Ryan Sleeper named Jackets basketball coach

Ryan Sleeper has been named as the new head coach of the Trousdale County Yellow Jackets boys’ basketball team, effective as of last week.

Sleeper accepted the position on Friday and replaces Chip Sparkman, who resigned earlier this month to take a job at La Vergne High, where he will work as an ACT prep coach.

Ryan Sleeper is the new boys basketball coach at Trousdale County High School.

Sleeper is a 2003 graduate of Smith County, where he scored 1,492 career points over three seasons. He graduated from Tennessee Tech in 2013 and has been an assistant with the Yellow Jackets for the previous six seasons.

“This is something I’ve wanted a long time,” Sleeper said. “I feel like there is no one that cares about this program as much as I do. I can promise this: no one will work as hard and care as much as I do. I hope to make this community proud.

“I’m very grateful to Dr. (Clint) Satterfield, Mrs. (Teresa) Dickerson, Mr. (Ben) Johnson and the school board for the opportunity.”

“Mr. Sleeper has proven himself as both a classroom educator as well as a coach over the past years with us,” said Director of Schools Clint Satterfield. “We are most confident in his abilities to lead our young men. He has our full support.”

The new coach will try to continue reviving a Yellow Jacket basketball program that has just one winning season in the last 11 years. He is married to the former Chelsea Dickerson and resides in Hartsville with his wife and two children, Chance and Carter.

TCHS cheerleaders visit TN Tech camp


The Trousdale County High School cheerleaders attended camp at Tennessee Tech from June 6-9.

They earned second-place honors for their cheer and extreme routines.

The squad was also awarded a superior trophy for having all Gold ribbons and also received a spirit stick each day.

Shelby Vaughan and Cortney Burris were named All-American Cheerleaders.

Does turtle taste like chicken? I never found out

A giant snapping turtle was found at Center Hill Lake back in the spring and biologists are puzzled about how it got there, since the species prefers the warmer waters of West Tennessee.

They couldn’t ask the turtle, because he was dead. Apparently the climate didn’t agree with him.

The alligator snapping turtle is a relatively rare species and is being stocked in some West Tennessee waters as part of a TWRA restoration project. I’m not sure that a lack of alligator snappers is a big concern for most folks, but I guess they have as much right to be here as the rest of us.

Do turtles really taste like chicken?

Turtles can take a toll on aquatic wildlife and even domestic fowl. When my mom was a little girl, she had a flock of baby ducks that hatched on the family farm pond. Turtles got them all.

On the other hand, turtles perform a valuable service as nature’s sanitation workers. They clean up dead fish and other carrion that would otherwise create a mess in and around the water.

The common snapping turtle can be caught or trapped in Tennessee, its harvesting regulated by size and creel limits. The TWRA devotes a section of its Tennessee Fishing Guide to turtles.

When I was a kid one of my uncles cooked a turtle. He said the fried meat was delicious, white and tender. He said it tasted like chicken.

I decided to give it a try after catching about a 3-pounder while bluegill fishing. The turtle bit the worm I was using for bait, and I hauled it in.

That was the easy part. Next, how to dispatch it?

Without getting too graphic, I poked at it with a stick and the turtle clamped down on it. I pulled its head back, exposed the neck, and did to it what my grandmother did to chickens on the chopping block.

That was that. Well, sort of. Unlike grandma’s chickens, the decapitated turtle didn’t give up. I finally got the top shell separated from the bottom shell, but wasn’t sure where the meat was located.

A turtle gives off a pungent, unpleasant smell. The combination of the musk, the mess and the movement was too much. I gave up, dumped the still-kicking carcass in a tow sack and hauled it off to the woods.

Wonder if the possums that ate it thought it tasted like chicken?

According to an old wives’ tale, if a turtle latches onto a body part it won’t let go until it thunders. I always wondered how old wives knew that. Did they come across someone with a turtle hanging onto his toe and sit down and wait until a storm blew up to see what happened?

I don’t trust gossipy old wives.

Meanwhile biologists are trying to figure how the big Tennessee snapper ended up out of its natural habitat and in the cold, clear waters of Center Hill Lake. One theory is that someone caught it elsewhere, decided they didn’t want it and dumped the big, ugly, stinky critter in the lake.

Based on my past turtle travails, I can certainly understand why.

Junior rodeo back in Lebanon

Contestants from across the United States, Canada and Australia are making plans to spend a week in Lebanon later this month for the National Junior High Finals Rodeo.

