Monday, September 11, 2017

Hitting the Bigtime

I know I'm solid. I am absolutely granite rock solid. I've been invited to one of the biggest conventions in the country! My friend Harry Hargroves and his partner Robert Swetman are promoting this one. I got the call two weeks ago and my adrenaline level spikes to an Everest high the day of the show. I'm so high I'm cruising at 30,000 feet in still clear air. It's the best high on earth and I need it for my job.

The old Silver Fox, Maurice Carver died only a few days before the meet. The dogmen all have sads. Funnily enough it's not bothering me in the least. We talk about Carver and the old timers, old days and old dogs sitting around the motel. Good stories and I'm being introduced to some of the major players from all over the country. Their stories are wonderful, I can't get enough. My genuine interest aids my cover - they love an attentive audience. The Devines are here from central Florida. They're not showing at the convention, they're very wary of large gatherings. They are fighting at a private residence in the early afternoon. Don Devine invites me personally, after all I'm with all the right people and have been around long enough to be quite well trusted. He asks me to bring my camera, both dogs are highly touted and it should be a good one. Not a problem. Even Pete Sparks won't be at this match, mine will be the only camera pitside this afternoon.

We hit the local I-Hop for lunch and leave from there. I'm riding with a dogman from Virginia to the pit. This house is way in the woods at southeast Georgia /northern Florida border. The sand track driveway is approximately a quarter mile long. It's really pretty here, good landscaping, nice home, not what I'm accustomed to in dogfighter abodes.

We park in front of the house and are met by the principals. These guys are really careful. When the dozen or so invitees are accounted for the gate is locked. As I walk back toward the dogpit I see a stack of tires placed to form a ring. When I get closer I see a little bulldog puppy maybe eight weeks old inside the tire ring. His front paws don't reach the top. He's just too cute. I'd take a shot if I weren't afraid of burning film, it's going to be a very long day and night.

One of the Devines' boys will be handling their entrant. It's males at 32# and each of these dogs has won a good match before this one. Both dogs are red, the Devine dog a deep dark red, his opponent lighter. They're on weight and in excellent condition. This ain't no drop match folks it's the real deal.

They meet in the center of the pit at the words "let go". Holy shit they're fast! Fast mouth, fast foot and unreal talent. I've been going to the wrong goddamn dog matches. The "B" grade is a natural starting point but now I'm seeing top flight dogs. Neither dog has much mouth and very little damage is being done. As cool and overcast as it is if they are game and have good wind this could be a long one.

For the first hour and thirty there are no turns and no out of holds. Finally a turn is called and they are able to make a handle. This will start the scratch in turn as specified under the rules of the contract, which is modified Cajun rules for this fight. The handlers are tossed sponges from a shared water bucket to cool and clean the dogs. They are checked for fanging and time is called to face the dogs.

The dog that turns first must scratch first and depending on the rules in use must make contact with the opponent either hair to hair or taking hold. There are actually several different sets of rules governing a dogfight. When a contract is made the rules to be used are specified along with sex, weight, time, place, the wager amount and forfeit. On occasion there will be contingency plans in the event of disruption by law enforcement. Only rarely are the dogs specified in the contract.

The scratching begins but it's another twenty minutes to the next handle. We're now at about the two hour mark and the action has slowed. Both dogs are still strong and engaged and have scratched well. Finally at the 2:40 mark the light red dog is counted out before he makes contact. The Devines' dog has won number two and the loser is happy with his little dog as well. Both have shown to be seriously game little dogs. We all now head back to the motel for more tales of dogs and dogmen past until time to leave for the convention.

end part one


april 29 said...

I'm hooked and this is only chapter one. There is a book here, and it will be a good one.

scurrilous amateur blogger said...

actually i think there are two books.

orangedog said...

Can you tell me what "no out of holds, no turns, scratching, and make a handle" mean?
Fascinating stuff really. I wasn't aware that some fights aren't to the death and that the loser could walk away with his dog intact. Too bad that in the outside world the loser we see is usually a pet shredded by one of these monsters.

tropical storms said...

