American Field

Bob’s Elhew Holly Wins 2017 Renewal; Phillips Half Moon is Runner-Up

U. S. Complete National Amateur Invitational Championship

By Margaret C. Drew | Jan 09, 2018
U. S. Complete National Amateur Invitational Championship Winners. Front (l-r): Bobby Phillips with Bob’s Elhew Holly and Matt Phillips with Phillips Half Moon. Standing: Judges Sam Giddens and Eric Russell.

Scotland County, N. C. — Bob’s Elhew Holly demonstrated the U. S. Complete standard for a high quality walking shooting dog to perfection.

At the annual summer meeting of the U. S. Complete Shooting Dog Association the North Carolina Pointing Dog Association ventured a bid to host the U. S. Complete Amateur Invitational in December, 2017.

The event has been hosted at South Hill, Va., by Virginia groups from the Mid-Atlantic Region for several years. It would be nice to have this championship rotate on a 2-5 year schedule which would include different regions. People attending this year were from the Mid- Atlantic, the Northeast and the Southeast Regions.

In 2005, Dr. Aubrey Morgan presented the U. S. Complete with a rotating champion’s trophy, which included two mounted quail on a base with name plates for each winner. The original winner was Pinekone Spade, with Ashby Morgan of Hudgins, Va. Thank you to last year’s winner Hard Tellin with Dave O’Brien for participating this year and returning the trophy.

The Championship is supported by Purina, which provided hats for all participants, as well as 37.5 pounds of Purina Pro Plan Sport for all participants and the judges. The winner received a certificate for an additional twelve bags delivered to his home, and the runner-up eight bags.

Secretary Mike Spotts provided some additional coupons from Purina as a thank you to those who assisted with the trial.

Garmin also provided a Garmin 550 for the winner. The Drews had arranged for a donation from Aberdeen Feed Supply of four-foot double nylon fluorescent leads for each hander and judge, with an attached brass tag denoting the 2017 championship.

Calvin Curnette of Drowning Creek Gun Dogs provided printed judging books which he has available for clubs to purchase for their trials. They are pocket size, waterproof and will not tear.

Judging this renewal were Sammy Giddens of Faison, N. C., and professional dog trainer Eric Russell of Piney Woods Kennels, Cameron, N. C. These two gentlemen gave everyone their undivided attention, as well as help where needed. Needless to say their decisions were well received.

Although the U. S. Complete national secretary worked from the accumulated points from the 2016-2017 season to invite the twelve entries, as well as laying out the finalized ad, chairpersons of this Championship were Earl and Margaret Drew. As the by-laws require, a third person, Ted Riley, was also a chairperson; however, he was limited in his help as he was making a good recovery from surgery.

Everyone agreed the ad looked good and should be followed in the future.

Secretary Mike Spotts also conducted the drawing and made all arrangements for Purina and Garmin donations. Thanks to Purina for paying for this ad.

The Drews were assisted by several folks in conducting the trial. Rich Warters planted birds all day, assisted by John Adsit for the early morning 50-bird release from an ATV. Rich handled the rest of the hourly releases.

John Adsit drove the tractor provided by the Drews, which pulled the people wagon with seats belonging to Ted Riley of Quail Hollow Kennels. Jimmy Campbell also drove the wagon a few braces.

Ted Riley drove to Williamson Game Farm in Robbins to pick up quail each day. The birds received many compliments for their plump bodies and the fact that they flew very well.

Gretchen Adsit assisted Margaret in serving lunch and clean up. The canopy over the table came in handy on day No. 1 to block the sun and on day No. 2 to keep the mist off the coffee pot and prizes.

The drawing was held at the Drews’ home, as was the Friday night dinner. Verlene Stephenson and Matt Phillips assisted in getting the evening appetizers set out. The evening meal was shepherd’s pie and cherry dump cake. No one went away hungry!

It was with great disappointment that three eligible dogs that had paid their forfeits had to withdraw. Bob’s Elhew Julie, pointer female owned by Bobby Phillips, and I’m Earl, pointer male owned by Earl and Margaret Drew, both injured their ACLs and were unable to run. Ashby Morgan’s setter female Pinekone Splash was withdrawn as Ashby had recent back surgery and was unable to make the trip. Hopefully his recovery is progressing well and we will see him next year.

The Winners

Bob’s Elhew Holly, owned and handled by Bobby Phillips of Jonesboro, Tenn., put a check in every box for a high quality shooting dog. She handled with ease as she reached outward in a forward swinging motion on both days. She has eye appeal on the ground as well as on point. On her find at 38 on day No. 2 the birds lifted as handler approached. Holly remained statuesque until handler fired and finally came to her side and reached down with a stroke of approval.

The judges noted that the find of the stake was Holly’s find at 18 on day No. 1, although I thought her covey find at 26 was pretty special, as were her find and relocation in the thick waist-high grass at 57 on day No. 1.

On day No. 1 she ran in the heat of the day, scoring six finds and two backs.

On the second day she ran as a bye, still pounding the ground as we watched her glide across the ridge and through the woods. Every time a scout was sent she had point called or she was spotted standing to the front. Many of her finds well distanced from the walking area.

