American Field

Travel Alert Named Champion; Leslie's Jigster is Runner-Up

Northern Michigan Cover Dog Championship

By Brent Peters | Nov 13, 2020
The Winners: From left: Stake Manager Bryan Wood; Champion Travel Alert with owner/handler Dr. Harold Holmes; Judges Brent Peters and Sean McKellop; Runner-Up Leslie’s Jigster with handler Scott Forman; and Christy Helmes.

Meredith, Mich. — The Beaverton Grouse Dog Club hosted its Northern Michigan Cover Dog Championship on October 15-18 at the Gladwin venue near Meredith, Mich.

This is a Purina sponsored event and we shout out a big THANK YOU to PURINA for their continued support and sponsorship.

As Michigan heads towards winter, the cover is not completely down. Just past the peak of color with leaves holding. The ferns have browned down, but still standing high in the woods.

Judges presiding over this 54-dog stake were Brent Peters from Gladwin, Mich., and Sean McKellop of Grayling, Mich. Bryan Wood continued his duty as stake manager.

Thank you to our professional handlers who helped all week to get this done: Bruce Minard, Marc and Scott Forman, Dave and Mark Hughes, along with Rich Hollister and his wrangling his awesome string of horses!

And many others: Ken and Mary Moss, Carl McRae, Lonnie Rademacher, Denise Peters, Mike Singleton, Tom Fruchey, Harold Holmes, Dennis Keysor, Brian Ralph, Bob Leet, Deb Nihart, and Christy Helmes. Wayne and Marlene Fruchey were here every day for coffee breaks and supplying sandwiches for the help.


Travel Alert was named Northern Michigan Cover Dog Champion. The five-year-old white and orange setter male is owned and handled by Dr. Haorld Holmes of Flint, Mich.,  and appeared in the 26th brace with Anna Lake Sophie (Dave Hughes). Anna got separated from her handler early on and Dave threw in the towel at 25.

Travel Alert (Buster) put on a show for the judges this wet morning. He ran courses 3-4 about as well as it could be done. A grouse find next to the river by the tubes at the half was followed by woodcock finds at 42, 46 and 55 on course No. 4, where woodcock dominated this week. Buster finished as strong as he started.

Harold Holmes has been at this game for longer than most, and this was not his first time at the podium. Travel Alert (callname Buster) has six previous placements before this impressive win.

Leslie's Jigster was named runner-up for breeder-owner Leslie Bressler of Irvona, Pa., and handler Scott Forman. Jigster was down in No. 19 with Phillips Moonlight Lilly (Hughes).

It was the fourth brace on courses 5-6, off after a cup of coffee for the judges.

Lilly is a nice going setter female, but had no bird work. Jigster had a nice woodcock find at 24. Then at about 50, he made a cast out toward the puppy course and was found standing. After a flushing attempt, Jigster was relocated and stopped after working the area. A second flushing attempt was made and another relocation. A pair of grouse was flushed, a great piece of bird work. No further bird work in his hour.

This was Jigster’s first championship win with Scott Forman who has been at this game for over 25 years.


Day 1, brace 1. Hifive’s Power Line (Bruce Minard) and Texas Elhew Bodie (Marc Forman) were off at 8:05 a.m. on courses 1-2. Both were away with the expected enthusiasm on a cool fall morning. Power Line got into a rhythm first and put together a nice run with woodcock finds at 25 and 55. Bodie took a little longer to put it together, but settled in quite nicely with a stop at 52. Unfortunately, neither judge saw the bird, Bodie going on to have a stop to flush on a woodcock at 58.

Still cool, with a little rain. I’ll Be Back (Hughes) and Shady Hills Whiskey Bonfire (S. Forman). The start was competitive on courses 3-4, and was tough with this year’s dry conditions. The cover in the marsh was lacking.  I’ll Be Back had a woodcock find next to the trail at 31. Whiskey had a woodcock at 38, all in order.

Braggabull (Hughes) and Dun Rovens Soozee (Hollister) were down on courses 5-6. Soozee looked good for a short time, but had a different plan than Rich and was picked up at 29. Braggabull was laying down a nice race but was tempted by a flushing grouse and went with it.

