By Robert Tomczak
The National Vizsla Association held its fall 2012 National Quail Championship at the Denmark grounds of Pyramid State Park in Pinckneyville, Illinois on October 28 through the 31st. These grounds are becoming some of the premier grounds in the country for field trialing due in part to the effort of Mark Johnson and the Illinois Field Trial Association, Terry Musser and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Cha Hill and his crew at the park. A number of prestigious events are held here each year, with more to be added in the future.
New underground water lines have been added on the Denmark side of the park and with a grant from the government a substantial amount of bulldozer work has been done to remove some of the thick stands of olive at many of the road crossings. Due to the clearing and mowing, and because of drought conditions, the grounds looked exceptional this year.
CK Touchdown Guy, won his second championship of the fall under the whistle of pro trainer Brian Gingrich of Rockford, Illinois for owner Ron Chenoweth of Port Byron, Illinois. Guy had previously come off a win at the Midwest Shooting Dog Championship in Ionia, Michigan.
CK Touchdown Guy bested a field of 30 entrants, and ran in the second brace on the morning of the third day of the championship. Conditions were ideal with cool temperatures and a partly cloudy sky with a slight breeze from the northwest. CK Touchdown Guy (Gingrich) and Tommy's Dixie Chick (Jordan) cast off after the third road crossing at the beginning of the large bean field. Both dogs ran their edges nicely with guy being the bigger of the two. As they exited the bean field into the transitional thick cover before the cattle pasture, both dogs could not be seen and scouts were sent. After a few minutes, Guy was seen exiting the woods and crossing the cattle pasture. Guy rimmed the patch of woods and ran the olive grove to the rear of the field. As Gingrich road looking forward for his charge, point was called at 24 in the olive grove with Guy standing beautifully. Birds were flushed and all was in order.
Dixie was seen exiting the woods going laterally across the cattle pasture into the thick prairie grass cover. Guy continued to look good after the road crossing in the large cattle pastures and moved nicely to the front as he transitioned to the heavy cover at the rear of the ponds. Dixie was located and brought back to the front for Jordan. Point was called by Jordan in some olives to the left of the turn with all in order. After navigating through the heavy cover Guy was seen in the smaller cattle pastures west of the ponds. He then made a nice cast forward to the right of the course down the fence line and point was called by Gingrich at a small grove of olive trees on top of the hill. Gingrich had a difficult time producing birds and Guy became a little unsettled, and received a stern caution from Gingrich. After a thorough search, no birds were produced and Guy was taken on. Both dogs continued to attack the course, Guy, the more forward of the two. Both finished the hour with Guy being the bigger of the two. Time was called in the large bean fields after the third road crossing.
The runner-up, Bravo Haulin's Stage Winner or Brie, came from brace 10, which was the first brace after lunch on the second day. Bravo Haulin Stage Winner (Gingrich), and Durite’s Hooiser Daddy's (Syczylo), cast off at 1:46 on the top of the hill in the bean field before the creek crossing. After the creek crossing, Brie rimmed the small bean field to the right and point was called at 6 minutes. Brie stood with nice style, as a small covey was flushed from the grassy ditch at the edge of the field. Both dogs continued to work forward at a moderate distance, with point being called by Gingrich at 21 in the olive line. Upon approach, both dogs were standing, and credited a divided find after birds were flushed by Gingrich with both handlers firing. After the second road crossing, Brie took the fence line to the left of the cattle pastures after the corrals, and point was called at 40. Birds were flushed with all in order. At 43, point was called for Hoosier with no birds produced and a nonproductive credited. At 48, point was called again for Hoosier with a small covey being produced with all in order. Brie continued to run a nice consistent forward race for Gingrich and was running the edges of the small bean field after the third road crossing when time was called. Hoosier disappeared in the corner of the large bean field and was returned from the same area after time was called.
Other notable performances were from brace 6, the final brace of day one, with Kick Em Up Bullet (Bell) and Shiloh’s Red White and Blue (Tomczak). Bullet ran a nice consistant, forward race with multiple finds and a nice finish in the small bean field. Blue had a big race with 2 finds, one being a nice wild covey find dug out in the thick prairie grass, after the pond by the third road crossing. Blue was big throughout but was unwell at the end and slowed his pace in the final minutes. Durite’s Jet City Woman (Vader) also had a nice run with 5 finds.
A special thank you goes out to our judges, Phil Tiller of Gillespie, IL and Lori Rezzardi of Iuka, IL. Phil is very familiar with these grounds and has both judged many championships, as well as, winning many, with his English pointers. It was a pleasure having him and he was very positive and had a very watchful eye. Lori Rezzardi filled in for he husband Guy, who had recently had shoulder surgery, and is very familiar with judging big events. Her and her husband Guy have been a big help the last few years here and are big contributors of their time with the running of the German All-Breed.
Six nice young dogs contested for the winners circle in the derby classic. Conditions were ideal with partly cloudy skies and cool breezy temperatures. Judges Mark Johnson of Winnebago, IL and Lori Rezzardi of Iuka, IL recognized Millstar’s The Boss of the Plains as winner. Boss is owned by Melissa Thomas of El Paso, TX and run by friend Cindy Pescod of Sonoita, AZ. Boss had a consistent forward hunting race with three nicely pointed finds at 14, 17, and 25.
Second and third place dogs were separated by a hair, and both ran together in the third brace. Second was Northern Sherman Tank owned by Travis Brustkern of Waterloo, IA and run by pro Jerry Jordan of Center Point, IA. Tank started a little slow, but after crossing the creek, Tank had a dead bird find and got rolling. He stayed forward and had two more finds, the last being a divided find in the big bean field. Third was Millstar Templeton Rye, littermate to the winner. Rye is owned, bred, and run by Laura Miller of Maxwell, IA. Rye ran a similar race as Tank, and had three finds with the last being a divided find. Rye and Tank had a nice move halfway around the course, taking the backside around the turn and running the far fence line and olive grove.
We would like to thank our sponsors for their continued support of this, as well as, all our NVA championship events. To Purina, for their food donation of Pro Plan Sport, which is the food fed by all our winners this year. To Tri-Tronics, for the collar donation which is also the preferred collar by our winners and to Dogs Unlimited for gift certificates. Dogs Unlimited is a great company for all your training, field trialing, and hunting supply needs. Thanks to Melissa Thomas of El Paso for her generous donation to the trophy fund for this event.
Lastly, a big thanks to all the people that helped me put this championship on. For without the hard work of a few, we would not be able to enjoy these great events with our dogs. To Josh and Forrest McPherson who came all the way from Utah to run some dogs and help plant birds and run the dog wagon. To Laura Miller, Mark Johnson, Diane Vader, Chuck Cooper, Jerry Jordan, Guy Rezzardi, Carrie Syczylo, Brian Gingrich, and the Chadwells, for all their help with all the things that need to be done to keep an event like this going. Big thanks to all those individuals that came from 8 different states to enter their dogs. We hope to see you all next year at the end of October at Pyramid State Park in Pinckneyville, IL.