Our first year shootring dog Super Storm Liz was 1st and her male kennelmate, Super Storm, was 2nd at the Sandy Valley Amateur Shooting Dog stake on May 7, 2022.
“Liz” continued her winning ways this spring with a three find performance. Her finds were registered out front where her hunting efforts took her searching for game She had the birds pinpointed despite the driving rain storm that poured throughout the entire shooting dog stake. She stood tall and with impeccable manners at the flush and shot on each occasion.
Super Storm, our male, also handled by Thor Kain was particularly strong on the ground. He fired out and it was a while until he was spotted running hard and hitting objectives over the Freeland Kennel Club grounds. He rang up 2 finds where he withstood pressure from his bracemate that might have unraveled a less composed dog. “Fed” finished going just as strong as when he started. The heavy rain and muddy grounds did not take a toll on him.
Super Storm Liz, in her first year as a shooting dog, was named Runner-Up Champion at the Northeast Regional Championship. This US Complete Shooting Dog Association event was held at the Arcadia Management Area, Exeter, RI on April 6, 2022.
Liz is owned by Thor Kain and Bob Watts and was handled by Thor to an exciting performance. As last year’s National Amateur Derby of the Year, Liz became known for her attractive, snappy running style. Light on her feet, Liz goes over the ground smoothly and swiftly. These grounds demands that a dog hunt in cover as well as open territory. Liz is savvy for her age and made the adjustment to the variety of cover and this led to her locating quail eight times in her one hour heat. Many of the finds were on covies of birds which had accumulated from several other bird dog trails that were run on these grounds earlier in the spring. Her finds were well located–in front of her nose and pointed from a respectful distance as the birds had turned wild since their release. Her pointing style is high and straight-tailed. She showed intensity, not just during the flush but after the flush as well. Her manners were flawless over the course of the eight finds. At the 60-minute mark she was forward, still driving, still searching-a strong finish to a worthy effort.
Liz’s win in this championship event confirms our confidence in her- confidence that she has earned over the course of the last couple of years in workouts and in competition.
Super Storm Hank, Thor Kain’s and Bob Watts’ big, tall, tri-color male faced down the challenges of 35 of the country’s top young cover dogs to win the Grand National Grouse Puppy Classic, April 15, 2022. He was handled by Thor.
The Grand National Puppy Classic site travels with the Grand National Grouse and Woodcock Invitational which this year was held at the Grouse Ridge Kennels, Flanangan Farm, Oxford, NY.
Competition was tough and sorting through 36 puppies was challenging for the judiciary of Scott Forman and Pat Cooke. Both of these men have worked with and handled cover dogs of the highest quality They were determined to focus on placing four dogs that reflect the standards of the Grouse Futurity. The Puppy Classic is connected to the Futurity, not just in seeking out dogs with potential to win at the top, but also to enter the Puppy Classic the entrant’s litter must be enrolled in the Futurity before the litter is whelped. Breeders are betting on the future competitiveness and superiority of their matings. Hank was bred by Bob Watts. This is the third Grouse Puppy Classic winner that Bob has had a breeding and ownership interest in.
Super Storm Hank rolled through the wooded terrain of the Flanagan Farm with high carriage and plenty of jump in his step. A big tall youngster, Hank, showed off the class that he inherited from both parents, particularly his dam Deciding Point. He applied himself and reached to logical objectives in his quest for game. Throughout his 30 minute heat, “Hank” made forward casts and when he was gone from sight at times, he showed up out front. “Hank” went as far as he needed to go to investigate likely game bird coverts. While he ran big at times, he showed his desire to handle and his relationship with his handler, Thor Kain.
As this is a breeder’s stake, part of and supervised by the Grouse Futurity, it’s appropriate to examine “Hank’s” pedigree. His sire is Maximum Resistance owned by Matt Phillips. He campaigns Max in the string of pro Robert Ecker. While assessing possible sires for breeding to Deciding Point, we were highly impressed with “Max’s” physique (tall, strong, well-balanced, athletic) and we especially were impressed with his composure on point. He stands with great intensity before, during and after the flush. “Max” comes by his traits honestly as his sire is the famous two-time winner of the National Championship, Shadow Oak Bo.
