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Field Trial Report

NGSPA Open All-Age Invitational Championship

By Keith Richardson | Feb 14, 2020
NGSPA Open All-Age Invitational Champion Rock River’s You Can’t Handle It is posed by Hank Lewis, joined by, from left: Jack Griffin of Mississippi Fish & Game, Judge Ray Joye, Rick Heller, Dan DiMambro, Judge Cecil Rester, Penny Robertson and Rich Robertson. In foreground, from left: Jenny Heller, John Chiprianno, Keith Richardson and Bobbi Richardson.

Blue Mountain, Miss. — The second NGSPA Open All-Age Invitational was a tremendous success. It was held on January 4-6 at Hell Creek WMA in Mississippi. It is the only NGSPA event held on these grounds, which many believe are the best all-age grounds in the country.

Hell Creek WMA is owned by the state of Mississippi and managed by their Department of Wildlife, Fish and Parks. The agency has been very helpful to work with, allowing us to keep the same dates as last year.

Jack Griffin is the man responsible for maintaining the grounds and provides a lot of help to us and all other field trial organizations. These grounds were opened in 1999 and include dog kennels, a horse barn with 38 stalls, outside paddocks, a spacious clubhouse, and a hard pack area and hook-ups for trailers.

There are a number of long bottoms and some piney woods providing a variety of cover to challenge and test the dogs. The grounds demand a powerful all-age dog that stays to the front, carries a line to the end, and seeks timely guidance from its handler. Absences of five to ten minutes are not uncommon. The courses flow nicely but penalize dogs that get behind, won’t carry a line, or are seen too much.

There was quite a bit of rain in the lead-up to our trial and about three inches fell the night before and impacted the birds which had been put out in advance. The high water also limited us to the use of two courses as it did last year. Nonetheless the courses provided a challenging environment for dogs and handlers, and enough bird work for the judges to evaluate the dogs. The weather during the running was about as good as it gets in January.

We were honored to have two outstanding judges from the “pointer/setter world”: Cecil Rester of Bogalusa, La., and Ray Joye of Marion, S. C. Both men are seasoned, experienced and respected all-age judge, also handling and training top quality dogs. They gave a focused, positive, informed evaluation of all twelve dogs.

A talented crew came together to put on this quality event. The caterer, Me & My Tea Room, prepared three wonderful meals each day. The owner, Catherine Bowling-Dean, agreed for Edie and ReRe to return again at our request. These two hardworking perfectionists drove 90 miles twice a day, and they had coffee going at 6:00 a. m. and were cleaning up until 9:00 p. m. nightly. Joe Frauendienst oversaw tons of details, and also drove the dog wagon and helped Jack Griffin plant birds. Jack was present every day and helped in many ways. We will miss him greatly as he has announced his retirement this June. Penny Robertson helped with the important paperwork details. Bobbi Richardson provided indispensable help in organization and support, including beautifully embroidered jackets for competitors and owners and dogs, plus other gifts. We were fortunate that Korry Rinehart marshalled for us again with his many years of experience on these grounds. This year he also served as wrangler providing some excellent horses for the judges and attendees.

Our incredible sponsors made this trial possible. Greg Blair and Purina support all three of our NGSPA Invitationals, which showcase the excellence of their product which is currently being fed to all dogs competing in this challenging endurance event. They provided important financial assistance, including 12 bags of product for the champion, 12 bags to auction, and a Ross Young original oil painting of the champion. SportDog provided a top-of-line GPS/training collar, and a training collar. Garmin provided their excellent GPS tracking collar. Ed Moody and Costa provided two best-in-class, stylish, polarized sunglasses for auction. Ross Young donated much of his time because he is not charging full value for his truly fabulous works of art. The winning handler earned a $5,000 purse.

The guidelines and philosophy are essentially the same as the NGSPA Shooting Dog Invitationals, other than the application of the new NGSPA All-Age Standard. The top winning 12 all-age dogs from the past year are invited. There are three continuous days of running. The first two are one-hour stakes and the third day is a 90-minute callback, which tests the endurance and stamina of the top dogs like no other trial in the NGSPA world.

The judges called back four dogs and specified the order of bracing. No “reserve” dogs were called.

THE CHAMPION

Rock River’s U Can’t Handle It (Dually), owned by Rick Heller, handled by Dan DiMambro, and scouted by Hank Lewis, was named the 2019 NGSPA All-Age Invitational Champion.

The judges stated that our Invitational format eliminates the “luck of the draw”, and enables the best dog to rise to the top. They said that Dually clearly rose to the top above all other contenders making their decision easy. Dually laid down three strong consistent ground races with big all-age casts. He had one find each day showing consistent class manners on his game as he stood solid with no movement through the flush with high- tailed style.

