Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Times They Are A Changin...

It is interesting to me how many people are afraid of critisizing the judging and the judges at Uncle Earl's. If you do, someone is likely to label you a poor sportsman.

Well, I'm not one of those people who live in fear of man, woman or alligators.

But it is interesting to note that most competitors do not have a clue as to how the judging works, and therefore are not in a position to analyze or much less articulate an effective criticizm.

Part of this problem also stems from the fact that everyone loves Jimmy and Sharon Young, and would not want to hurt their feelings.

That includes yours truly.

Now that being said, there is no way Jimmy and Sharon can pull this huge event off as smoothly as they do without a lot of peoples personal contribution, help, understanding, generousity, respect, patience, self control, and cooperation, and this is where it gets complicated.

The end result of so many people working together is, some people don't do their job, and others have to take up the slack, and some just bitch about stuff that they should be doing if they want it done. So, accuse me of whinning and bitching if you want, I dont care. I am getting stuff done that needed to be addressed years ago, and everybody acted like it was somehow OK or at least acceptable or bearable.

I am no exception to the later, but enough is enough!

The issues I made about the lack of access to water for our dogs, and sanitation for the women and children at EU in years past for instance, led to Mrs. Sharon Young feeling like I was attacking them and the Uncle Earls. And, I understand completely. They have a lot on their plate this time of year. The person responsible for the lack of Port-o-lets in the years past, is not there anymore, and I want to give credit where it is due: Jimmy Young personally delivered Port-o-lets to our campsites on Friday morning March 25, 2011.

If he could have gotten them sooner, I am certain he would have, because we discussed it, and he told me so. He did what others said couldn't be done.

On short notice, he gave his best to personally take care of something that should have been there a long time ago, but that action was never in his power or thus his responsibility to change until Uncle Earl's 2011.

Job well done Jimmy, and I thank you on behalf of our families. Now perhaps someone else can assume the responsibility for ordering and delivering Port-o-lets in the future, so Jimmy can relax and enjoy the show!

I apologised to Jimmy in person for hurting Mrs. Sharons feelings, and I put several notes of apology towards her on Facebook. I wish I had found the time and place at Uncle Earls this year to look her in the eye and apologise in person, but that did not happen. If this new computer was configuired into my printer, I would have written a note of apology and send it to her already. I never meant to suggest and imply somehow that they(the Youngs) were responsible for the lack of sanitation or water access in the past. That was always someone elses responsibility in the past, and that person acted like it wasn't a big deal when Mrs. Sharon referred me to speak to them a few years ago about getting us Port-o-lets.

If the husband wife team of Jimmy and Sharon Young do not deserve to be relieved of duty, so they can have a vacation at the Uncle Earls like the rest of us, we ought to be ashamed of our selves and go clean out the back of Jimmy's truck so Sharon doesn't have to do it! And God knows Jimmy's diet and exercise program demands his full attention, and he doesn't have time to keep it clean hisself!

Now that we have had a good laugh, it is time to be serious, and get real so brace yourselves, because the truth I am about to present here is an ugly thing that most of us seem to want to ignore and look the other way like it ain't happening.

Now I am going out on a limb about the quality of hogs used at Uncle Earls, and once again I am possibly going to hurt some feelings. I hope Jimmy and Sharon can read this for themselves and consider some changes are in order, that they may be unaware of, and it is not a personal attack against them, the event, the city of Winnfield or this great sport.

Whoever is ordering these hogs needs to recognise that the present day bay dogs have evolved as well as the sport in the last decade. There are many fine, well bred, well nourished, highly skilled and trained dogs owned by people who haul them all over the country to compete.

These dogs are gritty and tight, and get busted for it on a regular basis!
That's their job, and they do it well. To keep things in balance, quality hogs are a must.

They are professional atheletes who can and will catch a too small or running hog. We either need to get up to speed at Uncle Earls as far as the provision of quality hogs goes or we, the elite, high performance, professional competitors who love the Uncle Earls will not be able to enter our top dogs there because it is a waste of tim and money, and it looks bad from th outside. Now, some of us have already backed out because of inconsistant standards and poor provision of quality hogs, at Uncle Earls.

Bottomline: Uncle Earls is losing a lot of money because of pitiful hogs!

I have been lured back in, by someone who claimed we would put a stop to the BS of the past, and already I have considered it isn't worth the hassle. But I am not a quitter, and we have proposed a few years ago that quality hogs, dubbed teeth, and honest judging was a must nationwide, or we would campaign for those advancements by protesting against non-conformity, and supporting the events that raised the standard.

Plain and simple.

In the real world things do go wrong,

especially in the woods,

accidents happen, but what happened at Uncle Earls 2011,

was beyond wrong, because it was preventable.

It should also be noted that quality hogs should be even and across the board. Meaning: as much as possible the hogs in the puppy bay should be relative to that event in weight, then the one dog a little larger like 175-200#, and the 2 dog, maybe all the hogs should be all over say 250#.

I am laying it out here, where everyone can read it, including the animal rights wackadoos who really have no clue what we are doing, but I am not the first, and I am not the only one at present with serious protests against the quality of livestock used for this so called baying, that we are all so passionate about.

