2014 Grand National Puppy Classic
OXFORD, N. Y. — The 67th running of the Grand National Puppy Classic is, as they say, “in the book”. Now for the rest of the story.
Taking in the surroundings as my judging partner Dave Hughes and I rode up to the starting line for the first brace of this Grand event, my mind went back to a time when as a young lad growing up in the 1950s. I could hardly wait for the next issue of “Field and Stream” and the minuets of the “Lower Forty,” by Corey Ford. His prose about mythical grouse coverts with stone fences, apple trees, and flowing brooks were truly classics.
I was thinking, “There really is such a place. It’s here on the estate of our gracious hosts, Pete and Katie Flanagan, owners of Grouse Ridge Kennels near Norwich, N. Y.” And to say that Pete and Katie went to the limits to assure that all of the participants of the Grand National events (Invitational and Puppy Classic) held here April 12 were welcome would be something of an understatement. From laying out the courses, marshalling, wrangling, and providing gourmet lunches, it was the Flanagans who came to the fore, and we (the directors of the Grand National Grouse Dog Championship) can not thank them enough.
And while we’re thanking folks, it would be remiss not to mention our sponsors — Nestlé Purina and Garmin- Tri-Tronics. Without their support the cost of providing this venue would have to see a dramatic increase.
Also, kudos to George Johnson. From nominations to forfeitures, to tabulations, keeping the books, writing the checks, stake managing, and making sure that we even had a place to hold such an event it all came down to George who is the secretary-treasurer of the Grand National Grouse Futurity and Puppy Classic. What a yeoman’s job he does with keeping track of everything necessary to make this event the success that it is. Thank you, George!
Due to a mishap that kept him out of the saddle, one of this year’s judges, Joe Cammisa, had to turn down the assignment at the last moment. I know Joe was upset about this and we wish him the best in his recovery. In his place, as aforementioned, the club was fortunate to have been able to enlist the assistance of the renowned professional dog trainer Dave Hughes. What a pleasure and honor it was to judge with Dave and be privy to his insight into the makings of a champion. With 98 under his belt and still counting, I can’t think of another person I’d rather have had as a judging partner. I was more than pleased to note that we were puppy for puppy on our placement pages.
Speaking of puppies, it was an ambitious gathering that came to the line this year as was evident by how many cleared the four foot slate stone fence that bordered the far end of the breakaway. While there are many on the estate, this is the only one that came into play on this course which breaks away south making a left turn at the stone fence heading east into a pine tree plant course left, and hardwoods that fall away into a valley on the right. The course continues on the high ground in a long arc bending left, past a pond (with nesting geese, and they weren’t happy) to finish back in an opening near the starting point. It had everything one could want to be able to separate the class for conformation, style, pattern, range, biddability and stamina. And, if I may say so, it’s where 90 years of experience between the two judges came into play. The real test will be to see how we did when these charges come to the junior (Derby) stakes and hopefully finish out into the senior stakes. I’ll be looking forward to it.
Grouse Hill Pepper Ann, setter female (sired by Chip’s Uncle Buzzie ex Shady Hills Girlie), was bred by William Forman. She is owned by John Capocci, handled by Scott Forman.
Second was Shady Hills Colt, pointer male (sired by Dew Sweeper ex Starlite’s Rose), bred by Robert Kays, owned by Shady Hills Kennels, handled by Scott Forman.
Third was Penn’s Rattler Raider, setter male (sired by Impact Player ex Elektra), bred by Gardner Stoker III, owned and handled by Clint DeMusz
Fourth was Hatchet Jack, setter male, littermate to the third place dog, owned and handled by Gardner Stoker III.
To all, a Well Done.
Oxford, N. Y., April 12 — One Course
Judges: Dave Hughes and Roger Johnson
GRAND NATIONAL GROUSE FUTURITY PUPPY CLASSIC —
2 Pointers and 14 Setters
1st—GROUSE HILL PEPPER ANN, 1652081, setter female, by Chip’s Uncle Buzzie—Shady Hills Girlie. Giovanni Capocci, owner; Scott Forman, handler.
2d—SHADY HILLS COLT, 1651712, pointer male, by Dew Sweeper—Starlite’s Rose. Shady Hills Kennels, owner; Scott Forman, handler.
3d—PENN’S RATTLER RAIDER, 1652072, setter male, by Impact Player—Elektra. Clint Demusz, owner and handler.
4th—HATCHET JACK, 1648528, setter male, by Impact Player—Elektra. Gardner Stoker III, owner and handler.