Shooting Dog Championship Winners

Championship placements withheld

WAYNESBORO, GA. — The 2018 renewal of the National Vizsla Association Eastern Open Shooting Dog Championship and Derby Classic was again held at Di-Lane Plantation, near Waynesboro, Ga.

Nineteen shooting dogs and ten Derbies were run under the judicial watch of Messrs. Jay Houghton of Marietta, Ga., and Peter Coppens of Southern Illinois.

Mark Johnson and Jamie Fountain served as co-chairs and stake managers and Tippe Fountain served as secretary.

Above and beyond serving as event secretary, Tippe also delivered outstanding home-cooked meals morning, noon and night for all to enjoy. Her low country boil was a big hit again this year and was cooked in a large enough pot and enjoyed again for lunch the next day!

Special thanks also goes to Lilly Fountain (age 13) who took over lunch prep duties one day while her mom was tending to their kennel business and getting more birds.

Additional help with bird releases and care came from NVA board members Chad Chadwell and Robert Tomczak. Finally there was a lot of support from Jim Rowell, Todd Meyer and others in the form of dog wagon duty and other duties to keep the trial running smoothly.

Di-Lane is a three one-hour course venue serving several national qualifying championships and events and represents a long heritage of bird dog events in the Waynesboro, Ga., area, aka “The Bird Dog Capital of the World”.

For the NVA Eastern we have been using only one one-hour course in the interest of managing economics and manpower logistics. At present a considerable logging operation is going on over the 8,000 acres of Di-Lane which has left a lot of slashing and debris mixed in the piney woods, but in the long run this will greatly enhance the overall southern plantation environment throughout these grounds.

As the area wildlife biologist said to me, “You have to break an egg to make and omelet!”

During the course of this year’s running weather conditions were typical for central Georgia leaning to a bit warm/hot mid day. The lack of rain and the sandy-clay soil made conditions rough for those dogs unfamiliar with the environment and clearly had an impact on overall scenting conditions not withstanding the release of 150 birds during the course of this Championship.

Two very positive notes regarding this year’s running were the influx of some new participants from the New England area and a greater number of shooting dogs than ran in the prior two years. We look forward to building on the trend of stronger Eastern Seaboard participation in this Championship while appreciating all of the Midwestern support we have seen over the past few years.

Setting prose and accolades aside, the actual performances of the shooting dogs this year left something to be desired and in fact no champion was named. While a number of dogs did adequate jobs for a portion of their hour on the ground, ALL had some holes, application faux pas, or breaches in manners that, in the judges’ opinion, disqualified them from championship consideration.

(The writer wishes to note that several dogs that ran in the NVA Eastern Shooting Dog Championship delivering marginal results, ran again in the Southeastern Championship, a day or two later, and delivered above average and in some cases superior results. So dogs and handlers seemed to figure out the grounds from an application-scouting and handling perspective on their second go-round. It was like different dogs were running from one stake to the next.)

The NVA Eastern Derby on the other hand was a different story. A continuous course was run over the hour, releasing two dogs and picking up at 30 and putting down a second brace winding up back at the barn.

It was a hot afternoon, temperatures breaching the 80° mark. Nevertheless three dogs rose to the occasion and knocked out top-drawer performances.

In the second brace of the afternoon, Rob Tomczak ran Lee Dozier’s Rockwoods Horsefeathers (Bobber) to edge out bracemate Chad Chadwell’s Hawaiian Explorer (Jetter) for winner and runner-up, respectively. These two dogs put on a show for 30 minutes in the mid-afternoon heat, both pointing birds with intensity and class. Bobber had a bit more punch and used the country to its fullest.

Laura Miller released her Millstar’s Saltire (Oengus) in the 4th brace of the afternoon. He showed maturity and stamina, finishing forward with a big move below the barn to earn third.

Great appreciation is extended to all who participated in this year’s NVA Eastern . . .  owners, handlers, judges and dogs! Thanks to those who helped in the running of this Championship and most importantly thanks to our sponsors who extend valuable support year after year. Particular thanks go to Nestlé Purina and Messrs. Greg Blair and Terry Trzcinski for their great support again this year.

On a bit of a sad note we want to also acknowledge Warner Smith and  Garmin’s support. We will greatly miss Warner and hope he is looking down on the bird dog community as folks across the country employ Garmin products while they enjoy working with their dogs.

Waynesboro, Ga., February 14 — One Course

Judges: Peter Coppens and Jay Houghton

- Mark Johnson



Sunrise photo by Mark Johnson

Derby Classic

Winner Bobber -Rob Tomczak
1st R/U Jeter - Chad Chadwell
2nd R/U Oengus - Laura Miller


LEFT TO RIGHT: Mark Johnson, Peter Coppens-Judge, Laura Miller with
Millstar's Saltire, Nancy Chadwell, Chad Chadwell with Hawiian Explorer, Jay
Houghton- Judge, Carrier Syczylo with Rockwood's Horsefeathers, Rob Tomczak,
Jamie Fountain, Jim Rowell