Super Storm Cliff , Bob and Thor’s young son of Blast Zone ex Gold Rush, scored 2nd at the Sandy Valley FTC Amateur Puppy, September 26, 2020. “Cliff”, handled by Bob, found the grounds at the famed DeCoverly Kennels, Falls, PA to his liking. Open fields, switchgrass rows and thick, woody fencerows are identifying features of this northeastern Pennsylvania bird dog training and hunting facility. “Cliff” capped his solid hunting effort with a find at time where he stopped 100+ yards ahead in a bottom. “Cliff’s” bell had gone dead just moments before time was called. He was found standing tall and intense and credited with a find on a chukar that survived from previous hunts.
Super Storm Liz, our daughter of Blast Zone, continued her winning ways this fall adding three terrific derby wins to her earlier 1st place win at the Mohegan BDC. Thor Kain handled “Liz” to all her placements. At the Ridgerunners BDC, 9/12, Liz had two sharp finds to go with her well applied, forward ground effort to earn 1st in the amateur derby in their US Complete event. The next day, 9/13, Sandy Valley BDC was running a horseback derby trial over the same Freeland Kennel Club grounds that Ridgerunners used the previous day. While we don’t generally run horseback and while Liz had never been worked off of horseback, we entered her and she responded with another fine job. Without hardly noticing that her handler was on a horse, “Liz” took off and at 10 point was called 150 yards off the path by her scout. This find was handled with shooting dog manners as was her second find that came on the back course. Throughout “Liz” reached forward demonstrating her exceptional cracky, snappy way of going. She has a lot of eye appeal in motion. The following weekend, 9/20, Thor traveled to RI to the Acadia trial and in their amateur derby she added her 4th win of the early fall season scoring two finds in dry, dusty conditions that had bird finding at a premium. She earned second place for her effort.
Super Storm’s three sharp finds at the Ridgerunners trial, September 12, earned him another shooting dog placement as the fall 2020 trial season gets rolling. It took a strong effort to be in the money with the 24 dog stake featuring many multiple find performances. “Fed” drove hard over the Freeland Kennel Club grounds searching and being rewarded for his effort with well located finds on three occasions. Despite the warming temperatures “Fed” stayed busy and forward throughout placing him in good position to connect with game. Down the stretch he finished going away with enthusiasm.
Super Storm, our young male setter, kicked off the fall trial season with an exciting performance to win the Peter Ecker Amateur Shooting Dog Classic held at the Murphy Farm, Lake Ariel, PA, on August 22, 2020. “Fed” was in the first brace of the event that was run on pre-released and wild birds. The cover on the farm featured fields with high, thick weeds and fence rows thick with vines and saplings. “Fed” attacked the cover with enthusiasm and determination. He’s a machine in motion reflecting traits from his sire, Pennstar, and dam , Straight Forward. Flashy and eye-catching, “Fed” bore forward with a single-mindedness to his task. At about the 10-minute mark point was called for “Fed”. Thor Kain, handler, approached the tall standing setter and flushed a covey of quail for “Fed”. No quail were released this year on the farm. On they continued and again point was called in thicker cover off the mowed path. This time “Fed” had a pheasant pointed and it was quickly flushed, cackling as the cock departed. Manners ideal. Throughout the remainder of the brace “Fed” continued to hunt going well ahead and deep into the bird haunts the farm is known for. After all 20 of the entrants were run, “Fed’s” efforts stood up as the most outstanding of the day and a super start to his fall season.
Super Storm Liz, sired by Blast Zone, got off to a fast start in her derby career with a 1st place win at the Mohegan Bird Dog Club trials held on the Murphy farm, Lake Ariel, PA, August 22, 2020. “Liz” hunted fast and forward over the farm where the cover was thick and high. She dug in with determination and drive. Near the halfway point, handlers and gallery came over the top of a knoll and there ahead 40 yards was “Liz” jacked up high on both ends. She was picture on point that will last in our minds for a long while. Her bracemate came on the scene and milled about with “Liz” motionless. The chukar was put to wing and “Liz” stood like a statue. From there she continued to pour on the energy despite the August temperatures. At the pickup the gallery knew they’d seen a special performance from a very young setter and the judicial panel agreed with one claiming it was the best derby performance he’d ever seen.
