Tuesday, March 31, 2009

One Heck of a Trial Horse....

I know a good field trial horse should be good around dogs, easy to the shot, get along with other horses, be a good scout, and all that, but... check out this horse!

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Novelist Takes Aim

...on the charm of dogs, guns, shells and supper

from The Wall Street Journal March 28 2009
On a bright and cold October morning in Montana, my dogs Abby and Daisy, The Pointer Sisters, are in my closet helping me select my clothes. On the left end of the rack are everyday clothes; on the far right are coats and ties for the occasional urban jaunt; and in the middle, clothes for sport, especially hunting. Here sit the two girls, tails whisking the floor between the shoes. They moan, grumble and pant wishfully while my hand hovers over the coat hangers. I shouldn't do this as dogs don't enjoy being trifled with. They know where the thorn-proof pants hang, since the red suspenders dangle to eye level for them, but they watch my hand. I don't move; Abby turns to stare at my boots with such longing she must think they can scoop me up and take me into the hills. Finally, Daisy can't stand it and barks at me: I pull the hunting pants from their hanger and with a cry of triumph they scramble out of the closet to watch me dress. Let others withstand the elliptical trainer, the rowing machine and the NordicTrack. Mama wants two partridges for tonight's table and I will walk long miles hoping to get them.

The author on the trail with Daisy, left, and Abby

I can tell myself that I take my dogs afield because they want to go and yet when the hunt is on, its urgency spreads from them to me as they course through rivers of scent; I am tugged along in a state of rising alertness and renewed addiction. The Pointer Sisters are running and gasping for my truck while I lug their water jug in one hand, the shotgun in the other while trying not to step on my untied bootlaces. They run round and round the truck to keep it from getting away before I can take them to the hills. Now they peer from the aluminum boxes, happy to be on the wagon and to hear its hearty engine start with a roar, as if glorying in our carbon footprint. It's an unusual East wind and I ponder the places that will let us hunt into it, to gain the scents and ambrosial trails that lead us to the quarry. Dogs, gun, shells and supper -- all in a row. It seems about right.
There have been several hard frosts and the morning is young. Those rattlesnakes not yet denned will be too sluggish to matter. The cattle have been gathered from the hills and now it all belongs to us. The hawks are up to the same thing we are; and it is possible to feel the competition of the Northern Harriers as they course low to the ground in the very fields we hunt. The light from the East and the bright serration of new snow on the mountain ranges surrounding us seem to bind a vast country together.
The dogs wait behind the truck as I rattle some 20-gauge shells into my pocket, slide the plastic water jug into the game bag behind my back. I walk a few yards in front of them, turn and tell them that they may begin. They leave at a blistering rate and in a very short time are rifling through the buck brush and chokecherry stands, across the broad juniper savannah, crisscrossing each other's trajectory with a reciprocity it took them a couple of years to work out. I potter along on two legs, gun broken open and dropped across my shoulder. I seem to be drawn by the wind behind the dogs as if I were sailing. Abby succeeds first, stopping to point as though she'd hit a wall. From a nearby rise, Daisy sees her and backs. If anything on either dog moves, it is because of wind. They are inanimate objects in the landscape. My heart races as I step into a chaotic covey rise of more than 12 birds, partridges everywhere. I manage to scratch down one and Daisy retrieves it to me. At the end of the day, this is all we have, one partridge. It will go into a salad. The carcass is cooked to make a liqueur to go over the kibble.
There is so much in the air suggesting that hunting is an anachronism that it's easy for a hunter to feel he is an anachronism too. An old fishing friend of mine said, as we headed home from an agreeable outing, "I thank God I'm not a day under 80." I'm a meat eater and have the teeth to prove it, but greatly pity the creatures in the domestic meat businesses. An industrial chicken factory gives me heartburn and Thanksgiving is a tragedy for turkeys. I don't wear camo, don't belong to the NRA and haven't been to a gun show since the jovial grandmother sitting behind the pile of machine guns said to me, "Goblins get in your house you'll love having one of these." I have no great enthusiasm for family tradition but my father and grandfather were hunters, and I can not remember a time when I didn't wish to hunt. Like most who have hunted all their lives, I have grown quite austere about what I harvest for our table -- some for sustenance, some for ceremony.
The dogs are everything, and they want to hunt, too. Bird dogs plead with you to imagine the great things you could be doing together. Their delight is a lesson in the bliss of living. As Bob Dylan says, "You've got to serve somebody." I serve my dogs and in return, they glom the sofa. Too many hunting dogs live depressing lives in kennels with automatic feeders and waterers, exercised only enough to keep them ready for work.
All vigorous pursuits bring real change. As I keep track of my dogs in broken country I notice that my memory improves, particularly short-term memory -- no small thing at my age. The hills that at the beginning of the season seemed so laborious roll beneath me. One does not set about doing these things as a salute to the Protestant Ethic but rather by noticing the land, the weather and the dogs and by allowing a sympathetic chord to rise to the hunt.

