by Ole Lunchbox (1976)
Mr. A.W. Starnes of Konawa, Oklahoma was a mature hand at every phase of the game fowl sport when Ole Lunch got out of the service in 1946. We met a couple of years later. We were never close friends but I always have had, and still do have, a great respect for Mr. Starnes. He is the kind of man whose reputation has been built and well established on performance. Now, at 86, he is mentally alert, remarkably healthy and his memory fails him not. On June 19, 1976, it was my good fortune to be driving through Konawa and never having visited Mr. Starnes, I gave in to a personal desire to visit him, renew our acquaintance and to discuss, in particular, his "Starnes Shufflers" of which he has not a feather remaining. For a number of years, I had heard many stories about his fowl and their bloodlines and since A.W. no longer has any, I thought he might divulge their true breeding. Reluctantly, at first, then willingly, with the urging of Mrs. Starnes, A.W. told me from whom they came and what change he had made in their bloodlines. Mr. Starnes stated that they were Shufflers. He obtained his first ones from our mutual friend, Karl Bashara. The Bashara Shufflers were obtained by Karl directly from the originator, Mr. Dudley Pierce. To the Karl Bashara Shufflers, Mr. Starnes introduced some of the old slate legged Madigin Grey blood and reduced the Madigin blood to about 1/8th. This was the breeding of the Starnes Shufflers. Curiosity bettered me at this point and I had to ask from what source came the Magigin Grey blood. Mr. Starnes told me they came from Mr. Madigin. He went on to say that J.H.M. told him to never take one out until he was counted out - and they would pull together and deliver a killing blow leaving their opponent dead. Mr. Starnes said that he, also, had this to happen many times, and that Mr. Madigin had told him the truth about the grey fowl. A.W. told me that on several occasions Mr. Madigin had obtained his services for feeding cocks for J.H.M. As to whether or not the old Vibrator fowl contained any of the Starnes Shuffler blood, I am not prepared to say, but will state, as Mr. Starnes told me, that the old Manziel cock that Max Thaggard had was bred to a Starnes Shuffler hen and some of these were fought. I believe, if memory erreth not, that Max stated in his article that he bred a pure Pierce Shuffler cock to some hens whose breeding I've forgotten if I ever heard. Whether these contained Starnes blood I do not know. It just may be possible that some of the Starnes blood-lines. There are other possibilities that are probably not generally known about the Starnes Shufflers - One is that the late "Sweater" McGinnis obtained fowl from A.W. Starnes. Some maintain that the Starnes blood was introduced into the magnificent "Blue Face" fowl that have been popular now for many years and which, "if you ain't got some, you ain't hardly got nothing anybody wants some of!" Whether the Blue Face actually contain any of the Starnes Shuffler blood, this writer cannot say. Ole Lunch will go so far as to say that from the Blue Face fowls appearance, they look as though they might well be related. For sure it is that "Sweater" McGinnis bought cocks from A.W. Starnes to fight and certainly had the opportunity to put some into his Hatch fowl if he felt the inclination. What does A.W. say about this? He only says that he has heard this rumored but that he does not know whether any of the blood was crosed into Sweater fowl. Well, rooster lovers, that's the story. Hope you liked it. That's about the way A.W. Starnes told it to me, as near as I can remember. Oh! Yes! Let me add this one item - Back in those days, Mr. Starnes was selling cocks for about $50 - not a bad price. One gentleman up north, a repeat customer, had had trouble beating a certain grey cock. In fact, the grey cock had beaten him three times in hack fights. He wrote A.W. to see if he had anything of that weight that was anything like an ace. Mr. Starnes had one that he had just fought in a couple mains or a derby and a main, can't remember which. Mr. Starnes sent him the cock with instructions to fight him and to send him what he felt like he was worth. Mr. Starnes said it was not too many days before he received a letter with $100 for the cock along with the word that he did not have too much trouble whipping the grey. There never are enough fellows around like Mr. A.W. Starnes. May he live to 150. Thanks for the story Mr. Starnes.
West Virginia shufflers
By: W.T. Howard there orignator.