Dually had no extended absences, showed when he should, handled well for Dan, and was always to the front requiring little scouting. There were no holes during his three day performance. He was strong throughout the trial and at the end of the 90-minute callback he gave the impression that he could have gone for two hours.

OTHERS CALLED BACK

Llano’s Game On Dude, owned by Joe and Chad Inderman and handled by Joe. On day No. 1 Dude had three finds with good manners, and a good race with one short-term absence. On day No. 2 he had a longer absence and one find. His manners on game were good with a strong race, and Dude handled well for Joe. On day No. 3 he had a find and his bracemate Dually backed. While riding to the find Dude was seen committing a fault on a bird and Joe picked him up.

P W Flirt’s Dot On The Horizon, owned by Keith and Bobbi Richardson, and handled by Rich Robertson, Jr. The first day Dot had a strong all-age race but was not as responsive to her handler as she could have been. She had two finds, but also had two unproductives. On day No. 2 Dot had one find with good manners and a very good race handling well for Rich. Day No. 3 she was not going with handler as desired, and was not moving the top dog so she was picked up.

Rumel’s Augie Doggie, owned by Rocklyn Turlano, and handled by Dan DiMambro. On day No. 1 Augie had two finds and one unproductive, and a good race. On day No. 2 he had one find and had a good race going when he checked out at 30 minutes and was not seen at time. On day No. 3 he started off with a good race and a divided find, but he had an extended absence and was picked up.

THE OTHER CONTENDERS

(in order of qualifying points) Lambourn’s Slick Shot (Buckshot), owned and handled by Robin Lambourn.  On day No. 1 Buckshot had one find and one unproductive. He had a strong race with an attractive gait, but was on his own agenda and not responsive to handler. The second day he had no finds, and his race was again unruly and he was gone a lot.

Hi N’s Bodacious (Bo), owned by Hank Lewis and handled by Dan DiMambro. The first day Bo had a good race and was always to the front, but he had no finds. On day No. 2 he had one unproductive and a moderate race.

Llano’s Hot Tamale (Mollie), owned by Joe and Chad Inderman and handled by Chad. Mollie was in season and ran in the last brace of each day. On day No. 1 she had no finds and was gone a lot.  Day No. 2 she had an extended absence.

Joke’s On You (Buddy), owned by Steve Erickson and handled by Chris Goegan. The first day Buddy showed well on the ground and had one find, but his single back was not clean. Day No. 2 he had another good day on the ground, but his work around birds was not to champion standards.

P W Race To The Front (Raycee), owned by Keith and Bobbi Richardson and handled by Rich Robertson, Jr. Raycee had good runs both days showing excellent speed and edge running application, but she had no finds.

P W Pennie For Your Thoughts (Thor), owned by Keith and Bobbi Richardson and handled by Rich Robertson, Jr. Both days Thor was on his own agenda and was picked up on day No. 2.

Llano’s Snowbird (Feather), owned by Joe and Chad Inderman and handled by Joe. On day No. 1 Feather started strong but had an extended absence and no finds. The second day she had one find but was gone most of the brace.

No Sleep Til Brook Lynn, owned by Chuck Lane and handled by Dan DiMambro. On day No. 1 Brook had one unproductive and a good race on the ground with an average “handle”. She shortened up the last fifteen minutes.  Day No. 2 she had no finds and an average race.

CLOSING THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS

Both judges were very impressed with our German Shorthaired pointers. They agreed that all of the dogs met all-age standards concerning their race, and could compete effectively in American Field and AFTCA Championships on the ground. On the other hand, they commented that many of our dogs could benefit if the handler was able to exert more control at crucial times such as sharp changes in course direction.

In light of these observations the writer believes it is worth repeating last year’s summary admonition by the judges:

The challenge of the Hell Creek grounds, and the performance demands of two days running followed by a 90-minute callback have indeed raised the bar for the all-age GSP. It has also raised the bar for the all-age GSP trainer and handler, indicating a need for more aggressive handling to show the dog better, and more work on getting the dog to go with the handler without diminishing power, range and enthusiasm. The future of the all-age German Shorthaired pointer has never been brighter, and their impact on the genetics of the GSP shooting dog bodes well for the future of our breed.

Blue Mountain, Miss., January 4

Judges: Ray Joye and Cecil Rester

NGSPA OPEN ALL-AGE INVITATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

[One-Hour Heats on Two Consecutive Days; Ninety-Minute Third Day

Finals] — 12 German Shorthairs

Winner—ROCK RIVER’S U CAN’T HANDLE IT, 1671158, male, by Hi N’s Feed Jake—Tulli’s Excess. Rick Heller, owner; Dan DiMambro, handler.

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