The Wisconsin Cover Dog Championship
The Chippewa Valley Grouse Dog Association continues to proudly host the annual Wisconsin Cover Dog Championship. This year’s championship began on October 5th and concluded October 8th. The weather ranged from cloudy to partly cloudy with an occasional evening and early morning rain shower. Temperatures ranged from mid-30’s to mid-60’s. 52 Dogs were drawn for this year’s Championship.
The Chippewa Valley Grouse Dog grounds are one of the best trial grounds in the country. Our 6 courses, covering nearly 13 miles, requires sweat equity and good teamwork to maintain. A big thank you to: Tom Goltz, Roger King, Mike Luebke, Dennis Baumann, Tim Callahan, Brent Sittlow, Larry Davidson, Bert Benshoof, Randy Bruder, Colin Peterson and Brad Peterson for their hard work. In addition, Mike Luebke did an excellent job on the required paperwork. During the trial, Scott and Roger King hosted a judge’s dinner and provided lunch one day and both were excellent. Thank you.
Ben McKean, from Minnetrista, MN, and Ryan Hough, from St. Bonifacius, MN judged the championship. Both judges demonstrated a professional, attentive demeanor with strong discretion while managing the physical demand of 13 miles of courses daily. Thank you for your efforts in this Championship. Good judges make good championships and we experienced both.
Thank you to Greg Blair and Purina for their continued support of the Championship. We very much appreciate what Greg and Purina does to enhance the success of our trials and their commitment to the sport of Cover Dog.
We must also recognize Eau Claire County. We are truly blessed to have the opportunity to run our dogs on these grounds. The grounds are nationally recognized to consistently provide excellent opportunities on both Grouse and Woodcock for all dogs entered. We do not take for granted all the work the Eau Claire County team does on our behalf. We experience and appreciate cooperation like no other in the entire country – Thank You!
Brace #15 HighLine - Course 3
Champion: Moss Meadow Seeker (SM) Ken Moss
After a dominate win in the North Country Championship, Seeker threw down another Championship run at the Wisconsin for back-to-back wins. Seeker pointed a pair of grouse and 4 woodcock in a methodical and steady race that kept the judges on their toes. Congratulations to Ken Moss and Seeker.
Brace #22 Highline - Course 3
R/U Champion: Northwoods Atlas (SM) Greg Johnson
Atlas ran a strong forward race which produced 3 woodcock and great ground application. Congratulations to Greg and Atlas.
Brace #1 Wilson Park – Course 1
Setter Ridge Flash Forward (ESF) Scott Chaffee - ran a strong forward race. She stopped at 35 minutes with a woodcock find and stood tall with fully intense manners. Flash Forward was Day Dog for the first day. Kalamity Cinder (RSF) Bruce Minard - Cinder ran a nice race with but produced no individual bird work. She did back on her bracemate’s point.
Brace #2 Gas Line Course – Course 2
Upper Ammonoosuc Ivy (PF) - Scott Forman and Grousetails Firestorm (PF) - John McKellop. At 25 minutes Ivy and Firestorm stopped face to face with a divided find. As the handlers approached the dogs a grouse lifted through the canopy. Both handlers shot their pistols. At 35 minutes, Ivy was found on point again. After two flushing attempts, the
handler relocated his dog which took the wrong end of the scent funnel and the bird flush beneath the dog – which proved too much for Ivy to handle. At 48 minutes Firestorm’s bell went silent on the right side of the course. Firestorm’s scout located the pointed dog. The handler flushed the woodcock and the dog held through the shot. Firestorm had an additional woodcock at 58 minutes and a stop to flush on another woodcock at 59 minutes.
Brace #3 Highline Course – Course 3
Rufus Del Fuego (ESM) - Neil Anderson & Blair’s Calvary Mountain (PM) - Tom Waite. Exciting start to this brace. Rufus pointed a woodcock at 13 minutes. Upon Rufus’ release both dogs drove hard to the front. Both Rufus and Calvary Mountain ended up too far in front and took themselves out of the bidding.
Brace #4 Horseshoe Creek – Course 4
Out Of The Shadows (ESF) - Bob Wheelock struck first with a pointed woodcock at 14 minutes with a difficult bird location. Thornapple Cody (SM) - Bruce Minard was found on point at 18 minutes, but no bird could be produced. The setter female once again was on point at 26 minutes, but no bird flushed. As the dog was released, a woodcock was sighted but the dog didn’t react, so no shot was fired. Out Of The Shadows once again was steady at 35 minutes on a woodcock. However, this time proved to be too much, and the handler picked up his dog. Thornapple Cody finished the hour with no further bird work.
