American Field

Field Trial Report

Montana Open Shooting Dog Championship

By Austin Turley | Oct 04, 2018
Montana Open Shooting Dog Championship Winners. From left: Shannon Nygaard, Austin Turley, Glenn Conover with Touch’s Diamante, Jarry Walton, judge; Travis Gellhaus with Charitable Deed, Bill Owen, judge; Tommy Rice and John Junnila.

Circle, Mont. — The Montana Open Shooting Dog Championship Association once again hosted the Montana Open Shooting Dog Championship on the heels of the National Amateur Pheasant Shooting Dog Championship. Both Championships received strong entries, 49 in the Open and 43 in the Amateur. The accompanying Open Derby drew a strong entry of 24 young hopefuls.

The graciousness of the local landowners once again made the trials possible. Most landowners were in full swing of harvest activities, but we were fortunate to enjoy dinner with Mrs. Strand and her son Eddie (albeit we had miscommunication as to time). The late Marvin Strand’s presence at our events is always missed. We always looked forward to Marvin surprising us somewhere! Marvin’s support and encouragement of our trials was always appreciated. Marvin cared deeply about the local youth and school system; it is always an honor to donate to them in his name when possible.

Purina once again supported the trials with their generous supply of Pro Plan product. SportDog collars was represented at the trial by Jim Morehouse who donated training collars to the championship winners. Thank you to both of these fine companies. We ask that you support them when possible.

A record drought was recorded in 2017. The 2017-2018 winter brought little precipitation to the area resulting in minimal cover but good holdover birds in the spring. Spring precipitation was timely for local crops. The cover was somewhat high in areas but not heavy, allowing dogs to run easily and be somewhat difficult to keep track of at times.

Bird numbers were down from what has come to be expected, though the combine drivers  consistently reported a good numbers of young birds in the crops. Many of the adjoining crop fields were still standing which undoubtedly did not help bird numbers on the courses.

Judges were two West Coast amateurs, William Owen of Santa Barbara, Cal., and Jarry Walton of Reno, Nev. Both judges have judged many trials in the West. Jarry has hunted the Montana prairies over the last twenty years and Bill grew up in the area, still having two brothers in Montana. The club appreciates the time and dedication the two of these men gave to their task at hand.


Named champion was six-year-old white and orange pointer male Touch’s Diamante, handled and owned by Austin Turley of Molt, Mont. Diamante is the first dog to win this title a second time, having won it in 2015 for his first championship placement.

Diamante ran in the 10th brace paired with two-time defending Purina Dog of the Year Chelsea’s Thunder Bolt, handled by Shawn Kinkelaar, with owner George Hickox riding in the gallery.

Breaking away on course No. 1, both dogs headed for the ridgeline to the  north as we rode west. Diamante was shown going forward on the ridge. At 5, making the turn to the north, Diamante crossed the front heading down course. At 8 Diamante was pointed out in the deep grass in the bottom. Bolt came in from the left front at 15. Making the turn to the east Diamante was forward nicely. Both dogs were ahead  toward the creek and grain bin. At 28 heading into the treerows on the Hooper homestead, Turley watered and waited for Kinkelaar. Both entered the treerows together. Diamante ran the treerows well with Bolt coming in from the pasture to the south.

Crossing the horse pasture both dogs were forward, Diamante to the left and Bolt to the right. At 41 handler called point for Bolt; it was waved off. At 43 point was called for Bolt with Diamante backing, both dogs impeccable. Birds were seen leaving upon approach, all in order. Kinkelaar took Bolt on to our left heading for the next field and treerows. Turley sent Diamante up the right fenceline, the dog rimming the field nicely. Going down the treerows Kinkelaar  called point for Bolt at 50. Diamante was seen down course. No birds were produced during the flushing attempt, but birds came flying back over Bolt during his relocation. Bolt was stopped and fired over. The birds that had flown back over Bolt had been ridden up by riders down the course. At 55 both dogs were ahead nicely crossing the hill toward the final treerows. Both were seen in the third treerows going out the end. At 58 both dogs were still going forward strongly, Bolt directly down course with Diamante to our right across the fence, in the heavy CRP to the south. At time neither dog was seen and both had to be ridden for. Kinkelaar returned Bolt after time, while Turley and scout were looking for Diamante. Point was called for Diamante which was found standing straight ahead a quarter mile from where he was last seen going. Upon arrival of judges a single sharptail was produced over the dog.

