Over the past few years, we've enjoyed entering numerous tournament hunting events that take place throughout the mid-west region. Here is a short summary of the years prior to 2008 with events where Spirit took home a trophy.
2004 2nd Place Menz Players Championship – Puppy Pointer
2004 2nd Place Rocky Bay Chukar Championship - Top Gun Pointer
2005 1st Place Minnesota State Partridge Championship – Puppy Pointer
2005 2nd Place Upper Wisconsin State Partridge Championship – Puppy Pointer
2005 1st Place South Dakota State Pheasant Championship – Puppy Pointer
2005 & 2006 1st Place Rocky Bay Chukar Championship – Top Gun Pointer
2007 2nd Place U.S. Open Pheasant Championship – Ladies Pointer
Our 2008 tournament hunting started on February 17th at the Horse and Hunt Club with the Minnesota State Chukar Championship. We only entered twice seeing that our girl Spirit is expecting and ended up taking home a 3rd place in the Mixed Doubles division. This division pairs a seasoned veteran (in this case Rob), with either a junior or lady hunter (in this case Kathy). The field wasn't exactly ideal for pointing dogs being that it was completely made up of chest high cattails but Spirit did a great job locating the 4 birds. Unfortunately, there was a little miscommunication between gunners to start off and two shots were fired at the first bird. Luckily, Rob's shot found the mark and the bird went down. The second bird jumped a bit soon and although Kathy shot at it, it took Spirit's keen sense of smell and relentless pursuit to locate where the bird went down. It was flushed again and Rob was successful at getting it in the bag. The next two birds went much easier than the first and after all was said and done, we stopped the clock with a few minutes left which was good enough to take home 3rd place.
This picture is from Rob's singles run with Spirit. In very thick cattails, the course proved a bit more difficult and the competition tough. Spirit found all 5 birds plus an extra but is wasn't good enough to place in the top 5.
On Feburary 10th, our quest for the gold took us to 'The Quest for Quarry" in Pine City, MN at Rocky Bay Hunt Club. This tournament has been a tradition for Rob to attend. He has entered this tournament the last 5 years and he has placed either 1st or 2nd in four of those five years. This year was no exception as he brought home the 1st place trophy in the Top Gun division. The one year he came home empty handed was the only year that Kathy decided to join him. Needless to say, this is one tournament that Kathy finds other things to do.
Our 2008 tournament series started off on January 6th with the Minnesota State Pheasant Championship held at the Horse and Hunt Club in Prior Lake, MN. Unfortunately, you can't win them all and we were forced to return without trophy in hand. But these tournaments are a lot of fun and we thought we would share a few pictures.
At the starting gate for a Professional Pointer Doubles run. Rob and hunting partner Chris are sizing up the field and thinking about a strategy....which of course goes all out the window when they start. Spirit is eager to get going but knows to wait for the guns to get ready.
First bird is found within seconds and pointed by Spirit and the judge has to drop to the ground. This bird is flying directly toward the gallery of people watching the run....Rob quickly calls a safety and receives all points.
Spririt has found the third bird and only minutes have gone by. With two birds already in the bag, this could be a dynamite run. But we can't get too cocky..... there are still three more birds out there and anything can happen. Unfortunately, anything did happen and although Spirit and the boys found and shot 5 birds, the 6th one alluded them within seconds of time running out.
Well, no matter what happened, tournament hunting is a great way to spend your Sunday afternnoon during the off season.