day—Hershner’s Thunderbolt Jet (SM/T. Chaffee) and Ghost Train Sassy (SF/Tom Fruchey)—was on courses 13-14. This course produced both the winners a week earlier at the Northern. Anticipation was high and the dogs were ready. Jet was the first dog to point at 13, producing a nice woodcock find close to the path. We crossed the road and both dogs worked hard to find game. At 43 Sassy went on point. She was sighted off to the left with Tom and judge moving in. A grouse blew out, Sassy swapped ends and her day was ended. Soon after, at 48, Tammy chose to pull the plug as Jet was losing steam.

Day No. 2, brace No. 7 — Snyder’s Full Rage (SF/S. Chaffee) and BK Sunny Day (PF/ B. Minard). Beginning on courses 15-16 under overcast skies and warmer temperatures than yesterday. At 8:15 the dogs hit the ground working the scrub oak cover at the beginning of the course. At 10 Rage pointed; Sunny came in and backed. Scott went in to flush with a woodcock taking flight, all in order. The bird work gave both dogs the incentive to push harder, hitting the cover. At 16 Sunny stopped with a grouse immediately taking flight. (I heard later that there were two birds there.) A bit later a woodcock was sighted taking flight, no dogs involved. Again at 27 Rage stopped with Scott going in to flush. With no bird, he relocated. Rage went on hunting to stop again at 33 and was moved on again. Scott chose to pick up at the half. Sunny had another stop to flush on a pair of grouse at the end of course No. 15. Bruce also chose to call it.

Setter males next, Thornapple Casey (Minard) and Oscar Robinson (S. Forman). It was still overcast and getting a bit misty on courses 1-2 at 3:50 p.m. when Oscar’s bell stopped. After an attempted flush, Scott moved Oscar on. Casey was moving well at the beginning and headed to the edges, working the cover. He went over the hill, giving Bruce problems when trying to call him back. At 23 Bruce grabbed the retrieval unit. Oscar moved on to the end of course No. 1, going on point at 27:14. Scotty went in to flush and quickly put up a woodcock, all in good order. Oscar continued to work in range with Scott and stopped again at 30 with no luck. Scott pulled Oscar in at the half. Reportedly we had two grouse and one woodcock flush wild on course No. 1.

Setter males again. After coffee, Blast Off (M. Forman) and Travel Alert (Harold Holmes) moved out quickly on courses 5 and 6 with a nice first casts. Both worked well to the first turn, checking in when appropriate. Marc moved forward with Blast Off while Buster held back, working the cover. At 25 Blast Off’s bell stopped, with Buster’s stopping soon after to back. Marc yelled, "Doc, to the front," so he could come in to handle his dog. I will say this: Doc can run up the course much faster than I can. When both handlers were on hand, Marc flushed, but no bird turned up. Marc relocated his dog and Buster was moved on. At 30 we lost Buster’s bell up over the ridge. The search on the back of the ridge found the dog on point. After a flushing attempt and no bird, Doc relocated Buster. He worked the cover a bit more and stopped again at 32. More flushing produced a woodcock all in good order. Blast Off continued to work forward, having a nice race going. Buster flew to the front, stopping again at 44. Doc took a look at Buster and decided the bird had already gone and decided to leash him for the day. Blast Off finished strong with no birds.

No. 10. Setter males Thornapple Cody (B. Minard) and Flycast Rollie Fingers (S. Chaffee) worked the cover diligently to the hardwoods. Cody continued working the edges to the deer pen. Both dogs crossed the road and it took the handlers a bit to wrangle them back across the road into the cover at the end of course 7. Rollie worked a bit closer, hugging the cedars to the left. At 24 Cody went on point at the cut at the road crossing, with Rollie coming in to stand point. Bruce chose to relocate Cody, both dogs moving on. Rollie ran with a fancy stride and was pleasing to watch. After a couple stops and starts, Scott chose to end the brace at the beginning of course No. 8. Cody pushed forward, working on the edge of bell range. Bruce was having a time keeping Cody in tow, reeling him in at the end of time. At 59 he had a stop to flush on a grouse, Bruce choosing to pick up.

