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Lucky #13
July 2017

This month we have a guest column submitted by the Central Carolina English Setter Club. CCESC member Frank Luksa (also a member of the Hudson English Setter Club) recently made history, with the magnificent “Tessa,” DC/AFC Windsor’s Field Harvester JH, becoming only the 13th Dual Champion in the history of our breed.

In 2014, Jill Warren wrote an English Setter column for the AKC’s Gazette titled “Bridging the Great Divide Between Show and Field.” This article described the difficulty in attaining the dual champion designation particularly in a coated breed like the English Setter. In fact, at the time of writing, there had only been 12 Dual Champions in English Setter history with the last earning that title in 2002.

In 2017, a new star entered that elite list! DC/AFC Windsor’s Field Harvester JH “Tessa” is owned and loved by Frank and Hunter Luksa and every point, placement, and pass was earned with Frank handling. Tessa became FC/AFC in late 2016 at the age of 3 ½ and finished her conformation CH in May, 2017 becoming the 13th Dual Champion in English Setter history.

Tessa’s story began with a guy who loved to hunt. Frank began hunting at the age of 10 and his first hunting dog was an Irish/English Setter cross. He always had a bird dog of one of the pointing breeds while growing up but got his first purebred English Setter in 2004, an orange male named Decoverly Windsor Duke who would go on to earn a JH.

The dream of a Dual Champion went into high gear with the arrival of a tri-color show puppy bitch named Duchess in 2007. Over the next several years, Duchess was Frank’s personal hunting dog deluxe, show dog, and field trial and hunt test competitor. On 4/1/2012, Duchess became the first English Setter to be awarded Grand Champion and Master Hunter titles: GCH CH Editions Navigator MH.

While Duchess had garnered field trial points, Frank saw the difficulty in combining the hunting style of a personal hunting dog or hunt test dog (even as accomplished as a Master Hunter) with the drive and intensity required for a field champion. His vision to breed and raise his own Dual Champion took hold and he began to research stud dogs for Duchess. In late 2012, Duchess was bred to “TJ” GCHS/Can CH Editions Pursuit of Happiness JH THD CGC.

In February 2013, six puppies were born to TJ and Duchess, co-bred by Frank, Maryella & Hunter Luksa & Mary Coldiron. These puppies were stars from birth being featured on Animal Planet’s “Too Cute!” which followed them from birth to eight weeks, introducing viewers to the English Setter. Tessa excelled from the first, even being caught on camera pointing her first bird wing. Frank was happy with all the puppies’ pointing instincts but Tessa stood out with her style and boldness. She became his pick.

Jill Warren pointed out in her article that many of the previous Duals got their conformation titles first and were then shaved down to work on their field titles. Frank decided to go the opposite route so Tessa began her field training in her first year progressing from walks in the field to running the edges with Frank on his ATV.

Tessa earned placements in puppy stakes and by the age of 1 ½ had earned all her derby points. She began running in gundog stakes, both walking and horseback. In the fall of 2015, Tessa and Frank earned first place in two amateur gundog stakes within four days and Tessa had earned her Amateur Field Champion title! Frank knew his faith in this young girl was well founded.

Frank and Tessa went on to compete in open gun dog stakes. At the Hudson English Setter Club’s field trial in the fall of 2016, Tessa took a 2-point win that finished her Field Champion title. Tessa had earned 34 field trial placements in eight different states.

While being shown occasionally during her field campaign, Tessa had earned her first major and had eight conformation points by the end of 2016. Frank took care of that precious coat and they went after the conformation title in earnest to finish her Dual.

Tessa and Frank earned another major going Best of Breed from the Bred-by class at the Big Apple Sporting Dog Society Specialty. Needing just three more points, they entered at Bucks County in PA on May 7, 2017. With much of the English Setter world watching and cheering them on via a friend’s live-stream, Tessa and Frank took winners bitch and the dream had come true! Tessa became DC/AFC Windsor’s Field Harvester JH!

In a sport dominated by professional handlers in both field trials and conformation, Frank Luksa and Tessa have proven that a dream can come true for a beloved family dog and her breeder/owner/handler.

Congratulations Frank, Maryella, and Hunter, and especially to Tessa! Thank you for being “Lucky 13”! Thank you for proving what English Setters can do. And thanks to CCESC for sending in this wonderful column.

Carlotta Cooper
English Setter Association of America
Greeneville TN
423 639-6195

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