FAIRFIELD, UTAH — The National Vizsla Association Western Shooting Dog Championship, National All-Age Classic, and the Sonny Mortenson Derby Classic commenced at 9:00 a. m. on April 5 at Twelve Mile Pass, Utah, just south of Fairfield, Utah.

As with any trial, there are a number of people to thank for the running of the trial. The NVA would like to thank Purina and Garmin for their continued support of the event; these two companies support a large amount of our field trialing world and deserve a lot of support from our community.

The trial committee of Josh McPherson, Bonita Austin and Chris Corliss would also like to extend a thank you to the participants who made it to the event and ran their dogs.

There were a number of individuals at the event that took on unofficial roles as needed, helping with the dog wagon, lunches, water duties, etc. The trial committee would like to thank Nate Searle, Nathan Kelly, Forrest McPherson (bird planter extraordinaire) and Chris Corliss for making the event work.

The trial committee would especially like to thank the judges, without whom this event would not be possible. This year Brett Burgi from Utah and Guy Mollicone from Arizona drew the honors for the National All-Age Classic. The Sonny Mortenson Derby Classic and the Western Shooting Dog Championship were judged by Heather Gast from Montana and Mike George from Arizona.

The committee would also like to thank Forrest McPherson for donating the plaques for the Derby winners, and Bonita Austin for donating a belt buckle to the National All-Age Classic winner.

We all know the work and time that goes into running a trial and again the trial committee would like to thank all involved in the coordination and daily running of the Western Shooting Dog Championship, National All-Age Classic, and the Sonny Mortenson Derby Classic.

The NVA National All-Age Classic was run first this year, followed by the Sonny Mortenson Derby Classic, and the NVA Western Shooting Dog Championship.

The event was held at Twelve Mile Pass in Utah, on Bureau of Land Management public land. The grounds offer a mix of terrain from long sage brush lines, open grass mountainsides, burnt out juniper mountainsides and flats, juniper thickets, old washed out gullies. The course provides open space to allow dogs to display their talents.


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Braces No. 1 and No. 2 ran at the conclusion of the Mortenson Derby.

Hillbillie’s High Noon (Cowboy/ Austin) moved out from the beginning. His handler lost him for several minutes. He showed up and stuck a bird on the finger just below the lone juniper tree on the first mountainside. He held point for awhile but it proved to be too long.

Cowboy had a breach of manners on his bird and was picked up by his handler.    Burr Oak’s Reve (Gingrich) started  well. He burned up the front sage line and hit the first mountainside hard. He swung around the mountainside and had a find just before lost dog canyon. Unfortunately, he did not handle the bird well and was picked up.

Hillbillie’s New Hope (Austin)  broke away strong and continued to run well. She made a nice cast up the mountainside above the lone juniper tree and continued up — nearly sky-lining it most of the way around to lost dog canyon. She swung around and powered forward down the backside of the valley. Her first bird contact was a backing situation. She did not handle the situation well and was picked up. Burr Oak’s Bam Bam (Gingrich) moved well from the start. She moved well around the first mountainside, came around to the front and headed hard down the sage line on the backside of the valley. She had the first find and handled it well with good style despite exceptionally strong pressure from her bracemate. Bam Bam continued to move around the course easily for handler and had a nice forward run to earn the runner-up spot.

Day No. 3 of the trial, day No. 2 of the Shooting Dog Championship, started out with quite a long delay due to fog. A weather front was moving in with cold moist air. When it hit the cool air, there was some heavy dense fog that managed to hang around most of the morning. Coming in behind the fog was a rainstorm. By the time the fog had lifted, a small drizzle started out the first brace and got quite heavy at times.

Diamond C’s Recon (Chris Corliss) hit the front sage line hard and moved out as the brace went on. He made a nice cast up above the lone juniper on the first mountainside and moved around well. After the first 15 minutes the rain was pretty steady. Recon’s first and second contacts were a pile feathers and a recent bird kill. He was moved on both times. He made a nice cast across the back of the valley and powered up the “saddle” and stuck his first bird just off of the saddle. With the rain coming down quite hard at this point, it was hard to get the bird to fly. Nevertheless, Recon held staunch. Recon had a second productive find as well near the end of the course. Although recovering from an injury, the dog was impressive enough to earn a Judges’ Award of Merit in this competitive event. Ramblin Rivers Rollin Stone (Gingrich/Bill Stapleton) went out strong on the opening sage line and pointed just above the lone juniper tree. After a flushing attempt, the handler relocated Stone. He hunted methodically and did come around to a bird. Handler was unhappy with the way the situation had gone and chose to collar the dog.

Only one brace was run on day No. 3 due to inclement weather conditions. Day No. 4 brought a beautiful morning and good weather all day for the dogs. It was a crisp cool morning with a light breeze and any bad weather or clouds had been blown out from the storm the night before. It did however make for some tricky conditions coming and going from camp.

