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Join Date: Feb 2006
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PT 2.theirs another half to the original interview.
Joe built his own treadmills. Did he prefer to work a dog on a treadmill more than anything else? No, his first choice was handwalking, but then he preferred the treadmill. He had a turn table but didnít like it. So he sold the table to Bert Clouse and it is still working. Bert Clouse is dead, but the table is still at his place and it still works. Joe built the best treadmills. He had slatmills and todays mills are copies of his. Colbly had a carpet mill, but Joe liked the slats more.
How do you work a dog on a treadmill? A dog should work a mill like he is going to town looking for a female, and thatís a slow tread. I donít like a dog to go all out because it will burn him out and not put him in shape. That steady trot with his tongue hanging out his mouth, thatís it! Remember this, many a fighter lost his fight in the gym. I believe that a lot of guys are working are overworking the dog. Today there is a better understanding of how to put the dog in shape. In the old daysÖ well, they brought them in skin and bones. If you feed a dog nothing but meat for 20 or 30 days, the protein will take all the fat out of the body and there is nothing left. Now a few guys did it different, like Ham Morris and Walter Komosinski. They did pretty good, but the restÖ it was like this, if you had 20 guys in those days to match a dog, 15 of them couldnít get Lassie to shake hands. Understand?
Who do you believe was the best conditioners in those days? I would say Don Mayfield and Roland Fontenot.
Why? You just said that some people would take too much weight off them, and Mayfield had a reputation of bringing in dogs that were real thin! Thatís true, but for those days he was a good conditioner. Now today he wouldnít stand a chance because he still sticks to the old way. I saw him in his last fight with a dog named SNOW against CHARLIE (which was Jeepís litter brother) and he didnít have a chance! Mayfield would bring his dogs in peaked out. Fontenot brought them in like that too, but he slowly progressed with the new way of doing things, and he fought right up until his death.
Who do you believe were the best handlers? Fontenot and Jerome Hernandez were very good handlers. To me they were probably the best all around dogmen.
How important is a good handler to you? Real important. But there is no need to jump up and down and holler and scream when they go at it hard and fast like most do the first 20 minutes or so. Nobody should be acting crazy or wild in the pit because the other dog can hear you as good as your own dog. I think the handling is important when it comes down to the nitty gritty, when they are tired and hurt, or when the turning starts. When it comes down to that moment of truth and a dogfight becomes a real dogfight the handling, like the conditioning and gameness are extremely important, no doubt in my mind!
You told me before that when you were in the pit handling a dog you didnít like to use a wet sponge. Why not? If you bring that dog fit to fight he donít need a shower in his corner. Iím not against wiping his mouth out a little bit, but Iíve seen guys wetting them down and that, to me, is just teaching the dog that there is a cool spot in the corner. I donít think you will make a game dog quit by doing this but if you have a borderline case, a dog is going to think about it. You canít stop a game dog by throwing a whole bucket of ice water over him but I just donít like it.
What was the longest match you ever had? Three hours and 10 minutes, and ended in a draw. I was going into Red Howell from Chicago. This was a long time ago before dogfighting became a felony. Iím not active anymore, but I remember that the weight was 48lbs and that I used a dog out of Clouseís BUTCH. Howellís dog died but I matched mine 6 months later against Mike Ferris and won in 1 hour and 10 minutes. Mike used a dog that Floyd Boudreaux had shipped to him with a special intention to beat me.
What was the shortest match you ever had? Against Clyde Mason in 6 minutes. I won that one with my AUDREY bitch. She was a STU FOWLER/Mayfield cross.
Did you work these dogs the same way? Yes, they worked the same way, but had nothing to do with the outcome of the fight. They had different opponents.
What can you tell me about Bert Clouse? Bert was a very good person and a good dogman. He was truly the King of the Pit, and a great conditioner in those days. By todayís standard, he would probably be average. But in those days, he was one of the best! Bert was very knowledgeable and well read. Bert, like Joe, liked the head dog and he would usually come with an athletic type of dog. He once had a dog called BUTCH that he got from Joe. He won 6 fights with the dog. BUTCH was a Mason bred dog. Joe bought him from Jimmie Sheer in Louisiana where they used BUTCH in a gate fight. Joe knew the dog was pretty good so he paid $50 for the dog and took him back to Chicago. When Bert came over he liked the dog so much that he asked Joe to sell it to him. Bert kept around 35 to 40 dogs at his place and he had some good ones. He had NUBBIE, WAGGIE, BIG BOYÖand others. This was back in the forties and fifties. Bert, like many others, got his first dog from Joe.
What is the best dog you ever matched yourself? A dog called BOB. He came from a man named Eichen in New York. He was a black dog, 46lbs and sired by Clouseís STABBER. I bet Teal and Cottonís 5 times winner PLAYBOY with him and prior to that he won over Komosinski in 1 hour and 40 minutes. He was, by far, the greatest dog I ever handled. Several people owned him before I got him, and I found out that he was matched in 5 different states all under different names. He and my SNUBBY bitch were poisoned and he died in my hands. He and SNUBBY were two of my best.
What was your relation to Don Mayfield? Real good friends. Don had all those LIGHTNING I and LIGHTNING II dogs. They were Corvino bred dogs, but later when I got out of the game he switched to the NIG stuff.
They say Don Mayfield now is crazy, do you believe thatís true? Well, I believe he was crazier before with all that speed and stuff, but to me he is an open book. Anyway, I feel sorry for the ones that are not crazy in this crazy world.
What about Mayfield as a breeder? Ever tried any NIG bred dogs from his breedings? I had no luck with them. I got dogs straight from a friend who bought them from Mayfield. His name is Paul Siofakis. He lived down there in Texas for a while, but now he is back in Chicago. Iím not saying that these dogs are not good, but I just had no luck with them, they all quit! The same with Patrick and Hammonds bred dogs. Iíve tried dogs that Bob Lowery bought from Patrick and I kept them for months and years, gave them every chance possible, but they didnít turn out.
Back to the conditioners. Why do you believe that Mayfield was so successful in his days? I donít know. He just was capable of getting more out of a dog than most other people, but again there were only a few guys active in those days.
Maybe he already had some knowledge about the use of steroids? Maybe thatís the reason why, I donít know. Some people are just blessed with a gift, but there is only one person that knows and that is Don Mayfield.
What is your general impression on todayís breeders? There are two different categories. I have no great love for Sorrells from Florida, but in my heart I would rank him as a good breeder and a good dogman and believe me, there are not many that I would say this about. Patrick and Hammonds are breeding for a different purpose, but Sorrells is active and he uses what he breeds. You see, I have no use for a breeder that is not active at all.