Dun Roven’s Soozee (SF/Minard) and Grouse Hill Pepper (PF/S. Chaffee) headed into the cut on course No. 9, working the ridges on the right. At 6 Pepper went left into the pines and went on point. A shot repeating at 7, a grouse find all in order. Soozee worked the ridge with a couple of brief stops and starts. Scott moved forward with Pepper as we worked to catch up. We had a wild flush on a grouse as Bruce heard Soozee stop behind us up the ridge. When Bruce went in to search, the judge reported walking up a grouse. When they found Soozee, Bruce flushed a woodcock, Soozee going with it. At 24 Pepper stopped again in the aspen slashings. Scott ended up relocating her and she moved on. At 28 she found herself under a woodcock, ending her day.

Shady Hills Zeena (PF/M.Forman) and Faith’s Maximum Justice (PM/Ken Delong) were on a roll from the beginning on courses 13-14. Both scoured the cover in the oak scrub to the road crossing. It was fun to watch these two pointers with so much enthusiasm. Zeena went on point at 9, but no bird was produced. Ken and Justice upped the pace, moving up towards the hardwoods, Justice making his run. Ken soon lost Justice’s bell and fell behind to try to locate him. The dogs were separated with Zeena up front. At 25 Zeena pointed. Marc moved in to flush, a grouse blowing out of the cover. Zeena stood staunchly, all in order.  Ken was still working hard to get Justice in tow. At 29 Zeena pointed again on course No. 14 near the blowdowns. After the flushing attempt, two grouse took flight. Again all was in order with Zeena holding her stand. At 36 Ken took his device to locate Justice. Zeena continued working the cover, not letting up. She stopped at 34 and was relocated to stop again. She worked the cover hard, but to no avail. Zeena finished as strong as she started, with a consistent race to the end.

Day No. 3,  another great morning in the northern woods. Skies were overcast and temperatures cool.

Brace No. 13. Snyder’s Sadie (SF/T. Chaffee) worked the cover well and had a stop at 7. Tammy flushed to no avail and relocated Sadie at 8:48. Sadie moved to the front. B K Rolling Dice (PF/Minard) reached for the edges on course No. 15 and stopped at 11:30. After a relocation, she moved on as well. At 22 two grouse flushed wild. We moved on to course No. 16 and Dice stopped at 42 and was sent on at 43. You could tell she was on to something and kept her nose to the cover. Dice stopped again in the same area at 45 and Bruce moved her on at 46. Dice continued to act birdy and in a fast-moving event, with her bell stopped, a grouse went up and we found Dice standing. Bruce shot with Dice still on point, then another grouse got up. At 58 Sadie stopped; we found Dice backing. Unable to produce game, Sadie ended her hour with no bird work.

Texas Elhew Bodie (PM /M. Forman) was scratched due to a porcupine illness. Wild Apple Siri (PM/B. Minard), the bye dog, was moved up and paired with Back Creek Lucy (SF/ Richard Hollister). Several woodcock were sighted on the road coming into the trial grounds this morning. Perhaps some flight birds were in. Both dogs lit it up down the first hill on course No. 1, scouring the cover with no birds as they got to the big hill down to the last cut. The dogs did their due diligence hitting the right covers. At 28 Bruce didn’t have Siri’s bell so went into the cover for a look. At the same time and vicinity, Rich was whoaing Lucy and also went into the cover.  Bruce found Lucy while looking for Siri and called for Rich. Two shots were fired and both dogs had a woodcock find. Moving across the birdfield onto No. 2, Lucy stopped on the side hill. With several of the gallery to observe, we saw a bunch of flight birds sitting on the side hill. Chaos ensued as birds were popping right and left. As the judge aptly put it . . ."two dogs in a pile of flight birds and the wheels came off."  Game over at the birdfield.

Along the first ridge on courses 5-6, both Grouse Ridge Larry (SM/R. Hollister) and Grouse Hills Smokey (PM/M. Forman) worked the cover, both slowing and making the handlers take notice. We all made it to the big hill with Smokey going on point up the hill. We don’t see that too often. Marc moved Smokey on with both dogs going over the top of the hill. Larry moved to the front with Smokey following. At 19:38 Larry’s bell went silent. Rich whoaed Larry, finding him in sight and looking picturesque on point. Proud and loud we heard a pair of grouse take flight. Larry getting the nod for a nice grouse-find, when he could have been easily distracted with the flight of those birds. At 44, when we hit the rape-clover road, Smokey went up to the left and stopped. After a relocation he moved out front. Larry was working closer and had lost some steam. He went into the pothole at the turn and worked the cover but did not have energy returned. At 51 Marc went to look for Smokey and was unable to pull him in.  Smokey went AWOL. Larry was leashed at the road.