Preparations are already underway at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center as the dirt was prepped with sand during Memorial Day weekend and stalls by the truckload are going up around the property. 

Austin White, National High School Rodeo Association vice president of marketing, said last year’s event brought 1,050 contestants, 1,300 contestant horses and just less than 1,000 campers who stayed on site for an average of eight days. He said more than 30,000 people visited the event, which was held east of the Mississippi River for the first time in 2016.

“The facility has added a couple hundred more camping spaces than last year, so that will help relieve some of the camping pressure. It will spread everybody out a little more and allow more people to come in,” White said.  

White said one of the most exciting changes from last year is the ability to hold the trade show in the newly opened Expo Center. The trade show will begin June 17, one day before the rodeo kicks off competition.

“The whole building will become a hang out for everybody,” White said.

The National High School Rodeo Association Junior High Division Rodeo Finals will be June 18-24 in Lebanon for the second straight year. 

Created in 2004, the NHSRA Junior High Division was established to bring the excitement of the sport to sixth through eighth graders. Junior high division students participate in a variety of events, including barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping, tie-down roping, chute dogging, team roping, ribbon roping and junior bull riding, bareback steer riding and saddle bronc steer riding.

Staff writer Xavier Smith contributed to this report.

By Sinclaire Sparkman


All-Star baseball moves to Vandy

Trousdale County’s Davy Cothron is organizing his sixth annual Warner’s Athletic Construction MidTN Senior All-Star Classic, presented by TopTenn Baseball.

Cothron recently spoke to the Hartsville Rotary Club about his passion for the All-Star Classic, which in a change this year will be held at Vanderbilt University’s Hawkins Field in Nashville. The new site will give some of the top baseball talent in Middle Tennessee the chance to play at an SEC facility, something they might never get again.

According to a schedule provided by Cothron, the Class A squad will play against the Division II team at 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 15. After that game will follow the Old Hickory Bats Home Run Derby at 5:30 p.m. The day will end with the Class AA team taking on Class AAA at 7 p.m.

Trousdale County will be represented on the Class A team by Cumberland signee Wiley Barton, who will be on the team as a pitcher but could also see some action in the outfield.

“Wiley is an all-star in all phases of life,” said TCHS baseball coach Travis Humes. “He graduated with Honor and Scholars distinction. He has also done countless hours of community service.

“He’s a leader by the way he does everything in life. No one deserves this opportunity more than Wiley and I have been blessed with the opportunity to coach him the past three years.”

Tickets for the All-Star Classic are $7 for adults and $5 for children of school age. Children 5 and under will be admitted free.

By Jerry Richmond

Sports Staff Writer

Larry Woody: John Sloan fish treks always interesting

Lebanon’s John Sloan is a nationally renowned writer.

I’ve always said you could go fishing with John Sloan, forget to bring a pole, and still have a great day on the water.

Fishing with John is an excuse to get outdoors and listen to him spin yarns. The fish are a bonus.

I’ve fished with John, a Lebanon-based nationally renowned outdoor writer and author, for over a decade, most recently on an excursion to Percy Priest Lake.

My ribs are still aching.

Earlier in the spring John invited me to go with him on a return trip to White Oak in Alabama, a hunting reserve with lakes stocked with behemoth bass and monster bluegills.

I couldn’t go because of family obligations. One morning a few days later I received an email from him tagged: “Get ready to drool!” tormenting me with photos of him with a boat-load of fish.

I emailed him back: “May your boat capsize!”

In his younger days John was a rodeo rider, specializing in riding bulls that didn’t want to be ridden. How many bones has he broken? How many bones are there in the human body?

Nowadays his knees are stiff, his back hurts, and on each cast he winces from an old shoulder injury. Call it Revenge of the Bulls.

A native of Pineville, Ark., John made stops in Texas, Wyoming and Nashville before settling in Lebanon in 1980.  Before joining the rodeo circuit he was a Western hunting guide who also ventured into the rugged Canadian wilderness in pursuit of big black bears and monster bucks.

He recalls one morning so cold the coffee froze in his thermos and “everybody with any sense” stayed in the warm cabin. That, of course, excluded John, who trudged off into a blizzard and bagged one of the biggest Canadian bucks on record.

That was some 40 years ago. He says he has almost thawed out.

Although the walls of John’s home/office are adorned with the mounts of some massive animals, nowadays he hunts for, well, the hunt. He is no longer a trophy hunter, and like me, is concerned about today’s deer-trophy craze.

