Grand National Grouse Puppy Classic 2015

 Grand National Grouse Puppy Classic

By Eric Locher | May 28, 2015

Puppy Classic Winners. From left: Judge Richard Brenneman, Dave Hughes with Springfield’s Side Kick, Tom Beauchamp with Northwoods Iron Maiden, Dave D’Hulster with Willowood’s Squig Tone, Mark Hughes with Springfield’s Dark Knight and Judge Eric Locher.

MARIENVILLE, PA. — Twenty-eight puppies came to the line to run in the 68th renewal of the Grand National Grouse Puppy Classic. When it was over, Grouse Futurity Secretary George Johnson announced: “This is the first time I can remember that three of the four placements were awarded to littermates.”

George’s memory was not failing him. Reviewing the results of the previous 67 years revealed this was, in fact, the first time it has happened. Littermates had claimed two ribbons on numerous occasions but never three!

The Puppy Classic rotates venues and travels with the Grouse and Woodcock Invitational Championship to the three regions that make up the Grand National Grouse Club. The event this year was held in the Allegheny National Forest near Marienville, Pa. The Invitational ran the three days prior to the Puppy Classic and dealt with periods of heavy rain. We were fortunate that the clouds parted and the sun came out to give us a beautiful April day.

We are also fortunate to have George Johnson serve as Futurity secretary and stake manager. George had the handlers at the breakaway in a timely manner. Considering there were three stakes running on the Marienville courses which are spread out over several miles, it was quite a feat.

Most fortunate of all was your reporter. I had the opportunity to look over this field of talented youngsters with Richard Brenneman. To say he’s done it all is an understatement. Mr. Brenneman is president of the Grand National Grouse Club. He’s been a handler, a judge and a mentor to many of Pennsylvania’s grouse trialers. His dogs have won many championships and claimed numerous dog of the year honors.

The Grand National Grouse Club benefits from having the support of two generous sponsors — Nestlé Purina and Garmin/Tri-Tronics. Their support is appreciated.


Claiming the blue ribbon with a big eye-catching race was Springfield’s Side Kick, white and orange setter female owned, handled and bred by Dave D’Hulster of Michigan. The good sized setter made you look at her right from the breakaway. She was fast and forward and finished her bid with a driving cast to the front. While she ran to the limits of her bell, she handled kindly. Springfield’s Side Kick is sired by Ch. Full Blast. Her dam is Flanagan Award winner Springfield’s Showgirl. Side Kick’s littermates joined her in the winners’ circle with third and fourth place.

Northwoods Iron Maiden, setter female owned and handled by Tom Beauchamp of Fishers, Ind., ran in the second brace and was holding the top spot until late in the stake. Maiden is sired by Northwoods Grits. Her dam is I’m Blue Gert, bred by Jerry Kolter of Northwoods Bird Dogs in Minnesota.

Willowood’s Squig Tone joined his littermate in the winners’ circle and Dave D’Hulster handled this good sized setter male to third. Squig is owned by Chris DeMattio of Ohio. Chris has a good looking prospect.

Dave D’Hulster claimed his third ribbon with Springfield’s Dark Knight. The heavily marked setter male ran with an attractive gait and hit all the objectives. His effort was well applied and a pleasure to watch.

Setter male All Out was making a strong bid for owner Thor Kain. He made a cast deep to the right at 20 and never returned to judgment. Also close to the winners was setter male Flying Tomato, handled by Mark Hughes.

Marienville, Pa., April 11 — One Course

Judges: Richard Brenneman and Eric Locher

GRAND NATIONAL PUPPY CLASSIC — 3 Pointers and 25 Setters

1st—SPRINGFIELD’S SIDE KICK, 1658544, setter female, by Full Blast—Springfield’s Showgirl. Dave D’Hulster, owner and handler.

2d—NORTHWOODS IRON MAIDEN, 1656846, setter female, by Northwoods Grits—I’m Blue Gert. T. J. Beauchamp, owner and handler.

3d—WILLOWOOD’S SQUIG TONE, 1660119, setter male, by Full Blast—Springfield’s Showgirl. Christopher DeMattio & Ray

Weisgarber, owners; Dave D’Hulster, handler.

4th—SPRINGFIELD’S DARK KNIGHT, 1658518, setter male, by Full Blast—Springfield’s Showgirl. Dave D’Hulster, handler.