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.”
Jefferson "Tot" Goodwin whipped-in to Ben Hardaway for over twenty years, then in 1989 became huntsman of the Green Creek Hounds (SC). He’s the only black MFH in America. From a new book, Foxhunters Speak (The Derrydale Press, 2017), here is one of fifty interviews conducted by the author, Mary Kalergis.
Mary will be signing her books at the Virginia Foxhound Show in the Foxhunting Life booth. Come visit!
My granddaddy and dad always hunted dogs, and I started hunting the beagles every weekend when I was about eight years old. Now my granddaddy was a horseman. He used to break and train horses right outside of Columbus, Georgia. He died before I was old enough to really ride, so as a kid, I never had the opportunity to ride any nice horses. My parents had mules that plowed the farm. As a little boy, I never heard of mounted foxhunting. We hunted coons, rabbit, and deer on foot and ate everything we caught. There were sixteen kids in my family, so we never wasted any food.
In concert with the Virginia Foxhound Club and the Museum of Hounds and Hunting, selected members of the American Academy of Equine Artists (AAEA) have been organized by Academy President Booth Malone to produce a body of artwork for a foxhunting art show.
The idea for the show was conceived by Mrs. Ned “Nina” Bonnie (KY) and Michael Tang (CA). Every MFHA-registered foxhunting club in Virginia will be represented in sculpture and/or in painting by one or more of North America’s leading contemporary sporting artists. The art show will be hung at Morven Park in Leesburg over the Virginia Foxhound Show weekend in May of 2018.
The art show will happily coincide with Hark Forward, the MFHA-sponsored international foxhunting celebration also scheduled for next season. This initiative is the creation of newly-elected MFHA President Tony Leahy, who wishes to recapture the enthusiasm of all North American foxhunters, as did the MFHA-Centennial celebration season ten years ago. Tony’s committee has already been hard at work laying plans for regional joint meets, foxhound performance trials, and field hunter competitions for the 2017/2018 season.
Bull Run’s Spree was the top scoring foxhound in the Belle Meade Hunt Foxhound Performance Trials held in Thomson, Georgia on January 20 and 21, 2017. Of thirty-six hounds competing, Spree won three of the four scoring categories: Hunting, Trailing, and Endurance. In the Full Cry category, he was second.* His combined score led the field in points.
Six foxhounds from each of six hunts competed—Belle Meade Hunt (GA), Bridlespur Hunt (MO), Bull Run Hunt (VA), Farmington Hunt (VA), Fox River Valley Hunt (IL), and Mill Creek Hunt (IL). The three top scoring hunts, based on the combined scores of their hounds from first to third, were: Bull Run, Fox River Valley, and Belle Meade.
Trial Huntsman Sam Clifton was called upon during the award ceremonies to announce his choice—the hound he’d most like to take back to his own kennels. Huntsman’s Choice is an honorary award and receives no official prize, but, as in past trials, Sam’s reasoning for his personal choice was worth hearing.
With six hundred foxhounds from thirty-seven hunts showing in five separate rings at the Virginia Foxhound Show at Morven Park on Sunday, May 29, 2016, the hour gets late before the four individual division champions—American, Crossbred, English, and Penn-Marydel foxhounds—finally get their chance to face off for the William W. Brainard Jr. Perpetual Cup designating the Grand Champion of Show.
The hour arrived, somewhere around six p.m., as four handsome champions came together before Dr. John W.D. McDonald, MFH, judge of this prestigious class. It had been a long, hot, and tiring day for everyone—spectators, judges, handlers, and hounds alike. But one foxhound looked like he was still ready and happy to run from one end of the field to the other, which he did when asked to show his movement. With long, powerful, yet graceful strides that looked like a slow-motion camera had been set up just for him, Midland Striker made his statement and would not be denied.
“He is one of the most beautiful movers anyone could expect to see,” said Judge McDonald in admiration. “And he has perfect conformation.”