Double Deuce Dexter (Hughes) and Rockland Ridge McGraw (Robert Ecker). Courses 7-8, Dexter was doing a good job but had a breach of manners at the half on a woodcock and.was picked up. McGraw had two woodcock finds, but she and handler were having a hard time staying in touch in the wind.

Grouse Hills Bulletproof (S. Forman) and Maximum Resistance (Ecker). On courses 9-10, we had two very nice dogs in Bulletproof and  Resistance. The latter had a woodcock find in the second half and Proof had a stand at time, but no one was home.

Stokley's B Jack (Brian Ralph) and Game Winner (Hughes). On courses 11-12, two nice dogs came to the line. Jack had a commendable run going until about 45, when he and Brian lost contact for a few minutes. Then it was push and tug until time. Game Winner had a nice run, sometimes giving Dave fits, but showed when asked. Game Winner had a grouse at 45 in a nice transition cover and finished nicely.

Full Breeze (Hughes) and Pond Road Pete (R. Hollister) looked very similar going through the woods on courses 13-14. Pete was really good for the first few minutes, stopping at 6. Rich called running grouse, at which promptly ran at the dog and then lifted when flushed. Just a little too much for Pete. He was leashed. Breeze put together a nice run, backing Pete on his find. Breeze stopped just after the road crossing (a known grouse spot), then went on her own agenda. Handler threw in the towel at 45 minutes.

Day No. 2 began at 8:10 a.m. under an overcast sky and cool temperatures on courses 15-16. These courses had not been used since last fall and looked enticing to our handlers.

Grouse Trails Tuscarora (Hughes) and Boston (Ecker). Boston stopped at 1; after a flushing attempt, no birds were produced and both dogs moved on. A few minutes later, Boston stopped again. After an extended search for Boston, the retrieval device was called for. Tuscarora moved forward and at 16 stopped. After a short flushing attempt, two grouse were produced. At the half he stopped again, but unfortunately he went with a woodcock.

Ralphy’s Reclaim (Ralph) and Single Shot Bailey (Hughes) started fast on courses 1-2. Ralphy found a Porky at 16 and was picked up so Brian could pull quills. Bailey had a stop at 20, with no bird produced. She continued to get bigger until Dave picked her up for not listening.

Double Deuce Zeke (Hughes) was down with Rebellious Fearless Fred (Mike Luebke/Forman), in the third brace of the day. Both bent on covering courses 3-4. Zeke finished with no bird work. Fred had a stand in a great looking spot on course 3, but no bird produced. At 47 Fred stopped again, a grouse lifting as his handler approached. A woodcock also flew from next to him, all in good order. Fred is gorgeous to watch on the ground.

Hifive’s Top Shelf (Minard) and Ghost Train Sassy (Fruchey) were on courses 5-6 after the coffee break. Top Shelf was away quickly and never seemed to let down, but just couldn’t get a bird. Sassy was a little slower getting started, but was hunting hard, getting better as she went. Sassy had a nice woodcock find in the second half. Both dogs got a little sticky in the middle when the wind made it hard for handlers and dogs to stay in contact.

No. 12: Wild Apple Siri (Minard) and Faith’s Maximum Justice (Ken Delong). These two made a fun brace to watch on courses 7-8. With a divided find at 45 and separate finds at 49, both on woodcock. The only difference between these two was Justice’s race was more independent and mature.

Bud of Piney Wood (Ecker) and A Distant Spec (Hughes) were busy right from the start on courses 9-10. Bud had the first woodcock find at 2 minutes; Spec followed suit with woodcock finds at 6, 9 and 12 minutes. Bud had two more woodcock finds in the first 15 minutes; however, moved on the last stand and was up. Spec continued but was picked up after two long absences.

Attitude’s True Grit (Ecker) and Conneaut Creek Roisn Dubh (Hughes). On courses 11-12. Both dogs were working independently. Grit had a grouse find at 15, buried behind the swamp with no further bird work. Roisn lost contact with her handler and was up at 20.

