2019 NGSPA PHEASANT CHAMPIONSHIP
November 1-7, 2019
By Anthony Rusciano
The kick off for the 46th running of the NGSPA Pheasant Championship was on Friday, November 1, 2019 on the scenic grounds of Wye Island, Maryland. Except for slight rain on Friday we couldn’t have asked for nicer field trial weather for the week. Ranger Martin Callahan, who manages the grounds, informed us before we headed out the first day that they had left additional cover up for us this year and it provided us with ample areas to hold the pheasant.
Mr. Wes Williams who was our pheasant planter did an outstanding job and his attention to wind direction, cover, and his bird dog wisdom resulted in just about every brace establishing multiple pheasant finds. Wes your hard work was greatly appreciated and the Pheasant board couldn’t thank you enough for your assistance and the use of your UTV.
Every year our championship is always fortunate enough to have many field trial friends return. The fall weather and leaves changing color makes for beautiful scenery, the delicious home cooked meals, competitive dogs, and friends who are more like family make it an enjoyable time for all. Whether it was taking entries, planting birds, driving the dog wagon, assisting in the kitchen, being a stake manager, or jumping in where needed, this championship could not be a successful event without a team effort. Thank you to all board members that volunteered their time to make this championship an enjoyable one for all of our attendees. We are grateful to all the participants (friends) that return every year and we welcome the newcomers that joined us this year. Special appreciation for their hard work and dedication goes out to; Dayna Rusciano, who with pneumonia this year, did our food shopping, prepared meals, scouted dogs and assisted with just about everything else that needed to be done, Michaelene Albanese, Jen Goodall and April Raber for taking entries, handling paperwork and collecting fees, Chris Young for stepping in and supporting when and wherever was needed, Joe Amatulli for constructing bird pens to hold the pheasant, Joe Orndorff, Chuck Gonzalez, Katie Gonzalez, and Staci Goegan for handling the dog wagon, Doc Reynolds and Hank Lewis for marshalling and promptly getting everyone to the line and started on time.
Chris Goegan of Hi-Point Kennels thank you for supplying horses for our amateur participants and judges this year. To the State of Maryland thank you for allowing us to continue to utilize the island. To our sponsors, the Board would like to express our sincere gratitude to Terry Trzcinski, Greg Blair and Purina for your unwavering support throughout the years. Jim Morehouse, at SportDog, we appreciate your generosity in sponsoring and supporting our championship. To Mr. Tom Davis thank you for donating the limited edition Pheasant print that we framed and presented to this years ASD Champion.
We would also like to show gratitude to our 2018 Amateur Shooting Dog Champion Mark and Chase Verdoorn and Runner Up Champion Chris Young for donating this year’s annual bushel of crabs and shrimp. Although Dan DiMambro almost set the place on fire, he took time away from his busy schedule Saturday to cook and watch over the pig for our annual pig roast. The pig turned out great and everyone enjoyed the BBQ feast.
To our professional trainers and handlers thank you for traveling many miles to attend and support our championship. Dan DiMambro and April Raber, Chris, Staci and Giovanni Goegan, Rich and Penny Robertson, Barry Bollinger, and Mike Mullineaux thank you for joining us this year. We cannot thank Keith and Bobbi Richardson enough for their overwhelming support and generosity to our championship, to the NGSPA, and to the sport of field trialing.
Last year it was suggested by some of the participants that we attempt to run our Championship as a Dual sanctioned NGSPA and AKC event. Well this year with the assistance and cooperation of Ken Huyser, and his AKC club, the Mason-Dixon GSPC was generous enough to allow us to utilize one of their unused horseback trials. We owe the Mason Dixon GSPC a tremendous amount of thanks for graciously supporting our Championship.
Last but not least we would like to express an enormous thank you to all of our judges (Chris Young, Ray Larrondo, Jeff Currier, Joe Luisi, Chris Castanzarite, and Kevin Joyce) for taking time away from your families and your busy schedules to look at our dogs!
DERBY CLASSIC By Anthony Rusciano
On Friday November 1st, the Pheasant Championship kicked off the event with Chris Young of Rochester, PA and Ray Larrondo of Nampa, ID judging the derby classic. Ray and wife Tami not only traveled a great distance to join us for the first time this year, but Ray generously stepped in last minute to fill in and judge. Thank you Ray it was appreciated. The course that we ran was an out and back, starting at the Boy Scout camp area and only using the left hand side of the island. Today was the only day that we had inclement weather, light rain, which caused poor scenting conditions for these up and coming young dogs. There was plenty of excitement watching the 12 derby dogs run and handle the open grounds, some encountering their first ever pheasant find.
First place was awarded to Sunny Fields Warchief “Thrall” in brace 2B, owned and handled by Art Testage. Thrall was a pleasure to watch on the ground, he had a strong, fast run and hunted the course hard. He stayed forward at all times and had wide range. His ground speed and application awarded him first place.
Second place went to brace 3B HighStanding Cuttin Stella “Stella” owned and handled by Tim Holmes. Stella was consistent to the first place dog, she broke away strong and fast to the front but was a little erratic at the start. She quickly settled in and responded to the handler once he caught up. Stella finished the brace as hard as she started with plenty of go left in her.
