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Bear Board Report

This article first appeared in issue 21, and was written by Ed Waggener.

In this episode Bear Man Dwayne Loy remembers animal control tactics learned in his youth to stop ursine mayhem in the Wild West, keeping his hero and his friend

"In all my born years, I have never seen a bear run faster," Bearman Dwayne Loy, in real life a Columbia insurance executive, reports from an Adair Cattlemen's Association trip to Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota..

Loy had taken a switch to the bear and ran the animal up a tree, the way he had been taught by his maternal grandfather, Joe Tom Grant,

"The bear had frightened Charles Barnes and Jimmy Bledsoe, so I took a switch to him" Loy said, noting that in all the bear pictures neither Barnes nor Bledsoe are anywhere in evidence. "I was taking the pictures," Loy notes, " so that explains why I you don't see me."

It was an emotional day for him he says, because Jimmy Dale Bledsoe had always been a hero. "Not so much a mentor-more of a role model," Loy notes. "He's just one of those fellows everybody wants to grow up and be like."

And Barnes, he said, has always been a dear fellow Adair Cattleman's Association friend.

It was a proud moment, but Dwayne Loy is not one of those people who takes credit for all his successes in life, with bears or otherwise.

He gives mentors and role-models the credit they've earned.

Besides his grandfather, the list is legion but not surprising: It includes real life Adair County folk heroes like James Woody, who taught him the finance business. And Norman Grant and Sammy Blair, vo-ag teachers at Adair County High School, who helped him polish his ag skills. And brother-in-law Michael Morris, whom, he says, taught him clear thinking. And most recently, David Herbst, whom he credits with starting him on the straight-and-narrow to where he is today, in the pantheon of great molasses makers, the likes of Calvin Cooley or Billy Joe Wethington or Allen Moore or the late Demaree Richards, all giants in the sorghum* molasses business.

"Dave Herbst put me on to sorghum," he says. " I had bought a farm in the middle of summer. I called him and asked him what kind of crop I could put out. And he said sorghum cane."

The rest, as you all know, is history.

Today, Needmore Farms Sorghum Molasses is an international product ,which has gone all over the world: From Canada, to California, to the GE plant, and even to Celina, Tennessee.

If the Candlelight Restaurant in Celina, up Gray John Hill and out toward Dale Hollow, is known for anything, the fancy restaurant in the old Reneau House is known for serving Needmore Sorghum Molasses.

"Needmore" is not a made-up name. There was a community near Loy's home named Needmore. It is out West 900 toward Melson Ridge. There was a store across from Beech Grove Church named Needmore. "Roscoe Antle says there was a P.O. named Needmore at one time," Loy says, adding, "and the name fits my farming operation exactly."

Mr. Loy is careful to note that the presence of the molasses in Canada is owing to the fact that Mr. Carlos Murray of Glens Fork was so fond of the delicacy that he took a quart of it with him to the Frozen North, much as any practical man, leaving for Vincennes or Vermont, will pack a case of Ski in his trunk just in case they don't sell it where he's going.

The benighted Californians were introduced to Needmore Sorghum Molasses in a more direct manner: Jackie Morris' wife's brother, Lymon's boy, liked it so well he took it some there and may have shared it.

That is how Needmore became a global force in the long sweetening business.

The reason we brought it up is that there is a connection between Needmore Molasses and the bear incident in South Dakota.

Mr. Loy says that bears have tremendous olfactory senses; This is so. I myself learned this fact at the feet of the immortal Dr. Billy Neat, the late varmintologist.

That's why they want you want to enclose your food in tight cellophane in Bear Country so the bears can't smell it. It's why they're having so much trouble with people leaving food inside their S-10s in Yellowstone not realizing that the bear can sense food inside a pickup. And why, to their chagrin, the S-10 owners are finding so often that a bear can smell tuna fish sandwiches in a pickup as easily and identify it as food, as we see "Possum

This story was posted on 1998-07-15 12:01:01
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