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Strut Nation Wins Second Title in Two Weeks; Mobile Strike is Runner-Up

National Prairie Chicken Shooting Dog Championship

By Ed Liermann | Nov 05, 2018
Championship Winners. From left: Chairman Ed Liermann, Doug Reisner, Judy Reisner, Rich Boumeester, Scott Jordan, John Mathys with Strut Nation, Judge Pat Sheehan, Judge Mark Johnson, John David Smith with Mobile Strike and Doug Ray.

Bancroft, Wis. — The 2018 National Prairie Chicken Shooting Dog Championship kicked off Monday, September 24, immediately following the running of the National Amateur Prairie Chicken Shooting Dog Championship under gray skies and cool temperatures. A large entry of 53 dogs was drawn in the Championship, and nine entries for the Open Derby.

This is one of the very few pure wild bird trials east of the Mississippi. It is a true test to a dog’s ability to work with intelligence and wild bird savvy while holding up under challenging conditions and is arguably one of the toughest places to run in the country.

Weather this year was much cooler than in recent years and with some precipitation it was better for running dogs.

Birds were plentiful, in fact more birds than anyone can remember in years. Many bird contacts produced multiple birds and in several cases 10-12 bird coveys. Many more chicks seem to have made it through the summer. We found birds on all courses and on one morning brace we moved more than 40 birds. There was a drought in early summer and then an abundance of rain late in the summer into early fall, and the cover reflected that.

Judges for this year’s renewal were Pat Sheehan of Jacksonville, Ill., and Mark Johnson of Winnebago, Ill. Both men have been active with the Field Trial Clubs of Illinois for many years, are well travelled and bring wild bird experience to the judicial saddle. They have also run dogs on these grounds.

Like any trial it is the great people who make it a success. Thanks to Gary Wolfe, a Wisconsin DNR biologist and our dog wagon driver. Since 1999 Gary has taken vacation time to drive the dog wagon and contributes generously to this Championship. Gary provided the hard-boiled eggs that are a trial tradition and a favorite, especially after the first brace in the morning.

Blocking road crossings is vital for safety at this trial and was attended to by Gary Wolfe, George and Ann Ihrke, Doug and Judy Reisner.

Thanks to John Mathys and Doug Ray for hauling judges’ and handlers’ horses when needed; it makes all the difference at the end of a day or stake. Thanks to Dennis Lutynski and John Mathys for donating a dog wagon for use at this event.

We couldn’t run this trial without support from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. That starts with site manage Erin Grossman who has done a tremendous job and has been a great friend to the field trial community. After many years of service, Erin Grossman left for another position within the DNR in August.

Not new to the Grasslands, but new to working with us, is site manager Lesa Kardash who has been working at Buena Vista since 2006. Many thanks to Erin and best of luck to her in her new endeavor, and, a warm welcome to Lesa as we look forward to working with her for many years to come.

Along with Andy Lewandowski, Dog Committee Chairman for the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, we were pleased to host a delegation of DNR officials that were here to view the running first hand and included Terry Bay, Director of Bureau Facilities and Land; Ben Burgey, Director of Bureau of Parks and Recreation, and Diane Brusoe, Project Planning Section Chief, Bureau of Facilities and Land. Terry Bay rode a brace and got an upfront view of a classic chicken find. They also spent some time visiting with a number of trialers back at camp. They departed with an appreciation of the history of this event and the commitment of the field trial community to the grounds.

The trial participants are comprised of a congenial and very familiar group of people that includes Frank LaNasa, minus Jean (she was home making preparations for their son’s wedding); John Mathys, George and Anne Ihrke, Doug and Judy Reisner, Scott Jordan, Rich Boumeester, Dennis Lutynski, Doug Ray, John David Smith, Jim Tande, Jim Smith, Tom Waite, Andrea Ward and Shawn Kinkelaar.

Purina has been a big sponsor of this event for years. Our longtime Purina rep Jim Smith was in attendance at the Purina-sponsored dinner on Thursday evening. Purina dinner is a favorite featuring Thanksgiving dinner with all the “fixin’s”. Thanks to Purina, Greg Blair and Jim Smith for supporting our trial and auction.

