67th Annual 2012 United States Open : Hunters Horn
The 67th United States Open was held February 26–March 2, 2012 in the Ocala National Forest, FL. I left North Carolina for Florida on Friday, February 24 at 11:30 that night. My partner and helper for the week, Roger “Chubby” Paul was waiting for me to swing by and pick him up at his house near Hamlet, NC. I got to Chubby’s about 1:30 in the morning and loaded up his stuff and hounds and we were on our way. We made excellent time on the trip. We stopped in Georgia around 6 AM for breakfast right before we entered Florida. After a stop for gas and coffee one more time, we arrived at the Doe Lake Recreational area at 10:30. The Doe Lake Recreational Area would be the headquarters for the USO this week and what a wonderful place! It is located on the southwestern side of the Ocala Forest and it had a nice building, which overlooks Doe Lake, for the entries, banquet and awards. This place was built way back in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) but was pretty much run down until a group of groups got together and historically restored the place back in the 1990s. One of the groups was the Central Florida Fox Hunters Association and this location is where they hold their annual hunt every January. The Central Florida Hunt was the field trial President Bobby Segars attended a few years back that got him interested in bringing the USO to this location. Bobby and many of the representatives of the Central Florida worked hard over the past year getting everything ready for the USO and it was evident during the week based on how smooth things went.
When we pulled up, there was a crowd of people working as hard and as fast as possible to put up the temporary kennels. This group was led by Hubert Wilkes (Horsefly), Butch Lord and Ernie Watson, or at least that was the way it looked to me. Ernie Watson’s wife, Emily, was also there keeping Ernie in line, and it was a pleasure meeting her. Among all these hard working people from Florida there was one individual who stuck out like a sore thumb. As Chubby and I took a closer look, it was Lamar Sullivan from NC, and he was helping them put the kennels up as hard as he could go. Lamar and his friend Carolyn “Blondie” had been here since Thursday and it was good to know he would be around to keep Chubby and me straight this week. Mike Carr from Pride Dog Feed was also there with a donation of 26/20 Pride Pro Series for the USO. Ernie Watson opened up the storage trailer for us and we placed the feed in it. Mike had driven from Salisbury, NC from a big coonhound event to take care of us and we really appreciated everything including the field trial kit.
Chubby and I left for Leesburg where I had to meet the owner of Wolfy’s Restaurant before she left for the day at noon. This was the location Vickie Bryant had secured for the judges who would be staying in town during the trial. Vickie was truly a blessing for me concerning the things I needed in town for the judges and hunters who needed motel rooms and stuff. Vickie and I emailed back and forth numerous times and she went from place to place talking to owners of different establishments helping set everything up, which made things so much easier for me. The USO deeply appreciates all she has done for us.
After setting everything up at the restaurant, over to the motel we went to get things straight there. Chubby and I emptied everything we could from the truck into the room and then headed back to Doe Lake to set up the gas account for the judges and then unload our hounds if the kennels were ready. I ran into a little problem with the gas account at Meador’s Corner Grocery, which is about four miles from the kennels, and had to call USO President Bobby Segars for some information. Bobby got up with Alfred Guess (Hot Rod) and he met me over at the kennels where Chubby and I had unloaded our hounds. Alfred and I returned to Meador’s and got things straight.
After getting the hounds settled, Chubby and I decided to explore the forest a little. Now for you that have never been to this location, let me tell you this area is remote and goes on forever. The southern portion of the forest, which we would be holding the USO in, is approximately 20 miles east to west and 20 miles north to south with nothing but dirt roads that are well maintained and bigger than most paved roads. The forest totals approximately 386,000 acres and we would only be on about half of that. Chubby and I found some promising game signs while searching and noticed though that a lot of the lakes or water holes were very low. This area has been in a kind of drought for the most part and probably needs a few of those tropical storms to come over and drop about two feet of water to get things filled back up. After our exploring, we decided to go back by the kennels one more time before heading to town. Back at the kennels we were excited to see the Virginia crowd had arrived in full force along with their leader, Larry Rouse from NC. This group pretty much loaded up one side of the kennels and Chubby and I enjoyed talking with all of them while they settled in and took care of their hounds. In attendance was Paige Brannan, Gary Verling, Jimmy Marshall, last year’s President Bill Lowry, next year’s President Andy Wickham, Ben Slayton, Bobby Lee Fox and Jacob Devor. I hope I did not miss anyone but this is a big crowd. After about an hour, Chubby and I decided to head back to the motel to get settled in for the week. Some of the Virginia crowd followed us since they were staying there too.