Centerfold Peach (SF/Harold Holmes) and Springpond’s Rockin’ Sidney (SF/T. Chaffee). Into the blackberry patch and on, both the dogs hit the cover but couldn’t find those wiley grouse that have availed this start of course 7 in past days. At 16, Peach came to a hard stop up on the hill at the end of the cut. After a flush and relocation, Peach was moved on. At 27,Sid’s bell went silent. Tammy went in to take a look and at 29; Sidney was heard moving on. Coming out of the cover, the judge flushed a woodcock wild. At 29, Peach had stopped. After observing her stature, Harold just moved her on without a flushing attempt. After the road crossing, at 37 Sidney stopped on course No. 8. With a pair of grouse to her credit, she moved on with expected enthusiasm, working close to her handler. After crossing the tote road on course 8 by the orange gate, Peach went on point. The big shot repeated at 53 and a grouse was added to her credit. Both dogs finished with no further bird work.

Brace 17: Pond Road Pete (SM/R. Hollister) and Leslie’s Jiggster (SM/S. Forman). After a great lunch we continued out on courses 9-10. Pete hit the cut with energy.  He stopped at 5 on the ridge just before the pines at the end of the cut. Rich went in with the judge, with the shot repeating at 7. A woodcock find to his credit. Jiggs followed suit, going on point. A shot repeating at 9:13, also carding a woodcock find, all in good order. The judge reported that there were several flight birds laying on the side of that hill. At 24 at the turn where the course used to head to the road, we had a wild grouse flush. At 40, Pete stopped on the hill, but was relocated without event. At 49 Jiggs also stopped in the path, but was relocated to no avail. Both dogs finished with two wild grouse flushes on our way out.

Baxter’s Pale Rider (SM/Brent Peters) and Snyder’s Pioneer Sam (SM/T. Chaffee) hit the scrub oaks, with great intent. We crossed the road without event. At 10, Tammy sent Scott in to look for Sam. He was relocated and stopped again. After another relocation he was moved on. Preacher took a huge cast and was on the edges until he came back to the front at the hardwoods. Sam moved to the front and continued to work the cover. Both dogs worked hard to find game. Sam went off on his own for a bit and Tammy decided to go gather him up. Preacher continued onto course No. 14 and worked the cover hard. Preacher finished strong with no birds.

Day No. 4, brace No. 19. Thankfully the rain held off until today, but this morning it hit hard. The final brace, Hifive’s Power Line (PM/Minard) and Ponderosa Mac (SM/S. Chaffee). Back on courses 15-16. We held up a bit to let the deluge go by and let daylight emerge. Shooting up the scrub oak alley, both dogs were ready for the morning. At 5 both dogs’ bells went silent.  With the rain, it was hard to tell what was what. We heard a bell up front and then another bell started up. We continued forward to the road crossing. Mac was moving up the course on the left and at 19 Mac stopped in the scrub oak. At 20 Scott relocated and Mac moved on. Up front Bruce was working Power Line. At 42 Bruce called "Whoa!"  We didn’t have the bell so the search was on.  At 44 Power Line’s bell lit back up. We moved forward, while Bruce worked through the tight cover. Again Power Line’s bell stopped.  Bruce and judge went searching, the cover still very tight here. At 53:55, we heard a shot repeat. The tight cover in the young aspen made it hard to see all that was going on. Power Line scored a pair of grouse to his credit. Power Line took off to the front with a strong finish. He finished like he started, with energy to burn. Mac finished his brace without bird work.

At this point, we went back to the Alibi for some coffee and sweets, and to announce the Championship winners, Bryan Wood to handle the announcements and everyone settled in for the final decisions.

Meredith, Mich., October 26

Judges: Larry Guild and Joe Guzman

LAKE STATES GROUSE DOG CHAMPIONSHIP

[One-Hour Heats] — 9 Pointers and 29 Setters

Winner—SHADY HILLS ZEENA, 1667955, pointer female, by Erin’s War Creek—Brave Heart Cassie. Debra Nihart, owner; Marc Forman, handler.