SportDog also sponsors our trial and auction by donating collars. Thanks to Jim Morehouse for his continued support of this Championship. We thank them all for their support.

After the first day’s running Rich Boumeester, owner and handler of last year’s champion, hosted a dinner. The food and company were good and all had a great time and plenty to eat.

THE WINNERS

The winner of the National Prairie Chicken Shooting Dog Championship was Strut Nation, four-year-old white and orange pointer male owned and handled by Scott Jordan of Grant, Minn. Several days earlier on these grounds Strut Nation was also crowned the winner of the National Amateur Prairie Chicken Shooting Dog Championship.

Running in the 14th brace, the first brace on day No. 3, he separated himself from the field with a well-defined intelligent prairie shooting dog race by using the whole field to the front combined with first class bird work. Handler and dog worked as a team with very little direction from the handler and no scouting needed. He had a stop to flush at 9 with bracemate backing, all in order. He was released at 12 and another bird popped; he handled the situation with all in order.

Crossing Griffith Road, he had a nice find at 20 and scored again at 25 on a well located 5-bird covey with high style and all in order. Crossing the road again he carded a nice find off to the right at 44 displaying a long nose with several chickens lifting. Moving on he made a big cast before the ditch crossing and scored again at 49 showing both class and manners. Going along handler called point at 55 and after a long flushing attempt relocated the dog which then worked northwest over a slight knoll and pinned a large covey of about a dozen birds. Crossing the road and the ditch he had a nice finish forward and going away toward King’s Ranch.

Capturing the runner-up title was three-year-old setter male Mobile Strike, owned by Doug Hinton and Dr. Chet Layne of Dacula, Ga., and handled by Doug Ray.

He ran in the 22nd brace, the third brace of the morning on the fourth day of running. He was out fast with a big race. He had a classy back at 10. Moving on, handler called flight of chickens far to the front at 32, but birds were not seen by the judge or marshal. Riding a ways forward the dog was found looking tall on both ends. Moving on he powered forward and had a find at 43 with high style; as judge arrived a bird lifted then another on its own. All was in order. He finished well to the front boring through heavy cover. The judges’ opinions were well received.

THE RUNNING

We switch the morning and afternoon courses for the Open Championship. Breaking away on Monday morning at 8:00 a. m. on course No. 1 we cross Griffith and swing east. Temperatures were cooler than normal.

Upfront Southern Star (Kinkelaar) and Dale Creek Jamie’s Jackson (Waite) were away into heavy cover to start this event. Both dogs were picked up at 37, not pleasing handlers.

Swami’s Shadow (Kinkelaar) and Skydancer’s Fire Feet (Boumeester) were off at King’s Ranch, both dogs out fast and down to business. Both were under a bird at 6 and picked up.

Go Johnny Go (Tande) and Skydancer’s Dancing Spur (Lutynski) were out and away with Johnny the wider. Johnny had an unproductive at 28 and another at 59 and was picked up. Spur hunted forward consistently and had a find at 48 and finished the hour.

Celtic’s Spectacular (Liermann) and Class Act Express (Ray) were forward and away after lunch. Spectacular had a find at 4 taking several steps, and was lost at 24. Express had unproductives at 18 and 31 and was up.

Absolutely Lil (Ray) and Skydancer’s Flash Forward (Lutynski) worked forward. Lil had a nice find at 5, high and tight with all in order. Lil continued to hunt forward through heavy cover. Handler elected to pick up at 57. Flash had a nice find at 4 and had a consistent race to finish the hour.

L F Silver Belle (Ray) and Scannon’s Stella (Waite) were away on course No. 6 flowing forward. Belle had an unproductive at 20 and a second unproductive at 25 and was up. Stella had a find at 25. She was picked up at 40.

Off at 8:00 a. m. Tuesday morning, day No. 2. Southbound Mad Max (Ray) and Tall Oaks Doc (Smith). Max ran alone when Doc was scratched. Max ran a nice forward race and finished a strong hour with no bird.