At 54 we crossed the sand road and walked into the remaining North Carolina State Cure Land where Bob whistled Holly on. She made her way to the far lower end of a long densely grown field. At 57 scout and judges called point for Holly just off the edge of the lower field in some promising looking grass; despite a lengthy search and an active relocation attempt no birds were flown and time had elapsed.

Holly and Bob have also accumulated a runner-up in the AFTCA National Amateur Woodcock Championship and a runner-up in the USCSDA National Open Championship.

Runner-up laurels went to Phillips Half Moon, setter female owned and handled by Matt Phillips from New York but now living in Mebane, N. C. Half Moon is affectionately called Remi by Matt. She covered every inch of this territory with her stylish gait and consistent hunting pattern. She required little assistance from handler as she hunted nearly independently, except for waiting staunchly as Matt came to flush her birds.

On day No. 1 Half Moon ran just before lunch as the temperatures began to climb, although she showed little recognition of it. Remi had two backs in this first go-round, as well as finds at 10 and 13, 28 and 45. She had point called for a nice off-course find at 34. She stood obediently each time as handler flushed birds.

On day No. 2 Remi was drawn to run in brace No. 2 treating everyone once again to her stylish merry bounce forward through tall amber grasses and around the orange/red scrub oaks left from the burning the state conducts here every few years. She was found standing deep in the cover at 12 with positive posture. Scout called point at 19 where both dogs were found standing in a mowed pathway between very tall deep grasses. Remi was credited with a back this time. All in order for both dogs, despite a long wait for handlers to get to their dogs.

Remi had a find at 35 on the hillside, a slight mark of flight as birds thundered skyward. At 44 she stood off to the side, not as sure of herself as on her other stands. Matt took the unproductive and offered Remi some water before going on. She finished this second hour with a total of four finds, a back, an unproductive and a very commendable race.

[When presentations had been made Matt commented that this was the first championship he had ever won as a handler, although Remi has other runner-up placements in the Pennsylvania Open Grouse Championship with Mark Hughes and the Pennsylvania Amateur and Region 2 Amateur Walking Championships with Doug McMillen.]

The Running — Day No. One

The format called for six hour braces, three before lunch and three to finish the afternoon. At 6:15 p. m. there would be a draw for the second day, followed by dinner at 6:30. All evening events were hosted at the home of Earl and Margaret Drew just three miles away.

Islander, setter male with Pedrag Kazic, and Hard Tellin, pointer male with Dave O’Brien. Pedrag had driven all night from Greenlawn, N. Y., for the 8:00 a. m. breakaway. Dave traveled from Marlborough, Conn., earlier in the week. Islander had a find at 18, followed by three backs and an unproductive. His range today was moderate as he navigated the course. Hard Tellin set the standard for acceptable range, snappy style running in the woods and bird performance during the first 45 minutes, his last 15 a little shortened. At 8 he was found standing with all perfectly executed. Hard Tellin had a shared find at 18, then another immediate point at 21 as he was sent on. These were followed by finds at 23 and again on the lower side of the field at 32. He paced himself throughout the hour, showing just enough to have everyone watching closely. He pointed again at 38 and 44 and 50. His picturesque stand while awaiting flush at 50 was very attractive. He did have an unproductive at 56 after we crossed a state fire road and watched him and bracemate searching the adjacent hillside. Some eager barking heard from one of the two before both were standing. Hard Tellin took an unproductive and Islander a back. This is a dog you’d want to take hunting.

No. 2 had Hog Hill Katie, pointer female with Tim Cavanaugh of East Hampton, Conn., and Verlene Stephenson with her pointer female Shadow’s Carolina Molly. Verlene, the U. S. Complete Futurity secretary, had a shorter ride down from Seaboard, N. C. Katie ran a moderate race, a little inconsistent in range. She started the hour well with a nice find at 8 with her bracemate. As we made the first turn at 18 and headed toward the field, point was called for Katie by the wagon as she was sighted in the wooded area between the fire lane used by the wagon and the walking path through the woods. She had a long wait, although she was still there and looking good as handler finally made his way to her and flushed quail. All in order for this real “limb find.” She hunted forward, stopping for a find at 36 with a little activity at flush, followed by a snap into point at 46. She had an additional well handled point just before time expired. Molly was out of sight most of the hour, although Verlene waited for her retrieval device until after her 60 minutes were up. Molly was located standing back near the 20-minute area.

Elhew Moneymaker, pointer male owned by Greg Isenberg of Blountville, Tenn., was handled by Bobby Phillips as work interfered with Greg attending. Bracemate was Phillips Half Moon, with Matt Phillips and noted earlier. Moneymaker made his way around the course at a close range, although he did stop three times for quail to be flown. He was a little close to his game at 10 and 18, as well as a stop to flush at 37.

No. 4 followed group picture taking and lunch. Bob’s Elhew Holly, pointer female with Bobby Phillips, was paired with setter male Sterlingworth Jack, owned by Jim Millett of Dalton, Pa., and handled by Mike Spotts. Bob’s Elhew Holly was previously covered. Jack backed Holly at 7, and shortly after showed signs of overheating. Again at 17 he was called upon to back. He did so after circling Holly, for which he was picked up.

