For many years my greatest dream as a promoter of foxhound field trials was to be able to give away a truly great prize at a great field trial.  Well, in 1998 while serving as secretary of the All- American I thought the time was right and the stage was set.  We had over $30,000 stashed away and an executive committee that was willing to give me the okay to buy a Honda Foreman 450, 4-wheeler, at that time the nicest 4-wheeler made, so I bought one.  I also, had a trailer made to haul it.  But guess what?  The directors had a special meeting, voted to have me sell the 4-wheeler, so that is just what I did.  And this is what else I did; I made myself a promise that I would someday out do anything that had ever been attempted at the All-American.  It only took seven years to do it, but guess what?  This year at TOP GUN we gave away a new 4-wheel drive Ford F150 truck to a gentleman names Norman Howard of Georgetown, South Carolina and about $9,000 in cash and feed to the other nine hounds that placed in the top 10.  Now if I never find another acorn, this old Arkansas Razorback is now one happy man. 


Now that I have bragged enough, on to the story of TOP GUN.  My wife Ann and my ole buddy Cole Moore left home on Thursday pulling the famous “lime green dog hauling machine” owned by Donnie Cobb.  Donnie let us borrow his nice trailer that he had won last fall with his hound Cobb’s Blackie (Teat’s Banjo-Efird’s Lil Bit).  Cobb’s Blackie is a super fast hound.  We needed the trailer to haul the 20+ Cole Moore hounds to the East Coast.  Now the Atlantic seaboard is blessed with Arkansas’ best.  The only one I carried died.  Poor Sam.  It was a long trip, about 1,000 miles but Cole did most of the driving.  He is a good driver-a little bad to brag but other than that he’s easy to make a trip with.  After arriving in Manning, we went to the kennels, parked the trailer and began to unload.  Then it was back to town for Ann and I to see the new truck.  We checked in at the Best Western motel.  The owner, Kirk Salek, really helped us out.  His motel was our headquarters.  He gave a good rate to all foxhunters.  He took good care of us and our stay was pleasant.  The first hunters that I saw were Chris Bishop and Bill Nurney.  Chris had come up with an idea to have a kennel pot and man was that a good idea.  More on that later in the story.  Next we saw Gerald and Joy Simmons.  It was nice to see them both.  I met Gerald for the first time in Texas at the great All-Americans that we had in and around the Huxley Bay area.  Gerald Mastered the great 1978 All-American.  Without a doubt one of the greatest field trials ever.  We talked at length and Gerald was eager to help as always.  He came up with an idea of how to collect the scores and protect them from the bad weather which we did have.  Gerald and Joy also helped with the door prizes at the banquet.


Of course we could hardly wait to get to Stokes-Craven Ford to see the new truck and get all the logos in place.  First we met with Perry Corbett, had lunch, and went to the bank.  Perry was the local connection for us.   He was directly responsible for getting us the donation for the Clarendon County chamber of commerce.  Perry is good friends with Dennis Craven, the owner of Stokes-Craven Ford.  Thank you so much Perry Corbett.  Our inside man at the Ford store was Troy Williams.  He helped us pick out the truck.  Troy made connections for us at the graphic shop who put the logos on for us.   We were able to get the logos on the truck Friday and we drove out to the fox pen to show it off.  There we saw Lenny Crowe, Cole Moore, Richard Evans, Joe Rains, and Heath Lambert.  Did their eye-balls pop?  You bet they did? And that was just the start?  Back to the motel where we picked up out new Dell computer which we had sent directly to the motel.  I was eager to get it set-up and show to the hunters our new computer program that figures the scores.   We had a hard time getting hooked up to the internet but once we got it going we took full advantage of the ability to communicate up-to-date information to the fox hunting world thru  Oh yes, if you have not heard of, give it a try.  Go to your web page and type in and see our web page. 


