GREENVILLE–Is there anything that Dwight “Bufford” Edwards cannot do?
He builds and creates things, loves animals and people, sings, is a self-proclaimed professional storyteller, a poet and an artist.
“I do sing a little bit but, I never gave the guitar the respect to try and learn to play one,” said the retired Darke County game warden. “Cowboy action shooting is probably numero uno. I’m a professional storyteller and love to write poetry. I have some I wrote 45 years ago. God has blessed me with many talents and I intend to try and share them all with everyone that I can.”
His art work will be on exhibit at the Spring Craft Show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 29 at the Masonic Lodge at 200 Memorial Drive in Greenville.
He has been an artist since he was five years of age.
“I was told when I was in third grade when our class did pictures and that they sat in the Smithsonian one day,” he grinned.
What is his favorite genre when he is doing art work?
“I’m old fashioned, from the way I talk, the way I dress…it’s all old fashioned,” he replied. “My art work resembles that….vintage.”
He’s also proud of the full-body tattoos on both of his arms and chest. The art work there, he said, has to do with God, such as John 3:16, as well as other things that have reflected his life over the years.
Edwards has a knack for woodworking and loves making vintage signs.
Now, he is working on making bird houses this year and noted that he has a special plan for them.
“I will make my own pileated woodpecker,” he said. “My whole family is artistic….my mom, brother, sister, daughter. I kept it going after third grade.”
When creating his pieces of art, he uses felt-tip markers and no paint. And, he cannot do the art unless he gets in the “mood.”
“The spirit has to be there,” he advised. “If that mood leaves, I can’t draw a straight line. When that time comes, I leave my work where it is and don’t return until I get in the mood.”
And, he does all of his art work free-hand.
He has been known to make flyers for people and even created a sign for the Darke County Archers, but pointed out that he doesn’t draw people in his creations nor does he do anything that involves small detail.
“This is all God-gifted talent, I guess,” Edwards remarked.
He came to Darke County in the mid-1980s from Xenia, where he was working with the District 5 Headquarters in wildlife.
“My Dad, John Richard Edwards, brought me here (in Darke County) rabbit hunting as a little kid,” Bufford said. “He knew a man here that he served with in the military.”
In Xenia, Bufford served as a game warden at-large, floating all over Ohio.
“Then, they asked me to transfer here,” he recalled.”
He made his home in several different places in the Union City area and still does.
His plan was to have his own county in which to become a game warden. And, after the former game warden Fred Tyo, now deceased, went to Preble County and later served with the Darke County Sheriff’s Department as a dispatcher, Bufford took over, getting the job in 1985.
“We were on 24-hour call then,” he said. “I gave out citations but the physical arrests were few and far between, I worked with some of the best guys at the Darke County Sheriff’s Department when Robert Sullenbarger was sheriff. They were my right-hand men. There was never a time, if I needed help, that they didn’t come running.”
He said, with a snicker, that he taught Toby Spencer, Sullenbarger’s successor, how to rabbit hunt.
“I’ve seen so much stuff over the years but I’d do it all over again,” said Edwards, who himself decided to retire as game warden in 2010 after he ‘had enough years in.’
He confesses that he’s very competitive.
Edwards takes part in cowboy action shooting in competitions held all over the world. He himself goes all over Ohio.
He loves the cowboy life.
“The cowboy’s life is being kind to people,” he said. “They live by a code. I am a people-person.”
He said his neighbor, Dan Young, has a daughter who went to Ball State and had to do a project for college, So, she did a mini-document on him being a cowboy. And, he appeared in the documentary.
In addition to hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities that involves nature, Bufford loves golf.
“I vowed this year that instead of playing golf every single day, I would get some work done around my house,” he said, “I am finishing up the door to my old-fashioned bathroom. And, I want to cut wood, get it all split and stacked and cut in my wood yard and make a shed for it. I have to get that done.”
Edwards, who also built the cabinets in his kitchen, added, “This is all God-gifted talent, I guess.”
He keeps himself in shape by going to the YMCA four days a week to work out and is on a Keto diet.
“I changed my eating habits in the last six months,” he said. “My whole career (as a game warden), I walked all the time in fields.”
And, he is not immune to learning something new as he was introduced to Pickleball while recently vacationing for the last 3 1/2 months in Florida.
Another one of his loves is watching and re-watching what he calls the cowboy movie, the “Lonesome Dove” mini-series, admitting that it brings tears to his eyes.
His favorite piece of art was his creation of guns, and he is proud of his “Stick By Me” photos, in which he used a mechanical pencil.
He was born in Columbus, and graduated from Xenia High School in 1975.
“My dad was in the cleaning business and traveled everywhere,” he said. “We moved to D.C. in the 1960s. We were at an event and John F. Kennedy waved at us.”
Bufford has a lot more memories. He was there when the tornado struck Xenia in 1974.
“I watched the tornado destroy Xenia. That was very memorable,” he said. “A good friend of mine, Laura Hill, was one of the 36 killed in the tornado. I saw school buses tossed into the air like paper plates. I was 19 and will never forget that day.”
Now, in his 60s, he said he got his nickname Bufford from the lead character in the movie Walking Tall.
“It was given to me by Stan Feeland, who had an archery shop in Xenia,” he said.
Bufford has a daughter, Kara, living in Yellow Springs and has a granddaughter Gianna.
“I love art work, and anybody who wants me to do something for them can contact me through messenger on Facebook,” he said.