American Field

Double Duece Zeke Declared Champion; Backcountry Bruiser is Runner-Up

Region 2 Amateur Walking Shooting Dog Championship

By Joe Cammisa | Jul 22, 2021
The Winners. From left to right: Dave Hughes, Judge Chris Rider and his two granddaughters; Karah Thatcher, Mark Hughes, Doug McMillen with Double Deuce Zeke, Eric Munden, Chris Catanzarite with Backcountry Bruiser, Judge Lee Long, Joe Cammisa, and Justin Mason.

Ginter, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Amateur Field Trial Club hosted the AFTCA Region 2 Amateur Walking Shooting Dog Championship on May 22- 23 at Warriors Mark Shooting Preserve in Ginter, Pa. The Amateur Club is no stranger to hosting championships and Club Secretary Eric Munden graciously and skillfully eased into the position of stake manager.

The Warriors Mark Preserve consists of 2,700 acres for field trials, for hunting pheasants, quail, partridge, ruffed grouse, and woodcock. Warriors Mark offers sporting clays, pistol and rifle ranges and a private stream for fly fishing. They have their own kennel of high-quality dogs and regularly run field trials and host championships.

The grounds were neatly groomed and plenty of cover was available for the birds. The course was set for one hour, with fields and island shaped groups of trees and finishing out in a huge bottom field bordered on one side by woods, a stream and a small marsh. A contingency was put in for faster paced braces that crossed a tram road and continued up a hill ending just prior to the starting line.

The drawing was held at the secretary’s home on May 16 with  24 hopefuls drawn and braced. Seventeen pointers and seven setters were transcribed and put into the judges' and reporters’ books ready to have their performances become documented a few days later.

Pennsylvania Amateur Club Secretary and Stake Manager Eric Munden and his wife Krysta put together the Championship from just thinking about the hosting stage to getting the pretrial details nailed down. They set the venue, picked up the birds, arranged the help, cooked, and served the food, making sure all the while that everyone was comfortable and satisfied. In advance, they are to be commended for the wonderful job and for taking on the amount of work required to accomplish the tasks in great manner. With Krysta’s help, Eric openly admits that the progression of activities pretrial and during were well organized and more efficiently accomplished.

Dave and Mark Hughes were on hand for the full running, driving dog wagons and providing other equipment necessary to run the trial. A special thank you to them from the Amateur Club for their previous and ongoing support.

Bird planting duties were fulfilled by Justin Mason who gave full attention to his stayed rounds. Justin was highly complimented for his attention by all who attended.

The trial was sponsored by the Amateur Field Trial Clubs of America but could not have been run without the continued support of Nestle Purina, Garmin, and Lion Country Supply. A great thank you to Greg Blair of Purina, Brandon Brinkman of Garmin, and Steven Stiner of Lion Country Supply. Steven and his wife Andrea were on hand Saturday walking numerous braces.

Judges for the Championship were Chris Rider of Smithville, Pa., and Lee Long of Berkey, Ohio. Both Lee and Chris have judged more championships and trials than one can count. Their knowledge of classy and talented bird dogs goes well beyond reproach. They are top notch sportsman, and the Pennsylvania Amateur Club was elated to have them in the judicial saddle.


The champion, Double Duece Zeke, white and liver male handled by Doug McMillen of Dubois, Pa., was looked at in the eighth brace on day No. 2 with bracemate I’ll Be Back (Mickey) with handler Norm Meeder. The following is an account of the running.

The morning temperature was 64°, and breakaway time was 7:35 a.m. It was the first brace of the morning and both dogs were wide awake and ready to roll at the starting line.

Both were off to a good start, Mickey a fancy and easy moving setter male taking the left and Zeke, a well put together, fancy, and animated pointer male taking the right. Zeke stuck at 7 first with a stop on the deep right with Mickey coming in to back. All in order, Zeke pointed birds at 9 and then again at 11 with Mickey backing once more. At 14 Zeke pointed at dead snag on right then needing to relocate and moved on after flushing attempt.

Meanwhile, Mickey went out on far-right edge and at 15 stopped abruptly at a large hedge with Zeke coming in to back. Norm flushing in difficult cover found no one was home after a relocation, and Mickey was released once more. Zeke took advantage of the stop and moved on during Mickey’s relocation and jumped out to the front left. The two were separated at 21 when Zeke pointed on far left after a big swing, he stood successfully, with Doug flushing and putting bird to flight and firing over an eager recipient. Zeke went on to put on a bird-finding exhibition, applying himself perfectly, taking in the country, and impressing the judges. Mickey went on to point three more birds and finished the hour just short of the last downhill slope.

Zeke finished his hour at the end of the course with plenty of gas left in the tank. This championship win was the third of his career, having won the Mid-Atlantic Championship this spring and the Grand National Grouse Championship last fall.

