Monday, August 11, 2014

Ridge Creek Cody

 If you're a setter guy and follow (even loosely, as I do) the field trial world, you may have heard of Ridge Creek Cody, a multiple champion who was one of the more successful setters competing on that scene. I've never seen him in person and, regrettably missed a chance to see him run at a local trial in my area a couple years ago, but I've always admired him from afar, and had hoped to perhaps get a Cody pup some time in the next year or so if I could find a breeding not already reserved, find the space, and (most unlikely), find the money.

My Ozzy (a Berg Bros. dog) was sired by a younger brother to Ridge Creek Cody's dam, a fantastic dog (now dead) named Houston's Belle. I'm not a trialer, but since getting Ozzy I've become a fan of the numerous dogs going back to Houston's Belle that are competing on the various trial circuits, and I loosely follow their progress on the field trial forums and bulletin boards.

At six, Cody was a fairly young dog so I always thought (assuming the three criteria above) that if I really wanted a Cody pup (which I do) that I'd have a little time to try to make it happen. Apparently, however, I don't. Yesterday I saw (via a friend's FB post) a link to this blog post at Northwoods Bird Dogs

Jerry and I received horrific, heart-breaking news from North Dakota. During the morning of Saturday, August 9, Ridge Creek Cody and several other dogs drowned while on a conditioning run from a four-wheeler. Cody was owned by Larry Brutger of St. Cloud, Minnesota, and trained and handled by Shawn Kinkelaar on the horseback shooting dog circuit.

Other dogs that perished include 2X-CH Royal Rocks Mr. Thumper and Handsome Harry Hardcash.
Ridge Creek Cody was whelped in 2008 out of two grouse champions, Can’t Go Wrong x Houston’s Belle. Paul Hauge, Belle’s owner, and Jerry were the brains behind the breeding. Jerry had competed against Can’t Go Wrong on the grouse trial circuit and was extremely impressed with his fluid gait and extraordinary ability to find and point ruffed grouse. Too, Jerry campaigned Belle to all of her championships and knew her strengths.

We both remember the day Larry picked up Cody as an eight-week-old puppy. As little Cody romped around the kennel office, Larry talked of his plans for training and competition. That first year, Jerry took Cody to our camp in North Dakota and worked him on the vast prairies. Matt Eder further developed Cody but it was Shawn Kinkelaar who took on Cody and fully realized the dog’s potential.

Cody was a 3X champion and one-time runner-up champion.
2014:  Midwest Open Shooting Dog Championship
2012:  National Amateur Pheasant Shooting Dog Championship
2011:  Idaho Open Shooting Dog Championship
2011:  All American Open Shooting Dog Championship (Runner-up)

In addition, Cody was the Bill Conlin Setter Shooting Dog Derby Award Winner (2009-2010) and placed third in the United States Quail Shooting Dog Futurity, a rare accomplishment for a setter.
Among trainers, handlers, judges and fellow competitors, all agreed that Cody had supreme athleticism—a skill level on par with Michael Jordan or LeBron James.

From what I could gather on the gundog forums, it happened at a rain-swollen river crossing during a roading session. Whatever the cause or circumstances, a tragic way to die, and a huge loss not only for those dogs' owners, but, in the case of Cody, a big loss for the setter world, too.


  1. Wow! Multiple dog drownings?! Would like to know the rest of the story on that one.

  2. This is just a guess on my part, but lots of pros use an attachment on their ATVs (usually a contraption with long poles going out on either side of the ATV, with short leads that they snap the dogs into) that allow them to road a number of dogs at once, and if an ATV went into the river with the dogs attached, they wouldn't have a chance. But again, I have no idea what really happened, that's just a guess.

  3. Tragedy aside, add that to the long list of reasons why I train my own dogs. I might have some ill mannered pups that barely listen, but at least I don't have to worry about stuff like that happening.

  4. I can't judge, obviously, because I wasn't there, but from what I could gather from some of the comments on the boards it sounded like simply a freak accident rather than any kind of willful negligence. In fact, apparently the handler who was driving the ATV lost his own dog in the accident, but managed to save four others. I'm not plugged into that world, because I'm poor and can't afford to put a dog on a pro's truck, but I can honestly say the pros I've met have all been, well, pros. I wouldn't hesitate to send a dog to a pro if I had the money to do so, especially if I wanted to get my dog to a level beyond what I'm capable of training them to (in my case, the basement...).

    1. Well thanks for the post. I had no idea of roading and the extent to which it is used. A bit of looking around the boards and such provided much in the way of emotion and opinion, as expected, but little factual information about the incident. Interesting what people will do to gain the competitive edge. I shouldn't judge folks for what they do with or to their dogs. I think this one falls into the category of risky business.

  5. People send dogs to pros for a variety of reasons. I sent my two dogs for three months to a local hunt club. It wasn't cheap but I saved for it using some OT and side jobs to help cover the cost ( they also just threw in some extra time for free). The trainer was able to give my dogs the consistent work that a construction working father of a five year old isn't. They were also able to help my male get over some mental issues that I couldn't get him past. Even my wife who was skeptical ( what spouse wouldn't be when they see all that money going out and not having a backyard put back in) was won over when we visited and she saw how much the dogs had filled out, were more confident, and better behaved. Certainly this incident is very much on a different level than local home town trainer, but broad brush strokes do a disservice to all

  6. PS,
    Uplandish, while I love the new blog ( especially the field notes) I miss the Northwest wing shooter. Any chance some non literary content might sneak in?

  7. This was indeed a tragedy. Apparently Kinkelaar's helper was roaring the dogs on an ATV, attempted to cross a swift flowing stream, and was swept away. In my opinion, this showed poor judgement by the ATV driver.

    I have put a number of my dogs with professional trainers and handlers - something I would not do unless I knew these men over some period of time and trusted them. Most pros are very concerned about the safety of their clients' dogs, but it takes only one moment of carelessness to have a disaster - much like the rest of life in the outdoors.

    I was sorry to read about Cody and the other dogs untimely death. I saw Cody run at the Montana Shooting Dog CH a couple years ago, and was impressed.

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