Grand National Grouse Futurity 2011

Futurity Winners. From left: Long Gone Conway with Ryan Frame, Freezeway with Dave Hughes, Doodle Ridge Mia with Harry Tsepelias and Herbie’s Asta Lavista with Scott Forman.

Meredith, Mich.—Normally in one of these reports I would do an overlay of the Gladwin grounds for the stake. However, with five championships having been run on these hallowed grounds this fall (Amateur Grouse Dog Championship, Ruffed Grouse-Woodcock Championship, Northern Michigan Cover Dog Championship, Lake States Grouse Championship and the Grand National Grouse Championship) the fall state of these grounds will be covered in detail often in this publication for those who follow this venue so I will set aside the repeating.

I will say that the weather couldn’t have been better for the two days of the running for this Futurity. Cool, clear and calm enhanced by brilliant fall colors and the gold of Tamarack. It was a time of the grouse hunter for sure.

This year’s Futurity couldn’t have been run any smoother. The weather was prefect, and the entries (34 to the line) were some of the best of this age group that have run on these grounds.

As those who are part of this fraternity are aware, there is a list of characters that are involved with any given trial that without them things would not be nearly so nice. And, it was certainly the case for this trial. There were (and this is especially nice) so many volunteers for marshalling, moving vehicles, keeping the coffee and doughnuts on hand and spirits high that for fear of leaving someone out I’m not going to try to name them all; however, and I think for those who were in attendance we would be in agreement, there are a few as follows who deserve recognition.

The judges. For this grand event the judges are selected by a vote of the Grand National Board of Directors, and this year the stake was fortunate to have two of the most respected in the cover dog field trial fraternity, Joe Cammisa of Butler, Pa., and George Johnson of Bradford, Pa. These men were on the top of their game for sure and their placements were well received by the large crowd in attendance for the final announcements. (It should be noted that in addition to this judging assignment, George Johnson was and is also responsible for keeping track of litter nominations, forfeitures, entries, drawings and whatever else it takes throughout the year to make such an event successful. Special kudos George.)

Stake Manager. I’m thinking that sometimes club officials take the stake manager’s job with a “oh hum”. Perhaps it’s time for a re-fresher. Paraphrasing the GNG Championship by-laws: “The stake manager, as appointed by the Board of Directors, shall have complete charge of the stake, including the actual running (keeping everyone informed and making announcements), keeping things on schedule, and seeing to the needs of the judges and reporter, arranging for the horses, meals, etc.” Stake manager for this year’s Futurity, and in fact for most of the stakes here at Gladwin this fall, Bryan Wood has set a standard that will be tough to follow. When he is on the job, trials at Gladwin flow ever so sweetly.

Handlers. Noticeable for this event was the great handler co-operation. Every participant was on time and where they should have been for every brace.

Owners. Without whom we would not have the quality of the event that just took place, for sure.

Wranglers. Rich and Jennifer Hollister provided the fine mounts that made judging (and reporting) a pleasure instead of a chore. More than once throughout the trial season here at Gladwin I’ve heard from those who were in the saddle that these were/are the best that they’d been on in the circuit. For a fact, these horses have been hand selected and trained by Rich and Jennifer specifically for these events. How fortunate we are to have them available for our venues. The Futurity officials offer a big “thank-you” to all.

In addition to those mentioned above, the Futurity would also like to thank Nestlé Purina and Dean Reinke. Purina and Dean have been and continue to be the No. 1 sponsor of our sport. Not only do they provide monies and product, but it isn’t unusual to see Dean at  the events pitching in to help with marshalling braces, moving vehicles or grilling a steak. We owe Dean and Purina a ton, and we can’t thank them enough.

Also we thank Tri-Tronics and Warner Smith for their generous gift of a Pro 500 e-collar, which has been an added bonus for the winner of this event and its companion trial the Grand National Grouse Puppy Classic for the past several years.