Named runner up was Charitable Deed, four-year-old pointer female owned by Keith Finlayson of Tallahassee, Fla., and handled by Tommy Rice III, braced with Upfront’s Southern Star, handled by Kinkelaar and scouted by owner Lance Schulz.

Tommy Rice got Deed after losing his first field trial dog to an unfortunate accident. She has proven to be a consistent dog that is always good on the ground. Some of her previous wins include runner-up at 2018 Southeastern, winner at the Dixie Classic (2016), and  third at the Dixie Classic (2017).

Breaking away on course  No. 1, both dogs headed to the front, Deed to our right and Star our left. Scout called point for Star at 6. Upon arrival handler whistled the dog up and the dog styled up again. The flushing attempt did not produce game and the dog was carried on. Heading north through the CRP Deed was running a nice forward race while Star was giving her handler and scout some difficulty. At 25 near the creek before the grain bin point was called for Deed. The flushing attempt produced nothing. At 38 we had left the first set of treerows heading into the horse pasture. By 39 Deed was standing on the first ridge in the horse pasture. Star came in and backed. No birds were produced on the initial flushing attempt. Kinkelaar took Star on and Rice relocated Deed, which located the group of sharptail, which lifted promptly. Dog fired over, all in order. Exiting the horse pasture, both dogs ran the second set of treerows. Crossing the hill to final treerows, both dogs were running well. At 55 both Deed and Star were hunting the third group of treerows. Both dogs finished well in the cattle pasture.


Burrow’s Trip My Trigger (Jason Williams) and C K Touchdown Guy (Brian Gingrich). The afternoon was hot already. We were on the normal fourth course, first of the afternoon. Guy was returning to the trial in defense of his 2017 runner-up effort in which he put on a bird-finding, front-running clinic. Both dogs started well, running and handling the front. Birds were seen early in the brace with no dogs involved. Both dogs made the first turns and ran through the hills nicely. At 20 Williams called point for Trigger; the initial flushing attempt and relocation produced no birds. Both dogs ran the treerows without birds being moved. At 30 Guy appeared to be feeling the afternoon heat and Trigger was wide to our south. Both dogs watered in Nelson’s pond at 45 and headed across the flat to the treerows. At 53 point was called for Trigger in dense treerows, handler calling flight of birds, but not officially seen. Williams flushed the area well and elected to pick up at 55, as did Gingrich for Guy.

Someday’s Showman did not come to the line due to George Lutz’s unfortunate encounter with kidney stones. Erin’s Ramblin River (Bill Stapleton) ran strong and forward. At 17 point was called by handler; a hawk was flushed. River continued to run strong but became less directed. River finished forward without bird contact.

Senah’s Gold Shavings (Joel Norman) and Ridge Creek Kate (Kinkelaar). At 15 both dogs had been running strong forward races through the short grass field heading into the treerows. Shavings ran the treerows well with Kate hunting between the rows. At 22 Kinkelaar called point for Kate. He called flight of birds but none was seen officially. After flushing over the dog, a porcupine was found and dog carried on. Kinkelaar picked up Kate at 32; Norman followed suit at 40.

Ridge Creek Lou (Kinkelaar) and Seekin A Thrill (Rice) broke away on a cool morning on course No. 1. Both dogs began nicely and handled well to the front. Thrill was more directed, with Lou being bigger. At 15 Rice called point for Thrill, Lou coming in for the back. No birds were produced. Both dogs continued to hunt well to the front, Thrill showing nicely in the first treerows on the Hooper homestead. At 42 Thrill carded a clean stop to flush on sharptail in the horse pasture with more birds leaving upon handler’s arrival. Both dogs finished without further bird contact.

Zorra (Kinkelaar) and Prairie Tank (Glenn Conover) started strongly on course No. 2. Zorra had difficulty making the turn toward the grain bins and was ridden for toward course No. 3. At 22 Tank was running nicely forward and by himself. At 26 near the wind sock scout called point for Tank, a pheasant seen leaving upon handler’s approach. Tank continued to run a strong well directed race, having to be ridden for at time.