Year 1901, I was breeding Hopkinson Warhorse an Shawineck. My stock came from William Kezee of Tazewell Va. I wanted a line of fowl I could call me own. I crossed the 2 lines together an the next infusion in this cross was a Mugwump from R.J. Bartley of Suffolk Va. This infusion made great cocks, big bone an muscle, heavy plumage an strong as a mules. Next I used a Allen Roundhend from a Mr. Harry Hamner, chief of police of Kimball Va. Then I breed a Red Quill cock into them From Mr. Thomas Hogahead of Staunton Va. This stag was a 2 time winner in the hand of Charlie Peters. Next I used a Stonewell cock from a Mr. J.B. Cummingham OF Youngstown Pa. Then a pure Mountain Eagle cock from W.S. Church. Then the last infusion I ever put into them was a pure Arkansas Traveler. A blue-red an 2 time winner in great comp. This is all in the West Virginia shufflers. They will come blackred, bluered, an brownred in color. Hen are blackred, black, darkblue, and sometime a light blue or a pyle. Great moms with babys. So this is were they was made up was in West Virginia. Terry Roberts
Pierce Wisconsin Red Shufflers
In 1887 Dudley Pierce bought a stag and two pullets from Mr. F. W. McDougall of Indianapolis, Ind., McDougal wrote Dudley when shipping the trio saying that they were his strain of New Macks. The stag was a deep red with a very dark face, the pullets very dark brown bodies with red hackles. In 1889, Dudley decided to purchase more chickens and chose Col. G. Perk Huddleston, of Lebanon, Tenn. He purchased three stags, a dominique, a blue-red Gladiator and a red, a half cork Irish and half Seven Strain Inside Red. Dudley did well with these birds and decided to visit the Colonel and stayed there two weeks talking chickens and learning all he could from the old gentleman. Dudley was very keen on Huddleston's Cork Irish, especially a little cock Huddleston had over one of his brood yards. Dudley wanted this cock badly and finally persuaded the old gentleman to let him have the cock for thirty dollars which was a pile of money in those days to pay for a chicken. Dudley brought this cock home with several others and mated him with the two McDougal New Mack hens. From this mating Dudley raised a nice bunch of stags which he placed on walks and then as cocks in 1890 Dudley fought them in his first main against a combination of local parties and won easily. This particular mating was the original foundation of Wisconsin Red Shufflers. The following season Dudley bred the New Mack stag that he purchased from McDougal over the three half Seven Strain Inside Red, half Cork Irish hens from Huddleston and again was rewarded with good offspring. At that particular time Dudley was looking for a name to call his birds. He asked Mr. Charles Fose, whose stable was used to condition Dudley's birds, what he should call them to which Mr. Fose replied, "Call them Wisconsin Red Shufflers," and right then and there the name was definitely decided upon. Then in 1892 Dudley purchased a Denny Mahoney Gull cock. He was a black breasted red with red eyes and a willow green leg, and this cock was used to breed a yard of hens which Dudley had raised from the McDougal-Cork Irish mating. Dudley lost the Mahoney Gull cock after breeding him the first year but later on used two of his sons as brood cocks over some of his older hens and from those crosses there came some wheaten colored pullets and some stags that were black-reds and looked very much like the old original Mahoney Gull cock. Dudley figured he had made a mistake in making the cross because so many of the yougsters came lighter colored than either the Huddleston or McDougal fowl, and from the very beginning Dudley admired these birds that came of even color, then on the other hand whenever Dudley fought one of the lighter colored stags which now onley contained 1/4 of the Mahoney Gull blood, they always proved terrific hitters and hard fighters so Dudley bred them and kept them in with the rest. Only a small amount of the Gull blood was in Pierce's fowl, nevertheless, it was sufficient and strong enough to produce many throwbacks, like or very near like the old Mahoney Gull cock, and these throwbacks are the fowl Pierce call his "Cottontails" because the stags are black-reds in color, usually having red eyes and green or bluish colored legs and show a large tuft of soft, fluffy white feathers at the base of their tail, while the pullets and hens are sort of dark black-reds usually showing brown or what Dudley called robin breasts. This is text from Histories of Games Strains dated Jan. 31st 1927: Pierce states: For years I obtained every magazine and paper I could find pertaining to the proper methods of in-breeding and spent considerable time in reading and experimenting along these lines. How successful I have been in this work can best be determined by those who know my fowl. I have kept them up in bone and size and I believe, too, that their pit qualities have not been impaired. I must confess, however, that ten or more years ago ( making this around 1917) I thought my fowl were gradually growing smaller, because I was getting more small cocks and fewer large ones, and concluded to try another cross. I chose the Wingate Irish Brown Reds and obtained from Mr. Wingate "Henry's father" the very best of this blood money could buy. The reason I chose the Wingate fowl was because Mr. Wingate had purchased fowl from me and bred then with his own and reported wonderful results. This cross did produce some great fowl and I still have some odf this blood in a great many of my fowl, but it should also be remembered that I still possess many of my old fowl which donot contain any of the Wingate blood. I was not unlike all other breeders. On several occasions I got a notion that I wanted to try a cross and did it, but I was mighty careful not to breed too many and I always found that 'twas best to let well enough alone. The fowl Pierce refers to with Wingate blood are known as "Brickyards" for the simple fact that that is where Pierce kept them. Instead of a large tuft of soft, fluffy white feathers at the base of the tail, the Brickyards are dark with dark eyes and dark green(deep olive) to black legs. They are dead game, can strike from any angle and are most dangerous when backed to a wall or down. They just refuse to quit. Wisconsin Red Shufflers are fast, aggresive, hard hitting, shuffling fighters, always leaving the pitter's hands with a rush and will fight a down or dying cock the same as a living one.
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