The Board of directors of the grand National Grouse Championship with saddened heart regretfully announce that, because of the uncertainty of where we will be with the status of the pandemic the 2021 Running of the Grand National Grouse and Woodcock Invitational Championship and the Grand National Grouse Puppy Classic will be cancelled and there will be no points awarded for the 2022 running during the spring 2021 trialing season. It is anticipated that the point tabulation will resume with the 2021 fall trialing season. That decision will be finalized at a special Meeting to be held in July. Please continue to monitor this web site for further information regarding this situation.
MEREDITH, MICH. — The Grand National Grouse Championship started on Tuesday, November 3, in a forest that has been the most prestigious of Michigan’s grouse woods venues for over 100 years. The field this year drew 66 dogs. Sixty-five started, 37 setters, 27 pointers and one German Shorthair.
Just prior to the opening day, we experienced an early blizzard that dumped 4+ inches of snow at the refuge and challenged the running of the previous Futurity to the end. With the woodcock vacated, this would be a challenge to all who participate. Who would have thought that we would start in snow and end up with 70+ degree November temperatures in our great state of “Pure Michigan”?
This is a Purina-sponsored event and we shout out a big THANK YOU for all that Purina does for this event and all events here in the Gladwin Field Trial Area. We also appreciate our other sponsors Garmin and Lion Country for their support as well.
Judges this year are gentlemen with reputations that precede them, both experienced at this game. Craig Merlington of Cedar Springs, Mich., and Chad Wheeler of Riner, Va., have been in this game for many years, both competing and judging in many venues in our cover dog arena. Thank you to these two for their close attention and valued judgment skills. It was a pleasure riding with them all week.
Our forever Stake Manager Bryan Wood was here to call the customary “dogs on the line,” promptly the opening morning.
2020 has been a challenge to all of us on many levels. With COVID affecting all states and state mandates challenging the clubs to abide by permit rules. Not everything has gone as expected this year, but we will survive this as we have done in the past. The GNG chose to forego the customary pre-trial dinner and awards ceremony for the safety of all involved. The survival of this game that we all have grown to love is most imperative and what we all work hard to protect.
I was last privileged to report this trial in 2014. Retiring and moving to Gladwin has been a bonus. Since then there have been many changes to our refuge. We have witnessed the drainage of Hoister Lake, the rehab of the drain and dam, and a year later the refill of that lake. We have seen the cutting of hundreds of acres of aspen and hardwoods, and the regrowth of many other cuts.
We thank the DNR biologist Bruce Barlow and his forestry crew for their careful attention to our woods and its rehabilitation. They have added many educational signs to help educate the public about the positive aspects of doing scheduled cuts to help further the habitat of grouse and woodcock on our refuge. Those signs also have educated others about field trials and what we do out here in these woods. This support will help with the survival of this refuge.
Double Deuce Zeke was named Grand National Champion.
The winner came in the afternoon on the second day in brace 13, on courses 9-10. Pointer male Double Deuce Zeke with handler Dave Hughes met Attitude’s True Grit, setter male with Robert Ecker. As the dogs began, True Grit chose to go to the left, down by the creek, while Zeke worked the cut on the right. Both dogs moved forward, Grit stopping in the pines at about 12. While searching for the dog, the bell started up, behind in the thick stuff. All moving forward to the half.
Grit’s bell lost again at the road but soon showed up as all moved onto course 10. Both dogs worked the hill and cut until both bells stopped at 44. Zeke was up to the left and Grit to the right. Grit was readily seen and after a flushing attempt, was moved on. On the left, Zeke was found buried in a blowdown, standing staunchly with a poker-straight tail. At 46 the shot rang and Zeke counting a grouse find, all in good order. Robert chose to leash Grit as Zeke went on to heart attack hill. As we stood at the bottom, Dave knew Zeke had gone to the right into the ravine. Zeke ran that ravine, turned and covered the ridge on top to meet Dave at the top of the hill, like clockwork. Zeke finished with no further birdwork.
Handler Dave Hughes (Hall of Fame member) earned his 14th Grand National win in 2020. A big applause for Dave for this accomplishment and many others that may never be duplicated in our lifetime. Dave’s dedication to this game and to the training of good dogs in the woods is an accomplishment that he and his family can always be proud of.
Zeke is owned by Douglas E. McMillen, Jr. of Dubois, Pa., who is an experienced member of this game. This was a very eventful week for the McMillens. The night they arrived, driving their truck with travel trailer in tow, they experienced the worst. Black ice and poor lighting conditions contributed to an accident that totaled both their truck and trailer. Luckily the only injury was to his wife Kristy, who suffered a broken wrist and unfortunately had to return home to seek her local medical team. We are pleased that the week turned positive, into a win for them both!
This white and liver pointer male is by Double Deuce Peter ex Funseeker’s Holiday and has some get-up-and-go that will undoubtedly be seen again. At four years of age this was Zeke’s first championship win, after a slew of placements both in the grouse woods and quail trials. He was recently invited to the U.S. Complete Amateur Invitational. We understand that each win drives Doug to shave his beard. We look forward to seeing the “shave” after this win.
Out of The Shadows was named runner-up champion, which came at the end of the third day in brace No. 21, also on courses 9-10.
Deciding Point, setter female with Dave Hughes, was braced with and Out of the Shadows (Bob Wheelock). The last brace of the day, these dogs hit the cover, both working the edges. Maddie was giving Bob a bit of concern as she was her usual energetic bunny and on the move. Point was not working Dave as hard. Course 9 was uneventful with Deciding Point a bit more noticeable than Maddie, as she was working the edges more. We crossed the road onto course 10. At 44 Bob went in to look for Maddie and found both dogs stopped with Deciding Point backing. Handlers went in and Bob flushed to no avail. Bob relocated and Dave brought Deciding Point out. After about a 40-yard relocation, Maddie stopped again. A grouse lifted in the scrub oak and Maddie carded the point, all in good order. Deciding Point continued to finish with no birdwork. Maddie finished well with the enthusiasm and energy that she started with.
