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.
Nine other dogs perished including 6X CH/7X RU-CH Hot Topic, 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.
Cody had become an extremely popular sire and his progeny were just starting to be recognized. Jerry and I bred Northwoods Chardonnay (Blue Shaquille x Houston’s Belle’s Choice, 2009) to Cody in 2013. We’ve stayed in contact with most of the puppy buyers and trained five, even though the clients are near and far. It was a stellar litter.
• Piper: owned by Larry’s friend Chuck Brandes, St. Cloud
• Willow: Gregg Knapp, Wisconsin
• Charlie: Bill Owen, California
• Zada: Tom Condon, Montana
• Stoeger : Drew Milles, Minnesota
• Mazie: Scott Harness, Minnesota
• Rae: David Larson, Minnesota
That Cody was a rare champion with desire and ability is obvious but when he stayed with Larry, he was a cool, calm house dog.
What a tragic loss—not only to the Brutger’s and not only to the field trial world where a valiant competitor is respected but to the English setter world at large.
Our sympathies to Larry and his family. RIP Cody.