From the desk of Beak Mallard

While reading the rules for the USBCHA National I got to thinking how things have really changed. L.R. Alexander from Missouri and I were promoting cattle dogs back when cattle dogs weren't cool. As a side, L.R. had a duck show. I was normally involved, usually carrying their stinkiní crate. I watched L.R. put on several shows and got to noticing that it really helped put a polish on those tough old cattle dogs.

I didn't realize there were different duck breeds. I bought 5 Muscovies because they were cheap. They are probably the worst, worst ducks you can use. I got them home and sort of worked them. I had an older female that was really a good cattle dog, but she hated those ducks. She would lay her ears back and squint her eyes when working them.

One night, after about a week, they escaped. They were making their way to the pond when I saw them. I sent "Spot" and she intercepted all but one. This one paddled around the pond, easily out maneuvering the dog. I got "annoyed" and tried to get Spot to grab it and kill it. No duck was going to make a fool out of my dog. That didn't work either.

I scoped the situation out. I put in a small flat bottom aluminum boat and made myself a lariat out of some clothesline. I'd paddle to where he was, but when I got up to rope he just dived (dove) under. He would come up, usually 10 feet behind the boat or somewhere where you weren't expecting him. I got to throwing the paddle at him. My wife and kids were there by then so I had to quit throwing such a fit.

I decided they could help. I had them wade out and put their hands on the back of the little boat. I would stand up and they could give me a shove toward the duck. I would already be swinging my loop. When I said "go", they pushed the boat. I fell backwards over the middle seat cracking my head on the back of the boat........ I opened one eye......... They were all standing there trying to look serious. My help made a hasty retreat back to the house, as I got up grabbing for the paddle again, cussing L.R., Muscovies, and ducks in general.

 Anyway, back to the USBCHA National rules. Itís really a shame their rules wonít allow handlers to carry boat paddles instead of crooks. -- BM

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