Huntsman Spencer Allen has gone through a rocky time in the past couple of years. He’s been forced to consider other options for his future, but he knows in his heart what he loves the most—working with and hunting foxhounds. And this is why he’s so happy to be in Monticello, Florida at Marty and Daphne Wood’s unparalleled establishment as huntsman for the Live Oak Hounds.
After serving six years in the Marine Corps, including a tour in Iraq, Allen began as an amateur whipper-in at the Bull Run Hunt (VA). Two seasons later he turned professional and moved to the Piedmont Fox Hounds (VA), serving four seasons as first whipper-in to huntsman Richard Roberts. Allen found himself working with a talented and attractive whipper-in, Rachel Gray, who also happened to be the daughter of the previous huntsman, Butch Gray. Spencer and Rachel were married, and in 2010 Spencer was named huntsman at Piedmont. He hunted the Piedmont hounds for five seasons, showing excellent sport, but trouble followed.
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.
Last year was the boys’ year. This year the Crossbred female, Fort Leavenworth Vixen 2013, evened the score with her littermate Valor by winning the Grand Championship at the Central States Hound Show.
Vixen is a speckled, mostly white tricolor by Brazos Valley Baxter ‘08 out of Fort Leavenworth Piper ‘07. American and Crossbred bloodlines are predominantly from Fort Leavenworth Hunt (KS), Brazos Valley Hounds (TX), and the Piedmont Fox Hounds (VA). The most recent contribution of pure English blood to this lovely Crossbred was from the Arapahoe Hunt kennels (CO), three generations back.
Stephanie Wilcox Carter, MFH and huntsman of the Fort Leavenworth pack describes Vixen as conformationally correct, happy, and unflappable.
Myopia Gammell 2012 is the second foxhound this season carrying the blood of the inimitable Potomac Jefferson to be named a Grand Champion of Show, this at the New England Hound Show held on Sunday, May 1, 2016.
Gammell was bred by now-retired huntsman Larry Pitts at Potomac, and drafted unentered to huntsman Tony Gammell at the Keswick Hunt (VA) in exchange for another breeding. Tony in turn drafted the still unentered pup to his pal, Brian Kiely, then huntsman at the Myopia Hunt (MA), who named the hound for Tony. Brian, of course, is now huntsman at Potomac, so that completes another circle, entirely!
The Open Timber course at Piedmont on Saturday, March 26th, was a happy hunting ground once again for Dakota Slew. Ridden this year by Mark Beecher, the brown gelding captured his third Open Timber Race in as many years over the Piedmont course for owner Magalen Bryant who took home the Rokeby Bowl yet again. He moved patiently up to first by the last fence and held off a hard challenge by Drift Society in the stretch to win by a neck. The Richard Valentine-trained Dakota Slew was the Leading Timber Horse in Virginia in 2015.
A foxhunter and conservationist with an impressive background in foreign affairs is seeking the Republican nomination for Virginia's Fifth Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Joe Whited, thirty-six, has mounted a campaign for the Republican nomination, one of four vying for the seat being vacated by Representative Robert Hurt (R). Whited wears the colors of the Old Dominion Hounds (VA) and helps run the club's annual point-to-point. His first race, however, will be purely political—the Republican primary in April.
Virginia’s Fifth District is the Commonwealth’s largest. The pie-shaped wedge includes much of Virginia hunt country, including territory of Piedmont, Orange County, Warrenton, Casanova, Old Dominion, Rappahannock, Thornton Hill-Fort Valley, Bull Run, Keswick, Farmington, Deep Run, Oak Ridge, Stonewall, Bedford, and Red Oak in Virginia, just north of Sedgefield and Red Mountain in North Carolina.