Don Griffis asked how I came to know Max so well. When a lawyer of Don’s caliber asks you a question, you better give it some deep thought.
Max and I hadn’t been all that close in high school where he was a year ahead of me. Max hung out with Joe Henderson, Jimmy Wheeler and other deplorables who were into coon hunting and bluegrass music during their mis-spent youth.
I told Don that when Max returned to Texas after his career as a Ph.D. scientist studying effects of exercise on the heart, he forced himself on me. He “encroached” on my ranch often. Using military terms since Max was a genuine marine: he invaded my ranch and then occupied it. Finally, I gave him the run of the place. Literally. Since he loved the outdoors so much, it was much cheaper than buying his own land. If I had a dollar for every mile Max jogged or walked out there, I could buy a King Ranch Ford Double-Cab.
But it wasn’t all one sided. Max loved physical work and he helped with countless projects that came along. No telling how many bow blinds and tree stands he built. He loved to repair our wooden blinds and had a truck full of tools for the job. He and his wife, Gene, built a pump house for a new well back during the 2011 drought. He always proudly claimed to buy Gene a new pair of work gloves every Christmas.
Speaking of Christmas, since his return from California, a day or two before that holiday, Max, with his military way of doing things said here’s the way we’d do it. He’d bring me a case of whatever beer I was drinking at the time, and I would give him a case of long-neck Budweiser’s. You might call it “Red Neck Gift Exchange.”
But his passion was trail cameras. He would keep six or eight active in the lead-up to either deer season or turkey season. His goal, which he never achieved, was to get a good photo of a mountain lion. But he did get countless bobcats and foxes, plus a coyote or two. And, thankfully, only a few hogs. The best photos Max ever collected were at a wet-weather water puddle up on a hill. You could see many tracks of various critters there in the mud. I encouraged Max to put one of his cameras there, just to see what he might get. For the three photos he showed me, he should have won a Pulitzer Prize. The first one was of a jack rabbit, standing tall and proud. The second image was a gray fox, trotting by the camera, right to left. The third image showed the fox, this time headed left to right. And he had the rabbit in his mouth.
There is no telling how many people were led to long distance running, or biking, or simply working out by Max. You’d never know it now, but 40 pounds and 40 years ago, I would run many races with Max. Of course, he was always way ahead – I was certainly no competition. For those of you who have never participated in such races, the field of runners quickly gets strung-out over a long distance. The speedsters are so far out front, you never even see them. The laggards are way behind and are of no interest. But those runners in your immediate area are your competitors. You are trying to get ahead of them; they are trying to out run you. Especially as you approach the finish line. You give it your best kick, and hope to pass as many as you can. It makes a huge difference if you finish as # 145 instead of # 146.
Near the end in one such race, I was firmly into my kick when Max’s wife, Gene, flew by me as if she’s been shot out of a cannon. Try as I might, I couldn’t even keep pace those last fifty yards. When it was all over, and when I finally had re-captured my wind and was able to speak, I told Max about the end of the race and how Gene had beat me so badly. Max asked if I knew how she was able to do that? Was there some secret to competitive running that he’d never told me?
He admitted that he had offered to buy Gene a new dress if she beat me in the race.
I told the always frugal Max that had I known that fact, I would have walked the entire ranch and she would have beaten me so badly, he would have to buy her two new dresses.
My main regret now is that no longer will I be seeing Max’s footprints in the dusty roads in all corners of that ranch. But I know he is in a much better, and pain-free place.
Max Sanders 1939 - 2019
John A. Newsome
1962 - 2018
We always referred to John A. Newsome as "Johnny" or "Junior" since his dad, John R., had the strongest claim on the name "John." John Senior first hunted with us way back in 1995. Within just a couple/three years, Johnny began accompaning the Newsome group which almost always included business associates and family. Johnny worked for his dad's company, SIM Products, as head of Sales.
In 2010, Johnny collected our Home Camp's "Buck of the Year." Both the hunter and the magnificent buck are memorialized on our Home Page, as seen below once again.
John A.Newsome, Effingham, IL 17" 12 pt. 147 7/8"
Back when we first met him, Johnny was a power-lifter and had arms like tree trunks. During the course of a four day hunt, he would leave camp to find a gym in town to get in a good workout. And he hunted just as intensely. He loved to walk and was fully capable to shooting an animal at a great distance. Johnny was often accompanied his Adobe Lodge hunts by his beautiful wife, Angie, and one of his children, John IV, who is almost as beefy as was his dad before the ravages of cancer finally took him down.
The entire Newsome clan has been an integral part of Adobe Lodge for almost 25 years. Losing Junior is akin to losing a family member. We offer our sincere condolences to his entire family, especially his dad and his wife.
1936 - 2017
T. William (Bill) Knapp hunted whitetails with us every single year since 1997. He passed away only a few months shy of his 21st hunt at Adobe Lodge.
Most remarkably, Bill Knapp collected our fabled "Buck of the Year" three separate times - the only hunter ever to do so - and his first time was on that very first hunt with us back in 1997. In fact, despite our standard warning to first-time hunters - "Don't shoot the first buck you will see" - that is exactly what Bill did. In confessing the error of his ways, Bill was fearful of some kind of admonition. But all he got was heaps of praise for harvesting such a magnificent buck.
1997 150 5/8 inches
2003 171 2/8 inches
2006 162 3/8 inches
Bill's second "Buck of the Year" also just happens to be the largest buck ever taken by a Home Camp hunter. What's more, the big guy was "rattled-in" by Bill's guide, Jerry Watts, obviously the largest buck ever collected by rattling.
The third Best-Buck came from a blind which Bill's guide (not Jerry) decided held little chance for success of any kind. The guide was trying to placate Bill's unhappiness at seeing little or nothing by placing him where the trend was likely to continue. Shows you how much any of us know about where the big ones might lurk. This 2006 buck currently sits in fourth place on our All Time Best Buck's list. Bill credited nothing but "Good Luck" for this one.
Back in 2002, Bill's buck that year was sitting in the # 1 position until our final hunt of the season. So he almost had a fourth title on his wall.
Only half in jest, Bill referred to himself as "The Legend of Adobe Lodge." None of us ever challenged his claim.
Over the two decades of hunting with us, Bill introduced us to his good-buddy, Ray Reynolds, his son, Eric Knapp, and a host of other friends including Wendell MacPherson. During the coming 2017 season, Bill was bringing two grandsons, Dylan and Andrew Knapp to show them what he found so addicting about his Adobe Lodge experiences.
We offer our sincerest condolences to Bill's entire family. For sure, he was speical to everyone at Adobe Lodge. The link below will take you to his obituary.