Brace #5 H Course – Course 5
Grouse Hill Pepper (PF) Scott Chaffee & North Slopes Allie (SF) Ed Grady both ran strong with good efforts but unfortunately neither produced any bird work.
Brace #6 Diablo Jake Course – Course 6
Books White Hot Blaze (RSM) & Grouse Hill Bullet Proof (ESM) Scott Forman. Both dogs showed good effort. There is a large swamp on Course 6 which both handlers needed to navigate their dogs around which consumed a good amount of their hour. No birds were produced in this brace.
Brace #7 Wilson Park Course – Course 1
Northern Slopes Star (ESF) - Ed Grady and Brushville Burton Spencer (SM) - Tom Waite. Precipitation stopped right before the 8:00 a.m. day 2 breakaway. Both Star and Spencer started forward but ended up behind the gallery for the first 17 minutes. Eventually, Spencer found the front and worked hard to finish the hour without producing a find. Star’s handler got her back in front but requested his tracker at 30 minutes.
Brace #8 Gas Line Course – Course 2
Tupelo Honey (ESF)- Bob Wheelock and Grouse Hill Mags (ESF) - Scott Forman. This brace started and maintained energy throughout the hour. Tupelo Honey had the biggest and strongest race of the trial thus far. At every opportunity Honey she covered well with exciting anticipation for the judges and handler. At 55 minutes Honey slammed a woodcock point and handled the bird with all appropriate manners. Mags also held the attention of all in attendance on this brace. She ran strong and had one point that was so intense it produced an uncharacteristic verbal response from one of the judges. Mags had an unproductive at 30 minutes. At 45 she was found on point again. No bird was produced while attempting to flush but as the handler decided to move on when an unforgiving woodcock flushed. It should be noted that many handlers commented on how tight the birds were holding.
Brace #9 Highline Course – Course 3
A pair of setter females were featured in this brace. Dale Creek Gypsy Queen (ESF) - Tom Waite and Kit’s Whiskey River Patsy (ESF )- Scott Chaffee. Gypsy Queen had two unproductive finds at 31 and 36 minutes. Good effort but no confirmed bird work. Patsy ran with snappy, animated purpose. She was running with enthusiasm and drive as she went on point in a ravine populated with thick, bloodletting thorns. After two attempts at flushing, her handler relocated her. On the third attempt to flush the dog broke point.
Brace #10 Horse Creek Course – Course 4
Cedar Creek McArthur (RSF) - Tom Waite and Wild Apple Siri (PF) - Bruce Minard. McArthur finished the hour but lacked desired range for the judges and didn’t produce any birds. Siri had a strong outing producing woodcock finds at 16 minutes with a stand to flush, at 32 minutes and 40 minutes with good points.
Brace #11 H Course – Course 5
Rib River Tough Enough (BM) Roger King and Meredith Grade Corky (ESM) Tammy Chaffee. Tuffy had a mature and focused run. His handler saw him on point at 22 minutes but noted he wasn’t demonstrating his usual posture, so he moved him forward and the Brittany locked on point which produced a woodcock. Tuffy finished the brace as he started – strong. Corky, a powerful male setter, went on point at the 30-minute mark. No bird was produced initially so his handler tapped him for a relocate and a woodcock popped in the process. Corky showed expected manners stopped at flush. At the 35-minute mark the big setter pointed another woodcock and managed it well. Both dogs finished the brace with gusto.
Brace #12 Diablo Jake – Course 6
Raintree Blue Moon (RSM) - Tom Waite. One of the better built red setters on the circuit. Moon put in the work with big range but didn’t produce any birds. Vitali’s Grouse Ridge Pappy (SM) - Scott Forman. Pappy earned the nick name of Ferrari by keeping the judge’s attention with his ability to eat up the course. At 33 minutes, Pappy had a woodcock find. At 45 minutes, he posted an unproductive. Judges and gallery enjoyed watching this brace.
Brace #13 Wilson Park Course – Course 1
Day 3 started at 33 degrees at the breakaway. Snyder’s Fireside Ed (ESM) - Tammy Chaffee and Shady Hill’s Whiskey Bonfire (ESM) - Scott Forman. Both dogs enjoyed the temperature and were ready to hunt. Ed was on mission with his bell stopping at 30 minutes. Both handler and judge looked for the dog for 10 minutes. When found, Ed was standing proud that both handler and judge were convinced he had a bird, but none could be produced. Ed finished the hour. Whiskey started with a strong forward race. He pointed a woodcock cleanly at 21 minutes and an unproductive find at 29. The woodcock showed itself right under the dog! When the bird flushed the dog spun to mark the bird. It was impressive bird work by Whiskey. The setter is stunning on point. Whiskey went on the finish the hour.