Out of the Shadows (callname Maddie Mae) is a now a one-time champion and three time running-up, and was qualified for the 2017 Grand National Invitational and has many other placements to her credit.
Maddie is a petite white and orange setter female, probably 33 pounds soaking wet and just over eight years of age. She is great to watch on the ground with a fast and fancy run that most small dogs cannot accomplish.
By Nobody’s Shadow ex Ramblin’ Ruby Lou, Maddie is part of the family with owners Bob and Diane Wheelock of Thompsonville, Mich. She enjoys plenty of space to run with other members, Tugger, Mickey, Charlie and Birdie, on their spacious property. Bob handled Maddie this day, with the attentive eye of his scout Diane. I can say that I know I saw tears in Bob’s eyes at the announcement. Proud as all of us were, as well.
Congratulations to both winners, their handlers, owner and scouts. A job well done!
Opening day began with freezing temperatures. The snow we received at the refuge on Sunday had melted in some places and left 4+ inches in other shaded spots.
Brace 1, courses 1-2. Hifive’s Power Line (PM/Bruce Minard) and Grouse Hill Bullet Proof (SM/Marc Forman) began like clockwork with Stake Manager Bryan Wood singing “dog’s on the line” and appropriately starting at 8 a.m. Both dogs headed forward, both on their own agenda, Powerline working close at first and Proof heading for the fringes. Power Line handling a bit easier, Proof worked farther out, but showing when needed. Bruce leashed Power Line at 34 just before the end of course 1. Proof settled in to a better pattern after the half, working out front. Grouse tracks in the snow proved that the elusive grouse at the road crossing was still in the vicinity. Proof finished without birdwork. No birds were sighted in this brace.
Brace 2, courses 3-4. Bud of Piney Wood (PM/Robert Ecker) and Dun Roven’s Drifter (SM/Richard Hollister) lit toward the swamp at the beginning, working ahead and forward. Drifter stopped at 9 but moved on. Bud stopped at 19 on the right in the cedars. Judge and handler went in, with Drifter drawn into the mix. Rich was up front trying to get Drifter forward. As we listened, both dogs were working the cover when the judge said “There went the bird,”no dogs involved. At 32 Drifter stopped in the ravine at the road. After accessing the situation, Rich moved him on. Drifter scoured the area and headed through the tubes to join Bud to the front onto course 4. Woodcock having left the grounds, the dogs headed for the grouse cover. Drifter was working ahead and Bud separated and a bit back. Bud stopped to the right on the ridge at 47 as we edged across the new cut. After a relocation, Robert chose to leash Bud. Drifter finished with no bird-work. One wild flush noted at 22, no dog involvement.
Brace 3, courses 5-6. Hershner’s Thunderbolt Jet (SM/Tammy Chaffee) and Pistol Grip (SM/Mark Hughes) hit the cover with Jet’s bell lost at 4. Tammy sent her scout in just as Jet’s bell started up ahead. Jet worked at a distance with some nice casts the first half but settled in closer the second half. He stopped at 53 in likely cover, but was relocated to no avail, finishing without birdwork. Pistol began his brace working close, but stretching out in the second half reaching for the right cover. He too stopped in the last cut, was relocated, but had no luck. Pistol ended with no birdwork. We observed a lot of tracks in the snow and had four birds flush wild along the way.
Brace 4, courses 7-8. Leslie’s Jiggster (SM/Scott Forman) and Braggabull (PF/M. Hughes) hit the cover with intent, covering the area well. Both handling well, Braggabull stopped at 30, Jiggs coming in from the edges, and was whoa’d to a stop, backing Braggabull. Jiggs, being impatient, decided to move and was leashed. Braggabull was relocated but had no gain. At time, Braggabull was found standing. Finding a possum under his nose, his bid was over. A lone wild flush observed after time.
Brace 5 courses 9-10. Rebellious Fearless Fred (SM/Mike Luebke) and Thornapple Cody (SM/Minard) headed directly to the cut, moving with more enthusiasm than expected. Both dogs rolled through course 9, with Cody thought to be stopped at the crossover. When his bell started up, all moved across the road to course 10. The bells were similar and were causing some fits for everyone. Fred was up front and stopped at 58, carding a grouse find, but handling a bit rough for Mike. As they returned to the course, they walked up another grouse. Cody stopped at 54 and found no-one home on the relocation, ending his brace with no birdwork. Three other grouse flushed wild during the brace. One was after the main group had passed it.
Brace 6, courses 11-12. Phillips Moonlight Lilly (SF/Dave Hughes) and Ghost Train Sassy (SF/Tom Fruchey). Lilly began working the cover effectively along the scrub oaks. Sassy quickly started working the corridor as well. When we made the turn, Lilly didn’t come and was not heard from. At the tote road, Dave called for the retrieval device. Before we crossed the creek, we heard her coming in. Sassy had one stop and was relocated without results. She finished with no birdwork.
Brace 7, courses 13-14. Anna Lake Sophie (SF/D. Hughes) and Snyder’s Full Rage (SF/Scott Chaffee) started a moderate race from the beginning. Rage stopped at 15 as Dave whoa’d Sophie in to back. When the first flushing attempt gained no results, Dave pulled Sophie out as Rage was relocated. She stopped again at 19 and a shot rang out, with a grouse lifting. Dave lost touch with Sophie at 25 and sent in his scout. Rage moved forward and the dogs and handlers were separated. We could hear that Dave and Sophie hooked up at 30. Rage made a big cast at 35 and was at the end of bell range when Scott was able to bring her back in. At 41 Rage stopped again in a very likely spot. As Scott moved in, we saw Rage take a forward grab into a hole in a tree. Scott yelled and Rage pulled back. Not sure but likely a porky trap. Getting rage to move on she was diligently hunting the cover. She stopped again at 43 off to the right in a blowdown. A grouse lifted and the shot was fired, all in good order. Rage continued to hunt with Sophie catching up to the front. Both dogs finished with no further birdwork. One other wild flush was noted during this brace.
