Buck Smith’s Option
Part Thirteen

  By Tom Word

As the gallery reached the ten-minute mark, Buck, relieved of scouting duties, recalled in mind’s eye dogs he’d seen here in years past.  Passing landmarks, he’d recall the finds and casts of earlier champions.  He’d seen Miller’s Silver Bullett’s two wins in ’91 and ’93, his sons House’s Rain Cloud’s three wins in a row in ’96, ’97, and ’98, a record not likely to be beaten, and Miller’s True Spirit’s wins in ’99 and ’01.  Seen too Lester’s Absolute’s wins in ’04 and ’06 and Miller’s Southern Prize’s win in ’05.  All these dogs sired from one Kentucky farmer’s kennel, the kennel of Ferrell Miller, the most accomplished breeder, trainer, and handler of bird dogs in the 20th Century.  The man the competition loved to hate, barred now from trialing and breeding bird dogs by the American Field, though his alleged transgressions were no different than those of half the men riding at this trial today, Buck reflected.
In his revelry, Buck counted the number of dogs in the strings of pro handlers that had come from Ferrell Miller’s sires.  The numbers were staggering in both all-age and shooting dog ranks.