American Chesapeake Club National Field Trial Specialty
Ronan, MT

September 16 - 18, 2008

Photos, Stories and Activities


Sep 14 - the Travel Day to Montana! 
   It's not unusual at all for me to be up all night getting ready for the big trip, still doing last minute ironing, kennel cleanup, paperwork and dog feeding schedules for those staying behind to care for my dogs.  It will be close for me to be ready to leave by 3:30 am for Newark airport for my first flight to Montana.  No issues with the airlines this time, a beautiful flight on Alaska Air to Seattle and a short connection to Spokan, WA.  Opps, after trying 3 midsize SUVS, none worked well for a 500 and a 400 size airline crate so Enterprise supplied me with a mini-van which was perfect. What a BEAUTIFUL drive for 3 + hours headed east, crossing through the panhandle of Idaho and northwestern MT.  Most of this ride was through the mountains which are almost all National Forest Areas.  I stopped and did a few photos here and there and took time to read  some of the sightseeing signs along the way...those telling of the old west such as Look Out Point, lead and silver mines, and "you are now in Shoshone Indian Country"!  The mountains in Idaho are covered with tall slim pine trees of sorts with little towns gathered in the small flat areas between the peaks with a river usually flowing along side. When approaching Look Out Pass you see the sign which reads "Chain Up Area".  During the winter this Pass can be very treacherous.  I can only imagine what people in a covered wagon and on horse back must have went through to cross this area.... Down the other side you see the "Chains Off Sign" and the road elevation slowly leads into Montana.  Now I'm among the "hills" of sparse cover, fences and range land.  This time of year it is very brown and shows little eatable vegetation to my eyes but I'm sure there is more than what I think.  Being used to green grass pastures in PA and NJ this is a much different site. About 7pm dusk was approaching as I continued my drive towards Ronan, MT. All of a sudden, I found myself saying out loud...There, what is that!  This big while ball was peeking it's edge from behind the Mission Mountains...awesome...slowly rising into a full large sphere this most exciting LARGE moon shed light eyes seemed to be spending more time gazing at the mountains and moon than on the road in front of me!  This was by far the best moon I had ever gazed or parked under! By 8pm I was at my destination, the new home of Judy Bly, a field trial lady with a golden retriever and a Lab. She was a friend of Diane Mazey and had been invited to stay at Judy's new ranch and I bunked in Judy's trailer parked under the pole barn.. complete with a quaint out-house for me to use!

Sep 15 - Monday  - The morning light found me just standing and gazing...the pasture fields and log cabin type homes and the Mission Mountains stretched for miles....Many chesapeake handlers traveled earlier in the week to have a few days to train before the chesapeake trial.  The terrain here is very different than any I have ever been on and the same for others. There are pasture fields with many rolling hills with small gullies, high hills with a quick upgrade and slopes and rambling ponds fed by irrigation from the mountains with only a few being supplied water from natural sources. By 9am our small training group started with land marks on the farm of Don Rameine, a professional dog trainer who owned property near by.  The pasture field offered good training for the dogs--rolling pastures, cow "piles", and up and down and up and down lines for the dogs to run. Diane Mazey, John Nichols and myself were later joined by long time chesapeake owner David Rankin from Canada and Christine Martin and Werner Schragel from Germany. After a short lunch break and fun stories, John set up 3 water/land marks that even made my dogs hair curl!  What a fun day in Montana....

At 5pm 55 people gathered at the country club for the ACC annual meeting lead by Mark Walsh, the ACC treasurer.  The meeting concluded with a Life Time Achievement Award being presented by Tom Cox to Marston Jones of Maryland. Marston gave a short speech about his wonderful 40+ years of being with the breed and it leading him all over the US and Canada.  Hats and T-Shirts were offered for sale but no catalogues were available as the RFTN did not have them to us yet!  Yikes... Marston then led everyone in a calcutta auction for the dogs running the next day in the Derby and Open Stakes. 