Super Storm Nell, Jeremy Avery’s young derby, got off to a solid start in her first derby event as she placed 2nd at the Setter Club of New England Open Derby, August 29, 2020. Adam Dubriske handled Nell for Jeremy. “Nell”, sired by Blast Zone, was bred by Jeremy. Bob Watts picked up Nell as an 8 week old pup and started her at his kennel partnered with Thor Kain. “Nell” showed strong potential. At about 6 months of age, Jeremy called and said he loved his pup from the litter and wanted us to look at her as he felt his pup deserved a shot at going to the top trials which Thor and Bob attend. We were highly impressed with the pup when Jeremy sent us video. We switched pups, “Nell” went to Jeremy and “Liz” came to Bob and Thor. This was a good move for both dogs as “Nell” won the Ridgerunners Amateur Puppy in the spring of ’20 to verify her ability and “Liz” just won the Mohegan Open Derby. Everyone is happy for these two young females.
Also, in the same open derby stake, Doug Dix placed his female also sired by Blast Zone. Details on “Suzie’s” performance weren’t available at the time of this report. Good luck to this duo throughout the fall.
Full Breeze, Bob and Dick’s setter female scored a nice shooting dog win over 20 contenders at the DuBois-Beaver Meadows Open Shooting Dog stake on August 22, 2020. “Bree”, sired by Full Blast ex Straight Forward was handled by her trainer, Dave Hughes. Known, not just for her hard hunting (recall her 1st at the Grand National Grouse Puppy Classic), her reputation now is as a bird finder and handler. At DuBois, “Bree” scored three sharp finds and coupled this with a thorough, searching ground effort in this her first trial of the year.
Grand National Grouse Ch. Full Tilt has died. She was 15 years old and going strong, living in our home until the very end. “Callie” scored her impressive win of the Grand in 2009….10 years before her passiing. The Grand was very competitive that year over the Pennsylvania courses.
It was “Callie’s” hard driving finish the separated her from some great performances put on by others including RU Ch. Long Gone Madison. She had a non-stop motion, always in high gear. Sired by Ch. Pennstar ex Sorber Run Serena, she also was in the championship circle at the New York Grouse Championship-again with Dave Hughes handling. “Callie” personified class in motion. She was especially athletic and one of the snappiest, cracking tailed dog we ever owned. I, as the developer of young dogs in our kennel, can clearly recall the first time I ran her in a trial. It was at DuBois with Greg Yutzey one of the judges. When she came across the front it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and Greg blurted out that he’d not seen anything like the way she popped, snapped and zipped running. With two finds she was in the blue and I knew we had something special. She was a thrill to watch going. You could not take your eyes off of her when she was hunting. Even many years after she retired when she’d be running in the dog meadow with younger dogs we were campaigning, you could always pick out “Callie” from a distance as she’d be the most eye catching animal of them all.
Dave Hughes deserves all the credit for training “Callie” and her success in competition.
As a dam, “Callie” had success. In her first litter, 5 of the 6 pups she produced were open derby winners. Most notably in that litter was Ch. All In. Owned by Thor Kain, his 9 find win of the Region 2 Championship was a thrill for his owner and us. Today, many time winner Snyder’s Full Rage continues to carry “Callie’s” genes forward with her 3 RU Championships and win this 2020 fall season.
Around the house, “Callie” was a lover. She loved being on Janet’s lap in the mornings and jumping into bed with us at night before retiring to her spot in the laundry room. During the day, 9am -5pm every day, she was itchy to get outside to the dog pasture where she hung out with the other dogs during the day. Then at 5pm, she’d start calling for us to come get her and bring her in. This routine went on until the end. She loved her life. On her final day, when I opened up the door to the laundry room in the morning she could not get up. Still as she lay there waiting for me to pick her up, the thump, thump, thump of her tail reminded me of her hard cracking running style and her enthusiasm for life.