Third place was awarded to Winfields Lancer “Lancer” out of brace 5A, who is owned by Ben Collier and was handled by Dan DiMambro. This young dog made nice casts and ran a consistent race. Lancer stayed to the front and handled like a seasoned dog.
Congratulations to all the derby owners and handlers on your up and coming dogs. These juvenile dogs are on track to have an outstanding field trial career and we look forward to reading about all of their accomplishments in the future.
AMATEUR SHOOTING DOG
By Dayna Rusciano
The judges for the running of the NGSPA Pheasant Amateur Shooting Dog Championship were Kevin Joyce from Northport NY and Joe Luisi from Vernon Hill, VA. Kevin who was a GSP owner but now competes with English Pointers, is a seasoned veteran on these grounds and has done his share of winning here throughout the years. Joe is a Brittany owner and has won his own share of Shooting Dog and All Age Championships over his 40 plus years of field trialing. The weather for the entire two day stake was ideal for running dogs, it was cool but the sun was shining. The majority of 24 dogs entered in this stake were able to find and produce a good number of pheasants, making it a very competitive and exciting to watch stake.
Our Champion, “Rommel” - Slates Rock Mountain Heart, came out of the second day in brace 9A. Rommel is owned by James Dynkiewicz and was handled by Chris Young. Rommel is trained and campaigned by Dan DiMambro. Rommel had two beautiful pheasant finds and the judges noted that he was a pleasure to watch. He had an excellent run, was always forward, and stayed consistent for the entire hour brace. Rommel was found standing with high style and impeccable manners on both of his finds. Rommel handled kindly and ran with little need of direction from the handler or scout. He finished up the hour just as strong as he started, earning himself the coveted ASD Champion placement.
On the first day of the ASD Championship, out of the very first brace, Brace 1B, produced the Runner Up - “Ruby”- Chicorees Sparkling Ruby owned and handled by Fred Ryan, DMV. Ruby had a strong forward race from the breakaway and finished the hour with the same power and stamina as she started. Ruby hunted the course aggressively in search of game and was rewarded with two back to back pheasant finds midway through the brace. Ruby’s style and intensity was spot on. Ruby’s run was not as strong in some areas of the course as the winner which made the slight difference between the Champion and Runner up. Ruby responded kindly to the handler and her performance earned her the Runner Up Champion.
The dual sanctioning of this championship allowed us to name additional Grand Amateur Limited Gun Dog placements. 3rd place went to brace 11B “Fairgo”- Tulli’s Fairway Giddyup owned and handled by Joe Amatulli. Fairgo had 3 evenly space Pheasant finds throughout the hour with a big forward run. Fairgo did a nice job on the ground but the judges stated that the handler over handled the dog and diminished his performance.
4th place went to brace 8A “Maxine”- Whitemarshs Maxine’s At It Again owned and handled by Jeanie Kelly. Although a bit erratic at the breakaway Maxine hunted the course hard and she was rewarded with 3 pheasant finds. Although all was in order her style was not consistent with the top placements. Maxines run was fast and animated and she was a pleasure to watch.
The judges mentioned a few other dogs that demonstrated talent. In Brace 3 both dogs were under careful watch by our judges. Brace 3A “Janie”, owned and handled by Doc Reynolds and Brace 3B “Bo” owned and handled by Hank Lewis. Both of these dogs did a nice job on the ground and complemented one another. They both had good strong forward runs and some nice bird work. Both dogs had some finds where the pheasant could not be produced. Brace 4A HighStanding Cuttin Edge “Woody” owned and handled by Anthony Rusciano had a stop to flush, two pheasant finds and one back and was putting on a nice performance with a big forward run but an unproduced find and some mishandling wasn’t in his favor. The judges mentioned that the last braced dog in 12A, Hi-N’s Hasty Matilda owned and handled by Hank Lewis could have changed the placements. Mattie had an excellent performance, with a great run and style, but as with the other honorable mentions the unproduced birds hurt her chances of placing in this stake.
At the conclusion of the stake the judges were asked to name an amateur that demonstrates great sportsmanship. Dr. Robert Reynolds (Doc) was the judges pick for the Amateur award and earned his name on this year’s Jerry Albanese Pheasant Championship Amateur memorial plaque. This perpetual plaque is engraved each year with the name of an amateur, chosen by the Amateur Shooting Dog judges. Doc Reynolds rode a majority of the stake and scouted for other participants when required. Doc was out there on course always lending a hand when needed. Congratulations Dr. Reynolds on earning this year’s award!
ALL AGE CHAMPIONSHIP
By Anthony Rusciano
Monday was a great day to be in the saddle for our all age judges Kevin Joyce from Northport NY and Joe Luisi from Vernon Hill, VA. We had an exciting full day and a morning of the following day of watching the powerful running All Age dogs. Out of the 14 contenders most dogs ran the entire hour and only a few dogs this year out ran the course. Due to the added cover this year it increased our pheasant planting areas thus providing extra opportunities for these big running dogs to encounter game.