Always Dreaming (Ray) and Wicked Quick (Tande). Breaking away at King’s Ranch, both dogs were out fast covering a lot of ground. Dreaming had a stop to flush, and a nice forward find with good style at 34 with Quick backing, all in order. Dreaming had a nice race and finished the hour. Quick had nice covey at 4, a back 34 along with a nice ground race to complete the hour.

Absolute Diva (Ray) and Ridge Creek Kate (Kinkelaar) headed straight away on course No. 3. Diva was picked up at 18, not pleasing handler. Kate had a nice covey at 11 with high style. With all in order she moved forward with good application at moderate range. She had a stop to flush at 26, mannerly finds at 30 and 55, and finished the hour.

First brace after lunch was Master’s Touch (Ray) and Skydancer’s Hang Fire (Lutynski). Both dogs were out and moving forward through the cover. Touch had an unproductive, another at 20 and was up. Hangfire had unproductives at 7 and 20 and was up.

Chief’s Rising Sun (Mathys) and Let’s Get Smart (Ray) broke away fast and forward. Sun had a find at 10 and was seen under a bird at 13 and was picked up. Get Smart moved on a stop to flush and was picked up at 13.

Upon release, Zorra (Kinkelaar) and L F Darling Samantha (Ray) were fast through the cover. Zorra had not been seen since breakaway and handler called for the retrieval unit at 13. Samantha failed to stop to flush at 32 and was picked up.

Webb’s Tried and True (Ray) had a nice flowing race but had two unproductives and was picked up at 38. Chelsea’s Thunder Bolt (Kinkelaar)  had a big race with a stop to flush at 9 and an unproductive at 25.

Wednesday morning had C S Trump (Ray) and Strut Nation (Jordan). Both dogs moved out fast into the early heavy cover on this course. Trump had a back at 9. Moving on he had an unproductive at 16 and at 19 he went with a bird he was working and was picked up. Strut Nation was covered earlier.

Dale Creek Resurrection (Waite) hunted the heavy cover throughout the hour. Cedar Creek Talon (Liermann) moved out covering a lot of ground. Point was called at 10 far to the front in the open hay field. A covey lifted as the handler approached. Talon took several steps and was picked up.

Erin’s Prometheus (Ray) and Zan Sett Simply Red (Waite) were out and moving. Prometheus had a big race throughout the hour covering a lot of ground. He had a stop to flush at 10 and an unproductive at 58. He continued a strong race reaching out through the cover finishing strong but did not have a bird. Red had a forward race throughout the hour. He had an unproductive at 43, was not pleasing Waite and was picked up at 59.

C S Pressure Test (Ray) and Jumpstart (LaNasa) broke away fast and forward. Pressure Test was not pleasing handler and was picked up at 23. Jumpstart had a big race reaching out and covering a lot of ground. He was not pleasing handler and was picked up at 55.

Phillips Win Line Porter (Ray) and Hawthorne Melody (Tande) began fast into the cover, moving forward. Porter was not pleasing Ray and was up at 43. Melody pushed a bird at 38 and was up.

Desoto Springs Jake (Tande) ran a big race, reaching the outer edges and was strong throughout the hour, but no bird. Boumeester’s Bar None (Boumeester) ran a mature prairie shooting dog race with a find at 43 in the popples and another nice find at 54.

Thursday morning, day No. 4.

Ridge Creek Lou (Kinkelaar) and Dale Creek Cuppa Joe (Waite) were away quickly. Lou was not pleasing handler, picked up at 15. Joe moved forward through the cover. He moved with the birds at 48 and was picked up.

Nyquist Center (Ray) and Shagtime Scout (Kinkelaar) began fast. Nyquist Center was lost off to the left at 25. Scout was not pleasing handler and was picked up at 13.

Runner-up Mobile Strike was detailed earlier. R J’s Deicer (Kinkelaar) covered a lot of ground and had an unproductive at 13. Handler elected to pick up at 52.

Boumeester’s Duramax (Boumeester) and Skydancer’s Triple Nickel (Lutynski) broke away into the cover after lunch. Duramax had a nice limb find at 8 and an unproductive at 17. Handler elected to pick up at 57. Triple Nickel had a forward moderate race with handler calling point at 28. Handler relocated the dog from horseback into heavy cover and elected to pick up shortly thereafter.

