Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Grand Championship at Virginia Ends 15-Year Drought for Orange County

virginia 2017Orange County Kermit 2015, shown by huntsman Reg Spreadborough, is Grand Champion at Virginia Foxhound Show.  /  Liz Callar photo

The Grand Championship class for the coveted William W. Brainard, Jr. Perpetual Cup at the Virginia Foxhound Show finally got underway at around six p.m. It’s always an exciting class, despite the late hour on a day, May 28, 2017, that started at 9:00 a.m. for five hundred hounds and participants representing seventy hunts. Thunderstorms had struck towns all over Virginia from noontime on, but hardly a raindrop fell in Leesburg.

Four magnificent foxhounds walked out with their handlers: English, American, Crossbred, and Penn-Marydel Champions. Now they would vie for the Grand Championship of Show. Each of the four, after vanquishing all other hounds through the long day of winnowing, were obviously superb representatives of their respective breeds. In this observers view, absent any serious and previously undetected flaws in conformation, it would be a test of movement—that free-flowing, ground-covering, shock-absorbing, athletic, and energetic stride that tells the judge, “I can keep doing this day after day, year after year.”

Woodbrook Kent Is Grand Champion at Western States

WSHS2017WoodbrookKentHuntsman Jennifer Hansen and Western States Grand Champion of Show Woodbrook Kent 2014. Judges are huntsman Larry Pitts and Mary Ewing, MFH. /   Nancy Stevens-Brown photo

Honorary huntsman Jennifer Hansen credits the Woodbrook Masters who encouraged her to take hounds on a one-thousand-mile trip (each way!) from Washington State to Southern California to participate in the Western States Hound Show. It was the first time that Woodbrook had shown hounds in many years, and it was the first time Hansen ever showed hounds. And she took home the Grand Champion Foxhound of Show, Woodbrook Kent 2014.

“I was as nervous as I could be,” said Hansen, but  “I was so proud of Kent who held his stern high all day. [Judge] Mr. Pitts said, ‘That hound just can’t stand bad!’”

Central States Gives Brazos Valley 2nd Grand Championship of Season

central states 17.mudbug2.angela fainBrazos Valley Mudbug 2014 is Grand Champion Foxhound at the Central States Hound Show. Sandy Dixon, MFH shows hound. Judge John Gray is standing.  /   Angela Fain photo

Sandy Dixon, MFH and huntsman of the Brazos Valley Hounds scored her second Grand Championship this season, this time at the Central States Hound Show on May 13, 2017 in Stilwell, Kansas. Brazos Valley Mudbug 2014, an American foxhound, was judged Best in Show.

Mudbug is by Brazos Valley Jett 2012 ex Brazos Valley Minnow 2010. Mudbug’s dam Winnow is by Brazos Valley Catfish 2006, a three-time Grand Champion at the Southwest Hound Show.

Southwest Hound Show Grand Champion Is Born Closely to the Crown

Grand-Champion-foxhound-Brazos-Valley-Sandy-Dixon-MFH-John-Tabachka-huntsman-Sewickley-HuntSouthwest Grand Champion of Show Brazos Valley Precious 2016, shown by Sandy Dixon, MFH, is a lucky mistake. Standing is judge John Tabachka, professional huntsman for the Sewickley Hunt (PA). / Tara Tibbetts photo

Brazos Valley Precious 2016, an American foxhound, was crowned Grand Champion of the Southwest Hound Show on April 22, 2017. Precious is closely inbred; her sire and dam were littermates, Brazos Valley Mystic 2010 and Molly 2010, respectively. An unusual breeding practice for sure, and about which I was anxious to talk to breeder Sandy Dixon, MFH of the Brazos Valley Hounds (TX).

Both Mystic and Molly were hound show winners in Virginia, and their sire and dam were hound show winners. The four foxhounds comprising the first two generations from Precious account for eight grand championships at MFHA-sanctioned hound shows! And if you go back just one more generation, who appears in Precious’s pedigree (top and bottom, because her paternal and maternal grandparents are the same) but Potomac Jefferson 2005, the MFHA Centennial Grand Champion Foxhound...the king...the Clarke Gable of the North American foxhound world.