Trainer’s Report Fall 2009

2009 – A Year in Review

2009 is in the books and it was a most successful one for all of us at Midnight Kennel.  It started in January with Slim Jim (then owned by Antonio Dattolo) winning the U.S. Complete South East Regional Championship.  Later that month Merritt’s Pearl captured the NBHA National Invitational Championship at the  Cooper Black Grounds in South Carolina.  About a week later Pearl’s kennel mate Merritt’s Bruno won the NBHA North Eastern Championship on the same grounds.  Two big wins in a row there!  Now it was time for our derbies to take center stage.  Grand Heritage Motion, owned by Bruce Cooper and Urban’s Wicked Tina owned by Troy Terlizzi and Khrystal Predium won several trials in January and February.  The Great Champion Taz at the tender age of 11 had two major wins in 2009 including a 45 minute classic in North Carolina.  As the winter ended we headed North to Virginia.  Grousewoods Reese (owned by Jack Brobst and Kelsi Orris) made a statement by winning the Bob Lee Classic.  He will be a threat from now on!  Also in Virginia, Grandheritage Motion and Urban’s Wicked Tina took Winner and Runner Up at the U.S. Complete Futurity.  These two derbies along with the setter,  Fieldstone Farm’s Clyde (owner Jim Millet) racked up win after win where ever they went.  Another derby named Elhew Signature was purchased by Pedrag Kazic and he impressed right off the bat by gaining Runner Up at the U.S. Complete Lake States Championship.  It was the third year in a row we placed in the Championship.  As the season began to wind down Grnadheritage Motion won two major classic, the mid-states derby and the Empire Derby Classic and Elhew Signature capped off our season by winning the Peacedale Shooting Dog Classic.  We didn’t have much time to rest as many gundogs and young trial hopefuls filled the kennels for our June thru August summer program.  Neel’s One Eyed Jack owned by Carlton Neel, Grousewoods Erin’s Duke owned by Jack Brobsts, and Schwenksville Reggie (then owned by Rick Harp now owned by Larry Craig) all impressed over the summer.  Several good young red setters were also impressive most notably Celtic’s Acquittal owned by Paul Ober-once again.   Art Bruno was on hand to add his soft hand to our young dogs.  He also found some time to attend a few trials and placed several of the dogs he ran.  In August we switched our focus to getting our string ready for the coverdog trials and wild grouse and woodcock.  Our old friend made his prime grouse and woodcock farm available for training.  It was phenomenal.  Foxfire (owned by Doug Harris) and Wolf’s Elhow Jack (owned by Bill Wolf) along with the rest of our string had many grouse finds in the month of training.  We attended the NY Grouse Championship and had a good challenge at the title by Grousewoods Reese and Wolf’s Elhew Jack.  We then took a few days off to judge for the second straight year the National Amateur Pheasant Championship in New York.  It was very enjoyable to see class bird dogs work the wily ringnecks.  Onto Michigan for training, hunting and trialing.  this turned out to be the most incredible bird dog experience of my life.  Our good friends, Nick Puhak (original owner of Foxfire) and Jon Ferdinand (owner of past greats Midnight Rambler and Midnight Outlaw) came out with Nick’s fine string of pointers.  We hunted for a week and a half and had more birds before the gun than you could ever imagine.  Our dogs got more wild bird exposure in the weeks out  there than most can get in a full season!  Grousewoods Reese again impressed at the Michigan Woodcock Championship and Lookout’s Painted Lady (owned by J.R. Williams) had a good go of it at the Fruchey Grouse Classic.  From there we headed home to the Pennsylvania Grouse Championship.  Urban’s Brilliance came close with a stong race and a good find.  At the Grand National Grouse Championship the following week it was Foxfire’s turn to be close.  She also had a strong forward race on the most demanding one hour course in Marienville.  She had one heck of a great find on a grouse.  Her performance was rewarded with an honorable mention at the announcements.  We headed North to Connecticut the following week.  Elhew Signature made quite an impression on the judges with 4 finds on quail and a beautiful find on a hen pheasant and took runner up in the Championship.  From there we turned South back to the Cooper Black  grounds where our season began 11 long months ago.  This time for the NBHA South Eastern Championship.  Foxfire was in the first brace and went out and scored on no less than seven perfect finds and ran a great race.  Her stellar performance held firm till the end as she was rewarded the Championship.  All in all it was truly one heck of a season and we must now thank all the hard working club officials, all the honest studious judges and the faithful owners who made this one if not the best season ever.   Thank you all.


Robert J. Ecker Jr.

Midnight Kennel

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