Helen Brenneman honored as ‘Legend of the Cover Dog World’

Helen and Dick

Helen Brenneman, for her decades of dedicated service and support of grouse trials, was honored with the designation of “Legend of the Cover Dog World” on November 1, 2021 at the Purina welcoming banquet for this year’s Grand National Grouse Championship at Marienville, PA.

The Committee rightly chose Helen for this honor as she has made local grouse trials like Nittany Valley, regional trials like the Pennsylvania Grouse Trial and national trial, The Grand National Grouse trial, work.!

For more than forty years, often behind the scenes, Helen would provide lunches for the judges and field trial party, Commonly these lunches for the field trial judges and marshalls were delivered in the field. Additionally, Helen would cook and serve sumptous dinners for the entire field trial entourage back at the lodge after the running. Numerous times Helen opened her home to host the drawing for these events. Numerous times she would host the out-of-town judges in her home.

For decades Helen served as the Secretary of the field trail for local and regional events. She hosted the drawing. She collected the entries and entry fees. She conducted the drawing and posted the drawing on a website for these trials. All these steps are vital to making a field trial work.

Helen served as the reporter of grouse trials. These reports could be counted on to be direct, clear and succinct when they appeared in The American Field.

Several times Helen judged stakes at the regional and national level including the Grouse Futurity.

Helen trained and worked dogs in the string of her husband Dick and his partner, Bob Watts. It was typical for Dick and Helen to run a pair of dogs. Dick taking one and Helen the other. Especially in the case of Straight Forward, who earned 9 grouse/woodcock championship titles, Helen’s work in the field was central to “Cracker’s” development and accomplishments. In workouts Helen handled “Cracker’ exclusively. When “Cracker” was recognized as the top cover dog setter of the year three times, Dick made sure that the plaque was handed to Helen and that she got deserved credit for what “Cracker” had accomplished.

Helen’s friend and master of ceremonies for the awards, Joe Cammissa, presented Helen with a plaque featuring her picture and a synopsis of her accomplishments. This plaque will hang in the Field Trial Hall of Fame at Grand Junction, TN for the entire field trial learn of and appreciate Helen Brenneman’s huge role in making cover dogs and the field trials that they elevate endure.

Full Breeze, RU Ch. at the 2021 PA Grouse Championship

RU Full Breeze(R) with Handler/Co-owner Dick Brenneman

Full Breeze, co-owned by Dick Brenneman and Bob Watts and handled by Dick, was named the RU Ch at the Pennsylvania Grouse Championship run October 26-28, 2021. “Bree” ran a strong of mature hunting effort that was exciting to watch in besting the 27 dog field. In the opening segments of the hour she not only ran hard but also forward with the eye-catching style that she is known for. Her application was notable and as time went on she reached deeper in her search which was rewarded with a woodcock find. Her style on point was exquisite and her manners commendable as Dick dispatched the quarry. From here her last 15 minutes featured forward searching down the stretch. Her strong, going-away, finish showed the conditioning, desire and determination of a champion.

At 5 years of age, “Bree”, who is best remembered for winning the Grand National Grouse Puppy Classic in 2017, has not had a lot of opportunity to build a lengthy resume in grouse trials. Our dogs generally only compete in grouse dog championships averaging about four starts per year. Grouse trials in our area were completely cancelled last spring further limiting “Bree’s” chances of scoring wins.

“Bree” sired by Grand National Grouse Champion ex Grand National Grouse and Woodcock Champion Straight Forward comes by her impressive hunting abilities legitimately. As a pup she began her development with co-owner Bob Watts. She stood out for her strength on the ground and her style both running and hunting. At that time, Bob and Dick were beginning to work with Thor Kain. Thor took “Bree” and gave her the time and opportunity to full realize her potential. Thor took her to New York in the spring of 2017 where she eclipsed a large field to place 1st at the Grand National Grouse Puppy Classic.

