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Going Light Barney

Discussion in 'History Pictures & Reports' started by Vicki, Nov 25, 2007.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Administrator

    Although I have often been referenced as the authority on Going Light Barney, I must confess that I never even saw Barney in holds. I found it quite fascinating, however that he was one of the most controversial dogs of which I ever knew. I think part of the reason for that fact was Barney's flamboyant owner, who is still alive as I write this. Although not a bad fellow, he had a way of stirring up the dander of other dog men. Consequently, all of Barney's accomplishments were always scrutinized with a jaundiced eye. Since I had my picture taken with Barney, a lot of people seem to think that Barney once belonged to me, but such was not the case, although I did own a daughter of his which I bred back to him. That breeding produced George, one of my finest all-time dogs from a pitdog perspective.

    Its hard to believe now, but Barney was welped way back in the 60's, so he is definitely an old timer. He was a product of breeding a daughter of Johnson's fabulous Goofy dog to a Rascal bitch. That produced Barney's mother, Penny, and she was nothing to write home about-possibly a cold bitch and a trifle shy. She was bred to Rootberg's Booger, strictly on the basis of his being a pure Corvino dog. So it is not surprising that not much was expected of the litter, but it produced Barney and several females which were renowned for their gameness, one of them, Going light Babe, winning best in show down south in a losing effort!

    Barney had a storied career. He had been farmed out to some guy in the inner city to raise and was rolled from the time he was six months old, something no educated dog man would do. After he killed two dollar George, a highly valued pit dog in a pick up match when he was only a little over a year old, he was reclaimed by his owner, who called himself Larry Light in the pit circuit. He was matched into fast company down in Mississippi against a Carver dog and won handily in about 20 minutes. This was the convention which also featured Boomerang and the immortal Bolio. Bolio won best in show because he won over the dog with the highest reputation, a dog which was thought to be unbeatable.

    The controversy comes from the fact that Barney was counted out in his third match in Dallas. Larry swore up and down that he was doped, as the dog didn't know where he was, and had lost his equilibrium for several hours. Whatever happened, Barney came back to win six in a row against the best the other side could come up with. One match was raided and the dog confiscated. This was before the felony laws, and the dogs were broken out of the pound in which they were held. The match was held, and Barney won in an hour and five minutes. Barney was dyed black and shipped to a preacher in New Mexico. Part of the reason for all of this chicanery was that Larry was suing the animal control people for losing possession of his dog!

    Barney's toughest match was against another ear dog, extremely well thought of, and the match went nearly two hours before Barney prevailed. That was back in the oil crisis days, in which you couldn't plan a long trip, as you might run out of fuel. Larry and his cohorts loaded up the station wagon with several gallons of gasoline so that they could make the trip there and back without having to worry about fuel. I was in vited to go along, but I was not of mind to travel in that rolling time bomb! Hence, I missed my chance to see a great match. Barney usually had an easy time with his opponents, controlling them with ear holds until the dog was worn down, and then Barney went in for the kill. I think it was the quit in Dallas that made it possible for Larry to go on finding matches for Barney.

    After the above mentioned match, a fellow named Jobe, who put out a pit dog magazine, did a cover story on Barney. He had been there at the match, and he dubbed Barney a Grand Champion. That was the first time I had ever seen the term used. Now, he would not be eligible for the title because of the loss in his second match. Mitigating circumstances don't count, and besides, Larry was never able to prove anything.

    Barney was known more for ability than gameness, but he was game enough to win, and the loss came under suspicious circumstances. Barney was an unusual Bulldog in that he had an aloof personality, in direct contradistinction to most bulldogs. He won Larry's wife over because he would sit up and do tricks on the chain or in the kennel run, but once he was taken out, his demeanor changed completely. He had achieved his goal, so the claim was gone, and he simply was off to do what he wanted. Larry, who was a real-estate speculator who owned half the land in San Diego county, loved the deviousness of the dog. He was also delighted that his wife, who abhorred the pit dog game, was Barney's stoutest ally-although she certainly never went to a match.

