EAST WINDSOR, Conn. -- Four outstanding finds and a ground-eating race was all it took for Sugar Knoll War Paint, a pointer male owned and handled by Frank Henderson, to be named champion at the Region 1 Amateur Horseback Championship held May 26-27, 2013, at Flaherty Field Trial Area. Runner-up with an equally fast, forward ground race, and with four finds was Great River Magnum, handled by Jack Sanchez for his son, Brian, while Brian recuperates from shoulder surgery.
Honorable mention went to Calico's Catch & Release, a pointer male handled by Alex Smith, and to Chasehill Little Bud, a pointer male handled by Elias Richardson.
Judges were John Malone of Bolton, Conn., and Bill Bonnetti of Plymouth, Mass. Chairman was John Stolgitis.
Twenty-six dogs were entered in the two-day stake which was part of Memorial Day weekend field trial that also featured companion Open stakes.
Due to unforseen health issues for some of its members, Spruce Brook Field Trial Club had been forced to cancel its spring trial usually held on Memorial Day weekend. This trial is always well-attended and many field trialers still wanted to see the event run this weekend.
Members of Region1/AFTCA, of which Spruce Brook is a member, stepped up to support the Spruce Brook club and decided to run the one-hour amateur horseback championship, along with an accompanying trio of Open stakes, so as not to lose the date.
Through the efforts of Spruce Brook president Don Gustafson, members Dave O'Brien and John Malone, Region 1 president Bill Bonnetti, ANEFTC president Richard Giuliano, Region 1 secretary Janice Gregory, Region 1 treasurer Jeff Smith and Region 1 trustee Elias Richardson, and most especially Spruce Brook chairmen Alene LeVasseur and Tom Tracy, a full slate of events was run and the turnout, as always, was quite good for the highly anticipated event. We all hope Alene and Tom will return next year to chair this trial.
The winner came from the fourth brace of the two-day championship. War Paint was paired with Dancing Daisy Duke, a pointer female owned and handled by Chris Palmer. Daisy was picked up early for taking steps after a find. War Paint would go on to have four outstanding finds where he stood staunchly on his birds with a poker-straight tail. At every find, judges said, the dog never moved a muscle. He made some big moves, eating up the ground with his strides in an always-forward race. He was immaculate on his birds and finished his hour going away.
Great River Magnum (Sanchez) and Richfield Finnegan (McNamee) were paired in the eighth brace. The dogs had a divided find early on. Finn would have two more finds and a back, but his heart didn't seem in it this day and he was leashed by his owner. Magnum, run by Jack Sanchez in place of son Brian, who was still recovering from shoulder surgery, laid down a stellar race starting with the divided find, then going out to have three more well-spaced pieces of birdwork. Magnum was much like War Paint in intensity, thoroughness and skill. However, at the 48-minute mark, as the field trial party was heading through the big field under the power lines, the dog evaporated. When time was called, the scout went out and, eight minutes later, returned with the dog. This provided just enough difference in the judges' eyes for the dog to be named runnerup.
In the first brace, High Drive Rocky (Linder) was paired with Barcelona Bull (Saniga). Rocky had four well-spaced finds, including a stop to flush and ran a moderate race. Bull didn't have any finds until well after the half-hour mark and also ran a moderate race.
In the second brace, Racey Kate (Drew) broke away with Calico's Dynomite (Linder). Kate had three finds with some big absences in between. Dynomite got himself lost.
Silverhill Suzie Q (Marin) was braced with RJ's Carbon Copy (Linder) in the third. This brace was over early as both dogs were picked up -- Suzie for not pleasing her owner; Carbon Copy for failing to back.
Fourth brace, Sugar Knoll War Paint (Henderson) and Dancing Daisy Duke (Palmer). Previously described.
Richfield Silver Belle (McNamee) was braced with Erin's Silver Wings (Linder) in the fifth. This was a short brace as both dogs were lost early on.
Breaking away for the sixth brace were Awsum Country Girl (Ricci) and
Ironstone Clyde (Richardson). Clyde had three nice finds but was picked up the third for moving too much after the bird was flown. Judges were looking closely at Awsum Country Girl. She was immaculate on her birds. Her race, while not as big as the champion and runnerup, was so animated that it kept the judges' attention. She had five lovely finds, marred by one unproductive. Then as time was about to be called, she was found on point. After four relocations that took upwards of 10 minutes, no bird was produced, and with that second unproductive, she was out of contention.
Richfield Silver Lining (McNamee) and A Keystone Kid (Saniga) were braced in the seventh. Silver Lining was lost and Kid was picked up due to a breech of manners.
Eighth brace, Great River Magnum (Sanchez) and Richfield Finnegan (McNamee). Previously described.
In the ninth brace, Buffalo Bull (Saniga) was braced with Railway Danny (Casale). Bull had a number of finds, including a nice stop-to-flush but judges were critical of his pointing style. Danny, run by 91-year-old Gene Casale Sr., ran a moderate race and in the eyes of his handler, just wasn't getting the job done. He was leashed by the half-hour mark.
Chasehill Little Bud (Richardson) and I'm Earl (Drew) made up the 10th brace. Earl was picked up for bird infraction. Bud would go on to get honorable mention. The white and liver pointer, equally at home at horseback or walking trials, had seven well-spaced finds, some the judges described as absolutely beautiful. The only faults the judges could find were that Bud's race just didn't flow during the first half. And they, too, were somewhat critical of his pointing style.
In the 11th brace, Chasehill Little D'Lite (Richardson) was paired with Calico's Touch of Class (Henderson). D'Lite would pay no attention to her handler and was picked up. Class had four good finds with a moderate race. An unproductive put her out of contention.
In the 12th brace, Calico's Catch and Release (Smith) was braced with Jessie (Smith). Jessie was picked up early for a breach of manners. Catch and Release would have five nicely-executed finds with a handler who obviously had a good rapport with the dog. Catch and Release made a number of intellegent moves and was well-mannered on his birds. He ran a good, forward race but without the sparkle of the top two dogs. He shone enough, however, to earn honorable mention.
In the final brace of the championship, Rockabully (Saniga) was paired with Southbound Strech (Fino). Rockabully had four finds, the last being a divided find. All of Strech's finds came in the second half. Both dogs finished their hour going away.
COMPANION STAKESOpen Derby: 1. Ice's Image, PM, Mike Tracy; 2. One Bad Winter, PF, John Stolgitis; 3. Ironstone Lonestar, ESM, Elias Richardson. Judges: Jim Bush and Richard Giuliano.
Open Restricted Shooting Dog: 1.Palara, PF, Mike Tracy; 2. Silver Hill Big Brutus, PM, Pat Casey; 3. Limbsmoke Sugar Plum, PF, Lloyd Miller. Judges: Jim Hathaway and Jeff Smith.
Open Shooting Dog: 1. Jet-Settin' Jenny, PF, Mike Tracy; 2. Awsum Country Girl, PF, Mike Tracy; 3. Fort River Megabucks, ESM, Matt Basilone. Judges: Elias Richardson and John Stolgitis.
Many thanks to Purina for all their support and to the members of Region 1 who helped support this championship and the accompany trio of companion stakes.