Yesterday the grouse wagon’s engine came to life again at 5:30am. This time pointed straight north shortly after a quick detour to my parents. It seems in all the pomp from last week of Pop taking first, my dad wanted to tag along to see what this trial stuff was like. 3 miles from town a familiar truck and dog topper zipped past, which had me laughing as who I refer to as The Most Interesting Man in the
World Coverdog Circuit blew past our 55mph (and we were going up a mountain grade at the time). In our travels (better said, “passings”) it seems he doesn’t waste anytime getting there, but has all the time in the world on the ride home. He being one of the two in my favorite grouse trialing duo were parked and had dogs staked out by the time we rolled up in. A hillside in with a mixture of cover nestled back, a hill behind the loosely populated roads of rural America the roads in dotted with signs reading “Repeal the SAFE Act”. Welcome to Chemung County, New York.
The grounds were nice, plenty of cover, water and open patches to really eye a moving dog. The odds again were in our favor, not drawing the first brace having never been there. The pace of keeping the trial moving, a might slower, allowed me to walk the first brace before running Pop in the second. The first brace had our Red Setter buddy from Freeland in it, they were braced with a dog I placed third in a puppy stake in Pennsylvania earlier in the spring. The red dog really seemed to be in his element.
I pulled Pop and walked him to the line not knowing what to expect, Pop’s bracemate had been under my judgement before and showed then as a younger pup with some maturing to do. His race showed that he had progressed. Pop stayed ever forward, I don’t think he got behind once. He ranged out, but it was never really on the cusp of being out of bell (range). Something I think is good for a dog to dance on the edge at least long enough to be noticeable while showing one. He did make himself a case to used in placement, but I wasn’t totally convinced as there was some very good puppies there as well. Three or four other puppies accounted for 8 total placements in other trials, including pups that went 1st, 2nd & 4th in the Grand National Grouse Puppy Classic (Pop sat out of that with a leg tweak). I walked all the puppy braces.
After puppy braces were run we moved onto derby, something I was asked to judge. There were some nice looking dogs but the dog that went blue (1st), really seemed to put down an effort more noteworthy. His race was fast and snappy and he was pretty classy overall. He drew a later brace and was finding birds while others no longer were, nearly finished the brace with all broke work, not a requirement in derby stakes. I’d find out he and Pop have the same sire, Impact Player (a known, producing, grouse dog). After derby was do there was a brief break before shooting dog was to begin. Having walked 10 braces to that point, it was welcomed. They used that time to announce puppy and derby placements. Pop started things off with his announcement at third place. Sure it wasn’t blue or red but comparing his race the week before to today’s it was warranted. We did a few things different this past week, I’m not sure if that contributed to it but every dog has it’s day and you won’t win them all- I was happy with third.
I thought this was Pop’s last puppy stake but there’s two now on our radar… time will tell if we’ll enter.