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Michigan Ryman Breeders and Owners Get Together

Michigan Ryman Breeders and Owners Get Together

The setting was the Historic North Branch Outing Club on the banks of the North Branch of the AuSable River in Lovells, Michigan. What started out as a thought of getting together with some out of state breeders coming to Michigan this fall for a small meeting turned into an event that exceeded all expectations. The last weekend of October brought out over 40 breeders, owners, acquaintances and 37 Ryman type setters. The ages ran from in the 80’s for Hugh Macmaster, who I call the Dean of Michigan Setters, to puppies just 3 months old.


John Nagel, who works at the Lodge in the Fly Shop and is a setter owner recommended that the lodge would be an appropriate place to hold the Get Together. What a perfect setting! Woodrow was the perfect greeter.

The activities started Friday evening with a few early arrivals who checked in at the Lodge and met up to have Setter Talk time and the Fish Fry at the Riverside Tavern. The local area has numerous tracts of public land open to hunting and a few of the attendees hit the woods Saturday morning in pursuit of grouse and woodcock despite the rainy conditions. The rain subsided in the afternoon as other breeders and owners began to arrive at the Lodge. Proprietor, Judy Fuller, welcomed all the attendees and allowed the dogs to make themselves at home.


As people arrived with their special setters, the magic began to unfold. There were no strangers, only new acquaintances, both human and canine species. By the time late afternoon rolled in there were people from Kansas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and both peninsulas of Michigan. members in attendance included Lynn Dee Galey, Chuck Robinson, Maureen Van Norman, Paul Nensewitz and Mark Altemann.

The connections that were renewed and created by these related setters made for unending conversations. The dogs were the common bond that touched all the attendees of all ages.

These Setters with their historic Ryman backgrounds moved some of the owners to bring fitting pictures from years gone by including Ribbons won by George Ryman in the early 1900’s and a cup won by Sir Roger DeCoverly that belong to John Nagel. Maureen Van Norman also brought a collage picture showing the late Joan Mizer with setters owned by her parents and herself in years past. Joan lived in Baldwin, Michigan and was a great resource for breeders as she knew the breeders and setters around the country. She bred one of her dogs to Chance from George Bird Evans Old Hemlock kennel that resulted in her favorite, Incredible Luck. She also was on a first name basis with Warren Scheckels from Pinecoble Setters. Without the efforts of these forerunners breeding efforts, we would not have had the opportunity to have this memorable event or enjoy our Setters today.

After a full afternoon of interactions with breeders, owners and canine companions, Judy served an outstanding sit-down chicken dinner in the dining area to the satisfaction of everyone.

In conclusion, this was the first attempt to convene a group like this, the turnout and response was indicative of the passion and dedication that this group has for their Ryman type setters. Hopefully it has sparked new relationships and thoughts that will provide continued energy to keep these lines of hunters and companions going strong into the future.

A big thanks to everyone who participated in the weekend festivities and to those who forwarded their pictures that were used in this article.

Sorry, the all of the pictures didn’t copy over, I will try to post them separately.


  1. Katie O’Donnell

    Wow, looks like an amazing get-together! Also, I have to say that I am completely impressed to see that many unfamiliar dogs hanging out together with ease. Wouldn’t be possible with most breeds! Says a lot for the Ryman temperament!

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