The Uncle Earls is called a lot of things; hog dog field trail, baying competition, hog dog rodeo and hog dog fighting.

The importance of consistant livestock quality is causing a lot of complaints FROM CONTESTANTS for one.

And number two and more importantly,

we are not in the woods where we do animal control and CATCH HOGS! The Uncle Earls gets a lot of attention. And it is not just hog hunters who are watching.

WE ARE IN FRONT OF THE WORLD! Putting up signs that say "no cameras allowed" is not our best protection from the wackadoos. Quality hogs that can defend themself is.

And this should be a baying contest organized and run to control as few catches as possible.

Don't tell me, we you can't find better hogs than this, because there are several bayings near Winnfield which could be contracted to deliver hogs suitable for this event. In fact I have to ask why is the winner of the Best of the Best for Uncle Earls 2011, Mr. Reg Skains, not given the contract of supplying hogs? In my opinion, the best Uncle Earls ever, was the year Reg supplied the hogs. They were healthy, smart, strong, mean, fighting, confident, QUALITY hogs that knew what a good dog was, and set up at bay when such a dog was on them. Those hogs were selected by Reg to be consistant and even across the competition.


YOU DID NOT GET A PERFECT SCORE. That year, I thought we made a quantum leap forward, and then went back to this that is not worth me spending $60 for a 2 dog entry.

Once again, this is not an attack on anyone one person at Uncle Earls, especially Jimmy, Sharon or Bill. The issue is being raised to open a discussion regarding the future ADVANCMENT and refinement of this event as a flagship, and benchmark of the industry.

Although we might assume Jimmy Young is personnally responsible for every aspect of the operation and management of Uncle Earls, he cannot do it all himself. So he assigns work and responsibility to certain people to do things and provide services and many of these people are paid, such as the supplier of the hogs.

I am also certain that many people also donate their time to make this special for us, and to relieve the burdens that would otherwise be the responsibility of Jimmy and Sharon, as well as Bill Griffin.

We need to recognise that things are changing in the industry nation wide and make adjustments at the Uncle Earls too.

Because when we bring in dogs that are winning in other trails and they catch here, it says more about the hog factor, than the dog.

Just like the people who host hunts that I am invited to attend and customers who buy my dogs, I am often asked not to mention names or locations, or dogs names for privacy and security reasons in this blog.

But the Uncle Earls is open to the public, and anyone with an iPhone or hidden camera can pay the gate fee, sit in the bleachers and shoot pictures and video.

The era of assuming we can control people from taking pictures and video is a bygone issue. There are enough pictures on Facebook right now to prove we can't.

That being said we need to recognise that things must change in regard to how we present our event to the world, and if we supply and handle the livestock in an inhumane manner, we will not be having the Uncle Earls for long.

Someone has sent me a private message and asked that they be anonymous.

Before we go there...let me brief you.


First, I sent a private message to a judge at Winnfield as follows:

Every dog enters the "BAYING" competition with a perfect score, and then they are penalized on mistakes.

If you enter 2 dogs in a baying contest, and they draw a running hog that would not stop, in spite of your dogs doing everything possible to stop him short of catching, shouldn't they get a perfect score? Think about it...

If they never got to bay because of a sub-standard hog that ran the whole time, is that the dogs fault? And, shouldn't the judging START when the baying commences? Or is it the judges fault for penalizing the dogs for no reason?

I promise you, "I" could have stopped the hog with one command: CATCH!!! But I did not want to contribute to the blood bath that was the 2 dog bay at EU 2011. Uncle Earl's is no longer the super bowl, it is the biggest embarassment in the industry.

In the end, how many 2 dog teams were disqualified for catching? I want an answer. I lost count after 35, because I could not watch the grossest display of animal cruelty I have ever witnessed, and left(along with most of the audience). Somebody owes us(the competitors) an apology.

Marcus de la Houssaye

(I tried to discuss the issue outside a public forum, but they refused. So, here we are, and let's face it; apparently a lot of people in the audience didn't want to watch either, and left. And perhaps they will never come back, assuming this is typical, and we on the inside know it is not.

Here was that judges response:

(and note they never answered any of my 5 questions and then resorted to attacking and blaming someone else for the fiasco of sub-standard hogs)
(in parenthesies, are mine)

Reggie has manipulated & produced a generation of dishonest, overly-aggressive competitors, human & canine. The real trainers are all tired of their pathetic lack of control over their dogs and their mouths.

We(the judges) had a staff meeting before we left(Winnfield), and will be implementing new catch & unnecessary roughness rules next year(2012). We will be able to STOP a run. We will also enforce the sportsmanship rules!

We are all tired of being threatened on FACEBOOK. I can't imagine this behavior over a horse show, the amount of whining and ignorance has reached unprecedented levels. And always from people who have never produced an OPEN baying in their lives, especially one that runs over 700 dogs.

I lost one of my best friends at Earls because of their(who?) DEFENSE of a CATCH DOG, but you don't see me vomiting every detail in public. This type of passive-aggressive insubordination is KILLING US ALL.