Daisy at rest

When our northern season ends, the backslide begins, a fearful dullness and the prospect of thickening. The dogs hardly wake up during the day. Something must be done and the longer quail season in the South beckons. West Texas is beckoning too, one of the few places left where mean and deceitful are not considered virtues.
I don't face the facts of late fall in Montana until the whistle freezes to my lip. "Girls," I announce, "we're going to Texas." In two days, Abby, Daisy and I are asleep in an Oklahoma motel, a dump with truckers snoring through the walls. We've just done an 800-mile nonstop and are stunned, in bed with the TV running, and I'm trying to get motivated to drive the last stretch. I step out of the artifice of my truck and I'm some place which, in all its weirdness, is not home. I have a tummy ache from the simple fact of eating along the highway. Is this worth it? But a day later a covey of bobwhites flashes up through mesquite branches, Daisy locked on point and trembling from head to toe, Abby backing and listening to the report of the gun while I drop to one knee and await Daisy's retrieve.
My season ends in the South with old friends Guy and Jimbo, five dogs on the ground at once: the Pointer Sisters; Jimbo's radar retriever Dixie; Guy's recently retired Brittany Obie and Obie's successor in the field, the valiant Bridget. We are like parents at a school play and privately root for our own dogs. The hills sweep under old moss-hung oaks and tall longleaf pines. The morning frost is gone by nine. The pretty black ponds are alive with wood ducks and cranes. We had to get this out of our systems: the Super Bowl is about to start. Guy prepares the mood with stone crab claws and a platter of roasted quail. We watch a somewhat fragmented game between never-ending commercials. At halftime, a lunatic with a microphone runs around in tight pants bellowing to the crowd. My host sighs, aims the remote, and shuts it off. The day had started quite early: It would be a good time to feed the dogs, clean the guns and turn in.
Now the long wait begins before we can do this again. Off season, the reports fly: Kansas has a few birds, Oklahoma looks spotty, West Texas coming back, wheat in Saskatchewan still not combined, bad spring freeze in Montana, Arizona desert birds droughted out, prairie chickens on the rise, ruffed grouse cycle on its way and if they've got woodcock in Louisiana they aren't telling. No sense taking anybody's word for it; we'll see for ourselves.

Thomas McGuane is the author of nine novels, three works of nonfiction and two collections of stories. His new novel, "Driving on the Rim," is due out next year.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Quail Hunters Threatening Trialers in Michigan...

Quail hunters might have to back off field trials at Ionia, Highland
by Howard Meyerson

from "The Grand Rapids Press "
Saturday March 28, 2009

Quail hunters may need to find fresh areas to hunt if new regulations go into place for the Ionia and Highland state recreation areas. State park officials are hoping to reduce conflicts between field trial participants and hunters who shoot the pen-raised birds put out for field trial events.
"These areas have been open to hunting during field trial days and we have had a few conflicts and some serious confrontations," said Harold Herta, the resource management chief for Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas. "It's an issue of great importance to field trialers and it has become a safety concern."