Runner-Up—HIFIVE’S POWER LINE, 1683486, pointer male, by Arizona’s Sixgun Syd—Hifive’s Sin Again. Ben & Meledye Batey, owners; Bruce Minard, handler.

COMPANION STAKES

The Open Puppy ran on Saturday morning with Leeann Parnell and Chuck Polmatier in the judges' saddles. Seven eager pups were drawn and all seven came to the line to show their stuff.

First place was awarded to Freedom (May’s Legacy of Justice), owned and handled by Ken Delong. This little pointer was fun to watch and we are sure we will see him again. Second went to Dun Roven’s Dudley, owned and handled by Ron Badley. Ron is new to our field this year and we think is on the hook for more field trialing fun. To round up the placements, Run Roven’s Bourban Creek took third, owned by Chris Jaeger and handled by Richard Hollister.

Our Open Derby also ran on Saturday morning with Brent and Denise Peters sitting in judgment. We drew fifteen young dogs with only fourteen making it to the line. This year’s crop of Derbies all showed potential to be great competitors here in the grouse woods.

Meredith Grade Kati took top honors with her owner/handler Mike Singleton. Kati ran a great race with high energy from beginning to end. She was consistent throughout and had a nice point on a woodcock on course 2. Second place went to Run Roven Briar, owned and handled by Richard Hollister. Briar ran on course six with a pair of grouse to her credit. Third place went to Coleman’s Dun Roven Kona, owned by Custis Coleman and handled by Richard Hollister. Kona was drawn as a bye, but moved up to the 4th brace on course 5. Kona ran a strong race with a grouse find.

Putting on a successful trial here at the Gladwin Field Trial Grounds has its challenges. Getting enough extra people to move cars and marshal braces at the end of the season is not easy. But again, we pulled it off and were able to put on a successful trial.

This year, as they have for many years, George and Marilyn Ferguson supplied us with homemade goodies and hot coffee daily. We thank them again for their many contributions over the years. A big thank you to Mike and Christine Brown who hosted and cooked our handler’s walleye dinner on Monday night that was enjoyed by all and the fish was awesome.

Everyday Mike and Deb Singleton made sure we had a hot lunch at the Alibi. It was a bit nostalgic to come in everyday like we used to. Thank you’s go out to very many: Stake Manager Bryan Wood; car movers and marshals — Mike Brown, Carl McRae, Harold Holmes, Ken and Mary Moss, Scott and Tammy Chaffee, Brent Peters, Roger Johnson, Shane Haskins, Colin and Margie Ervin, Dave Hawk, Bruce Minard, Bob Leet, Marc Forman, and Deb Nihart.

If I missed anyone I apologize.  Without all of you, my job would be impossible.

Thank you again to PURINA for sponsoring this event.

Judges: Leann Parnell and Chuck Polmatier

OPEN PUPPY — 1 Pointer and 6 Setters

1st—MAY’S LEGACY OF JUSTICE, 1695469, pointer male, by Faith’s Maximum Justice—Chasehill Mighty May. Kenric J. Delong, owner and handler.

2d—DUN ROVEN’S DUDLEY, 1697352, setter male, by Waymaker Kodachrome—Dun Roven’s Martha. Ron Badley, owner and handler.

3d—DUN ROVEN’S BOURBAN CREEK, unreg., setter male, by Dun Rovens Zip—Aiken’s Bine Animosh. Chris Jaeger, owner; Richard Hollister, handler.

Judges: Denise Peters and Brent Peters

OPEN DERBY — 2 Pointers and 12 Setters

1st—MEREDITH GRADE KATI, 1692672, setter female, by Jetwood—I’m Blue Who. Mike Singleton, owner and handler.

2d—DUN ROVEN BRIAR, 1692202, setter female, by Dun Rovens Drifter—Waymaker Terrific Daisy. Richard Hollister, owner and handler.

3d—COLEMAN’S DUN ROVEN KONA, 1693253, setter female, by Dun Rovens Lucky—Dun Rovens Luna. Curtis Coleman, owner; Richard Hollister, handler.

 

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