For supper we joined Lamar Blalock, Blondie and Blondie’s sister and her friend. We went to Wolfy’s and had an excellent meal and a fun time catching up on things. With our bellies full and no sleep over night, we hit the sack around 9 PM for some much needed rest.
Sunday morning we were up at 6 AM and stopped at Dennys on the way to the kennels for breakfast with Lamar and Blondie. Once at the kennels, Chubby helped me get everything into the building and set up so we could begin entries at 7:45. Chubby handles the number bucket for me during entries and I really appreciate him being there looking over my shoulders to keep me from making mistakes. First to enter hounds was Scott & John Hoehner all the way from Illinois. From the start I was pretty busy right up till lunch time when I needed to run back to Meador’s Corner about an issue with the judge’s account. Things were wet for the hunters putting their numbers on today, but the locals were happy to see the much needed rain. Now the people about 120 miles east of us attending the Daytona 500 were not happy with the rain and the race was put off until Monday. I want to thank Sam Hucks for bringing Brown again this year to keep him straight, and a big thanks to Brown for giving me two pocket note pads to use to help in writing my article. Brown said this way at least he would make the article if he provided the pads. When we stopped entries for the day at 4 PM we had 201 hounds entered. President Segars and I were hoping for about 250, but we still had tomorrow to enter a few. Chubby and I took care of feeding our hounds and then headed toward the motel when I received a phone call from a couple of the judges, James Booker and Jerry Kinker. They needed some help with directions to the motel and I was able to get them there. We went out to eat with Lamar and Blondie at the Golden Corral and ran into four more judges helping us out for the week: Roger Johnson, Pete Warren, Missy Windsor and Victor Royal.
After supper, we went to Larry Rouse and Jimmy Marshall’s room and spent the evening with them and Lamar, just talking and having a good time. We kept talking until about 11 PM when we all called it a night.
Monday morning I was up at 5:30 to get some things in order for the day and then we headed over to Wolfys for breakfast and then to Doe Lake to open up for entries again. When we got there, the Sapp Brothers were waiting on us to enter two more hounds and then J.W. Webb stopped by to make some corrections to his entry papers. Judge Ernie Watson stopped by to check in and said he had to repair the roof to his camper because it had leaked during the rain yesterday and this morning. Ernie said it had been so long since it rained he did not know he had a leak. Before closing entries at noon time, Moose Jowers of Showtime Feed stopped by to let us know he had brought Showtime feed by for the hunt and we really appreciated this. When I closed entries, we had 212 hounds entered or still on the way. Jr. Jones had called and was on the way, but would not be here until late evening, so I entered his hounds for him so things would be easier for me and him when he arrived. The breakdown of entries per state follows: Florida had 71, Virginia had 53, North Carolina had 32, Mississippi had 27, South Carolina had 22, and Illinois had 7.
The weather was clearing now and Chubby and I loaded all the entry stuff up and headed to the kennels to paint my hounds. When we got there, Lamar Blalock and Blondie had already painted our hounds and I deeply appreciated it. We then joined Lamar and headed over to help Joe Woodard and Henry Dean Gray paint some of their hounds. Also under the tent from Mississippi were Butch Eubanks who was in charge of Henry Dean this week and Mike “Lisha” Smith who told me he was babysitting Joe Woodard for the week. When we finished these hounds, Chubby and I fed our hounds and headed back to town with Lamar riding with us. I had to stop by the bank to handle some business and we were at the motel by 2:15. I spent the afternoon straightening things up and getting ready for the judges’ meeting and banquet this evening.