The rule, expected to be acted on by the Natural Resources Commission in April, would prohibit quail hunting on any day a field trial is conducted at the Ionia or Highland field trial grounds. Trials are scheduled at Ionia on 16 days during the 25-day 2009 quail season. They are scheduled for six of those days at the Highland State Recreation Area, north of Milford.
Quail hunting would be allowed any other day during the quail hunting season. It would also be permitted on non-field trial portion of each recreation area on the days that field trials were scheduled.

George & Mike Tracy road a trial dog at Ionia

Field trial grounds comprise 2,800 of Ionia's 4,500 acres. They make up just under 1,000 of Highland's 5,900 acres. Rabbit, squirrel and bowhunters would continue to be permitted to hunt all of the lands, even during a field trial.

"We're not asking them to stop hunting," said Chuck Langstaff, the grounds chairman for the Ionia Field Trial Association. "If a guy is bowhunting, we don't have a problem with it. Same with duck hunters on the floodings."
What field trialers complain about is the people with guns who come out on field trial days and, in turn, follow and hunt the route of field trial staff who are releasing farm-raised quail purchased for the event.
Attempts to verbally deter the hunters have escalated dangerously, according to Langstaff.
"The straw that broke the camel's back is when one of the hunters put a gun up to a field trialer's chest during an event," he said. "The police came and took the guy away, but it is becoming a safety issue."
Herta said the rules were developed with a scalpel in an attempt to balance hunter's rights to use public land during a legal season with the need for safety and fairness to field trialers who have contractual agreements with the state, schedule their events in advance and maintain the grounds.
Questioned by NRC commissioner Frank Wheatlake last month about whether the DNR had contacted "the other side" for an opinion, Herta responded saying, "We're not sure who the other side is."

Ted Kessler, the Ionia State Recreation manger said he had not been able to identify the quail hunters. He knows of no organized group that represents their interests and cannot say whether they were local or otherwise. The complaints typically filter back to him through the field trial organizations.
"Ionia has world-class field trial grounds," Herta said. "People come there from all over the country."
Field Trials are events that test the capabilities of field-dogs, hunting species bred to find, flush or point birds. Their owners/handlers may follow on foot or horseback through a course. The dog's performance is judged and scored.
An entire gallery of participants and fans may follow a working dog on horseback. They enjoy watching the dog run and be put through its paces. The dogs are expected to find a quail, point and eventually flush the bird on command, then hold steady until its handler fires a pistol.
"We don't kill the birds. We use starter pistols," Langstaff said.
That means the quail may live to be chased another day, or hunted, which is fine with field trialers.
Bobwhite quail are indigenous to southern Michigan, according to Jon Niewoonder, the DNR wildlife biologist who oversees the Ionia recreation area. But there are few to be found naturally.
"What is being proposed makes sense," Niewoonder said. "There are very few quail to be found in southern Michigan. If you go to any farm, you almost won't find any.
"The quail hunters are there because the quail are there (at Ionia and Highland) and the quail are there only because the field trialers put them out. If there was no field trial, there would be little reason to hunt there."
Bill Althoff, the supervisor for the Highland State Recreation Area, said he didn't initiate the proposed rule change, but supports them and believes it will make the areas "safer."
"The hunters are following the field trialers as they lay out the birds. When the trialer asks them not to shoot them, they are ignored. The birds are shot and there are cross words. We typically get two to three complaints about confrontations every year."

Friday, March 27, 2009

PETA Slaughterhouse running full steam...