C K Too Hot to Handle Cayenne (Adams) moved around the course well. She stayed to the front and went around pretty easily for Bryan. Cayenne made it to the back half of the course after she motored up and over the saddle. She had her first bird contact halfway down the hill on the left in some sage. She looked staunch on her birds and handled the flushing attempt well; she had a little move to mark on the shot. Dissatisfied with the performance, Adams chose to pick her up. Bangert’s Red Baron (Gingrich/Bangert) hit the ground running and didn’t slow down. He moved around big and made a long cast on the backside of the valley. That would be the last time that we saw this powerful dog, until the handler asked for the retrieval unit and brought him up.

Hillbillie’s Omaha Hero (McPherson) hit the front sage line hard and moved past the mound quickly. He was spotted just at the bottom of the first mountainside, just this side of the ditch, in one of the two sage islands. He came around on point and was backed by his bracemate; he held for handler to arrive. A running bird and long flushing attempt proved to be too much for Hero and handler picked up. C K Touchdown Guy (Gingrich/ Chenoweth) moved out big from the beginning and moved around the mound in quick order as well. He was spotted moving into the sage islands at the base of the mountainside and backed his bracemate. Guy moved on from there and had a nice find on the hillside, just before lost dog canyon. Upon release with a couple of hundred yards downhill he notched his second find, just before the road up lost dog canyon. He carded a third find down the sage line on the backside of the valley. From there Guy moved out big and was gone for some time. After passing the saddle there was still no sight of him. Just as handler was beginning to wonder, Guy showed to the front and finished the course. All in, Guy would have five finds, one back, and one unproductive.

The next five braces were bye dogs.

C K Post Route Scout (Gingrich) had a nice forward run. He hit the mountainsides hard, pushed forward and had three finds. Scout demonstrated he is a fine bird dog. He held staunchly and stylish on each of his birds and was mannerly throughout. The dog showed how he has won other championships, impressing the judges with his race, style, handling, and manners on birds. Scout was named NVA Western Shooting Dog Champion.

Unfortunately Midnight Run’s Probable Cause (Gingrich/Jeff and Julie Zenas) went into season after the draw and was scratched.

Burr Oak’s Taza (Gingrich) had just gotten started when he notched a find just before the mound. He handled the bird well and was moved on. Taza had two unproductives, one fairly late in the brace. Gingrich chose to collar the dog after the last unproductive.

Sunset Trails Reasonable Suspicion (Sydney/Gingrich/Zenas) failed to please handler and was picked up.

Ramblin Rivers Fire (Gingrich/Stapleton) failed to please handler and was picked up.


Winner—C K POST ROUTE SCOUT, 1663076, male, by C K Touchdown Guy—Vanguard’s Make Her Mark. Jim Gingrich, owner; Brian Gingrich, handler.

Runner-Up—BURR OAK’S BAM BAM, 1651702, female, by C K Touchdown Guy—Vanguard’s Make Her Mark. Jim Gingrich, owner; Brian Gingrich, handler.



Hillbillie’s Hugo Hugo (Josh McPherson/Jake Niehaus) hunted hard and showed power and speed but was too lateral. He went birdless but turned in a respectable race overall. C K Touchdown Sassy (Gingrich/Ron Chenoweth)  broke away toward the mound to the right and hit the sage line. After the mound her handler picked her up running to the front hard on the left side of the valley. Her handler was able to swing her across and she hit the sage line and ran up on the mountainside at lone tree hill. Sassy kept her forward race and had a bird after lost dog canyon just before Table Rock. She was stylish on her bird and went on to finish far to the front going away hard. This would turn out to be the winning run.

The Original Hillbillie (Huck/Austin) was a little too enthusiastic about his bracemate and was picked up shortly after the breakaway. C K Rebel Rouser K C Lola (Gingrich/Cody and Alli Engebretson) didn’t get going after the breakaway and handler picked her up.

Redneck Ruby Texas Tornado (Nathan Kelly)  began hesitantly and grew stronger as the heat went on. She had a stylish find at 8 that got her going. After the find her confidence increased and she began to reach out and search intelligently. She finished well. Nova (Gingrich/Greg Audette) moved hard and to the front for the entire brace. She handled well and stayed to the front.

Hillbillie’s Honey Badger (Austin)  broke away aggressively, moving around the left side of the mound. At some point she doubled back on the course. Handler asked for the retrieval unit at 12.  Burr Oak’s Born Again (Toby/Gingrich) broke away and ran up high on the mound. He hunted the sagebrush line and ran high up on the mountainside at the bottom of the course. He turned and went into lost dog canyon but handler was able to call him out of this no-man’s land. Toby had a find near table rock and was stylish on his bird. He continued forward on the course and finished near the start. This earned him second place.

Ez Duz It (Josh McPherson) started out moving forward and began to stretch as the brace continued. He handled well, moving through most of the course without much help. Ez had a bird three-quarters of the way down the sage line and was very stylish. He made nice casts up around the hillsides and swung around past lost dog canyon and stretched down the back side of the Derby course. He finished moving away when time was called. He was placed third.