When Thor and Bob decided to emphasize competing dogs in more open field type trials instead of woods trial venues. “Bree” (still owned by Dick and Bob) was put with Dave Hughes for further training and trialing. Dick and Bob still compete three dogs in the grouse woods. Thor and Bob have a highly successful string for the US Complete foot handling quail trials.

In late summer 2021, “Bree’s” trainer/handler Dave Hughes contracted pneumonia. As he continues to recover and regain his strength from this affliction, it fell to Dick to handle “Bree” at the PA. He knows his dog well as she resides at his kennel 8 months of the year and Dick runs her regularly on his favorite training grounds, “The Barrens”, just outside State College, PA.

“Bree’s” good win culminates the work of many with her over the years and brings us satisfaction that our planning for her breeding and work in training her has paid off. We look ahead with anticipation of more good performances from our Full Breeze.

Super Storm Hank, our 2021 pup, elevates to get an Open Derby win

Super Storm Hank

Super Storm Hank, but only 10 months old, was entered in the Open Derby stake at the Mountain View trial held October 17, 2021. When the dust settled, young Hank was placed third. Thor Kain handled Hank.

While still in his first season as a puppy and with only a couple of field trials under his belt, Hank rendered a performance that speaks to the potential we have witnessed in him throughout the summer. Hank hunted with enthusiasm and energy as he attacked the Murphy farm course. He was forward and handled well thorough the turns of the course. On two occasions he located and pointed quail. On both finds he was high and tight and stood a long time before being located.

Hank showed the promise and potential we’ve seen in workouts and it was rewarding to witness him demonstrate his ability on such a public venue.

Super Storm Cliff, 1st Mountain View Open Derby

Super Storm Cliff

Super Storm Cliff came back on day 2 of the Mountain View BDC trial and set the standard for the field in the Open Derby. Sunday, October 17, was an overcast morning but that didn’t dim Cliff’s desire, effort or competence. He ran stronger than he did the previous day in placing in the amateur shooting dog stake and he rang up 4 sharply executed, mannerly finds to win the event.

With his second performance on these grounds in two days, Cliff showed even more confidence as he reached boldly when the cover allowed. His demeanor on his four finds was also bold. It was a thrilling performance for a young setter really reflecting his genetics (thank you Blast Zone and breeder Jeremy Estep) and training (trainer/handler, Thor Kain).

Super Storm Cliff leapfrogs from derby to shooting dog and wins at Mountain View ASD

Super Storm Cliff

While early in his derby season, Super Storm Cliff was entered in the 16 dog amateur shooting dog stake at the Mountain View BDC on October 16, 2021. Showing confidence in Cliff’s ability to execute flawless finds as a shooting dog, Thor guided the young male around the course on the Murphy farm.

Cliff justified our confidence in him with a strong forward hunting effort. Along the way he found and handled with mature manners two encounters with game birds. He looked intense and cool on both finds, Where the course was open he reached out and in the thickets he hunted with determination.

Cliff’s early development follows the pattern set by his sire, Blast Zone, who was also advanced in his training and registered scores of finished finds as a derby on both wild and released birds.

Super Storm, 1st Mountain View ASD

Super Storm

Super Storm, our 4 year old male, continued his winning fall campaign with an impressive performance at the Mountain View BDC Amateur Shooting Dog stake. 16 competitors each hunted for 30 minutes over the Murphy Farm at Lake Ariel, PA. Super Storm racked up five well-spaced finds while the others in the stake had a maximum of two finds, to earn the blue ribbon.