John’s specialty is bow-hunting and he writes for a number of national archery magazines. But expertise aside, his real talent is tale-telling, and his newspaper and magazine columns routinely sweep writing contests.

I still remember one of John’s classic columns I read over two decades ago about a deer hunt. You didn’t realize until you got to the end that the story was being told from the perspective of the deer.

John freely admits he’s not a reporter; he’s a story-teller.

Anyone who enjoys a good story well-told should check out his recently-released Kindle books, “The Empty Chair,” “Memories of a Dying Fire” and “Leaving Saline.”

As delightfully humorous as John can be, he has a poignant side. He battled through some serious health issues, underwent a lifestyle re-dedication, and was baptized (naturally) in a fishing hole by outdoor writer/Sunday School teacher Wade Bourne.

Nowadays when he’s not fishing or hunting or writing about it, John volunteers as a Lebanon drug and alcohol counselor. The man who enjoys telling funny stories hears a lot of sad ones.

But he hasn’t lost his sense of humor or his love of the outdoors, and having endured more than his quota of bumps and bruises says he’s enjoying life more than ever.

As soon as my ribs heal, I’m ready for another trip.

Larry Woody 

Woody’s Outdoors

Sparkman resigns as Jackets’ boys basketball coach

Chip Sparkman announced his resignation last week as head coach of the Trousdale County Yellow Jackets’ boys basketball team.

Sparkman, who just completed his second season at TCHS, has accepted a position at La Vergne High School, where he will be teaching ACT prep as well as performing other duties that will be determined later.

Courtesy of tcschools.org

“I have loved my time in Hartsville and will miss it dearly,” Sparkman said. “Coach (Clint) Satterfield, Mr. (J.Brim) McCall, Mrs. (Teresa) Dickerson and Mr. (Ben) Johnson have been so good to me and treated me very well.

“I truly hate to leave, but financially it was the right choice for my family.

“I love all my guys on the basketball team and struggled with this decision because of them. Leaving is the part about coaching that I do not like very much. I will miss being a Yellow Jacket.”

In his two years at TCHS, Sparkman compiled an overall record of 16-38 and 8-12 in District 8-A. The Yellow Jackets improved to 11-19 overall and 6-4 in district last season, good for a third-place finish in the district standings.

It was the first time the Yellow Jackets reached double digits in victories since 2013.

Use common sense to avoid snake bites

My fishing buddy’s daughter Sophie and her husband were strolling their toddler along a suburban path late one afternoon last summer when something suddenly smacked her on the ankle.

Her first thought was that she had stepped on a small limb and it had flipped up and hit her. But when she glanced down she saw a snake slithering off the path and into the weeds. Then the pain began.

Sophie’s husband phoned for help, paramedics quickly arrived, and she was transported to a hospital. The doctor found a single fang puncture instead of the usual two – the snake had apparently struck a glancing blow – but the pain and swelling continued to intensify.

Most snakes, like this one, are harmless, but not all are.

Sophie was treated with anti-venom and kept overnight, and in a couple of days she was able to walk. She made a complete recovery.

Not all snakebite victims are so fortunate. Although fatalities in the U.S. are rare, they occasionally occur, and even non-fatal bites can be extremely serious.

Over 50 years ago, a boyhood friend was bitten on an index finger by a copperhead (the species believed to have bitten Sophie) and today the finger remains stiff and unusable. My buddy is a dentist, and the snakebite could have cost him his career.

This time of year snakes are especially active, coinciding with when humans flock to the outdoors to fish, hike, camp, boat, bird-watch and garden. Encounters are inevitable.

If bitten by a venomous snake – copperhead, rattler or cottonmouth – there will be fang puncture marks. Usually there will be two, but sometimes, as in the case of Sophie, just one. The pain will commence immediately.

Don’t waste time trying to kill or capture the snake for identification; it’s not necessary for treatment. Immediately call for medical assistance, or transport the victim to the nearest hospital or clinic.

Don’t attempt self-treatments, such as applying a tourniquet or cutting incisions into the puncture wounds to “drain” the venom. Such procedures are of little or no benefit and could cause nerve or tendon damage.

If the victim is in a remote area where help is not immediately available, he or she should be kept as calm as possible while being extracted. Nowadays it’s prudent to carry a cell phone in such areas.

The best way to deal with snake bites is to avoid being bitten. In brushy and weedy areas watch where you step and where you sit. Be especially careful around old lumber, vacant buildings, hayfields and other places where snakes seek food and shelter. Never put your hands or fingers underneath rocks, logs, boards or pieces of old tin. Gardeners should be wary around ground-clinging leaves and vines under which snakes lurk to ambush birds and rodents.

