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Event: CS Four Season's Gunner Wins 2024
Result: Atlantic Coast Open Shooting Dog Championship

Location: Hoffman, North Carolina

Post Date: Apr 3, 2024

Submitted By: David Huffine

Atlantic Coast OSD ChS24

Atlantic Open Shooting Dog Championship (l-r): Doug Ray with CS Four Season's Gunner, Chris Lisenby with Bittersweet War Cry, G. B. Hatcher, Whitley Stephenson (judge), Tim McClurg (judge), Carolyn Quinn, Mike Tracy, Bob Youngs, Barbara Youngs, Ginny Emerson, Maggie Maier, Crissy Joyal, Jim Emerson, and Greg Robinson.

CS Four Season's Gunner, a 2-year-old orange and white pointer male owned by Tony Gibson and Harold Ray, bested a field of 64 dogs to win the 2024 Atlantic Coast Open Shooting Dog Championship held at the Robert Gordon Field Trial Grounds in Hoffman, North Carolina. The champion is out of Dominator's Ghost Rider and Piney Woods Gal. He was expertly handled by Doug Ray and scouted by Matt Basilone.

The runner-up champion was Bittersweet War Cry, a 6-year-old white and black pointer male out of Sugarknoll War Paint and Mohawk. He is owned by Joe Lordi and Ralph Gillota and was handled by Mike Tracy. Chris Lisenby scouted Mike's dog.

Judges for the Championship were Whitley Stephenson of Smithfield, North Carolina, and Tim McClurg of Fowler, Ohio and Hoffman, North Carolina. Both judges have significant experience judging championship trials. Whitley campaigns on the all-age circuit and is also active in NSTRA. Tim is very successful in training and trialing his dogs, primarily in amateur all-age trials. Their expertise and attention to detail were evident throughout the trial.
Bird numbers continued to be good at Hoffman for the season. Several competitors commented that there were more birds at Hoffman than they had seen. The efforts of the North Carolina Field Trial Association and the impact of additional bird releases for the Jamboree in October are likely due the credit.

Champions' Summary
The champion was drawn in the 10th Brace, which was primarily on Course 3. Breakaway was at 10:19 in beautiful weather. His bracemate was Miller's Automatic Upgrade, a handsome pointer male handled by Mike Tracy. Doug's charge ran a big Hoffman race, showing to the front consistently and stylishly. Doug's dog had a find at 17 with all in order. He had another find at 22 on a hillside near the left of the course. It was a particularly scenic find, which impressed the judges. Mike's dog had a nice race but didn't match his bracemate. He had no birdwork.

The runner-up champion ran in Brace 19 and was matched with Hatteras Rip Tide, a setter male handled by Doug Ray. Mike's dog ran a big shooting dog race with two finds, all in order. He had exceptional style standing and moving. Doug's dog had a shorter race. He produced one find, but it was after time was called.

The Running
The Championship began Wednesday morning with dogs breaking away on Course 1 shortly after 8 in a comfortable 62 degrees. A moment of silence for Bill Faust, who died in 2023 after decades of commitment to the Atlantic Coast, preceded the breakaway.

The first brace matched Calico's Sky's The Limit (PF/M. Tracy) with Tug O'War, a pointer male handled by Shawn Kinkelaar. Both dogs showed nice forward races and looked classy on the ground. No birds were produced through the Mile Long Field and the next road crossing. Shawn had a find at 42 near the Beaver Pond with Mike's dog backing. There was no further birdwork in the brace.

The second brace was filled by Hatteras Sand Storm (ESM/Ray) and Waybetter Rebel (PM/M. Tracy). Doug's setter had an early find off the breakaway but followed it with two unproductives at 10 and 15 to end his day. Mike's Rebel dog had a good, solid race with two particularly stylish finds at 15 and 30. He had an unproductive shortly after his find at 30. Thereafter, he finished his hour with a good race with pace, style, and finish.

I'm Spartacus (PM/Ray) and Mohawk Mill Jacked Up, a pointer male handled by Matt Basilone, broke away at 10:26 for the third brace. Both dogs had moderate, forward races but produced no birds for their efforts.

Wednesday afternoon brought Mo's Curtain Call (PF/M. Tracy) and Smoke'N'Mirrors (PF/Basilone) to the breakaway for Course 4. Both dogs were still "hot" when they hit birds at 9 and went with the birds on the flush.

The fifth brace was off at 1:25, with Doug Ray's Smooth Talkin (PM) and Mike Hester's Quickmarksman's Dan (PM) breaking away at the 10-minute mark of Course 4. Doug's dog had a find at 10 after a nice relocation. He had another divided find at 35 but followed with a pair of unproductives to end his brace at 46. Mike's dog began with a modest race but strengthened and lengthened throughout his brace. He looked good on a find at 35 and a back at 46 and finished his hour.

