Wye Island N.R.M.A., Wye Island, Maryland
November 11-13, 2002

written by NFC Chairman Linda Bunning

View photos by committee member KC Shore:

Sponsored by Eukaneuba, Iams, Purina and Tritronics, the 2002 National Championship began on November 10, 2002, when Linda and Leroy Bunning rolled onto the grounds of Wye Island, Maryland with their fire-engine red wagon and handsome team of Percheron horses, whose ebony coats glistened in the drizzle and rain.

As committee members and entrants began to arrive at the Lodge throughout the late afternoon, they were greeted by the aroma of roasting pork tenderloin, destined for dinner and the result of a joint effort by Leroy, NC Secretary Pat O’Donnell and chef extraordinaire, Karen Spey.

Over the course of the event, the Lodge proved to be, truly, an island in a storm, as non-stop rain, threats of tornadoes, gusty winds and sodden, muddy grounds proved to be an additional challenge faced by the participants of this prestigious event! Located on a spit of land which juts out into the Chesapeake Bay, the Lodge provided a perfect setting for the social aspects of this event, coming complete with a warmly paneled great room which was dominated by a stone fireplace, a long, screened-in sun porch which doubled as a dining room, a well-equipped kitchen and several bunk rooms, complete with private baths! As an added bonus, next to the lodge is a bunk house where several of the members stayed.

Thanks to the efforts of Committee members Angela Schilleriff, Debby Freidus, KC Shore and several others, the auction and raffle items were temptingly displayed in the dining area of the Lodge, with the top auction item being a beautiful pointer area rug. Art work, caps, dog toys, training tools, and certificates for supplies and dog food were just a few of the items available.

It seems like Chairperson Linda forgot to order good weather, because, like the previous day, Monday dawned damp and drizzly, which quickly developed into rain. As tornado warnings were broadcast over the news, and occasional gale-force winds gusted over the grounds, the campers prepared their horses and dogs for the day with dampened spirits. Breakfast helped to warm the sodden spirits of the entrants, but as the rain continued to fall, so did our spirits, and the start of the event was delayed until after lunch.

With judges Neil Selby and Hal Engel in the saddle, the event FINALLY began. Neil has been training pointing dogs for many years, and currently owns and operates a shooting preserve in Remington Virginia, where he trains and trials Labrador Retrievers. If his name is familiar to some, it’s because in 1998, Neil judged several stakes of the National Championship that was held at Sumerduck, Virginia in 1998. Hal Engel is a veterinarian in Oregon and teaches at Oregon State. As a hobby, Hal owns, breeds and handles Brittanies.

Beginning at 1:30 Monday afternoon, the first brace of the Open Gun Dog stake broke away. With Jamie O’Donnell driving the dog van, four brisk braces were run on the continuous course. For the spectators who didn’t wish to brave the 12 inch deep mud and small ponds that helped make the course even more challenging, Leroy drove the gallery wagon.

The AKC Field Representative, Mike Aldridge, braved the weather to follow the braces with Marshall Linda and a substantial riding gallery. At the end of the fourth brace, damp riders called it a day, and after changing into dry clothes, were treated to a sumptuous repast of Maryland’s famous steamed hard shell crabs. For those not willing to brave the shells and claws, Karen also provided a feast of baked chicken.

Tuesday morning dawned; grey, cold, and wet. Very wet, and the Open stake resumed, with the last four braces finishing around noon, when most everyone headed to the Lodge for a delicious lunch prepared by Karen.

Just in time to enjoy that lunch, James D’Amico joined us to fill out our panel of judges. Like Neil, Jim also judged the APC National Championship in 1998. Jim has been a friend of the eastern APC members for years, and has frequently supported local field events with entries of his own. Jim owns, handles and trains Gordon Setters, and has won the Gordon National Field Trial himself. As the rain continued to fall, Jim, Hal and the derby entrants all saddled up and headed out for the course, where, despite the continuously deteriorating weather conditions, they judged three braces of derby dogs, watching the youngsters attack the course with great enthusiasm. Again, we finished damp, tired but elated at the great bird work demonstrated by beautiful and handsome pointers emerging from their cozy crates.

Winning the Open Championship with a great run and excellent bird work was Southside White Trash, handled by Dan Long. Demonstrating bird work and a run almost equal to that of the winner, second place was awarded to Sally Solitaire JH, handled by D. Goodie. Third place was Bateman Dancing Josie handled by Dan Long. She too had a very good race, finding several birds. Fourth place was withheld. In keeping with tradition, the winner’s name will be placed on a perpetual trophy, an original bronze pointer figure created by artist James Kermott. The winner also received an exquisitely-crafted Tarpin Hill saddle and a TriTronics Collar.