Cottonmouths are found around water and marshy areas and like to sun on stumps and logs. Fishermen and boaters should be careful where they put their hands.

Authorities say many bites occur when someone is attempting to kill or capture the snake. Most snakes can strike one-half the length of their body, and the strike is almost too fast for the human eye to follow. You can get bitten literally before you know it.

Caution, care and common sense are the best ways to avoid a snake’s bite.

Yellow Jackets Golf Classic to be held Saturday

The Trousdale County High School football program will hold its ninth annual Yellow Jacket Golf Classic on Saturday.

Held at Long Hollow Golf Course in Gallatin, the tournament serves as an alumni event and fundraiser for the Yellow Jacket program.

The tournament is a four-man scramble with an entry fee of $400 per team or $100 per individual. Any former Yellow Jacket player with a state championship ring will receive a $25 discount. There is a minimum of three players per team and there will be three flights, with other prizes based on the number of participants.

Registration and breakfast will begin at 7 a.m. Saturday, with the tournament teeing off at 8 a.m. Lunch will be provided by Pig Pen BBQ at noon and awards will be handed out at 12:30 p.m.

For more information or to sign up to play, contact Brad Waggoner (404-680-9573, bradwaggoner@tcschools.org) or Ben Johnson, (615-417-5170, benjohnson@tcschools.org).

Yellow Jackets spring football recap: Part 2

The Trousdale County Yellow Jackets recently completed their first spring football practice under first-year head coach Brad Waggoner.

Here is Part 2 of Coach Waggoner’s interview with The Vidette, in which he gave his perspective on the Yellow Jackets’ performance:

Q: One of the big weaknesses last year was special teams. We basically had no kicking game. How are you working on that?

Trousdale County football coach Brad Waggoner

A: That’s something we’re working on. I’d like to say we’re fortunate enough to have a kicker right now, but I can’t say that. Special teams is something we’re gong to spend a lot of time on, from a standpoint of making we’re good at that. We’re going to have to be creative in what we’re doing with our personnel to maybe cover up our weaknesses from last year. There are things we can do that are going to give us an advantage, but again, it’s a work in progress.

RELATED LINK: Yellow Jackets spring football recap: Part 1

Q: You haven’t been able to do a lot of work with the incoming freshmen. What kind of role do you see for some of those players?

A: We were able to bring them out in spring, even though they couldn’t practice with us. They were able to get some work, but they couldn’t scrimmage anyone. They got some drill work every day and were working out. There’s a few of those guys that we’re definitely going to look to for depth, and maybe a couple of guys that can challenge in some positions. That group in general, we’re teaching the same things as the older guys. My expectations for them are the same as the older guys. The good thing in the fall is it will give more competition. No one’s job is safe. It’s a talented group, and they’re used to always winning. But now, it’s going to be different for them because they’re not the king of the block. They’re going to be challenged a little bit now and it’s going to be good to see them face a little adversity. It’s going to make our team better and them better as well.

Q: If you had to pick your biggest strength and weakness right now, what would you say?

A: Our strength is probably team speed. We have a lot of guys who can run. Offensive line, defensive line, we run well. We’ve got to play to our strength, which is speed. Our weakness right now is that we’re not as tough as I want to be. We’re getting there, but if we can get mentally tough when things go wrong, don’t panic and just play, that’ll win us two more games. We’ve got to get that mental edge back. Every Friday night, we want the other team to say, ‘That was the most physical team we had to play against. We don’t want to play those yellow hats no more.’

Q: The scrimmage that you played, how did that turn out?

A: From an outside view, we won both scrimmages. But it was a spring scrimmage. I saw some good things, seeing us come off the ball on the offensive line. We did a lot of bad things. We played one opponent that was weaker than us, and one that was stronger. We played Richland for one half, then played East Nashville for the second half.

Richland is a 1A school that has a new coach. They just weren’t as strong as us, but we came out and did a good job of working on what we did in the spring. East Nashville has a couple of kids that have been offered by Clemson, they’ve probably got more team speed than we’ve got. We had a little bit of adversity; they scored on us first. I wanted to see how we responded and we responded right back, hitting them with two scores. Our kids started playing. They ran the ball down our throat and it got our attention. We didn’t back down and I saw our toughness show. We’ve just got to be consistent. We can play with every team we play on Friday night, whether they’re a big school or small school.

