American Field

Miller’s Strolling For Gold Wins 57th Running

National Shooting Dog Futurity

By Mike Husenits | Oct 06, 2020
The Winners. (Left to right): Fran Miller, Ray Wheeler (judge), Mike Tracy with Miller’s Strolling For Gold, Bob Reed, Mark Hughes, Dr. Bob Canada with Hard Truth, Bill Bonnetti with Cape Point Lucky Strike, Doug Ray; Jack Miller with Miller’s Million Dollar Penny, Peter Flanagan (judge) and Mike Husenits in foreground.

Bloomingdale, Ohio — The 57th running of the National Shooting Dog Futurity was held September 28-29 over the Mingo Sportsman Club grounds located near Bloomingdale, Ohio.

The hill country land is typical reclaimed surface mine property and is now groomed and maintained for field trials and member hunters. The club clears overgrown cover and mows annually under the guidance of club manager Bill Monk, aided by several club members.

This year the courses were vastly improved by the removal of several overgrown thickets of autumn olive brush and locust tree groves that were threatening to overtake the landscape.

Fortunately, the Futurity operates in “ad hocracy” fashion, originally scheduled to begin on Monday morning but delayed until after lunch due to a larger than expected entry in the preceding Mingo Amateur Shooting Dog Classic.

Futurity board members on hand to perform the various necessary duties and work to make this trial successful included Chris Catanzarite, Bob and Karen Reed, Mary and George Tracy, Mark Hughes and your reporter.

Pheasants were released daily. The dog truck was always spot-on, water was hauled, food was available, nominations and entries were taken, a pre-draw held, prizes and gifts obtained, brace sheets and internet notices posted.

This year special safety rules applied due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Guidelines were posted, masks were available, hand sanitizer was plentiful and hopefully no one gets sick!

Once again, appreciation is extended to Summerhill Kennels for supplying horses and to Mary Tracy for handling the dog truck duties that included coffee breaks and snacks.

Thanks to Purina and Greg Blair for continued sponsorship of the Futurities. Purina supplies Pro Plan dog food, financial support and useful advertising materials.

The annual Board of Directors meeting followed Monday’s running. The Futurity set a tentative starting date of September 27 for 2021 renewal, plus added Dave Hughes and Roger McPherson as Futurity directors.

A handsome painting of last year’s winner, Miller’s Record Heat, was presented to her owners, Jack and Fran Miller, at the Monday evening dinner sponsored by Jack and Fran. Alabama artist Mary McPherson created the beautiful painting that brought oohs and ahs from the crowd.

The region has been plagued with extremely dry and hot weather conditions, the Monday afternoon start saw Temps were near 90° and affected the performance of dogs and horses. Only one of the four placed dogs ran on Monday.

Tuesday was a different story as falling temperatures and welcome rain arrived overnight bringing clouds and temperatures in the 50s.

This reporter remembers well the glory years of Futurities when well over 100 litters were nominated annually with many years over 100 starters. Well, folks, it’s not that way anymore but nonetheless enthusiasm still reigns high.

This year twenty (20) litters were nominated. The leading sires were Erin’s Red rum, Waybetter Rocky, Miller’s Upgraded Version and Miller’s Heat Seeker. From the twenty nominated litters, 24 of the 35 starters came from just eight litters with three of those litters produced four starters each.

This statistic may indicate there are more quality dogs being whelped from fewer litters, this could be the result of successful selective breeding programs, which is exactly why Futurities were masterminded and implemented by the founders of our sport.

This year’s judges were highly experienced and reputable bird dog men. Peter Flanagan of Oxford, N.Y., of Grouse Ridge Kennels fame, has judged numerous important events including the Futurities and championships.

Ray Wheeler of Shelby, Ohio graciously stepped in for advertised judge Ted Goodyear who had to cancel for personal reasons, joined him. Ray has campaigned dogs on the amateur all-age and shooting dog circuits for many years with great success.

Their dedication to the job at hand was appreciated. Belt buckles with in-flight pheasants from Montana Silversmith’s were presented to them as gifts.


The first and fourth placed winners, Miller’s Strolling For Gold and Miller’s Million Dollar Penny, respectively, are littermates that were raised and trained by Jack and Fran Miller of Barwick, Ga. The breeder of record is Scott Turner of Ninety Six, S.C., who whelped the litter that was acquired by Jack and Fran as weanlings, plus they also own the sire, Miller’s Upgraded Version.

