Dr. Steven Thomas, Master and huntsman of the Leavenworth Hunt (KS) was casting back a couple of years.
“Drop Zone was my favorite puppy,” he recalled. “He was home-raised. We always take in a few of the puppies to raise in the house,” he explained.
Drop Zone had recently been judged Grand Champion of Show at the 2022 Central States Hound Show hosted by Fort Leavenworth Hunt at Master Thomas’s Blue Valley Farm.
Hounds from six hunts were shown: Brazos Valley Hounds (TX), Bridlespur Hunt (MO), Fort Leavenworth Hunt (KS), Harvard Fox Hounds (OK), Mission Valley Hunt (KS), and North Hills Hunt (NE). Hounds were judged by huntsman Spencer Allen, Long Run Woodford Hounds (KY), and huntsman Andrew Bozdan, Camargo Hunt (OH).
The first foxhound show in North America in three years, and Hillsboro Wagtail ’20 has good reason to wag her tail...er...stern!
The fourteenth annual Southern Hound Show was memorable for several reasons. Nigel Peel, Ex-MFH, North Cotswold Foxhounds (UK), was ill and unable to come and join Co-Judge Marion Thorne, MFH, Genesee Valley Hunt (NY) and Apprentice-Judge Steven Thomas, MFH, Fort Leavenworth Hunt (KS). Ann Hughston, MBH, Ripshin Bassets (GA), who has judged foxhounds at Carolina, Virginia, the Canadian Hound Show, and Bassets at Peterborough, was a capable stand-in.
The mood was particularly festive as this was the first hound show in three years to be held in North America thanks to the Corona Virus. Sadly, Midland Fox Hounds (GA) had kennel cough and was unable to bring hounds, but eight packs showed hounds: Belle Meade Hunt (GA), Fox River Valley Hunt (IL), Goodwin Hounds (NC), Hillsboro Hounds (TN), Iroquois Hunt (KY), Live Oak Hounds (FL), Mooreland Hunt (AL), and Palm Beach Hounds (FL). Hounds competed under blue skies, but with chilly temperatures in the forties and low fifties and relentless high wind that made the seated lunch for over 150 people look like a food fight, with fried chicken, plates, napkins, and utensils flying through the air, all as the tent was trying to collapse!
In any sport, there are many terms that might be unfamiliar to anyone outside the circle. In rodeo, for example, not everyone might know the term bufford, dog fall, or union animal.* It was the same for me stepping out of my comfort zone to learn new terms in the foxhunting community. I rightfully earned the title of cropper within the first five minutes of the hunt. This is how it went.
The Central States hound Show was held on May 4, 2019 in Stilwell, Kansas, hosted by the Leavenworth Hunt. Hounds from six hunts were shown: Brazos Valley Hounds (TX), Bridlespur Hunt (MO), Fort Leavenworth Hunt (KS), Harvard Fox Hounds (OK), Mission Valley Hunt (KS), and North Hills Hunt (NE). Hounds were judged by Graham Buston, huntsman, Blue Ridge Hunt (VA).
Brazos Valley was the high scoring hunt for the day and was gunning for its third consecutive Grand Championship at Central States, but it was not to be. Grand Champion of Show was Harvard Goneaway 2018, drafted unentered by Hillsboro Hounds (TN) to Harvard and entered last season. Goneaway’s male line is highly prepotent, as we will see, and Goneaway’s story serves as a fine example of how the system is supposed to work: top breeding kennels generously drafting well-bred hounds to bolster other packs around the country.
Brazos Valley Playboy 2016, an American foxhound, was crowned Grand Champion of the Central States Hound Show in Stilwell Kansas, on May 12, 2018.
Playboy was bred much like European royalty—all in the family—but even more so. Breeders know that the results of inbreeding can be successful beyond one’s wildest dreams. Or a nightmare.
“People are going to wonder, ‘What was she thinking?’” Sandy Dixon, MFH of the Brazos Valley Hounds (TX), readily admitted last year when Playboy’s littermate, Precious, was judged Grand Champion of the Southwest Hound Show. Just as riders don’t plan for the occasional involuntary dismount, so Dixon didn’t plan on this involuntary mount.