On the dam’s side, “Hank’s” mom is Deciding Point-owned and campaigned in the grouse woods by Dick Brenneman and Bob Watts and handled by Dave Hughes. Recently, Thor Kain has worked with and handled “Bek” on the US Complete field trial circuit and she has several first place wins as a shooting dog. She traces her lineage back to a pair of remarkable historic grouse dog winners as her sire is 5X wild bird Ch. Pennstar-producer of 75 winning progeny. Her dam is 9-time title winner in the grouse woods, including The Grand National Grouse and Woodcock Invitational, Ch. Straight Forward. “Bek” is from a frozen semen mating and she’s notably a littermate to 2021 US Complete National Dog-of-the-Year, Super Storm. An examination of “Bek’s” pedigree sees a reliance on line breeding. It was decided it was time to use an outcross in “Bek’s” first litter and the strategy worked. In addition to producing Hank, there are three other fine pups from this litter that are winners and who competed in this puppy classic event.
Super Storm added to his win total for the ’21-’22 season by scoring a 2nd place performance at the Ridgerunners Bird Dog Club Amateur Shooting Dog stake, April 23, 2022.
Birds were difficult to find on this day. “Fed” came through with a back and a find of high quality. Both his approaches to game were marked by high up on his feet style and intensity with a 12 o’clock tail. Was steady throughout the wing and shot process. Throughout the 30 minute heat “Fed” flashed through the cover at the Freeland Kennel Club grounds. He’s among the classiest moving dogs you can find. Cracking tail, lots of jump in his step demands your attention and focus. He finished ahead still going strong. “Fed” has been consistently scoring wins throughout this field trial season and this placement projects his into the lead for the top amateur shooting dog award for the year. “Fed” was last year’s Amateur Shooting Dog of the Year.
There are several important field trials left in this ’21-’22 season and anything can happen but at this point we are enjoying “Fed’s” winning ways and proud of his consistently thrilling performances.
Super Storm Cliff, our male derby handled by Thor Kain, shone at the Spring 2022 Horseback trial hosted by the Mountain View Bird Dog Club at Mt. Ariel, PA, April 3. “Cliff” has never been trained from horseback as owners Thor Kain and Bob Watts no longer have horses. Nevertheless, “Cliff” adjusted to the change of his handler being on horseback rather then on foot seamlessly. He drove forward along the inviting fence rows, woods edges and fields of the Murphy Farm with youthful enthusiasm.
Despite the frigid weather, cold rain, sleet and snow “Cliff” was undeterred. With plenty of jump in his step and crack in his tail he demanded the attention of the judges. Three times “Cliff” stopped to point and he had the quail accurately located on each occasion. His pointing style was ideal–straight up tail and loads of intensity throughout the flush. As the birds took flight he was solid and stayed high and tight as the quarry departed. Naming him the first place dog was an easy decision for the judges.
“Cliff” rarely competes as a derby as we’ve been running him in shooting dog stakes and championships since last fall 2021. He’s still young for this elevated level of competition but his advanced manners and training for his age have encouraged us to compete him with the big boys. This performance at Mountain View, especially his performance on birds, verifies that he’s more than ready to travel with the big boys of the shooting dog circuit.
Full Breeze, Bob Watts and Dick Brenneman’s female, won the coveted 2022 Ontario Grouse Championship at Marienville, PA on March 31, 2022. This is “Bree’s” first championship win. As with so many of our winners and champions, “Bree” was handled by veteran Hall-of-Fame pro Dave Hughes.
“Bree” was drawn in the first brace of the 2022 renewal of this championship event which featured grouse dogs from across the geographical range of this gamebird. Many champions were among the 30 dogs who competed. On the first course on the Lamonaville area of the Allegheny National Forest “Bree” set the bar high in the opening hour of the championship. Running under challenging weather conditions which featured temperatures in the 20s and precipitation that made for slick icy conditions, “Bree” nevertheless went forward with enthusiasm, drive and determination. Her efforts were rewarded with a sharply executed woodcock find where Dave found her standing, shivering in the wet, cold. She was styled up and intense for the flush-manners perfect. Under the nasty conditions, ‘Bree” pushed forward with surprising jump in her step. She finished ahead and still going to objectives, hunting. She set the bar high and it stood up to all the challengers. After the pickup “Bree” was a cold, shivering girl and she got a good toweling off back at the dog truck.
