The 2010 APC National Championships were contested October 16th through the 19th at Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford Nebraska. Both Open and Amateur Championships were offered along with a Puppy and Derby stake. Many tremendous performances were rendered but when everything was said and done one dog emerged on top of both stakes. Just Big owned and handled by Scott Wilson of Colorado was crowned the Open National Champion and also the Amateur Championship. Scott also was the owner and trainer of the Derby winner. Steve Bailey won the Puppy stake with his exciting puppy Dash Away.
This trial was the third National Championship trial held at Fort Robinson this year. Scenic and historic, Fort Robinson offers a very nice course for the dogs and all the necessities that we humans require. Situated in the north west corner of Nebraska, Fort Robinson is nestled in the Pine Ridge area of the state. The course sits in the Solder Creek valley, with pine covered bluffs on the north and south of the valley, it is one of the most scenic areas in that part of the country. Weather at this time of year can be dicey at best, but this year the trial was blessed with wonderful fall weather throughout. Cool mornings and warm afternoons, with light winds were the case each day. The near cloudless skies provided for a warm sun but never got to were anyone felt it was hot.
Judges for these events were Ken Blackman and Dennis Keeton for the Open Championship and the Puppy, and Ellis Herz and Ed Dixon proceeded over the Amateur Championship and the Derby. These gentlemen have a vast amount of experience in the pointing dog game. They all gave the dogs their undivided attention and used their best judgment to arrive at their decisions. They rode hard to try to be in the best position to observe the dogs. All these gentlemen assessed the dogs in a positive manner.
Purina and Tri-Tronics were again sponsors of this event. Both of these fine companies are some of our best friends in the sport. They offer first class products that many of the top professional and amateur trainers insist on. They step up to the plate at many of the top events in the country, and without their help these events would not be of the quality they are today. They support us and we should support them.
The Colorado Pointer Club was the host event for this trial. This club has a reputation of hosting class events and this was no exception. Chairman Jack Haines and Secretary Ben Garcia were well prepared and professional in the execution of the trial. Behind every good man is a good woman and in this case the woman behind both these gentlemen was Tracy Haines who although acting as treasurer she did a little of about every job at the trial. Steve bailey has been a force in this club of years and was on hand to help in the running. There are numerous club members whom I will not name but who none the less were important in making this event come off as well as it did.
A brief description of the course will aid the reader in the descriptions of the performances turned in by these canine athletes. The course is a basic out and back course. It leaves from the parking area headed west. The first portion of the course is a grassy, flat area, which gives the dogs about 5 minutes of course before you go down hill into the creek bottom. Here the creek has left a wide area of flat ground that bottlenecks down into a long narrow chute I refer to as "Bird Alley". Here the creek is on the south side with a scattering of cottonwood trees. On the north side there is an old, dry, water ditch that is surrounded by small trees with a mix of plum thickets and sumac bushes. As you continue west from Bird Alley you come to the first creek crossing. After the creek, you climb a moderate hill and pass through a gate, the "east gate". At this point you are on a large hillside with the creek bed at the bottom on the north and flat prairie on the left. This area stretches for about a quarter of a mile before you come to the second gate, the "west gate". A short down hill ride and you arrive at the second creek crossing. From here the course follows the north side of the creek, opening up into a large bottom area on the creek side of the course and a cultivated field, containing mainly small sunflowers and assorted weedy cover on the north side. This takes you to the 30 minute gate. This gate is located on the east side of a small lake. Continuing west from the lake area you continue on the north side of the creek bed, with large flat meadows and fields on your right, the creek bed with it’s heavy cover on the south. The next landmark is the "horse killer hill". As you climb up this steep but not to long hill you come to an access road that is about the 45 minute mark. From this point the cover in the creek bottom gets quite heavy at times, making the dogs difficult to see as they hunt the bottom. I liken this area to going to church because there is a lot of singing and praying going on in this area. After about 3/4th of a mile the cover opens up in the bottom and this takes you to the pickup/turn around area. The puppy stake used just the first half of the course with their turn around point being the 30 minute gate. The Derby used an out-out course arrangement.