    Barney was never open to stud, and he was never bred much, as Larry seemed to concentrate his breeding program on breeding dogs that were down from Penny and in breeding Barney's sisters, in particular Babe. Larry was one of those guys who kept track of litters by naming all the pups with the same letter, but somehow one in this litter got named Scarlet. Although a fine pit dog, she escaped Larry's ownership. Another game sister of Barney was Belle, who won several matches.
  2. tommyt

    tommyt Puppy

    Just thought I would post a picture of Barney.

    Nat Ursula likes this.
  3. tat2stuff

    tat2stuff Good Dog

  4. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Administrator

    I like Barney.......

    Tommy: did you do that picture?
    Nat Ursula likes this.
  5. tommyt

    tommyt Puppy

    Yeah, I did that one a while back.

    I'm out of town but I swear your pictures are on the way as soon as I get back Michele!
    Nat Ursula likes this.
  6. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Administrator

    As long as I get them before Christmas:D

    I knew you drew Barney. Your work is awesome.
    Nat Ursula likes this.
  7. screamin'eagle

    screamin'eagle Good Dog

    Heres a side view whn Barney was a tad older...

    Nat Ursula likes this.
  8. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Administrator

    The Story of Going Light Barney
    By: Richard F. Stratton

    For some reason, many people automatically assume that I owned Going Light Barney. This seems to be a nearly universal belief among those who don't know me personally. To be honest, other have thought that I owned Peterbuilt and Boomerang, too. Apparently, the consensus is that I must own any dog that I would say nice things about. I understand why people would think in that way; however, I never owned Barney, and I never even saw him in holds. I did take a particular interest in him at one time, so I talked to a lot of people about him and learned a lot in the process. At one time, I was on fairly good terms with his owner (who likes to be known as Larry Light), but I haven't spoken to him as some people seem to think.

    Don't get me wrong. Larry was not someone that you rush to disassociate yourself from. He is a wealthy man and one of the most knowledgeable dog men (in some ways) who I have ever known. But he was a disappointment to me in the dog game, as he could have helped the game, as indeed he did, but he could have been a true asset. But he had risen via the con and had ways that made enemies.

    As just one example, when Indian Sonny first attained Bolio, Larry told him, "If you really want to find out whether Bolio is game, we can put Barney on him, and I won't tell anyone if he quits!" It may have been funny, but it was galling, too, as Bolio had just won a match over a highly-touted dog, going a good distance doing so. Sonny could have taken up Larry on his challenge, but what was the point? The proposed roll could endanger a valuable stud dog he had just attained.

    But let me start at the beginning. Larry had obtained a female named Penny from a man named Sonnie Robinson. Now she was supposed to be by Johnston's Goofy, a great dog, and out of a daughter of Rascal. The female never really started, but Larry bred her to a number of different males, and it turned out that she produced some good dogs irrespective of which one she was bred to. But the greatest litter was the one in which she was bred to Rootberg's Booger, a dog he had received straight from Joe Corvino.
    In that litter were three great bitches, Belle, Babe, and Scarlet. (Larry had a habit of naming every pup in a particular litter with a name that begin with the same letter. It was his way of keeping a lot of dogs straight in his mind. Somehow Scarlet escaped that custom). One male, Butch, went to a preacher and was never touched. But the females won some great matches and off-the-chain rolls.

    Barney first won a match against a highly-touted dog named "Two-Dollar George." I know of some people who still claim that dog as the gamest and best dog they ever saw. Nether less, Barney beat him in a match that proved George was dead game.

    Later, Barney won again in a match in the South at a big convention. His sister Babe lost at the same convention, but she did so in such a game manner that both dogs received considerable attention.

    The third match was the one that cast doubt on Barney's gameness, as he was counted out in his corner. Great dog men who I have talked with that had seen Barney in action (and this includes Floyd Boudreaux) told me that Barney had to have had something wrong with him in that match, as he was just a great match dog. To be fair, some of these men thought that it was simply a quit because of the heat.
    Whatever the case, Barney went on to win six more matches after that one.

