American Field

Tian Elhew Verbena Named Winner; Northwoods Charles is Runner-Up

Western Open Shooting Dog Championship

By Jared Tappero | Jun 04, 2019
The Winners. From left: Brad LaVerne, Jr., Tim Schillereff, Larry Smith, judge; Angela Schillereff  with Tian Elhew Verbena, Talmage Smedley, judge; Jim Ledington, Bridget Ledington with Northwoods Charles, Ed Mayhew, Rich Heaton and Kim Sampson.

Reno, Nev. — The Western Open Shooting Dog Championship was held again this year at the BLM field trial grounds near Red Rock, Reno, Nev.

The stake was drawn in conjunction with the Pacific Coast Derby Championship, Western All-Age Championship, and the AFTCA National Amateur Chukar Championship the evening of Friday, April 12, at the Bonanza Casino  in Reno. The Bay Area Bird Dog Club and AFTCA co-hosted the drawing, providing appetizers and a no-host bar for all who attended.

This Purina Top Shooting Dog, Amateur Invitational, and Handler of the Year Points stake drew 23 entrants — 15 of which were pointers, and 8 were setters.

Field trialers attended from throughout the West, representing Nevada, Idaho, Utah, California, Oregon, and Washington, helping make this a very successful event.

Dogs were on the line to begin the Shooting Dog Championship at the conclusion of the Pacific Coast Derby Championship, Tuesday morning, April 16. The stake concluded Thursday morning, April 18, after two full days of running.


Named champion was Tian Elhew Verbena, six-year-old white, black and  ticked pointer bitch owned by Tim and Angela Schillereff of Portland, Ore., and handled by Tim. Verbena ran in the final (11th) brace of the stake. Wide a couple times initially, her race was then consistently forward and at range which filled the country appropriately, and with purpose.

Verbena had finds at 25 and 34 in the rocky area between the deep ravine and the second road crossing. Stylish on point with high head and tail, Verbena stood her birds solidly on both occasions for the flush and shot of the handler. She finished her hour in the basin above the spring going away at nice range.

Northwoods Charles, six-year-old tri-color setter dog owned and handled by William Owen of Santa Barbara, Cal., was named runner-up. Charles ran in the 6th brace; his race was big initially, then he settled into one which was more suited to the country and the standard.

At 12 Charles was found standing stylishly at the base of the Petersons, all in order at flush and shot. Charles then went on to have three more well-handled finds; at 25 near the big rock pile, at 30 just through the gate, and at 35 in the rocks. He finished his hour to the front in the basin just past the juniper patch.

From the reporter’s perspective, separation of the two dogs came down to overall consistency in race and application on the ground.

And Others

In the first brace, Painted Molly (Bridget Ledington) and Gotta Little Project (Todd Schaaf) were found standing with an apparent divided find at the top of the junipers at 14. The bird left early as riders approached and dogs remained standing, all in order at the shot. Molly’s race was big initially, then shorter as her hour concluded. Molly had well-handled finds at the big rock pile at 33, flox hill at 50, and at the base of the Petersons at 56. Project failed to back at 33 and was picked up.

Tucalota’s Rebel Buck (Ed Mayhew) was under a bird at 5 and picked up. Tekoa Desert Firewheel (J. Tappero) was scratched. Double M’s Deliverance (Schillereff) was brought up from the 12th brace bye position to fill Firewheel’s spot. Deliverance was fast to the front then gone; the retrieval unit was requested at 20.

Kelly’s I B Butler (Sean Kelly) had finds at 15 and 19, neither of which produced birds. Butler was picked up as a result. Tian Shosoting Star (T. Schillereff) was big at first, then shorter as her hour progressed. Star had finds at 17 in the lower rocks, at 25 high in the rocks, and at 50 along the Petersons.

Pine Straw Country Sunshine (Lori Steinshouer) had a nice forward race throughout her hour but finished birdless.  Baylee’s Go Girl (Twer) was seen the first five minutes of the brace, then was gone. The retrieval unit was requested at 25.

Kelly’s Uptown (L. Steinshouer) had a nice, consistent, forward race her entire hour. “Katie” had stylish and well-handled finds at 20 in the rocks, in the rocks across the road at 30, and at the base of the Petersons at 45. At 55, on the contour of the Petersons, Katie failed toremain standing after a stop to flush situation. Had she remained standing the outcome of the stake may have been different. Empire On Line (Marty Middleton) had a nice forward race, but finished her hour birdless.