Judges: Heather Gast and Mike George


9 Vizslas

1st—C K TOUCHDOWN SASSY, 1678000, female, by Touchdown Kid—C K Guy’s Dee Dee. Ron Chenoweth, owner; Brian Gingrich, handler.

2d—BURR OAK’S BORN AGAIN, 1676176, male by Bangert’s Red Baron—Burr Oak’s Reve. Jim Gingrich, owner; Brian Gingrich, handler.

3d—EZ DUZ IT, 1679235, male, by Hillbillie’s Omaha Hero—Hillbillie’s High Cotton. Josh McPherson, owner and handler.

2017’ NVA National All Age

Judged by, Marty Middleton and Guy Mollicone

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The weather was great to start for the All-Age Stake — sunny and in the mid-40s at first breakaway. While the temperatures slowly climbed, the day ended with pleasant temperatures in the low to mid-60s. A mild wind blew most of the day and it was very dry so scenting conditions were relatively difficult.


Hillbillie’s High Noon (Cowboy/ owner-handler Bonita Austin) opened up strong making a long cast around the left side of the mound and swung back around in front of the handler, moving forward. He had a chukar find above the lone juniper tree high on the first mountainside. He held strong and looked stylish on his bird. After the first find Cowboy became very diligent in his search and handler picked him up.

Ramblin River Rollin Stone (handler Brian Gingrich, owner Bill Stapleton) had a very fast and forward breakaway. Unfortunately, he had a breach of manners on a bird and was picked up by his handler.

Hillbillie’s Omaha Hero (Austin/Josh McPherson), callname Dutch, showed true all-age power, range, and ground speed throughout his run. He made a huge cast off of the breakaway, ran hard down the opening sage brush line and swung around reaching high on the mountainside toward lost dog canyon. His handler got him turned and headed down the opposite side of the valley. Dutch stuck a bird high on the hillside in the back bowl at 45. His run ended there when his bracemate failed to back. Dutch was unable to handle the extra pressure and was picked up by handler. Burr Oak’s Taza (Brian Gingrich/Jim Gingrich) had a very nice run. He was forward and ran stylishly but was picked up for failing to back at 45.

C K Too Hot to Handle Cayenne (Bryan Adams) was a nice forward running dog. She showed glimpses of raw talent, but in the end did not run according to the expectations of her owner and was picked up just after her first find on the back side of the course. Burr Oak’s Reve (Gingrich) had a big opening and her handler managed to get her around the front half of the course. Reve ran very well, made some nice casts up the mountainsides and pushed forward most of the brace. We lost sight of Reve just before making the turn to head for the pass, and just after passing the saddle the handler asked for the retrieval unit.

Copper Searle (Nathan Searle) ran big around the front half of the course, hitting objectives on the mountainsides and reaching to the front. At 40 Copper failed to back his bracemate and was picked up by his handler. Midnight Run’s Probable Cause (Kayla/Brian Gingrich/Jeff and Julie Zenas) showed true all-age power and range, reaching for the farthest objectives consistently throughout her run. She ran stylishly and hard, staying to the front. Kayla’s first bird contact was on the back half of the course and with added pressure from her bracemate she stood strong and stylish. Kayla finished strong going away, looping back around to the front of the course and going away when time was called. This would prove to be the winning performance.

Hillbillie’s Double Trouble (Naughty/ Austin) showed a lot of ground speed, range and class, but showed some immaturity in application. Her handler elected to pick her up at the half. Burr Oak’s Bam Bam (Gingrich) had a very strong run. She reached out and searched for objectives. She had clean bird work and looked stylish on her birds but did not meet the all-age standard. The next three braces were bye dogs.

C K Post Route Scout (Gingrich) made a large opening cast and continued to move around the course well but finished the course birdless. Route did not meet the all-age standard.

C K Touchdown Guy (Gingrich/Ron Chenoweth) moved well from the beginning to the end of his brace. He made some large casts and worked hard — moving forward throughout. He finished the brace birdless and would not be in the mix.

Bangert’s Red Baron (Gingrich/Pat Bangert) opened up strong with a large cast down the first sage line and ran a strong forward race for the hour. He was stylish and mannerly on his birds. Red moved around the course consistently showing to the front in the right places. He finished strong, coming back around to the front of the course. Red’s run earned him the runner-up spot.

Weather was a repeat of day No. 1. A little cooler and a touch more wind, but overall a very good day to run dogs.

Fairfield, Utah, April 5 — One Course

Judges: Brett Burgi and Guy Mollicone


[One-Hour Heats] — 13 Vizslas

Winner—MIDNIGHT RUN’S PROBABLE CAUSE, 1650219, female, by Wegler’s Crown Royal—Rio Le Rouge. Jeff & Julie Zenas, owners; Brian Gingrich, handler.

Runner-Up—BANGERT’S RED  BARON, 1659495, male, by C K Touchdown Guy—Heidi Go Seek Jones. Pat Bangert, owner; Brian Gingrich, handler.