Here at Trousdale County, it doesn’t matter who we line up against. We’re going to play hard. We ended on a good note.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

There’s no need to ‘rescue’ fawns from the wild

This is the time of year when fawns and other newborn wildlife start appearing, often with no parents in sight.

Some well-intended wildlife watchers can’t resist “rescuing” baby animals they come across. When they do, it’s often a death sentence for the newborn.

Wild animals don’t fare well in captivity. If they do manage to survive for awhile, when they are eventually released back into the wild they are not conditioned for survival. That’s why biologists’ initial efforts to stock incubator-hatched wild turkeys never succeeded. Unless the chicks were nurtured and taught how to survive by a mother hen, they were unable to fend for themselves after being released.

Fawns are particularly susceptible to being “rescued,” for a number of reasons:

They are easy to catch because instinct prompts them to curl up in a ball and lie still, relying on camouflage for protection from predators.

They are docile and defenseless; they don’t bite or scratch when picked up.

They appear helpless and pitiable because the mother is not in sight. In truth, however, they are seldom abandoned. Instead, the mother is likely watching from a safe distance, waiting for the human intruder to leave before returning to her fawn.

Some biologists believe that going near the fawn and leaving human scent in the area – or worse still, handling the fawn – can cause the mother to truly abandon it.

If fawn is discovered, the best thing to do is not approach it. Observe it briefly from a distance, then quietly leave.

In a rare case in which a fawn’s mother is confirmed dead or injured – a car collision, for example – a wildlife office can be contacted and appraised of the situation.

Generally speaking, even under such circumstances leaving the fawn alone is in its best interest.

There’s another good reason to leave newborn wildlife – and all wildlife – alone: in Tennessee it’s against the law to capture or confine any wild animal.

Baby animals such as raccoons may appear cute and cuddly and often can be pen-raised and “tamed.” But they remain wild animals, and their bites, scratches and parasites can transfer diseases to humans and domestic pets. Raccoons are especially prone to carry the rabies virus.

Also, if it were legal to possess wild animals for pets, a black market would develop, encouraging the capture of wildlife for sale.

Every spring the media carries stories about wild animals being “rescued,” only to be confiscated and returned to the wild by “heartless” wildlife officials. What is not reported is that the animals almost always would have fared better if they had been left alone in their natural area.

Capturing wild animals is seldom good for the animal, nor safe for the person doing the capturing. It’s a lose-lose proposition.

Wild animals – including cute, cuddly babies – belong in the wild.

TCHS/JSMS Athletes of Year recognized

Submitted photos
Lydia Zarichansky

Trousdale County High School’s Lydia Zarichansky and Jim Satterfield Middle School’s Hannah Hailey were respectively voted their schools’ Athletes of the Year.

Individual winners from fall, winter and spring sports were eligible for the honor, which is based on statistics, leadership and overall character.

Zarichansky competed in track and also served as field commander for the band, while Hailey competed in volleyball and softball.

Hannah Hailey

TWRA says no evidence of cougars in Trousdale County

Officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency said there were no confirmed sightings of mountain lions in Trousdale County after reports arose on social media by people claiming to have spotted a cougar recently.

A post to Facebook claimed that a cougar had been spotted on May 19 on Harris Branch Road. Requests by The Vidette for more information on the alleged sightings received no response.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

TWRA does have a team that tracks reported sightings. However, according to TWRA, many alleged sightings turnout to be other animals, such as bobcats or coyotes, altered via Photoshop or photos from other states.

According to TWRA’s website, there have been 10 confirmed sightings of cougars in Tennessee since September 2015, with most of those coming from West Tennessee. Cougars had been extinct in Tennessee since the early 1900s because of overhunting and habitat loss.

Anyone who spots, or believes they have spotted a cougar, is encouraged to report the sighting to TWRA’s Region II at 615-781-6622 or 1-800-624-7406. Killing a cougar in Tennessee is illegal unless in the case of imminent threat of life and injury, or damage to a landowner’s property.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Yellow Jackets spring football recap: Part 1

The Trousdale County Yellow Jackets recently completed their first spring football practice under first-year head coach Brad Waggoner.

Coach Waggoner sat down with The Vidette for an interview and gave his perspective on the Yellow Jackets’ performance. Look for Part 2 of Coach Waggoner’s remarks in next week’s Vidette.

Q: One of the comments I heard on the first day of practice was ‘We’ve done more hitting in this first practice than they’ve done the last couple of years.’ Was that an effort on your part?

