2018 Championship

February 17 – 19, 2018 US Shooting Dog Invitational Championship

Congratulations to CH Chelsea’s Thunder Bolt,

2018 Invitational winner!


CH Chelsea’s Thunderbolt with Judge Dr. Richard Steckley, Reporter Pat Kammerlocher,       Owner Dr. Tom Jackson, Scout Virgil Moore, Handler Shawn Kinkelaar, Judge Chuck Stretz, Owner George Hickox


Hale’s Southern Touch with owner Dr. Jeffrey Hale (handler Shawn Kinkelaar), Chelsea’s Thunderbolt with handler Shawn Kinkelaar (owners Dr. Tom Jackson and George Hickox), Way Better Rocky with owner Carl Bishop (owners: Collin Bishop and Muriel Primm, handler Mike Tracy), Cock-N-Fire Maggie with handler Jerry Raynor (owners Allen Johnson and Auddie Brown), R J’s Delcer with Zack Hilton (owners Reagan Moisson and Kristen Moisson, handler Shawn Kinkelaar), Backcountry Tornado with owner Chris Catanzarite (handler Mike Tracy) Back row:  Tangled Sheets with handler Eddy Taylor (owners Johnny & Rita Ornsby), Bully Bragg with handler Mike Tracy (owners Ernie & Karen Saniga and Bill & Muriel Primm), LF Dyno Mike with  Virgil Moore, (owner Mike McClanahan, handler Shawn Kinkelaar) Crown’s Black Ice with owner and handler Tracy Swearingen (owner Stephens Walker), Touch’s Mae Mobley with owner Muriel Primm (owner Bill Primm, handler Mike Tracy), World Class Cliff with handler Stacy Perkins (owners Mick Marietta, Brian Hamilton and Bill Cignetti)


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Hale’s Southern Touch with owner Dr. Jeffrey Hale (handler Shawn Kinkelaar), Chelsea’s Thunderbolt with owner Dr. Tom Jackson, handler Shawn Kinkelaar and owner George Hickox, Way Better Rocky with owner Carl Bishop (owners: Collin Bishop and Muriel Primm, handler Mike Tracy), Cock-N-Fire Maggie with handler Jerry Raynor and owner Allen Johnson (Auddie Brown), R J’s Delcer with Zack Hilton and owner Reagan Moisson (owner Kristen Moisson, handler Shawn Kinkelaar), Backcountry Tornado with owner Chris Catanzarite (handler Mike Tracy) Back row:  Tangled Sheets with owners Johnny & Rita Ornsby and handler Eddy Taylor, Bully Bragg with handler Mike Tracy (owners Ernie & Karen Saniga and Bill & Muriel Primm), LF Dyno Mike with owner Mike McClanahan and Virgil Moore, (handler Shawn Kinkelaar) Crown’s Black Ice with owner and handler Tracy Swearingen (owner Stephens Walker), Touch’s Mae Mobley with owner Muriel Primm (owners Bill Primm, handler Mike Tracy), World Class Cliff with handler Stacy Perkins (owners Mick Marietta, Brian Hamilton and Bill Cignetti), Reporter Pat Kammerlocher, Judges Dr. Richard Steckley and Chuck Stretz.

2018 Qualified Dogs/Handlers/Owners

based on the 2016/2017 Purina Top Shooting Dogs Awards

Congratulations on being one of the top 12 open shooting dogs in the nation to:

Hale’s Southern Touch, Bess”, #6, W & L, PF, with 1,010 points

Handler: Shawn Kinkelaar – Effingham, IL

Owner: Dr. Jeff Hale – Russellville, AR

  • RU Ozark OSD CH                                 46
  • ​RU Arkansas OSD CH                           52
  • ​US SD Invitational CH                          12 +400