Skydancer Gold Rush (Tom Griffin) started his hour well, but finished a bit short and wide. Rush had two well-handled finds during his hour; his first at the big rock pile at 25, and his second in the rocks at 35. Northwoods Charles (Owen) was covered earlier.

Electric Lady (Griffin) had a find at 15 in which a prolonged flushing attempt and relocation went unrewarded. At 27 above the tank Lady again pointed and all was in order at flush and shot. In the big basin at 50 Lady pointed a hawk kill and was picked up. Lone Tree Splish Splash (Owen) had a big and to the front race; maybe a little too big for the shooting dog standard. Quick and stylish on the ground, Splash had three well-handled finds; one in the rocks at 20, another at 25 near the gate, and her last at 55 at the base of the Petersons.

Touch’s California Dream (T. Griffin) was found standing with high style at 12 near flox hill, his point going unrewarded. At 25 along the edge of the plateau Dream was found pointing near a rock pile, all in order at flush and shot. His third find was at 58 in the upper draw near the brush pile. Janee’s Touch of Fire (Staley) had a nice race initially then shortened-up in the rocks and was picked up at 45, her race not pleasing her handler.

Painted Owyhee Sagebrush (Ledington) was wide at first then forward. At 45 on the plateau Sage had a well-handled open field find in the flat. She finished her hour at moderate range near the upper spring. Janee’s All  On The Line (J. Staley) was into the junipers initially after cast-off, then forward across Brittany road. “Riot” made some nice moves through the rocks and onto the plateau. At 35 she got under a bird and was picked up.

Picayune Utah Chief (Kim Sampson) had owner Mark Hogan and his son Curtis watching from the gallery. From cast-off Chief made a nice move along the lower contour of the Petersons hunting rocky objectives. At 12 near a big rock outcrop Chief was seen standing with high style. Relocating just prior to his handler’s arrival, Chief stood as a small covey of valley quail was flushed, all in order at shot. Just after release from his quail find, Chief again pointed at 16, this time at flush going with the birds, ending his race. Doubletree’s Katie (T. Schillereff) was picked up at 7 for getting under a bird.

Tian Elhew Verbena  was covered earlier.  Loki (Sheldon Twer) had a nice forward race at moderate range throughout his hour, but finished birdless.

Judges for the Championship were Talmage Smedley of Farr West, Utah, and Larry Smith of Pleasant Hill, Ia. Both are respected dog men who have successfully bred, trained, and campaigned bird dogs for a number of years.

Talmage is now training and handling successfully for the public  in the open all-age arena. Larry competes in both open and amateur stakes and has been successful in both venues with his Smith Farm (S F) dogs.

Liberated chukar were the fare in this stake; birds were released daily, every morning and during each brace, to help ensure there would be sufficient numbers for the canine competitors.

Bird numbers and scenting conditions were good, as there were a total of 28 finds in the 11 braces.

Weather during the stake was erratic initially, with snow and wind Tuesday morning, then more moderate weather Wednesday and Thursday; cool in the mornings and warm both afternoons.

Sponsors for the Western Championships again this year were Purina and SportDog. Purina supplied dog feed to both champion and runner-up, covered the ad in The American Field, and hosted the mid-week barbecue banquet.

The banquet, which was catered again this year by Andy’s Pit BBQ, included tri-tip beef, beans, salad, and sourdough rolls.

SportDog provided a 1825 training collar to the champion. Jim Morehouse, SportDog Senior Pro Staff, was again on hand for a couple days to provide support for both SportDog and Purina. Purina and SportDog provide high quality feed and training products for our handlers and canine competitors; we are fortunate to have them as sponsors for our events.

The Bay Area Bird Dog Club provided lunches, snacks, and refreshments daily for all participants and attendees.

The club would like to thank  and acknowledge those who helped tackle chores on the grounds during the stake.

Brad LaVerne, Jr. was back again this year as wrangler, dog truck driver, and go-to guy; his help was much appreciated. Many thanks again to all who travelled great distances to participate and provide sufficient numbers to put on a quality field trial.

We were fortunate to have such a great turnout.

Reno, Nev., April 16

Judges: Talmage Smedley and Larry Smith


15 Pointers and 8 Setters

Winner—TIAN ELHEW VERBENA, 1653426, pointer female, by Elhew G Force—Northwoods Vixen. Tim & Angela Schillereff, owners; Tim Schillereff, handler.

Runner-Up—NORTHWOODS CHARLES, 1652828, setter male, by Ridge Creek Cody—Northwoods Chardonnay. William Owen, owner and handler.

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