A: Our goal this spring, and our goal going forward, is to be the most physical football team on the field every Friday night. In order to do that, you’ve got to practice that way. It’s not just going to happen on Friday night if you don’t practice that way. The tempo, from an effort standpoint, has got to translate. We’re pushing that same principle in the weight room, to how we do conditioning, to how we practice on the field.

Trousdale County football coach Brad Waggoner

I think to the people who played years ago here at Trousdale, it probably was always the standard. It’s been a different philosophy the last couple of years, but my philosophy, and the way I see the only way we’ve got a chance to be successful and win on Friday night, is we’ve got to be the most physical football team.

Q: How have the kids reacted to the toughness of practice?

A: The kids have been very receptive since January. We still have along ways to go, but I’m starting to see results. The effort’s there. I thought that over the nine days of spring practice, we got better and more physical from Day 1 to Day 9. I think it showed in the scrimmage. But I told them, there’s no question we got better, but we’re still a long ways away. The first day of summer workouts, everyone’s here, everyone’s ready to go, and we look better today. I tell those kids every day, ‘The only thing we can control is getting better today, then get better tomorrow.’ Every day we keep getting better. If we do that, then in November we’ll be where we want to be.

Q: How has the transition gone from running a spread offense the last two years back to the Wing-T?

A: I think it goes back to being physical, being tough. The transition has not been tough. A lot of these guys, especially the older guys, were all in it at one time, whether in middle school or when the seniors were freshmen. Believe it or not, I would say it hasn’t been a major transition. Are we where I want to be right now? No. But I think we’re getting there. It’s going to allow us to be where we want to be.

Q: On defense, do you have a particular plan on 3-4 vs. 4-3, or a little bit of both, or something else entirely?

A: We’re going to be different on defense. I’m going to be changing the defense from what we did last year. I want to be able to go back and do what I’m accustomed to doing. We’ll have a different defensive coordinator in that spot. We’ll know who that’s going to be soon. Right now, I’m doing both sides. On defense, I want to be simple but I want to be fast. I want to use our athleticism, to play our responsibilities, play quick, and not think out there. Just play our responsibilities. If we do that, we’ll be fine. But we’ve got to be good playing our base defense no matter what the situation.

Q: Do you envision hiring a replacement for Coach (Tony) Butler or bringing someone up from the current staff?

A: I envision bringing someone I know in. We haven’t posted the job yet, I think that will happen this week. But my vision is bringing someone I know. If that doesn’t happen, we’ll do some different things, but I will probably do a lot of it myself. It’s not quite ideal, but I want someone who can fix things the way I want them fixed.

Basford, Maddox named to TN Future Stars teams

Two Jim Satterfield football players will compete with and against the state’s best middle school talent as part of the 2017 Tennessee Future Stars competition.

Offensive lineman Mason Basford was named to the eighth-grade squad, while quarterback Mason Maddox was selected for the seventh-grade team. Eighth-grader Cameron Rankins was also named as an alternate.

“Over 500 players try out across the state of Tennessee,” said Basford’s mother, Misty Butler. “They pick about 50.”

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Mason Basford, who just completed the eighth grade, has been named to the TN Future Stars team.

Basford went through a tryout in Nashville in April and was chosen for the team as a center.

On June 14, the players will report to training camp at Austin Peay State University. Former Tennessee Vol Todd Kelly will coach the eighth-grade squad, while the seventh-graders will be under the direction of ex-Vol Chris Wampler.

“They get to stay on campus, eat there, train there,” Butler said. “They do three-a-day practices then play against Kentucky on Saturday (June 17).”

Basford played center/nose guard at JSMS and was an all-conference selection as both a seventh- and eighth-grader. JSMS has won the last three conference championships, compiling a 26-1 record over that stretch.

Asked whether he prefers offense or defense, Basford merely smiled and said, “Whatever helps the team most; wherever they need me.”

Basford began playing youth football at age 6 and said he “was pretty much born at the ball field.”

“My dad helped start the youth football league, and ever since I’ve been with him at every football game we can go to!” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Butler contacted The Vidette to clarify that it was Mason’s grandfather who started the youth league).

Basford participated in a limited version of spring practice along with the other freshmen-to-be at TCHS, and said he was looking forward to the upcoming season.

“It’s going to be difficult, but it’ll be all right,” he said.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Butler resigns as TCHS defensive coordinator

Tony Butler has resigned his teaching and coaching positions at Trousdale County High School after serving as defensive coordinator for the Yellow Jackets football team for the previous two years.