Chubby and I headed over to Doe Lake around 5:00 for the judges’ meeting. It looked like we had a fine slate of judges for this year’s USO with them totaling 22 in all. The last judge to show up was Old Hip, Joe Royal. Joe was staying at the judges’ bunk house and told me he would be in charge of the judges over there, but Bobby McDonald said that would not be so. Not sure how all that worked out over the week, but I do know that the judges who stayed there had a good time. President Segars welcomed all the judges and we quickly gave them the information they needed for the week. Master of Hounds Charlie Boyd took over and met with the judges who consisted of Assistant Master of Hounds’ Bunny Deal, Keith Marshall and Victor Royal, plus judges James Booker, Larry Etheridge, Edward Fish, Brian Foxx, Dennis Giddens, Roger Johnson, Jerry Kinker, Bobby McDonald, Dale Parker, Ray Pearson, Joe Royal, Seaborn Royal, Lamar Sullivan, Pete Warren, Ernie Watson, Hubert Wilkes, Missy Windsor and Home Plate Judge George Gardner. We appreciate them taking the time to help out the USO this year and a big thanks to Victor Royal for not only judging, but also for bringing the computer, the printer and for running the 7Ds National HGA program for the judges and hunters with help from Missy Windsor. Also thanks to Dave Wride for providing the program for the USO to use.
While Charlie Boyd was meeting with the judges, President Segars introduced me to the catering business Buck & Kats and owner Lori. She and her staff would be handling the banquet tonight and breakfast each morning for the judges and hunters. They did an excellent job on both accounts. Also while waiting to start the banquet, I got the chance to meet Vickie Bryant and thank her in person for all her help over the past few months.
At 6 PM, President Segars started our USO Banquet by welcoming everyone and then giving them a quick agenda for tonight’s events. President Segars informed the members that USO Director Jerry Cornelius had called him and told him he was not scared to come to Florida, but being in the hospital sick kept him away. President Segars asked everyone to remember Jerry this week and he then had Pete Warren give an invocation remembering those fox hunters who we lost over the last year. We then took time to have our meal and enjoy each other’s fellowship. The turnout was great with all the hunters and judges there plus lots of local people.
President Segars restarted things after the fine meal by thanking all the different people that made this USO possible this week. The list was long, but a lot of effort went into this USO, they were as follows: USO Executive Committee; Bunny Deal; Jim Curry; Ed Driver; Happy Norris; Gene Tyndall; Central Florida Dog Hunters Association; Doe Lake Recreational Area; Moose Jowers for Showtime Dog Food; Mike Carr for Pride Dog Food; and many more people from this area.
President Segars then introduced this year’s Master of Hounds, Charlie Boyd from Tennessee. President Segars also said that the State of Tennessee has had people master the USO more than any other state. Charlie has master many hunts and we were all sure he would do an excellent job this week. After Charlie gave the hunters instructions for the week, this was followed by our annual business meeting and Directors’ meeting. The meeting went well this year. During our meeting, the following officers were elected for the 2013 USO: Andy Wickham – President, Bobby Segars – 1st Vice President, Sam Hucks – 2nd Vice President and Sam Tate – 3rd Vice President. This is a fine group of officers and I looked forward to working with each and every one of them. Our special list of Honorary Directors for 2013 included: Grover Carpenter, Dr. Frank Fowler, Paul Frazier, Lewis Garner, Connie House, Mickey Kennedy, Buck Meeks, Buddy Mills, Fred Plummer, Arthur Purvis, Andy Royal, Larry Turner and Lonnie Ward. These individuals have been and still are an important part of the USO. Each one of these individuals has contributed to the success of the USO and some of them are still able to do so today. The Directors List for the 2013 USO follows: Ronnie Barefoot, Ronnie Paul Barefoot, Lamar Blalock, Paige Brannon, Jeff Brinchek, Jamie Chavis, Edward Corker, Jerry Cornelius, Ronnie Cox, Billy Farrior, John Fields, Jack Floyd, Kenny Fulcher, Joel Gilman, Gary Godwin, Barry Hilton, Sam Hucks, Roger Johnson, Junior Jones, Greg Logan, Bill Lowry, Jimmy Marshall, Mike McShane, Roger Paul, Bob Peniston, Larry Rouse, Victor Royal, Bobby Segars, Matt Segars, Ben Slayton, Dennis Stanley, Sam Tate, Gene Tetreault, Gary Verling, and Andy Wickham. I know this list of Directors will do a fine job over the coming years.
