|Wild Apple LJ on a find back in July.|
It was a good weekend over in McAdam, New Brunswick at the inaugural running of the Maritime Open Grouse Classic and Bob Little deserves a big thank you for doing the lion’s share of the work to make this happen. Originally, the trial was to take place on other grounds where the course were already established but that plan changed and Bob laid out three relatively even and fair one hour courses. Had he been able to control the weather we would have been able to see a lot more birds. The warm temperatures and blue bird sky made it tough for the Classic on Saturday The winner and runner-up — Magic Mist Bandit (Dahl) and Peace Dale Duke (Frissella) — came out of the first brace with a number of the other dogs having trouble digging out birds as the day warmed.
Sunday morning was still warm and dry with the judges only giving out two of the three placements in the 12 dog 1/2 hour shooting dog (Bear River Shea, first — Beech Ridge Abigail, second). Then the weather changed after lunch with a couple of light showers and suddenly there were birds around. Out of the seven young dogs in the derby at least five of them had chances on birds. Winning a seven dog derby stake, in some ways, isn’t really a big deal, but in other ways it is. Wild Apple LJ won in convincing fashion with a strong race and two broke woodcock finds one of which was out on the limb and he was found standing in open woods by his scout with a woodcock coming up in clear view. This is LJ’s fourth start in a field trial. He ran three times as a puppy and placed twice. This weekend was his first go as a derby and now he’s qualified for all open and amateur cover dog championships except the Grand and the Lake States (those two require a shooting dog placement). So, the pressure is off and the important reason for running derbies is accomplished. I’ll still run him in the woodcock futurity, the Leslie Anderson, and possibly over in Fryeburg where they’re holding a wild bird derby in conjunction with the Northern New England Woodcock Championship. Now though if the wheels start coming off or LJ needs to be corrected during a trial the temptation to overlook something because he’s still not qualified is gone. Now we just run for the fun and the glory.
If I had any doubt about wanting to repeat the breeding of Jack and Trip (which I didn’t) I definitely want a chance to get another LJ after seeing him this weekend. In fact, I’m thinking of finding a bitch and getting some LJ puppies this winter as well. A mistake I made with Jack was I waited to breed him myself assuming that after he won the Grand I would be able to build the kennel with stud fee puppies. But for whatever reason we have not had the opportunity to get a lot of Jack puppies out there. My fault and I’m going to try and make sure that doesn’t happen again with LJ.