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Strut Nation Wins 2017 Renewal; Shag Time Scout is Runner-Up

National Amateur Prairie Chicken Shooting Dog Championship

By Frank LaNasa | Dec 05, 2017
Strut Nation Winner of the National Amateur Prairie Chicken Shooting Dog Championship

Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. — On my way to the trial I missed my normal turn through Black River Falls and took the next exit not knowing that I was driving straight into Cranfest 2017.

In an amazing transformation the 252 residents of the town of Warrens, Wis., become hosts to over a thousand vendors and hundreds of thousands of visitors who descend on this community to celebrate the cranberry harvest. Miles of Cranfest line the streets, yards, lots and fields of Warrens. It’s no small harvest. Almost 60% of the cranberries harvested in the U. S. are harvested from Wisconsin in general and from this area in particular. The highwater table and peat make a perfect growing environment for this berry. It also makes for a highly desirable environment for prairie chicken.

Once again, the National Amateur and National Open Prairie Chicken Shooting Dog Championships took place on the Buena Vista Grasslands just east of Wisconsin Rapids in this beautiful countryside. These grounds have been home to a steady population of yellow legged greaters. The course routes for the most part haven’t changed in decades but the cover and weather do, making for what seems like an unending and forever changing challenge every year.

This year at the National Amateur two dogs in particular, Strut Nation, pointer male raised, owned, developed and handled by Scott Jordan of White Bear Lake, Minn., and Shag Time Scout, setter male raised, owned, developed and handled by Chris Cagle of Nori, Mich., lifted the bar above the group giving most deserving performances in incredibly difficult conditions. The most difficult I’ve seen coming to this event for more than 25 years.

A tight and loyal group of trialers give all the help needed to put on this quality event. Everything from mowing, getting the parking area squared away, dog wagon chores, road crossing protection, judging, reporting, marshalling are all handled by trialers from the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. It’s a wonderful place to show a dog, thanks in huge part to the efforts of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Wildlife Area Manager Erin Grossman has done a marvelous job in managing these grounds. Five years ago, if there was a place for an avian predator to survey the property, you can bet it’s gone. She has used and leveraged 20th Century Funds to help shore up the budget to keep wildlife habitat in check for the benefit of the local wildlife populations. Her presence and others in the DNR at the evening feeds are always a welcome and fun time.

Another strong presence necessary to put on this event is Purina. Greg Blair and Jim Smith from Purina participate in both the amateur and open events and see to it that food and prizes help support and make this trial better.

We owe all our sponsors a huge debt of gratitude for their support.

Judging this year with me from Sandstone, Minn., was professional dog trainer Jerry Kolter, owner of Northwoods Kennel. Jerry has competed and won championships in amateur and open events on wild birds. He has bred, raised and developed champion setters and currently his bloodlines run through some of the most competitive all-age, shooting dog and grouse dog setter performers in the country. I’ve enjoyed competing in this event over the years but also enjoy the opportunity to watch competitors take on this challenging venue.

I note the weather in each brace as I felt strongly it had a significant effect on all of the dogs’ opportunities in this event. The bad news was that the difficult weather held for the entire stake making it near, but not impossible, for that extraordinary effort to arise. The good news is that the difficult weather held for the entire event giving everyone the same opportunity.

THE RUNNING

Temperature was 70°, 70 dew point southwest breeze at  6 mph.

Skydancer Hang Fire (SM/Dennis Lutynski) did a workman job handling heavy cover scoring one find and finished his hour. Erin’s Coin Toss (PM/Brian Sheehan), paired well with his bracemate, also finished the hour but without birds.

G F Witchy Woman (SF/Dunbar) and Blair Witch Project (SM/Greg Blair) — 72°, 70 dew point, 6 mph SW breeze. Woman was having difficulty holding onto the front and was picked up at 40. Witch Project worked the country well. At 20 to the front and off to the left a chicken took to wing and Project stopped in a mannerly fashion. At 45 point was called and a single chicken took to flight just where the dog indicated as the judge arrived. Project finished a nice hour to the front.

It was 83°, 74 dew point and 10 mph southwest wind.

Chief’s Smoke Signal (SM/Mathys) suffered a single unproductive but worked well in difficult conditions and finished the hour. Cedar Creek Talon (SM/Ed Liermann) held the front hunting the challenging cover but failed to back his bracemate at 35.