The term out of holds means a dog has released his bite on his opponent without trying for a better bite. They do this when hot, tired, just need a breather or are trying to quit. Some rules include an out of holds count much like a standing eight count in prize fights.
A turn is literally a dog turning his head and shoulders away from his opponent without trying for a bite and is considered a bad sign. In other words the dog is thinking about quitting. Some dogs however have no intention if quitting, it's just a fighting style. Burton's Hank was one of those and was far from cur, it was simply a battle strategy. A handle is made at the first opportunity after a turn has been called and the dogs are for a moment no longer in holds. The handlers pick up their dogs and return to their corners. Scratching is the act of the dog leaving his corner to engage in battle. The opening scratch is simultaneous, there after the dogs scratch in turn. The dog on whom a turn was called before the handle was made is the dig who must scratch first. The other handler can release his dog at any time after the scratching dog has left his corner. If the opposing handler doesn't think a dog will complete his scratch he may choose to hold his dog in the corner until he is certain the dog is coming across. Sorry I didn't explain, hope this answers your questions.

tropical storms said...

I forgot that most civilized humans have no working knowledge of dogfighting terminology. I'll put together a glossary of terms which I hope will be helpful. If I fail to explain sufficiently please let me know and I will amend it. Thanks for the reminder. T. S.

orangedog said...

Thanks T.S. you are a really good writer!

DubV said...

Great read.

At some point, if you could do it in a way safe for yourself, it would be fascinating to hear how you got into this line of undercover work and also how you were able to get in with them and fit in, etc.

DubV said...

Another kid killed by a pit bull.

Anne King said...

I'm hooked...and a glossary would be so helpful...

DubV said...

This would be great in the genre of currently well made dramas like breaking bad. All the trials and tribulations could be played out on the big screen as a grand morality.

I'm jumping the gun as usual though.

Rumpelstiltskin said...

Good work!

Doubt I'd be able to actually watch a dog fight and those people are betting on it.

Yeah, the terminology is beyond me.

vintage said...

Does anybody know if they issued 1099 forms and paid income tax?!?


The 363rd american pit bull DBRF occurred yesterday...but these blood suckers have nothing to do with it.

Anonymous said...

but , but , i thot pitbulls was bread to protek kids and be service dogs to veterans and such . what about stubby and petey ? you haters need to meet my chihuahua and learn not to be so hatefull and ignorant . my chihuahua will rip your face off but my pittie will just try to lick the blood off .

Anne King said...

only a nutter would brag about such things...

PutMeInCharge4OneDay said...

Another child dead by pit bull.

I attended Pet Expo this last weekend. I did not "engage" with the pit bull people. Honestly I was so flabbergasted when I saw the two booths across from each other proclaiming Nanny dogs in the MAIN building- the one that got the most traffic- that I was both angry and speechless.

Both the american pit bull terrier and the staffordshire terrier booth proclaimed "nanny dog" status.

The pit bull booth that was across from me (and there were 4 booths at the Expo devoted to pit bulls) the man with his intact mutant- was loudly proclaiming that his dog had sat down near a child because "they are protective of children".

There was no incident at the booth near me while I was there though the intact male that was there for the public was held on a very tight leash and stared intently and strained at the leash at every dog that walked by. I heard one spectator talking about an incident that day but not in this location where "a pit bull had attacked a small dog at another booth and had to be pried off the little dog".

Here are photos of the two pit bull propaganda booths that were across from each other proclaiming "nanny dog" status.

Here is some of their "facts" they had posted

And of course the "Nanny" photos titled "beloved past"

orangedog said...

Of all the nutter lies, Nanny dog must be the most egregious because people buy into it and pay the price with their lives. Totally disgusting that they would put that on their signs. I wonder where they came up with 3 deaths when there have been 10 Nanny-cides this year already.

DubV said...

Thanks for the photos PutMe.

No other breed community has to be so obviously desperate in their PR.

scurrilous amateur blogger said...

love the posters.
* never leave your kids alone with nanny.
* never tease nanny.
* do not disturb nanny when she is sleeping or eating or staring at the poodle walking on the sidewalk.

so, if you can't leave your kids alone with nanny dog, what's the purpose of a nanny dog?

i'd like for the pit mooks (vintage's new term-i love it!!) to meditate on that pit koan for awhile and get back to me.

and the tattooed staffy bull nutter is just lovely.

Miss Margo said...

Thanks for this, TS, I can't wait to read more! Thanks for explaining the lingo, too.

