MEREDITH, MICH. — On April 13 at the famed Gladwin Field Trial grounds in Meredith, Mich., the Sixty-Sixth Grand National Puppy Classic commenced. Twenty-eight puppies were drawn.
Participants and observers arrived at the puppy course to find four inches of a granular snow, temperatures in the mid- 20s and a gusty wind. Not normal weather for this time of year or ideal conditions to run such a prestigious puppy stake. However, handlers and a quality field of puppies braved the elements and a field trial went on. All of the puppies ran with zest and enthusiasm in tough conditions. Youth has a way of overcoming adverse circumstances.
Judges for this year’s Puppy Classic were Dave Terhaar of Allegan, Mich., and Dave Hawk of Athens, Ohio. Both men are grouse trial veterans. The day before the GNG Puppy Classic Terhaar placed his fine setter and multiple champion Terhaar’s Elvis as runner-up in the Grand National Grouse and Woodcock Invitational.
Though the Grand National Puppy Classic is an event that occurs one day each spring, it takes a year’s worth of work to prepare for the occasion. George Johnson is the person who is doing the bulk of this work. George’s work begins with keeping track of the litter nominations and then progresses through each step of the forfeitures, entries and drawing. All of which is a huge task which is much appreciated by the grouse trial community.
This year stake manager duties were handled by Beaverton Grouse Dog Club stalwart Roger Johnson, who was ably assisted by George Johnson. This was no easy task due to the weather conditions and a competing trial going on. They did a wonderful job of keeping things moving and dogs on the line.
Rich and Jenny Hollister provided quality horses for the judges. Their mounts are perfect for the grouse woods. Jenny is always there to move the horses, help with tack, or anything else that comes up. Thanks should also be given to the Beaverton Grouse Dog Club for hosting the 2013 GNG Puppy Classic.
Support from Nestlé Purina and Tri-Tronics is also greatly appreciated.
Purina provides financial support plus product for the winners. Tri-Tronics gives the GNG Puppy Classic winner a new Pro 500 each year. Support from these companies allows the Grand
National to put on a quality event.
The Winners and Others
The winner of the Grand National Puppy Classic, Moss Meadow Doc, came to the line for the 5th brace. At the breakaway Doc’s bracemate was picked up; Doc had the course to himself. At the breakaway Doc shot to the front where he stayed for the majority of the brace. Doc ran big, hit the objectives, handled and looked good doing it, just what the judges were looking for in a winner. Much of the time Doc was at the edge of bell range. The rapport between dog and handler Dave Moss of Mt. Pleasant, Mich., was apparent. When called on by his handler the strapping tricolor setter would swing to the front hitting the objectives. Doc finished his brace just as he started, distant and to the front.
White and orange setter female Game Changer, owned and handled by Robert Watts of Millville, Pa., ran in the 2nd brace. Watts handled his pup in a calm confident manner only calling upon Changer when needed. It was clear that this team was in sync and had spent many hours together. Game Changer had a stylish and enthusiastic race. She ran the course hitting likely objectives. Where the course opened up, Changer demonstrated independence by running through marginal cover to hunt more promising cover. She finished the brace just as fast and flashy as she started.
The 10th brace had the third and fourth place winners, Blue Sky Lillybelle (Mike Groy) and Wildkatrun (Craig Merlington). This pair of setter females had the judges sitting high the whole brace. Both were fast and flashy and always on the move. They complimented each other almost perfectly. They did not handle quite as well and were a little less forward than the first and second place dogs.
The two puppies closest to the winners were Grouse River Lucy Liu (Bryan Wood) and Springpond’s Crosby (Bill Wendt). Both of these fine setters filled the course and then some, making their owners work hard while they were on the ground.
At the conclusion of the running everyone retired to the warmth of Alibi Hall. At the announcement George Johnston stated that the old Grand National Puppy Classic rotating trophy had been retired and presented the new one. The first inscription on the new trophy will be the name Moss Meadow Doc.
Meredith, Mich., April 13 — One Course
Judges: Dave Hawk and Dave Terhaar
GRAND NATIONAL PUPPY CLASSIC — 4 Pointers and 24 Setters
1st—MOSS MEADOW DOC, 1646954, setter male, by Moss Meadow Traveler—Blackwatch Autumn Breeze. Ken Moss, owner and handler.
2d—GAME CHANGER, 1645850, setter female, by Impact Player—Full Tilt. Robert Watts, owner and handler.
3d—BLUE SKY LILLYBELLE, 1645998, setter female, by Chip’s Uncle Buzzie—Annibel Blue Sky. Mike & Brenda Groy, owners; Mike Groy, handler.
4th–WILDKATRUN, 1646017, setter female, by Terhaar’s Elvis—Call Me Kate. Craig Merlington, owner and handler.