History of the Smoky Mountains Bulldog Club
The earliest records for the club go back to February 1992.However the minutes indicate that there were earlier meetings. At that time 10 members and 6 visitors attended and the treasury already had a balance of $309.00. At the October meeting the Constitution and By-laws were presented, amended and voted on. A name for the club and appropriate spellings were selected and voted on. A club logo was discussed and members were encouraged to bring other ideas. All pertinent materials were to be sent to AKC for approval. A December 1992 roster shows 21 members with officers: President: Debbie Mueller, V-Pres: Patti Payne, Secretary: Linda Howard, Treasurer: Bruce Lorenzen.
Our first fun match approved by AKC was held in conjunction with the shows in Gray, Tennessee on May 22,1993. Aubrey Withering from Nashville was the judge and we had 10 entries. Pam McKeehan was the match chair. That year a second fun match was held in conjunction with the fall cluster at Chilhowie Park. Patti Payne was the match chair and Tommy Combs was the judge. By the end of 1993 the treasury was up to $3300.00.
By February of 1994 we had 27 members and had been approved to hold a sanctioned “B” match on May 21, 1994 at the spring cluster in Gray, Tennessee. The judge was Mr. Barber and Kim Wall was the match chair. We had begun to hold training classes at a member’s house. The minutes also noted that our treasurer, Bruce Lorenzen had been approved by AKC to judge Bulldogs. Plans had already begun for the 1997 Bulldog nationals to be held in Pigeon Forge. The August Treasurer’s report shows an expenditure of $32.00 to Dr. Bailey for treatment of a rescue Bulldog. In the fall of the year another “B” match was held in conjunction with the Smoky Mountain cluster at Chilhowie Park with Bruce Lorenzen as chair and Ken Fischer as judge.
1995 found the club busy with fund raising activities; treasurer’s reports showed a number of donations to other clubs trophy funds, a sanctioned “B” match in November brought 15 entries with James Frederickson as judge. A catered hospitality and auction followed the match. By the end of the year we had put $2000.00 in a CD.
We had not yet decided on a logo.
One year out from the Pigeon Forge nationals (1996) found the club busy with fund raising activities and preliminary plans. A letter from the 1997 Nationals Ways and Means committee specified that each club in the division would be assessed $1500.00. Linda Howard was named co-coordinator for the morning hospitality each day during the nationals’ week. Ranee Randby was put in charge of preparing “goodie bags”. A sanctioned “B” match was held in the fall with 11 entries, hospitality and an auction. By the end of 1996 the club has finally decided on a logo.
1997—Nationals Year! The January meeting announcement sported the first example of our now famous logo. The club was kept busy with work for the September nationals. . Having the nationals in our “back yard” took tremendous effort from a handful of club members. Even thought we were not yet a recognized club we participated fully in the project providing transportation to and from the Knoxville airport to the show headquarters; organizing morning hospitality; the golf tournament and grounds and clean-up. Members Linda and Grant Howard, Bruce Lorenzen, and L.J. DeCuir are listed as committee heads in the official catalogue. It should be noted that during all of this the club lost a charter member when Patti Payne who was the Nationals week Chair moved out of the Division. Even with all the activity surrounding the September shows we managed to have a sanctioned “B” match the end of October with Wick Carter as the judge and Ranee Randby as the match chair.
Because of our participation in the ’97 nationals our Treasury balance in 1998 showed a substantial increase. In July we were granted permission to have our first “A” match. Vivian Ayers was the match chair, Sam Steding was the judge and with the sale of fuzzies, sweatshirts, the auction and entries we made a profit of $518.00.
We began 1999 with discussions concerning liability insurance for the club and incorporating as a non-profit. Apparently the first “A” match was not accepted by AKC because we again applied in 1999. AKC also required that we have training classes and educational programs at some our meetings in order to qualify as a club licensed to hold shows. In August the minutes note the formation of our first official rescue program with Ranee Randby as chair and L.J. DeCuir as co-chair. Second “A” match was held November 5 at Chilhowie Park with Dennis McCoy as the judge and Ranee Randby as the match secretary and chair. For the first time since the club was formed, the nominations committee proposed a new president: Ranee Randby. In September the club became incorporated with the help of attorney, Mary Jane Borden.
January 2000 saw the beginning of club presence on the web. Webmaster L.J. DeCuir developed the site and found a host who provide low cost service to local non-profits.
The club applied for license status in January of 2000 after receiving a letter from AKC stating that our second “A” match had qualified us. We also participated in “Bark in the Park” a dog event sponsored by the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley. This gave the club some exposure and publicity in the community. In July the officers began the practice of including the minutes and treasurer’s report in the monthly meeting notice thereby saving time at the meetings. Before we could be granted license status, AKC requested changes to the wording of several sentences in our by-laws. These changes were voted on and accepted in October. Additionally AKC needed a list of our membership for 2001 before we could re-apply. In November we had a “B” match at the site of the Smoky Mountain Cluster shows.