After the meetings, Chubby and I were leaving Doe Lake when we realized we still had not seen Jr. Jones, so Chubby gave him a call and he was about 20 minutes away. We sat out on the road until he pulled up and then he followed us to the kennels, where Lamar Blalock had a kennel waiting for Jr. I quickly gave Jr. his numbers for the hunt and then thanks to Matt Segars and Jonathan Brown for jumping in and giving Jr. a hand so we could get back to town. At 9 PM we returned to our motel room and with the help of Victor Royal and Missy Windsor, quickly prepared the roll call sheets and computer program for the field trial. Chubby had slipped down to Paige Brannan and Gary Verling’s room to watch the Daytona 500. When I got there the race was under caution again so I went back to our room to straighten up and get ready for Tuesday. Chubby and I stayed up until the big explosion at the race and then we gave up and went to sleep.
We were up at 4:15 Tuesday morning and headed out to the kennels. We took the blankets off our hounds and while waiting for the judges to come by and check the hounds starting at 5:30, Kenny Fulcher came by and loaned us three GPS collars and a GPS tracking unit. I started asking Kenny all kinds of questions and he said I would figure out how to use it. While waiting for the judges I also saw a little Jack Russell on the hood of a little red pickup truck. The truck belonged to Jenny Smith and the Jack Russell was her little Stumpy. Well, I informed Jenny that Stumpy had knocked her orange juice off the hood of the truck and, man, was she hot with Stumpy. Jenny and Stumpy were a hoot to meet this week.
Chubby and I then went to the building and had breakfast. The judges were also here checking off the roll cards and Master Charlie Boyd only had one issue with a hound/number, which ended up being a situation where the owner had the same number on two hounds. Judge James Booker found the owner and with help they were able to correct the problem before the cast. After breakfast, Chubby and I put the tracking collars on the hounds and loaded them into the truck. Today’s cast would be on 17 and when we got to the cast, we were right beside the Hoehner Brothers and Ricky Richardson. Ricky Richardson attended the USO probably ten or more years ago up in the Carolinas. It was good to see him and catch up. The hounds were cast at 7 AM and for the first 30 minutes it was a solid roar on grey fox. While listening to the hounds, one pack crossed on off game heading west from the cast. Things died down in about an hour and this gave me a chance to find Kenny & Brian Fulcher for some help on this GPS device. After getting the basic info from them, Chubby and I headed out to get on the hounds over towards 05 which was back towards the kennels. On the way I stopped on 14 under the big power line and called Howard Owen in Missouri about the Garmin cause Chubby said he could help us, too. Howard took about 20 minutes and helped me a whole lot with the Garmin and I have to say Howard is an expert on these units. Anytime someone can walk you through the steps and buttons to mash from total memory, they know what they are talking about. Thanks, Howard, for all the help.
Over on 05, Chubby and I saw hounds and judges Horsefly and Joe Royal. Hounds had jumped a coyote up the road but had managed to throw it down in about 20 minutes. We also ran into Joe Woodard and Mike Smith and spent a few minutes talking to them. From here, we went on up 05 to a high spot and were able to get a track on all of our hounds. While here we had the chance to converse and joke around with Joel Gilman and Sam Tate. Some of our hounds were east of here so we decided to go get closer to those hounds before the hunt ended in an hour or so. On the way on 22, we saw Sam Hucks and Brown driving slow and looking down at the dirt road. We both stopped our trucks and got out to look at bear tracks Sam had spotted. This area has a lot of black bear and you could see tracks almost anywhere. After talking to them and Larry Rouse and Jimmy Marshall, we headed on down 22 towards the US Naval Bombing Range. See right in the middle of the Ocala National Forest there is an area about 4 miles by 4 miles that is off limits to the public and used as a bombing range. President Segars said they were supposed to be practicing some this week and we would know it when it happens, but the weather must have held them up all week, which disappointed me, but was good for the hounds. We tracked one of Chubby’s hounds and two of mine in a race off 22 a few 100 yards right at the end of the hunt. Horse Judge Ray Pearson came out to the road right at cutoff and said the hounds had been running a black bear which had went up a tree. About that time hounds started coming out and I was able to get one of my hounds, Sweet Thang in this bunch.