Miss Penn Star, setter female owned by George Najor of Southfield, Mich., Mike Spotts handling. Her original owner Donald Terrell was on the wagon to watch her performance. Bracemate was Irish setter male Brae Val Bearcat Laddie owned by Gregor McCluskey of Harwinton, Conn. Miss had a moderate race for 30 minutes, with good finds at 7 and 24. Showing some signs of overheating, she was picked up after crowding a covey at 30. Laddie stretched his legs, tolerated the heat, and scored three good looking and well handled finds during his erratic attack tour of the course. His handling was a little rough the first day, although remaining in consideration for day No. 2.

The last brace of the day: Earl Drew of Hoffman, N. C., with his pointer male Deacon Jones and Waybetter Butch, pointer male owned by Dave Park of Uniontown, Pa. The pair was forward, with Butch checking in first before moving on. After breakaway we first saw Deacon Jones at 9 when he was found standing in the woods off course, with Waybetter Butch standing in the roadway. Both handlers attempted to flush with no success. Drew decided to relocate and Park elected to take his dog on. Deacon Jones took a few steps forward and locked up a second time. Drew then saw birds running and was able to get them flown with all in order. The two hunted to the front, scouts sent when neither returned. At 13 Deacon Jones was found standing with all in order. However, at 21 as we entered the field, he was found standing to the left of the course with bracemate coming in to back. Deacon Jones became impatient waiting for handlers and when taking a few steps forward he put birds in the air then chased in puppy fashion. Butch had two nice limb finds and an unproductive during the remaining 40 minutes. His race had begun moderately, then required a little scouting as his race strengthened before the hour concluded. He had made a good impression toward a second day.

Second Day

At the drawing Friday evening the judges made the decision that three dogs with improper birds manners the first day would not be called back. Only four full braces and a bye dog would run on Saturday.

The first brace the second day were Brae Val Bearcat Laddie and Elhew Moneymaker. Breakaway was at 8:00 a. m., although temperatures this second day were about 20 degrees lower than the preceding day. Laddie was wide and not seen for a long time. Moneymaker crossed methodically in front. At 18 minutes the course cuts through the woods and heads into a field (military training drop zone) before a casual walk down the hillside where we once again enter a spacious piney wood area. (Reporter’s side note: Surprise! This just so happened to be one of their three-day military training times and our state wildlife permit does not override their use of this land. They were, however, considerate of the area we were using and went their own way. They even alerted us to some proposed loud firings to take place about 1:30 on Saturday. Guess what, we decided to continue on with our braces and take lunch after we had finished.]

Both dogs were hunting the 18-minute area excitedly, Laddie casting over the hill and toward the wagon road, while Moneymaker had a stop to flush. Laddie took his cue from handler and moved forward into the field and over the hill toward the center of the course. Moneymaker was finally encouraged to move forward by casting into the field on the lower side to join his handler as well. By 28 the pair had put birds in the air and continued on with them before we could reach the wooded canopy area of great hunting and many birds.

Waybetter Butch and Phillips Half Moon had both given the judges something to think about the day before and both were determined to repeat and improve their performances. Although having run in the last brace the day before, Butch was eagerly away and continued with an independent hunting race for his full hour. He was often out of pocket for long periods of time, catching his handler from behind a couple of times. He had one unproductive at 57. Although not working in sync with handler today, he did show good carriage on the ground. He also had well indicated and equally well handled bird contacts at 28 and 39. His full hour was wide. Half Moon was covered with the winners.

Shadow’s Carolina Molly and Hard Tellin. Molly made an attempt to hunt with her handler today. At 12 she had a find and continued forward with handler until 32 when handler O’Brien asked for his retrieval device as Hard Tellin had not been seen since early on. Judges advised Verlene that after Molly’s long absence on day No. 1 she could not win so she as well was picked up via her retrieval device.

Hog Hill Katie slightly marked her first find, although scoring a second find at 21. While stretching out along the upper left edge of the woodsline, a judge noticed that Katie had birds in the air in front of her and had not stopped. She was picked up. Islander had stopped at 23, although handler took him on as birds had been seen lifting there minutes before. At 26 an appropriate find with good manners was recorded. At 29 he stopped in the woods, although despite a long search no birds were flown and dog lost some intensity. Following a relocation attempt handler spoke with judges and elected to put Islander on a leash and hop on the dog wagon for a ride back.

Bobby Phillips ran his Bob’s Elhew Holly in the final brace as a bye. She was covered with the winners.

Scotland County, N. C., December 1 — One Course

Judges: Sammy Giddens and Eric Russell


4 Setters and 1 Irish Setter

Winner—BOB’S ELHEW HOLLY, 1653300, pointer female, by Elhew Moneymaker—Bob’s Miller Daisy. Bobby Phillips, owner and handler.

Runner-Up—PHILLIPS HALF MOON, 1648257, setter female, by Long Gone Boston—Grouse Ridge Comet. Matthew Phillips, owner and handler.

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