Our first-year shooting dog, Super Storm Cliff, won the US Complete Region 2 Amateur Shooting Dog Championship May 13, 2023. Warrior’s Mark Wingshooting Preserve, Houtzdale, PA, was the site of this late spring season event. The Preserve has hundreds of acres of reclaimed strip mine grounds that have been groomed with switchgrass strips and islands of various woody plants–it’s an inviting and challenging venue as a dog must run hard and hunt hard to get from one distant objective to another. These are some of the most challenging grounds in the northeast/mid-altantic region.
“Cliff” was more than up to the challenge. In the second brace, he broke forward and was spotted pointing with his trademark high style and intensity some 200 yards to the front. He remained intense, cool and collected as handler, Thor Kain, traversed the distance to flush “Cliff’s” quarry. From here “Cliff” drove forward, reaching for the next objective. In total, he delivered 7 finds, all pointed with the style and demeanor that is demanded of a champion setter this decade. “Cliff” hustled the entire hour and at the halfway point when the gallery topped a lookout you could see “Cliff” and his bracemate, Backcountry Bruiser, swinging through the country more than a half mile ahead. After this, on the back half of the course, there is a need to hunt at a more measured range as more objectives present themselves. “Cliff” adjusted his range and his smarts paid off as he registered find after find for a total of seven (7) total quail flushed over his points. “Cliff” was the bird finding star of the event and the judges noted that no other dog out ran or out hunted him.
For a first-year shooting dog “Cliff’s” effort here was rewarding, especially for his handler and trainer Thor Kain. Thor took over “Cliff’s” development from Bob Watts after “Cliff” had won several puppy competitions. From here Thor guided him to the US Complete Shooting Dog Association “Puppy of the Year” award. As a derby “Cliff” was not run a lot but he won most every time down, including first in a horseback derby stake and a shooting dog win. He’s been a precocious young dog. This spring “Cliff” won the Ridgerunner’s Amateur Shooting Dog stake and at that point we could see that he was ready for championship competition-even though being a first-year shooting dog.
Seeing a young dog take on the best regional bird dogs and come out on top is rewarding and gives us hope going forward that Super Storm Cliff can be a top notch winner that we can enjoy hunting, in workouts and at trials for years to come.