The Grand Daddy of Red Boy by Jack Kelly
In the late 1950’s, mike colby and i were pretty good friends. he had been to new york to visit me and my wife and i often went up to newbury port, massachusetts to visit with mike and his wife, vickie. my wife never cared anything about the dogs but she was always willing to visit with the colbys. vickie had introduced her to the fine art of “junkin”. all throughout the new england states, especially massachusetts, there were these little roadside antique shops. they had more of these roadside antique shops then georgia had roadside boiled peanut stands. “junkin” was simply stopping at many of these antique shops and buying some old, small pieces of early america memorabilia. at the same time mike lived in his fathers old house on federal street in newbury port and some of the old out-buildings in the back of the house was like going back in time to before the Turn of the century when j.p. colby was breeding some of the best bulldogs of all time. j.p. colby had frequently scratched notes into the old wooden walls of these out-buildings, especially dates that he had bred a certain male to a certain Bitch. mike also had kept his father’s old correspondences, pictures, newspaper and magazine clippings, ect. so, while the women were out “junkin”, mike and i would engage in the favorite sport of many dog men,”talking dogs”. on one such visit mike had an old Brindle dog, that he called sarge, tied up in his Yard and told me he thought he might make a pretty good Match dog and told me i could take him back to new york and perhaps get him matched. i asked mike how old the dog was since he was a little grey around the Muzzle. “he’s right about 5 yrs old”, replied mike. i said “that’s too old to Match a dog, i don’t believe i would take the chance.” A short while later i was in chicago for the rematch of teal’s dolly x ferris’ polly Match that took place several months earlier in north carolina. it was claimed at the time that dolly had eaten a large piece of brown laundry soap just prior to the Match and that played a big part in dolly losing in 48 min to polly, a big white daughter of tudor’s dibo. there was a pretty good crowed gathered for this Match and during some of the introductions, a fellow whos name i can’t recall, asked me if i was the same jack kelly who was matched into teal at 43lbs. male dogs? i told himiwas one in the same jack kelly. ” you wont have much trouble winning that one”, the fellow said “teal is using an old dog that belongs to jim loposay. loposay just bought the dog from one of the colby boys and we haven’t been able to test the old dog, he just about destroys anything that we put in Front of him inside of 15 min”. “yeah thats the dog” he replied i figured this fellow was “pulling my leg”, if i had a dog capable of doing what he said sarge could do, i wouldn’t care if he was tested or not, but he wasn’t kidding, he was dead serious. polly whipped dolly in the rematch, this time in 26 min. i dont know what this says about letting a dog eat brown laundry soap before a Match but dolly did 22 min better with the soap.
Finally the time came for the big Match. when the fanciers in new york as well as the new england fanciers, heard i was matched into teal at a convention in north carolina, everyone of whom said save them a seat in the station wagon, they were going. i figured we would need at least 4 or 5 station wagons to accomodate the crowd. by the time we left new york for the wilds of north carolina, it was just me, joe orday, and i brought along my wifes 15 yr old brother. he wasn’t the slightest bit interested in dogs but i promised him he could drive part of the way. this was all in the days before the super interstate highways. if you wanted to drive from new york to north carolina, you either took the inland route 301 or the coastal route u.s. highway #1. we took the coastal route, highway #1 and hung a hard right on route 74 in rockingham, nc. some yrs later, after i had moved from new york to georgia, an old fellow told me that all the small towns in the south were about 12-15 miles apart. thats because 12-15 miles was a comfertible horse and buggy ride. it was usually a days trip to travel 12-15 miles, get your business done and make the trip back home. however, with the start of the automobile age, all it ment was that every 12-15 min you came into another little southern town, that you had to maneuver through without running afoul of the local law, who usaully ran them little towns on the fines they collected from unsuspecting out-of-town drivers. about 20 hours after leaving new york, we pulled into teals famous resturant and the little motel across the highway. next mourning we were Match # 2 and theres was j.d burleson, handling for teal, holding sarge in the other corner. bert clouse was the Referee. about a half hour into the Match, bert must have noticed the confusion, discomfort, and indecision on my face, he sidled up next to me as well as a man 6 foot 3 inches tall and about 270lbs. can sidle and said “if you want to take the dog back to new york with you, you better go get him now”. i did just that. i took my dog over to the station wagon and tried to plug up 2 bleeders. i finally did get them stopped with the help of john edwards. about that time, the fellow who was in Match #3 was walking by me with his dog and my dog tried to get up and go to him. several people were watching us patch up the dog immediatey offered $100.00 for the dog. i didn’t sell him. i did take him bach to new york and my brother vic, kept him for a house dog. vic also kept a monkey in the house and the 2 of them, dog and monkey, got along pretty well. i think the old dog thought he was a tiny person. vic was a world class beer drinker in those days and would let the monkey have a beer or two with him. one day the monkey had one too many and attacked the dog. the dog bit off a piece of the monkey’s tail and the monkey never touched another beer. A short time before the Match against sarge we had sent away to the UKC to have our dog registered in our name. the old UKC registration certificates didn’t have the dogs date of birth on it, you had to have the dogs 3 gen pedigree to see how old the dog was. about a month after we got back from north carolina the pedigree came back from the UKC it turned out that the dog i matched into sarge was 3 months older then sarge. I heard that again sarge was open to Match, so i went up to newbury port and talked mike out of his prized dog, colby’s peter. i talked him out of peter for $400.00 which was an unheard of price for a dog in those days, but i was certain that peter could whip sarge, any day. they were half brothers, both sired by colby’s dime. a few days later i took peter on a long walk on a 50 foot lead. i put the old dog away when we came back from our walk, gave him a drink of water and put him in a pen and went to work cleaning up the Yard. a few minutes later vic came by to see the dog that i was crazy enough to pay $400.00 for. “he’s right over there in that end pen”. i told him. after a minute or two vic walked back to where i was working and asked, “how come he won’t come out of his doghouse?” “he’ll come out, i just had him for a long walk and he’s probably a little tired. i dont think he got exercise at mikes”. we walked back to the pen and peter had his head out of the dog house but couldn’t get his Front legs through the opening. we helped him get out but he couldn’t stand on his Front legs. the vet said he had a bad case of arthritis and never stand too much work. i took peter back to mike and sometime later he let howard heinzl have him. mike could never get pups off of peter and heinzl had no trouble and one of his pups was heinzl’s musty who howard used extensively, for years, as a stud dog. Sarge did go again. into john edwards the fellow who helped me save my dog. john had one of heinzl’s arizona aces named silky. sarge quit standing on all four, looking across at silky when he was up to Scratch at about the hour mark. i am, in no way trying to denigate old sarge or the rod dog Strain of dogs, they are amoung the best around today. sarge was a much better then average dog who lost to an Ace. i do think that it is another example of some dogs who are capable of producing better dogs then they themselves were.