2018 GSPCI Fall Hunting Tests Wrap Up Report
September 15 and 16, West Grounds of the Des Plaines SFWA
Thank you to everyone who helped to make our Fall Hunting Tests a success. Once again, we had a great turnout of GSPCI volunteers for the weekend. We apologize if anyone was inadvertently left out of this report.
What a difference five months makes. Our spring hunting tests saw some of coldest weather in recent memory, with our crew having to begin each morning by breaking the layer of ice that formed overnight in the water troughs. In contrast to the spring, our fall tests were some of the warmest, with temps flirting with 90 degrees each day. Fortunately, our team of GSPCI volunteers were once again up to the challenge.
As planning began a few weeks ahead of the tests Trailer Wrangler and Course Designer, Chuck Horvath worked with the Des Plaines grounds crew to ensure that our field and back course were in top shape after an unusually active summer growing season. Having cleared the background check for entry to the “cone of silence,” the draw was completed with the help of Matthew Dlugie.
After Chuck Horvath dropped off the trailer, work began in earnest on Friday afternoon with new Test Chairman and board member Dave Wolfe and Perry Dlugie setting up the field. The Saturday and Sunday morning set up team of Hunting Test Director Frank Susi and Dave Wolfe were welcomed by mild fog and a crew of GSPCI members eager to get to work in the field, parking lot and control desk.
With the pool of qualified judges growing smaller each year we were fortunate to be able to recruit such respected canine connoisseurs as Saturday’s team of Joe Delaney of Minooka and Joel Peterson of Kenosha and Sunday’s dynamic duo of John Morrison of Sugar Grove and Rick Torres of Burlington. Our judges did a great job meeting the AKC requirements for judgement while addressing concerns for the dogs’ well-being in the extreme heat.
The GSPCI hunting tests field crew continues to be the envy of every club in the area, and the gunners’ tent is the place to be for a front row seat to view the dogs and handlers in action. As is the case at all of our tests, the tent was buzzing with activity all weekend.
Steve Odell was back in his favorite role as Senior Avian Placement Specialist, wearing out the boot leather and setting an example for the new APS on how to manage the field. Joining Steve in the coveted role of APS were Hans Hansen, Chris Cozzi, George Noffs, John Soehn, Tracy and Chris Lewis and Frank Susi.
Adding Captain of Guns to his role of Hunting Tests Director, Frank Susi put together a top-notch team of marksmen to handle the gunning duties for the weekend. Frank’s Avian Artillery Specialists were Nathan Selep, John Morrison, Dave June, Chuck Graack, Andy Caron and Hank Freitag.
While the dogs covered the field in search of birds, GSPCI’s Queen of the Parking Lot, Merri Odell covered the parking lot in search of the next handler to send to the line. Merri is a legend when it comes to keeping everyone on their toes and to the line in time. Teaming up with Merri was long time Line Marshal, Steve Selep, assisted this year by GSPCI’s Most Improved Handler of the Year, Christine Selep. Andy Caron was there to assist by taking handlers on a guided tour of the field and running scores to the desk.
Greeting the handlers, taking scores and handing out ribbons may seem glamorous, but it can be hard work. Board member, Rich Gilloffo, recruited and trained his own crew to help on Saturday. Joining Rich were Zoraida June, Kate Keenan and Tracy Lewis. Keeping them company in his role as Mr. Hospitality was long time GSPCI member and raconteur extraordinaire, Paul Kosowski. Desk duties on Sunday were handled with grace and wonderfully legible handwriting by Karen Torres.
Taking his cue from test Secretary, Perry Dlugie Club Secretary Elect, John Singh was on the grounds; but it was difficult to determine what if anything he or Perry did all weekend.
With a new concessionaire not yet in place, Al Haseman once again stepped up to make sure that everyone was provided with a tasty lunch for the weekend. Ably assisted by brother Brad, Zoraida June and chef/treasurer in training, grandson Jacob, Al made sure that everyone was well fed and ready for the afternoon’s braces.
As is the GSPCI tradition, Saturday night’s cook out was well attended and well stocked with food. Once again assisted by brother Brad, club Treasurer and Master of the Grill, Al Haseman put out a heapin’ helpn’ of grilled chicken, pork chops and fixin’s that more that satisfied even the hungriest of handlers. Helping to make sure the evening ran smoothly were Scott Ludwig, Patti Nowak, Alice Graack, Sam Phillippe and Karen and Geno Lambeth. Al’s grilling was beautifully complimented by a counter full of side dishes and desserts generously provided by many of the folks staying for dinner (thank you to everyone who brought a dish to share). As always, no one walked away hungry! The evening concluded with social hour(s) around the campfire in the parking lot’s RV city.
The heat continued Sunday, but our crew kept their focus and we were out of the field by early afternoon. A flurry of activity in cleaning and packing followed with Frank Susi, Al Haseman, and Dave Wolfe leading the charge, hauling equipment in from the field and making sure everything was ready to be put in its proper place in the trailer. Paul Kosowski proved that he hasn’t lost his touch with a broom, rekindling his former role as test chairman, staying late to sweep out the building to put an official end to the weekend.
We sincerely thank all the handlers, volunteers and friends who stopped by to enjoy the weekend. We also thank Purina Pro Plan and Terry Trzcinski for handler’s gifts and continued support of our club. We take great pride in putting on the best tests that we can and thank all of you who help to make that possible.
We look forward to seeing you at the 2019 spring tests on April 6 and 7. In the meantime, be sure to check the club website at Fall Hunting Test Photos for pictures from the tests and updates on upcoming events.
Your 2018 GSPCI Fall Hunting Test Committee Members,
Dave Wolfe, Perry Dlugie, Al Haseman, Frank Susi, Steve Selep, Merri Odell, Nathan Selep and Dennis Nowak