Thursday, Sept 18 The ACC trial was over by late afternoon which left a couple of hours free for sightseeing.  John Nichols, Diane Mazey, Lorraine and Larry Sarek and myself had a chance to drive through the Bison Range Refuge located about 10 miles from Ronan.  What a spectacular sight!  We drove up, up and around the giant "hill" seeing many buffalo on the way.  Down the other side gave us views of mule deer, prong-horn antelopes and awesome giant Elk.  Many were playing in the street at the bottom of the mountain.  At one time this Mission Valley was filled between the mountain ranges with water totally from leakage from the glaciers.  At one point when it filled, it took the Valley 58 years to drain out again.

One can never have too many buffalo photos!

Diane Mazey doing a land blind with a Buffalo.  She got a good score too!

Friday, Sept 19 - This morning started the next trial held by the Western Montana RC with many Chesapeake owners staying to participate. The Qualifying started with a double with a retired gun then you moved to the right and ran a blind up behind the live-bird gunners. The very high cover on the right retired gun proved too much for many dogs.  The dogs had to leave the line down a hill and through a stand of about 4-5 foot high grass about 25 feet or more in length.  Early on this grass was damp and held the drag-back bird scent of the dogs returning with the prize. Dog after dog would bust through the cover and stop and look and then start to hunt, not realizing they were still only half the way out to their bird and the retired gun station. Many of us picked our dogs up and called them back in and thus were out of the competition.  Congrats to Mary Ellen Mazzola with Blazer and Steve Parker with Georgia and Sally.  All three dogs got a JAM in the 51 dog Qualifying. The evening found handlers at the home of Eric Fangsrud for a Bar B Q hosted by the Western MT RC

Saturday, Sept 20  Another beautiful cool morning, requiring a jacket but not for long.  All week things have warmed up quickly to shirt and shorts weather.  Much warmer than this girl would have liked for both the dogs and handlers.  The low 80's was the common temperature all week long. Today was the start of the Amateur and Derby stakes. The Derby had an average length double in a grass field, no problem for most of the 36 dogs entered.  31 were called back to the 2nd test Sunday morning.  I spent a fun evening of dinner, drinks and conversation with hostess Judy Bly and Diane Mazey. We also did foot reflexology which was a real treat on those hot tired feet!

Sunday, Sept 21  Rain started during the night and continued all day with a light steady tune but not an issue for running. The 2nd Derby test was quite "small" - a double with the gunners only about 40+ yards from the line.  Most handlers were wondering about the setup as it really didn't test the dogs or offer any separation for judging.  30 dogs came back to the third test which was a double with one mark on land and one on the water, reasonably short easy marks again with most of the dogs completing without any issues.  As it was now 3:45p the judges would have to make harsh decision to get the final test in before dark.  They dropped 10 of the 30 dogs, unfortunately most had good work except for a few circles on a bird or a bowed line.  I was sorry to that I was dropped with Wren. Continuing on for the last test were the brown dogs of Foley, Kavan, and Harger.  The Open and Amateur completed today also. Since I wasn't able to sit and continue watching the dogs because of the weather, I finished packing and headed back to Spokane for my flight Monday morning.  Even the rain couldn't keep me from enjoying the evening ride past cattle fields and the ranch hands with their trucks and trailers. Again a small bit of sightseeing time!  I stopped at Look Out Pass and viewed the signs there.  In 1910 in this area three million acres of timber burned due to the dry summer.  The fallout was awful and was seen as far away as London England. Down the hill after you go through the Pass, I stopped overnight in the historic little town of Wallace, Idaho, the Silver Capital of the World!  Established in 1884, population 960, elevation 2728 feet. You can take the Sierra Silver Mine Tour, visit many of the mineral shops, the northern Pacific Depot Railroad Museum, or the Wallace District Mining Museum. In the early morning light as I drove from Wallace towards Spokane and the airport, I saw this really nice bear statue carved out of the remaining trunk of a sawed off tree - what a great idea.

Monday, Sept 22  On my flight leaving Spokane this morning, I read in the Alaska Air magazine that "Traveling Should Enrich Your Life"... Then after this trip of 9 days to Montana, I feel very very wealthy!

Home Open Amateur Qualifying Derby Senior Puppy Junior Puppy Photos Trophies

ACC Field Trial Coverage and Photos by Jane Pappler
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