2015 Inductee – Main Creeks Gun in “Gauge”
Owner/Handler: Mark and Julie Sweeney
1218 Champion Points
Legendary Status Champion
9 Super Major Championships
Every new competitive upland hunter is always looking for that special animal to be the cream of the crop. For Mark Sweeney, he was introduced to tournament hunting by Mike Peterson when Mike needed a partner to compete with him and Hall of Fame Gordon Setter, Sheba. That was all that it took for Mark to be hooked on the sport and more importantly to know that he wanted to hunt over a pointing dog specifically. Mark contacted Craig Steinbach about finding him a German Shorthair. At that time, it just so happened that Lucy Hunter, a littermate to BDC Hall of Fame dog, Domino, had a litter on the ground. Craig’s dad went and picked out a puppy for Mark and Julie. Excited to pick up their new bundle of joy, Mark and Julie went to Big Rock Hunting Preserve and there on the footrest ledge of the bar was a 10-week-old liver roan puppy that was already pointing birds. Little did Mark and Julie know that Main Creek’s Gun In “Gauge” would be the foundation of Main Creek Kennels and the start of pure excellence.
Gauge had all of the qualities one could ask for in a companion and hunting dog. He was good with people of all ages and loved to play. He had a very calm disposition and a lot of natural born talent. All Mark had to do was take him home, introduce him to birds, and start hunting him. Believe it or not, Mark himself needed a little help learning the game, and with the guidance of guys like Mike Peterson, Jamie Gunn, and Bruce Schmeig taking him under their wings, he did just that. Gauge started competing in tournaments in 4 different circuits that include: North American Tournament Hunter Association (NATHA), Pheasant Hunters Unlimited (PHU), United Field Trialers Association (UFTA), and the National Bird Dog Circuit (NBDC). Competing in his first tournament at 6 months of age, Gauge won his first trophy at an event held at Big Rock. As a puppy, Gauge also won the prestigious Menz Tournament in 2003 at 16 months of age. With Mark’s knowledge of the game and Gauge’s awesome nose and ability to cover a field so thoroughly, if there was a bird there, they’d find it. They quickly became the team that everyone feared when they came to a tournament. It wasn’t long until fellow competitors would tell Mark, “You don’t know what you have in that Gauge dog”. “That Gauge Dog” soon became a phrase the Sweeney’s would hear often. With the help of friends, Gauge won 52 trophies in his first 2 ½ years of life which included the achievement of Legendary Champion in the National Bird Dog Circuit. Gauge won 6 of 7 Super Majors in a row and in the 7th he placed 2nd.
Competing in the days with some of the great Hall of Fame dogs like Sheba, Phoenix, Reggie, Domino, Albert, and Abby was a privilege that provided a lifetime of memories and friendships.