Having met all the requirements for licensing, our secretary once again applied to AKC in February 2001. Listed among the activities in that letter was the formation of a club supported rescue program with established procedures and guidelines. In May we were finally approved to hold our Marsfirst specialty. The remainder of the year was taken in the planning and co-ordination of our show. It was held on Nov.3 in conjunction with the Tennessee Valley Kennel Club show. There were 59 entries. L.J. DeCuir was the first show chair. Lamar Mathis was the judge and Dianna Thompson judged the sweeps. Our first BOB was Ch. Sandstone’s Simply Bradley. Having seen SMBC successfully to its first specialty after nine years of hard work and faithful service, club secretary Linda Howard decided it was time to step down and ask the club to elect a new secretary.
In January 2002, President Randby formed a finance committee to find a better way to invest the $12,000.00+ interest that our club realized from the 1997 Nationals. Early in the year plans were under way for the 2nd Specialty. It was held once again with the Tennessee Valley shows in November. Judge was Michael Staley and Jan Lewis was Sweeps judge. We had 56 entries. Ranee Randby was a last minute stand-in for show chair, L.J. DeCuir whose cancer treatments had prevented him from fulfilling his duties. During 2002 eight Bullies were rescued and rehomed.
Early in 2003 the club lost a founding member when L.J.DeCuir succumbed to cancer. The club organized several memorials in him memory: a cookbook and a memorial trophy to be given each year to the winner of BISS on the first day of our specialty. The Specialty for this year was a departure for our club in that we decided to do two stand alone shows in a hotel in Sweetwater because our original site was in conflict with another show. Judges for the shows were Dennis Ehntholt, and James Cardello with Carla Ehntholt doing sweeps. We had 48 and 51 entries respectively. The first recipient of the L.J. DeCuir memorial trophy was Ch Hellfyre Warmvalley Sixspence. Planning began in earnest for the 2006 Nationals to be held in Florida with the club being assessed $1500.00 to help support the shows. November saw the inception of The BullScoop, the Newsletter of SMBC. (The name was later changed to The Nine O’clock Bark because it was in conflict with another newsletter.) SMBC rescued and rehomed thirteen Bullies.
The club began 2004 by participating in “The Running of the ‘Bulls’”, a chance to parade our Bullies as part of the Rossini Festival sponsored by the Knoxville Opera Company. We also had a yard sale and an apple fritter booth as fundraisers. The booth at the Apple Festival in Erwin launched the sale of our cookbook Bone Appetit. This was part of our memorial to L.J. DeCuir, by Christmas, thanks to the hard work and promotion by Ranee Randby we had sold out of the initial printing. Our fall show was again a departure for the club, held at the Holiday Inn in Newport. Linda Sigle and Wick Carter were our judges, with Rhoda Rhulason doing Sweeps. There were 42 and 44 entries respectively. BB Ch. Legacy Only Calvin Klein was the recipient of the L.J. DeCuir trophy. For the first time since we began having licensed shows, we made a profit. In 2004 rescue rehomed 10 Bullies.
In 2005 the club had a wonderful, well-attended picnic in the spring with many members bringing their Bullies including one of our rescues. After much discussion and deliberation the board decided to cancel plans for a fall specialty because of numerous date and location conflicts. Our next specialty will be May 2006 with the Oak Ridge Kennel Club shows. Our cookbooks went into a second printing. As of October 1 we have rescued and rehomed nine Bullies this year.
Throughout the history of the club several names are prominent as the real founders and workers in the club. This history would be deficient if it did not note them specifically.
· Debbie Mueller who served as President from 1992 until 1999.
· Linda Howard who served as Secretary from 1992 until 2001. She brought the club from fun match to licensed show giving status by faithfully taking minutes and providing all the information and documentation on the club that AKC required before we could be licensed.
· Grant Howard who served as a board member, mentor, pooper scooper, and general all around helper and advisor from the very beginning.
· Bruce Lorenzen who was the first Treasurer and was responsible for putting the club on firm financial footing with her early and diligent fund-raising. Her raffles and “fuzzies” are legendary.
· L.J. DeCuir who was a founding member, served as a board member and was the first show chair and rescue co-chair.
Since the club began thirteen years ago, we have grown from a handful of members to over forty at times; our treasury has expanded from a few hundred dollars to over twenty thousand; we have hosted four specialties; participated in a national specialty; sold numerous sweat shirts, cards, mugs, cookbooks and other Bulldog goodies; shifted emphasis at times from showing to rescue and back again; listened to many and diverse speakers on health, breeding, ethics, showing, and grooming; prepared hundreds of pot luck dishes and enjoyed them with other members; bred and showed collectively over 25 champions; and rescued at least forty-five dogs. It has been of fun ride and we look forward to many more years of laughter and tears, loving and caring for these wonderful dogs.