Rocky Knoll Peaches (Pat Lockhart) and American Pharoah (Williams) started from the county road heading toward the dead hay bales. A slight drizzle had begun. Both dogs started nicely forward for the first ten minutes. The course turned east at the hay bales, with both dogs having trouble making the turn. Sharptail were ridden up by gallery while handlers were trying to get their dogs to the front. At 17 Lockhart called point; nothing could be produced. At 22 Williams called point near the chokecherry bush with Peaches backing. After relocation no birds could be produced. At 31 point was called for Peaches in the dry creek just north of grain bins. Nothing was produced and she was picked up. At 47 handler called point for Pharoah in the CRP north of the treerows. No birds produced on the initial flushing attempt or relocation.

The first brace of the afternoon brought  I’ll Have Another (Williams) and Circle Masquerade (Gellhaus). Shannon Nygaard was in the gallery to watch her Masquerade. Both dogs started strongly forward. A large covey of Huns was ridden up by gallery as well as a single pheasant, both just south of the creek. At 13 headed up the hill handler called point for Another, waved off as judiciary approached. At 16 headed down the ridge Masquerade was forward to our south and point was called for Another, waved off while riding to it. Both dogs were forward down the ridge. At 21 handler called point for Another, with sharptail produced, all in order. At 33 just east of the end of the treerows, Williams called point for Another. Flight of birds was called by handler as judge rode to the point; no birds were officially seen and the dog was carried on. Masquerade was running strong throughout this time. Leaving Nelson’s pond at 43 both dogs were forward nicely. Both dogs were forward at time.

Heard Hill’s Jaybird (Lynn Heard) and Gates Road Mike (Williams) broke away heading north. At 14 both were having difficulty holding the front when scouts called point several hundred yards behind the gallery. Both handlers elected to call a back and brought their dogs on. At 28 going down the ridge Williams called point for Mike. Upon arrival both dogs were standing approximately 70 yards apart. Birds were produced in front of each dog. They finished ahead.

Thrill Me (Rice) and Northern Prairie Addition (Conover). A light drizzle was welcoming. Both dogs ran extremely nice forward patterns across the short grass. At the turn toward the treerows Addition got hung up and had to be brought forward, while Thrill headed for the treerows. At 19 Thrill was standing but handler elected to send the dog on. At 30 handler called point for Thrill; a stop to flush was credited on relocation. At 38 Addition  was pointing along the east-west fence heading across the treerows. A pair of Huns produced, all in order. At 42 handler called point for Addition, scout indicating birds had already left. Nothing was produced on flushing attempt. At 55 Thrill was pointing on hillside, nothing produced. Both dogs finished the hour.

Brace No. 10, the first brace of the morning, was reported earlier.

Emmalita (Turley) and Burr Oaks Bam Bam (Gingrich). Breaking away on course No. 2, both dogs headed over the first hill and were soon through the gate. Going down course through the CRP both dogs were forward. At 28 handler called point for Emmalita. The flushing attempt and relocation produced no birds. Both dogs were at the crossing at the dry creek before the cut wheat field at 50, Emmalita hunting the creek and wheat field area and Bam the creek and orchard area. Turley elected to pick up at 51. Bam finished going forward.

Grand Prairie Thrill (Rice) and Gone With The Wind (Williams). Breaking away from the county road heading north toward the dead hay bales, both dogs were forward and running well. At 16 leaving the water tank both handlers sent their dogs toward the chokecherry bushes. Both dogs showed well and headed down course after the bushes. At 21 Rice called point for Thrill. Nothing produced on flushing attempt, handler elected to pick up. At 26 Wind was wide at the grain bin turn. Handler elected to pick up at 30 at the gate crossing.

First brace after lunch: Rocky Knoll Jackson (Lockhart) and Bangert’s Red Baron (Gingrich). Jackson took the creek bottom and Baron the hills. Crossing the downed fence, Jackson kept going down the creek while Baron was ahead on course. Heading east down the ridge Baron was forward as Jackson gave handler a workout. At 25 reaching the treerows, both dogs hunted them well showing out the far end. At 37, in the rough hills, handler called point for Jackson but waved it off. At 46 leaving Nelson’s pond, Baron was forward hunting and Jackson making a move for the treerow. At 49 handler called point for Jackson, waved off on approach. Baron was lost in the creek bottom before the treerows. Crossing the flat after the treerows Jackson finished well forward on the last set of treerows.