Chubby then had me track the hounds and another one of mine was even further east and he said we should go get that one first since it was farther from the cast. This put us at the bombing range and my April hound was in the middle. We decided to ride around the south end of the range and while doing so were able to catch one of Jimmy Marshall’s and J.W. Webb’s hounds. When I came back around the range I told Chubby my hound was just up the road and then all of a sudden it was heading west fast. We decided to head that way since April was probably in someone’s truck. On the way we beeped for the other two hounds we had in the bear race and they both were gone, too. About that time Kenny Fulcher called us and said he had Willie over on 17 close to the cast so we headed there to get him. When we found Kenny and Brian they not only had Willie, they also had April. They were the ones who loaded her at the bombing range and checked out. We thanked them and headed to the kennels where Lamar Blalock had one of my hounds and one of Chubby’s. This left us with only two of the seven we turned loose to get up so we put what we had in the kennels and left out getting a beep on my Teaberry over on 05.
Over on 05 we found one of the Sapp Brothers had just loaded Teaberry so now we were down to just one and it was only 2 PM. We found Chubby’s Tina hound to be across 182 towards the Ocklawaha River. We found a trail that headed towards her and decided to walk. We walked a little over a mile and Chubby was able to get her to come to us through a marsh area and when we got back to the truck it was 3:30 so we stopped for a snack; then we gassed up at Meadows Corner and headed to the kennels to take care of the hounds and look over the score board for Day One.
The results after day one showed 22 hounds scratched leaving 190 eligible for day two. There were 35 hounds scored in Hunting with the top hound being Mike Smith’s #49 with 45 points. Five hounds were scored in Trailing with a top score of 45 points also by Mike Smith’s #49. Tops in Speed and Drive went to hound #34 which scored 95 points and belonged to Ed Driver. A total of 122 hounds were scored in Speed and Drive today. Overall in HGA the top hound was the Sapp Brothers’ #64 which had 20 points in Hunting, 25 points in Trailing and 80 points in Speed and Drive. Chubby and I had very little score and one of my hounds had been eliminated.
Chubby and I quickly fed our hounds and painted them and were leaving the kennels at 5:30. Lamar Blalock and Carolyn still had two out in the area where we had walked in and got Tina, but he said they had walked in and could not get to them and we could not help them. While talking on the phone to Lamar, Jr. Jones pulled up beside us and said he had just received a phone call from home that one of his best friends had died from a heart attack at 37 years old. Jr. said he would have to head back home tonight so Chubby and I offered to run his hounds for him the rest of the week and bring them back when we went home. We went back to the kennels with Jr. and he decided to only leave two hounds that had scored real well the first day and take the rest back with him. Jr. told us what we needed to know concerning the hounds and then packed up to leave.
Chubby and I headed to Leesburg and had supper at Wolfys at 7 PM and then got to the motel at 8:15 after stopping for some supplies at Save-A-Lot. After a quick shower, I fooled around with the Garmin device on the computer and read the owner’s manual trying to get more familiar with the unit, but quickly gave up the ghost and hit the sack.
Wednesday, Day 2 found us up at 4:15 and to the kennels at 5:15. After collaring up the hounds we waited for the judges to come by and take roll call. We answered three hounds “failed to answer” for Jr. Jones and one more for Gary Verling that he had sent back to NC with Jr. We soon headed to today’s cast which was the same as Day 1 on 17. We parked today beside Brian and Kenny Fulcher and Jonathan Brown. Brown reported that Sam Hucks was failed to answer this morning, Sam was sick back at the camper at Doe Lake. Brown also wanted me to make sure I mentioned this in the article so people knew how hard he was working down here in Florida. After the cast at 7 AM, there was a good race for about 30 minutes on a gray fox and then hounds scattered some. Today was going to be a tough one with temps predicted to be around 90 degrees by call off time. Joe Woodard came by and said he could not believe the dirt roads in this forest and how straight and big they were. He also stated how fast he drove Lisha the day before and said you have to speed a little to cover 386,000 acres.
