The course starts out with the background and the wide expanse of some of the best native Hungarian & Chukar Partridge cover in the Northwest. Rick & SharonAnderson, ranch owners and avid supporters of bird dogs, allowed our Championship to be run on the same grounds as the century old Pacific Coast Championship - their 240,000 acre "Sulphur Creek" ranch near the fertile Yakima Valley in Sunnyside, WA.
This ranch presents a venue unsurpassed to showcase the premier bird dog in America - the Pointer - at what it does best; hunting with heart, desire and natural ability for the entire gallery to watch it's every move. The first brace was off at 8:00 am, with three one-hour braces run before lunch, which was served at the gun club headquarters on the ranch.
Three more braces were run after lunch. The first day's running was under beautiful weather conditions. Many wild Hungarian Partridge and both wild and released Chukar Partridge were seen. Judges for the event were Dan Taylor, the advertised judge, and Terry Zygalinski. Terry graciously agreed to move up from his marshaling duties to become the second judge for the National Championship when Robin Baker was faced with an emergency situation and was unable to officiate. Terry was our National Championship Judge three years ago in Colorado. We were very fortunate to have an individual with his judging credentials willing to step in and fill the vacancy.
The National Championship was supported with a large turnout. People in attendance Monday included the following:
Traveling in from Oregon were Myron Meifert; Tim, Angela, Nick & Tyler Schillereff; Gary & Kate Brown; Mel & Karen Lee. From Washington, Bob Hindman; Dave & Kathie Butler; Trena Cardwell & Jon Morton; Doug & Sandra Johnston; Char & John Benedict; John & Julie Files; Dave Story & Elaine Evans; Richard & Janet Matzke; Todd, Amanda, Adam & Shannon Schaaf also were present. Rich & Penny Robertson, Jr. & family came in from Idaho. From Colorado, Tracy & Jack Haines; Steve, Lisa, Bridget & John Bailey; John Stonebraker; and Marc Devos all made the trip. Eric Bettesworth was here from Texas. Judge Dan Taylor and his wife Nan came from Utah. California was represented by Judge Terry Zygalinski; Darryl Poodrey from AKC; and Roy Pelton and Kevin Dowdy from Iams Dog food company. The longest travel award goes to Dr. Debby Freidus of Connecticut.
Day two proved to be another beautiful Washington day with temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s. The final four braces were run in the morning leaving time for a leisurely afternoon and preparing for the banquet and auction.
The banquet included an all-you-can eat BBQ rib dinner held at Snipe's Mountain Brewery in the town of Sunnyside. Dinner was followed by a raffle and spirited auction of many items donated by sponsors and individuals in the American Pointer Club. The highlight of the evening was the awarding of the National Champion for the year 2000.
Our champion came from the first brace of the second days running, a repeat National Field Champion, Tian Lickity Split, owned by Eric Bettesworth, Paradise, TX and handled by Tim Schillereff. "Amy" separated herself early from the rest of the field with a powerful forward race, filling up the country on the rolling hills of the Anderson ranch. Out of sight when the handlers crested the top of the hill at 20 minutes, she was found standing with tremendous style, pointed approximately 300 yards to the front.
The handler flushed birds, all was in order, and she was taken on. She continued to demonstrate intelligent moves, hunting all the likely spots, ever mindful of the front. As the course turned to the east, and opened into the flat, she extended her range, and could be seen as a beautiful white dot, carving the countryside. At 40, another one of her powerful casts was rewarded with a letter-perfect find. She was sent on to finish the remainder of the hour, doing so with the same enthusiasm and stride as she had shown 60 minutes earlier, leaving no doubt in everyone's mind that she had put down a race of championship caliber performance, and was the dog to beat.
Second place was witheld. Third place went to Pinpointe Speck, owned by Steve & Lisa Bailey of Elizabeth, CO, and handled by Steve Bailey. Fourth place was awarded to Pinehill Damascus Cady, owned by Dave Butler of Vancouver, WA, and handled by Tim Schillereff.
