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mbrookins
08-02-2010, 10:28 PM
Be sure to mark Saturday, September 11, 2010 on your calendar and plan to attend the Manitowoc County Kennel Club’s Annual Hunting Dog Expo. This is the twelfth year of this popular event where the average hunting dog owner can come and play seven different sporting dog games in one locale. Hunting Dog Expo 2010 is open to all field breeds and their owners to prepare for the upcoming hunting season. The Expo is held on some of the finest dog training grounds in the Midwest. The kennel club grounds are nestled up against the Manitowoc River near the rural community of Valders, WI and conveniently located between Milwaukee, Green Bay, and the Fox Valley (see the event’s web site http://www.mc-kc.com/html/hunt_expo.html for information and a map). The facility has four technical ponds and several large fields to host the event. The grounds are west of Valders off of Highway 151 and Quarry road (turn north).

A new event is being added to this year’s Expo for all retriever pups under one year of age – a Puppy Stake. This event consists of four single retrieves to judge the dogs marking abilities. Ducks and pheasants will be used in this event. Judging the event will be well-known retriever trainer and outdoor writer Kurt Mueller of Mueller’s Retriever Kennels. Ribbons will be awarded for first through fourth place. This event will start at 10:00 AM on the club grounds and continue until complete. Pre-registration is not required. Contestants can register up to the start of the Puppy Stake on the day of the event. However, pre-registration comes with a discount. See the club’s web site for more details.

Like previous Hunting Dog Expo’s the sporting dog games are the real attraction for handlers and their dogs. Those games range from flushing a live game bird to single and multiple retrieves on both land and water. Some games are set-up to simulate an average day in the field. Other games test specific skills including retrieving game to hand. Attendees of the day’s event can run every game once or concentrate on specific games. All games can be attempted and run as many times as they wish. Pre-registration is not necessary to participate. However, Early Bird ticket packages are available at a discount. For more information contact Jeff Mueller at (920) 960-3660, or visit the Expo web site.

As an added attraction this year the Expo is bringing back the dock jump. The dock jump tests the dog’s distance jumping ability over one of the Club’s ponds. The dock jump is free to all visitors of the Expo. There is no purchase required to participate.

Hunting Dog Expo has been featured in such publications as The Retriever Journal, Wisconsin Outdoor Journal, and Wisconsin Outdoor News. The highlight of the day is the presentation of the David G. Meisner Memorial Trophy to the day’s most successful gun dog. Dogs and their handlers participating in the variety of fun, simulated hunting scenarios and games, held throughout the day, will determine this.

Participants have numerous opportunities at door prizes, raffle prizes, awards, and silent auction items thanks to the generosity of supporters such as Purina, Tri-tronics, and totalretriever.com.

The gates to the event open at 8:00 AM and the sporting dog games run from 9:00 AM through 4:00 PM. Attendees are encouraged to bring their family, proper seasonal attire and rain gear, water for their dogs, a camera, and lawn chairs. Concessions will be available on the grounds.

mbrookins
08-31-2010, 11:10 PM
The Expo is just over one week away. Purchase your early bird package and get a chance at the 4-bird pheasant hunt package from Wild Wings in Campbellsport. We have 7 great sporting dog games and many prizes and give-aways from Purina, Tri-tronics, Retriever Journal and others. There will be a silent auction with collars from Tri-tronics and Dogtra; game farm hunts as well as other items. Also there is our annual Expo raffle ticket with LCD tv's; gas trimmer, chain saw, Packer tickets, gourmet cookware; trail cam; grill; and other prizes. See the Club website for more details.

Also, new for this year, don't forget the Puppy Stake for dogs under one-year old.

