Full Breeze, our 2- year-old female, placed 3rd in the prestigious 1-hour National Grouse Derby Classic held near Marienville, PA, in the Allegheny National Forest. “Bree” had a start to her hour on a course that was practically barren of cover as the area had been recently timbered. In this area, with not much in the way of objectives, she didn’t look her best. After about 20 minutes, with the cleared area behind her, “Bree” settled in and really applied herself to hunting the objectives and thicker cover. She did this without let up. Smooth gait, consistent drive, smart hunting and a classy carriage were what endeared “Bree” to the judges. On her find, she was high and tight right through the flush and afterwards. “Bree” is from the first small litter by Grand National Champion Full Blast ex Grand National Grouse and Woodcock Ch. Straight Forward….she comes by her ability naturally.
In the first trial of the spring at the Nittany Valley Grouse Trial, our
dogs took 1st place in each of the three stakes each of which featured a large entry.
Ch. Blast Zone, our all-age male, ran a strong hunting hour over “The Barrens” course known for its heavy cover. “Strike” was eye-catching with his athletic gait and cracking tail as he made a series of forward casts, handling naturally for Thor Kain who guided him to this placement over a quality 27 dog field. His reward was a perfectly handled grouse find at the 28 mark. Thor has been working with “Strike” since the dogs returned from their winter jaunt to Texas with Dick where “Strike” displayed more of this remarkable bird finding. Quail were hard to point this year as the conditions in TX are marked by a severe drought. Scenting is more than difficult, but “Strike” is more than up to it. Dick used him as the lead dog on a number of hunts and he produced for the gamebag–hunters shot quail out of the coveys “Strike” pointed as well as the near scentless singles he was so adept as nailiing down. He’s amazed us with his ability to find and handle all the wild bird species since he was a puppy…..never seen anything like it!
In the Nittany Open Derby, female Full Breeze bested a field that featured many winners. “Bree” went about her business by consistently driving in a mature pattern. She’s a strongly built female and even so, she’s a pretty dog on the move. And move she did with speed and determination to a strong finish. She was steady-to-wing and shot on her birdwork. “Bree” is sired by Ch. Keystone Red Rage ex our Grand National Grouse and Woodcock Invitational Ch. and 3x Seminatore Award winner, Straight Forward.
The Nittany Open Puppy featured 27 up-and-coming youngsters. Emerging victorous among this group of prospects was our female, Deciding Point. “Bek”, who gets her name from an Australian nickname for Rebecca, ran a thrilling 20 minutes. “Bek” clearly benefited from the Texas quail hunting trip as well as the consistent work that Thor Kain, who handled her to this win, put into her last fall and this spring on his training ground’s woodcock and grouse. She attacked the mixed cover on the course with drive, speed and application. Swinging from 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock, her pattern was ideal. We have always focused on having a classy dog that makes you want to watch them hunt. “Bek” personifies this class standard we have sought. “Bek” is from the frozen semen mating of our 5x wild bird Ch. Pennstar to our Grand National Grouse and Woodcock Ch. and 3x Seminatore Award winner, Straight Forward. All the energy and expense that went into making what we feel is an ‘ultimate breeding’ has paid off.
Full Blast, our winner of the Purina Cover Dog awards, the derby Flanagan Award, the all-age Seminatore Award as well as the Grand National Grouse Championship has retired. “Jeb”, about to turn 8 years old, has more than earned his respite from the competitive field trial world. Pro Dave Hughes handled “Jeb” through this all-age career. Known for his power on the ground coupled with an eye-catching, flashy way of carrying himself, “Jeb” scored championship wins across the cover dog spectrum. Known as a dog who could dig up a bird when birds were scarce, he scored in the closing minutes of his hunting hour in several important wins. Additionally, he earned a reputation as a dog who performed well in the heat recording wins in large fields with the thermometer registering at and above the 80 degree mark.
Full Blast continues to be available at stud. “Jeb” has had a lot of high quality results as a sire. His 35 winning offspring place him as a leading sire of cover dogs today. Especially when considering the high quality of his offsprings’ wins, he rates at the top among living cover dog setter sires. His offspring have won The Grand National Grouse Puppy Classic, the Grand National Grouse Futurity (twice), the one-hour National Derby Classic as well as earning a place in the championship circle.
In retirement, “Jeb” will be living the life as a house dog and hunting companion with the Matt Miles family in Duncannon, PA. Calm, happy and responsive, “Jeb” has the personality to be a family dog. Matt is an ardent bird hunter and “Jeb”will get to do a lot of what he does best. Matt and his family have given others of our dogs a great home. His kids took off from school the morning Jeb came to live with them.
To breed to Full Blast, you can still contact Dick Brenneman.