Jack and Fran have enjoyed tremendous success with this line that traces to such pointer stalwarts as Miller’s Silver Bullett, Erin’s Southern Justice, Island Grove Brute, Elhew Sinbad, Erin’s Whiskey River and Elhew Swami. Besides the superior breeding, superior training and the hard work put in by Jack and Fran is evident in these Derbies.

They are fleet-footed, stylish, handle and want to please their handler. They point with granite-like intensity and are well advanced for such a young age.

Second placed Hard Truth, orange marked pointer male owned by Dr. Robert Canada of New Palestine, Ind., and handled by Doug Ray, is also bred in the purple.

Jamie Daniels of Bronwood, Ga., is listed as the breeder of the litter whelped January 11, 2019. The sire is noted champion and producer Erin’s Redrum, he by Erin’s Whiskey River and an Elhew Sinbad dam. Hard Truth’s dam, Pearl Again, is also by Elhew Sinbad and a dam very strong in Rebel bloodlines. When one examines the first, second and fourth placed dog’s linage, similar ancestors are evident in all three.

Third placed Cape Point Lucky Strike, setter male owned and bred by Bill Bonnetti of Marston Mills, Mass., and handled by Doug Ray performed in outstanding fashion to win honors.

The litter of nine puppies was whelped March 5, 2019, sired by Awsum In Motion ex Cape Point Millbilly. Their pedigree shows such outstand setter winners and producers as Ch. Grand Heritage Motion, Awsum Angel, Grid Iron, Hamilton’s Blue Diamond, Ida O Priscilla, Ragged Hill Nip and Smoke Rise Buck.

All four were bred to be outstanding bird dogs and bred to win, and win they did!

Readers are referred to the account of the running for performance details.


In the opening brace, Walden Ridge Wicked Dreams (D. Ray) took to the front and impressed with some nice swings. He pointed several times but corrected and moved on, feathers noted in the area. Bracemate Stitch was stylish and rambled to the extremes at times, failing to contact game.

Quail Roost Bonus (Michael Martino) and Miller’s Highbrow Cat (F. Miller) followed. Dr. Susan Wells was mounted for Bonus. Both hunted ahead at medium range, Bonus with a stop to flush at 4 near the first pond, then continuing ahead with the heat taking its toll. Cat pointed once with no results and finished out front.

Double Deuce Pearl (D. Hughes) hunted stylishly ahead, pointed in feed strip at 14 near the stone pile with nothing produced, finishing at medium range. Just Win Chester tried hard but the heat took its toll. No birds!

Hard Truth (D. Ray) performed in winning fashion on this sweltering hot day with owner Dr. Bob Canada in the gallery. He started fast down the breakaway hill, rounded the corner and slammed on stylish point at 5. After initial attempt, a relocation effort resulted in Truth working a wide area, making several attempts to point his elusive quarry, but running pheasants in tall cover are hard to pin down, charged as unproductive. Sent ahead, Truth made several impressive forward swings and pointed stylishly at 18 in short grassy area; this time a pheasant was flown from directly in front with Truth rock solid for the shot, then well ahead at the finish. Bracemate Miller’s Sweet Talking Candy (F. Miller) searched the front with a stylish way of going but her efforts went bird-less.

M’s Bobbi McGee was affected by the heat and picked up near the stone pile crossing. Mac’s Real McCoy (Tim McClurg) started fast and wide, taking the country in huge swings but the heat soon took its toll. Up at 13.

Final brace of the day was released at 4:52.

Coosawhatchie Hat Trick started fast, making wide swings, scouted several times. At 16 handler called a pheasant in the air along locust grove; Trick stopped for the shot, then ahead to finish going away. Benchmark (D. Ray) encountered pheasants in the air near the first pond, giving way to merry chase and eventually picked up.

What a difference a day makes. Rain had fallen overnight with a 55° temperature.

Answered Prayers went right to work, pointed solidly at 9 with nothing flown, then espied under a bird at 12 and again at 25, strong to the end. Miller’s Upgrading The Ante (F. Miller) was most attractive to watch, hunting hard ahead at modest range, recording an unproductive at 10, solid finds at 15 near the stone pile crossing, at 20 along hillside and at 27 near the second pond,

Rum On The Rocks (M. Hughes) hunted in forward fashion at medium range but no birds pointed. Waybetter John started well, suffered an unproductive at 10 near swampy area, then went lateral and was harnessed at 20.

