I recently had the time to add some more trial reports to the page http://wildapplekennel.com/field-trial-reports/. It was interesting to note that the first entry on that page was the 2004 report of the Miss Leslie Open Derby in which Wild Apple Jack was the runner-up while still a puppy. The most recent entry is the 2015 report of the Miss Leslie that was won this year by Wild Apple Spot On. The year Jack placed in the Miss Leslie was the last year that the stake was run in Debec on the single Track Course with mandatory callbacks on Sunday morning. It was a fair way to judge derbies as the first series gave the judges an opportunity to evaluate the young dogs based on their races over the same ground and no dog placed in it just because they had the course with birds on it. When it moved to Dave Palmer’s Cronk Farm in 2005 Jack had a great race but no bird and there was no call backs. I was not happy with the change but have since run and judged at Cronk Farm many times and have come to see it as a viable test of our Northeast grouse and woodcock dogs. Cover is tight requiring a dog the handles well while still running a field trial worthy race and the birds are often plentiful requiring a dog to handle multiple finds on most occasions.
Dave Palmer, with the help of many, spent much time and treasure improving the habitat of his hillside farm. And over the last ten years it has come to host a number of events. This year, the Maritime Grouse Classic, the North American Woodcock Championship and the Woodcock Futurity, and the Miss Leslie Anderson Open Derby which Spot won with two (actually three) grouse finds. Unfortunately the future of the grounds is now unknown due to the sad news that Dave Palmer had finally succumbed this week to his long battle with cancer.
I first met Dave over 20 years ago when I first attended the International Amateur Woodcock Championship. He always proved himself to be a knowledgeable bird dog man and, once we started trialing at Cronk Farm, a gracious host. I have many fond memories of dogs run at Cronk Farm and my many conversations with Dave. He will truly be missed.