Game Winner, our male sired by Full Blast ex Springtime Showgirl, was 1st in all the fall derby stakes in Pennsylvania. We cannot recall that any other dog has ever swept the first placements in all these stakes in the 100 year history of cover dogs run in the state. “Finn” eclipsed the field at The Venango Grouse Trial Club, the Pennsylvania Grouse Trial Club and the Nittany Valley Grouse Trial Club Open Derbies.
“Finn” also won the 75th Grouse Futurity in MI was a sharp, steady-to-wing and shot grouse find. In PA, the cover is more open, requiring a dog to reach for objectives and hustle from one covert to another. “Finn” has tremendous drive and speed. He’s also got the flash, snap, jump and crack that we have emphasized in choosing dogs to develop over the decades. This pays off when as one judge told us, “you can’t take your eyes off of him.” “He commands your attention.” That’s the reason we have underscored class in the Grand National Grouse standards that guide our program–“Finn” is a prime example.
“Finn” is headed to Texas in January for a month of quail hunting with Dick. It’s the wild bird exposure and training that he got early in the fall with Thor Kain and the Texas trip last year that has helped reveal the winning genetic qualities in “Finn”
A litter of two pups, one of each sex, were born in August. At that time young Blast Zone hadn’t earned his National Amateur Championship title and Straight Forward was prepping for her eighth fall trial season. “Cracker’s” competition start was delayed for a month with the birth of these orange and white prospects. Now three months old, “Stone” and his sister, “Abbey”, are making all the bird dog moves that you’d hope to see at their age. Bold, snappy, energetic, straight tails, strong pointing instincts, happy and want to be with you are the stuff winners are made from. About all you could hope for at this age!
It’s not easy to be a quality field trial contender but we are giving them all the best of attention and opportunity. Keep a lookout for these two in the spring.
Straight Forward, our 8-year-old female, was recognized as the winner of the 2016-2017 Seminatore Award. This Award goes to the setter who has the best winning field trial season. This year’s recognition along with wins by “Cracker” of this Award for the 2012-13 and 2015-16 season makes her the only setter in bird dog history to win this award three times. We are very proud of “Cracker’s” accomplishment. We feel humbled to have owned such a dog.
Our entire team has played a role in “Cracker’s” record setting career. She stood out as a pup whelped and started at Bob’s kennel. Then, after her first win with Bob, Helen Brenneman took to handling her in workouts with Dick handling older bracemates. “Cracker” showed that she had the whole package at a young age and Helen found that she handled like a dream, consistently driving and hunting objectives but conscious of where her handler was. Later in “Cracker’s” derby life Dick and pro Dave Hughes came prominently into play in training her to be steady. Breaking
Cracker was a smooth and relatively easy affair. Dave’s HOF handling skills have shown “Cracker” to championship wins all over the cover dog hunting territory–ME, NH, NY, PA MI.
Beyond the people involved in “Cracker’s” competitive life, her third win of the Seminatore shows what a dedicated worker “Cracker” is in whatever you ask her to do. She always gives you her best effort beause she loves to go to work preparing for and going hunting for grouse and woodcock in workouts and in competition. Our experience with “Cracker” this year is a good example of the kind of grit, determination, desire and willingness that you seldom find at these extreme levels in a dog.
In the fall of 2016 “Cracker” scored RU Champion in three consecutive cover dog championship events–the NY Grouse Championship, The New England Grouse Championship and the MI Woodcock Championship. No dog has ever done back-to-back-to-back championship placements like this. She followed these wins a few weeks later by claiming RU Ch. at the PA Grouse Ch. That was it for the fall of 2016 but it was not the end of her work as “Cracker” was bred to Ch. Pennstar using frozen semen and she whelped a four pup litter in January 2017. She recovered from this, got back in shape and scored a win at the PA Grouse Open All-Age in the spring.
This concluded “Cracker’s” run at winning the Seminatore (she also won the Purina Award for top field trial grouse dog of any breed) but she wasn’t done working yet. In the summer of 2017, “Cracker” whelped two pups sired by our National Amateur Grouse Champion Blast Zone. She was roaded and wanted to work hard at it right up until 2 days prior to the August whelping and she was back in the harness preparing for the fall 2017 season just 4 weeks after the whelp ( I just laid the harness over her as she was still too plump for the strap to fit under her). This sounds almost cruel, but “Cracker” couldn’t wait to get back to conditioning and training and put everything she had into this work. “Cracker” managed to get to her handler, Dave Hughes, in mid-October and in her second start of the fall she scored a nice second place win in the Rich Tuttle Grouse Dog Classic!
The work of our team was critical to “Cracker” achieving her greatness as a cover dog. However, we are all humble enough to know that it’s “Cracker” herself who needs to be elevated to the pinnacle position she has earned. It’s “Cracker’s” physical abilities, skills, intelligence, knowledge and desire that have made her one of the all-time bird dog greats.