Hoffman heat and humidity showed itself as Quickmarksman's Excalibur (PM/Hester) and Miller's High Heat Index (PM/Tracy) broke away a little before 3 p.m. Hester's dog had a find at 12 but was impacted by the heat and was picked up at 41. Tracy's dog was suffering in the heat and was also collared early.

The pickups allowed for a seventh brace to be run on Wednesday afternoon, with Red Alert Lane (PM/Basilone) and Hard Truth (PM/Ray) completing the first day. Matt's dog had a nice find at 4 and another find before he was up at 36 with unproductives. Doug's dog also had unproductives and was up at 19.

Brace 8 broke away on Thursday morning, with Absolute Tornado (PM/Ray) filling the top spot and Hauser's Rollin Thunder (PM/M. Tracy) filling the bottom slot on the draw. Doug had a find at 46 in the Green Swamp after a long relocation. He was knee-deep in water when a single bird flushed. Mike's dog had a nice relocation at 57 with Doug's dog backing. Mike's dog previously had an unproductive on Doug's find and relocation. Both dogs finished well.

Ravenwood Throwing Smoke (PM/Basilone) and Miller's Strolling For Gold (PF/M. Tracy) were on Course 2 for Brace 9. Both dogs hooked up at the breakaway and were not seen much, if at all, thereafter. Mike called for the tracker at 10, and Matt followed suit at 32.

The champion's brace (10) is described above.

Thursday afternoon brought Two Spot Tommy (PM/Ray) and Lester's Another Shockwave (PM/Kinkelaar) to the line for Brace 11. Tommy had a nice forward race but produced only a back at 37. Shawn's dog had a strong forward race and produced a find at 37. Both dogs finished their hour.

Jeanette Tracy loosed The Secret (PM) with Thunder's Wild Agin (PF/Kinkelaar) on Course 5 for Brace 12. Jeanette did an admirable job handling her dog with bookend finds at 4 and 56. Secret ran a moderate race, always in contact with the handler, and finished the hour. Shawn opted to collar his dog at 32.

Brace 13 matched Cape Point Lucky Strike (ESM/Ray) and Miller's Heat Seeker (PM/M. Tracy) on Course 6 for a late afternoon run. Doug's dog had a divided find shortly after breakaway. He had no additional birdwork but unproductives at 39 and 40 ended his trial. Mike's dog shared the divided find and finished with a find at time, as Course 6 was running out of dirt. An unproductive in a food plot was sandwiched between the finds. He had a bold race but was not seen much on the new loop.

Friday morning saw Mohawk Mill Gangster (PM/Basilone) and R Q's Saddle (PM/J. Tracy) in front of the clubhouse for Brace 14. Gangster showed his all-age background and his knowledge of Hoffman. He was rarely seen, and Matt called for the tracker at 38, finding his dog long and to the front. Jeanette's dog had some difficulty finding the front and was picked up at 42. Neither dog had birdwork.

Brace 15 featured a Tracy matchup. Mike had Miller's Special Cinderella (PF), with Jeanette handling Hillhavyn's Wild Child (PF). Mike's dog was last seen at the breakaway, and he called for the tracker when she did not appear. Jeanette's dog was behind early and she picked up at 15.

The third brace of the morning was ready to go at 9:26. Miller's Potential Upgrade (PM/Ray) was not pleasing his handler and was up at 20. Upfront's McQuade (PM/Kinkelaar) was also up at 20 as Shawn called for the tracker.

The shortened morning braces allowed for time and course, so Brace 17 was on the wagon and ready to go. Hale's Smooth Touch (PF/Kinkelaar) had a nice race but produced no birds with unproductives at 20 and 49. Jeanette Tracy ran Pine Straw Hot Chocolate (ESF). She had a back at 20 followed by an unproductive at 41. Jeanette picked her up after an unsuccessful relocation.

Due to funeral obligations, the reporter was unable to be present for Braces 18 through 26 and has relied upon third-party reports for those braces.

Brace 18 matched Southpoint's Hog Wild (PM/M. Tracy) and A Buccaneer (PM/Ray) to begin the afternoon braces. Mike's dog was lost from judgment, and he called for the tracker. Doug's dog was not pleasing him and was leashed prior to the completion of his hour.

Brace 19 is described in the champions section above.

Miller's Extreme Heat (PF/M. Tracy) and Thunder Bolt's Storm (PF/Kinkelaar) made up Brace 20. Mike's dog had an early find but was picked up before completion of the hour. Shawn's dog had no bird contacts and was likewise leashed by her handler.

Limbsmoke Urban Lullaby (PF/Basilone) and Pine Straw Sweet Tea (ESF/J. Tracy) began the Sunday morning braces. Matt's dog was lost and he called for the tracker. In similar fashion, Jeanette's dog disappeared, and she called for the tracker.