Owner-handled by novice field trial entrant Brian Cashell, the Derby Classic was won by Dancindoll Torwood Fergus, who was running in is first-ever, field trial. His name will also be placed on a perpetual trophy, a pewter bowl on a wooden base. A smaller replica of the bowl was given to the winner. His race and bird work indicate that this dog will be a formidable competitor as he matures into an open dog. With a steady pace and several finds, second place was captured by Debbie Freidus’s Blackthorne Bygone Icon. Travelling all the way to Maryland from British Columbia, third place went to Canadian and American Champion Nowwithem Guns of Kate Elder FDG & JH handled by Jill Koch. She, too, had a great race with good bird work. A littermate to the Derby winner, Dancindoll Torwood Fannie, also handled by Brian Cashell, earned the fourth place ribbon. A Judges Award of Merit went to the fifth dog in the stake, Dave King’s Doublerun Chevy Rocks. The Derby Classic promises us years of good dogs to come and challenged the judges as they observed all of these promising dogs.

That evening, after a remarkable lasagna dinner with delicious fixings, KC encouraged us all to buy a “long stretch” of raffle tickets to support the trial. The odds were with us all as we all went away from the raffle with a little something. Then Wayne Scubelek lured us to the auction table. Bidding was fast and furious and Wayne got participants to make just one more bid. The proceeds from the auction and raffle will be used to offset trial expenses. Everyone turned in early as we were to be on the line ready to go at 7:30 AM.

Several of us camped out on the grounds. At 4 AM it was pouring, at 5 AM it was pouring, at 6 AM it was pouring, and then it stopped. We leaped out of our warm, soggy digs and got ready for the Amateur Championship. Al Lucas, our scheduled judge, sustained a knee injury and was not able to join us so Hal Engel joined Jim D’Amico on the starting line again to judge the Amateur Championship.

Five braces of pointers ran good races, and despite the conditions, had excellent bird work; reinforcing for the gallery as well as the judges, what a pointer is bred for. Although handler Wayne Schubelek had a little trouble getting his dog beyond the first field at the beginning of the brace, Wayne handled FC Southside Tuff Stuff to an excellent First Place finish. A Tarpin Hill saddle was awarded to Wayne for his efforts. Wayne also handled Southside White Trash to a second place finish. Wayne’s scout, Laurie McCarty, was out of the saddle almost as much as she was in for Wayne’s two braces.

Like Wayne, handler Debbie Friedus had her dog Kissamee Blackthorne Jax round the field twice after the breakaway before moving on for excellent bird work which earned the dog a third place finish. Fourth place went to Blackthorne Matrix JH, also handled by Debbie Freidus. Her race was steady and her bird work was consistent.

Finishing up around 1 PM, the participants enjoyed one last delicious lunch, presentation of the ribbons, and photographs. I’m not sure any of us wanted to say goodbye and pack up to go home. Everyone worked together and we renewed old friendships and made new ones. The grounds were perfect even though we were wet. The food provided us with sustenance to keep going. The trophies were grand and well received. The birds flew despite the rain. Some of the dogs even pinned down a pheasant. I would call this 2002 National Championship a success.

Special thanks to Jamie O’Donnell and his committee, all of whom worked so very hard to make this event a success! Thanks to all for everything you did to make is so.

Place Name Breed   Handler
National Championship
1 Southside White Trash Pointer   Dan Long
2 Sally Solitaire, JH Pointer   D. Goodie
3 Bateman Dancing Josie Pointer   Dan Long
4 Withheld      
National Amateur Championship
1 FC/AFC Southside Tuff Stuff Pointer   Wayne Scubelek
2 Southside White Trash Pointer   Wayne Scubelek
3 Kissamee Blackthorne Jax Pointer   Debby Freidus/R. Smith
4 Blackthorne Matrix JH Pointer   Debby Freidus
Open Derby Classic
1 Dancindoll Torwood Fergus Pointer   Brian Cashell
2 Blackthorne Bygone Icon Pointer   Debby Freidus
3 Can/Am Ch. Nowithem Guns of Kate Elder, FDG/JH Pointer   Jill Koch
4 Dancindoll Torwood Fannie Pointer   Brian Cashell

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