Chubby and I soon left so I could go by the bank and check out the distance from Doe Lake to motels over in Silver Springs. We returned to the area around 10 AM and found hounds a little south of the cast on the power line. There was chatter on the radio about hounds out on 182 and some of them being recast. Around 10:50, Brian and Kenny Fulcher saw a coyote cross the power line on 14 heading south and about a dozen hounds were after it. It was so hot, dry and windy by this time and they soon were down to a trail heading over towards 13 where the coyote was seen again heading east. Chubby and I found Judges Joe and Seaborn Royal and Horsefly checking these hounds out. Joe Royal had to cross a cut down to get to the hounds but conditions were such none of them could make it to the road on the cold track. Hounds drifted south from here and as the hunt was called I could hear them fire up and shoot out towards the big boat on 05.
When the hunt was called, Chubby went up a path off of 13 and luckily caught my April hound and one of Ronnie Barefoot’s. Soon Bruce Studstill pulled up and had caught my Teaberry hound over on 05. I really appreciate him getting her for us. We then tracked Chubby’s Tina hound back towards 14 off the power line. Chubby decided to walk in for her since it looked like she had lain down according to the tracking box. Chubby wanted me to go put the hounds we had in the kennels and track the others before coming back for him. I found Chubby’s Snowball and my Sweet Thang hound in the holding pen at the cast along with Jr. Jones’ two hounds and then I tracked my Willie hound south of the kennels in the block between 05 and judges’ bunk house off 182. I put all the hounds in the kennels and went back for Chubby. I found Chubby sitting under a tree when I got there with the tracking collar but no Tina. Chubby had found her dead in the thickest of thick places. Chubby figured she must had gotten too hot on that last race and died when she could not find any water to help cool off.
From here Chubby and I went in behind the judges’ bunk house area from 05 where the big boat is and found my hound Willie running with two more hounds. I was able to get close to them and see Willie and get him to stop and come to me. As I waited for Chubby to come back down a path he went up, I took Willie for a dip in a small pond to help him cool off. Once Chubby showed up we headed back to the truck and were loaded at 3:30.
We decided to check the score board out before working on the hounds. Day two scores showed 29 hounds scored in Hunting, 13 in Trailing and 93 in Speed and Drive. There were 37 hounds scratched leaving 153 hounds still eligible for Day Three. The high scoring hound today in Hunting was Bill Lowry’s #09 with 40 points. Tops overall in Hunting with 50 points was Sam Hucks and Jonathan Brown’s #0 and Ivy Bluff Kennel’s #166. The high score today in Trailing was 25 points and seven different hounds had done this; Bobby Lee Fox’s #00, Billy Farrior’s #115, Peterson & Watson Kennels’ #116, Sam Tate’s #167, Henry Dean Gray’s #171, Joe Woodard’s #185 and Chubby’s #186. Tops overall in Trailing was still Mike Smith’s #49 with 45 points. Haytokah Kennel’s #16 hound scored 90 points in Speed and Drive today making it tops for today. Overall in Speed and Drive was hound #185 belonging to Joe Woodard with 150 points. Overall the hound in first HGA was Joe Woodard’s #185 which was second Trailing, first in Speed and Drive and first in Endurance. Chubby had one hound with a score across the board and in the top ten HGA overall, but you guessed it, it was Tina and she was gone. So goes our luck.
We then took care of the hounds and waited for Lamar to finish up before leaving for town. While waiting, Kenny Fulcher came by to say him and Brian were heading home in the morning and that I could keep the Garmin and just drop it off in Fayetteville on the way home Saturday. Lamar still had one hound out from the first day, but now he could not get a beep on it, so at 5:30 we headed to the motel.