Chelsea’s Thunder Bolt, “Bolt”, #1, W & L, PM with 2,555 points

Handler: Shawn Kinkelaar – Effingham, IL

Owners: Dr. Tom Jackson – Columbus, IN, G eorge Hickox – Pittsburg, PA

  • CH All American OSD CH                    52
  • CH Texas OSD CH                                  30
  • 1st Swamp Fox Classic                          72
  • CH Tennessee OSD CH                          36
  • 2nd Oklahoma OSD Classic                   24
  • 1st Woodward County OK                    20
  • 1st Farmer Sportsman Deluca OSD    26
  • CH Michigan OSD CH                           41


CH All American OSD CH52CH Texas OSD CH30


Waybetter Rocky, “Rocky”, #2, W & O, PM with 2,250 points

Handler: Mike Tracy – Glenville, PA

Owner: Carl & Collin Bishop – Punxsutawney, PA, Bill & Muriel Primm – Cream Ridge, NJ

  • ​RU South Carolina OSD CH                    53
  • ​CH Georgia OSD CH                               104
  • ​CH Middle Atlantic OSD CH                   43
  • 1st North Carolina Pointing Dog Assn   52
  • 1st Indiantown Gap OSD Classic            42

Cock’N’Fire Maggie, “Maggie”, #3, W & B, PF with 1,503 points

Handler: Jerry Raynor – Dunn, NC

Owners: Allen Johnson – Sumter, SC, Auddie Brown, Jr. – Lane, SC

  • 1st Fort Mill OSD Classic                       56
  • ​CH National OSD CH                             60 + 500
  • ​RU Michigan OSD CH                            41

R J’s Deicer, “Dee”, #7, W & L, PF with 1,101 points

Handler: Shawn Kinkelaar – Effingham, IL

Owners:   Reagan and Kristen Moisson – Milton, WI

  • CH Kentucky OSD CH                           40
  • ​RU Tennessee OSD CH                          36
  • CH Egyptian OSD CH                             37
  • 3rd Woodward County OK                    20

Backcountry Tornado, “Tori”, #9, W & O, PF with 830 points

Handler: Mike Tracy – Glenville, PA

Owner: Chris Catanzarite – Scenery Hill, PA

  • CH North Carolina OSD CH                  48
  • ​RU Keystone OSD CH                             46
  • RU Middle Atlantic OSD CH                  43
  • CH Eastern OSD CH                                44

Tangled Sheets, “Hottise”, #10, W & L, PF with 580 points

Handler: Eddie Taylor – Red Banks, MS

Owners: Johnny & Rita Ornsby – Greenbrier, AR

  • 2nd Lone Star OSD Classic                       21
  • ​CH Ozark OSD CH                                     46
  • ​CH International Endurance OSD CH   23

Bully Bragg, “Ty”, #11, W & L, PM with 746 points

Handler: Mike Tracy – Glenville, PA

Owners: Ernie & Karen Saniga – Nottingham, PA, Bill & Muriel Primm – Cream Ridge, NJ

  • CH South Carolina OSD CH                     53
  • 3rd Swamp Fox Classic                             72

LF Dyno Mike, “Mike”, #12, W & O, PM with 700 points

Handler: Shawn Kinkelaar – Effingham, IL

Owner: Mike McClanahan – Lee’s Summit, MO

  • 1st Fleetwood OSD Classic                    26
  • 1st Lone Star OSD Classic                       21
  • CH Missouri OSD CH                              36


Crown’s Black Ice, “Maggie”, #15, W & O, PF with 660 points

Handler: Tracy Swearingen – Leesburg, GA

Owners: Tracy Swearingen – Leesburg, GA, Stephens Walker – Leesburg, GA

  • CH Masters OSD CH                                66

Touch’s Mae Mobley, “Sue”, #16, W & L, PF with 620 points

Handler: Mike Tracy – Glenville, PA

Owners: Bill & Muriel Primm – Cream Ridge, NJ

  • 2nd Swamp Fox Classic                             72
  • 2nd North Carolina Pointing Dog Assn  52