Day 2, brace 8, courses 15-16.Early morning, cool temperatures and clear sky. A Distant Spec (PF/M. Hughes) and Bawl of Fire Slipper (PF/Minard) were eager to get to the cover and hunted well and forward to the first road crossing and on. Slipper made some attempts to stop, but never went through with it. These dogs worked the cover but never connecting with game. Both finished with no bird-work. One wild flush on course 16.
Brace 9, courses 1-2. Jar Way LeRoy (SM/M. Hughes) and Grouse Hill Smokey (PM/M. Forman) hit the ground running and stopped early at 3, very close to each other and standing well. Both handlers flushed, but agreed to move on at 5, with both dogs moving on ahead. Handlers drove through the cut with both dogs scouring the cover in the scrub at the end of course 1, but nothing transpired. After crossing over onto course 2, Smokey stopped at 39. After a search, he was found at 41 and flushing attempted. Smokey was moved on at 43 and had another stop at 52, backed by Leroy. After a relocation to no avail, both dogs were leashed. A pair of birds was flushed wild just after pickup.
Brace 10, courses 3-4. Highbank’s Down’N’Dirty (PF/S. Chaffee) and Full Breeze (SF/D. Hughes). Both these girls headed to the front to cover the cedar ravine. As Highbank’s moved forward, Dave had to tug on Breeze to get her to the berm, where she came to a stop at 14 in the soggy bog to the left. A spot that at times has produced birds. After a relocation, she moved forward, stopping again at the end of course 3, with no luck. The second half was not productive. Dirty was working to the front and also had a couple of failed attempts. This brace proved unsuccessful for both dogs.
Brace 11, courses 5-6. Baxter’s Apache John (SM/Brent Peters) and LaSombra (PM/D. Hughes). With the weather warming up into the 60s and bluebird skies, this would pose a challenge for any dog. A J did what A J does and left the start with his usual energy. Lasombra handling a bit better for Dave. It was clear that AJ had his track shoes on and only touched base at 5. A J showed again at the half, but was leashed. Lasombra continued onto course 6, working the cover well. He ended the brace with a nice ground race, but no birdwork.
Brace 12, courses 7-8. After lunch, temperatures were getting warmer. Highbank’s Back’N’Black (PM/S. Chaffee) and Pond Road Pete (SM/Hollister) rolled through the cut with Scott sending in his scout a couple times, but Black’s bell showing up. When we hit the berm by the deer pen, there was some confusion as to which bell was which. Black ended up being forward and Pete at the deer pen. After the deer pen, Pete was succumbing to the heat and was leashed. Black was a bit inconsistent start to finish,. No birds
Brace No, 13 was covered.
Brace 14, courses 11-12. This course has a hazard at the beginning with the first run down a two-track and a hard right away from the scrub cover.
Blast Off (SM/M. Forman) and Wayward Flying Tomato (SM/M. Hughes) did as their handlers wanted and covered the scrub to the left of the course and turned with them into the course. This does not always work. These two started the brace, listening and handling well. Both worked through course 11 and onto 12. The handlers got separated when Blast Off went forward and Tomato gave Mark a time keeping her in range. The winds were at their worst during this brace, making it hard to hear. We crossed the road with Blast Off ahead and Mark still trying to catch Tomato’s bell. A shot was heard at 59, Blast Off having a pretty consistent run, scoring a grouse find and Tomato was up front to back it.
Day 3. Brace 15, courses 13-14. The morning was chilly, frosted. The sky was cloudy. The snow now gone and unbelievably dry in the forest.
Hifives Top Shelf (PF/Minard) and Sumac’s Sashay (PF/M. Hughes) hit the scrub oak to the road with no action. Moving on, both dogs worked like well-oiled machines. Not much handling needed. They both worked the cover as expected and showing when needed. Both dogs finished with no birdwork. One wild flush was witnessed on the brace.
Brace 16, courses 15-16. Shady Hills Whiskey Bonfire (SM/Forman) and Flycast Rollie Fingers (SM/S. Chaffee). Still with overcast skies, these guys worked the cover with Whiskey working farther out than Rollie. Working the cover, there was no action until Rollie stopped at 28 by the orange gate at the end of course 15, with whiskey backing. Rollie was moved on and Whiskey as well. Rollie had some stops and starts, but no birdwork prevailed. Both handlers chose to pick up at the half. One wild flush noted.
Brace 17, courses 1-2. Rebellious Boisterous Bart (SM/Luebke) and All Out (SM/S. Chaffee) started working the cover and wanting to please their handlers. Inconsistency was a hazard and All Out suffered the heat of the day. Both handlers picked up at the half.
Brace 18, courses 3-4. Travel Alert (SM/Harold Holmes) and I’ll Be Back (SM/M. Hughes) headed for the cedar ravine. “Buster” coming off a championship run on this course two weeks earlier, he seemed to know the route. I’ll Be Back handled well for Mark and showing when needed. Buster was in sync with Doc and needed minimal handling. After the berm, both dogs hit the bottom of the cedar swamp on the right. After no bells were heard, handlers, scouts, judges and reporter hit the ground and went down in to figure it out. The result: both dogs were just a bit further up from the rest of us. Wet boots and a bit of time later we were all on course again. Through the black forest at 33 with handlers with their dogs, we hit the creek. Buster crossed the creek and headed left, where he remembered where that grouse was. Between there and the corner, Buster stopped at 37. Doc Holmes and judge headed that way. I’ll Be Back started to take the right turn to the tubes, but was drawn to the action and turned around. He headed down to where Buster was stopped and at 38 stood for a back. It took Mark a bit of time to get down there, but was able to be there when after a flushing attempt, Doc decided to relocate Buster at 42. Mark pulled I’ll Be Back out of there. Buster stopped again and the shot resounded at 45. He got that grouse again. Both dogs headed up onto course 4. At 54 both bells were silent. Doc’s scout was whoaing Buster as Doc ran to get there. Buster was stopped on the left of the course and I’ll Be Back on the right. Mark flushed, Doc flushed, and both dogs were released. Nothing produced and time was up. A fun brace to watch.