(From the Terrierman blogsite)

This morning comes word that in 2008 PETA killed 95.8 percent of the dogs, cats and other pets put into its care last year. In fact, during all of 2008, PETA found adoptive homes for just seven pets out of 2,216 animals taken in. To be clear, the animals that were put down where not sick and injured animals: they were animals that PETA simply did not try to get adopted despite an annual operating budget of $32 million. You will not find PETA's shelter in Norfolk, Virginia on Pet Finder, nor are there any visiting hours. Posters are not placed on coffee shop bulletin boards, nor do they work with Pet Smart or anyone else to find homes for dogs and cats relenquished to them. Instead, PETA injects killing solutions into almost all the animals handed over to the them, and then it contracts with a waste disposal company to have several tons of animals a month trucked away, out of sight and out of mind. Why? Simple: they believe a dog in a shelter is better dead than kenneled for even a few days, and they oppose pet ownership entirely. They prefer the animals dead than in the hands of loving owners, and they cannot be bothered to take time away from media-whoring to do the grunt work involved of actually helping real animals in need.

PETA, of course, tries to hide all of this, but the state of Virginia is not having any part of it. Virginia has a legal requirement that all shelters report out how many dog, cats and other animals come through their dooor, how many are placed, and how many are rehomed. PETA refuses to fill out the forms correctly, however, and ever year a little charade occurs. This charade is designed to slow down the posting of information to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website. PETA, you see is embarassed by their own numbers. Not embarassed enough to change, mind you, just embarassed enough to lie. And so, instead of reporting the data correctly, PETA mixes in unrelated spay and neuter data to try to slow or prevent the true number from being posted on the Virginia state web site. To be clear, no other shelter in Virginia does this or even tries to do this. And you know why? Because the other shelters are not afraid of telling you what they are doing because most of them are at least trying to get dogs and cats adopted out. PETA, on the other hand, does nothing to try to get animals placed. That's too much like work and there's no look-at-me publicity in it. The blue solution of death is so much easier. And so PETA injects, dumps, and runs off to do another titty-show protest somewhere. Yippee! Look at me. I am nekkid!

So how do we know what PETA's numbers are for 2008? Simple: Just because PETA intentionally mangles the paperwork so that the data does not show up up on time on the Virginia state web site does not mean that they do not file something as a place holder. That paperwork does exist, and you can read it yourself and tease out the kill data, just as I have. You can also compare it to the track record of other Virginia animal shelter facilities right here, and you can also compare it to past years of corret PETA data by looking at the table below:

To cut to the chase, here's how the data breaks down for dogs and cats put in PETA's care in 2008:

Of 584 dogs surrendered to PETA's "shelter" last year, 555 were killed by PETA and only 4 were adopted out. Another 21 dogs were transferred to the Virginia Beach SPCA, and 15 dogs were still "on hand" with PETA as of December 31, 2008. Of 1,589 cats surreneder to PETA's "shelter" last year, 1,569 were killed by PETA and only 3 were adopted out. Another 13 cats were transferred to the Virginia Beach SPCA, and 2 cats were still "on hand" with PETA as of December 31, 2009
Now here's the important part: PETA is very clearly in violation of Virginia state law. Last year I noted that PETA is licensed under Virginia law to run an animal shelter or humane society. Under Virginia law, an animal shelter means "a facility, other than a private residential dwelling and its surrounding grounds, that is used to house or contain animals and that is owned, operated, or maintained by a nongovernmental entity including, but not limited to, a humane society, animal welfare organization, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or any other organization operating for the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes for animals." Under Virginia law, a humane society means "any incorporated, nonprofit organization that is organized for the purposes of preventing cruelty to animals and promoting humane care and treatment or adoptions of animals." Under Virginia law, adoption means "the transfer of ownership of a dog or a cat, or any other companion animal, from a releasing agency to an individual."
In short, PETA is very clearly not running a legal shelter or humane society, and their license needs to be revoked by the state. PETA can then re-apply with the Virginia Department of Agriculture to run a slaughter house. And no, the slaughter house designation is not hyperbole. In 2008, PETA's shelter in Norfolk, Virginia took possession of 2,216 dogs, cats, and other “companion animals” and killed all but 7 of them -- a 95.8 percent kil rate.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