Saturday morning we started entering hounds at 9:00am.  All went well.  We learned from the experience and we will do even better next time.  Numbers 1-99 were by a drawing.  All other numbers could be reserved.  At one point we had out over 600 numbers.  We landed at 401- about 2/3s.  Just about what Berry Hilton said to expect.  He was right on the money.  Barry gets credited for being the smartest man on the internet and I have to agree.  Now if I could just talk him into coming to a Masters hunt.  Let me tell you something about good sportsmanship.  Charles Parker entered two hounds knowing he could not stay.  That’s how we had 401 entries and cast 399 hounds.


The banquet was held at the FE DeBose Career Center Sunday night.  We had about 135 in attendance.  We had a nice banquet with plenty of good food provided by Sherry Allen of Creative Catering.  Special thanks goes out to Joy Simmons and Jesse Graham for collecting money for meal tickets, Gerald and Joy Simmons for helping with collecting door prizes, John Allen and Larry Peevy with Black Gold dog feed, with JOHN DOE Sportmix, Randy McGovern of Showtime, Eddie D. Wiley and Anne Gardner with Purina, and Terrence Jackson with Custom Collars for donating items for door prizes, and  Lenny, Lorraine, Lee and Brodie Crowe with handing out the door prizes.    Lenny Crowe also did an excellent job as Master of Ceremonies.  No business, no voting, no officers, no conflicts, lots of fun and then Sportmix gave away $5,000 to the top 5 Sires of the Year.  The winning sire was once again Parker’s Mr. Colby owned by Charles Parker of Coffeevile, MS.  Then Black Gold and the Hunter’s Horn gave away $5,000 to the top 5 Hounds of the Year.  The winner being Bushley Creek Rowdy II owned by Justin Sharpe of Jonesville, LA.   


Day one - Good running, good scores, lots of excitement as we posted the scores as they came in.  The Masterfox computer program allows for this to be done. And I promise you, the hunters like it.  Curt Causey was the high man and I heard Donald Bryant to offer to buy the truck for more, much more, than the truck cost to Curt if he won.  Donald said he just wanted to drive it around in the state of Mississippi to show folks what they missed out on for not being at TOP GUN.  From a few sources of which I will not name, Donald could have backed up his offer. 


Day two – Dirtwater Kennel of Virginia had the high scoring dog of this day but it was scratched.   You see with the Masterfox program you get to see what your hound scored even if you don’t get to keep it.  Little good it did Danny and Joel but is it better to know, you bet it is.


Day three – Sticker Kennels all the way.  485 points.  Richard Evans said this was a record for any one day at Low Country.  For sure our best day at TOP GUN.  About 1/3 more scores this day than any other day of the trial.  Top hound after third day was Justin Sharpe with HOY Bushley Creek Rowdy II.


Day four – This was our rest day.  Good bench show, lots of fun.  Read the results below.


Day five – Would it be JW Magee.  Would it be Paul West.  Would it be Justin Sharpe.  None of the above.  It was EC(f)Ch.Howard’s Maggie owned by Norman Howard that would be driving away in the greatest prize ever given at any fox hunt in the history of plant earth. 


Now thanks goes first and foremost to Richard Evans.  Wow, what a job he did.  The pen was great.  The game was there.  And he gave us a price that allowed us to have a great field trial.  Thank you from every one person at TOP GUN. 


Thanks to Pride Dog Feed and Mike Carr, The Hunters Horn and Terry Walker, Showtime and Randy McGovern, Hi-Tek Rations and Leonard Powell and John Cooler, Purina and Rod Carter, Eddy D. Wiley and Anne Gardner, Black Gold and John Allen, Sportmix and JOHN DOE, Sunshine and Bill and Mickey Kennedy, Custom Collars and Terrence Jackson. Thanks to our Master of Hounds-Charles Graham, Assistant Master of Hounds-Bobby Cleghorn, Bench Show Judge-Ken Ezell, Ringmaster-Ronnie McDonald, Field Judges-Becky Mitchell, Ralph Wolfe, Possum Cleghorn, Gerald Simmons, Dwight Allen, Lonnie Ward, Bobby Edwards, Carl McRoy, Bobby Bagley, Bay Lewis, Ray Owen, David Green, Joe Lewis, and Walter Cleaton.


Thank you Terri Evans for providing our food at the camp.


If I missed anyone, I am sorry.