Northeast Beagle Gundog Federation
The 2021 NEBGF Championship
By John Jarzynski
When I was 12 years old living along the shores of Lake Erie, fishing was a summertime passion. While others indulged in baseball or pickup basketball games, my head was filled with that tug on the end of my line. One early calm morning, while I walked my beagle along the sandy beach, I noticed schools of silver bass feeding on emerald shiners near shore. The water boiled with activity. I raced back to the house, grabbed my spinning rod and a Daredevil, waded into the water and began catching silver bass one after another. It was enjoyable and I had it all to myself. I didn't have to share one fish with anyone. It was my secret spot.
But oddly enough after a while, I wished I had some company. “My fishing buddies would love this” I thought and soon realized that having this jewel of a spot to myself wasn't nearly as fun as sharing it with others. I set my rod on a rock and ran to my friend’s house along the beach ( this was obviously long before cell phones) and after a few minutes several of my friends joined me and we spent the morning catching and releasing many of these fish.
This same idea occurred again at the 2021 NEBGF Championship. This year, the event was held at Presque Isle Beagle Club. When I first heard that this club was considering hosting, I must admit I selfishly hoped that it would happen as the club is a mere 1.5 hours away (a stones throw in field trial distances).
This club has been the best kept secret for years. Stashed away near Erie, PA, it has often been overlooked by many beaglers. Its small but dedicated membership works diligently year after year to create a suitable habitat for rabbits. Like many clubs, they have struggled to farm rabbits but the last two years through yeoman effort, they have had an explosion of rabbits. It is no magic show though. They have cut brush, and paths, trapped predators, and released many cottontails to reach this plateau. Their hard work paid off.
This event began early in the week when campers began setting up. The membership at Presque Isle had cleared a new area for campers, poured a new cement patio and even installed a new, spacious outdoor shower. Don and Kim Spickler from Stone Creek Hounds Supply arrived and set up their trailer for the weekend.
By Friday morning, we were ready. NEBGF FTS Jason Wiseman cheerfully took entries alongside Treasurer Bruce McNeilly. President Blaine Grove, began by welcoming all, thanking the many sponsors. Stone Creek Hounds Supply, Garmin and Purina all made this event possible. We remain grateful for their generosity.
Friday was the day of the Field Champion Only classes and after organizing the packs, the judges took the hounds to the field.. The little male class of field champs were judged by veteran beagler George Prycl and Chris Nye. After the dust settled Better Beagling Hall of Famer Gary Slick took the blue ribbon with FCGD Slicker’s Home Run Hobo. In the big male class, Jeremy Bowles and John Way ( freshly back home from his judging of the SPO Nationals) were charged with sorting through the impressive field of field champions. Dan and Max Lang’s FCGD Lang’s Little LeGrande L’Orange narrowly beat Mike Johnson’s FCGD Huck’s Run Rubble on The Double for the blue ribbon.
In the other pen, the 15” female field champs were under the eyes of two young and up and coming judges: Max Lang and Bryson Roof. This winners pack put on a show but at the end one hound needed to be named the winner. That title went to Miles Lee’s FCGD Chewy’s Bella Lee. In the 13” female champions class there were two packs to sort through under the judgement of Ben Giles and Greg Kahrhoff. The Lang’s continued their successful weekend with a victory by FCGD Lang’s Little Large Marge (how can she be both “Little” and “Large”?).
After awards were handed out, all in attendance were treated to a fish fry organized by Tim and Kathy Yaple. This was more than just a little fish fry. Walleye, crappie and perch were deep fried and delectable. There was rumor that there was even some catfish included but this could not be verified. Many compliments to the Yaple’s were heard. “Awesome” was bandied about by some. After a quiet evening of revelry around a small campfire, lights went out and all prepared for the All Age Championship on Saturday.
In the morning, more campers rolled in and the pounding of stakes could be heard while coffee brewed and we took entries. In all, 32 little females and 26 bigs were organized into packs for the day. The sun began its torment early as temps would soar into the 80s.
The little females went to the big pen under the judgment of Brent Reed and Jason Moultrup. We were pleased to see that Jason changed out of his camo crocs into more fitting foot attire for the activity. By the afternoon, the judges had weeded it down to the last few. After a fine winners pack, Kim Rager’s Redhill Ginger’s Biscuit was victorious and the win was just what she needed to become a new field champion ( pending AKC approval). The big females were being sorted through by Jim Kieper and Andy Schappacher ( yes that is spelled correctly). Smokey Valley B &L Artois, owned by Chris Campinello and Bryan Ploski stood above the blue ribbon on the bench for this one after going neck and neck with Ben Giles and Jason Moultrup’s White Creek Merica throughout the winners pack.
After the awards were handed out, Presque Isle hosted another fish fry for all in attendance with added cajun sausage which just about knocked Blaine Grove to his knees. While I am at it I must compliment the people who prepared all the delicious meals and cooked all three days. From meatloaf to chicken and biscuits to desserts the size of Jason Wiseman’s head, no one walked away from the tables hungry.
Sunday was hot. The sun let us know early that she was going to be around. By afternoon the temperature tiptoed across the 90 degree mark to stay. Fortunately, the hard work by the Presque Isle members of having a surplus of rabbits paid off as dogs were able to easily jump rabbit after rabbit even during the heat of the afternoon sun.
The little male group proved to be a collection of top young hounds. Jeremy Hooks and Miles Lee were given the difficult task in trying to sort through them. In the end, Linda Slick’s husband (Gary) won the class with Slicker’s Nutty Buddy. The 15” males were judged by Eddie Gould and Ralph Harrington. The winners pack went to the field at 1pm and the judges were able to decide that Barlow’s Little Joe owned by Tony Barlow, was worthy of the blue ribbon on this day.
By day’s end the campers were loaded, trash picked up and goodbye’s issued. We were able to finally exhale and reflect a bit about the event. 130 dogs participated with their owners and friends. Friendships renewed and others rekindled.
I learned a few things this weekend.
I know now that I may never teach Brandon DeHaven that he doesn't need to add the “at” when asking “ Where are the dogs at?” I know now that I need to prepare when playing Cornhole against ringers like the Rabbit Rockin Crew. I know now that sharing the secret that is Presque Isle Beagle Club is more fun than keeping the secret to myself.
Thanks for all of your support.