I had the distinct privilege of attending the first two days of the National Championship Field Trial at Ames Plantation near Grand Junction, Tennessee this week. It was truly an amazing experience, and one I'll discuss in more detail later.
But back to my brush with greatness. During my time at Ames, I spent my days with (among others) the great Delmar Smith. I'm not sure there are sufficient adjectives to describe this prince of a man. Part Will Rogers philosopher, part P.T. Barnum showman, Delmar is the most significant and influential bird dog man still roaming the earth today.
An Oklahoman born and bred, he grew up raising cattle and breaking horses, and transferred that knowledge of animals to sporting dogs. Early on, he had a fair amount of success in field trials, but it wasn't until his Brittanys started winning that he started gaining some much-deserved notoriety, and jarring the pointer-setter duopoly in the process. From there, it was full speed ahead.
And God bless it, he's funnier than hell, too. Several people came up to him during the trial and mentioned hearing this NPR appearance. If you have an extra ten minutes, you'll understand the spell that this man casts.
Mostly though, Delmar Smith left me with a simple yet profound thought. As he tells it, many years ago, Delmar was having dinner with John Olin -- CEO of the then-Winchester empire -- and the gun magnate was having maddening issues with a new gun.
Simple words, but profound. And ones we'd all do well to heed -- whether it's bird dogs, our work lives, friends, or family.