Tony Butler

Butler has accepted a position at Battle Ground Academy, where he will serve as assistant athletics director and assistant football coach for the Wildcats.

“I am very appreciative to the administration and staff at Trousdale County Schools for the opportunity to coach the Yellow Jackets for the past two seasons,” Butler said.

New tick disease should make you cautious

A new tick-borne disease that is more serious than Lyme disease is prompting warnings from health care officials for outdoorsmen to take precautions.

The virus is called Powassan and is spread to humans through tick bites. Tick bites commonly cause redness, itching and swelling, but the symptoms are greatly compounded by a bite from an infected tick.

In addition to the Powassan virus, tick bites can infect the victim with Lyme disease – in which symptoms of lethargy and aching joints may not develop for weeks – and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Tiny ticks can be dangerous.

Most tick bites are not dangerous. Once the tick is removed, the bite can be treated with a common antiseptic or rubbing alcohol. If the bitten area becomes infected or inflamed and remains so for more than a couple of days, medical attention should be sought.

When removing a tick, it is important to make sure the head does not break off from the body and remain imbedded in the flesh. That is the cause of most infections.

The best way to remove a tick is with tweezers, grasping it as close to the head as possible and making sure the head is removed with the body.

During warm weather ticks thrive everywhere outdoors in Tennessee. They are particularly prevalent in grassy and brushy areas. They lie on weeds and other low-growing vegetation and attach themselves to animals or humans that brush against them.

After returning home from an outdoors excursion it is prudent to inspect for ticks. Check especially close around waistbands and socks.

Larger ticks are dark brown and can be easily spotted. Smaller ticks, however, can go undetected until they bite and cause a red, itching bump.

A hot, soapy shower or bath can remove ticks that are not latched on, but won’t dislodge ticks that have already mired into flesh.

There are a number of precautions that can be taken to lessen the chances of picking up a tick, starting with using a good insect repellent before heading outdoors. Liberally spray ankles and legs, where most ticks latch on, along with other area of the body. Re-spray every couple of hours.

When walking through thick weeds and grass, long pants will help keep ticks off, especially if the pants legs are tucked into the tops of socks. Wearing light-colored clothing makes hitchhiking ticks easier to spot.

Once home from the trip, immediately wash the clothing that was worn; leaving it on the floor or in a clothes hamper will allow any ticks aboard to drop off and perhaps latch on later.

After a hot, soapy bath or shower to get rid of any ticks that haven’t latched on, conduct a thorough body-search to look for any attached tickets. If found, remove with finger tips or – preferably – tweezers.

Treat the bite with antiseptic or alcohol and check periodically over the next few days for spreading redness and swelling that could indicate infection. In such an event, seek medical consultation.

Lyme disease, while not fatal, can be painful and debilitating and some patients require months to recover. Rocky Mountain spotted fever can likewise be serious, and the newly diagnosed Powassan virus even more so.

A tick bite is nothing to trifle with.

Rotary Club holds annual golf tournament

The Hartsville Rotary Club held its annual golf tournament Saturday at Gallatin’s Long Hollow Golf Course.

The annual event raises funds for the Rotary Club, which uses the funds to provide college scholarships, as well as for local projects in the community. Among this year’s projects is funding for school supplies for recipients of the Summer Backpack program, which provides food for children who might otherwise go without.

The winning team at the Rotary golf tournament was comprised of Steve Wilmore, Mike Wilmore, Sam Wilmore and Cory McDonald.

After dealing with rain and/or cool temperatures the last two years, Saturday proved a gorgeous day to be on the golf course, as 19 teams comprising 76 players came out to tee up for an 8 a.m. start.

According to early estimates, the tournament was expected to net around $8,500 after expenses, which would be the most ever for in the tournament’s 13-year history.

The winning team was comprised of Steve Wilmore, Mike Wilmore, Sam Wilmore and Cory McDonald, as the foursome shot a 58 in the scramble format. Each player received a $100 prize. Second place went to Greyson Painter, Greg Barton, Drue Jolly and Chris Meyers, while third place went to Dustin Dillehay, Jackie Dillehay and Taylor Dillehay.

The winning team in the second flight, with a score of 63, was Bobby Enoch, Caleb Enoch, Marty Carr and Jeff Linville.

Second- and third-place teams received $45 and $25 prizes respectively, with prizes awarded for first flight and second flight. Closest-to-the-hole prizes of $40 were won by Benny Johnson and Jim Grantham.