If there was ever a dog that deserved consideration to the Hall of Fame, it certainly is Bearcat. Not simply because Bearcat has the most field trial placements in the history of field trialing in the United States, although he does. Not simply because he was a phenomenal bird finder on both the northern prairies as well as the plantations of the south, although he was. Not because he provided so much pride for his owner Roger Boser and his breeder Joe Edwards, as well as the National Red Setter Field Trial Club, although he did. So why should Bearcat be a part of the Hall of Fame, alongside the likes of Count Gladstone IV, Fiddler’s Pride, Guard Rail, Miller’s Silver Bullet, or Grouse Ridge Will? It’s quite simple. Bearcat delivered performance and production.

Bearcat, bred by Joe Edwards of Goldsboro, NC, out of Come Back Choo Choo x Sugar Plum Christmas, was trained and handled by Dr. Roger Boser of Seven Valleys, PA. His career spanned placements from New England to Georgia. All in all, Bearcat garnered a record number of 158 placements including 14 championships and 8 runners-up. Overall, Bearcat placed in 61% of all trials entered.

Even more impressive is the impact that Bearcat has had on the quality of red setter field trial performance. His son Desperado was but one of many future champions who ran with Bearcat blood coursing through their veins. Of the many fine red setters who have made an impact on our breed, I am hard pressed to find a specimen who has made a greater impact than Bearcat.

The red setter is considered by most to be a “minority breed” in the field trial world. Certainly, in terms of sheer numbers, we fall far below the English Pointer and English Setter. But is not the Hall of Fame about honoring the contributions of a QUALITY bird dog? In the history of any breed of pointing dog in the United States, the number of dogs who have made the impact on a breed that Bearcat has made on the red setter, could be counted with the fingers of one hand… and those dogs are already in the Hall of Fame, as well they should be.

Each morning as I move to the kennels for my early chores, I look with pride at the string of red dogs waiting to greet me. These are true bird dogs, with the style and drive that would make any hunter or trialer proud! The thread that binds them together is their ancestry to Bearcat. The bird dog world is a better place today because of this fine red setter. Let’s honor his legacy by electing Bearcat to the Field Trial Hall of Fame.

We need your help! Please write a letter to the American Field and let the field trial community know how important this fine dog was to our breed restoration. Promoting our great RED ONES is an important part of the Purest Challenge. We need you to make this happen.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mackey Makes It Three In A Row!

Lance Mackey with his lead dogs "Maple" and "Larry" at the finish line!

Date: March 18, 2009 at 12:43 pm

In 2008, Lance Mackey proved the impossible was possible again. Today, (March 18, 2009) Lance Mackey made an indelible mark on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and on his legacy as an Iditarod Champion. The Fairbanks Alaska musher arrived in Nome Alaska at 11:38:46 am under a blue sky with thousands of race fans cheering him on. Mackey (Bib #47) made his way under the burled arch with 15 very happy, healthy members of his team. Mackey now joins the legendary Susan Butcher and Montana musher Doug Swingley as having accomplished three consecutive Iditarod Championships. He created an impressive gap between himself and the rest of the pack that has not been seen since 2001. This win was, in a word, “impressive.” Mackey set the pace in the 2009 Iditarod after taking his 24 hours in Takotna. From that point forward Mackey’s teams runs were blistering. He passed all of his competitors and grew his lead each step of the way.
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin called to congratulate Mackey on his three-peat. Iditarod Principal Partner Anchorage Chrysler Dodge owner Rod Udd was on hand to present Mackey with his third Dodge Ram Quad Cab Pick-up truck in a row. Principal Partner Wells Fargo’s Representative Loren Prosser presented Mackey a check for $69,000. In addition, Principal Partner ExxonMobil’s Representative Bill Brackin, and Principal Partner GCI’s Representative, Gary Samuelson presented Lance with the garland of roses for his two lead dogs Maple and Larry.