Brace No. 14 broke away on the normal course No. 5. Both Thunderbird Comeback (Gellhaus) and C K Post Route Scout (Gingrich) were away nicely forward. At 13 leaving the water tank, Comeback continued to run the front, but Scout was doing such in parts unknown. Comeback ran the ridge heading east. Gingrich elected to call it a day for Scout. At Lek Hill Gellhaus decided to call it a day for Comeback.

The sixth brace of the day broke away from the furthest east water tank, heading northwest toward the treerow section. Line Drive Single (Gellhaus) and Gin’N Tonic Live Wire (Dave Noell) broke away into a steady west wind. Live Wire was intent on hunting into the wind, crossed the front at 5 and then bent headlong into the wind. Single headed north, bending forward and hanging to our north across the whole section. Noell elected to call it a day for Live Wire at 18. At 22 Single was still running a strong forward race across the short grass. Entering the treerows at 35, handler called point for Single on the row nearest the flax field. Nothing was produced on initial flushing attempt. On relocation Single pointed a group of young sharptail, all in order. At 45 we made the turn at the end of the treerows to now cross the rows, Single holding the front. At 48 Single slipped through a fence to take a treerow off course, not to be returned under judgment.

Touch’s Hailstone (John McIltrot)  was fresh off of his win of the National Amateur Pheasant Shooting Dog Championship and feeling full of himself. Breaking away on course No. 2, both dogs started forward, Hailstone soon slipping through the fence to our right, which the course would soon turn into. At 15 in the creek bottom near the grain bins, Norman called point for Miller’s Stray Bullet, nothing produced on initial flushing attempt or relocation. After collaring the dog, and while carrying it out of the area, handler walked up the bird. Bullet was handling forward while Hailstone was checking out the hills to our north. Turning south at the windsock, both dogs were forward. At 23, after watering, Hailstone carded a mannerly find while regaining the front. Passing Harrow hill at 32, both dogs were forward. At 35 McIltrot elected to pick up Hailstone at the water tank. Bullet continued to run the front. At 52, turning at the dead hay bales, Bullet was still forward, finishing going up a hill at time. Point was called just after time but Bullet was seen moving at time.

Senah’s Pearl (Norman) and Rocky Knoll Annie (Lockhart) were away heading northwest from the water tank. Pearl took the low ground toward the grain bin and Annie took the hills on our left. At 8 scout called point for Annie well forward in the hills. Pearl was making the turn on our right near the grain bins. Sharptail were produced over Annie, all in order. While trying to regain the front, point was called for Annie. Nothing could be produced on this stand and a long ride to catch the front ensued. Pearl continued forward down course. At 23 both dogs were to the front heading to the treerows. Pearl hunted the treerow and Annie hunted the heavy grass between the treerows. By 30 both dogs were gone, not to be returned under judgment.

Miller Unfinished Business (Norman) is the reigning 2018 National Open Shooting Dog Champion. At 3 both dogs were in the heavy grass along the creek. Both handlers were trying to call their dogs. A pheasant was seen in the air, Business credited with a stop to flush. Heading south up the hill, Lone Tree Showbiz (Gellhaus) was wide to our left and Business came in from the right. Making the turn down the ridge at 15 both dogs were well forward in the rolling hills. They entered the treerows at 23. By 32 both dogs were again forward through the rough pasture, point called for Business. The dog corrected and went on on its own. Leaving Nelson’s pond at 40, Showbiz was gaining momentum. Showbiz took our wide left, and Business was to the front. Reaching the treerows at 45, Business was in the hills to our right, and Showbiz was near the creek on our left. At 47 Norman called point for Business in the treerows. Birds were produced, all in order. Both dogs finished ahead.

Zumbro Stinky Pete (Gellhaus) and R J’s Deicer (Kinkelaar) were away on course No. 5, both dogs to the front well, making the water tank by 10. Deicer headed forward through the CRP to the ridge. Pete took the wheat field edge to the front. Both dogs handled well down the ridge. Deicer scored a nice find at 19 with Pete backing mannerly from some distance. At 33 heading up the hill to the water tank, Deicer was pointing, Pete backing mannerly. Nothing was produced here. Crossing the CRP on the diagonal, Deicer was found standing at 52 with Pete backing. Deicer was sent on by handler. Both handlers elected to pick up at 55 at the water tank.