1A) Little Lucy Liu, handler Ben Garcia
1B) Turtle MT Storm, handler Steve Bailey
Both of these dogs exhibited their youth throughout their time. Lucy was light on her feet and pleasing to the eye. Storm also was easy to watch and showed a bit more maturity in his application.
2A) Virgil Caan, handler Spero Manson
2B)� Dash Away, handler Steve Bailey
These pair of young dogs went made some large casts early on and both seemed to settle in to a comfortable pattern. About midway through the brace the pair encountered a covey of quail and that changed the game. Both went to hunting with Dash Away showing somewhat better application to the cover. Both dogs were to the front and hunting as time was called.
1st Dash Away; handler Steve Bailey
2nd Virgil can; handler Spero Manson
3rd Turtle MT Storm; handler Steve Bailey
4th Little Lucy Liu; handler Ben Garcia
1A) CH Paladen’s No More Mr. Nice Guy, handler Ben Garcia
1B) I Get Around, handler Steve Bailey
Both these dogs started out very strongly. I Get Around was in and out during the first 20 minutes, seen at the right places to show his forward hunting pattern. Guy was putting on a nice show on the ground, also strong and to the front. Guy pointed nicely after the first creek crossing showing classic style and good manners. He would have a second find on the big hill side between the east and west gates. Here he was asked to relocate and did a nice stop to flush as the birds rose of there own accord. He was making noteworthy casts along the creek edge when he was charged with an infraction of manners before the 30 minute gate. I Get Around had been continuing his strong race when at 48 minutes he was found pointing into a plum thicket. Relocation was required and game was produced for the mannerly dog. His race shortened somewhat during the remaining time but still finished with snap.
2)A Mr. CHKI Yellowstone, handler Ben Garcia
2B) NAFC FC AFC Tony’s Redneck Bear, handler Jamie O’Donnell
Leaving the far end of the course, headed back toward the camp both these dogs displayed a comfortable shooting dog race. Bear was found pointing in the sunflowers just east of the 30 minute gate. Yellowstone came in and backed nicely. This turned out to be a non-productive. Sent on, this pair was busy and appealing to the eye. Bear found game at 42 minutes, on the hill side between the two gates and on a tree line going into bird alley. On both these finds he was very mannerly and showed his good style. Yellowstone was found pointing at 52 minutes in the final field. Bear came in and backed nicely. This ended up being a nonproductive. Both dogs finished the hour.
3A) Borg’s Nightsky Eclipse, handler Dave Borg
3B) FC Flying Dutchman, handler Steve Bailey
This pair of competitors demonstrated comfortable forward hunting patterns. Both were attractive on the ground and showed purpose in their patterns. Dutch was to go on a bird finding spree. He had finds at 6, 10, 25, 48, and 50 minutes. He also recorded a stop to flush a 13 minutes, backed his brace mate at 28, and recorded a nonproductive at 44 minutes. On all his bird work he demonstrated his good manners and training, his style was great with tons of intensity. Eclipse was hunting hard but could not compare in the bird count number. He handled well and showed great animation in his race. He was found pointing in the sunflowers just before the 30 minute gate, where his brace mate backed him, giving an attractive picture of two stylish pointers. His handler could not produce birds and he was taken on. At 44 minutes he missed the opportunity to back his brace mate and ended his bid.
4A) BL Elhew Eclipse, handler Ben Garcia
4B) NAFC FC AFC Lighting Strike, handler Mary Devos
This pair of dogs broke away from the west end and went to work with enthusiasm. Eclipse was not seen by the judges until the 22 minute mark at which point Strike was found pointing nicely along the lake edge and he came in and backed the stylish pointing dog. Sent on both settled into a comfortable hunting pattern. At 36 minutes, after the first water crossing, both dogs had separate but equal finds, which were handled with style. Released, two minutes later Eclipse had a very nice find on the far side of the creek, where he stood his game proudly. Ike had a find of his own at 45 minutes going into bird alley where he demonstrated his winning style and manners. At 55 minutes both dogs were found pointing on opposite sides of the tree line on the north side of Bird Alley. Both dogs finished their bird count with separate finds at 56 minutes. Strike had a nice covey of birds well pointed and Eclipse had a small covey where the birds left as the handler dismounted. Both dogs finished the hour with gas left in their tanks.
