American Field

Amateur Invitational Championship

U. S. Complete Shooting Dog Association

Backcountry Bruiser Wins Title; Hog Hill Katie is Runner-Up
By Michael Spotts | Nov 14, 2020
Championship Winners. (L-R): Bill Bonnetti, Cory Roy (judge); Chris Catanzarite with Backcountry Bruiser, Tim Cavanaugh with Hog Hill Katie, and Rich Giuliano (judge).

East Windsor, Conn. — The U. S. Complete Shooting Dog Association held its Amateur Invitational Championship at the well-known Flaherty Field Trial Area in East Windsor, Conn. This was the second consecutive year we have hosted the event there.

The Flaherty Field Trial Area is a beautiful tract of over 500 acres consisting of grasslands, fields and forest located almost equi-distant from Springfield (north) and Hartford (south), Conn.

The property is intensively managed to provide quality conditions for field trialing, dog training, and other compatible recreational activities such as hunting, bird watching, hiking and cross-country skiing. The area is closed to hunting and other activities on days that field trials are scheduled.

The State of Connecticut and the Flaherty Field Trial Association had rigorous protocols in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All attendees and participants adhered to these guidelines without issue.

Purina continues to be the main sponsor of this event and the entire U.S. Complete.  Representative Greg Blair graciously donated bags of Purina dog food product for each handler along with Pro Plan to the champion and runner-up. Without their support we could not run the event.

We were also fortunate to have Garmin donate training collars for the winners. Like Purina, Garmin has been a steady source of sponsorship to our organization over the years.

Bill Bonnetti and Jayne Fogarty were again the folks who put in all of the work to make this event. Even with the pandemic and all of the additional work involved, they made it seem easy. Thanks to both of them for hosting and ensuring this event ran with prestige!

Judges for the Championship were Rich Giuliano of Rhode Island and Cory Roy of Connecticut. Rich has been a stalwart of the New England Field trial scene for a long time. He’s enjoyed top level success as a breeder and handler and is a sought after judge. Cory competes in AKC events, is very active in the Flaherty FTA, and has judged many championship events throughout the country. Despite terrible weather, they were attentive, positive, and a joy to run under.

The Championship employs a traditional invitational format. The twelve dogs who were the top point producers in amateur shooting dog stakes, including amateur championships, from the previous field trial season are invited to compete. Additionally the defending National Amateur Champion and Amateur Invitational Champion are automatically invited.

The twelve dogs compete for one-hour on two consecutive days. Dogs are drawn with a different bracemate and a different time of day on the second day. Generally a different course is used on the second day, which was the case in this event.

Those accepting invitations to participate were:

Springflow’s Backcountry P, pointer male, owned by Rick Beinhauer and Chris Catanzarite; handled by Chris Catanzarite.

Kissamee Grousewoods Tea, pointer female, owned and handled by Peter LaBella.

Cal Peak Hundredth Meridian, pointer male, owned and handled by Sarah Gomes.

Little Miss Bella, pointer female, owned and handled by Tim Cavanaugh.

Backcountry Bruiser, pointer male, owned and handled by Chris Catanzarite.

Grouse Ridge Gambler, setter male, owned and handled by Mike Spotts.

Wildland Warrior, pointer female, owned and handled by Eric Munden.

Hog Hill Katie, pointer female, owned and handled by Tim Cavanaugh.

Jerry On Fire, pointer male, owned by Nick Puhak and handled by Dean Avillion.

Double Deuce Zeke, pointer male, owned and handled by Doug McMillen.

Maximum Resistance, setter male, owned and handled by Matt Phillips.

Double Deuce Megan, setter female, owned and handled by Doug McMillen.

The weather for the first day could not have been worse! A heavy rain quickly changed to wind-blown snow. Within a few hours there were several inches of snow on the ground which continued all day. These wet conditions made detailed reporting impossible. Despite the terrible conditions, several dogs rendered good performances and were in contention for the second day.

Day two arrived with much improved  conditions. The sun was out, the wind was calm and two dogs stood above the rest to claim the championship placements.


Backcountry Bruiser, a strongly built six-year-old white and orange pointer male, was the clear winner of the trial. Bruiser was handled by his owner Chris Catanzarite of Scenery Hill, Pa.

Bruiser is a multiple champion, both in walking and horseback shooting dog stakes, and it is easy to see why. On the second day of this event he showed strength and speed over the ground all the while hunting for his handler. He had seven well-spaced and picture-perfect finds throughout his hour; one on a woodcock. He points birds with a high head and exciting positivity. He ran the country and when he was scouted was always on birds and in the right spot. It was a memorable performance.

Runner-up was Hog Hill Katie, eight-year-old white and black pointer female handled by her owner Tim Cavanaugh of East Hampton, Conn. Katie is a veteran performer and used her experience on these grounds to navigate the tough conditions.  Katie went hunting in all the right spots and produced several finds on both days. Her ground pattern was consistent and busy. She handled kindly and ran to the front.

The judges recognized three other dogs as having strong overall performances and closest to the winners. In no particular order they were: Little Miss Bella (Cavanaugh), Double Deuce Zeke (McMillen), and Cal Peak Hundredth Meridian (Gomes).

East Windsor, Conn., October 30

Judges: Richard Giuliano and Cory Roy


[One-Hour Heats on Two Consecutive Days] — 9 Pointers and 3 Setters

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

Runner-Up—HOG HILL KATIE, 1649339, pointer female, by Southbound Strech—Indian Creek Sugar. Tim Cavanaugh, owner and handler.


Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.