After cleaning up for supper and while waiting on Chubby to get ready, I headed to the front desk of the motel to take care of the motel bill and find out how to use the wireless internet, because I wanted to post something on Speeddogs and Masterfox about the hunt. After this everyone was ready for supper and off to Wolfys we went to eat with Lamar Blalock and Carolyn and Gary Verling, Jimmy Marshall and Larry Rouse. Man, did we have a fun time laughing and talking about the day, plus we had an excellent meal and some homemade slices of pie to die for. Back at the motel I posted the information on the internet and then sat on the porch and talked with Andy Wickham, Bill Lowry, Bobby Lee Fox, Ben Slayton and Jacob Devor for a few minutes. From here it was to the room to straighten out some USO paper work and to bed around 10:30.
Thursday morning had us up at 4:15 again and to the kennels to get five hounds ready; one of Chubby’s, two of mine and two for Jr. Jones. Once we got the hounds ready and checked by the judges, Chubby and I decided to eat breakfast and to our surprise, Kenny and Brian Fulcher joined us. They said they decided to stay one more day since they did have one hound eligible for today’s cast. After eating breakfast at the clubhouse, I returned to the kennels to find that my Teaberry hound that was scratched yesterday had torn out of her pen. Luckily David Simms seen her and hollered at her and she lay right down. Thanks to David for running her down. I then tied her up in the kennel so she could not get out and to the cast we went.
Today we casted at 6:50 off 13 north of the Big Scrub camp area. After we parked I realized we were beside Sam Hucks and Jonathan Brown again today, but this time Sam would make the cast. The hounds ran pretty good today for the first hour and we hung around the cast talking to different people including Justin Dalton from Virginia who followed David Simms and his crowd down. Justin had all kinds of trouble with his jacked up pickup on the way down here and while in Florida. They picked on him so much about the big wheels on his truck he has been renamed “Big Wheels.” Hope he made it back to Virginia with no problems, he deserved a break.
Today I told Chubby I wanted to ride to Astor to check out the distance to those motels plus I needed to run by the bank to get some change for the judges’ expenses. We decided to run over to Barberville to see where Bill and Julie Puckett lived. Ed and Anita Corker were staying with them this week and I am glad Bill and Julie made it to the banquet and awards this week so I could see them. From here we had to run to Pierson to the bank and down to Deland to Walmart for some supplies. We were back in the area around 11:00 which gave us time to get a bead on the location of our hounds. We had three hounds towards 42 from the power line and two towards the cast.
When the hunt was called at 11:50 we headed north past the cast on 13 and got Sweet Thang at 12:10. From here we went down to where 13 and 05 intersect and was able to call Willie out by the fox horn and in the truck at 12:30. There was a control burn taking place close to us off 02 and I told Chubby I hope none of our hounds are in there. About that time Sam Hucks called and said to go to the fire and follow the path beside the block on fire and we should be able to get Snowball. Well believe it or not, Snowball was in the middle of the fire and Chubby said yesterday Tina died from overheating and today Snowball is going to get burned up. Well the man in charge of the burn said we had to get out of there and we were pulling off when here came Snowball flying to the truck. Like Chubby said, he was looking for relief. We knew Jr. Jones’ two hounds were caught so at 12:50 we were loaded for the day.
Back at the kennels we enjoyed one of the best wild hog BBQ sandwiches you could ask for compliments of Joe Woodard. Joining Chubby, Joe and I was Lamar who was also loaded up for except the one hound he could not get up the first day. We took care of our hounds and waited for the scores to be posted. Today 60 hounds were scratched leaving 93 eligible for Day Four. There were 14 hounds scored today in Hunting, two in Trailing and 57 in Speed and Drive. Top Hunting for today was Jr. Jone’s #66 and Ronnie Barefoot & Sons #159 with 30 points each. Tops today in Trailing with 20 points was C&H Foxhound Kennel’s #38 and Ronnie Barefoot & Sons #159. Tops in Speed and Drive today with 95 points was #61 owned by Ivy Bluff Kennels. Leading Hunting overall was Ronnie Barefoot & Sons #159 with 65 points, overall Trailing was led by Mike Smith’s #49 with 45 points and leadin
By Jeff Brinchek