It had warmed to 86°, 73 dew point, the southwest wind now at 25 mph.

With extremely trying conditions, both Oak Grove Pacemaker (PM/Doug Reisner) and Phillips Wind Line (PM/ Harvey Crosby) gave good efforts but failed to contact game and were up at 45.

Desoto’s Hidden Gem (PF/IS/Dave Moore) and Lutynski’s Dancing Spur (SF/Dennis Lutynski) dealt with 91°, wind from the southwest at 20 mph with a dew point 69. Both dogs ran well going to likely places but neither was able to connect during their hour long efforts.

Dakota Nation (PM/Scott Jordan) and Skydancer Fire Feet (SM/Boumeester). Temperature was 87°, dew point still hanging at 70 and winds were southwest still at 10-20. Fire Feet suffered an unproductive early, then had an error in handling a bird at 16. Nation also had an unproductive but finished the hour hunting the cover well despite the heat.

Erin’s Wild Rum (PM/Mark Johnson) and Cedar Creek Gem (SF/Liermann). When we broke away it was 70° with 68% humidity, 70 dew point in slight wind out of the south. Both dogs made aggressive swings through the first section of ground, settling in after crossing the gravel each notched an unproductive and finished the hour with no further contacts.

G F Witch Doctor (SM/Dunbar) and Strut Nation (PM/Jordan) were away with temperature at 79°, 70 dew point, 3 mph wind out of the southwest. Witch Doctor was gone at breakaway. Strut Nation was running the grounds to the limits but always showing on his own. He ran the hour always forward, always hunting and always responsive to his handler’s direction. At 40 coming out of heavy cover he pointed hard looking up a rise in light grass. Jordan flushed a single chicken exactly where the dog indicated. Nation stood proud, high and intense through the entire flushing. Nation continued his hour never fading in his effort despite difficult conditions. He finished the hour with plenty left to give in an impressive effort.

It was 88°, wind out of the southwest. Skydancer Triple Nickel (SF/Lutynski)  failed to show at the line and was scratched. Shagtime Bobo (SM/Cagle) was lost at breakaway.

Miller’s Armed And Dangerous (PM/ Harvey Crosby) and Celtic’s Spectacular (SF/Liermann). Temperature was 89°, 53% humidity, southwest wind 5-10 mph. Armed and Dangerous and Crosby never really synced up, the dog picked up at 12. Spectacular worked his hour hunting the whole way but failed to connect with birds.

Erin’s Prometheus (SM/Mathys) and G F Snowy River (SM/Dunbar). The temperature was 89°, 53% humidity, southwest wind 5-10 mph. Prometheus ran the country aggressively with good speed in tough cover. He gave a great effort for the hour but no birds. Snowy River had a stop to flush and finished his hour forward.

Lutynski Flash Forward (SF/Lutynski) and I’ll Have Another (SM/Bob Schaefer). Temperature 86°, humidity 53%, wind out of the south at 10 mph.  Another suffered an unproductive and fought heavy cover and heavy hot temperatures for 50 minutes. Forward worked hard as well but the cover and heat caught up with him as well at 50.

For the next brace it was 71°, 54% humidity, southwest winds 5-10 mph.

Both Shag Time Scout (SM/Cagle) and Boumeester’s Bar None (PM/ Boumeester)  were fun to watch, hunting and running the country enthusiastically. Through the first 30 they had everyone’s attention. Casting straight away after crossing the blacktop, Scout drifted to the southwest and styled up beautifully where a covey of chicken was flushed from a perfect location. His manners and character were above reproach. Both dogs continued through the final stretches of cover searching and working for their handlers finishing well.

Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., September 22

Judges: Jerry Kolter and Frank LaNasa

NATIONAL AMATEUR PRAIRIE CHICKEN SHOOTING DOG CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] — 12 Pointers and 14 Setters

Winner—STRUT NATION, 1658294, pointer male, by Game Strut—High Value Special. Scott Jordan, owner and handler.

Runner-Up—SHAG TIME SCOUT, 1649458, setter male, by Ridge Creek Cody—Erin’s Skydancer. Chris Cagle, owner and handler.

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