As the group crossed the tubes, the road crew watched a grouse cross the road.
Brace 19, courses 5-6. Wild Apple Siri (PF/Minard) and Snyder’s Pioneer Scout (SM/(T. Chaffee). Up the hill, Scout stopped at 1:54 and looking like a million bucks on point. Tammy flushed, but to no avail. Scout was relocated at 4 but just moved on. Siri moved along nicely with Bruce and Scout stayed with Tammy through the big hill. Tammy chose to leash Scout at the half while Bruce moved Siri through the crossover and onto course 6. No action prevailed as we got to the last cut. Siri had some stops and starts but no birdwork happened through the end of the course. It was noted that one wild flush was observed.
Brace 20, courses 7-8. Grouse Trails Tuscarora (PM/M. Hughes) and Fireside Aidan (SM/T. Chaffee). On the way in to this course on the two track, the judges observed a wild flush onto the course area. The briars being beaten down through the fall, it wasn’t as bad as these two went through the first cut. No action prevailed as we got to the berm by the deer pen. Tammy was about to send her scout across to the deer pen when both dogs were found on point just ahead of the berm. Tusc stopped first with Aidan backing. Mark flushed to no avail, Tammy moving Aidan forward and Tusc moving forward as well. At 42 Tusc stopped on the right in a big blowdown. Mark moved in to flush when a big grouse blew out. Shot fired, all in order. Aidan had a good race, finishing with no birds. Tusc finished with a nice grouse find in his favor.
Brace No. 21 was noted.
Day 3. Brace 22, courses 11-12. This course is always a challenge to dogs new to these woods. A long two-track with good cover on both sides. Takes a hard right away from it and many handlers struggle to keep the dogs with them at the turn.
This day was a good one, as both Cal Peak Hundreth Meridian (PM/Sarah Gomes) and Angel’s Envy (SF/Wheelock) turned with their handlers and went on through to the creek. Envy was handling through the half, then had some stops and starts that made Bob decide to leash her. Meridian worked the edges, staying with Sarah. Not pleasing her handler, Meridian was also leashed at 46.
Brace 23, courses 13-14. Melville Sure Shot Buck (SM/M. Forman) and Maximum Resistance (SM/Ecker). Maximum Resistance was a scratch. Buck stopped at 7 and after a flushing attempt was relocated at 9. With no game and another stop at 10, Marc reeled Buck in at the road crossing and ended the brace.
Brace 24, courses 15-16. Bo Of Piney Wood (PM/Ecker) and Double Deuce Oscar (PM/Doug McMillen) hit the scrub oak and covered it. Doug had a hard time pulling Oscar out of the corner. Giving Doug a rough time and going out of bell range too long, Doug called it at 27. Bo worked well with Robert through the first half and went on point at the end of course 15 on the right, where birds have prevailed this fall and last. Robert and judges headed to the cover, Bo chose to move with the judge seeing the bird go up, ending his bid.
Brace 25, courses 1-2. Baxstar’s Doc Holiday (German Shr Male/Shane Baxter) and Bawl of Fire Charley (PF/Minard) started with Doc working closer to his handler and Charley hitting the edges. The heat started to take its toll on Doc and Shane chose to leash him at 13. Charley was causing Bruce to pull hard the first 10 but seemed to settle a bit better after. She still wasn’t pleasing Bruce, so he chose to call it at the half.
Brace 26 courses 3-4. Upper Ammonoosuc Violet (SF/Ecker) and Faith’s Maximum Justice (PM/Ken DeLong) hit the front and into the pines. Violet was giving Robert a hard go from the beginning, with the brace being uneventful. Justice was handling well for Ken through the half. We made it to the second cut on course 4, when Justice’s bell went silent at 39. This area is very thick and full of hills and briars. Both judges and handler searched extensively but were not able to find Justice and the retrieval device was called for.
Brace 27, courses 5-6. Boston (PM/Ecker) and Game Winner (SM/D. Hughes). This course proved to be a challenge with the heat and the big hill. Boston had some stops and starts at the beginning with Game Winner having a nice go until the heat caught up. This brace ended early, No birds.
Brace 28, courses 7-8. Double Deuce Sage (PF/McMillen) and Nobody’s Shadow (SM/Wheelock) pushed through the briars to the pole timber, both dogs having a good run. Sage went down into the bottom to the left and worked the cedar swamp, while Mickey headed forward. Both had a good second half, but finished without birds.
Day 5. Brace 29, courses 9-10. Sterlingworth Jack (SM/Ecker) and Warrior Zeke(PM/ (M. Hughes) went through the first cut, working well with their handlers. Zeke stopped at 17. Bird was called when Zeke chose to move forward. Zeke went to the truck at the half. Jack stopped at 36 in the scrub oak. After a flushing attempt and relocation, Jack moved on. Jack finished with no bird-work.
Brace 30, courses 11-12. Grouse Ridge Larry (SM/Hollister) and Double Deuce Dexter (PM/D. Hughes). The heat was rising fast and the dogs were not handling it well after acclimating to the fall temperatures these past few weeks. Rich pulled Larry out at the Creek and Dexter took a hard right. Up the creek and across the road, Dexter stopped. When we found him, he stood staunch and proud. A grouse lifted and it was a nice piece of birdwork. Dexter finished his brace with no further birds.
Brace 31, courses 13-14. Texas Elhew Bodie (PM/M. Forman) and Hershner’s Grouse Gunner (SM/Chaffee). Into the scrub, both dogs went. Scouring both sides, Gunner stopped at 5. After a flushing attempt, a grouse lifted and shot fired. Gunner was a little loose, but was moved on. He stopped again at 10 and was relocated to no avail and was leashed at 23. Bodie stopped at 12 and was moved on. Marc chose to leash Bodie at 23 as well. The temperature was pushing 60° at this point.
