CHAMPION—October 23, 2006


        The trail ride that met up at the Champion Store on Saturday the 21st was a grand success.  There were 41 riders and 5 wagons.  Bud Hutchison was the trail boss. Residents between Champion and Drury were treated a pleasant spectacle. Someone said it came off without a hitch which is a joke, wagons notwithstanding.

        The first reported eagle sighting this year was October 8th just west of Champion.  While there are some permanent breeding eagles in the area according to the Conservation Department, the more frequent sightings are of birds wintering here from Truman Lake and other parts north.  As the weather gets colder sightings will be more common.  Champion residents count themselves lucky to live in a place where eagles can be seen much of the year and bear as well.  The black bear was reintroduced to Arkansas a number of years ago.  They are territorial so males have migrated to this area.  There are documented reports of females with cubs in Douglas County and undocumented but highly believable reports of them from the very close suburbs of Champion.  The bears  are considered to be quite shy unless there are chickens or beehives close by.

        L. Lowell Krider is pondering a mystery.  Sunday morning he went to feed some recently weaned calves penned up just behind the old barn at the J.T. and Betty Shelton residence.  He found two calves there and twelve missing.  There was a splintered and trampled section of board fence and mangled cattle panels down in another fence where they had been wired over a gap for future gates.  It was obvious that the missing calves were severely spooked to have wrecked all this destruction because they had “settled in so calmly and so nicely to being fed,” according to Krider.  While he was surveying the scene, J.T. came out of the house and filled in some of the blanks for the farmer.  J.T. has some coyote dogs that he keeps tied up outside the house.  About 4:30 that morning they set up to howling and carrying on.  He raised the window and yelled at them to shut up to no avail.  Finally about ten till five, he got up with his flash light and went out and made them hush.  It was pitch black dark out.  By the time he got back in the house they had started in again raring and barking so he turned on the big dusk till dawn light that stands in his yard between the house and the barns.  That’s when the ruckus started.  There were buzzards everywhere.  The ground was just black with them, he said, and the air was full of them.  The walnut trees up behind the house were full of them.  They took off flying in every direction, hitting the high lines and squawking and screaming with their big old wings flapping.  “It was a wonder they didn’t break those wires,” he said.  They were trying to light on the roof of the barn, but the roof was so steep and it was so slick with frost that they would just slide down, their talons scraping on the tin.  “It was the awfullest racket you ever heard.”  Then they hit the shed roof and bounced onto the ground.  That’s where the calves were.  So it’s no wonder that the calves bolted and ran and tore up everything in their path.  The mystery is in why the buzzards were there to begin with.  This huge flock generally roosts down the creek south of Champion a ways.  Speculation by a certain well regarded bear spotter is that a mountain lion may have spooked the buzzards in the early morning hours.  Perhaps it was one of the Booger County boogers, nevertheless, it was noted that in the late afternoon all but three of the calves were back at the feed troughs.  The mystery remains.  By the time this appears in the Herald,  Elmer Banks will have heard the story and his take on it will be of some interest to local mystery lovers.

        Madelynn Jean Ward made her first trip to Champion over the week end.  Her birth was reported here last week, the time but not the date, which was Tuesday, October 17th.  She attended a family gathering which celebrated the birthday of her Grandmother, Kaye Upshaw Johnson and her great aunt Fae Upshaw Krider.  Robert Upshaw, (much) older brother of the twins,  made some chocolate ice cream that was so good he only wished he had written down the receipt.  Somewhere between 20 and 30 people sampled it.

        Dustin Cline of the Republic area has been dawdling in the neighborhood.  He and a certain third grade school teacher were seen picking up copious quantities of walnuts.  Once again they got lost on their way home from the huller down on AB Highway.  Again the plan was to come back to Champion through Vera Cruz and to wind up on the Camp Joy road at C Highway.  This time they left the dirt road and joined the pavement at 76 Highway much closer to Ava than to Champion. Last year they found themselves on C Highway south of WW when they came to the pavement.  Mr. Cline was heard to disparage the merits of maps in favor of adventure while simultaneously blaming his charming navigator for their predicament.  She was heard to say it would have been a more interesting trip in the daylight.

        Larry Wrinkles has a funny story to tell about ‘getting’ Ed Henson one time.  Ed did not know that Larry was working at a hospital when he asked him how he had been.  Larry said, “Well, I just got out of the hospital, Ed.”  Surprised and concerned, Ed pursued the subject only to realize that he had been ‘had.’  It was a rare situation to get one over on Ed.  Larry said that there is a story about a loose mule that roamed the neighborhood and got fed at the expense of several different farms.  Perhaps someone will add details to that story.  The storekeeper at Champion said that everyone wants to read the news but nobody wants their name in the paper.  Still, news or stories of Champion and its illustrious residents past or present will be accepted at the store, at Champion Items, Rt. 2, Box 367, Norwood 65717, or on-line at Champion News.