Tribute to Denton C Sharp

JANUARY 4, 1918 - May 13, 2009

Denton was born January 4, 1918 in the community of Greasy Bend, about 20 miles East of Ardmore, OK on the Washita River. At age three he moved with his family, across the river,  to Ravia where he grew up and attended school.

He married Norbie Jo Caperton, the love of his life, on August 13, 1938. To this union three sons were born; David, Dan, and Richard.

He worked in the ship yards of South Texas prior to entering the U.S. Marin Corps in WWII.

After his discharge from the Marine Corps in 1946 he went to work in March 1947, as a welder for Halliburton in Duncan.  He retired thirty years later as lead welder in Halliburton's Mechanical Research and Development Shop.

I first met Denton about 1958 when we ran into each other while working dogs West of Duncan. I already knew who he was because he was a well known bird hunter and we had mutual acquaintances among the local bird hunting fraternity.  I did not have much contact with him for a few years because he had his circle of bird hunting partners and I had mine. Also my time was pretty well taken up, completing work for an Engineering degree from the University of Oklahoma. In January 1963, I returned to work for Halliburton in the Research department where I had almost daily job-contact with Denton until his retirement in 1976. In the meantime starting about 1968 we were neighbors about a half mile apart here Southwest of Duncan.  In 1987 he and Norbie built a new home, horse barn, and kennel on Norbie's childhood home place in the South edge of Ravia. This proved to be very handy because it was only twenty-five miles from the Lake Murray Field Trial grounds at Ardmore.

Denton got his first birddog in 1947 and his last was Mark's Promise which he and Norbie gave to Tom and Linda Milam sometime ago. Mark was Shooting Dog Derby of the year for both Oklahoma and Region 7 this year. Denton thoroughly enjoyed Tom's success with him. His involvement with dogs covered most of seven decades.

Denton always trained his own dogs but on occasion would put a finished dog with a professional to run in open stakes. Over the years, he had dogs with Ernest Allen, John Rex Gates, and Fred Dileo.

Denton was always a great fan of the National Championship and owned several puppies sired by National Champions. His first field trial dog was obtained from Clyde Morton. With this dog he won the Oklahoma Amateur Derby about 1957 as a puppy and the following year as a derby age dog. His most famous dog was Hiway, winner of the 1970 Quail Futurity, the last year it was run at Crab Orchard. Hiway also won the Georgia and Oklahoma all age championships under the whistle of John Rex Gates. Sharp spent the Summers of 1976, 1977, and 1978 with John Rex at his camp in Canada.

In my opinion, his best birddog was Sharpsman, a Gunsmoke dog he obtained from Herb Holmes in the early 1960s. He won a few trials with Man and harvested a lot of quail and pheasants.

Perhaps  his favorite dog was Crystal, a daughter of Hiway who won the Region 8 Amateur all age championship and also was Oklahoma Amateur all age dog of the year. His favorite family of dogs was the Addition's Go Boy/Go Boy's Shadow Family. He lamented many times that these dogs should have come into his life twenty years earlier, when he would have been better able physically, to enjoy (cope with) them.

One of his favorites and his best known breeding dog was Shadow's Mark. Mark's most famous offspring was HOF Ch. Joe Shadow. Denton followed Joe's career with a great deal of pride, but I don't think he ever forgave him for being liver marked instead of black.

His hero among the fraternity would have most likely been Bill Brown, long time editor of The American Field. He held Bill in high esteem for his ability, knowledge, and integrity.

Denton was an avid reader and read the Field cover-to-cover (including ads and dog registrations, as long as they were included) from the 1940s until the time of his death. He also liked Western novels and Western movies on TV.

After his family, his main loves were people, running birddogs, and horses that could catch them--maybe not in that order.

A mutual friend told me a long time ago, You will always know exactly how you stand with Denton, because if you do not know, he will tell you. I found this observation to be quite true.

Denton was a good friend, co-worker, neighbor, fellow field trialer, and hunting partner for many years. He has only been gone a short while and I miss him.

Bob Shelton

Duncan, OK

Ph. (580) 255-6064