Brace 32, courses 15-16. Kendall Hills Dawson Creek(PM/M. Hughes) and Titanium Hammer (PM/Minard). Blue bird skies and it continued to warm up. Hammer gave it a go, but was leashed at the road crossing. The humidity was outrageous. Dawson stopped at 4, was relocated and moved on. Dawson also was suffering from the heat and ended his bid at the half. There was one wild flush witnessed at the very beginning of course 15.
Brace 33, courses 1-2. Ponderosa Mac (SM/S. Chaffee) and Wildland Warrior (PF/Eric Munden) were the final brace of the trial and began where we started the trial. Mac headed forward and stopped soon at 4, looking staunch. He was relocated at 5 and went forward, stopping again at 12 just before the birdfield, with no luck. He went through the final cut on course 1, struggling with the heat with no luck. Scott chose to pull Mac at the half. Warrior was like the energizer bunny. This little pointer has loads of bottom and worked this hour start to finish without letting up. She handled for Eric like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, there were no birds involved and the trial ended.
Meredith, Mich., November 3
Judges: Craig Merlington and Chad Wheeler
GRAND NATIONAL GROUSE CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] —
28 Pointers, 37 Setters and 1 German Shorthair
Winner—DOUBLE DEUCE ZEKE, 1673940, pointer male, by Double Deuce Peter—Funseeker’s Holiday. Douglas E. McMillen, Jr., owner and handler.
Runner-Up—OUT OF THE SHADOWS, 1650996, setter female, by Nobody’s Shadow—Ramblin Ruby Lou. Bob & Diane Wheelock, owner; Bob Wheelock, handler.
Help at trials has been one of the biggest challenges that all clubs face. This year many stepped up to not only participate, but to help move cars, marshal braces and lend a hand where needed, and this was huge to the success of this trial.
This year we have seen many new faces come and continue to come to participate. Thank you to everyone who participated and for helping us get it done successfully. A big THANK YOU to Purina for sponsoring this event. We enjoyed a visit from Dean Reinke, our Garnin representative who has been a friend and prior Purina rep. Eric Munden from Lion Country spent the entire week here, walking braces and running a dog as well.
Thank you to longstanding stalwarts Wayne and Marlene Fruchey for having hot coffee and treats every morning; Tom Fruchey for his organization and running this trial; Roger Johnson, Mike Singleton, Ken and Mary Moss, Brent Peters, Harold Holmes, Dale Ash, Scott and Tammy Chaffee, Dave and Mark Hughes, Marc Forman, Deb Nihart, Scott Forman, Christy Helmes, Bruce Minard, Lonnie Radamacher, Sean McKellip, Bob and Diane Wheelock.
Thanks also goes out to our horse wranglers, Richard and Jennifer Hollister. Boots, Dusty and Ed did their usual superb job this week. Our thanks for the smooth rides.
We are looking forward to another good year in 2021. Be safe out there, everyone!
Day Three 11/05/2020
Today was nearly perfect, overcast skies while temps di reach to the low 60’s the cloudy skies helped some with performances but a few dogs did succome to the heat.
5 grouse were sighted by officials today and 3 dogs pointed grouse. The tally keeps growing and the judges are beginning to have dogs to choose from. We did get 7 more braces in today and will start on brace 22 on course 11-12.
GLADWIN, MICH. — Thirty dogs were drawn for the 76th renewal of the Grouse Futurity running on the grounds of the historic Gladwin Field Trial Area.
The Gladwin Area (GFTA) consists of 4,792 acres located in the northwest corner of Gladwin County near the town of Meredith. This area is managed extensively by the state of Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources Wildlife and Forestry Divisions and is subject to controlled timber harvest as necessary to maintain the area as a premier grouse habitat dedicated for wild bird field trial events.
Members of the five cover dog clubs volunteer much time and resources throughout each year to keep this area the premier grouse and woodcock venue in our circuit.
A great deal of effort is expended each year by our very capable Futurity secretary, Thor Kain, to manage this event. It starts with the registration of nominated litters, contacting the owners of these Derby dogs prior to the event each year, collecting forfeiture payments, answering a bucketful of questions and then, conducting the draw. It’s a very big and a very important job and Thor does it well.
This event has three sponsors who donate product and help finance these and other events. Lion Country Supply provided gifts for the judges and reporter. Garmin supplied a training collar to the winner and as always, Purina, Greg Blair, supplied Pro Plan Performance feed for winners and small sample bags for all the participants.
The support of these three great companies is appreciated by all of us who participate in these events.
The Beaverton Grouse Dog Club managed this stake. Mike Singleton gladly accepted the role of stake manager. Mike kept the event rolling, managing the movement of people, marshals, trucks and horses around the grounds.
Tom Fruchey and Bob Wheelock sat in the judicial saddles on horses supplied by Rich and Jennie Hollister.
Moss Mac Daddy, white, tan and ticked setter male owned and handled by Marc Dozeman of Holland, Mich., was awarded the rotating trophy, blue ribbon, Garmin tracking collar and Purina Pro Plan product.
Mac Daddy was bred by Ken Moss of Mount Pleasant, Mich., a mating of Ponderosa Mac and Moss Meadow Lil. Lil goes back to Ken’s six-time champion and three-time runner, and Grand National Grouse Champion Moss Meadow Traveler, the foundation of Ken’s program. Ponderosa Mac is a two-time National Champion, owned by Steve Snyder of Ellendale, Minn.
Mac Daddy ran in the second brace on course No. 2. Mac started steady, at medium range and forward and kept this pace for 30 minutes. Mac handled easy and responded when required. When we reached the 22-minute mark Mac flipped ends and worked back. A grouse went out about fifity yards away as the gallery came around a corner. Marc sent Mac deep into the cut and the bell stopped 100 yards deep. Just as we got to third yards Mac started up again and worked froward a couple hundred yards. Mac stopped well off course, Marc walked in and put a woodcock in the air and shot. Marc collared his charge back to the front and finished his brace going away.
