2018 Grand National Puppy Classic Winners

Puppy Classic Winners. From left: Deb Kennedy with Long Gone Hatfield, Judge Justin Evans, Thor Kain with Super Storm, Kevin Lahoda with Backstep Benny Blanco, Judge Brian Ralph and Doug McMillen with Pleasant Valley Shiner.

GUYS MILLS, PA. — Saturday, March 31, started off differently than the prior three days at the Grand National Grouse and Woodcock Invitational. The air was cold and crisp and there was no rain or snow falling for the 37 puppies to compete. The 71st annual Grand National Grouse Futurity Puppy Classic took place on State Game Lands 69 near Guys Mills, Pa. The grounds were very nicely marked and cleared by the Black Ash Field Trial Club.

The stake manager as well as the secretary of the Puppy Classic was Thor Kain. The judges selected to look over these young charges were Brian Ralph of Sandy Lake, Pa., and Justin Evans of Duncannon, Pa. Huge thanks goes out to our sponsors, Dean Reinke and Purina, and then Garmin for their donation of an e-collar for our winner. We would also like to thank John McKellop and the members of the Black Ash Grouse Trial Club for all their work in preparation for this event.


Claiming the blue ribbon as well as the recipient of the traveling trophy was Long Gone Hatfield (Hattie), white and black setter female owned and handled by Deborah Kennedy of Hanover, N. H. Hattie was very fast and classy and hung out to the front of the handler the entire time and required next to no handling. Long Gone Hatfield was sired by runner-up champion Long Gone Studly ex Anna Lake Kiah.

Super Storm was an easy pick for the red ribbon. “Fed”, white and orange setter male owned and handled by Thor Kain of Carbondale, Pa., was extremely classy and showed great application and response to his handler. Super Storm was bred by Richard Brenneman and Bob Watts and sired by Ch. Pennstar ex Ch. Straight Forward.

Backstep Benny Blanco, a nice size white and orange setter male, ran the course with ease and speed for his owner-handler Kevin Lahoda of Vestal, N. Y. Benny was sired by runner-up champion Backstep Rudy ex Ch. Fernwood Cove’s Bella.

Pleasant Valley Shiner, white and orange pointer female, started out slow but was very fast, classy and light on her feet for owner-handler Dr. James Stiteler of DuBois, Pa. Shiner was sired by Cover Charge Search Engine ex runner-up champion Double Deuce Molly.

The judges carried a few other dogs worth mentioning. Magic Mist Carolina showed exceptional speed and class, just came in from behind more than the winners for owner Joe Dahl. Caliber Peak Gunslinger ran a big classy race but was out of contact a little too much for the judges. Grouse Trails Tango ran a nice classy race but just took a little more handling. Double Deuce Oscar caught the judges’ eyes and was carried only to get bumped toward the end.

Guys Mills, Pa., March 31 — One Course

Judges: Justin Evans and Brian Ralph


16 Setters

1st—LONG GONE HATFIELD, setter female, by Long Gone Studly—Anna Lake Kiah. Deborah Kennedy, owner and handler.

2d—SUPER STORM, setter male, by Pennstar—Straight Forward. Thor Kain, owner and handler.

3d—BACKSTEP BENNY BLANCO, setter male, by Backstep Rudy—Fernwood Cove’s Bella. Kevin Lahoda, owner and handler.

4th—PLEASANT VALLEY SHINER, pointer female, by Cover Charge Search Engine—Double Deuce Molly. Dr. James Stiteler, owner and handler.