5A) DC Hellers’ Fiddlin Jack, handler David Heller
5B) FC Old School, handler Justin Martin
The action started fast on this brace with Jack pointing in the south west corner of the opening field at two minutes. No birds could be produced over the stylish dog. At 5 minutes Old School was pointing at the bottom of the hill as you leave the opening field, where he demonstrated very nice style and good manners. Jack was again pointing at 10 minutes. This find required the dog to be relocated where he pinned a large covey of birds. At this point Old School missed an opportunity to back and ended his bid. Jack would go onto tally 4 more good finds, all handled with his signature style and good manners, and a legitimate stop to flush. Jack’s pattern on the ground was mainly forward and very workmanlike in its application.
6A) Full Force Buck, handler Scott Wilson
6B) AFC Ringafire’s Sweetwater, handler David Taylor
Both of these dogs were quick out of the gate and seen very little during the first 20 minutes. The reader should remember that this area of the course contains some heavy cover in the creek bottom and many times it is difficult to see the dogs through this part of the course. Sweetwater was first to break the ice when she was found to the front pointing at the top of Horse Killer Hill. This would turn out to be a non-productive although reading the dog one would have sworn there were birds right in front of her. Sent on she was running a strong race that would best be described as all age in application. Buck was also showing his heels to the judges and was demonstrating a nice all age race. At 44 minutes Sweetwater was found pointing with a ton of style in the bottom between the gates. The dog showed her good training as a small group of quail lifted right in front of the stanch pointer. She would again tally a high quality find just before the 2nd creek crossing, again displaying the great style she had shown on her other find. Buck recorded one good find when he was found pointing on the side hill going up to the final field. He was stylish and mannerly for the flush and shot. Both dogs finished the hour the way All Age dogs should, with plenty of go left and to the front.
7A) FC Hideaway’s Tall Boy, handler Todd Babel
7B) Look At Me Buzzy, handler Jamie O’Donnell
Tall Boy was a no show and because there were no bye dogs Buzzy ran alone. Buzzy is an eye catching dog on the ground. Displaying a comfortable shooting dog race and style on the ground catches one’s eye. He will take an edge and is very animated as he runs. He recorded a good find in Bird Alley at 8 minutes. This find was handled with class. His bid was to come to an end when at 35 minutes he took to many steps on a wild flushing bird.
8A) After Further Review, handler Ben Garcia
8B) FC Suka’s Smooth, handler Steve Bailey
This pair showed us their heels from the start.� Both were fast and forward with pleasing gaits. At 25 minutes both dogs had separate finds on the lake edge, just 50 yards apart.� Both were mannerly for the flush and shot. At 32 minutes, on the creek bottom, Smooth had a very good find, buried 15 yards into the cover, where a nice group of quail was flushed for the mannerly dog. She would record another find at 48 minutes. This find required the dog to relocate and she went straight forward 20 yards and this time had them square in front of her nose. Review would card a find at 52 minutes where his birds were running and he did a very creditable job in handling these birds. Both dogs finished the hour still jumping.
9A) FC AFC Just Big, handler Scott Wilson
9B) Las Animas Salsa, handler Ben Garcia
It was evident from the start that this was going to be an interesting hour. Big made a very showy cast, along the creek edge, as we dropped into the valley after the first field, which was both powerful and pretty to watch. Salsa also was displaying eye catching work on the ground. Big would have his first find at 18 minutes just after the 2nd creek crossing. This find was along a tree lined gulley to the right of the course. He displayed good style and good manners for this work. Salsa had been running a powerful course up to this point but was lost to judgment just before the lake. Big would record another find at 36 minutes, just before Horse Killer Hill. Here he was pointing stylishly on the opposite side of the creek. Again his style was good and his manner beyond question. From this point he displayed a strong hunting pattern that demonstrated his desire to find game and his knowledge of where to look. This led to his final find at 48 minutes. Here he was found by his handler pointing on the side of a hill with great intensity. His handler crossed the creek, that was over thigh deep at this point, to flush a single bird in front of his intensely pointing dog. He finished his hour hunting hard with energy to spare.