Darin Westphal
09-01-2010, 07:39 AM
Hi Mike! I just completed a move into the area and I'm planning on coming down with one of my daughters. Looking forward to meeting some area retriever folks!

mbrookins
09-01-2010, 08:42 AM
Darin:

We will look forward to seeing you. Bring a dog. I guarantee you will have a great time!

mbrookins
09-14-2010, 09:47 PM
The Manitowoc County Kennel Club held its twelfth annual Hunting Dog Expo at the Club’s grounds along the Manitowoc River near Valders on Saturday September 11. For eleven of those years the Club has seen little more than a ten-minute sprinkle during the event. Year twelve was consistent with this summer’s weather, raining steadily until late morning putting somewhat of a damper on the start of the day’s activities.

A new sporting dog for the Expo was a Puppy Stake. Traditionally held at retriever fun trials, the Puppy stake is for retrievers between the age of 6 to 12 months. This inaugural contest featured seven pups, six Labrador Retrievers, and one Nova Scotia Duck Toller, many of which had not retrieved a real duck before that day. The tests are a series of single retrieves on both land and water – given the rain soaked grounds the land retrieves were a bit wet as well. Judging the event was well-known retriever trainer and outdoor writer Kurt Mueller of Mueller’s Retriever Kennels. Kurt began by explaining the purpose of a field trial to these new handlers and proceeded to evaluate their ability to retrieve a real bird. After acquainting the dogs to the birds the first test was set up as a simple land retrieve of 25 yards in light cover. Most dogs needed some encouragement and help, but all progressed nicely. Kurt gradually built on each of the succeeding four tests to a point where the dogs were achieving gradually more difficult retrieves finishing with a 30-yard run to water, launching into a pond, swimming 15-yards to retrieve their bird and returning to their handler. June Ashford, MCKC President and Puppy Stake contestant stated that she “was so impressed with visible progress these young dogs made from reluctantly picking up a duck to eagerly making more difficult retrieves”. At the culmination of this Kurt concluded judging the stake, naming the best performing team. Awarded first place was 10-year old handler from Sheboygan Falls, Nicole Van Engen with Gypsy a 6-month old Labrador female.

This year’s Hunting Dog Expo finished stronger after the rains finished by late morning. Like other years the event hosted many sporting breeds such as Springer Spaniels, Curly-Coated Retrievers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, German Shorthaired Pointers, and Cocker Spaniels and their owners. They all took their turn to enjoy the remainder of the day, the Club grounds, and the sporting dog games of their choice. “I was happy to see once the rains stopped the traffic picked up and people came to play” commented event Co-Chair Jeff Mueller. Mueller further remarked how thankful the Club is for the support and donations it receives from companies such as Purina, Tri-tronics, Totalretriever.com, The Retriever Journal, and many other individuals.

There was seven other sporting dog games for the Expo attendees. The games are based on speed and skill some combining multiple retrieves with a blind retrieve or the ability to hunt up and retrieve live game. Most handlers and their charges were playing for the fun of it or tuning up a bit for the upcoming hunting seasons. 11-year-old Faith Lubner of Reedsville and her dog Gracie just came to play but did finish first with an outstanding time in the Pheasant Scurry picking up 5 birds in 39.27 seconds. Others had a more serious outlook as they were after the top award for the day; the David G. Meisner trophy and title of Great Lakes Hunting Dog Champion for 2010. The perennial competitor team of Roger Quaas and his yellow lab Shortie were in the thick of it as usual with a win in the Mallard Field Frenzy and placements in the Blue Goose Bay, Wood Duck Shoot, and passes in the Waterfowl Challenge and Upland Pheasant Challenge. Roger and Shortie from New Berlin totaled 31 points of a possible 46. However, that was not enough as newcomers Vince Burri of Plymouth and his black lab Bear racked up first place finishes in the Blue Goose Bay, Pheasant Run, a placement in the Pheasant Scurry, and passes in the two Challenge games giving them 33 points and the championship. Roger, who has finished near the top in each of the previous three years, upon learning that he came up short lamented “always a bridesmaid but never the bride.” Other top finishers included the team of Brandon Schelk and his yellow lab Juice (a littermate to Burri’s Bear) with four placements and two passes scoring 30 points. Complete event details can be seen at the Club’s web site, http://www.mc-kc.com/html/hunt_expo.html.