Northern New England Woodcock Championship

The 2010 running of the Northern New England Woodcock Championship took place September 17, 18, and 19 on the Maine Bird Dog Club’s championship courses. Three of the courses are on land owned by Dr. Rob Rose along the Saco River in Fryeburg, Maine. We are grateful to Dr. Rose for allowing us to use his unique property which may have as many grouse and woodcock per acre as any land in New England. Our third course is on state land — also along the Saco. As president of the Maine Bird Dog Club, Kellie Short has led this event for a number of years and is ably assisted by many of the club members. John Short and Bob Paucek brought their tractors down a couple of times to mow the trails and were present throughout the event to assist as needed. Bruce Burnell has taken over as the club’s secretary/treasurer and also put in many hours to keep the championship running smoothly. John Short manned the grill all three days including a great feed for handlers and owners on Saturday night that included barbecued chicken and fresh corn on the cob. Friday evening John Stolgitis, the owner/handler of last year’s winner Chasehill Little Bud made sure there was plenty of beer, seafood, and other treats for all. The Club would like to thank Joe McCarl and Jeff Mahaney for judging the Championship. Both men have extensive experience judging and handling dogs in the woods and their courteous attention to every brace was appreciated by all.
The Maine Bird Dog Club and all cover dog trial officials and participants greatly appreciate the ongoing support of Nestle Purina for our end of the sport. Although cover dog trials still have a large contingent of amateur owner/handlers, we could not put on this event with out the support of the professional trainers who attend. Thanks to Bruce and Jennie Minard who make the trek out from Michigan, Mark and Scott Forman of New York, Joe Dahl of Maine and John Stolgitis from Rhode Island, we had a strong entry of 47 dogs drawn for the championship.

Companion Stakes
On Thursday, the club ran two companion stakes on its nearby single course grounds. The derby and restricted shooting dog were lightly attended with each drawing six entries. In the derby Grouse Hill Dixie handled by Scott Forman for owner John Cappocci garnered the blue ribbon followed by Fireside Tsunami with Bruce Minard handling for Mary Beth Esser, and Beech Ridge Abigail grabbing third for newcomer owner/hander Russell Ogilvie. In the shooting dog Wild Apple Deuce came in first for owner/handler Craig Doherty, with Land Cruiser Rain in second handled by Scott Forman for owner Mike Cooke. In third was Paucek’s Classy for owner/handler Kellie Short.

The Winner and others
Topping the field this year was tri-colored setter male True Patriot, ably handled by his owner Kellie Short. True Patriot is no stranger to these grounds having run in this championship every year of his highly successful career. He has twice been runner-up in the past and put on a display this year that made him the clear “dog to beat” after he ran in the seventh brace. He started out quickly with finds at five and seven minutes where he was standing in the open on the edge of a two track with his bracemate backing. Both times he had a woodcock accurately located. At 12 he had his third woodcock and it was obvious that he was making a bid. It was probably his next find that clinched the championship for him. Kellie sent Bruce Minard out to scout and Judge McCarl and Kellie soon followed with the reporter in tow. The dog was finally found by the scout well forward and deep to the right side of the course a fourth woodcock was flushed with all in order. At this point all Kellie really needed to do was hold onto the dog for the rest of the hour, but True Patriot was not close to being done. He pointed woodcock at the 27 and 30 minute marks then a grouse at 40. At time his bell was silent and he was found ahead with yet another woodcock in front of him. Other dogs would make runs at him and some came close but from my perspective as reporter and obviously from the judges’ point of view none bested True Patriot on this occasion.
Runner-up honors went to last year’s champion as Chasehill Little Bud came out in the 13th brace and put five evenly spaced woodcock finds in the book with a good race. I don’t think the judges were counting finds but Bud just wasn’t as sharp as True Patriot on this day. Bud ran on course one and two other dogs that ran on that same course were seriously considered by the judges. Stokely’s Ker B ran in the 9th brace first thing Saturday morning and had a grouse and five woodcock but did not beat Bud on the ground. Wild Apple Jack ran on course one on the last day in the 17th brace had a really nice scouted find on a pair of grouse at 17 and a divided find on a grouse at 55 at the end of the hour he had an unproductive on the edge of the field where there was woodcock splash in front of him but no bird was produced. Stokely’s Ginger B had been carried early in the stake as she dug out three woodcock and back her bracemate twice on the new number 2 course.
Brace One – Magic Mist Riley – Joe Dahl and Spring Ponds Shooting Star – Bruce Minard – the first brace broke away on time Friday morning, the breakaway brood of grouse took out Star in the first minute and Riley was lost on point at 7 minutes. At 24 the bell started up in a spot we had walked by more than once and had flushed a grouse early in the search. After standing for that long Dahl knew he had too much of a hole to overcome and reached for the lead.

Brace Two – Lake Country Rayden – Forman and Stokely’s Ginger B – Bly – This was the first brace to run on the newly added course it is more open then the other courses but the thick ferns made it hard for many dogs to find birds and run with a good pattern. Ginger and Rayden both ran well — each logging two woodcock finds. They gave the Judges’ two early performances to work with. Ginger was the stronger and was carried into the second day when she was bumped down by True Patriot and then out when her kennelmate Ker-B ran.