Runner-up Backcountry Bruiser, a strong, fancy, well-built pointer male with handler Chris Catanzarite of Scenery Hill, Pa., ran in the fourth brace with bracemate Islander (Jesse), a far forward running, classy multiple champion setter male handled by Pedja Kazic.

They broke away in the heat of the day at 1:05 p.m., the temperature 80° with no clouds in the sky and a beating sun.

Both dogs were neck and neck at the breakaway with Bruiser going left and Islander going right. Islander was the first to make contact at 7 as Chris Catanzarite continued looking deep for the big running pointer. All in order for Islander, Pete Kazic flushed, fired and moved on while Chris called point for Bruiser at 12, Islander coming in to nicely back. Bruiser pointed at 16 then made a better contact at 18 just before the pass after relocating to seal the deal. Islander found his own bird at 16 in the same general area as the pass and all was in order. Islander went on to point more birds in the hour, poised as good as he always does on point and handling the heat as a ten-year-old, looking like a much younger dog.

The temperature moved up to 83° halfway through the hour and this is when Bruiser shone. He powered his way through the sweltering heat making contact at 29. Bruiser continued to point birds and applied well and when the last point was called, he was far forward. He was found standing at 69 minutes, Chris flushed and fired for his charge and the hour was over. Bruiser had finished the hour strong. This runner up championship win was his eight placement this season on one-hour courses. Most notably was Bruiser's Region 2 horseback win, pointing three different game birds and running with a field of 37 other contenders. He currently holds four championships and three runners-up.

Closest to the winners was Wildland Warrior (Lola), a classy, nice moving pointer female, by Erin's War Creek ex Sumac's Coventry with Eric Munden. They were braced with Doodle Ridge Fern, a fancy and well-mannered setter handled by Dr. Bruce Mueller in the third brace of day one.

The brace was off at 10:46 a.m. Lola took the first big cast. Fern found paydirt at 7 and 19, backing graciously at 24 and 35. Lola came to a screeching halt at 18 in the big field on the right. All was in order. She was on her way again, running big and looking good. She found gold at 24 at top of field in aspen island before going down to the big valley. She stood tall and composed, handling the quarry successfully and at 35 in the big valley field right edge, stood a woodcock on swamp edge. With plenty to spare she went on across the tramroad and finished the hour well.


At 8:26 a.m. the first day was officially started when Backcountry Girlfriend, a forward running fancy pointer female with Chris Catanzarite, and Faith's Maximum Justice a well put together pointer male with Ken Delong broke away. Girl went right to work and started the day at 6 with a find, and Justice did the very same thing at 6 on the other side of the field. Faith pointed at 11 with Girl coming in for a nice back and then relocating. It was Girl’s turn to show her moxie, so at 27 with another at 32 she pointed, both were handled well she easily finishing the hour strong. Faith had pointed one more at 34 with a relocation and then finishing her bid well.

True Choice and well known and successful Glassilaun War Paint with Jamie Nee squared off at the starting line and threw dust when they broke away at 9:35. Choice hit paydirt at 20, high and tight with a good ground race, running in the 68-degree weather. War Paint punched hard, tagging a quail at 10, having been scouted deep left by Pedja Kazic. Everything in order, moved on going deep to the left at 20 on top of big hill, both had ended the bid at 46.

Brace No. 3 was described in "Closest to the Winner."

Brace No. 4 had the runner-up.

In barce No. 5, Lasombra (Trico), a handsome, pointer male and no stranger to the winners' circle with Carlos Escalante and Outlaw Romano, strapping, fancy and ready to run pointer male with Jim Crook.  At 2:30 p.m., the temperature struck 81° without a cloud in the sky, both dogs broke away. They traded punches, covered, and hunted the huge field with ease. Romano broke off and found his pot of gold at 14 handling the single perfectly. Trico continued the course handling and covering the country like he owned it. He ran big when necessary and close where necessary. The heat, rising scent and humidity minimized his chances. He hunted down and through the big bottom and hit the swamp edge going deep. Meanwhile, Romano had struck successfully again at 22 in big field at left, then called it a day. Trico ran big until the end, where he got caught up on the other side of swamp.

Backcountry Missy, a classy pointer female with Chris Catanzarite and Dust Devil Maisie, a fancy moving pointer female with Greg Fried were up next. Maisie broke away with Missy, Missy going high and deep to the left with a long cast and Maisie going down the right-hand side. Maisie came to a halt at 8 on right field edge at crest of hill. Everything in order, she was turned loose to find another at 15. Once more turned out, she ran deep and forward. Both were up at 20.

A long day came to an end the seventh brace was let out at 4:22 p.m. Outlaw Rum Twist, fast and forward pointer male with Jim Crook and Caliber Peak Storm Warning (Syren), a classy and fancy female pointer handled by Sarah Gomes started across the breakaway field, both taking the deep edges. Syren the more forward, slid into home plate first, she tagged a bird at 9, and after handling the quarry with perfect manners she was put forward. Twist continued and had its own issue at 14 causing an early end to the bid.  Syren continued with a good ground race, hunting, and covering the course with precision and biddable turns. Showing up in all the right places, she came though the cut and into bottom field with 22 minutes to spare. Working across the tram road and up the hill to the course, ending the bid with a good hour.

