A few years back when I was still pretty new to the game, I had the great fortune of meeting one of the true Texas old timers while he was still somewhat active. The story itself is somewhat comical.
It started off when I was interested in buying a pup off Duhon’s Mean Pete. I talked to Ronnie several times about this breeding and as I said still being new, I was full of questions. The subject got around to his dog Duhon’s Moon. He was telling me about Moon’s gameness. For those that don’t know, during a contest in South La., Moon was on top of a down dog. It was the middle of the night and Moon was to scratch to win. Ronnie, being about as Cajun as they come, told me “That dog was about 3/4 gone and couldn’t even twitch, let alone stand.” To make matters worse he was a black dog and in Ronnie’s own words “as black as a witch’s heart”. The call came to “Face your dogs”, and Moon was released. He shot across the pit like his back end was on fire and hit that black dog so hard that the force almost shot them both through the corner of the pit. Well the whole point of this is Ronnie told me a man up in the Dallas area had a video of Moon. So he gave me his phone number and told me to call him. I called, and from that point on my life with the dogs would never be the same.
Come to find out this dogman had a dog that he needed to bring into the vet’s office, and this particular vet just happened to be the same one that my family and I had used my entire life. So now it was set, I was to meet him at the Vet’s office after closing in a couple of days.
By the time I got there he was pretty much finished, so we went next door to the Dairy Queen and sat and talked. I listened to his stories for what seemed like half the night. He told me about how he’d seen this dog and that dog go, about the big conventions in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. All these dogs I had only read about and he had seen them first hand. Boomerang, Bolio, Barney, Art you name it, Bobby was either there or he was the ref! What more could I ask for?
Then it happened. He invited me out to his place for a little get together between friends and they were even going to Bar BQ with of course a little bulldogin too. I got directions and told him I would definitely be there. Now keep in mind this was the first time I had ever met the man, he didn’t know me from Adam. We walked outside and he gave me a couple of magazines that he published (Face Your Dog) to read until I came to his house. I could hardly wait.
A couple of days later, I pulled up at his place and found my way over to the barn where everyone seemed to be gathered. He made all the introductions. A number of well known fanciers were there including Coy and L. Keyes. After we all had our fill of the Bar BQ it was time to start weighing some dogs. The first contest was about to begin when he noticed me standing off kinda behind the crowd, keeping to myself. He pulled up a 5 gallon bucket and set it next to the pit wall and said to me “Son, get over here, I gotta job for you”, at the same time handing me a stopwatch. That’s right, not only was I there but I was keeping time! That night I saw some good ones go, including some off Red Rock, & Banjo and BB Red before they reached their Grand Champion fame.
One of the things I distinctively remember is how he kept going on and on about a movie starring Warren Oates. It’s called “CockFighter”, and if you ever get the chance, buy it. I recomend it to anyone interested in a game animal.
When the night finally came to a close at about 1:00 am, and all was said and done, my life as a dogman was forever changed. I owe that part of my journey to him. He was honest, trusting and never badmouthed a dog or a dogman. He was probably the only man in America that didn’t know “Dogfighting” was against the law! The fraternity definitely suffered a setback with his early and untimely death. To this day I still miss being able to call him up and talking dogs.
This tribute is to the epitome of Texas Dogmen; in fact this man was the epitome of the true Dogman. Bobby Smith, a True Warrior.