bBig Joker and Big Jester
whelped August 23, 1939
Tom Crowe x Kit Gentry
Above Big Joker (left)\ and Big Jester (right)
The following article was written in the 1955 Chase magazine about Big Jester and Big Joker
Facts and Fancies
by T. C. Wells
We have had requests from time to time to write a story relative to Big Jester No. 19913 and Big Joker 19914, they by Tom Crowe x Kit Gentry.
We in the past have hesitated to write about these great hounds, as until recently one or both were at public stud and a boost for them was one way of obtaining free advertising which, to our way of thinking, is unethical, as any hunting magazine is dependent and should be in, part, at least, on paid advertising. Since both are now dead and there are numerous new hunters coming on that know little, if anything, about this pair of littermates, I shall attempt to tell the story as briefly as possible. I am sure most of us read with interest the story my good friend, Lee Johnson, of Richland, Missouri, wrote relative to Kit and Roxie Gentry. In fact Lee's influence was one of the reasons I purchased Big Jester and Big Joker. I had talked to Mr. 0. H. Belshe, the purchaser of the pair of bitches, to the late S. L. Wooldridge, the person selecting Kit and Roxie as the best pair of bitches in Kentucky at that time, and to Collins Gentry, the original owner and trainer of the two hounds.
Prior to purchasing Big Jester and Big Joker I had owned a hound or two sired by old Hub Dawson, Flying Cloud, Sam Stride and others of note. I had occasion to hear some Tom Crowe hounds run and while they, in general, were not real fast hounds, I was impressed with their persistence, nose, hound notes and fox sense. I lived in South Missouri for some time close to my good friends, Lloyd Whinrey and Dr. Ben Hammontree, and, like others, heard tall tales about Kit and Roxie taking on all comers, so when a litter of pups by Kit and a noted stud hound were advertised for sale I purchased a nice male pup. I broke him and sold him to a noted breeder who offered him at public stud where he became reasonably famous. He was a good hound, particularly in daytime, excellent hunter, mouth, nose, etc., but I had hounds that could hold the track faster and were more durable, although the hound never did quit. I ran 4-5 of his full mates and figured Kit Gentry should produce even better hounds on some other cross. About this time I received a letter from Mr. 0. H. Belshe, owner of Kit, that she again had a litter of pups and he would sell me my choice for $35.00. I wrote back stating I personally didn't like that cross but if he would mate Kit to old Tom Crowe I would purchase two choice pups at $35.00 each *
I was on a trip to Kentucky some six months later and ate dinner with Mr. S. L. Wooldridge. Incidentally, Mary Wooldridge was at home then. She is just like her father in more ways than one and I shall never forget how nice she was to us. I have never seen her since that time, as she was married shortly after our visit. We certainly hated to see her removed from the foxhunting world. She has the Wooldridge class we so often read about.
Mr. Wooldridge mentioned that Kit Gentry was there and that time being mated to Tom Crowe. This pleased me, so after waiting about three or four months
I wrote Mr. Belshe that I was ready to come and select my Tom Crowe x Kit Gentry pups at
each. Never heard from him, so concluded she had
missed or that they just were not for sale. Some two months later I went hunting on Thursday night and got in shortly after
a.m. I picked up my mail on
the way to school and found that I had a letter from Mr. Belshe. The letter explained that Kit only had two pups, both males, and that he had decided to keep
them, but since he and his father ran a drug store and his father had recently died he would have to quit hunting and no one else could fill the prescriptions so
he would take $150.00 for the pair of pups. Well, Annice (my wife) and I decided to go and take a look. We arrived at his place about 8:30 that evening. I
looked the pups over closely and decided I liked Big Jester the better, so asked if he would split them. He agreed to at $85.00, so I bought and loaded Big Jester
and started to drive away, but finally tore that check up and purchased both of them. I took them home, took extra care of them and started making plans.
We won't go into their show records. That's a matter of history. I probably showed them in the same class at least fifteen times. Big Joker won over Big
Jester once in his life, this when Big Joker was fat as he had been laid up from a cut and
Big Jester was in thin running condition. I was anxious to see and
hear them run, so broke them too young. Big Joker started out barking more regularly and we heard
much more out of him in a night race. I never
had figured on offering them at stud, but I had been furnishing stud hounds for the community for the simple reason I
kept good hounds and they were all
old line Walkers. When the pups were nine months old John Hargis and H. R. Sanders brought a Flying Heels bitch up to
breed. I refused them due to lack of
maturity of the pups, but when they started talking about money I was easily convinced and they decided to breed to Big Joker. He steadfastly refused to mate
with the bitch, so we eventually used Big Jester. During the next 8-10 months four
full mates to the Flying Hills Bitch were mated to Big Joker. There was not a
vast amount of difference between Big Jester and Big Joker in the field.
Joker trailed more, was content to tongue in the pack, was a steady
running hound, plenty fast, had a good fast medium chop mouth. Both were
excellent homers. We didn't hear
too out of Big Jester until he was 18
months to two years of age, as he wouldn't holler unless he was on the front end. By the time he was two you
could hear him plenty because he could and did get on the front end with any
pack I ever heard him in. Big Jester had a mouth very much like Big Joker
except he squalled on a loss and on trailing and a louder somewhat higher mouth
when running hard, somewhat on the
wild goose type. Joker trailed the fox. Jester was the best jump dog we have ever seen. As sires they frequently
produced more like each other than themselves. Joker produced
better mouths and although whiter in color produced more color. They were identical being strong 24 in. heavy coated big boned rascals.
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