Brace 22 included Miller's Lock and Loaded (PM/M. Tracy) and The Gray Ghost (ESM/Basilone). Mike's charge did not show very often and moved on his only find, ending his day. Matt's dog had a back but no other bird contact.

Southern Shadows Rick (PM/Basilone) and Steel Valley Raven (PF/J. Tracy) finished the morning. Matt's dog ran a moderate race but finished without birds. Raven had one unproductive, and Jeanette opted to pick her up before the end of her hour.

Erin's Thunder Backus (PM/Kinkelaar) and Miller's Record Heat (PF/M Tracy) were in Brace 24. Shawn's dog was not pleasing him and was picked up before the hour elapsed. Mike determined that his dog was not beating the dogs before him and collared his dog.

Brace 25 paired Chelsea's Mae West (PF/Kinkelaar) and Erin's Big Casino (ESM/M. Tracy). Shawn's female had a big race but did not produce birds. She was picked up by her handler. Mike's big setter had one find but was then lost. Mike called for the tracker, ending his day.

The last brace of the day was Due Respect (ESM/Kinkelaar) and Absolute Dominator (PM/Ray). Doug's dog had an early find and was backed by Shawn's dog. However, both handlers chose to pick up near the 30-minute mark.

The final day of running began with Fort River's Lucky Charm (ESM/Basilone) and Heisman (PM/Hester) on Course 1 in 64-degree weather. Matt's dog finished with a strong, medium race but produced no birds. Mike's dog had a big race with a good finish but also found no birds.
Faithful (PF/Mike Tracy) ran a great race in Brace 28 but found no birds. Silver W Jill Z (PF/Kinkelaar) ran an equally fine race but produced no birdwork. This brace was possibly the best-combined race of the trial.

The 29th brace had Hausers Unhinged (PM/M. Tracy) and Harbor City Sure Shot (PF/Basilone) on Course 3. Mike's dog was lost early, and he called for the tracker at 19. Matt's dog had a big covey find at 8 but failed to carry her good start over, and Matt leashed her at 40.

The final afternoon's braces began shortly after 1 on Course 4. Hirollins Bad Boy (PM/Basilone) had a nice relocation at 4 with all in order. Matt called for the tracker after the road crossing only to find him on point about 600 yards behind the gallery. His bracemate, Miller's Southern Gossip (PF/M. Tracy), had a solid race but produced no birds.

The 31st brace was Big Man On Campus (PM/Kinkelaar) and Trumped (PM/M. Tracy). Both dogs were gone early, and both handlers called for the trackers at 20 minutes or so.

The final brace of the Championship paired Suemac's Wicked Sister (PF/M. Tracy) and Upfront's Southern Star (PF/Kinkelaar). Mike's dog had a moderate race with a divided find at 34. Star shared the find at 34 and produced another at 59 with a moderate race.

Hoffman, N. C., January 24
Judges: Tim McClurg and Whitley Stephenson
ATLANTIC COAST OPEN SHOOTING DOG CHAMPIONSHIP [One-Hour Heats] - 56 Pointers and 8 Setters

Winner-CS FOUR SEASON'S GUNNER, 1701374, pointer male, by Dominator's Ghost Rider-Piney Woods Gal. Tony Gibson & Harold Ray, owners; Doug Ray, handler.
Runner-Up-BITTERSWEET WAR CRY, 1674743, pointer male, by Sugarknoll War Paint-Mohawk. Joe Lordi & Ralph Gillota, owners; Mike Tracy, handler.

The Atlantic Coast Open Derby
The Derby stake was canceled due to the wonderful number of entries for the Championship and the harsh weather in the forecast.

The Duplin County Field Trial Club has sponsored this trial for several decades. Bill Faust has been the heart and soul of the Club and this Championship. Bill physically left us this past year, but we all felt his presence throughout the trial. We certainly missed him.

Carolyn Quinn makes everything work for the Duplin County Club. She helps with the drawing, keeps notes on all braces, cooks and serves meals, and fills in as Secretary/Treasurer for the Club as the elected official is often absent and unreliable.

John Outlaw helped marshal and helped Carolyn and others with trial chores. The Club commends John for his help.

G. B. Hatcher reluctantly took Bill's place as President of the Duplin County Club and did a wonderful job in the first of many years of service. G.B. is a steady hand and does whatever is necessary to make the trial operate smoothly. He is also quick with derogatory remarks about setters.

We love Greg Robinson, who drives the gallery/dog wagon and provides coffee, soft drinks, water, and snacks at the morning and afternoon breaks. He also tells unpublishable jokes. Greg seems to thoroughly enjoy his duties, and it is rare that he doesn't predict the winners correctly.

The Duplin County Club commends the North Carolina Field Trial Association for its diligent work in implementing and continually improving the bird program at Hoffman.

Finally, this Championship would not survive without the support of Purina, and the Club expresses its full gratitude for the sponsorship.