Birds were relatively available for this wild bird trial. Half a dozen dogs had clean birdwork (several other dogs found game, but their manners failed them) but it was “Bree’s” determined effort from start to finish that allowed her first brace of the trial effort to stand up to all the challengers. Significant numbers of birds were moved by the gallery, a good sign after a tough winter.
Full Breeze comes by her talents and title honestly. She is sired by Grand National Grouse Champion Full Blast. Full Blast died this winter and will be remembered for some dazzling performances which allowed him to be the only cover dog in history to win both the derby and all-age Cover Dog Setter Awards as well as the Purina Award for derby and all-age cover dogs. “Bree’s” dam is Ch Straight Forward. Folks remember her as a bird finding machine that claimed part of 9 cover dog championships, including the Grand National Grouse and Woodcock Invitational championship title. “Bree” has the instinct and special talent as a bird finder much like her Mom!
The weekend following her championship win “Bree” added icing to the cake in winning the PA Grouse Trial Open All-Age over the same Allegheny Forest grounds on a different course. Since we only compete our grouse dogs in wild bird trials, that’s it for “Bree” in the spring of 2022. Two trials, two big wins. We look forward to the fall grouse trials and expect “Bree” to be in the thick of it as she has been since as a pup winning the Grand National Grouse Puppy Classic, 2017.
Full Breeze, Bob Watts and Dick Brenneman’s six year old female, was 1st at the 2022 Pennsylvania Grouse Trial Club, Open All-Age. This history-laden event was contested over the grounds used for decades in the Allegheny National Forest, just outside Marienville, PA. Dave Hughes handled “Bree” as he had throughout her all-age career.
As Dick and Bob mark the 40th year of their bird dog partnership, they are proud of “Bree’s” quality win. She hunts hard and it was her bird finding passion that drives her. In a callback, “Bree” styled up with the intensity she’s known for. Her manners were perfect and the judges remarked that they were impressed not only with her demeanor on game but also on the intelligent and determined way she hunted for an hour.
Super Storm handled by owner/handler Thor Kain registered an exciting one-hour bird dog effort over the famed Blandfield Plantation at Caret, VA, on March 13, 2021. After a day of the event being paused due to heavy rains, “Fed” came out on Sunday and did what he has become known for–forward, hard driving hunting. While new to the region and to the vastness of plantation grounds, “Fed” used his intelligence and passion for birds to run the edges where appropriate and explore interesting cover when it presented itself. Reaching out several hundred yards at times, then thoroughly hunting through inviting objectives, “Fed” registered four quail finds. Each was handled with his arresting, intense and straight up pointing style. He backed his bracemate twice. All birdwork was sharp and clean–steady-wing and-flush.
Preparing for this championship was made difficult by the snowy, icy conditions that Thor and “Fed” faced throughout the winter in Pennsylvania. Getting out to road and hunt was blocked for weeks at at time. A break in the weather in early March made it possible for the team to prepare for this important event.
“Fed” comes by this win honestly; Folks recall that he was the 2021 National Amateur Shooting Dog of the Year for the USCSD Association. Sired by 5x Ch. Pennstar ex 9x Ch/RU Ch. Straight Forward, “Fed” emerged from this frozen semen litter as a most efficient bird finder well before he was a year old. “Fed” was genetically blessed with poker straight pointing style and a hard cracking, snappy tail. He’s a thrill to watch running and on point. With physical maturity, he’s gone on to add range and intelligent hunting to his tool kit.
He’s given us and field trial gallery members lots of thrills these past seasons. With good health and fortune we look forward to more exciting moments working with and campaigning Super Storm.
Grand National Grouse Champion Full Blast has died. “Jeb” was born in 2010, sired by our favorite 5X Ch. Pennstar ex Jim Chambers’ line-bred Grouse Ridge Reroy female. At 52 lbs. “Jeb” was the complete package. He made a striking appearance on game and on the run as he had the eye-catching jump and crack from the Pennstar connection.
