MFHA President Tony Leahy and the Fox River Valley/Massbach Hounds hosted the kick-off Performance Trial on the Hark Forward Tour in their western Illinois hunting country on September 16 and 17, 2017.
By the time it was over, everyone took home a renewed appreciation for the hard work and knowhow it takes to make and maintain a good hunting pack of foxhounds. Certainly the fact that littermates brought up by different hunts and trained by different staffs, rose like cream to the top of the scoring is convincing proof that breeding matters! Next stop on the tour is Millbrook, New York.
Hillsboro Hounds (TN) huntsman Johnnie Gray sidestepped his usual protocol and made a breeding decision that turned out quite well. Two years ago in the show rings his own hounds came up against Midland Striker a few times, and Johnnie liked the yet un-entered Midland dog hound. Before sending a bi*ch* out to be bred, however, Johnnie’s practice is first to see the potential sire in the hunting field so he knows that it hunts well. At that point, no one had yet seen Striker in the hunting field.
“I didn’t want to take a chance and wait another year—who knows what might happen?—and I knew Striker’s sire and dam were good hunting hounds. The bi*ch I wanted to breed was Warwickshire Daylight 2012. There was no question about her hunting ability, so I went ahead and sent her to Striker at Midland.”
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.”
The fabled American foxhound who, along with his get, cornered the silver market in North America has passed on. Potomac Jefferson 2005 was the MFHA Centennial Grand Champion Foxhound at both the 2007 Virginia Foxhound Show and the Bryn Mawr Hound Show one week later.
That year, 2007, marked the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Masters of Foxhounds Association. The entire year was filled with special exhibits, competitions, and events all across the country, attracting large and enthusiastic crowds of foxhunters, horses, and hounds. The classes of all the hound shows were swelled with the best examples of foxhounds that could be mustered, along with their supporters. The year 2007 was a big deal.
Foxhounds weren’t the only newsmakers at the Virginia Foxhound Show. A few people were worth noting as well!
Three individuals were introduced for induction into the Huntsmen’s Room of the Museum of Hounds and Hunting in ceremonies on Saturday evening. Before dinner under the tent, Jake Carle, ex-MFH, spoke eloquently, reverently, and at the right times humorously about the three men who have hunted hounds with distinction for many years: C. Martin Wood, III, MFH, Live Oak Hounds (FL), G. Marvin Beeman, MFH, Arapaho Hunt (CO), and the late Jim Atkins who hunted hounds for the Piedmont Fox Hounds, Old Dominion Hounds, and the Warrenton Hunt, all in Virginia.