Tonya Mackey and "Hansel"

Check out Lance Mackey's kennel at http://www.mackeyscomebackkennel.com/index.html

Monday, March 16, 2009

WOW... great photography!

Thanks to the efforts of Heather Hauser, we have a set of really beatiful photographs of our trial. Heather is donating a small portion of the pictures to the club for use in the Flushing Whip and the websites, and the remaining photos are available for sale to anyone who is interested.

Check out these great photos...


Thanks again to Heather for sharing these pics with the club... please support her efforts by purchasing a couple of photos from her!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

2009 Red Setter Championship Winners!

2009 All Age Championship
Champion: Breakstone (Roger Boser)
RU: Code Red (Tim Hammons)

2009 Red Setter Futurity

1st: Come Back Buck (Ross Leonard)
2nd: Patina (Roger Boser)
3rd: Missy (Rex Cottle)
4th: Touchstone (Roger Boser)

Ross Leonard with Futurity winner Come Back Buck

Open All Age
1st: Aiken (Don Beauchamp)
2nd: Come Back Audie (Joe Edwards)
3rd: Code Red (Tim Hammons)

Amateur Shooting Dog

1st: Picadilly (Roger Boser)
2nd: Rocky Straight Arrow (Brian Gelinas)
3rd: Rock It (Tim Hammons)

Amateur Walking Shooting Dog Classic
1st: Hondo Muldoon (Jim Ashby)
3rd: IronFire's Jack Radigan (Mike Jacobson)

Open Walking Derby
1st: Berken (Tom Norton)

Billie and Whitey celebrate their wins!

Open Puppy


Friday, March 13, 2009

Meet the "red setter" family...

Here are some pics of the spring Championship trial...
hope to see you in one next time!
Kris Hammons and Dennis Hidalgo confer prior to the awards banquet

President Don Beauchamp presents Championship trophy
to Roger Boser

Don Beauchamp and Bonnie Hidalgo present
Walking Shooting Dog award to Al Fazenbaker

Our newest Board member Rupert Colmore

Red Setter Foundation Board member Dave Nolan
checks out the grounds kennels

Walking judge Larry Dickey. Larry is an avid grouse hunter and a Senior Judge in NAVHDA. His red setter Ghillie is out of Champion Breakstone x Flushing Whip Flash Edition.

Kris Hammons with one of her fine looking red setters.

Joe Edwards!

Our youngest participant at the trial... Brian Morgan!

Lots of good food at the Friday evening banquet!

Friends and family share a meal and good stories...

Brian waits for the food!

Paul Ober of Celtic Kennels chats with Phillip Morgan

Waiting for the awards ceremony to begin.

Check back later for pics of the winners!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Night On The Town... "red setter" style!!

If you didn't get a chance to get to Berea, KY this spring for our Championship, you missed a great party! Check out some of the "red setter" family... hope you can make it next year!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Red Setter Hall of Fame Inductee Wing Shot Fling

Bob & Catherine Gove accept the Red Setter Hall of Fame scroll on behalf of
Wing Shot Fling

We were especially honored and pleased this year at our 2009 National Championship to award entry of Wing Shot Fling into the Red Setter Hall Of Fame. Bob and Catherine Gove traveled from Princeton Minnesota to our trial grounds to be present for the awards ceremony, which took place on Friday evening of March 6 2009 at the Central Kentucky Wildlife Management Area. President Don Beauchamp presented Bob and Catherine the Hall of Fame scroll, and Bonnie Hidalgo spoke of the greatness of this red setter in a moving speech that left many in tears. Wing Shot Fling was a once in a lifetime dog, and she has now found a deserving resting place among the Great Ones in the Red Setter Hall of Fame.