In addition to the Grand, “Jeb” won the Ontario Grouse Ch. and the Michigan Woodcock Ch. He was also RU CH at the Pennsylvania Grouse Ch. While seldom run in quail trials, “Jeb” won the first at both the Lost Pond Open Shooting Dog and the DuBois-Beaver Meadows Open Shooting Dog–proof of his versatility
A winner at a young age, “Jeb” was early to develop under the tutelage of pro Dave Hughes who handled “Jeb” throughout his derby and all-age career. The good start as a derby led to “Jeb” winning the Flanagan Award (for English Setter Coverdogs) and the Purina Cover Dog Derby Award for all breeds of dogs. As an all-age “Jeb” again won both the English Setter Coverdog Award (Seminatore Award) and the Purina All-Age Cover Dog Award. Full Blast is the only dog in bird dog history to win both the English Setter Awards and the Purina Awards for derby and all-age.
As a producer, “Jeb” produced pups of championship quality and they did well, particularly in grouse and woodcock trials. Of note, his offspring won the Grand National Grouse Futurity (Game Winner) and our Full Breeze was RU Ch. in the 2021 PA Grouse Champion. Of course our National Amateur Grouse Champion Blast Zone is sired by Full Blast. Blast Zone additionally won the New York Grouse Championship and The Pennsylvania Grouse Championship.
In retirement, “Jeb” lived with John Kritco, owner of Lion Country Supply, in central PA. John has a great kennel and hunting set up and “Jeb” enjoyed the outings over John’s farm, often with clients/suppliers of LCS.
As a pup “Jeb” was worked by co-owner Bob Watts on the few remaining wild pheasants in PA. From these experiences “Jeb” moved to running over “The Barrens” gamelands in workouts with coo-owner Dick Brenneman. Then on to his field trial career with trainer/handler Dave Hughes, Throughout all these life stages, Full Blast, a truly excellent bird dog, gave us many thrills and memories we cherish.
Pennstar, Bob and Dick’s setter male (deceased, 2012), was officially recognized as a “Legend of the Cover Dog World” at a banquet held at Marienville, PA on the eve of the 2021 running of the Grand National Grouse Championship.
Pennstar, born in 2000, was a dog for the 21st century. He personified the transition from setters who were large, slow and heavy to a new generational style of fast, quick and snappy while pointing with style and extreme intensity. When “Rock” (kennel name) ran judges and galleries paid attention. He floated over the ground, weaving through cover with athleticism and grace. He demanded attention and he got it. When he pointed he was breathtaking. He passed on these traits, most obviously his class, to his many winning offspring–75 of them to date.
The record shows that “Rock” won five wild bird championships and one RU Ch. All these were on wild birds and many of the events had 60-80 competitors. “Rock’s” class along with his bird finding allowed him to stand out in these large entry fields. His wins were recorded across the cover dog geographic spectrum from MI to PA to Canada
While seldom attending quail trials, Rock still won the PA Walking Derby of the Year and then the PA Walking Shooting Dog of the Year.
Professional handler Dave Hughes guided Pennstar throughout “Rock’s” career. They were a great team. Pennstar was not just a standout competitor but also a standout producer of excellent dogs who themselves have made history. Pennstar’s production record stands at 75 winners produced and these winners have combined to place 415+ field trial placements. Imagine all the fun and smiles these winning dogs provided for their owners.
To this day, Pennstar’s offspring continue to win through the miracle of frozen semen progeny with Super Storm (owned by Bob Watts and Thor Kain) winning the 2020-21 US Complete Amateur Shooting Dog of the Year and his sister, Deciding Point (owned by Dick Brenneman and Bob Watts) receiving a invitation to the 2021 US Complete Invitational Championship based on her wins for the season.
Pennstar’s offspring won the Grand National Grouse Futurity 3 times. They won the Flanagan Award (top cover dog derby) 4 times. 35 placements in Cover Dog Classics as well as quail and grouse championships.
Dick and Helen along with Bob and Janet were on hand to briefly relive the thrills of owning and campaigning Pennstar and accept the plaque featuring a photo of Pennstar that will hang in the Field Trial Hall of Fame at Grand Junction, TN.