Reflections in Verse
on the Florida Championship

by Tom Word

(This doggerel was submitted to the Field with the
 2006 Florida Championship report and justifiably
 rejected by the editor as too much or too little)

Arrival at Chinquapin

Here they come
The boys of the road
In their rumbling trucks
Their long trailers like snakes
Twisting up the sand road
Horses stomping the floors.

One by one they arrive
Bush, Daugherty, Dileo, Edmundson,
Furney, Gates, Henry, Hilliard,
Moreland, Phillips, Robinson,
Russell, Smith.

They back into usual spaces
Superstition demanding no other
Offload their horses into paddocks
Collar their bird dogs into kennel runs
Chain out their mascot terriers
Crank down the trailer braces and unhook the chains.

Four wheelers roll out
Dogs snapped to bars
Strain against their harnesses
Like fitness fanatics in a country club weight room.

Folding chairs come out of tack rooms
We sit around and talk
Of dogs, horses, owners, judges,
Dog foods, whiskies, beers,
Vets, ailments (canine, equine, human)
Joints (eating, drinking, dancing, arthritic)
Children, parents, war, politics, field trials,
Last summer's prairie, this season's grounds,
Birds or lack of them, who's quit the game, who's new

Dogs and horse get fed
Handlers and scouts drive to town to check
Into the motel, be back for the drawing.

Ode for Fred Rayl
and Pride’s Alibi

Just give me a prospect
That’s bold yet compliant
 I’ll make you a dog
turn him into a giant

Just give me an owner
like Georgia’s John Lee
whose patient and steadfast
rewarded he’ll be

Just give me a pointer
whose bred like I like ‘em
like Daddy before me
I’ll yard work and hike him

Just give me the prairie
to go to in summer
we’ll work there on wild game
and bring back a hummer

Just give me a good one
like Pride’s Alibi
out of Fiddler’s Little Sun
Spy Hill Pride he is by

Ode for
Captain Freddie Epp

Just give me a smooth horse
one that don’t stumble
and a fellow judge like Harry
who don’t lie or grumble

Just give me courses
like those at Chinquapin
to ride as we ponder
which bird dog should win

Just give me handlers
who ride right up front
and let their dogs ramble
and preferably hunt

Just give me dogs
that stay in the cone
or if they get sideways
come on on their own

Just give me scouts
who stay out of sight
I know what you’re doing
just do it right
Just give me birds
here and there on the grounds
so a dog that’s worthy
can point and be found

Just give me mild weather
or enough clothes
to get through cold times
without frozen toes

Just give me the time
and we’ll sort ?em out
for I’ve been there and done that
so you can’t fake me out

Just give me companions
who love still and again
this wonderful sport
for Men That Don’t Fit In

Ode for Ted Baker

Just give me course two
and Ole Buck back to run it
with that rascal Pete Hicks
the masters upon it

Just give me the company
of my friends at the Big House
who when the knock came
sat still as a mouse

Just give me a week
to forget about cement
about gravel and sand
and shareholder laments

Just give me some bacon
some eggs in the blender
some Tennessee ham
Dewar’s Scotch for a bender

Just give me the boys
of the road to be with
the handlers and scouts
and the dogs that they hunt with

Just give me those fellows
without suits or Rolexes
who just want a dog
that will cast to West Texas

Just give me my crew
that happy, fun bunch
who work like the dickens
when the customers crunch

Just give me that team
of Joe, Cowboy, and Slade
of Leonard and Don
and I’ll have it made

Just give me Ole Rock
to pick up the birds
to sleep nights in my room
and utter no words

  Ode for
T. Jack Robinson

Just give me a dog
that don’t look back
and for scout David Johnson
who can go bring him back

Just give me son Fred
to ride and to handle
while I ride front
and light a prayer candle

Just give me a course
that’s ridgy and wide
one with a few birds
and few places to hide

Just give me a horse
calm with bottom to spare
and give me the eyes
to see way off there