Brace Three – Bog Brook Rigby – Stolgitis/Kiselwiski and Winter Set Steadfast – Minard – John Stolgitis started out with Rigby who kept coming back in the gallery looking for his owner. After a few minutes of this, owner and handler switched places and the dog started to stretch out a bit. Rigby was picked up at 21 for failing to back. Steadfast had three finds in the first half of the hour before being picked up for moving on its fourth bird.

Brace Four – Fireside Drama Queen – Minard and Last Flight – Dahl – Last Flight had a woodcock at the 8 minute mark but was picked up at 27 after its third nonproductive. Drama Queen had a woodcock at three, non-productives at 17 and 19, and a turkey in a tree at 41 which all conspired to keep this strong running dog out of contention.

Brace Five – South Bound Stretch – Stolgitis and Dateline Milwaukee – Minard – Milwaukee didn’t know what to make of the dense cover on course one and handler elected to pick it up early. Stretch went on to have a stop-to-flush on a woodcock at 9 and nice work on grouse at 11 and 25 the second requiring a nice relocation. He also put another woodcock find in the book at 35.

Brace Six – Texas Cherry Bomb – Forman and Pinehill Silent Echo – Minard – The only bird observed in this brace was a turkey at 42. Forman elected to pick up at 31 and Minard followed at 46.

Brace Seven – True Patriot – Short and Chasehill Ben Franklin – Flewelling – True Patriot was reported above. In addition to backing his bracemate three times, Franklin had a woodcock at 12 and a grouse at 25.

Brace Eight – Grove Hill Bullett – Forman and High Five Rock Solid – Minard – Bullett had woodcock at 7 and 34 with the later requiring multiple relocations as the bird scooted around under the ferns. Rock Solid had four woodcock finds and a respectable race.

Brace Nine – Stokely’s Ker-B – Bly and Fireside Hey Man – Minard – Ker-B was mentioned above. Bruce Minard had a lot of first year dogs that show future potential Hey Man was one of them.

Brace Ten – Chase Hill Molly – Stolgitis and Dunn Raven Grouse Getter – Froman – This was another brace that had trouble figuring out the cover on course two. Both dogs ran hard but failed to connect on a bird.

Brace Eleven – Dateline Black List – Minard and Star’s Southern Idol – Forman – This was an action packed brace with Black List carding woodcock at 10 and 20 and grouse at 32 and 46 with a stop to flush at the 28 minute mark. Idol also put birds in the book with two woodcock and a stop-to-flush on a grouse. A non-productive at either end of the hour detracted from an otherwise good performance.

Brace Twelve – Shadyhill Bean – Forman and Fireside Interesting Linda – Minard – Bean had a stop-to-flush at 10 and a pair of woodcock 35 before being picked up on a woodcock at 47. Linda bobbled a woodcock at 38 to end up on the leash.

Brace Thirteen – Mr Ted Stokely – Bly and Chasehill Little Bud – Stolgitis – Bud was mentioned above. Ted just couldn’t sort it out on this day and was picked up after a number of non-productives.

Brace Fourteen – Grouse River Ace – Forman and Magic Mist Bandit – Dahl – Ace had a non-productive early and was up on a woodcock at 42. Bandit put down a nice race on the new course and showed that the birds are there with woodcock finds at 13, 37, 49, and 58.

Brace Fifteen – Highfive Here She Comes – Minard and Grouse River Sheena – Forman – Neither dog could get much going and the brace was over early.

Brace Sixteen – Sweet Pea – Stolgitis and River’s Edge Sadie – Forman – You reach a point in championship of this caliber where everyone pretty much knows what their dogs have to do to push what the judges are carrying. In this brace there was a lack of birdwork with Sweet Pea having the only find at 10 and a non-productive at 15 Stolgitis went for the lead at 38. Forman followed at 40 to end the brace early.

Brace Seventeen – Wild Apple Jack – Doherty and LB Horchen – Forman – Jack was mentioned above. LB had a woodcock at 31 and the divided grouse find at 55.

Brace Eighteen – Upper Cove Desert Devil – Forman and Fargo – Stolgitis – Fargo failed to back at 18 and was up. Devil had finds at 13 and 18 followed by two non-productives. Forman went to the lead at 32 to end the brace.

Brace Nineteen – Upper Cove Billie Babe – Forman and Call Me Kate – Minard – This brace also ended early Babe had two non-productives, a back, a stop-to-flush, and a woodcock find before getting leashed. Kate had a back then woodcock at 10, 15, and 19 before failing to back at 21.

Brace Twenty – Fireside Fleetwood – Minard and Chip’s Charlie Brown – Forman – neither dog had anything in the book and both handlers elected to pick up at the 35 minute mark.

Brace twenty-one – Movelle’s Daisy – Storer and High Five Wrangler – Minard – Wrangler has had some great days. This was not to be one of them as she never really got it going. Daisy was handled by Max Storer and it was the championship debut for both. Daisy bobbled a woodcock at 32 to end her bid but we hope that Max has caught the bug, as this sport can always use more participants.

Brace twenty-two – Chip’s Uncle Buzzy – Forman and Fireside High Noon – Minard – High Noon failed to back at 8 to end his bid. Buzzy had a pair of woodcock at 6 and then singles at 8, 13, 47, and 57 to go a long with a good ground effort.

Brace Twenty-three – River’s Edge Bella – Forman – Some dogs run well as the bye others lose some of their fire. Bella only managed a woodcock at 12 to bring this year’s championship to a close.

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