The Winners

Setter female Long Gone Conway (Ch. Long Gone Buckwheat ex Ch. Texas Copper Top), owned by Todd Kalter and Lloyd Murray, bred by Kevin Klein of  Waterfrd, Pa., and  handled by Dave Hughes, took the top honors. Sent away on course No. 12 this good sized lady quartered the course with minimal handling, just laying out front crossing every couple of minutes staying just in touch with her handler. She quartered the tight part of the course through the first 10, clearing the beaver ponds to open up with a foot speed that really takes your eye.

She was through the mid-course pine stand at 15 and then into the aspen that finalizes this course where she took a stand on a running grouse at 25. With a relocation that showed maturity beyond her age she pinned the bird at 27 and stood tall and tight for the flush and shot. She finished her final three minutes going strong and away laying the gauntlet that was not to be beaten in this stake.

Setter male Freezeway (Ch. Still-meadow’s Jim (frozen semen) ex Ch. Kelly’s Rainbow Daisey), owned by Dorothy Hughes and handled by Dave Hughes, took second place honors. Running on course No. 13, this fellow made a bid that was so close to Conway that if it were available there may have been a tie for the top spot.

After making it through the small aspen stand that starts this course and rounding a small pond that runs along the left side, Freeze froze a grouse at 10 in a stand of wild cherry with excellent Derby standards. After the smoke cleared, and about two jumps after being released, a second grouse blew out just left of course where Freeze racked up a stop on the flush at 13. Following these back to back birds Freeze shortened up a bit, going on the hunt with determination but still patterning nicely to the front where he carded a second stop to flush on a flighty woodcock at time.

Setter female Doodle Ridge Mia (Ch. Long Gone Boston ex R-U Ch. Bog Brook Wilma) earned third, and another placement for handler Hughes.  Mia is owned by Bryce Mueller of Bedford, Pa., the lteer bred by Thom and Joanne Richardson of Whitefield, N. H.

This nice classy Mia challenged course No.  2 on the second day right off the breakaway where she showed her boldness. The start of this course breaks into a five-year-old cut of aspen where most dogs choose to take the course path for the first couple of minutes to where the course opens up. Not for this lady. When the lead came off, Mia charged the course right and stayed in the heavy stuff for the first 5 or so before breaking out to cross course to the left and laying out in the more mature woods that make up the next 15, keeping her handler busy.

At 20 she was brought in from course left and into the aspen cover that makes up the final 10 or so of the course where she carded a nice stand on a woodcock at 24 with excellent manners. Then with only a moment of time left she was able to stand a grouse right at time to nicely finish her day, and score a place in the judges’ books.

Fourth place honors went to Herbie’s Asta Lavista, setter female (Ch. Shady Hills Billy ex Upper Cove Tasha), handled by Scott Forman.  Owned by Shannon Humphrey of Columbus, Ohio,  and bred by Robert Grassi of Washington, Pa., this classy setter  is set the character of the stake first day, first brace on course No. 7 when she tried to pin a wild grouse right off the breakaway. She charged the course with youthful boldness, staying course forward along the river bottom, crossing the south loop road at 25 where she was found standing on a woodcock at 27. Following the shot Asta finished as fresh as when she started and was able to hold on to a spot through the final brace against some strong challenges.

With the final brace in the book, the judges took a long look at the overall competition and made a point of mentioning three dogs that were so close to the final four. In no particular order, they are: Shocka Zula, pointer male with owner-handler Bill Nettles; Shady Hills Billie Too, setter female with handler Marc Forman; and Pepper Upper, setter male with owner-handler Richard Brenneman.

Gladwin, Mich., October 30

Judges: George Johnson and Joe Cammisa


1st—Long Gone Conway, 1625380 setter female by Long Gone Buckwheat—Texas Copper Top. Todd Kalter & Lloyd Murray, owners; Dave Hughes, handler.

2d—Freezeway, 1625352, setter male, by Stillmeadow’s Jim—Kelly’s Rainbow Daisey. Dorothy Hughes, owner; Dave Hughes, handler.

3d—Doodle Ridge Mia, 1625699, setter female, by Long Gone Boston—Bog Brook Wilma. Bruce Mueller, owner; Dave Hughes, handler.

4th—Herbie’s Asta Lavista, 1622649, setter female, by Shady Hills Billy—Upper Cove Tasha. Shannon Humphrey, owner; Scott Forman, handler

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