Blast Zone officially accepts Purina Award in NH ceremony, 11/2019
Blast Zone, now 5 years old started his life when Marty Stoker of Williamsport, PA bred his winning female, Hard Core to Grand National Grouse Champion Full Blast. Dick Brenneman, co-owner of Full Blast with Bob Watts, picked out a strapping stud fee pup that showed the traits Dick has used to pick prospects that might lift the quality of the English Setter breed for more than fifty years. Even at 8 weeks one can see if a pup has boldness, athleticism, cracking tail and good conformation. The pup, call name “Strike”, was then transferred to Dick’s partner, Bob Watts for his early development. Bob’s been the ‘minor league manager’ in their 38 year-long partnership. With Bob “Strike’s first months were spent walking the miles of paths on Bob’s farm and then with summer “Strike”began finding, pointing and chasing pheasants on their farm and on a local farm he’s used for over 30 years, in nearby pheasant country. These farm grounds have streams running through it, so even in the heat of summer, it’s a safe and ideal place to run a pup. Usually the farm is too wet in the spring to plant along the edges of fields and this makes for ideal cover for birds and hunting. Even at this young stage, Bob who has worked literally hundred of pups over fifty years of competing bird dogs, was impressed with how “Strike” would get a bird pointed and then just stay there, riveted to the spot, until Bob found him and flushed. Time and again, “Strike” was found in tall switchgrass with his quarry nailed down and Bob doing the flushing honors. Pups that are just months old don’t do this–they point, stand and then when you get near they jump in and flush the bird. Not “Strike”.
In late July of his first year “Strike” was hunting on the local farm when he bounced out a herd of deer. He was gone for 30 minutes and Janet came over from their home 5 miles away to help look for him. They were parked in their truck next to a state highway when they saw “Strike” coming down the road and then ‘wham’ a car struck him right in front of their truck. The scene was awful as “Strike” came sliding down the road on his side and whipped around the truck they were sitting in. Bob got out and “Strike” was sitting in a stunned, shocked state. Bob gathered him up and took him to the vet he trusted just minutes before she left for the day. Xrays revealed that his rear hip socket had multiple fractures in it. It was decided to not do surgery and to hope that it would all heal back properly. It did heal back properly and “Strike” was back in action about a month later. At this point “Strike” went to Thor Kain. Thor took him and trained and hunted him into wild birds. The very first time Thor put “Strike” into grouse cover, he seemed to know where to look for them and he pointed them with ease. A winter trip to Texas with Dick for 5 weeks found “Strike” doing to wild quail what he’d done to the other wild game bird varieties–point solid, hold until the handler arrived and at this point be steady to the flush, shot and kill most every time. In the spring, just slightly more than a year after being born, Thor began the formal breaking process with “Strike”. “Strike” broke easily and quickly with little or no pressure. Once he knew what Thor wanted, he complied. More wild birds throughout the summer refined “Strike’s” development. Scores and scores of woodcock, some grouse and some wild pheasants were pointed with hardly a bobble. Strike is a unique dog in this respect. Bob and Dick, with over 50 years of experience each, never had a dog who could so naturally find, point and be finished on wild birds at this young age.
That fall with Thor, an amateur, in charge, “Strike” won two big derby stakes on wild birds with advanced shooting dog manners. He won other derby honors as well. At this point, “Strike” was still owned by Bob and Dick. As they have done with their shooting dogs for more than 25 years, they put “Strike” with pro Dave Hughes Dave polished “Strike”, particularly on quail.
Even though “Strike” wasn’t owned by Thor, there clearly had been a special bond between the two of them. With Thor’s incredible access to wild bird cover, “Strike” went back to him that summer and now at 3 years of age, Thor took “Strike” to the National Amateur Grouse Championship and came away with the title. After another winter Texas trip with Dick where “Strike” served as a guide dog for hunters on the Patterson Ranch (still steady with shotguns blazing away), that spring Thor guided him to RU Ch. at the Ontario Grouse Championship. The following fall in mid-September New York Grouse Championship kicks off the competitive season. “Strike” will always be remembered for his performance in winning this event. He hunted in the mid-afternoon, in the 88 degree heat, where he pointed and successfully relocated multiple times on a running grouse. Despite the heat he finished strong. Because Thor was an amateur, he could not take championship purse worth triple figures. At this point, Bob and Dick decided that with all this success, it was only just to transfer ownership of “Strike” to Thor, even knowing that an amateur might not be able to get to all the field trial calendar events that a pro can attend. The decision was the right one on multiple fronts. Thor had done yoeman’s work with “Strike” from the time he got him as a pup thorough the breaking process. Videos sent by Thor multiple times a week proved the progress and experience “Strike” was getting. With all this work and winning, there was a clear bond between the two of them. From NY, Thor and “Strike” went on the the Pennsylvania Grouse Championship where the team delivered again. A reaching all-age hunting effort is required to win the Pennsylvania. Grouse are scarce. It was a thrilling moment when Thor sent scout, John Stolgitis, to look for “Strike” in an area where his bell had stopped. 10 minutes later, the call of point came from John in a blueberry bottom. When judges and Thor arrived, “Strike” was standing tall with the grouse still in front of him. Flush and shot were executed with “Strike” intense and steady. He finished still strong and searching.
