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.