Peasion’s Imagine That (Ray) and Hidden Hollow Sammy (Waite) were out fast. Imagine was not pleasing Ray who picked up at 10. Sammy had a stop to flush at 15. He was not pleasing Waite and was up at 15.

C S Little Anne (Ray) and Skydancer’s Flash Drive (Lutynski). Handler called flight of birds at 9 with Anne standing and Flash Drive backing. No birds were seen by the judge or marshal. Continuing on Anne was not pleasing handler and was up at 15. Flash Drive continued to hunt forward, was not pleasing handler and was up at 25.

Friday morning, the final day of the Championship.

Dale Creek Jazz Man (Waite) put down a nice forward race with a nice find out front right before the dike and road crossing, with a big covey lifting at 39. Crossing the road and heading toward King’s Ranch a deer crossed his path and handler moved to collect the dog. He finished off to the left in heavy cover. Zip Tye (Ray) was doing a nice job on the ground and was seen under a bird at 36 and was up.

Blair’s Witch Project (Waite) pointed at 4. On relocation he crowded a bird and was picked up. Meadow Woods Fastbreak was not pleasing Doug Ray who picked up at 10.

Bancroft, Wis., September 24

Judges: Mark Johnson and Pat Sheehan

NATIONAL PRAIRIE CHICKEN SHOOTING DOG CHAMPIONSHIP

[One-Hour Heats] — 30 Pointers, 20 Setters and 3 Irish Setters

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

Runner-Up—MOBILE STRIKE, 1669162, setter male, by Barbaro—Daisy Duke. Doug Hinton & Dr. Chet Layne, owners; Doug Ray, handler.

OPEN DERBY

A strong group of Derbies rounded out this event. Finishing up on Friday afternoon on the back courses with a strong prevailing wind.

The winner was Cheyenne Nation, pointer female owned and handled by Scott Jordan. She covered a lot of ground, handled the cover and was consistently forward to take the top spot.

Bar P Inspired, pointer male for owner-handler Rich Boumeester, placed a close second. He ran a nice consistent race and was forward. Named to third was Erin’s Ty Breaker, pointer male owned by Theodore R. Roach of Fort Wayne, Ind., and handled by Doug Ray. Ty Breaker made some nice casts and ran a forward race.

Judges: Ed Liermann and Tom Waite

OPEN DERBY — 7 Pointers and 2 Setters

1st—CHEYENNE NATION, 1681417, pointer male, by Strut Nation—Erin’s Amazing Grace. Scott Jordan, owner and handler.

2d—BAR P INSPIRED, 1675797, pointer male, by Bar P Big Guy—Bar P June. Rich Boumeester, owner and handler.

3d—ERIN’S TY BREAKER, 1678678, pointer male, by Erin’s Redrum—My Minnie. T. R. Roach, owner; Doug Ray, handler.

 

A Postscript

One of the highlights of the trials is the Purina dinner on Saturday night during the previous Amateur Championship. The event produces some great fun and camaraderie and is enjoyed by all.

It is at this time that we have a “Chicken Championships” auction of various items that include a generous contribution of dog food by Purina, collars by SportDog and various items your scribe has gathered to auction off. In the past three years, this auction has paid for a dog wagon, removal of debris from the old farmhouse after it was burned down by vandals and also money sent to the Buena Vista DNR gift account. The gift account dollars go toward mowing, tractor time and fuel.

This year we are adding to the donation list the “Adopt a Wildlife Program” that UW-Stevens Point students, most of them majoring in “Wildlife Ecology,” have formed to donate their time to help improve habitat at the Buena Vista Grasslands.

When these students volunteer there is a need for tools, equipment, fuel, clothing for burning, etc. We are going to make a donation to help with their efforts. UW-Stevens Point is nearby, and is an outstanding institution that produces many of our DNR personnel in Wisconsin.

Many thanks to all who contributed so generously to help this effort.

Ed Liermann

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