World Class Cliff, “Cliff”, #17, W & L, PM with 550 points

Handler: Stacy Perkins – Galena, KS

Owners: Mick Marietta, Brian Hamilton and Bill Cignetti – Pittsburg, KS

  • CH Jayhawk OSD CH                              34
  • ​ RU Midwest OSD CH                             42


2018 Amer. Field ad 5.5×8.5 (002)


USSDIC 2018 judges Dr. Richard Steckley & Chuck Stretz

Judges:  Dr. Richard Steckley, Wichita, KS, and Chuck Stretz, Blackwater, MO.  Stretz is a past two-time winning handler of the Invitational Championship.  Dr. Steckley’s Ninnescah Nichole won the Invitational title in 2010, handling for Stretz, to add to her many open and amateur championship wins.


USSDIC 2018 reporter Pat Kammerlocher

Pat Kammerlocher, Norman, OK, generously reported the trial for the 5th time.

Order of Running: 

Day 1, February 17, 2018

Brace 1      LF Dyno Mike
Brace 1      World Class Cliff

Brace 2    Tangled Sheets
Brace 2    Crown’s Black Ice

Brace 3    Chelsea’s Thunder Bolt
Brace 3    Bully Brag

Brace 4    Waybetter Rocky
Brace 4    Cock’N’Fire Maggie

Brace 5    Touch’s Mae Mobley
Brace 5   R J’s Deicer

Brace 6    Hale’s Southern Touch
Brace 6    Backcountry Tornado

Day 2, February 18, 2018

Brace 1  R J’s Deicer
Brace 1  Waybetter Rocky

Brace 2  Backcountry Tornado
Brace 2  Hale’s Southern Touch

Brace 3  Touch’s Mae Mobley
Brace 3  Cock’N’Fire Maggie

Brace 4  World Class Cliff
Brace 4  Chelsea’s Thunder Bolt

Brace 5  L F Dyno Mike
Brace 5  Bully Brag

Brace 6  Crown’s Black Ice
Brace 6  Tangled Sheets

The Finals:  Day 3, February 19, 2018

Brace 1  Chelsea’s Thunderbolt
Brace 1  Backcountry Tornado

Brace 2  Hales Southern Touch
Brace 2  Waybetter Rocky

The Report

United States Shooting dog Invitational Championship 2018

By Pat Kammerlocher

Here I sit, fingers poised over the keyboard (actual keyboard in front of an actual monitor, old school I am!) thinking has it really been 6 years since last I described the mechanics of a field trial?! A quick check of the files shows that to be untrue, but it has been 6 years since my attendance was requested at this particular “field trial”, the Invitational where only the best of the best are invited to appear and vie for the top Title. And look at this, Chelsea’s Thunderbolt, the 2017 Purina shooting dog of the Year proved himself once again by resoundingly winning the Invitational Championship title. After completion of the callback series on Day 3, the judges commented that Thunderbolt’s performance that day was one of the best ever witnessed, ever, and his 3-day culmination was impressive.


Sooo, now to those “mechanics”….. as stated, twelve dogs are invited to run in February at Camp Robinson in Arkansas. Most are able to accept, but illness, schedule, weather etc. cause the list to expand. I hadn’t been here since the tornado wiped out the old clubhouse and barns. They have a very nice facility again, bigger than the old but not with the charm of the old native stone fireplace. Friday is “travel day” for most owners and officials, for the festivities begin on Friday evening with a barbecue dinner catered this year by the restaurant Smokin Buns. The dinner was sponsored by The Trailer Store, a fixture of Atkins, AR.   for 27 years. Brandon Oakley had set up for display a 4-horse custom living quarter model (living quarters at least as big and definitely nicer than my motel room!) for all to tour and dream of.   The pre-, during- and after-dinner bar for every evening was sponsored by World Class Kennel of Pittsburg, KS. That’s a lot of cheer to be thankful for!