Brace #14 Gas Line Course – Course 2
Ruffed Country Sweet (ESF) - Jordan Pharris and HiFive’s Top Shelf (PF) - Bruce Minard. Sweet started well working both sides of the course and into the right cover. Unfortunately, she got too far away from the handler, and it took 20 minutes to get her located again. Sweet didn’t point any birds but did finish the hour. Top Shelf had a solid race. At halfway he got caught up in what the judges titled “the worst thorny death chamber of plants.” Top Shelf was stopped but couldn’t be located. The dog was certainly on birds. When the handler released his dog, it immediately went to the front. The handler and judged flushed a grouse on departing the ‘thorny death chamber.” At that time, Top Shelf dove into the cover and the bell went silent. One second later the judge called time. The handler couldn’t flush the bird so he asked to relocate which the judge granted. Thirty yards from the original point the Top Shelf pointed again. Upon approach a grouse flush 20 feet to the right of the dog. The handler fired and that concluded the hour.
Brace #15 Highline Course – Course 3
Moss Meadow Seeker (ESM )- Ken Moss and Bad Habit (PF)- Ben Mergens. Seeker is a solidly built male setter. He started his brace with an unproductive find at 14 minutes. It got better from there. Moments later he pointed a woodcock where he stood proud. At 31 minutes Seeker was found 20 feet off the trail in a tag alder thicket. As the handler and judged approached a grouse lifted through the falling leaves. Seconds later, as the handler closed the distance to his dog, another grouse flushed in front of the dog. The handler discharged his pistol and the brace continued. At 36 minutes Seeker stopped again for another woodcock find in thick cover. His final point was another woodcock in typical cover. Bad Habit is a young, fancy pointer who put together a strong run. At 30 minutes she located a woodcock and her bird manners were perfection. At 36 minutes she immediately backed her bracemate with a picturesque point. At 46 minutes the handler and judge went to locate Bad Habit on point. The young female was
next to Seeker facing the opposite direction. Bad Habit needed to stand through her bracemates shot. After Seeker was moved, Bad Habit’s handler shot. Very impressive work for a young dog. She went on to finish the brace strong.
Brace #16 Horse Creek – Course 4
Thornapple Casey (ESM) - Bruce Minard and Angel’s Envy (ESF) - Bob Wheelock ran the 16th brace. Casey was focused on great habitat from the release and the handler had a true handle on him proving how well they connect. At 32 minutes Casey stopped but no bird could be produced. At 40 minutes Casey stopped again and relocated on his own. The handler decided to end his bid. Envy had a huge forward race. She was consistently forward until the 30-minute mark when she decided to hunt in the opposite direction. The handler called for his tracker at that time.
Brace #17 was eliminated due to scratches.
Brace #18 H Course – Course 5
Moss Meadow Magic (ESM) - Ken Moss and Rebellious Fearless Fred (ESM) - Mike Luebke. Magic is a very enthusiastic, strong, hard charging dog. He started his hour with a back to his bracemate. Both dogs were classic “high at both ends.” Magic was found again on point at the 20-minute mark, but no birds could be flushed. He followed up with two tight woodcock finds at 31 and 41 minutes. Magic finished the hour. Fearless Fred’s bell stopped at the 12-minute mark but the last location the bell was heard was difficult to determine. When the dog was found, no bird could be produced. Fred’s bell stopped again a few minutes later and was rewarded with 2 woodcock. At 25 minutes Fred pointed another woodcock. The dog stopped again at 40 minutes in some of the most challenging cover on the course. The judge passed a few feet from Fred and didn’t see him. It took 10 minutes to find the dog in the thick cover. Unfortunately, no bird was produced. Fred finished the hour with plenty of gas left in the tank. Exceptional dog.
Brace #19 Diablo Jake – Course 6
Fireside’s Sally Forth (ESF) - Tammy Chaffee. Sally Forth, a solidly built, nice looking setter started her bid at 11 minutes with a hard point on a woodcock. The young setter was excellent through wing and shot. At 15 minutes Sally Forth slammed on point close to the course for the gallery to enjoy. The handler flushed the woodcock and when attempted to shoot her pistol, it misfired three times. The dog left when the gun finally shot. Unfortunate for both dog and handler. Over The Hill Merry (PF) - Rod Lein. Merry dove into the cover from the release. At 13 minutes, on the right side of the course, the bell went silent. It took a few minutes to located Merry. The judge and handler walked up the grouse which was 20 yards away from the pointed dog. The shot was fired and Merry stood steady. At 19 minutes Merry went on point again in dense cover. Due to the thick cover, it took several minutes to located her. When she was located no bird could be produced. Another stop for Merry at 39 minutes in an opening for all to see. The handler made a thorough search for a bird but was unable to flush one. Upon relocation the bird popped and Merry, uncharacteristically, mishandled the flush thus ending her hour. The birds continued to hold very tight during this trial.