Hatteras Storm Surge (D. Ray) started fast but was up at 10 after showing youthful exuberance on pheasants. Miller’s Strolling For Gold (F. Miller) performed admirably, showing speedy ground work and a fancy way of going. Her classy forward hard driving effort paid off with a well handled find at 6 along the olive brush line where she demonstrated positive location and manners above reproach. Sent forward, Gold maintained a consistent pattern at wide range, pointing unproductively at 18 and finishing her stint well ahead going strong with a Futurity-winning performance.

Neely’s Whistlin Dixie hunted diligently ahead with contacts at 5 in open area and 26, holding steady until shot fired. Cape Point Lucky Strike (D. Ray) impressed from start to finish, ending up in third place. Owner Bill Bonnetti was riding, wife Jayne rode in the reporter’s truck. Strike rolled through the country at wide range, merry high cracking tail and appeared to be hunting every jump. His two finds were handled with superb style and rock solid intensity, the first at 4 near bottom of breakaway hill, the second at 25 along ditchline crossing. He finished his stint going away with plenty of zip and pizzazz.

Eliminator ran all over the country in attractive fashion with high cracking tail. He notched a contact at 20 near right side road edge and finished strong, handler riding hard to round him up. West Wind Big Jake (M. Hughes) was attractive in action with a diligent forward fleet-footed effort, his range medium to wide from start to finish but he couldn’t come up with a bird.

Miller’s Million Dollar Penny (F. Miller) and Hatters Sand Storm (D. Ray). This brace produced plenty of action, Penny performing well and earning fourth place. Penny backed at 5, scored a nicely handled find at 14, shared a divided find at 24, another back at 26 and finished with a mannerly find at 29. Her ground race was steady, forward and applied at medium range. Storm’s ground coverage was just a bit shorter in range. His bird work included a find at 5 with the bird up during relocation, 16 along weedy edge, 24 divided, 26 and 29. Storm’s bird work was with youthful enthusiasm but also demonstrated plenty of potential.

Red Rum Rosie (M. Hughes) hunted diligently the whole way but failed to contact game. After a fast start, Going Out In Style wasn’t having a good day and picked up at 10.

Blue Bar Pretty Boy’s owner Dennis Hood was mounted for Boy, who started fast down the hill, pointed at 5 with no birds seen officially. A divided stand came at 8 near the first pond and on to a medium range effort, going strong at the finish line. Absolute Dominator (D. Ray) hustled through the country with a strong gait and lofty carriage. He shared a find at 8 and hunted hard all the way.

High Drive Hank broke away fast but was soon out of pocket and counted out. Sutter’s Backwoods Rumble (M. Hughes) hunted hard at modest range and proved he was hunting with finds at 10, 14, 20 and 23. On each, Rumble pointed with intensity and was steady on the last two.

Both Sumac’s Rockin Lita and Hatteras Rip Tide broke away with rocket-like speed, pheasant in the air at 5 with no official involvement by either. Lita rambled well ahead, pointed once but moved on, maintaining her torrid pace but couldn’t come up with a bird. Tide went with high tail at medium range, demonstrated style and acceptable manners at 16 on a pheasant, finishing out front.

Casino Cassie and Anna Lake Samantha (D. Hughes) had a slight tussle off the breakaway but quickly separated. Cassie had a Derby find at 8 but shortened and was picked up at 11. Sammi pointed in heavy cover at 3 with nothing raised, then hunted well ahead at medium range with high cracking tail, scoring mannerly finds at 10 and 14, both handled with style and intensity, finishing well ahead.

Miller’s Southern Gossip (F. Miller), as a bye, ran with attractive carriage and hunted hard at modest range. She stopped to flush at 2 and scored at 12 where the pheasant got up on a relocation near the original spot, then a solid point at 14 above the pond that was sterile, finishing ahead to bring the Fifty-Seventh National Shooting Dog Futurity to a conclusion.

Bloomingdale, Ohio, September 28
Judges: Peter Flanagan and Ray Wheeler

28 Pointers and 7 Setters

1st—MILLER'S STROLLING FOR GOLD, 1690151, pointer female, by Miller's Upgraded Version—Erin's Little Rose. Jack & Fran Miller, owners; Fran Miller, handler.

2d—HARD TRUTH, 1685784, pointer male, by Erin's Redrum—Pearl Again. Dr. Robert Canada, owner; Doug Ray, handler.

3d—CAPE POINT LUCKY STRIKE, 1687954, setter male, by Awsum In Motion—Cape Point Millbilly. Bill Bonnetti, owner; Doug Ray, handler.

4th—MILLER'S MILLION DOLLAR PENNY, 1690149, pointer female, by Miller's Upgraded Version—Erin's Little Rose. Jack & Fran Miller, owners; Fran Miller, handler.






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