Friday evening is the time for introductions, of handlers, owners and other dignitaries. As owners and handlers were called out, handlers were given leather collars with nametags for their dogs courtesy of Leather Brothers, and handlers and owners were all given hats and vests with the USSDIC logo in colorful embroidery. First on the “dais” was last year’s champion, Hale’s Southern Touch’s owner Dr. Jeff Hale and his family from Russellville, AR. They occupied almost a whole table, with daughters, friends, and family. Handler Shawn Kinkelaar trooped up for one of many such trips. Our seasoned host Johnny Taylor announced that Shawn had over the years qualified and run 48 dogs in the Invitational, and won it 6 times!   Dr. Tom Jackson and George Hickox of Indiana and Pennsylvania respectively, were introduced on behalf of Chelsea’s Thunderbolt, and Kinkelaar again.     Waybetter Rocky was represented by Carl Bishop of Pennsylvania and Muriel Primm from New Jersey, with Mike Tracy as handler. Mike has run a grand total of 49 dogs in the Invitational, with 5 wins, and the unique distinction of the same dog winning three different years (Great River Ice).   Handler Jerry Raynor of North Carolina was up with owner Allen (Coach) Johnson of South Carolina on behalf of Cock’N’Fire Maggie.   A mother/daughter ownership of R J’s Deicer was introduced, Reagan and Kristen Moisson from Wisconsin. Dad Jerry was just along for the trip (and the checkbook?) with handler Kinkelaar.   Reagan was proclaimed youngest owner ever at an Invitational.   Tracy to the fore again and joined by owner Chris Catanzarite of Pennsylvania for Backcountry Tornado’s introduction.   Locals (Greenbrier, AR) Rita and Johnny Ornsby, familiar faces from years of helping with the Invitational, took the stage with handler Eddy Taylor for their gal Tangled Sheets.   Muriel Primm and Tracy again up to the front for recognition of Bully Bragg, co-owners Ernie and Karen Saniga unable to attend.   Missourian Mike McClanahan joined Kinkelaar to honor his LF Dyno Mike.   Crown’s Black Ice’s owner/handler, Tracey Swearingen came forward and announced his co-owner Stephens Walker of Georgia, although absent this evening, was eleven years old, thus usurping Reagan Moisson’s short reign as youngest owner!   The Primm and Tracy duo again posed for introduction of Touch’s Mae Mobley.   Stacy Perkins and baby daughter Riley Ray stepped up with Bill Cignetti of Kansas to honor World Class Cliff.   Co-owner Mick Marietta arrived the next evening, joining the Cliff fan club and babysitting detail.

And there you have the essence of the Invitational: New Jersey, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Indiana, Illinois, Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee and Oklahoma!

This was all accomplished with lots of laughter and high spirits, especially thanks to the selected theme music for each handler. But the room quieted and when the business at hand became the drawing for the pairings of the 2 days’ preliminary running. This is part of the real “mechanics” of a field trial; pulling the names literally from a cap, easily enough for the first day even with the multiples of entries handled by Kinkelaar and Tracy.   Day 2 was accomplished with little problem, also, being sure the same dogs were not paired together nor on the same course as the day before.   So off we all went to motels, homes or trailers, pointedly ignoring the weather forecast for the next day.