No. 21 paired Bombs Away (Rice) and Perkins Lakeside Wild Child (Turley). Away ran comfortably in front across the short grass with Child to the front of handler. Going down the treerows, Turley called point for Child at 19. Nothing could be produced. Away hunted the grass and Child was handled down the treerows. Turley elected to pick up Child at 30. Crossing the treerows point was called for Away at 36, bird lifting upon approach. All was in order. Away finished forward without further bird contact.

Daniels Creek Whitehawk (Gellhaus) and Burr Oak’s Taza (Gingrich). Terry Reinke was in the gallery to watch her Whitehawk. The wind was out of the east this morning. At 2 point was called for Taza on a hill ahead. Nothing could be produced. At 15 heading north, both dogs were out front. Whitehawk was well ahead in the cut wheat field to our left. Taza was in the CRP. At 28 handlers elected to pick up at the road crossing.

In Swami’s Shadow (Kinkelaar) and 2017 Montana Open Shooting Dog Champion Rebellita (Turley) began at the first set of treerows on course No. 1. Both dogs broke away down the treerows, showing out the far end. Handlers hurried their dogs to the gate to send them into the horse pasture. At 10 birds were in the air. Upon arrival Shadow was standing, fired over and credited with a stop to flush. Rebellita was sent right rimming the pasture edge before catching up with Shadow and both dogs heading down the treerows. Crossing the hill toward the third treerow, handler called point for Shadow. Nothing was produced. Both dogs ran the third set of treerows and headed into the cow pasture. Handlers chose to pick up at 30 at the water tank.

No. 24, third brace of the morning, started on the normal course No. 2. Just Thrillin (Rice) was paired with Touch’s Katrina (Turley). They started well going through the CRP and cut field. At 4 Katrina slipped under the fence on the right, heading west. Heading into the fenced CRP both dogs were forward near the grain bin. Thrill showed better in the tall grass with Katrina disappearing often but showing to the front. Both dogs continued to go to the front. At 17, turning at the wind sock, both dogs showed well going up the hill. Turning to go east, Thrill continued south. Katrina was forward after Harrow Hill heading toward the chokecherry bush. Handler elected to pick up Thrill at 40. Katrina headed on south, being sent in the pasture to the east but showing back in the CRP forward. Katrina continued to be difficult to see in the tall grass. She rimmed the orchard at 50 crossing the creek bottom while heading to the front. A single pheasant was seen in the air with Katrina being close by. Upon arrival to the area, Katrina was not found standing. Next seen on a ridge to the front, handler elected to pick her up.

Ramblin Rivers Rolling Stone (Stapleton), as a bye, started well and ran the front strong. Heading down the rolling ridge Stone continued to show in all the right places. At 25 he ran the treerows before heading into the rough pasture. Stone continued to show well throughout the rough pasture, getting to Nelson’s pond at 40. Crossing the flat toward the treerows he continued to run a very nice race. Stone ran the length of the treerows exiting the far end at 50. He ran the final treerows and finished well in the hills west of them. Stone ran a very good ground race, hunting all the likely spots. Birds were not seen today, but had they been?

Circle, Mont., August 23

Judges: William Owen and Jarry Walton


35 Pointers, 8 Setters, and 6 Vizslas

Winner—TOUCH’S DIAMANTE, 1651518, pointer male, by Touch’s White Out—Henson’s Go Girl. Austin Turley, owner and handler.

Runner-Up—CHARITABLE DEED, 1658659, pointer female, by Three Rivers—B W Molly. Keith Finlayson, owner; Thomas Rice III, handler.


By Alex Rickert

The Open Derby was won by Neely’s Party Girl which had a big forward race with one broke find. Second was Thunderbird Next Chapter with a strong forward race. Third was Neely’s Seal the Deal with a nice forward race, carding one find.

All three Derbies had strong races and showed great potential for the future.

Judges: Glenn Conover and Alex Rickert

OPEN DERBY — 24 Pointers

1st—NEELY’S PARTY GIRL, 1676505, female, by Erin’s Redrum—Neely’s Ramblin Rose. John Neely, owner and handler.

2d—THUNDERBIRD NEXT CHAPTER, 1679843, pointer male, by Frontline Rebelator—Whippoorwill Wild Spark. Sue Anderson, owner; Travis Gellhaus, handler.

3d—NEELY’S SEAL THE DEAL, 1676480, pointer male, by Erin’s Redrum—Neely’s Ramblin Rose. John Neely, owner and handler.

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