November Joy All Star: Robert Franey
Our November Joy All Star, Robert “Butch” Franey has been an avid rabbit hunter since he was just a boy. Coming home from school, he would throw his books and bag down on the floor and run out the back door to the fields with a gun in his hand ready to track down a rabbit. He was 10 years old when he killed his first rabbit beagles with his dad and Uncle Skip.
It wasn’t until 1983 that Butch met Floyd Morgan through his daughter who babysat his neighbor. Butch was still a youngster living at home with his parents when he met Floyd. Floyd introduced him to the sport of field trialing and brace dogs and Butch was instantly intrigued.
It wasn’t long after Butch set off to get his own brace dog to enter field trials. He bought a dog off of Charles Goggins sired by Triple G Joy Boy. He named her Statter Creek Blossom. That was Butch’s first brace dog and his first foot in the door of his lifelong journey of field-trialing beagles.
Field Trials were held in Bel Air County. The drive alone was inconvenient for many and the location was not the greatest. Everyone decided they wanted their own club to call “home” so in 1987 in Greenville they bought 53 acres of land and set up shop. Of course, there was a lot of work to be done before they could call the property a club, so the older men put a young and limber Butch to work. The first year and a half were full of setting up fences and building the club itself. The next year they were actually able to enjoy the club and have field trials.
1994 Butch, Harry, and Floyd sold the original club and bought into the Bel Clair Beagle Club which consisted of the Cahokia Beagle Club, Egyptian Beagle Club, and Coulterville Beagle Club as well. Butch was the Field Trial Secretary for the club as well as for the South Hoosier Association (until it phased out). He also served as the IL State Field Trial Secretary and Treasurer.
It was in the early 2000’s when Butch started to slow down on competing. He had gotten married and had kids of his own so he wanted to spend more time with them. He went nearly 20 years of only training and breeding beagles for rabbit hunting and other people. That’s until a friend by the name of Bobby Lambert from Michigan called him telling him that he had a dog that he couldn’t get to run right. If Butch could figure out the problem, he’d have himself a champion beagle. Butch went and picked up the beagle and entered him into 2 trials that day. The dog had a problem alright, but Butch saw potential. After several months of hard work and training, the beagle, Duncan Creek Justin, was ready. Together, Butch and Justin won the 13-inch Male Fratuity Award in 2018. This was by far his biggest accomplishment with any of his beagles by far.
These days, Butch spends his time managing his beagle club that he and a few others started when they wanted a brace club in the area. Butch is the field trial secretary and treasurer for the Southern Illinois Sparta Beagle Club. He also trains, breeds, and runs black and lemon beagles for competition and leisure purposes. Also, he sells Joy Dog Food to some of his friends and family members that are in the area. Butch has been a long-time supporter of Joy Dog Food. When he first started competing in field trials Joy sponsored every single one of them. It of course went away for a while and then came back. When he heard from a friend that Wade had bought Joy and was just in Pinckneyville, Butch made a point to go up there and introduce himself and get some food so he could feed his dogs Joy. Since then, his relationship with the Graskewics family has grown and so has his love for Joy Dog Food.
“Joy has always been the fuel for working dogs. But believe me when I tell you my beagles have never looked or ran better than they have on Joy Dog Food.”Robert “Butch” Franey