RAIN AND MORE RAIN!! The 7:30 am photo shoot was only slightly delayed thanks to the covered patio, but by 9:00 am the judges had conferred with the clouds and deemed the day a washout, which literally it was.   We went our separate ways but not even rain prevents a party so all were gathered at the clubhouse again Saturday evening for the fish-fry traditionally hosted by Carol and Witt Stephens. Once he had us stuffed to the gills (pun intended) and docile, Johnny Taylor took to emcee duties again and began with the auctioning of a SportDog TeK tracking and e-collar training system, proceeds going into the vault for the furtherance of Invitationals to come. All handlers received a bag of Purina Pro-Plan dog food for each entry, and Purina horse feed, and Gun Dog Supply gift certificates! Then another type of drawing took place for the prizes donated by sponsors: from SportDOG an 1825 Training Collar, No bark 10R Collar, Upland 1875 Training collar, and SportDOG bag; from Haggis a saddle bag gift certificate; from the Collar Clinic a repair gift certificate; and from Tucker Saddlery a bridle and saddle pad. Judges and reporter were presented with beautiful shiny black water resistant Jackets compliments of Purina. And it continued!! Mike McClanahan’s wife Felicia had sent along lovely little gift bags for all the ladies containing bracelets that she made. Laden with swag and full of fish and fried chicken, again we adjourned to our quarters, again ignoring the weather forecast for the next day.


So What if it rained all night, there was just fog at daybreak so were we ever ready for kickoff of Day 1 at 8:59 AM Sunday! LF Dyno Mike (Kinkelaar) and World Class Cliff (Perkins) were on the line and took off dead to the front with vigor. The fog was almost totally gone and both dogs were easy to see as they laid out their strong searching races , but the birds were apparently still abed as none were found. Mike McClanahan was 1st in line after the dog wagon in the vehicular gallery, and all the World Class attendees were mounted.

Brace 2 of Tangled Sheets (Taylor) and Crown’s Black Ice (Swearingen) were away from the usual 2nd hour spot just past the dove field. Miss Sheets was off in a huff and wasn’t seen after the 15 minute mark. How disappointing for owners Rita and Johnny Ornsby, who probably ached to go look for their girl. Black Ice had an unproductive at 20 at the road just over the morning mountain crossing. From there he had a good find at 41 off the road on the left as we made the crossing toward the nursery pond.

Hour 3, away at 11:31, was comprised of Chelsea’s Thunderbolt (Kinkelaar) with Bully Bragg (Tracy). And… action!   Thunderbolt scored at 17 with a good find and again at 34, with plenty of zip and distance In between. His owners Dr. Jackson and George Hickox, with Dr. Debbie Ozner-Anderson, were all in the mounted gallery. Bracemate Bully had pointed but was released to relocate at 40 on the west side of rabbit pen hill. As birds flew he was posed up. A similar incident at 36 with birds in the air and a motionless dog, but no official eyes on what came about. Thunderbolt tallied a third find at 43, all in order. Bragg was off in the distance for a good finish after an unproductive stand at 48.

Due to the late start, lunch was gulped down quickly, not giving due justice to the brisket and peach cobbler. Back on the courses for the afternoon lineup, Waybetter Rocky (Tracy) was off the mark with Cock’N’Fire Maggie (Raynor) at almost 2:00 pm. Maggie had a lot of hustle for a little girl, we possibly saw her more from the dog wagon, she seemed to be listening and keeping up but not in sight of handler or scout and so was counted out by halftime, which surely disappointed her owner Mr. Johnson. Mrs. Primm and Mr. Bishop were mounted for Rocky’s pleasing performance; a good find at 56 with a big finish, and an unproductive at 22.

Again, under the Primm banner was Touch’s Mae Mobley (Tracy) with RJ’s Deicer, all the Moissons in attendance. Miss Mae had a long relocation at 28 which produced no bird flight, and Deicer was credited with a back.   He continued with a searching race and was rewarded with a good find at 59. Mae continued to look for something but not under her handler’s whistle, and was counted out at 40.

Final brace of the day was Hale’s Southern Touch (Kinkelaar) with a family cheering section in the gallery, and Backcountry Tornado (Tracy), Chris Catanzarite ahorse to watch his girl. An unproductive stand at 22 for Tornado gave Southern Touch a backing opportunity, and though she ran a good race was not seen before or at the finishing time. Tornado had another unproductive at 32, and a very nice woodcock find at 48. Her race and finish were described as pleasing.