Second day's first brace was described in "Champion".

Brace No. 9:  Springflow's Backcountry P, a nicely put together pointer male with Chris Catanzarite, and Big Run Rebel, classy and fancy setter male with Andy Bogar were off at 8:50 a.m.  with Pete taking the first big cast. Both were big running, forward and easy on the eyes. Rebel struck at 7 and did his part well. He stopped again at 9 and 27, after short relocations and finding no one home swung for the front left to the center of the second field. The two dogs had split at 9, with Rebel finding birds and successfully handling them also at 20 and 30.  Pete had come to a knife fight with a gun and let go with both barrels, running a big race to the limit. Both had ended their bids by 38.

A Distant Spec, Mike Husenits’ ace in the hole, a fancy goes to work kind of girl with Eric Munden, and Wayward Flying Tomato (Cooper) with Doug McMillen hit the bricks at 9:42 and a warm temperature of 72°. Cooper went wide left, and Spec went down the alley, right and they met at 7 on the left with Cooper pointing and Spec backing. Off again, each found their own footing with Spec going on a mission. For a short while, they traded blows running the left edge and then splitting up. Cooper going on ahead, tagged a bird at 40 throwing a find into the mix with Spec backing nicely. Meanwhile Spec pointed at 11,17, 23, 24 and 42. Spec was putting on a public display in style and a seminar on how to run, find and handle birds. The big bottom field split the two again, Spec going one way and Cooper over to the swamp edge. They ended the hour well.

Brace No. 11: Caliber Peak Hundreth Meridian (Rye), hot off his recent U.S. Complete Invitational Championship win with Sarah Gomes, and Doodle Ridge Elroy (Roy), fast, fancy, and classy setter male with Bruce Mueller, met on the starting line and began their hour bid at 12:04 p.m. with a cloudless sky and the temperature at 79°. Both were off to the races at the breakaway punching hard and forward. With a nice first cast, Rye settled in to do what he came for. Roy had his tennis shoes on and was quick to take the leap and separate. At 14 Rye came to a halt and handler put the bird to flight. Rye stood tall at the shot and was moved on after all was in order. Rye decided to catch the competition and pounce forward, once more pointing at 21. Elroy’s handler Bruce Mueller stepped in and did double duty, firing for Rye when the bird was flushed. Sarah Gomes caught the front, watered her charge and with Rye moving on, he pointed just three minutes later. After a quick assessment and not liking the situation, Sarah pulled him off and started him forward again. Elroy had his tennis shoes on this day and ran to the limits and pointed at edge of middle field in a necked down slot before the last hill. Rye also running hard, missed Roy standing in the slot and ended Rye’s bid at 37. Everything in order, Roy was moved on after the shot and tagged another of the quarry at 41. Going on down through the big valley, still running and taking in the country, Roy finished the hour well.

Double Deuce Sage with Doug McMillen and Sumac's Sashay (Sas) with Eric Munden squared off at 1:16 p.m. to start the twelfth and final brace. With the temperature at 81° and a good following for the gallery, they broke away, Sas going far right and Sage right. Sas struck hard first with a halt at 5. After swinging from the front right to the center of the second field, Sage went with another plan, finding her own at 6. Both handlers each put bird to flight, and it was off to the races once more. Sage went to work and pointed her second find at 10. Sas in due time went forward and pointed at 13 in the switchgrass and then another at 15 at the first slot, where Sage came in to back. Sage not to be outdone, worked to find another quail at 19 and Sas came in to back. Sas ended her bid at 22 when a bird was seen lifting in her immediate vicinity. Sage went on, tagging finds at 36 and 38. At 40 she eased into the aspen island and pointed once more for a final find. She then went down into the big valley with 19 minutes to spare, running the bottom and across the tram road to finish.

With the trial now in the books, the announcements included all of the thanks necessary for a great trial, a thank you to the judges, Chris Rider and Lee Long, Purina, Garmin and Lion Country. Krysta Munden for all the great food, Mark and Dave Hughes for their support and work, and to all the entrants that traveled from near and far to make the trial so successful.

When the formalities were completed, the winners were announced, Champion Double Deuce Zeke and Runner-up Champion Backcountry Bruiser.

Ginter, Pa., May 22 — One Course

Judges: Lee Long and Chris Rider


CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] — 17 Pointers and 7 Setters

Winner—DOUBLE DEUCE ZEKE, 1673940, pointer male, by Double Deuce Peter—Funseeker’s Holiday. Douglas E. McMillen, Jr., owner and handler.

Runner-Up—BACKCOUNTRY BRUISER, 1672645, pointer male, by Erin’s War Creek—Backcountry Tornado. Chris Catanzarite, owner and handler.


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