Brace #20 Wilson Park – Course 1
BK Rolling The Dice (PM) - Bruce Minard and Flycast Rollie Fingers (ESM) - Scott Chaffee. BK demonstrated a dramatic, powerful, forward race – always in the right place. However, he needed the entire hour to produce some bird would which came at 59 minutes with a divided find on a woodcock. Rollie threw down his customary focused, fancy race and was finally awarded a divided find at 59 minutes.
Brace #21 Gas Line Course – Course 2
HiFive’s Powerline (PM) - Bruce Minard. Powerline is a strong dog that demonstrates good ground application. The handler found his dog standing at 9 minutes but that ended with an unproductive. The handler elected to pick up his dog at the 30-minute mark.
Brace #22 Highline – Course 3
Setter Ridge Pioneer Sam (ESM) - Tammy Chaffee. Sam is a handsome setter that is eye catching on the run. At 13 minutes he was found on point with multiple woodcock being produced in which the dog demonstrated strong manners. At 27 minutes Sam’s bell stopped again in a thicket that no dog had hunted during the trial. That stop produced another woodcock. At 44 minutes Sam pointed one more woodcock with all manners in order. Northwoods Atlas (ESM) - Greg Johnson. Atlas ran a purposeful, forward race stopping first at 13 minutes on a multiple bird find. His handler was approximately 40 yards away from the dog at flush and decided to shoot. Atlas kept it together in proper order. At 27 minutes Atlas stopped for a woodcock limb find 50 yards from his bracemates separate find. Atlas followed that with a point at 43 minutes on a flight bird. The woodcock flew 10 yards, three feet off the ground and Atlas maintained his manners throughout the temptation. Atlas is a beautiful dog on point. The setter finished making moves to where he should have been, rolling through open ground and thoroughly hunting objectives. Atlas showed power and reach when it mattered – in the last five minutes. This was a great brace.
Brace #23 Horse Creek Course – Course 4
Pistol Patch Bullet (PM) - Scott Forman & HiFive’s Ruff Runner (PM) - Bruce Minard. Bullet ran a strong race but didn’t produce any birds. The handler opted to pick up the dog at the 50-minute mark. Ruff Runner pointed a grouse, right off the course, at 20 minutes with good manners. The dog followed with a woodcock point at 39 minutes but had an indiscretion and the handler picked him up. Overall, Ruff Runner’s race and application was good.
Brace #24 H Course – Course 5
Grousetail’s Warrior Cat (PF) - John McKellop. Cat is an incredibly athletic dog. The dog backed her bracemate at 17 minutes, but no bird was produced. At the 22-minute mark Cat mishandled a grouse ending her bid.
Springpond Rockin’ Sydney (SF) - Tammy Chaffee. Sydney started with a ‘close to the course’ woodcock find at 8 minutes. That was followed with an unproductive point at 17 minutes. At 23 minutes the dog had a clean woodcock find. The handler elected to pick up Sydney at the 30-minute mark. Nice young female setter that we will see in the future.
Brace #25 Diablo Jake – Course 6
Rawling’s Star (ESM) - Scott Forman & Northview’s Dixie Storm (ESF) - Bruce Minard. Star was coming off a Runner Up at the North Country Championship. He ran a good race with good application, but no birds were produced. The handler picked him up at 30 minutes. Storm started her race strong with a grouse find at the 11-minute mark. At the 30-minute mark the dog mishandled a woodcock ending her run.
Brace #26 Wilson Park – Course 6
Oscar Robinson (ESM) - Scott Forman. Oscar’s handler wasn’t satisfied with his dog at the 15-minute mark and chose to pick him up early. Snyder’s Sadie (ESF) - Tammy Chaffee. Sadie is a fancy, young setter that is easy to watch. At 33 minutes Sadie pointed a grouse and tried to reposition causing the bird to fly. The dog didn’t respond appropriately to the flush and was picked up.
The Championship was followed by the Derby. A strong selection of 12 entries laid down good races. In the end, the judges chose Morgan (PF) – Rod Lein for First Place. Rod’s (PF) - Try took second place and Paul Cook’s - Little Hawk took third place. All three dogs ran mature, and each had bird work. Thank you to Bert Benschoof and Bob Wheelock for judges the derby stakes.
Chippewa Valley Grouse Dog Association is committed to the sport of Cover Dog. We will continue to strive to offer the best possible field trial experience to both Professional and Amateur handlers to showcase the sport’s best cover dogs on one of the best trial venues on the circuit. We look forward to seeing you at one of our future trial.