10A) Harbor City Blackberry, handler Jamie O’Donnell
10B) Tian Mr. Spock, handler Jack Haines
Spock was a scratch so Blackberry ran alone. He ran a good shooting dog race displaying an eye catching style on the ground. As the hour progressed he began to be harder to handle, taking the bit in his teeth. At 22 minutes his handler had seen enough and picked up this young dog.
1st Just Big, handler Scott Wilson
2nd I Get Around; handler Steve Bailey
3rd After Further Review; handler Ben Garcia
4th AFC Ringafire’s Sweetwater; handler David Taylor
JAM DC Heller’s Fiddling jack; handler David Heller
JAM FC Sulka’s Smooth; handler Steve Bailey
1A) Heller’s Southern Powder Keg, handler David Heller
Powder ran alone in the first brace as she was in season and could be run as the last brace of the day. She ran a creditable race that was fun to watch.� She hunted at a comfortable gundog range with a good handle. She twice pointed game, the first being very broke and the second taking just a step or two. She pointed her game with her head and tail high.
2A)Pride’s Southern Attitude, handler Scott Wilson
2B) BLGD Rambo, handler Ben Garcia
Rambo started the action with a find that the judges did not observe and followed that with a second find that the judges did not see the dog point. On both these finds the judges did see the dog go into cover and saw the birds and dog leave. His pattern was mainly forward and he was busy every step of the way. Attitude was hunting hard for her entire time. She went to the cover and stayed in there while still maintaining a forward pattern. She would be found pointing game twice. The first find was before the first gait where she stood tall and proud and the second came near the second gate where she again displayed very good style and intensity. Both dogs were forward and moving well at time. The judges called Rambo back to watch him pointing a bird.
3A) BLDG Elhew Rockslide, handler Ben Garcia
3B) Burn Notice, handler Jack Haines
This pair was released going west from the 30 minute gate. They were busy from the start showing their future promise. Rockslide showed a smooth gait that carried him easily through the cover.� Burn Notice also impressed with his forward reaching pattern. Both dogs were to be credited with a find of a large covey of quail just before the horse killer hill, both displaying good derby manners. Both dogs were able to be shown to the front through the areas of heavy cover. Both were forward at time.
1st Pride’s Southern Attitude, handler Scott Wilson
2nd BLDG Elhew Rockslide, handler Ben Garcia
3rd Burn Notice, handler Jack Haines
4th Heller’s Southern Powder Keg, handler David Heller
1A) NAFC FC AFC Lightning Strike, handler Mary Devos
1B) FC Just Big, handler Scott Wilson
Both dogs were quickly away, leaving from the west end of the course. Both dogs were seen sparingly throughout the first 20 minutes. The dogs were observed enough to define their powerful races. At 25 minutes Big was found standing along the lake, under some sumac. His handler could not flush and relocated the dog. As Big was moving up the birds left of their own accord and he handled them with good manners. Passing through the 30 minute gate Lightning was pointing nicely, under some trees near the sunflower patch. All was in order. At 35 minutes, Big pointed on the top of a ridge, Lightning backing very nicely. Both displayed good style and manners. Released, lightning had not gone very far and pointed a small group of birds. His game was where he indicated and all was in order. Both dogs settled into a comfortable hunting pattern and impressed with their well directed pattern. Lightning was again pointing on the side hill between the two gates, again with good manners. Big had a nice find, just before the second water crossing, with all in order. Lightning tried to add to his find count with find at 48 minutes coming into the bird alley area, unfortunately the results were not what his handler desired and he was picked up. Big went on to recorded one final find at 50 minutes. Here he was on the south side of the creek, pointing stylishly. A large covey of birds was produced directly in front of the eye catching pointer. He finished his time to the front and running.� ��
2A) DC Heller’s Fiddlin Jack, handler David Heller
2B) NAFC FC AFC Tony’s Redneck Bear, handler Jamie O’Donnell
Leaving from camp, Jack started the action early. At 4 minutes he was found pointing far to the south, along a fence line. Relocation was required and a small group of birds were flushed for the mannerly dog. At 6 minutes Bear had a find going into bird alley with all in order.� At 10 minutes Jack was found pointing on the side hill between the two gates. Again relocation was required and again the results were good. Both dogs were running a comfortable gundog race, applying themselves well. At 43 minutes, Jack was again pointing in the creek bottom. Once again relocation was needed but this time the results were not what was hoped for. Bear continued to diligently hunt the course and recorded a good find at 42 minutes, where he displayed his high style and good training. His final tally would also include a non-productive at 35 minutes and a stop to flush at 58 minutes.
