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Thread: Turtle Shell

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jim Harvey's Avatar
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    Default Turtle Shell

    After having the fortune of spending some time with Chris, he shared this story with myself and some others. I have asked him if he could relive it on RTF, so others may enjoy it as well.
    Last edited by Jim Harvey; 05-24-2011 at 07:18 PM.
    Jim Harvey

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Chris Atkinson's Avatar
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    The Turtle Shell

    Fall 2006. I decided to take my older son, not yet at his fourth birthday to the final couple series of the National Open at Weldon Springs, Bush WMA in Missouri. This was the year that Wayne Dodson won with Copper.



    It quite cold and pretty windy that day and I had little Max bundled up with snacks, DVD's and toys. He had done well and socialized with several nice people throughout the day.

    The final series was a big land setup a good long walking distance from the road. Along the span were a series of holding blinds for handlers to stage up as they prepared to run the final series of the National Open. There was a portion of the field approaching the line that had been burned. In this area, Max found an empty turtle shell, with no burn marks. It looked like part of the shell had been torn open. The turtle inside, was long-gone and the shell had been sun-bleached.

    Max excitedly picked the shell up and showed it to me. I asked him what he thought happened to the turtle. He came up with a few different theories, including that an animal like a coon or a coyote got it.

    Max decided to show the turtle shell to some folks as he wandered around. Up walked a man in a white handler's jacket approaching the very first holding blind. He had a black dog on a lead. Max walked away from me and I tried to stop him, but he was on a mission. I decided that rather than make a scene, I'd let him go.

    He walked up and showed the man his new find. The man smiled and looked down. They were far enough away that I could not hear all of the dialogue. But I could read the body language and pick up some of the words.

    "How do you think the turtle died buddy?" Said the handler. "You think a raccoon would do that? Well so do I!"

    The handler was Mike Lardy. He patted Max on the head and Max wandered off to show his prize to someone else.

    Wayne Dodson won the National Open a couple hours later. Max was there taking photos and we got to the hotel afterwards, sign Wayne's bib and watch the new NFC eat chicken wings, snapping the bones off right where Wayne gripped the tips.

    On the ride home, I asked Max if he knew who that man was that listened to his story and patted him on the head. He didn't. I reminded Max of the stories we read at bedtime - the Volume I articles from the old Retriever Journal issues. Yes, that was Mike Lardy. To Max, it was like he'd just shown his turtle shell to Terry Bradshaw or Joe Montana. Mike was as big a celebrity as little Max knew.

    Today the turtle shell sits on Max's bookshelf. I had tracked Mike down on his winter trip to Georgia, shortly after the National. I sent Mike a sharpie marker, some tape, the turtle shell and prepaid postage on a return box and asked if he'd sign the turtle shell.

    With the turtle shell came a note. Paraphrasing, part of the note says something like:

    "Hey Max, that's so cool that you saved this shell. I remember you showing it to me when I was coming to the line to run Patton."...

    I've told a few folks this story. One of my FC-owning friends accuses me of being a stalker with a man-crush. Another buddy of mine thought it would be cool for me to share this story on RTF.

    I think a lot of folks, perhaps myself included, would have kicked Max away like a stray dog, talking to a competitor before the final series of the National. My read from a distance was that Mike sincerely was not bugged by this little kid. I know Mike's a family guy with family values.

    It meant a lot to me that Mike was willing to sign the silly turtle shell. Max proudly shows it to retriever friends when they visit our home.

    Thanks to Latisha Hancy for, I believe both the above and the below photo, which she took of Max capturing memories before the trophy was awarded that night:



    Mike's a class act.

    Chris




  4. #3
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    That was an awesome story Chris. Thanks for sharing.
    Winners train......losers complain.....

    Dan Lawler

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    Senior Member fishduck's Avatar
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    If we ever decide we don't have time for children, our sport will die. Thanks Mike for being a class act and Chris for sharing.
    Mark L.

  7. #5
    Senior Member FOM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Atkinson View Post
    I've told a few folks this story. One of my FC-owning friends accuses me of being a stalker with a man-crush.
    Chris,

    I remember this story when it first happened and it never gets old! Thanks for sharing.

    As for your FC-owning friend, they have no room to talk about stalking because I recall they have a thing for Wranglers!

    Helping in the worst way possible,

    FOM
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  8. #6
    Senior Member FOM's Avatar
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    p.s. This story would be much better with a picture of the turtle shell!!!
    "You can't eat a pig whole, but you can eat a whole pig." - Joe S.

    Proudly Owned By:
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    SML's Gettin' Sexy With It QA2 - Tango
    FOM's Raising a Ruckus in the Rockies QA2 - Riot
    FOM's Fugitive From Justice - Bandit
    CH FOM's Number One Small Caliber Bullet of CTC CA - "Ichi the Cairn Terrorist"

  9. #7
    Senior Member Chris Atkinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FOM View Post
    p.s. This story would be much better with a picture of the turtle shell!!!

    You're right...I'll try to remember to get one tonight.

    Chris

  10. #8
    Senior Member jeff t.'s Avatar
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    Great story Chris, thanks for sharing it.
    Jeff Telander
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    Senior Member badbullgator's Avatar
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    Fantastic story, that is some good stuff.......
    but you know you have a bromance thing for Mike
    Views and opinions expressed herein by Badbullgator do not necessarily represent the policies or position of RTF. RTF and all of it's subsidiaries can not be held liable for the off centered humor and politically incorrect comments of the author.
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  12. #10
    Senior Member Pals's Avatar
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    That is a wonderful story! Very decent and very kind. It's the small things in life that make the most impressions in the end.

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