Day Three: Wednesday morning dawned clear and cool for the first brace of the Open Derby Classic, off at 8:00 am. The Open Derby was judged by Jim D'Amico from Farmingdale, NJ and Mike Hemphill from Green Acres, WA.
The Derby Classic finished in time for lunch, served at the clubhouse. Eight dogs were started in the Derby and the judges reported that all the dogs could have conceivably placed. The judges placed four dogs, all with discernible bird work in the field. The winner came from the second brace. Fancy Cold Silver Simone, owned by Scott & Sheri Twenge of Newburg, Oregon handled by Tim Schillereff. Second place went to Fancy's Silver Icon, owned by Dave Story of Longview, WA, handled by Dan Hoke. Tian River Man, owner Marc Devos from Aurora, CO, handled by Tim Schillereff took third place honors, with fourth place going to Tian River Lady also handled by Tim Schillereff.
After lunch, the announcement was made that the National Amateur Championship would begin at 2:00 pm. Three braces were run Wednesday afternoon under the watchful eyes of judges Jim D'Amico & Mike Hemphill. It was reported that on course this afternoon a seven point bull elk was seen, as well as a coyote enjoying a chukar for supper.
The National Championship Field Trial had the honor of having the President of the American Pointer Club, Susan Bleckley from Newport Beach, CA, riding in the gallery for the Amateur Championship stake. This is the first time that an APC President has attended the National Championship.
Day Four: The day dawned cooler with a strong wind blowing and overcast skies. The first brace of the day was off at 8:30 am. The remaining four braces of the National Amateur Championship were run to their conclusion. With the Championship being over by 2:30, it left time for a slow leisurely lunch for all the participants while the judges conferred on placements. After lunch, the judges announced the placements, and also commented that five or six dogs were all in strong contention for the Championship.
The winner came from the seventh brace. FC/AFC Nevada Neon Moon, the pride of Richard & Janet Matzke of Washington, handled by Richard. Richard & Janet have been the owners and trainers of our new National Amateur Champion since obtaining her as a puppy. Running in adverse conditions, this black & white Pointer showed courage and conditioning, attacking the hills in the cold wind with strong and purposeful casts. At 17, she was found standing on a barren hill with birds in plain sight some 10 to 15 yards in front of her. The handler flushed the birds and fired. She remained lofty with her style and flawless in her demeanor. She was taken on and continued hunting to the front. At the halfway point, she paused for a quick drink and then was sent forward up a very steep, large canyon where she was found pointing with tremendous style.
The handler flushed, but his efforts were in vain. No birds were flushed. She was asked to relocate and did so without hesitation. She moved up, reading the scents as she went, and quickly slammed into a point again. This time when the handler flushed, birds were put to flight. The blank gun fired, all in order. She was taken on and continued to hunt the remainder of her hour needing little guidance from her handler finding the front on her own and finishing strong. Second place was given to Fancy's Silver Icon, owned by David Story of Washington, and handled by Eric Bettesworth. Third place was awarded to Mr. Clean, owned and handled by Gary Brown of Oregon. Fourth place went to FC/AFC Automatic Jessi, handled by her owner Jack Haines of Colorado.
Everyone joined in congratulating the winners and complimenting the Cascade Pointer Club for hosting an excellent event. The Cascade Pointer Club continued the standard that has been set in the past for a National Championship event. Special thanks should be given to all the club members for their hard work in front of and behind the scenes - and in particular, the Chairman and Secretary - Tim & Angela Schillereff.
Dogs were fed, horses were loaded, everyone saying their good-byes and looking forward to a reunion in Colorado in 2001. A National Championship event affords one the opportunity to see the best AKC Pointers in head-to-head competition in the field, competing with each other on the same grounds and allowing their owners to evaluate their dogs and their programs against the best in the country.
If you haven't had a chance to come and enjoy a National Championship, next year would be as good of a time as any. Even if you don't have a dog that's ready for national competition, or for that matter, even a field dog, consider taking a week, or even just a day, to come out to our National Championship and see what these beautiful champions do!
To see other photos from the National Championship and other associated events CLICK HERE.