Congratulations to Bob and Catherine, and to Hall of Famer
Wing Shot Fling

Bob & Catherine Gove accept the Red Setter Hall of Fame Scroll on behalf of


Bob Gove says a few words about his beloved "Fling"

Owner and Handler, Bob Gove remembers “Fling”...

"We are very honored to have Wing Shot Fling, a dog we were privileged to share life with, elected to the Irish Red Setter Hall of Fame! We are very appreciative to all the members who voted her in and to those who share the memory of this wonderful dog with Katherine and me. To quote the late singer song/writer Jim Croce, I’d especially like to thank “my best old X friend” Stan Zdanczewicz for nominating her. (Stan’s a music aficionado) Whelped February 5, 1978 Fling Came to me in April from the Rambling Red Irish Setters kennel of Anne Marie and Randy Kubacz, they could not have sent me a better dog. She was regally bred and her pedigree reads like the Who’s Who of Red Setterdom. Her Dam Turkey Talk Polly has produced many fine pups and had fountainhead-breeding close-up. Her sire the legendary Abra needs no elaboration.

Fling was my first real field trial dog. I never had a hunting dog as a boy growing up and while I was in college always wanted an Irish Setter. After graduating and getting a job I bought a puppy and for the first time heard about this field trial thing. In 1973, after suffering through nearly 2 years of my book learned training program, I entered her in the Irish Setter Club of Minnesota’s field trial. She got (I don’t know if won would be the right word) third place in an Irish Setter derby stake and I got “field trial fever”. I really couldn’t afford to jump in head first so started by breeding that female to Saturday Night Ed in 1974. From that litter I picked a pup that was a very nice dog, a fabulous grouse dog, but not really a horseback dog at least up until the time she was hit by a car and died. In 1977 I bought a horse in 1978 a horse trailer and that fall we, Fling and I, went to our first National Red Setter Field Trial Club (NRSFTC) championship. She had her first win a couple of weeks earlier, 1st in a 5 dog puppy stake. The Championship was held at the Green River Conservation Area near Ohio, Illinois. I rode every brace and was awe struck by the beauty of Green River, the fabulously groomed field trial grounds with abundant feed strips, hedge rows, open fields, thickets and woods scattered over 2500 acres on expertly laid out continuous courses. Add beautiful fall colors and all those wonderful Red Dogs I had been reading about, running and pointing pheasants, I was hyperventilating. Then my Fling, an 8 month old puppy, was 3rd in the NRSFTC open puppy with 19 entries. Oh my God, the dagger of “field trial fever” was trust into my very soul!

By the end of the spring of 1979 season Fling had won 18 placements (a nice career for a lot of dogs) including 2nd in the spring NRSFTC open puppy stake with 24 entries (can you imagine that... two NRSFTC puppy stakes with 19 and 24 entries, (those were the days). On top of that she won the NRSFTC Puppy of the Year award. Buckle up, Bob!