PW Joke on Us “Bart” owned by Keith and Bobbi Richardson and handled by Rich Robertson in Brace 5A was named the Champion. Bart broke away very strong and had fast ground speed consistent throughout the brace. He was always forward, stuck to the edges and rolled around the island as a seasoned dog. Bart had one limb find with outstanding style throughout the flush. Bart responded well to the handler and required little scouting. He finished with plenty of fuel left in his tank. A first rate All Age performance earned Bart the Championship win.
Runner up Champion was awarded to PW BDK’s Dot on the Horizon “Dot” brace 6a, owned by Keith and Bobbi Richardson and handled by Rich Robertson. Dot had a comparable run to the champion. She had a strong forward all age race and responded well to the handler. She had a Pheasant pointed at 15 and all was in order with good style. Dot finished as strong as she started and completed the hour with ease. Judges stated that the Runner Up complemented the Champion with only slight variation.
In addition to the Champion and Runner Up a third and fourth place was award due to the dual sanctioned Grand Limited All Age. Third place was awarded to brace 1B Sunny Fields Vegas Rumor “Rumor”. Rumor started off the All Age stake setting the standard. From the breakaway Rumor was all business and had three finds evenly spaced out throughout the hour. She had great style on all of the finds.
Fourth place went to Keg Creek Mc’s Big Lick “Razor” out of Brace 4A. Razor also encountered 3 Pheasant finds at 9, 33, and 40 as well as a back at 16. Razor had a high head and tail for each of his finds. Although Razor hunted harder than the other placements it slightly affected his range. All placements put on an All Age race and had excellent style on their game but what separated them was their range.
OPEN SHOOTING DOG
By Dayna Rusciano
A total of 33 dogs competed in the Open Shooting Dog Championship. Our judges were Jeff Currier from Alburtis, PA and Chris Catanzarite from Scenery Hill, PA. Both gentlemen are seasoned judges that have spent hours in the saddle judging pointing dog breeds. Jeff is a Brittany owner and handler that competes on all levels and Chris is an English pointer owner and handler that actively campaigns his dogs. The weather was crisp, sunny and chilly for the three days of running. The grounds were dry and there was a slight breeze coming off the water across the island the majority of the time, making for optimal scenting conditions. As we ended the week Pheasants were plentiful and were spotted sitting on course soaking up the sun.
This year’s champion happened to be the same dog that won the ASD stake. Few dogs have accomplished winning both the Amateur and Open Shooting Dog the same year. Our champion came from brace 5B “Rommel”- Slates Rocks Mountain Heart owned by James Dynkiewicz, handled by Dan DiMambro and expertly scouted by April Raber. Judges noted that Rommel had made nice forward moves and stayed on the edges throughout the entire brace. He showed maturity by hunting hard and always used the wind to his advantage. Rommel handled kindly and was rewarded with 7 picture perfect pheasant finds. Anyone that has competed in this Championship knows how difficult it might be to pin down one pheasant find successfully, but Rommel stood all 7 pheasants with the elegance and class of a seasoned bird dog. He was always found standing to the front with a high head and tail. Rommel ran a strong shooting dog race with animation and style. He finished forward, deserving the title of Champion.
The Runner Up Champion came from brace 1A “Jade”- All N’s Green with Envy owned by Robert Reynolds and handled by Chris Goegan. Jade started off the hour with a strong forward cast using the wind in her favor. She ran around the island strong in search of game. She was found to the front standing all 4 of her pheasant finds. She stood her birds with great style and handled her 2 relocations with manners and was able to pin down the moving Pheasants. She was a pleasure to watch on the ground. She handled kindly and finished to the front. Jade is a classy, stylish bird dog that complemented the champion nicely.
Grand OLGD 3rd place came from brace 15A “Rudy”- Riden High Rudy owned by Ray Nelson and handled by Dan DiMambro. Rudy scored himself 4 very nice finds. He looked stylish and polished on his birds. Rudy started off real strong but seemed to slow down a bit at the end due to the swirling wind conditions at the time.
4th place came from brace 7A “Rusty”- Quail Points Rusty Spur owned by Kenny Huyser and handled by Mike Mullineaux. Rusty ran a good shooting dog race and was reward with 4 pheasant finds. The judges noted Rusty was very intense and stylish on his game. Unfortunately he became a bit inconsistent towards the end of the hour.
The judges mentioned that Hi-N’s Hasty Matilda “Mattie” in brace 13B as well as Hi-N’s Bodacious “Bo” in brace 10B both owned and handled by Hank Lewis were both doing a nice job and may have given them other dogs to consider. The notable change in the wind during Bo’s brace hindered his hunting ability for the direction that the course was running. Mattie ran a consistent shooting dog range but slowed towards the final minutes of the hour and didn’t finish as strong as the dogs that placed. Rumels Augie Doggie “Augie” brace 3a, owned by Carl Checklick and was handled by Dan DiMambro did a great job with multiple finds but unfortunately couldn’t produce game on two finds. Congratulations to all dogs that placed in this competitive stake.