The championship renewal at Pine Island Wildlife Area – Portage, WI – became a reality this year under the National Bird Hunters Association (NBHA). We would like to thank the NBHA and all their sponsors; Purina, Tri-Tronics, Christie Enterprises and Gun Dog Supply. Without their continued support, trials like ours would not be a success.
As we all know, the weather in Wisconsin, during the first week in April can include snow, rain, sleet, humidity, as well beautiful sunshine. This year we were truly blessed with crisp mornings (lows in the 30’s) and sunny afternoons (highs in the upper 50’s). It was perfect for walking, running dogs and riding horses.
Judges for this renewal were Rod Lein of Chippewa Falls, WI and Bert Benshoof of Roseville, MN. Both of these men understand what it takes to name a champion and what to look for in a classy shooting dog. They have judged across the country from Kentucky through the upper Midwest. We thank them dearly for keeping a watchful eye on all 32 dogs who vied for the title. We also appreciated having Rod’s nephew here from Los Angeles. He helped wrangle horses, plant birds and lend a helpful hand whenever it was needed. Even though he thought it was a bit cold compared to his hometown, he said he would love to come back…and we would love to have you! Before Bert arrived at the trial he stopped off and dropped a few lines in the river, thus providing fresh walleye for Thursday’s fish fry!
With nearly one-third of the entries making it around the course, the judges had a handful that elevated themselves above the rest. The judges named Dale Creek Rail (Waite), a seven year old orange and white male pointer, as the 2012 NBHA Northeast Regional Champion. Rail ran in the 5th brace and exhibited a hard driving, forward race, accentuated with two stylish finds (at 35 and 42) with all in order. He finished the hour going away and strong to the front. Rail was also last year’s NBHA Northeast Regional Classic winner…he seems to have picked up right where he left off! The Runner-Up Champion went to Romeo’s Attitude (Waite), a nine year old, liver and white male pointer. Jessie ran in the 15th (second to last) brace of the stake and went on a bird finding spree, tallying a total of five finds (at 8, 15, 26, 35 and 60+). His third find was one of those body swapping types. Jessie last seen at 59:30 and was found to the front, after time pointing his fifth bird. Waite elected to complete the find and finished the work with all in order. Jessie’s ground application may not have been as far reaching as the Champion but he covered a lot of ground, and finding birds where many others did not.
Two other dogs gave Rail and Jessie a run for the title. All that Jazz Jasmine (DuVall) and Royal Rock Mr. Thumper (Daniels) were recognized, and highly commended by the judges, as dogs in consideration to the winners. Thumper finished the hour with four very stylish finds (at 9, 31, 43 and 46). Jasmine had two beautiful finds (at 9 and 20), one late nonproductive (at 52), she finished strong to the front. Both Jasmine and Thumper were strong contenders for the championship.
The accompanying Derby stake brought 12 contenders to the line. Taking the top honor was Ramblin River Crimson Reed (Donze), a powerful male Viszla with a strong, flashy and forward race. Second place went to Creek’s Thata Man Jack (Bazen) a male pointer, with a strong race and a nice finish. Rounding out the placements was Winlkeman’s Little Sugar (DuVall), Abby a female pointer, had a big break away and a nice find at the end of the brace. All three of these young dogs exhibited powerful ground application and have the potential to be fine shooting dogs. Many of the derbies laid down nice races and others had bird work. We thank all the derby handlers and owners for participating in our accompanying stake.
As the Chairman I would like to personally thank professionals Buck Daniels and Tom Waite for bringing their solid string of entries. I would also like to thank the numerous amateurs that supported this championship, some came from south central Illinois and we thank you all! And finally, a heartfelt thanks goes to all the Twelve O’clock Field Trial Club members who were there to help throughout the week…you made it a great success, and I could NOT have done it without you, thank you!