That August found us on the North Dakota prairies for 2 weeks. Fling had field trial qualities that combined undeniable devotion (willingness to please), burning desire (running with great strength and heart) and extreme boldness (run to the limits of the course no matter how wide). We both learned much about handling, running as big as the country and finding wild birds, Sharptail Grouse in this case. I believe it was the most influential experience in her development, we both learned a great deal. That fall was the start of her derby season and she began where she left off winning 8 derby placements. Again the NRSFTC Championship was at Green River and I met a young man, Keith Martin, who was the son of the area manager. Keith had just started training dogs professionally. Later that fall I sent Fling with him to Georgia to get her into birds. He did a good job and even placed her in a couple of trials down south. The spring of 1980 she finished her derby season with a total of 12 wins and won the NRSFTC Derby of the Year award. She was the first dog to win both juvenile Dog of the Year awards. Fall of 1980 she and I won our first Championship the inaugural NRSFTC National Amateur Championship and it was the thrill of thrills, my kneecaps were jumping. She went on to win the same Championship in 1983 and the NRSFTC Open Championship in 1985. Needless to say we continued to go to a lot of field trials and she won about everywhere we went, she had 103 American Field wins, I wrote them all down. She won the Duke award and was runner-up Legrande in 1985 and won both the Duke and LeGrande awards in 1986. She was always a gallery favorite due in part to her obvious desire to do whatever I asked and the way she artfully and boldly traversed the course to find birds. She was loved by many, feared by some, and hated by a very few that could not bear to lose to a Red Dog. One spring while the NRSFTC Championship was running at Rend Lake in southern Illinois I had to attend a seminar at the University of Indiana so Katherine and Denise Zdanczewicz Stops ran Fling. After I got to the trial I asked them how she did they said that every time she saw a rider off in the distance she would run off to them. They said they thought she spent the whole hour looking for me. The next day I ran her in the amateur shooting dog stake and she was 1st.
She was entered in several American Field all breed Championships. A few I can remember; All-American Shooting Dog Championship, Illinois Open Shooting Dog Championship, National Prairie Chicken Open Shooting Dog Championship (several times) and a variety Amateur Field Trial Clubs of America National and Regional Championships. I even ran her in the National Amateur Ruff Grouse Championship once (they thought she was a little wide). She was never placed in an all breed Championship but opened the eyes of many, be aware Red Dogs are not to be disregarded. You will have to beat them not just consider them extra purse money. What I consider to be her best wins were her winning the National Amateur Prairie Chicken Shooting Dog Classic, which became the National Amateur Prairie Chicken Shooting Dog Championship. Amateur Field Trial Clubs of America requires that to establish a new National Championship it must be run 3 times as classic to evaluate the merits of making it a Championship. Fling won the classic in 1985 and 1986, she was not alive to contest the 1987 running, it became a Championship in 1988. Like many great field trial dogs Fling was a house dog, a wonderful pet, a joy to be around, slept next to the bed every night, rode on the front seat of the truck, was mannerly, obedient, we couldn’t have asked for more. She was a great hunting dog especially on wild pheasant. She was really good at pinning them down and would hold point and let you flush but as soon as the shotgun was on your shoulder she would break to make the retrieve. She once ran off a shear 12-foot embankment at full stride retrieving a pheasant that was dropping into the river below. One summer we were bored and saw that there was a shoot to retrieve trail being held at a hunt club near us, that sounded fun so we entered her. When it came our turn I released her and she tore around the 40 acre area. I walked out about 100 yards and stood there whistling commands to her. After about 5 minutes I brought her into area where they were planting the birds and she soon pointed, I walked in and flushed a quail and the gunner shot it. I walked to Fling and tapped her on the head she did not budge, I tapped her again and again, blew the whistle, walked in front of her and pleaded for her to get the bird, she would not. So I led her out and released her and she soon had another bird pointed, flush, shoot, tap same result. I we did this 2 or 3 more times and she absolutely refused to retrieve. She knew this was a field trial and you don’t touch a bird in a field trial! Fling died 21 years ago due to kidney failure. I can’t believe how I still get teary eyed when I think or talk about what a wonderful dog she was. Katherine and I will never forget her and now thanks to the members of the NRSFTC she will forever be remembered through the Irish Red Setter Hall of Fame. Thank you. We are grateful to you all." (courtesy The Flushing Whip 2009)

Catherine Gove and Deb Fazenbaker show off the "Fling Cake" !!





Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Trial Highlights...

Here are some video highlights from the NRSFTC Championship and supporting stakes... over the next couple of days I will try to post whatever I have...

In the field during the Championship!

Brian Gelinas on a relocation

Brian Gelinas has a find

Roger Boser


Monday, March 9, 2009

New Red Setter Champion!!

The new Red Setter Champion for the 2009 Championship is Breakstone, handled by Roger Boser.
I'll get additional info posted on the trial as soon as I get home!