Now you owe ME an apology!

(I don't think so!-)


Here is one of my anonymous supporters commending me for sticking my neck out for the advancement of our Uncle Earls event:

Just to give you a heads up, it was my saying that I thought, before we can move forward in this sport, we need to put more effort into having a good even set of hogs and a set of rules that every judge is scoring on, not just on what they like or who they like. I commend you on standing up for what you believe in, but you might want to watch your back!! But really, just wanted to thank you for saying what you believe, it's becoming extremely rare in this sport. I for one appreciate honesty over flattery every time!!! THANK YOU!!!


I replied:

How about this: if they are not doing something wrong,
why are they so paranoid about cameras?


They came back:

I agree with you, I don't think they(the judges) care about anybody's opinion but their own. You know that I have been a part of UE's for years. It is hard for me to not run my dogs, I love this sport, but I refuse to support anybody that is not going to do the right thing and truly let the best DOG win regardless of who owns it. If a hog had been ripped as bad as most of those were there, it should have been pulled out of the line up and received medical attention. The hogs on this yard at my house get treated just like the dogs, the right and humane way. And you are right, they are very paranoid, why else would they be trying to have certain people banned from attending any more UE's? I am looking forward to seeing how they react to what you've said. I've noticed that they have not answered the questions you raised, just took pot shots at you personally.(and a friend of mine, who I thought was friends with them!)


I replied:

We should all begin to ask repeatedly: How many teams were disqualified in the 2 dog for catching? I want an answer!

Also; why did they reload the chutes after Cutty Dark and Simon(my 2 dog team, #47) come into the arena? Was somebody scared my team might win first on a $15 calcutta? Think about it... it looks like they were dishonestly "loading the chutes".(I hope I am wrong, but it was a common occurance in the past, and a primary reason I quit competing over ten years ago)

Most people don't realize it(especially Jimmy Young), but "loading the chutes" is or was a common practice across the country, and a prime cause for me and a great many honest and knowledgeable people to disassociate from competeing for many years.


They came back:

Bet they don't answer your questions. If they would award the livestock contract to someone and make THEM responsible for stout and EVEN hogs, half the problems would be solved.

But judging would still be an issue. It is my personal belief that they don't want superior livestock because they might not be able to knock people out of the competition, they don't like and might actually have to sit through some bay-offs. Right now the judges are the most powerful people at UE's. Most of them like that power. God forbid you piss one of them off, and there goes your chance at a trophy.

There is a level of professionalism that needs to be shown as a judge at the biggest show on dirt that has been lacking for many years. The judges are trying to get certain people blocked from being allowed to run at UE's supposedly because their dogs are to rough. Since when is a judge supposed to determine if you are running a catch dog before you ever enter the arena? I for one am very happy with my deciding not to run my dogs and thus support what in my opinion, (do to poor stock and uneven judging)is one of the most disappointing bays of the year.

I don't think I am a sore loser(poor sportsmanship), I have several trophies from Uncle Earls in years past. But it's hard to feel proud when you know that dogs just as good as yours were beat, not by your dog, but by bad hogs and unfair judges docking points. Every year, we are going running down there, spending our money and vacation time and thinking that this year, the Uncle Earls will be better. This year, it will be different, and every year, it's just a little bit worse. I don't think that we the competitors can afford for it to get any worse. As for it being the dogs being overly aggressive and not poor livestock,(according to the expert judge you asked). How then do they explain the fact that those overly aggressive dogs are winning all over the country and can't even finish a bay there at Uncle Earls???


My reply:
I'm gonna piss them off and good!
Not a threat, that's a promise!


They came back:

Good luck!! Keep me posted. I had already made my mind up to only support bays that I felt were trying to do right by EVERY contestant! Without us, there is no money to be made, so we really do have more power than they


My reply:

We need to always make it clear our focus is not an accusation of dishonesty against Jimmy, Sharon, or Bill. Because I am certain they would never allow something like this to happen if they knew what was going on behind their back.


Now here is an important consideration;

An advancement that we pushed that is now an industry standard is dubbed teeth.

Why is this important? Because we can easily dub the teeth of hogs in a controlled environment and reduce injuries to our dogs. This is good for us, the dogs and it gets the animal rights people off our backs about that. Well maybe, you know how they are!

Now, because hogs have dubbed teeth, and are not as formidable and dangerous, to prevent catches, the only thing we can do to minimise catches and appear humane in the eyes of the world, is to use larger hogs.

The worse part about Uncle Earls, is the herd of hogs in any event varies so much in weight, that the smaller hogs are not only gang banged and ripped severely, their only defense is to run and, they have a lot of space to do that and no place to hide, so they run.

So what is a dogs response to a running hog in nature? CATCH! But this is supposed to be a bay trail, because catch trails are illegal in Louisiana.

After the substandard hog factor, it goes back to how do you judge a running hog in a baying? You shouldn't have to question it.

Give us quality hogs and if we can't upgrade the judges, we will get rid of them too!

There is more of us than there is them. The days of Uncle Earls being ruled by the judges, has gone on too long.

The times they are a changin'...

No comments: