I just finished Mike Roux’s piece on “Beagle Music” that was in a recent issue of the Traveler.
It took me a long time to read as I was drawn back to many great memories at the end of every paragraph.
While growing up the backyard was always full of beagles and Dad, my brother and I took “a pack” to the fields often on clear fall days and some snowy winter hunts.
Although Mom’s fried rabbit, gravy, and homemade biscuits were the best, working with the dogs was special times for sure.
My dad, Harold Frakes, was a real beagle expert. He judged the Indiana State Field Trial finals several times and had three AKC Field Champions: Frakes Patterson Pinky (of the pink nose), Frakes Starland Shiek, and Frakes Starland Susie.
He had a collection of great gun dogs and several “almost made its.” Patterson Pinky may have been his best, and had a definite Missouri connection.
From the git-go, Pinky stood out from her littermates. Dad and I would use a “road kill rabbit” on a drag and no matter how hard Dad worked to trick her, her nose and smarts always set her apart from the others.
But, she had a big problem… she would not open – no bark.
As Dad used to say, you can run too much mouth out of them but if they won’t open, there is not much you can do.
Now, my mom, Marge (Kinnison) Frakes, was born and raised with her seven siblings south of Patterson, Missouri, on Rings Creek.
She was the daughter of Roy and Ella Kinnison. We would spend weeks at a time on the farm, taking the train at times and being delivered and picked up by Dad, also.
There was always a mob of hounds around and Dad decided to send Pinky to the minor leagues.
On one trip he decided to not only drop us off, but Pinky also. She joined right in running rabbits with the other dogs all day long.
Two weeks later Dad returned to pick us up and in one of those destiny turns on a dime moments, Dad literally had one leg in the car and something caught his ear.
He ask Grandpa Roy which dog was that on the hill? Grandpa told him that was Pinky, and she was opening now on occasion.
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Dad took off on a fast walk up the hill and reappeared, Pinky in tow.
Pinky, now officially Patterson Pinky, as in Patterson, Missouri, was set to go with a steady chop mouth, terrific nose, and good instincts.
It was back to Missouri in the fall of 1956 for her first license win at Hawkeye Beagle Club in Columbia, Missouri, against 33 entries.
Within a calendar year she would win at the Okaw Beagle Club in St. Elmo, Illinois (32 entries), the Pere Marquette Beagle Club at Beaver Dam, Illinois (26 entries), and finish her championship at Three Rivers Beagle Club in Paducah, Kentucky (33 entires).
She was virtually unbeatable. The hills of Missouri played a big part in that.
Her win and subsequent championship in Kentucky were particularly memorable as in the final the rabbit crossed a road that had been oiled recently.
All the dogs except Patterson Pinky stopped but she took the rabbit right across an oiled road.
At that, the head judge in a long drawl called out – “Well boys, you can pick em up!” In the original picture you could still see the oil on her paws.
She was a wonderful mom as well, whelping 11 pups in the spring of 1956 and 10 in the spring of 1957. Field Campion Starland Shiek was one of her sons.
I don’t hunt anymore and our pet dog only trails in the backyard and sleeps on the couch.
When you are young you have activities and not many memories. When you get older you have fewer activities but more memories.
My memories of the dogs and hunting always bring a smile to my face and rate as some of the best of my life.
Thanks for the article, Mike.
(Questions or comments? Bob Frakes can be reached by email at frakes2@ mvn.net or by phone at 618-244-1642.)