Brittany Field Trial Hall of Fame Nomination of

Rand Constalie

Nominated by Jim Brigham

Preface: I was asked to nominate Rand last fall by Rosco Staton through Steve Ralph. Rosco talked to me at the 2013 Nationals and told me how important he felt that it was to get Rand into the Hall of Fame. I started on the project by researching the Badger Club’s archives that had been organized and bound by Dr. Edna Cree covering the history of the club from the beginning. My focus was on the early years through the late 60’s and the mid-80’s. I was limited in what I could add to who Rand was and his other contributions to ABC, Badger and the Brittany because I only joined in 1988 and did not know anything about the Chicken Classic until 1996. Many of the people that knew Rand well have passed on or left Badger many years ago. I have since found people that can add to Rand’s story as the nomination process develops.

Unfortunately, Rand passed away on Sunday April 27, 2014 at age 94.

Rand Constalie

Rand joined Badger Brittany Club in May 1958 and remained a member until 2000. He joined shortly after Badger was formed. During that period, he served as its president, first vice president, field trial secretary and field trial chairman. He represented Badger at the 1959 national meeting. This was before directors were elected.

He was an avid promoter of the Brittany in Wisconsin. He promoted the breed in the field and in the show but never let those events interfere with his annual trek to the Wisconsin grouse woods and tag alders to run his dogs on grouse and woodcock with good friends.

Over the years, Rand wrote numerous articles for the ABC magazine and other publications. He also wrote a few books, Including, A Breed Apart (1987) Rand Constalie (American Businessman Freelance writer Thirty-Five years as an Amateur Bird Dog trainer) and Johan B. Steen (Professor University of Oslo Norway; Wildlife Researcher in the area of game birds; successful bird dog trainer and competitor in Scandinavian Field Trials) the book discussed the various pointing breeds and their training, explained American and Scandinavian Field Trials and include several short stories.

He ran Kickapoo Soo LaRue in the 1959 National Futurity. He campaigned “Sue” and his later dogs in National and Regional events.

Rand was part of the leadership that started the Wisconsin Association of Field Trial Clubs. He was part of the effort by Wisconsin Field Trial Clubs to urge the State to acquire the abandoned Air Force Base – Bong and make a portion of it into a State class I dog training and field trial grounds.

Rand was also involved in the purchase of 40 acres adjacent to the Buena Vista Prairie Management Area that the Southern Wisconsin Pointing Dog Club acquired in the early 1960’s. The building on the property was used to house graduate research students from UW-Steven Point for a number of years as they studied the prairie chicken. The property is still used as the staging grounds for the fall AFTC’s Championship and American Field Championship.

Establishing the American Brittany Club Chicken Classic

Rand Constalie took on the challenge of getting the American Brittany Club and the AKC to allow the creation of a Prairie Chicken Classic.

  • In 1962, Rand asked Badger members to support a Prairie Chicken Classic on the grasslands of Buena Vista.
  • He presented a petition from Badger Brittany Club to ABC Classic Chairman Bert Heinz. Mr. Heinz presented the petition to the ABC Board at the 1962 Annual Meeting. The board approved the request.
  • Rand submitted an application to the ABC Classic Committee in Dec 23, 1962 and it was approved for 1964. He then organized the Badger fall trial, Sept 21& 22, 1963, at Buena Vista to test the feasibility of conducting “a Prairie Chicken Classic of a National scope in the autumn of 1964 utilizing these grounds”.
  • A March 14, 1963 meeting was arranged by Rand that included the following: Wisconsin Conservation Department officials, a Society for the Preservation of the Prairie Chicken official, John Evans, President of WAFTC, and Wayne Helgerson of the Central Wisconsin field trial club. The meeting’s purpose was to get the DNR and the Society to allow field trials to take place on the prairie chickens of the Buena Vista property near Wisconsin Rapids. This property was established to protect and propagate the prairie chicken. They reached an agreement to grant Badger and Central Wisconsin FTC permission to hold trials between September 20 and mid-October each year. They were also permitted to supplement with liberated quail.
  • After the September trial at Buena Vista, Rand wrote to the DNR and the Society that the trial was the largest held by Badger, with 115 entries. He reported that there were plenty of chickens on course plus 109 quail released during the trial.
  • Rand wrote to the AKC to notify them of ABC’s intent to add an additional classic to be known as the “Prairie Chicken Classic” on May 25, 1964. AKC responded in a letter dated June 9, 1964 from Wm. Stifel, Executive Secretary, stating that the committee was reluctant to give ABC the go ahead on an additional special event. They stated that the Pheasant Classic was first held in 1960, the Grouse Classic in 1961 and the Quail Classic in 1962. They felt that these were enough field trials in which the winner would be given a special designation by ABC as Winner of ________ Classic.