Day 1 of running finally in the books, the festive air was still present at the evening gathering, the owners’ dinner hosted by the previous year’s winner. The tradition of big juicy steaks cooked on- site was ongoing, and Melanie Hale supplied the rest of the fixings, vegetables, potatoes, salad, snacks, homemade cookies! She even decorated the tables!   What a treat and thank you so much to the Hale Family. A stellar moment was the opening of the cake box with the picture of Hale’s southern Touch and her owner Dr. Hale and daughter Lydia. A beautifully decorated (and delicious!) cake sponsored by Mike Taylor and Marcia O’Neal. Another unveiling of importance, the original oil painting done by Ross Young and sponsored by Purina, of Hale’s Southern Touch in all her majestic glory. A special guest was announced although most of us had already greeted him during cocktails, John Seawright gave us a brief history of the beginnings of the Invitational’s history. It was his brainchild to provide for the still young but rapidly growing Shooting-Dog category what the All-Ager’s had, a top notch championship to which only the most qualified (winning!) dogs would be invited. “Chicago” i.e. the American Field, was willing to comply with win information, but reluctant to grant Championship status. Still the trial was held, with Mr. Seawright and his recruits spending hours and hours and $$ on phone calls and writing letters, arranging for the contestants. They discontinued their efforts after a few years, but the seeds were planted, the stake had proved so popular among handlers and owners that it was soon reorganized and granted the all-important CH.  Finally, still more giveaways to handlers and owners, judges and reporter: 20-foot check cords from Leather Brothers and bottles of Bird Dog Whiskey (Peach or Blackberry!). One or two of those bottles may have been opened as the evening progressed, evidenced by the application of several bird Dog Whiskey tattoos (temporary! temporary!) on body parts.


A lovely morning for a field trial, the first brace of the day off at precisely 8:00 am, RJ’s Deicer (Kinkelaar) and Waybetter Rocky (Tracy). On the first treeline encountered, point was called for Deicer at 4, then flight of a bird, possibly a dove or woodcock, alas unseen by judges. He continued with a strong race mostly to the front. Rocky also had a good front race with a really nice find (possibly best of the stake?) at 36, right where he’d been seen heading way to the front. He was gone for about 5 minutes before time but did an overall very nice job.

Though unreported, the coffee breaks were always after the first brace, with various kinds of quick breads on offer instead of donuts. Someone looking out for our carbs? They were pretty darn good!   Second brace of the morning was Backcountry Tornado (Tracy) with Hale’s Southern Touch (Kinkelaar). This was a busy hour, with both dogs running “nip and tuck” reaching races. Attention was heightened at 10 with a divided find in which both dogs were exemplary. Tornado was found on point again just off the road by the daffodils, but extensive relocation was unproductive. Double hats in the air at 32 was another by-the-book divided find, birds flying everywhere this morning!   The hour concluded with still more feathers, Southern Touch had her own covey at 55 by the nursery pond and at 57 Tornado was on his own for a covey.

Our third brace of the morning was the two females Touch’s Mae Mobley (Tracy) and Cock’N’Fire Maggie (Raynor). The day was warming rapidly with plenty of sunshine. Mae searched diligently but by 45 had no birdwork and handler gathered her up. Maggie seemed more obliging today, with an unproductive stand at 18 followed immediately at 20 with a really pretty find where the birds were scattered all around her. A second unproductive at 43 detracted, and handler opted for early pick up at 55.

Leftovers for lunch isn’t a bad deal at all when it’s steak, catfish and fried chicken. Plus peach cobbler and bakery cake! With time aplenty we were allowed the full hour today. Back in business for the afternoon’s pairings, World Class Cliff (Perkins) and Chelsea’s Thunderbolt (Kinkelaar) were eagerly away into the warm and muggy air. After crossing the mountain top Cliff zagged left and required rounding up. He was birdless and eventually harnessed at 50. Thunderbolt hung in there and had a nice find at 50, with a good overall race.