Springpond Rockin’ Gibby, white, black tan and ticked setter male owned and handled by Lonnie Rademacher of Lake Leelanua, Mich., earned the red ribbon with a strong and forward race. Gibby is a product from breeder Mary Beth Esser and her female, Tails Up Olive by Springpond’s Rockin’ Autumn, owned by Leeann Parnell.
Gibby is a tall, leggy and powerful tri-color setter. He is Lonnie’s first venture into field trial bird doggin’. Gibby ran in fourth brace, course No. 5, starting strong and hard charging. Gibby ran wide, deep and forward and keep in contact with his handler. He hunted the cover for a full brace, no birds flew in front of him.
Mike Singleton handled his setter female to a third place finish. Singleton’s Sid the Kid was also bred by Ken Moss, a pairing of Ponderosa Mac and Moss Meadow Kate. Kate also goes back to Moss Meadow Traveler.
Sid ran in third brace on course No. 4. Sid is also a tall and well-built setter, long of stride and strong. Sid also ran a steady 30 minutes, stopped one time at the edge of an aspen cut, we couldn’t get a bird to fly. We entered a clear cut and Sid went to the other side to enter the next bit of grouse cover, deep but within bell range. Mike was able to stay connected and get him to the end. Sid finished strong.
Rounding out the placements was Thornapple Casey, owned by longtime field trailer Bob Leet of Paw Paw, Mich., and handled by Bruce Minard.
Casey, bred by Bruce Minard of Hifive Kennels, is a product of runner-up champion Thornapple Cody ex Hifive’s Thornapple Anita. Casey is a medium size, well built white and black setter male.
At the breakaway Casey ran deep and wide, out of bell range for a bit, showed to the front running strong and steady. Casey ventured in and out of bell range (for this reporter) but always showed to the front, hunting the cover and running steady. He dug deep in the oak slash at the end of course, stopped once but started up before he could be reached. He finished as he started, steady and forward.
These handlers ran their dogs through fifteen braces. The afternoon braces on day No. 1 began with snow, and the weather never let up. It was challenging for all.
Monday morning was bright and clear with six inches of snow blanketing the grounds for the final three braces. A single grouse was encountered on the last brace, no dog involved.
We elected to take three dogs for a callback in the woods, starting with Lonnie and Gibby. Fifteen minutes, find a bird.
Gibby hunted hard, again ran steady but couldn’t produce a bird. Next up Mike Singleton and Sid. During these 15 minutes as Sid was off to our left, we walked up three grouse, no dog involved. We moved to the end of course No. 2, Bruce released Casey and this dog hunted the cover. Bruce did a great job handling to keep his charge in the cover and hunting it thoroughly. Again, no birds. We went to the birdfield, released quail and brought the dogs back individually in the same order as the wild bird callback. All handled their birds well.
The weather was certainly a disappointment to all involved; birds have been abundant on the Gladwin grounds this entire Fall season. The day following the end of this stake the Grand National Grouse Championship commenced and we had wonderful and mild weather, birds on every 60-minute course for the entire five days.
Gladwin, Mich., November 1
Judges: Tom Fruchey and Bob Wheelock
SEVENTY-SIXTH GRAND NATIONAL GROUSE FUTURITY —
5 Pointers, 24 Setters and 1 Brittany
1st—MOSS MAC DADDY, 1686015, setter male, by Ponderosa Mac—Moss Meadow Lil. Marc Dozeman, owner and handler.
2d—SPRINGPOND ROCKIN GIBBY, 1685818, setter male, by Springpond Rockin Autumn—Tailsup Olive. Lonnie J. Rademacher, owner and handler.
3d—SINGLETON’S SID THE KID, 1687988, setter female, by Ponderosa Mac—Moss Meadow Kate. Mike Singleton, owner and handler.
4th—THORNAPPLE CASEY, 1690280, setter male, by Thornapple Cody—Hifive’s Guilty As Charged. Bob Leet, owner; Bruce Minard, handler.
Day Two 11/04/2020
Today we were blessed with bluebird skies and temps reaching 70 degrees, great weather for people but not good for birds. However we had 2 different dogs point grouse and 5 total birds were seen. We got 7 more braces in today. will be starting on course 13,14 with brace 15 in the morning.
We were greeted with clear skies and temps in the low 30’s and about 4″ of snow still left on the ground from the weekend snow storm. The day warmed to a comfortable 52 degrees with mild winds and the snow melted and was nearly all gone by the last brace. 7 braces were completed today so we will start brace eight on course 15-16 at 8am Tuesday. several spectators were on the grounds today most notably Dean Reneke from the Garmin Comapany and Eric Mundan from Lion Country. Today 15 grouse were observed by officials and two dogs had clean birdwork with three finds. The woodcock have seemed to have left the area as none were seen today.