    He indicated that the committee would not prevent ABC from holding a trial on prairie chickens but without special designation.

    Rand responded to the AKC letter on June 18, 1964. He requested that AKC reconsider its decision not to permit the use of designation of “Classic “ in connection with an American Brittany Club sponsored Limited All Age Stake to be run on prairie chickens with Badger Brittany Club acting as host. He went on to eloquently explain the nearly three-year process that had been undertaken to make this event a reality. He also explained the nature of the prairie chicken and its habitat, noting the rarity of the bird and the few opportunities to run dogs on them.

    He explained the uniqueness of the Buena Vista Prairie Chicken Management Area in its ownership and management of the 7000 acres. He pointed out the considerable effort that was put in to obtain permission to use the grounds for field trials. He noted that Badger is the only AKC club to have authorization to use the grounds.

    I could not find a letter from the AKC giving approval but the Inaugural ABC Prairie Chicken Classic was held at Buena Vista September 17 – 18 – 90, 1964. Twenty dogs were run and Lee Holman’s dogs placed first, second, and fourth. Rand’s Kickapoo Soo LaRue placed third.
  • Rand and Badger examined what to do for trophies. They finally decided to go with a traveling trophy.
  • Rand, who was known to many as “Grampa Chicken” rode at every Classic held at Buena Vista with the last one in 2000. Poki Dot, handled by Lyle Johnson, and owned by J & M Floyd won.

Rand and Ruffed Grouse & Woodcock

Rand, as noted before, was an avid grouse and woodcock hunter. Nothing gave him more pleasure than walking in the grouse woods with the bell ringing as one of his Brits was working the cover ahead of him. In the late 1970’s, he was part of a group that decided to start the Chippewa Valley Pointing Dog Association to run cover dog trials in the Eau Claire County forest near Augusta. The group was comprised of Badger Brittany members and others who owned other pointing breeds who enjoyed running their dogs in the grouse woods. They held cover dog trials at Augusta.

There was a move by several regional clubs to re-establish the Grouse Classic but include woodcock as a second named game bird. Central Maine Brittany Club sent a letter dated August 6, 1985 to ABC regional clubs in areas where grouse trials were run proposing that the classic be named the ABC Woodcock/ Grouse Classic and asking for support.

Rand wrote to Everett Metzger, ABC Classics Chairman, on August 24, 1985 RE: Grouse/Woodcock Classic. In it, he fully supported the idea of re-establishing the Classic and shared his ideas on the proposal. His second paragraph was “It has long been my contention that if there is any place the Britt can excel it is in the Grouse Woods. On Quail and Pheasants the long tails may at times have a bit of an edge but a good Britt can hold his own against any breed in the Woods.”

His final two paragraphs were –
“Conditions have changed a great deal since the Grouse Classic was dropped. At that time I had places to train and develop all-age dogs. Those places are gone now and I have been forced to go to the Grouse Woods. I am sure many other Owners in the Northern tier of States has had the same experience. Re-establishing the Grouse Classic will provide them a place to compete. Let’s do it.”

I have not found any follow up letters or club minutes regarding the Classic renewal. The next item regarding the renewal was the 1985 ABC Board minutes. After the Classic report was presented, Director Bob Fleury moved that the Grouse Classic be reinstated and called the Grouse-Woodcock Classic. Gene Salmons seconded. All yes. Next Fleury moved that all handlers in the Grouse-Woodcock Classic walk and whether or not judges use horses, should be determined by the host club. All yes. Finally, Fleury moved that 4 one-hour courses be reduced to 3 one-hour courses for the Grouse-Woodcock Classic only. All yes

To Support nomination, send email to stating support of nomination

**** Supporters of this nomination ****
Jim Brigham
Rick Smith