American Field
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Random Notes. . .

By David Grubb | Apr 12, 2019
David Grubb

Lake Orion, Mich. — Some fifty plus years ago we attended a trial at Somerville, Tenn. I had a group of some of the best puppies I ever had and one of the judges was a little vociferous, and was trying to tell me what to do. It was a rather large puppy stake with 31 pups entered.

When the dust had settled I got first with a pup belonging to the late Bob Wehle; another belonging to a good friend of mine was placed second.

As luck would have it, that night at dinner in Somerville the vociferous judge sat next to me. He said, “Young man, you sure have some great puppies, and you beat some good ones.” I replied, “Yes, sir, and I thought I got third also.” He never got over that and it was the beginning of a lifelong friendship with Mr. Tom Currie. The trial was moved to his property, the Currie farm, near Dancyville where it was held for over fifty years.

Tom Currie was something else again. One of the first years the trial was held on Tom’s place I had a young black fellow with me as scout. His name was Jessy James. Tom had a bunch of wild turkeys on his place that ran loose and he loved those turkeys. I saw Jessy eyeing them and told him, “Mr. Tom said if you can catch them you can take them home.” Well, Jessy chased them all over the Currie farm and finally caught one just as Tom came out the door of his cabin. Tom went into a tirade and called Jessy every name you can think of. All Jessy said was, “I don’t know what kind of man dat is. He’s crazy.”

Tom Currie was always on my side and wanted me to win each time I came. One year a man from the Carolinas came over and judged. Champion Memphis Cowboy had five finds and a great race. Everyone thought he’d won, but not so. When I asked the judge about it, he said, “David, your dog had a great race, but I didn’t see the birds.” I asked, “What birds didn’t you see?” He replied, “I didn’t see any of them.” Tom jumped up and exclaimed, “You blind s.o.b. He had five of them!”

Another year I had a tremendous race with Flush’s Rebel John and one great find. John was second and the judges placed a dog that was so sickle-tailed it resembled a hog. When Tom asked me why they used that dog, I told him it was a clothesline dog. Tom said, “What the . . . . is that?” I told him when the dog got wet or muddy you could hang it on a clothesline by its tail to let it dry out.

I was fortunate to win the West Tennessee trial many times. One had a bit of humor when Ch. Violet won it in 1982. She had three great finds and a huge race. When they announced the winners, Bill Hunt took exception to it, claiming Violet went down on her second find. Tommy Honecker was judging and denied Bill’s assertion. Bill replied, “Let me take you over there and show you. You can see her titty marks in the mud.”

All the times I won it, multiple Champion Miller’s Silver Ending’s win was most outstanding. “Dan” ran a super race in the cold, mud and rain and my good friend Randy Downs spotted him just before pickup close to a half-mile standing on point, and Dan won it. The outstanding part was both Mr. Ray Grace, Dan’s owner, and John Rex Gates warned me not to run him, for he had to run the next day in the National Championship. I told them it would slow him down for the three hours at Grand Junction. The very next day, after slinging mud for an hour at West Tennessee, Dan won the National Championship with, as Nathan Cottrell, one of the judges, said, “One of the best finishes I have ever seen there.”

Through the years and after Tom Currie passed away, his sons, Bill and Allen, took over and have done a  tremendous job with the trial. They have had a lot of help too with Jim and Jake Waddell, Mac Conyers, Steve Stoots, Jere Williamson, Dixon Hood, Linda and Bill Hunt, Blake Kukar, Ike Todd,  Dr. Billy Butler and Mr. Keith Wright.

Elizabeth Reid had always been a mainstay and a close friend. One of the first times I was at a party at her house during the trial, I was sitting watching the goings on, and saw a bowl of fruit. I grabbed an apple and ate it. Elizabeth berated me,  “Those are decorations, not for eating.”

Curt Waddell was a special friend that I thoroughly enjoyed through the years. I have never seen such a large group of people get along so well in such a closely knit group. All of their familys coordinate their efforts to make it one of the best trials in the country, and believe me, go once and you will look forward to the next year with great anticipation.

If you want to have a great time, with some truly wonderful people, make it a point to go next year and you will go home with a warm feeling in your innards and respect for two great people in field trials, Alan and Bill Currie. Your daddy would be proud of you, boys.

 

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