76th Grand National Grouse Futurity
1a) Thornapple Casey SM/Leet/Minard
1b) Pop’s Ray of Sunshine SF/Steingraber/Hollister
2a) Moss’s Mack Daddy SM/Dozeman/Dozeman
2b) Baxter’s Ode SM/Peters/Peters
3a) Singleton Sid the Kid SF/Singleton/Singleton
3b) On Point Jetwood Josie SF (IS)/Peterson/T. Chaffee
4a) Austin Hill Abby SF/Duell/Hughes/Matson
4b) Spring Pond Rockin’ Gibby SM/Lademacher/Lademacher
5a) Anna Lake Samantha PF/Matson/Hughes
5b) Speck SF (IS)/Merlington/Merlington
6a) Partridge Creek Sadie SF (IS)/Slater/T. Chaffee
6b) Centerfold Peach SF/Holmes/Holmes
7a) Grouse Ringer Pappy SM/Vitali/Forman
7b) Baxter’s Indian Arrowhead SM/Peters/Peters
8a) Rum on the Rocks PM/Hughes/Hughes
8b) Moss Meadow Magic SM/Moss/Moss
9a) Baxter’s Bash Brother SM/Peters/Peters
9b) Sutter’s Backwoods Rumble SM/Giulitto/Hughes
10a) Red Rum Rosie PF/Husenits/Hughes
10b) Northview Dixie Storm SF/Ditkas/Minard
11a) Spring Pond Rockin’ Sydney SF/Parnell/Parnell
11b) Abby’s Got To Run SF/Jablon/Minard
12a) Double Deuce Pearl PF/McMillen/Hughes
12b) Young Grouse Louie SM/Milone/Forman
13a) Sutter’s Magic Moxie SF/Giulitto/Hughes
13b) K. Dell’s Eagle Magnum Hotshot BM/Delong/Delong
14a) King Creek Dot Sero SF/Millet/Ecker
14b) West Wind Big Jake PM/Mercitoris/Hughes
15a) Dauntless Dreamer SF/Benshoof/Benshoof
15b) Moss Meadow Maverick SM/Moss/Moss
OXFORD, N. Y. — The 70th renewal of the Grand National Grouse Puppy Classic took place on the prestigious Flanagan Farm, home of Grouse Ridge Kennels in Oxford, N. Y.
The Puppy Classic rotates between three regions and starts the Saturday after the Grand National Grouse and Woodcock Invitational concludes. The process of entering a dog in this event starts a year earlier with breeders nominating their litters for the Grouse Futurity. It is the support of those breeders that keeps the Grouse Futurity and Puppy Classic successful.
The grounds are classic New England type cover consisting of stone walls, old apple orchards, briar patches and grow- back farmland. Peter Flanagan laid out a perfect course to judge potential in a puppy. There was grouse and woodcock cover, open woods where a handler could show a dog, several turns where a dog had to be handled and gathered up, also a field at the end that let a dog make a big finish.
John Capocci of Katonah, N. Y., and Pat Cooke of Rochester, N. Y., accepted the invitation to judge this event.
Both men know good dogs and have owned/campaigned multiple-champions. John’s winning dog, Grouse Hill Bell, was named champion at the Grand National Grouse and Woodcock Invitational the day prior to the Puppy Classic, her second year in a row doing so and John’s third time as an owner winning this distinguished title.
Handlers from Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada brought 21 puppies to the line.
After looking each entry over with a keen eye, Judges Capocci and Cooke named Full Breeze the winner. “Bree” is a big strong setter female and she flowed through the course with a high cracking tail and smooth, powerful gait. She was always forward, ran big when the course allowed it and when good looking bird cover presented itself she hunted it thoroughly.
Bree was bred and is owned by the team of Bob Watts and Dick Brenneman. Their breeding program and dogs have a long history of winning.
Second was Asper Hill Pippi, handled by owner Mike Oxenrider, Jr. Pippi’s fleet footed application through the course had the judges up in the saddle early and the whole gallery paying attention. She ran to the limit with style. This was Mike’s first placement in a trial and to say he was excited was an understatement. He and Pippi will surely be back in the winners’ circle. She was bred by brothers Marc and Scott Forman at their Shady Hills Kennel. They are no strangers to breeding dogs that win.
Third was Knob Mountain Mayhem, handled by owner Mike Spotts. “Jax” ran with a high tail, laid to the front and went the places you’d like to see a dog go. Mike remarked that his favorite quality of Jax can’t be seen in a puppy stake, Jax is absolutely stunning on birds. He is a littermate to the winner and also bred by Watts/Brenneman.
Fourth was awarded to Braggabull, handled by owner Mark Hughes. “Emmy” is a solid built puppy that hits the cover hard. She ran with enthusiasm and a fluid gait. She was bred by long time bird dog enthusiasts and field trialing team of Ernie and Karen Saniga, a product of a bloodline and dogs they have bred going back many years.
First, second and third place were all sired by Full Blast. He sired the winner in this event last year and three winners in the 2015 running.
The Futurity process highlights quality breeding and he is no doubt making his mark and passing on his winning qualities to his pups.
I’d like to thank Peter and Katie Flanagan for hosting this year’s Puppy Classic. Their grounds are beautiful and Pete provided horses, lodging, and did whatever was needed to make this event successful.
Deb Nihart was a big help, getting coffee break and lunch ready, watching the road and keeping things moving. She is always willing to lend a helping hand at a trial. Thank you Deb.
Dean Reinke and Nestlé Purina are a long time sponsor of the Grouse Futurity and this event. They supplied the winners with plentiful amounts of Purina Pro Plan. We are very thankful for their loyal support. Garmin Tri-Tronics supported by donating an e-collar to the winner. Thank you, Garmin Tri-Tronics, for your continued support.
After seeing the crop of puppies that ran this spring, it is shaping up to be a really competitive Grouse Futurity in Michigan this fall. Hope to see everyone there.
Oxford, N. Y., April 15
Judges: John Capocci and Pat Cooke
GRAND NATIONAL GROUSE PUPPY CLASSIC — 6 Pointers and
1st—FULL BREEZE, setter female, by Full Blast—Straight Forward. Robert Watts & Richard Brenneman, owners; Thor Kain, handler.
2d—ASPER HILL PIPPI, setter female, by Full Blast—Shady Hill’s Girlie. Mike Oxenrider, Jr., owner and handler.
3d—KNOB MOUNTAIN MAYHEM, setter male, by Full Blast—Straight Forward. Michael Spotts, owner and handler.
4th—BRAGGABULL, pointer female, by Bully Bragg—Bullerina. Mark Hughes, owner and handler.