Just give me a judge
who understands class
who isn’t afraid
to ride hard and fast

Just give me a judge
who’s not wanting to see him
every few minutes
up close or beneath him

Just give me the time
to cement the impression
that my dog can go farthest
to find birds, his obsession

Just give me this
and I’ll ask nothing more
you know in your heart
I’m all-age to the core

Ode for
Howard Brooks

Just give me enough entries
but not too many
to draw them by Matthys’ Rules
without breaking any

Just give me your females
which if drawn in season
are even in number
to be paired for that reason

Just give me a check
your entry fees to cover
please do not post-date it
or make it of rubber

Just give me the names
of paired handlers and scouts
I’ll draw them out fairly
leaving none out

Just give me a list
of foods you can’t eat
and I’ll fix you a breakfast
that cannot be beat

Just give me the patience
to put up with you drinkers
I know something of that
you’d be better off blinkers

Ode for
 Tom Kennard, DVM

Just give me young Walkers
not totally broke
stylish, smooth, and handsome
but unlikely to bolt

Just give me a young dog
with promise and style
one destined for greatness
if Ted and I wait a while

Just give me the job
of Big House Toast Master
to thank host Ted Baker
our lord and master

Just give me the job
of Big House Fire  Builder
Ted’s three-log limit
just means add them faster
Just give me the chance
to look behind life’s curtains
on Chinquipin Farm
I’m never uncertain

Ode for John Milton

Just give me a dog
that will cast to the limits
find birds with class
or come back in ten minutes

Just give me a tall horse
that will canter and prance
and some good red wine
but no longer from France

Just give me some acres
in Albermarle County
close by my U VA
Mr. Jefferson’s bounty

Ode for Robin Gates

Just give me two judges
to ride and to watch
I’ll show them a winner
or turn the heat up a notch

Just bring on the show
for that’s what it is
and Chinquapin’s stage
is the best in the biz

On these sand hills I’ve handled
some of the best
Black Crude and Joe Shadow
Silverwood aced the test

Just let me ride here
the rest of my days
with Hunter beside me
I’ve mended my ways

Ode for David Johnson

Just give me a dog
that will come with me
and cast over yon hill
where the partridges be

Just give me a dog
like the good ones I’ve known
since my days as a youth
around Captain John’s home

Just give me a dog
with speed and endurance
some style and some brains
and a nose with assurance

Just give me one more time
at Grand Junction with Pete
with Mr. Fred and Mr. T. Jack
our team won’t be beat

Just give us a draw
morning or afternoon
when Pete can point birds
I’ll find him soon

Just give us a chance
to show once again
Pete’s the three-hour dog
that deserves that big win

Ode for
Rowan’s Gunsmoke
and Bubba Moreland

Just give me a course
on Chinquapin
I’ll show you some action
let the fun begin

Just give me the whistle
punch your stopwatch and then
hold on to your saddle
let the fun begin

Just give me forty minutes
on course number six
I’ll dig in Haskell’s Corner
nearly get in a fix

Just give me a scout
like Slade Sykes to guide me
back to the front
in the meantime to hide me

Just give me a chance
to cast up the power line
and then cross the front
to have my first find

Just give me a route
over Lookout Ridge
down through the hollows
and up the next bridge

Just give me a covey
to point on that hill
with the sun shining on me
Luke and Mike get a thrill

Just give me for my finish
Big House Hill
down the power line south
I’ll look the size of a pill

Just give me a call back
make me one of the twelve
then on course one
for quail I will delve

Ode For Bernie

Just give me an ad
for your coming event
a half or a full page
will build the Field’s mint

Just send a report
send it quickly and short
won’t use excess paper or
cause chatroom retorts

Just keep your opinions
alone to yourself
the facts as to placements
all we need for the shelf

Just mention the winners
the owners and handlers
the cooks and truck drivers
the judges and wranglers

And whatever you do
don’t report in rhyme
for poetry efforts
we don’t have the time