Super Storm, owned by Thor Kain, got his competitive career started by winning the Nittany Valley Open Puppy, November 12, 2017. His stint at Nittany featured his precocious desire to hunt, driving to the front with plenty of crack and jump in his step. “Fed” (tennis fans recognize the nickname of the world’s greatest player) is from the special frozen semen mating of 5x wild bird Champion Pennstar ex 3x Seminatore Award winner, Ch. Straight Forward. Together his parents have been to the championship circle in grouse and woodcock trials 16 times.
“Fed”, even at just 10 months of age, has already demonstrated that he has the brains and bird finding ability of his parents. Since mid-summer “Fed” has easily pointed staunchly more than a hundred grouse or woodcock under all types of conditions. “Fed’s” a bird finder extraordinaire and he’ll stand until you find him.
We are equally excited about “Fed’s” sister, Deciding Point. “Bek” has the class, desire and bird finding ability that we’ve come to desire in our dogs. Both “Bek’ and “Fed” are prospects that seem worthy of their exceptional heritage.
Game Winner, our young black and white male, topped a strong field of contenders in the 73rd Grand National Grouse Futurity held November 5, 2017. “Finn” put down an impressive thirty minutes of hunting which featured his strong drive and extreme running class. He’s the kind of dog you just can’t take your eyes off when he’s going at his work of finding wild birds. And connect with wild birds he did as he pointed old ruff at the 20 minute mark with high intense style. As his handler, Dick Brenneman, approached “Finn”, the grouse got up with “Finn” standing regally steady-to-wing-and-shot. A finished piece of wild bird work. The combination of the best hunting effort of the day and the bird work won him the recognition.
In 2015, “Finn’s” breeder, Dave D’Hulster, nominated his female, Springfield’s Showgirl in the Futurity at the time of mating. He spent the money to start the futurity process and more money later to maintain the litters’ eligibility because he had confidence in what was already a niche between Showgirl and the sire of the litter, Grand National Grouse Ch. Full Blast. Previous litters of this mating had produced #1 #2 and #4 placements in the 2015 Grand National Grouse Puppy Classic as well as the #1 placement in the 2016 Grand National Grouse Puppy Classic. At the time Dave bred Showgirl this third time to Full Blast, we asked if we could get a pup. Dick drove out and picked out “Finn”. “Finn” spent much of his puppy development life with Bob Watts and then over the summer of 2017, “Finn” spent months with our friend, Thor Kain. “Finn’s” prowess in finding wild birds and handling them with adult manners is testimony to the opportunity of wild birds at Thor’s and to his dog training skills.
“Finn” has been on a field trial dominant tear recently. In the weeks leading up to the Futurity, he won both the PA Grouse Trial Open Derby and the Venango Open Derby with Dick Brenneman at the helm. At this point, “Finn” leads in the points accumulated for the Flanagan Award which goes to the top English setter derby for the year.
Blast Zone, our 3-year old male, won the National Amateur Grouse Championship on October 29, 2017. Thor Kain expertly handled “Strike” to this , his first championship win. This championship comes as a well-deserved recognition of “Strike’s” becoming well-known and remarkable wild bird finding ability. “Strike” as a puppy/derby found, pointed and was steady on wild birds of four game bird species like no dog we have owned in our combined 100 years of field trial dog development.
Grouse were scarce as 40 contenders from across the cover dog geographic spectrum gathered in the Allegheny National Forest to compete their dogs over the 7 one-hour courses. In the 16th brace, “Strike” lit out from the start searching the nearby and distant objectives for the quarry. Driving forward throughout, “Strike” was found ahead on point by Thor with the arresting intensity and high pointing style he consistently exhibits. The grouse lifted quickly with “Strike” staying high and tight as the bird flew out of sight. He continued driving hard, reaching and searching until the end. After the thrilling find, it was clear to all that “Strike” only needed to not make a mistake as he had done enough to win at that point. Thor could have kept “Strike” close to finish but with confidence he let him roll on out and hunt as he’d done throughout the earlier part of his hour. “Strike” responded and went on to finish going as strong as when he’d started. A thrilling climax to an exceptional performance.
While “Strike” is now in the string of Dave Hughes, “Strike’s” early development and finishing on game is the work of Thor Kain.
Dave has added polish.
Blast Zone, our 3-year old male, hunted over the historic cover dog grounds in the Allegheny National Forest in this year’s premiere amateur grouse dog stake held in the east. “Strike” hunted with enthusiasm, determination and style as he scoured the thirty minute course to which he was assigned. Under the whistle of Thor Kain, “Strike” laid to the front, going to where he needed to find the relatively scarce and elusive grouse. He scored a thrilling find with his bird sharply located. Standing steady with classic high style and intensity, “Strike’s” effort bested a field of 16.