LF Dyno Mike (Kinkelaar) had no bird work for the second day and ran a medium race in the heat of the afternoon. Bully Bragg (Tracy) was also scoreless, but had the energy for a sweeping race. At 15 both scouts and the dog truck were near each other on the road and rode/drove up a big covey.

Last brace, last chance. Crown’s Black Ice (Swearingen) tackled the countryside and was still strong at 50 when handler called a halt. Tangled Sheets (Kinkelaar) -note the change of handler, it was due to a horse accident in which regular handler Eddy Taylor was left with an injured shoulder, and headed for home for medical care- had a very pretty find at 8 to get our hopes up, but 45 was the next raised hat and ended up being unproductive. As was her bid for the callbacks and she was off the ground.

It being Monday evening when normally we would all be heading for home, there was no official gathering planned, but there was still the World Class Bar and plenty of snacks, both sweet and savory, to tide us over till the announcement of the callback pairings was ready from the judges. Nor did they have to have a deep and searching conversation, they were in accordance soon after reaching camp, though chores had to be completed and the suspense drawn out just for fun.   The big decision was to start on Tuesday morning at 8:00 am at the breakaway point for the usual morning second course, with Chelsea’s Thunderbolt and Backcountry Tornado, then continue after their ninety-minute brace with Waybetter Rocky and Hale’s Southern Touch. There was applause, handshakes, and farewells as folks not in the running prepared to head home to work and regular life.


Chelsea’s Thunderbolt (Kinkelaar) and Backcountry Tornado (Tracy) were well represented with owners in the gallery this cloudy cool morning.   They were off and—at 2 a dog on point! Kinkelaar quickly dismounted at the treeline and swooshed a woodcock from the brush in front of Thunderbolt.   Hopes were high at 5 when another point was called, this time for Tornado, but quickly dashed when nothing was flushed. The dogs managed to spend enough time in proximity for Thunderbolt to become mildly interested in his female bracemate, so handlers quickly intervened and went separate directions. That was the end of that monkey business, and Thunderbolt put more good finds in the book at 45 and 47 then again at 67, with no visible signs of tiring. Miss Tornado was out of sight a lot in the last third of the heat, although she was spied to the front on point at 80 with a good find for herself which Thunderbolt backed. Just ten minutes later as time was called, both dogs were credited with a divided find. That was a lot of action and excitement and the standard was clearly set.

An hour and a half of handling and scouting is tiring, and the same two sets of handler/scouts/horses had to be ready to do it all again in the space of a coffee break. Waybetter Rocky (Tracy) with the Bishop-Primm duo on board, and Hale’s Southern Touch (Kinkelaar) turned loose kind of in the middle of normal courses.   Southern Touch slammed on the brakes and pointed at 2, with a nice find on the tree line, Rocky executing a mannerly back.   As the morning sky grew heavier with heat and the anticipation of rain, our excitement was slowly deflating as the dogs hunted but did not find. Handlers knew better than to unduly tire them with no prospects of winning, so both dogs were harnessed not much further after passing the barn and kennels.

Again, horses needed unsaddling and tended to and dogs watered, but the convening in the clubhouse did not take long to happen. Dire weather was predicted in all directions and the fate of the International Endurance Championship scheduled to begin the next day was questioned.   Though the audience had diminished in size from the first night of the trial, the excitement level was still high. When the judge’s announced their decision to name Chelsea’s Thunderbolt as the Invitational Champion, none were surprised, as this big white and liver pointer male had clearly done the best job on the three-day judging cycle. Although the $7,500 purse, Garmin Astro320/T5 , Garmin/Tri-Tronics Pro 550 E-Collar, and $600 worth of Purina Pro-Plan dog food are arguably the richest payout for an open shooting dog championship, the physical pride of the accomplishment compares to none other. To have recognized the talent, been trusted with the talent, and then been rewarded by the talent of a birddog is cause for joy.   During the ensuing photo session trainer Shawn Kinkelaar was quick to emphasize that he owed a lot of thanks to Steve Hurdle and Chelsea Plantation’s Brad Sadler for starting Thunderbolt and mapping his journey to end up with him as a first year dog. It is the seventh championship win for this son of Whippoorwill Wild Again and a daughter of Kinkelaar’s own Champion Elhew Sinbad. Between posing for photos with Judges and receiving handshakes, Dr. Jackson and George Hickox were seen flipping a coin to determine who got to take home the Montana Silversmith Championship belt buckle donated by Gordon and Cindy Hazelwood. They will also be presented with the Ross Young oil painting of the dog at next year’s renewal, and –ha!- be responsible for the steak dinner!


