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Event: Grand National Grouse Futurity Presents the
Result: 75th Grand National Grouse Puppy Classic

Location: Gladwin, Michigan

Post Date: Jun 13, 2024

Submitted By: Denise Peters

Grand National Grouse Puppy ClassicS24

75th Grand National Grouse Puppy Classic (l-r): Still Meadows Little Sunray with Adam Dubriske (handler), Prairie Forged Jay with Robert Jones (owner/handler/breeder), Hatton Hills Luci with Shane Haskin (owner/handler), Twilight's Problem Child with Marc Forman (handler), Mike Flewelling (judge), and Denise Peters (judge).

On April 19, the 75th Annual Grand National Grouse Futurity Puppy Classic was held on the old puppy course on the northeast section of the Gladwin Field Trial Grounds. The stake began after the conclusion of the Grand National Grouse and Woodcock Invitational Championship.
Sitting in judgment was Mike Flewelling of Holden, Maine, who is no stranger to the grouse woods. I was blessed to be able to join him as a judge and benefit from his many years of experience. I live close to these grounds and have been a familiar face for over a decade. We were pleased to be chosen to look at 18 of the cover dogs' best up-and-coming competitors. This is a breeders' stake, with the breeders of these puppies having to nominate their litter and pay a nomination fee. Owners pay a forfeit to be eligible to run, along with entry fees. This event is proudly sponsored by Purina.

The day was clear, with temperatures in the 40s and windy. Wind gusts did challenge some of the braces throughout the stake. This puppy course has many objectives to its benefit. The course starts an uphill climb through some young scrub hardwood growth, heading up to some pole timber. At the pole timber, we turn to go across a hill section with a spring that held water this year. We then turn into some open field cover with a rye field parallelling the course. We end up in some cover that often holds birds. We did have a grouse sighted on the course during the competition.
First place was awarded to Still Meadows Little Sunray, handled by Adam Dubriske from Troy, New Hampshire, owned by Kelly Hays, and bred by Kelly Shepard. Sunray is a very nice-looking tri-colored female Setter who burned up the course. She began like a bullet, hitting the cover in all the right places. She showed when she should and was always forward. Sunray made some moves that showed some maturity, not always seen in puppy trials. She handled well and made a commanding run, handling the ridges without losing track of her handler. Sunray covered the course as if she was familiar with it, ending as she started with energy to burn.
Second place went to Prairie Forged Jay, handled by breeder/owner/handler Robert Jones. Rob came from Sidney, Montana, to enter this event and spent much time walking other courses while he was here. Jay is a handsome tri-colored male Setter and a really big guy. He hit the course, always to the front and fast. Very biddable in his handling, he seemed to always show when needed. He made some impressive big casts, his bell always telling us where he was. He covered the rye field with ease, showing confidence and never letting up.
Third place was awarded to Hatton Hills Luci, owned and handled by Shane Haskin, and was bred by Brian Camper. Luci is a sweet orange and white female Setter that has not disappointed Shane this spring here in Gladwin. She was fast and snappy from the beginning, always looking like she had a smile on her face and enjoying every minute of her run. She hit the cover with confidence and ran a mature race. Luci handled well and knew when to check in, being consistent throughout.
Fourth place went to Twilight's Problem Child, handled by Marc Forman of Prattsburgh, Pennsylvania. The owner/breeder is Mark Deneka from Stewartsville, New Jersey. This sharp-looking tri-colored male Setter showed he had experience in the grouse woods. He ran a mature race and ranged well. Problem Child ("Joey") covered the ridges and returned to check in when needed. His race showed his strength and energy throughout.

After the running, we went back to the Alibi Hall for the announcements. Brian Ralph stepped in for Secretary Thor Kain, who could not attend, and announced the winners. The first-place winner will receive a very nice pin (which will be sent, as it wasn't received in time to get to Michigan). We thanked all involved, and the appropriate photos were taken. Mike shared with me that "it was one son-of-a-gun" batch of puppies. I agreed.

Thank you again to Purina, who sponsored this event, and all who helped get the job done. Congratulations to all!

Gladwin, Mich., April 19
Judges: Mike Flewelling and Denise Peters
75 GRAND NATIONAL GROUSE PUPPY CLASSIC - 5 Pointers and 14 Setters

1st-STILL MEADOWS LITTLE SUNRAY, 1704573, setter female, by Long Gone Wallace-Chase's I'm Miss Smith. Kelly Hays, owner; Adam Dubriske, handler.
2d-PRAIRIE FORGED JAY, 1704524, setter male, by Jackson's Let Er Rip-Jones' Big Sky Lanius. Robert Jones, owner and handler.
3d-HATTON HILLS LUCI, 1706362, setter female, by Swift Rock Lawbreaker-Swift Rock Julie. Shane Haskin, owner and handler.
4th-TWILIGHT'S PROBLEM CHILD, 1706124, setter female, by Wayward Flyin Tomato-Twilight's Echoed Promise. Mark Deneka, owner; Marc L. Forman, handler.