This Must Be the Place

Crispin Wilson Nov 13Tommy Watley photo Crispin Wilson is perhaps the only professional staff member in America who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. The 29-year-old native of Southern Maryland has worked hard to forge a career and path of his own and currently serves as kennel huntsman at Midland Foxhounds, where he arrived two years ago after whipping in at the Deep Run Hunt Club (VA) for several seasons. A man of many interests, but none more so than hunting, he's recently found himself in the truck on the way to meets listening to a lot of the Clash, Talking Heads, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. 

Career Opportunities

Richard Oct 13WLS Photography, Bill SigafoosRaised on a working family farm in Shropshire, England where hunting and country sports were a way of life, Richard Roberts developed a love for the sport of foxhunting at an early age. His father, a skilled horseman with a life-long passion for all animals, was his largest influence as a young boy. Now in his third season as Huntsman for the Deep Run Hunt (VA), Roberts, who celebrated his fortieth birthday last year, has never doubted his career choice.

e-Covertside: How many hounds do you have and what is their breeding?
Richard: We have 41 ½ couple crossbred hunting hounds and 6 ½ couple puppies who will be entered next season. We hunt red & grey fox and coyote.

Sam Clifton Will Never Be Content

Sam Clifton GSVHChandler Willett photoSam Clifton, 33, has hunted the hounds of Green Spring Valley for the past seven years, but like many professionals he was born into a hunting family and has perpetuated the family custom. At Green Spring Valley, he has not only  found an organization just as steeped in tradition, but one that is dedicated to bolstering the sport in ever changing conditions, growing and learning to adapt and preserve fox hunting. The territory is located north and west of Baltimore, MD and encompasses part of Baltimore County and all of Carroll County, with a combination of open, rolling terrain with sections of wooded land. This area is the heart of Maryland steeplechasing and home to the Maryland Hunt Cup.

Slap Shot

NeillAmattsmallAdrian Jennings photoHave you ever met an ice hockey playing, hound hunting Englishman? If not, meet Neil Amatt. The 29 year old was quite literally born into the sport of foxhunting and is proud to be a third generation professional. Hailing from Newmarket, roughly 60 miles from London, Amatt spent his childhood engrossed in country pursuits of hunting, shooting, and racing. He landed in the US six years ago, going to work for Midland Foxhounds and spent the last season whipping in to Guy Allman at the Blue Ridge Hunt in Boyce, VA. As of May 1, he will be joining the Piedmont Fox Hounds, Upperville, VA, as First Whipper-in.

An Upstate New York State of Mind

Marion Thorne smallPhoto by William GambleHunting the hounds of the Genesee Valley Hunt has been a family affair for Marion Thorne for decades. Thorne’s stepfather, W. Austin Wadsworth, was Master and Huntsman of the pack during her childhood, and Thorne spent many days hunting, walking puppies, and whipping in before assuming the duties as Joint Master (2006) and Huntsman (2001) herself, presiding over the care of the 44 couple Crossbred and ½ couple English Foxhounds kenneled in the bucolic college town of Geneseo, NY. Her husband, Travis, serves as professional Whipper in and Kennelman.

e-Covertside: Name three things you never hunt without.
Marion: My breastplate, cell phone and lucky stock pin.

Oklahoma, OK! Julie Free and Laura Ruskoski of the Harvard Fox Hounds

Julie FreeJulie Free, photo by ArtbyJewell.comAlthough they differ in their choice of towing vehicle, Julie Free ("Ford this a serious question?") and Laura Ruskowski ("Chevy all the way!"), honorary whippers-in for the Harvard Foxhounds, share a dedication and love for hunting that finds them not only whipping in, but in kennels, feeding, walking and caring for the beloved pack of American and Crossbred hounds in Glenpool, OK, just south of Tulsa.

Free, who recently celebrated the “20th Anniversary of her 21st birthday”, has a “real job” supervising the sex offender team at the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, and is a convert from the world of barrel racing. Native Alaskan Ruskowski, 21, is a full-time student studying Medical Laboratory Science at Northeastern State University who plans on attending graduate school and forging a career in forensic anthropology.

They kindly and enthusiastically shared a few moments of their busy lives with e-Covertside. 

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