"Neither dog has much mouth and very little damage is being done."

So "mouth" means crushing force with the jaw?

Is pit bull fighting similar to human boxing, where the welterweights and flyweights are generally quicker and can fight for longer periods of time, whereas the bigger fighters can really pulverize each other in short order?

Just wondering

Miss Margo said...


Great photos.

What a load of horseshit propaganda. Those booths almost look like parody.

LOL Dawn, love the koan

tropical storms said...

Miss Margo, yes "mouth" is the term for bite force. Talent (pit smarts, athleticism) don't necessarily correspond to weigh class but quite often foot speed does just as with human prize fighters.

DubV said...

Another kid dead by pit.

2nd in as many days. I'm speechless.

orangedog said...

Unreal. That's 11. When do pit bulls get recalled? If a child stroller so much as pinches a child, it gets recalled, but this pit epidemic just keeps rolling. I find it horrifying how much political clout these dog fighters must have to keep on going like nothing has happened. And then to see those Nanny Dog posters... they have no shame.

orangedog said...

Reading the link, it says the woman went to the bathroom and the family nanny killed the baby in the brief moment she was gone.
Nanny dogs. When will they stop lying?

PutMeInCharge4OneDay said...

Nanny had also been in the family for EIGHT YEARS.

As IF I was not angry enough over the weekend with the nanny dog garbage, now two dead children in a day, and the myth will continue to be spread.

I have to add that this particular Pet Expo had 30,000 paid attendees last year. This year seemed bigger. So many exposed to the propaganda, with no one there to refute it.

orangedog said...

Oh wow, at first glance I thought this commenter was saying how insensitive it is to talk about whether Nanny would be destroyed after ripping a child apart. How silly of me. She's referring to the dog:

""Officers were not certain if the dog would be destroyed or not.""

"Those are very insensative words to use when talking about a living breathing creature, whether it has done the unthinkable or not. This is just an unfortunate event that happened in the RIGHT county with the RIGHT breed of dog to add to its terrible reputation. "

Yes, let's lament the breeds well earned bad reputation in the comment section about another mauled child. Holy crap, you nutjobs have NO SHAME!

A few posts up, there's another one implying the woman heard the mauling, but didn't do anything, i.e. she wanted her child dead. AND EIGHT PEOPLE LIKED IT!!

Another one is posting everywhere that the dog was probably chained. When called on it, another Pitiot wails, "How do YOU know how the dog was raised?" He doesn't! And neither do you insensitive clods! Fucking douchebags starting unfounded rumors about chaining and willful neglect by a parent who dared trust Nanny for a few minutes while she went to the bathroom.

I am so furious at these people right now.

orangedog said...

Here's another disgusting nutter:
Place the adults (they're not parents), in a cage filled with angry, hungry Pit Bulls and sell tickets.

At least this moron knows what the pit in pit bull means.

PutMeInCharge4OneDay said...

Since I do not have a facebook account I can not even view comments on the website with the article about the lastest fatality.

Silly me, I was annoyed that the dog was not dispatched on the spot and now is costing taxpayers money while they decide what to do with it.

DubV said...

Great comment by Luke Russell.


"Briana - I think you are a sociopath, I am serious. The 11th person killed by a Pitbull this year, the majority of them children, and all you are concerned about is the Pitbull and it's well deserved reputation. And what a twisted perception of being insensitive you have, your comment was the most insensitive thing I have ever read. A dog that kills a child should be immediately destroyed, this is not insensitive, to allow a dog that has killed a human back onto the streets and risk other peoples lives is insensitive, not to mention psychopathic. And then you top it off with the usual Putbull Nutter sociopathic Nonsense, blame the victim because it could never be the breed of dog, even though the breed of dog kills someone every few weeks (mainly children) and has been bred to fight to the death for over a century,and still is to this day. And you know what is never OK, to turn up to comment on stories where a child has been killed by a pitbull and blame the victim, sell your Pitiot propaganda and show more concern about the killer dog than the child. That's what is never OK. RIP Little man and know that for years there have been well meaning people trying to eliminate these tragedies and prevent your death, unfortunately there are too many Nutters like Briana standing in the way of efficient preventative measures. I don't know what happened to these people to make them care more about a fighting breed of dog more than human life, but they do, and little man, you paid the ultimate price."