A Living Legend: Talking with Billy Stevens
My first match was with a dog named SCRAP IRON. He lost game at 1:51, but went on to win one 8 months later.” As the years went on, Billy bred some memorable dogs, whose names and performances speak for themselves.
1.) Steven’s TRUCK, aka Matlock’s CH. TRUCK, won three and took three Best In Show trophies.
2.) MURPHY won in 1:09, taking Best In Show, and won 4 off the chain. Only 3 dogs survived MURPHY’s punishment.
3.) Steven’s CH. JODY won 3, and was awarded Best In Show twice.
4.) Billy gave C.W., of California, Steven’s BESSY, aka Produce’s CH. DIRTY BETTY, as an 11 month old pup. C.W. got a divorce, and his wife couldn’t care for the dogs, so she called Produce to get them all. “BESSY was the laziest dog I’ve ever owned,” laughed Billy. “She was pregnant at 6 1/2years old, and died later of cancer.
5.) “Steven’s MISS MURPHY is the best bitch I’ve ever owned. RING and RAINEY probably tie for second place,” says Billy.
6.) “Steven’s PEARL, who was TRUCK’S sister, was the hardest biting bitch I’ve ever bred, or seen for that matter.”
7.) Steven’s BEE, aka Arkansas Combine’s CH. BEE, won three, and was awarded 3 Best In Shows.
The Stevens have an excellent win record themselves, with a record of 37 wins, with 5 losses. “In 18 years we’ve only bought one dog. We’ve bred every other one ourselves,” stated Billy. That dog was RED ACE, one of the last living sons of RED BOY. He was a very game dog, and an excellent representative of the RED BOY strain. He was stolen while still producing by some low-life, who doesn’t deserve to scoop his poop.
I asked Billy what other dog men he admired over the years and he replied as followed:In four years, Billy raised over 360 dogs. That ranks even higher than Leo Kinard! Billy also rescues dogs of any breed that has been dropped on the road, or abandoned, and nurses them back to health, before finding them a good home,
1.) “Don Mayfield was always a hard one to beat. He’s really a truthful man, and if people would start listening to his stories, they might learn something. Most people only hear what they want to hear, even though honesty comes in ugly packages. Although, I don’t always agree with what Don says, or the way he says it, I know what he means. I don’t consider his words to be the gospel, but he has been around, and has a lot of information to share.”
2.) “Don Brodt is a good, modern day dog man. He’s kind, honest, decent, and a good breeder.”
3.) “Danny Burton is a good old-fashioned country dog man, and a close personal friend.”
4.) “Maurice Carver was a great dog breeder. If he had been more honest, though, it would have put him in better light.”
When asked what he would like to see in the future of the sport, Billy replied, “More professionalism.” “That is the best thing we can do for our public image. If we’d quit cutting each other down long enough to learn from one another, the quality of the game would improve. Humble pie is pretty nutritious.” As for other aspects, or flaws in the dog game Billy replied, “Mistreatment of the world’s best athlete, by his owners.” Billy explained, “There’s a damaging effort in all aspects of sports, and in our game some individuals tend to treat the importance of good health as a secondary element.”
I then asked him what improvement he’d like to see in the sport itself, and he replied, “Schooling is probably the main area where the game could stand some improvement. It takes a lot of patience, and you must be smarter than your dog. The best dogs are happy dogs that have been raised as happy pups. Second would be post-roll/post-match care.”
When asked what recommendations he had for new comers, Billy listed 6 guidelines:
1.) Be quiet and listen.
2.) Use common sense with what you learn.
3.) Learn to school your dog.
4.) Learn, and exercise post-fight care.
5.) Be selective with males, and females, alike.
6.) Give care and respect to your bulldogs.
I finally asked Billy what words of wisdom he held onto over the years, and he said, “Don’t look for adult traits until a dog is grown. Throw away your watch and your calendar, which are good guidelines, but not as good as patience. Ralph Greenwood once told me, ‘you can’t see inside of a dog. Just because he healed on the outside, doesn’t mean he’s healed on the inside.’ And last, but not least, He who bites last, bites the hardest!”