    These were not "picking your spot" matches, as Larry had Barney advertised in Pit Dog Report under the heading, "Have Dog--Will Travel'! All the men matching into Barney knew that they were going into a dog that was hard to beat; in fact, it is quite possible that the "quit" in a former math is the only thing which buoyed their hopes enough to match into the dog.

    Larry did travel with Barney, too, as I recall one trip during the oil crisis in which a station wagon was loaded with barrels of gasoline, so that they could be sure to get to their destination and back. I was invited, but I couldn't go so far at that time, and I'm not sure I would have wanted to travel aboard that "rolling bomb" anyway!

    A match later took place closer to home, and I attended just to see Barney. Now this was back in the days before felony laws or busts. However, just to be safe, the owner of Barney's opponent wanted to wait until morning, until the crowd from the main part of the card had left. I had taken my wife for the first time ever, and she was too tired to stay up, so I drove her home with the full intention of driving back up. However, by the time I arrived home, I, too, was weary and simply tumbled into bed. When I called the next day to find out what had happened, I learned that the police had been on the grounds the night before and stayed. They were apparently just waiting to get Larry.

    Larry's battery of attorneys soon had him free, but the dogs were confined as evidence in the animal control kennels. In some manner the dogs were broken out of the kennels, and they were returned to the owners. The match was then held in a most clandestine manner and place, with Barney winning as usual. Barney was then dyed black and sent to another state until the legal complications of the whole affair could be settled. (One ramification was that Larry was suing the county for the loss of his dog, as to do otherwise would imply complicity in the theft of the dogs!)

    So Barney had a colorful history, and he beat a lot of good dogs, handled by very capable dog men.
    From just what I had heard, I was sufficiently impressed that I purchased a game daughter of Barney and bred her back to her father. From this breeding I kept only two pups, a male and a female. The male looked just like Barney and was one of the greatest dogs I have ever owned. The female was never sufficiently tried, but she certainly had ability.
    So, out of two pups by Barney, I had obtained one candidate for the "ace" category, and the other one, though not game tested, did have an accidental fight in my yard and was trying to scratch back when she was tired and had a badly broken front leg. This is not so bad when you consider that even great producers only put out about ten percent pit quality dogs. Believe me, Dolly could have won a match or two just on ability, and she was obviously gamer than most bitches. Howard Heinzl told me, after seeing the male rolled, that Earl Tudor would have won 14 matches with that dog!

    To be fair, I know many people had dogs down from Barney that were disappointments; however, most of them were down from stock that was non-selectively bred.

    In any case, Barney finished off his career with 8 wins and one loss. After one of his wins, Jimmy Jobe, then the editor and publisher of Pit Dog Report, declared Barney a "grand champion," and featured him on the over and in a nice feature story in the magazine. To my knowledge, Barney was the first dog ever called "GRAND CHAMPION," but under today's rules he could never become one because of the one controversial loss.

    Now I would like to remind the reader that I have no axe to grind in this matter. It is true that I don't have any Barney dogs now, unless we count a son of Dolly's (sired by Little Boots) that I call Hoover. I owe nothing to Larry Light, and I wasn't really that fond of Barney. He was an extremely intelligent dog, but he had an aloof personality in regard to people. He move with the grace of a professional athlete, and he was not a bad looking dog, but he was not my ideal of what a good looking dog would be.

    Still, I admired his accomplishments. And I think too many dog men have a tendency to bad mouth hi, simply because they don't know the entire story. No one really knows the entire story for that matter. For example, there is always the ignominy of the Dallas "quit." Was Barney doped? Was something else wrong with him? I simply don't know. But I am not about to condemn a dog who lost under such suspicious circumstances and came back to prove himself again and again.

    By: Richard F. Stratton
  9. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Administrator

    Going Light Barney was confiscated at a show. Afterwards Sorrells and Bruce broke him out and he was returned and for his efforts Sorrells got Crazy Mary and that's how he ended up with the Corvino blood. Morrie Rootberg was from Chicago and a friend of Corvino. When he moved out to CA he brought some Corvino dogs with him and Barney came from those dogs that Rootberg had.

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