Shooting Dog Invitational=Johnny and Joyce Taylor. Period. For twenty-one years they have taken the burden of acquiring sponsors, securing prizes, keeping track of points and issuing invitations, and confirming qualified, respected officials. They have recruited others over the years as assistants, their latest “executive assistant” and new convert to gallery riding Katie Scherrey. But the big chunk of planning and execution is taken on by the Taylors, with next year’s stake probably already being thought out as this one has just concluded. Almost all of the Arkansas field trial brotherhood has aided over the years in one way or another, with marshalling, cooking, handing out prizes, judging or reporting, and it is thanks to the Taylors’ powers of persuasion!   The all-important Dog Wagon driver this year was Steve Messick, using his own 4-wheel drive vehicle with extremely high clearance (this reporter has her new titanium knee to thank for being able to climb up into the beast!). Steve’s knowledge of the grounds is amazing; he had us viewing the action as much as possible between ferrying dogs back and forth and knew just where to be at the final minute of each brace.   Connie Crowell and Joyce Taylor were the designated field marshals, though Connie had her hands full with scouting for Mike Tracy, no one got lost or off course. Connie also was a big help with kitchen duty and coffee break prep. The all-important sponsors have hopefully all been mentioned, with just one more big shout-out to Purina. Private benefactors include Lee Cruse, Charlie and Linda Jackson, Randy and Lynn Potter, Audrey, Jack and Brian Sanchez, and Johnny and Joyce Taylor.

And finally the judges, ah the judges! Their integrity and dedication were never in doubt, and I am quite grateful to them both for filling me in on the course work and their personal insights. It is so grievous to me to no longer be able to ride a horse and fly to calls of point in the distance. Chuck Stretz came to the Invitational for the first time in 1991 and won the title with Rock Candy Man. He won again in 2010 with Ninnescah Nicole, coincidentally owned by his fellow judge for this renewal, Dr. Richard Steckley. Stretz has brought 10 dogs to the Invitational over the years, and has the most profound sense of what is required to win. Dr. Steckley’s record of amateur wins and hours of judgement of other stakes give him the perspective and knowledge to be an astute observer.

When I left Camp Robinson the temperature was in the mid 70’s, with flooding rains in the forecast for the evening.   Roads were dry till I crossed the stateline into Oklahoma, then the windshield wipers came on. Before finally arriving home in Norman, the car was covered in ice, as were trees and fences!

Mike Mc

Sidebar to USSDIC Championship Article

The day after returning home from this year’s Invitational, I received a phone call from a very subdued Shawn Kinkelaar with the news of the passing of our mutual friend Mike McClanahan.   It made the report difficult to write as he was so There during the first 3 days of the trial. Max and I met Mike so many years ago, though he was never an owner of ours we became friends and spent many hours at dinners, trials and training sessions with him and Matthew. Over the years since Max died, Mike bought pups from me, and called to visit occasionally. My best last memory of Mike is at the parking area at the bottom of the mountain, waiting for the competitors to come through, parked side by side. We shared the homemade cookies I had snitched from the kitchen that morning.

Pat Kammerlocher, Norman, OK