Finds alone were not the whole story with “Fed’s” performance. Right from the breakaway “Fed” drove forward and hunted with intelligence, determination and drive. While the cover on the course was heavy at places (that’s necessary to hold the resident pheasants and quail), when there were open fields and patches “Fed” ran the edges with as much class and style as you could hope for in a bird dog. High, near 12 o’clock tail, with lots of crack and snap “Fed” demanded the attention of all as he went about his work. It was thrilling to watch him do the job. His finds were executed with grand style and intensity. It was simply a masterful performance

All four of our shooting dogs received invites to the US Complete Amateur Invitational

Super Storm
No Limit
Super Storm Liz

Super Storm, No Limit and Super Storm Liz will be competing at the US Complete Amateur Invitational Championship at the Flaherty Field Trial Area, East Windsor, CT beginning October 9, 2021.
They all will be handled by Thor Kain who guided them all to their qualifying wins. Deciding Point, our female, declined her invitation in order to compete on the grouse trial circuit during October and November. We’re excited and thrilled to have our shooting dog lineup invited based on their shooting dog wins during the 20-21 field trail season. The venue is an excellent one and the judicial panel is experienced and respected. It’s not just an honor to compete in this event but it should be a fun time as well.

Super Storm, 1st in ASD at Bucks County Trial

Super Storm

Last year’s US Complete National Amateur Shooting Dog of the Year, Super Storm, won the Bucks County Amateur Shooting Dog stake held October 3, 2021. Besting a field of a dozen shooting dogs, “Fed” racked up three sharp finds and added a back of his bracemate for good measure. The grounds at Clear Springs, MD invite a dog to reach out and run the edges of the fields. “Fed” obliged. Its rewarding to see “Fed” extend his record of quality wins into another field trial season.

No Limit

No Limit, “Fed’s” kennelmate, also handled by Thor Kain shared the winner’s circle as she was second in the Amateur Shooting Dog at Bucks County. “Zoey” had two finds and a half hour of hunting where she applied herself with determination and enthusiasm. She’s a bundle of energy and her effort was rewarded with a deserved placement.

Super Storm Liz places at Ridgerunners

Super Storm Liz

Super Storm Liz, now of shooting dog age, was placed 3rd at the Ridgeruners Bird Dog Club Amateur Shooting Dog held September 11 at the Freeland Kennel Club, Weatherly, PA. Liz ran very fast and forward, perhaps a little too fast and forward, for the compact Freeland grounds, as her first contact after the breakaway was when she was found 7 minutes later on point straight ahead. She’s a lot of dog for these grounds but this made for an exciting brace as she was matched with Dean Avillion’s spectacular female, “Penny” “Penny” was similarly paired with”Liz” last spring when both placed here in the ‘brace of the year’.

Once the first find was dispatched sucessfully, “Liz” went on to hunt to the front but not so extreme as in the first half of the course. She still is fast and she registered another sharply handled find on the back course to complete her heat.

While this is the first win as a shooting dog now that she is of that official age, remember that “Liz” was run as a shooting dog most all of the second half of her derby-age eligibility period. She was 2nd last spring in the amateur shooting dog at this trial.

Deciding Point ,1st Ocean State ASD

Deciding Point

Deciding Point returned to the Ocean State BDC held September 19, 2021, at the Arcadia Wildlife Mgt Area, RI, and defended her spring, ’21 first place win by again winning 1st in their Amateur Shooting Dog stake. “Bek” was handled by Thor Kain for owners Bob Watts and Dick Brenneman.

“Bek”, who has been a grouse field trial competitor all her life, was felt to benefit from running in some events where she would have a shot at more finds than is typical in a grouse trial. “Bek” is from the same frozen semen litter (Pennstar ex Straight Forward) as National US Complete Amateur Shooting Dog of the Year Super Storm. Thor had both dogs as pups and he chose Super Storm for himself. Dick and Bob continue to campaign “Bek” with Dave Hughes in grouse trials and immediately after her win in Rhode Island “Bek’ was off to Dave’s string and headed to Michigan grouse trials in early October. Dave only runs “Bek” in grouse championship stakes.

Notably “Bek” had a litter this past winter ’21 and her pup Super Storm Hank was also in the winner’s circle at this trial–keeping it in the family. He too was handled by Thor and running under his ownership.