Held at the ACE High Hunt Club in Helm, California, the Wild West Shootout Gun Dog Championships took place this March 13-14. CANIDAE Pet Foods sponsored the event at the club which is known for their excellent flying birds including pheasants, chukars and Tennessee red quails, and for their expansive 6,000 acre grounds. This Gun Dog Championship was the third and last of the WWS 2010 Belt Buckle series.
The tournament included two divisions, Puppies and Top Gun. The Puppy Division was conducted first in one of the three 10 acres field specially designed for that purpose. This was a very challenging field with high cover down the left side and more open cover on the right side. The wind was blowing hard at around 20mph and caused many of the Tournament Hunters to miss a shot or two. Even the top rated people in the West and the US missed badly. The Puppies (under two years old) had a hard time driving through the high cover and scenting in these conditions. It made for an exciting event and allowed some of the less experience hunters to finish in the top three.
An English pointer named “Red,” who is the runner up puppy in the BDC, and his handler Dan Hannum finished first, closely followed by two new tournament hunters and their rare breed dogs. Shane Bethiaume and his 1 year old Braque du Bourbonnais “Duke” was second, followed by Joe Mazza and his 1 year old Braque du Bourbonnais “Remi” finishing third. Beside the obligatory trophy and certificate they received a 35 pound bag of super premium CANIDAE All Natural Dog Food, All Life Stages formula.
Soon after the Puppy Division was complete the big dogs took to the fields. There were 24 teams running in this Division and they were separated into three fields with the top three teams from each field going to the finals the next day. The wind was again blowing hard and the birds flew even faster when they caught the wind. Many dog breeds were well represented including English Pointer, English Setter, German Shorthair Pointers, German Wirehair Pointer and Braque du Bourbonnais. The dogs were doing well, but the conditions were difficult for the hunters and this was reflected in the lower than usual scores.
The top three high scores from each field were selected to compete in the finals the next day. In addition, two “Lucky Dogs” teams were drawn for a total of 11 teams in the finals. The day of the finals the wind had slowed somewhat and the conditions where a little bit dryer. At the end of the day the winners were announced: The top competitor in the US, Bing Wesner, finished in first place with his young English Pointer “Jill,” closely followed in second place by another Nevadian Tim Ricketts and his German Shorthair Pointer “Avery.” In third was Richie Hight with his English Pointer “Darby.” These winners took home the usual trophy, certificate and several bags of super premium CANIDAE All Natural Dog Food, All Life Stages formula.
After all the scores were added from the three tournaments that made up the WWS Belt Buckle series, Richie Hight and “Darby” were crowned WWS 2010 Belt Buckle series Tournament Champions and took home a beautiful silver and gold Montana Silversmith belt buckle.