75th Grand National Grouse Futurity Draw
Start time 7:30a. Meet at guard shack 7a
1a) Herbies Shasta La Vista sf Forman
1b) Grouse Hill Pepper pf Stolgitis
2a) Stan The Man sm Frutchey
2b) Elhew Snakewood pm Doherty
3a) Springbrook Sweet T pf Stolgitis
3b)HiFives Powerline pm Minard
4a)HiFives Top Shelf pf(is) Minard
4b)Ghost Train Solitaire sf Frutchey
5a)Grouse Hill Smokey pm Forman
5b)Debs McKeachie Road sf Kennedy
6a)My Long Gone Sprinkles sf Avery
6b)French’s Grouse Ringer Woody sm Forman
7a) Cairds Cracklin Rosie pf Little
7b)Elhew SnakeDancer pf Doherty
8a) Chasehill Little Speck pm Stolgitis
8b) Grouse Hill Duke pm Forman
9a) Shadyhills Savannah sf Forman
Grand National Grouse Championship
77th Running November 5, 2019
Kilkenny Management Area of the White Mountain National Forest, NH.
1.Long Gone Porkys/fLloyd MurrayMurray
1.Wild Apple Calvadosp/fTim KisieleskiDoherty
2.Bawl of FireI/Sp/fBrent HaskinsMinard
2.BraggabulI/Sp/fMark HughsM. Hughes
3.Fireside Aidans/fDr Mary Beth EsserT. Chaffee
3.Wild Apple White Lightingp/mCraig DohertyDoherty
4.Chasehill Little Thuddp/mTim KisieleskiDoherty
4.Quail Trap Wills/mDave HawkS. Chaffee
5.Cairds Little Macy Maep/fRobert LittleLittle
5.Pistol Gripp/mMike HusenitsD. Hughes
6.Phillips Half Moons/fMatthew PhillipsM. Hughes
6.Wild Kat Runs/fDerckZukivichEcker
7.High Point Left Turns/mJermiahWatsonS. Chaffee
7.Baxters Apache Johns/mBrent PetersPeters
8.All Outs/mJoe HopkinsS. Chaffee
8.Grousehill Anniep/fJohn CappociStolgitis
9.Cairds Remip/fRobert LittleLittle
9.Wild Apple Spot Onp/mCraig DohertyDoherty
10.Cairds Leftyp/mTravis RiggsLittle
10.Titanium’s Hammerp/mBob LeetMinard
11.Meredith Grade Annies/fDennis KeysorT. Chaffee
11.Caliber Peak Storm WarningI/Sp/fSarah GomesD. Hughes
12.Double Deuce Zekep/mDoug McMillianD. Hughes
12.Springbrook Maximusp/mRuss OglivieStolgitis
13.Sanderling’s Wild Pippinp/mGreg CallimanopulosLittle
13.A Distance Specp/fMike HusenitsM. Hughes
14.Single Shot Barleys/fPaula GiulittoD. Hughes
14.Daddy’s Little Boy Butchp/mPaul ScottStolgitis
15.All OnI/Sp/fJohn CappociStolgitis
15.Miss Penn Stars/fDr George NajorEcker
16.Cal Peak Hundredth Meridianp/fSarah GomesGomes
16.Blast Zones/mThor KainKain
17.Texas Free Masons/mKevin KleinEcker
17.Lester’s Jiggsters/mLes BresslerForman
18.Bud of Piney Woodp/mRich WartersEcker
18.Grouse Hill Bullet Proofs/mjohn CappociForman
19.Blast Offs/mJustin EvansForman
19.Stokely’s Frankie Bs/mTony BlyBly
20.Shady Hills Whiskey Bonfires/mSHKForman
20.Stoke’s Willie Bs/mTony BlyBly
21.Chase Hills Baby BellaI/Sp/fErin StolgitisStolgitis
21.Double Deuce Mollyp/fDoug McMillianD. Hughes
22.Whynot Atomp/mAl RobbinsStolgitis
23.Game Winners/mDick BrennemanD. Hughes
23Snyders Pioneer Scouts/mSteve SnyderT. Chaffee
24.Wayward Flying Tomatos/mAnnie SmithM. Hughes
24.Chasehill Little Izzyp/fErin StolgitisStolgitis
25.Duck Hookp/mDick StraubStolgitis
26.Leslies Silo Joes/mLes BresslerForman
26.Panola Baconp/mMac StidhamStolgitis
27.Maximum Resistances/mMatt PhillipsEcker
27.Long Gone Mersadiess/fLB MurrayD. Hughes
28.Upper Ammonusuc Violets/fEdward MarquisEcker
28.Phillips Moonlight Lillys/fMatthew PhillipsD. Hughes
29.Thornapple Codys/mBob LeetMinard
29.Sumac’s Sashayp/fRoger McPhearsonM. Hughes
30. Bo of Piney Woodp/mRich WartersEcker
30.Anna Lake Sophies/fRob MatsonD. Hughes
31.Shady Hills Coltp/mSHKForman
31.Warrior Zekep/mMike HusenitsM. Hughes
32.Ponderosa Macs/mSteve SnyderS. Chaffee
32.Sterlingworth Jacks/mJim MillettEcker
33.I’ll Be Backs/mNorm MeederM. Hughes
33.Ruff Grouse Lillys/fPaul ChristopherChristopher
34.LaSombrap/mCarlos EsclanteD. Hughes
34.Snyders Full Rages/fSteve SnyderS. Chaffee
35.Kendal Hills Dawson Creekp/mTufts/PershkeM. Hughes
35.Hershners Thunderbolt Jets/mScott HershnerT. Chaffee
36Mooselook Macs/mJack McNultyLittle
36.Rockland Ridge McGraws/fGary ChlapatyEcker
37.Hershners Grouse Gunners/mScott HershnerS. Chaffee
37.Upper Ammonusuc Saddies/fEdward MarquisEcker
38.Wild Apple Jonathanp/mCraig DohertyDoherty
38.Double Deuce Dexterp/mDoug McMillianD. Hughes
39.Long Gone Juicys/fLloyd MurrayMurray
39.Mooselook Fions/mJack McNultyMcNulty