American Field

Field Trial Report

Wisconsin Cover Dog Championship

Pondersosa Mac and Rebellious Fearless Fred Claim Honors
By Brent Sittlow | Oct 07, 2020
Championship Winners. From left: Bert Benshoof, judge.  Scott Chaffee with Ponderosa Mac.  Steve Snyder.  Mike Luebke with Rebellious Fearless Fred.  Ben Mergens, judge.

Augusta, Wis. — The first weekend in October has traditionally marked the running of the Wisconsin Cover Dog Championship in the Eau Claire County Forest near Augusta, Wis.

This trial has always boasted a great mixed entry of professionally handled dogs and amateurs from the Midwest and beyond, This year was no exception.  We were happy to have professional handers Scott and Tammy Chaffee from Michigan and Tom Waite from Wisconsin.  The large amateur contingent consisted of John McKellop of Pennsylvania, Ken Moss of Michigan; Mike Luebke, Sig Degitz, Roger King, Neil Boos, Tim Kaufman, Bill Frahm of Wisconsin; Gary Vitali from Kentucky, and Ed Graddy, Jeff Forsberg, Bert Benshoof from Minnesota

The Chippewa Valley Grouse Dog Club of Wisconsin is light on membership, but very heavy on its dedication to providing a wild bird trial for pointing dog handlers and enthusiasts.  Considerable effort is needed to prepare for a wild bird championship.

First priority of the summer is to prune and cut six or seven courses that go about twenty (20) miles through swamps, thickets, forests, and hills.  This work is not glorious, but is very important to provide a quality and equal venue for participants.

Those who put their summer weekends aside, to sweat and swat bugs and prune trails were Mike Luebke, Tim Callahan, Rod Lein, Tom Goltz, Denny Bauman, Roger King.

A special addition to the courses this year was a newly constructed footbridge over a water feature, on Stokely Diablo Jake Course, that runs through the King property.  The "new" Wilson Park course had to be cut in, and the old Highline course was rerouted, to make even more work for ourselves.  But so, it goes, with wild bird field trials.  Courses are constantly under construction as habitat comes and goes over time.

Then, as October approaches, the pregame show is necessary to take entries, conduct the drawing, organize the lunch lineup, keep tabs on course and road conditions, etc.  Brent Sittlow, Rod Lein, and Roger King assisted with these necessities.

When game day rolls around, volunteers are needed to fill the role of marshalling, vehicle moves, etc.  All of the field trial entrants were quick to respond to keep the proceedings on schedule throughout the day.  Extra thanks to Brent Sittlow, Tim and Debbie Callahan, Mike Luebke, Tom Goltz, Denny Bauman, Roger King, and all the participants for orchestrating the Truck Move “dance-a-thons” that can really grind field trials to a halt, if the music stops.

Additional support of this Championship was provided by Purina in the form of sponsorship and dog food.  The CVGDA and the entire cover dog circuit are fortunate to have Purina out front and supporting our sport with quality food and financial support.  It would be very difficult to find a better product and better company reps to deal with than Purina.  Thank you Dean Reinke for all your past support of the field trial circuit.  We are now in great hands moving forward with Greg Blair, who was on hand for much of the trial this year.  Thank you!

It was a pleasure to have Ben Mergens and Bert Benshoof to look over this Championship, and judge the performances.  Ben is recently retired from a large construction contractor firm.  He has been running dogs and judging cover dog trials for many years.  Ben’s happy-go-lucky and common-sense attitude are perfect attributes for judging these events.  We were also blessed to have his lovely daughter, Megan, accompany us for the first day.  She recently finished college, and is now working in marketing for a large firm.

Bert Benshoof is a longtime field trailer who resides in Minnesota.  Bert has judged at almost every venue you can think of, but particularly loves grouse trialing.  Bert is known for his positive attitude, durability, and helping demeanor.  He is a true asset to the field trial sport.


The 2020 Wisconsin Cover Dog Champion was Ponderosa Mac (Chaffee).  P-Mac is no stranger to the winners' circle.  He captured this very Championship back in 2018 with five grouse finds during his hour.  He’s won from east to west and is a very consistent performer.

P-Mac ran on the Wilson Park Course on the last day.  One stellar grouse find at 20 minutes would all that he needed in 2020.  His diligent searching ground race separated himself from the rest of the contenders.

It was pleasure to have his owner, Steve Snyder of Ellendale, Minn., on hand for the brace.  Another championship title in the vault for Mr. Snyder and P-Mac.

Runner-up was Rebellious Fearless Fred, setter male owned and handled. by Mike Luebke of Reeseville, Wis.  Although a relatively young dog (just four years of age in March), Fearless Fred has already done some damage around the Cover Dog Circuit, with previous wins in Wisconsin and Michigan.

On this day, he was drawn for the rerouted Highline Course.  A couple of solid woodcock finds in his ledger, along with a great race, secured the placement.  One of the finds was particularly noteworthy, when his bracemate couldn’t help itself from flushing the bird in front of a solid Fred.

A noteworthy dog that was just a bit shy on the ground race, was Rib River Tough Enough (King).  "Tuffy" tallied multiple finds on the “H” course.  His manners were perfection through the flush and shots, even though the report from his handler’s cape buffalo blank gun leveled a square acre.  When the smoke cleared, Tuffy was the only one standing.  Nice work.

Augusta, Wis., September 29

Judges: Robert Benshoof and Ben Mergans


8 Pointers, 22 Setters, 1 Brittany and 1 Irish Setter

Winner—PONDEROSA MAC, 1645586, setter male, by Jetwood—Cooper Mountain Pepsi. Steve Snyder, owner; Scott Chaffee, handler.

Runner-Up—REBELLIOUS FEARLESS FRED, 1667542, setter male, by Keystone’s Red Recession—Ti’s Setter Rosie. Mike Luebke, owner and handler.


Fifteen dogs were drawn for the Derby, but circumstances led to three scratches.

Multiple course heats led to many wild bird opportunities, and fine derby performances. Leading the crop was Woods R Callining Saddie (Frahm) which had two nice woodcock finds, and a solidly directed race on the east “H” course.

Moss Meadow Magic (Moss) was credited with a grouse find, and stop to flush on a grouse near time on the west “H” course.  Partridge Creek Sadie (Chaffee) tore up the west Diablo Jake course, with a sizzling forward ground race that showed the judges her true potential as a field trial shooting dog.

Judges: Brett Edstrom and Brent Sittlow

OPEN DERBY — 1 Pointer, 13 Setters and 1 Irish Setter

1st—WOODS R CALLING SADDIE, 1686894, setter female, by Pine Straw Smudge—Breakaway Sugar. William Frahm, owner and handler.

2d—MOSS MEADOW MAGIC, 1685325, setter male, by Ponderosa Mac—Moss Meadow Kate. Ken Moss, owner and handler.

3d—PARTRIDGE CREEK SADIE 1688755, setter female, by Ponderosa Mac—Moss Meadow Kate. Harry Slater, owner; Tammy Chaffee, handler.

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