The Hartsville Rotary Club wishes to thank its corporate sponsors: CoreCivic, Advanced Propane, Citizens Bank, Compliance Enginering, Hartsville Cabinet, Huff Appliance LLC, Trousdale Medical Center, Blankenship Collision, Hartsville Tractor Company, Powell & Meadows, Dr. Bien Samson, Tri-County Electric, Trousdale Comfort HVAC, Wilson Bank & Trust, WTNK and The Hartsville Vidette.

The Club also thanks those businesses who advertised in the tournament, as well as everyone who played.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Bledsoe Fort fair offers look into history

Earlier this month I wandered into a time machine, with the dial turned back to the 18th century.

Shaggy-haired long-hunters lounged about in greasy buckskins, leaning on their slender flintlock rifles. Women in homespun dresses tended pots and skillets over smoky campfires, and youngsters clad in frontier garb romped around log cabins.

The occasion was the Colonial Fair at Bledsoe’s Fort, an annual celebration of life and lives during the 18th century at one of Middle Tennessee’s first permanent settlements.

The period begins in 1750 when long-hunters and other adventurers ventured into the area, eventually followed by homesteaders and their families.

A visit to the Colonial Fair is a step back into Tennessee history.

The Bledsoe Fort area could be called Middle Tennessee’s cradle of civilization. The site was originally known as Bledsoe’s Lick, because of the nearby salt lick that for centuries had attracted wild game and the primitive hunters who pursued it.

The area was a prime hunting ground for Indians, whose mounds, caves and other archeological sites still exist. The natives fiercely resisted the intrusion of the whites, and battles were frequent and deadly. Indians killed the fort’s founder, Isaac Bledsoe, along with his brother Anthony, and both are buried in the ancient cemetery near the fort site.

Down the road is a monument to Bigfoot Spencer, among the first long-hunters to venture into what is now Castalian Springs. The monument sits on the site where Spencer survived a winter living in a hollow sycamore tree.

Later on, the historic homes of Wynnewood and Cragfont were built. The well-preserved structures offer guided tours. But the lavish frontier mansions of Wynnewood and Cragfont came long after the rough log cabins and lean-tos used by the first settlers, whose daily hardships and constant struggle for survival is a tribute to the human spirit.

That’s why the Colonial Fair is not just about daring adventurers and Indian fighters, but testament to the rituals and rigors of daily family life, represented by historic re-enactors.

The daily task of carrying water from the spring in the hollow below the fort, for example, was not just back-breaking, but meant risking one’s life from lurking Indians.

The mossy rocks of the 250-year-old spring house where butter and milk were stored for cooling are still there. You can dip your hand in the same pool of clear, icy water from which buffalo, Indians and frontiersmen drank centuries ago.

The Bledsoe’s Fort Historical Park, located 20 miles north of Lebanon on Highway 25 between Hartsville and Gallatin, is open year-round and free to the public.

For three days every spring, the Fort’s past comes alive. The Colonial Fair features 18th century musicians, dancers and other performers; a weaver producing linen on a primitive loom; traders and merchants plying their wares; a village blacksmith at his forge; frontier arts and crafts; muzzleloader shooting; and replicas of long-hunter camps.

Long-hunters, in whose tribute Long Hunter State Park is named, got their name from one of two ways: One theory is that they were named for their long flintlock rifles, which stood as tall as the average hunter. The other is that their name refers to the long hunts they went on, often lasting several months.

The Colonial Fair celebrates not just these hunters and adventurers, but their equally-undaunted families who followed them into the wilderness and – amazingly – survived and endured. Their story is ours.

Yellow Jackets baseball falls in district tournament

The Trousdale County Yellow Jackets saw their 2017 baseball season come to a close last week with two losses in the District 8-A Tournament at Watertown.

The Jackets fell to Goodpasture 15-7 on May 8 and remain winless against the Cougars since they joined the district four years ago.

In an elimination game the next day against Watertown, the Jackets took a 4-0 lead in the top of the third inning and led 6-5 in the eighth, but eventually lost 7-6 in nine innings to the Purple Tigers.

It was the Jackets’ fifth straight loss to Watertown and put TCHS’ record at 9-16 for the season.

After nine consecutive trips to the region tournament, the Jackets now have failed to reach regionals the last four years.

Trousdale County will bid farewell to five seniors: Wiley Barton, Dylan Coker, Colton Gammons, Tanner Lannom and Jordan White.