3A) Full Force Buck, handler Scott Wilson
3B) Ringafire’s Eclipse, handler David Taylor
Buck was not seen much during his powerful hour. He would finish without bird contact. Eclipse ran a pleasing shooting dog race, displaying a good rapport with his handler. He was hunting the cover and was consistently seen at the right places. He would record 3 nice finds. The first find was at 40 minutes on the side hill between the two gates. A lengthy flushing effort ensued and the dog was asked to relocate. He moved about two feet and pointed again. This time the flushing was easier with the handler producing the bird directly in front of the eye catching pointer. His second find was just before the second creek crossing, his style and manners top notch. At 54 minutes, going into bird alley he would record a final find. He finished the hour with snap, going away.
4A) AFC Ringafire’s Sweetwater, handler David Taylor
4B) After Further Review, handler Jack Haines
Both dogs were kicking rocks at the gallery as they were released. At the first creek crossing Review took the north side of the creek and was not returned to judgment. Sweetwater did a very good job of applying herself to the cover and responding nicely to her handler’s requests. She pointed game 5 times, each time she displayed her great style and her good training, not letting down after the shot until she was taken on by her handler. Her first find came at 10 minutes, near the first creek crossing. She followed this with a good find before the second gate, a super nice find in the big bottom before the 30 minute gate, a find on the lake edge after the 30 minute gate, and a find of a single bird at the top of horse killer hill. She is the kind of dog that runs to the front, finds birds, and then you find her pointing. She finished the hour as if she had just started.
5A) Borg’s Nightsky Eclipse, handler David Borg
5B) CH Paladen’s No More Mr. Nice Guy, handler Tracy Haines
Mr. Nice Guy left in a hurry and was seen very little in the first 30 minutes before being lost to judgment. Eclipse displayed a forward pattern and a hunting style that was pleasant to watch and efficient in it’s execution. He was found pointing just east of the 30 minute gate. High head and tail, and flawless manners. He continued his hunting with vigor and would record another good find at 49 minutes while making a big showy cast along the creek, between the two gates. His effort was good but he also would record 2 non-productive stands that would hinder his chances. He finished his hour with more gas left in the tank.
6A) Look At Me Buzzy, handler Jamie O’Donnell
6B) FC Old School Attitude, handler Greg Dixon
This brace started full of promise with Attitude recording a good find in a brush pile before the first creek crossing. His day would end shortly after when he made a mistake on his second find. Buzzy was displaying a well applied pattern. He had an eye catching find between the gates, the dog displaying great style and good manners. His day would end after the second water crossing when a wild flushing bird proved too great of a temptation.
7A) FC Flying Dutchman, handler Spero Manson
7B) Harbor City Blackberry, handler Jamie O’Donnell
The final brace of the Amateur championship left the west end of the course with two dogs that were rolling to start the brace. Blackberry was in and out and not seen often throughout the brace. He did share a find with his brace mate at 13 minutes and handled the bird work well. Powerful and wanting to hunt, his future looks bright. Dutch once again showed that he is a bird dog. He recorded 4 finds, 2 stop to flushes, 1 find of a dead bird, and 1 nonproductive. One needs to see this dog on point to appreciate his intensity when he is on point. His style is top rate and his good training is evident in each piece of bird work. His ground race was consistently forward with minimal input from his handler. He finished the hour moving well and to the front. This dog will sure put some birds in the bag for you.
1st Just Big, handler Scott Wilson
2nd AFC Ringafire’s Sweetwater, handler David Taylor
3rd FC Flying Dutchman, handler Spero Manson
4th Ringafire’s Eclipse, handler David Taylor