These two big championship wins gave Blast Zone the points needed to be named the 2018-2019 Purina Coverdog of the Year. Congratulations to Blast Zone and amateur, Thor Kain, on winning this prestigious award!
Following Blast Zone’s championship wins of the National Amateur Grouse Championship, the New York Grouse Championship and the Pennsylvania Grouse Championship, breeders began to mate their females to him.
While most all of “Strike’s” pups were whelped in 2019 and are therefore quite young, we recognized “Strike’s” remarkable qualities and mated Straight Forward to him two year ago. Power Forward, female, (Blast Zone ex Straight Forward), won at the first three shooting dog stakes in which she was entered this fall. This included winning the Nittany Valley Grouse Trial All-Age with a strong race and a woodcock find. “Abby” has shown us that she has the same knack as her sire in that she can really find birds and when she does find them, she is riveted to that spot until you find her and flush. She did this scores of times on wild birds at less than a year of age–just like “Strike”.
Other pups that we have had from Blast Zone were born in 2019.
“Boone”, male, owned by Bradley Roth of New Hampshire is pictured pointing a grouse. She’s from a litter sired by Strike Zone ex Bridge Water Remi. Others in this litter mentioned below demonstrate the consistency in conformation (leggy, high headed, cracky, smooth-gaited, bold) found in this litter. Brad has been working his pup consistently and with enthusiasm. He reports that “Boone” is not only sticking his wild birds but hunting with drive and already shows a knack for finding game.
“Lila” (Blast Zone ex Claremont Lucky Brynn) is from the litter owned by Rick Simpson of DuBois, PA. She’s obviously a big strong female who showed an early desire to go out and find birds. She didn’t check back constantly as pups generally do until they build up their confidence. “Lila” pointed scores of pheasants and quail raised on our surrogator and released on our CREP grounds here at the farm. Bold, powerful, happy. breathtaking on point and wanting to please are her distinguishing traits.
Super Storm Liz came to us in early fall from Jeremy Avery. Jeremy bred his daughter of Long Gone Boston, Bridge Water Mtn Pemi to Blast Zone and had February 2019 pups. “Liz” showed tremendous potential for him and he wanted her to have a shot at the big time. Given time limitations on Jeremy’s part, he felt she’d have a better opportunity with us. We bought her after seeing a video of her running and pointing. Very few setters are as classy moving as “Liz”. It’s exciting to see her in action. It’s fun to run her every time. “Liz” has gained a lot of confidence over the last couple of months as she now goes immediately to work hunting for pheasants, chukar and quail on our CREP grounds and on nearby farms where we release birds over the fall. She’s been pointing birds with a poker straight tail and intensity–letting us come 100 yards+ to flush on many of her points. Liz won 2nd in the puppy stake at the only trial she entered, the West Branch Amateur Puppy, October 2019.
Super Storm Nell, also from Jeremy Avery’s litter, was the pup we originally picked. “Nell” continues to impress us with her drive, desire to find game and her good looks running and on point. She’s begun to really reach out to objectives in search of birds. In a stint with Thor, her co-owner, Nell has developed at an accelerated pace in pointing woodcock and grouse. She pointed solidly the first grouse she came across–all be it in an open woods. “Nell” is a sweetheart when it comes to teaching her during yard work sessions. She, like her sister “Liz”, loves to pose on the board, barrel or tailgate.