No. 15, the last brace of the day. Rebellious Boisterous Bart (Luebke/Forman) and Bax Star’s Doc Holiday (Shane Baxter) on courses 13-14. Both dogs put together a nice hour, but were a day late and a dollar short, as we saw two grouse and two woodcock flush wild with no dogs involved.

Day 2, brace 16. Deciding Point (Hughes) and Bo of Piney Wood (Ecker) were off at 8:10 a.m. on courses 15-16 at a good pace. The first section of the course was hunted very well. Shortly after crossing the road, Point stopped, then moved on . . . only to stop again quickly. Handler and judge found her locked up and were able to flush a pair of grouse. She was then released forward, where she again locked up a few minutes later. Another grouse was flushed, but she went with the bird and was up. Bo, at the same time, was hunting the opposite side of the course and moving nicely. Just before the half after turning onto the tote road, he stopped on the right and a pair of grouse were flushed. Bo continued the second half with no further bird work.

Grouse Hill Smokey (Forman) and Warrior Zeke (Hughes) began on courses 1-2 moving nicely. Unfortunately, Smokey was up before the half after a couple of stops with no one home. Zeke had a stop at about 25 in a place where the judge had seen a bird get up while coming down the course. Zeke was sent on at the second road crossing, having had no bird work and was taken up at 58.

Rowling’s Star (Rowling/Forman) and Sumac's Sashay (Hughes) on courses 3-4. Star was a handful. She had two woodcock finds in the second half, one at 42 and the last at 60. Sashay was a little more of a kindly handle. She also had a pair of woodcock finds, one at 32 and again at 37, all in order.

Brace No. 19 had the runner-up Leslie's Jigster and Phillips Moonlight Lilly, and was already covered.

Melville Sure Shot Buck (Forman) and Waywards Flying Tomato (Hughes). On courses 7-8, Buck and Tomato were off in a tough starting area, but handled it nicely. Buck finished the brace with two woodcock, one near the half, the second at 43 with Tomato having a nice back.

Blast Off (Forman) and Lasombra (Hughes). After a brief sandwich break, these two were off onto courses 9-10, which starts off in woodcock cover. Unfortunately it only lasted 10 minutes. Blastoff was picked up for a small breach of manners and Lasombra’s handler chose to pick up at the same time.

Upper Ammonoosuc Violet (Ecker) and Jars Way Leroy (Hughes) started on courses 11-12, but were picked up by their handlers in the first 15 minutes because neither dog was listening.

Day 3, brace No. 23. The final morning started with heavy cloud cover and we had to wait a few extra minutes.

Both Titanium Hammer (Minard) and Dun Rovens Drifter (Hollister) were off quickly when we finally had daylight. Hammer had his own agenda today, his handler throwing in the towel at 50 minutes. Drifter was listening better than his bracemate, but not up to his usual performance. Drifter ended up with a woodcock in the second half.

Grouse Ridge Larry (Hollister) and Kalamity Cinder (Ecker) were off onto courses 15-16. Cinder was out of touch in the first 10 minutes and the retrieval unit was requested. Larry was not having his best day and was picked up at the half.

Both High Desert Stormy (Forman) and Thornapple Cody (Minard) had a very nice run this morning. Each dog had woodcock finds, Cody at 24 and Stormy at 41. If either would have had a grouse find, they might have challenged the placements.

Brace No. 26 had the winner Travel Alert andAnna Lake Sophie.

Sterlingworth Jack (Ecker) and Kendal Hills Dawson Creek (Hughes). The last brace of the trial on courses 5-6. It was hard to hear the bells because of the rain and falling leaves. Jack ran a nice moderate race with one woodcock find. Dawson was missing at about 25 and after some time searching, handler called it.

Meredith, Mich., October 15

Judges: Sean McKellop and Brent Peters


[One-Hour Heats] — 19 Pointers, 32 Setters, 2 Irish Setters

and 1 German Shorthair

Winner—TRAVEL ALERT, 1665621, setter male, by Moss Meadow Traveler—Wild Katrun. Dr. Harold Holmes, owner and handler.

Runner-Up—LESLIE’S JIGSTER, 1669158, setter female, by Shady Hills Whiskey Bonfire—Leslie’s Girl. Les Bressler, owner; Scott Forman, handler.


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