The 70th Virginia Foxhound Show took place on Sunday, May 28 on the tree-lined lawn at Morven Park, just outside Leesburg, Virginia. The largest hound show in North America, organized by the Virginia Foxhound Club (VFC), capped a weekend of events celebrating hounds, huntsmen, and sporting life. At day's end, Orange County (VA) Kermit earned the Grand Champion title, with Bull Run (VA) Ella receiving the nod as Best Performance Trial Hound.
Judge Coleman Perrin, ex-MFH, watches as Orange County Kermit moves out. Photo by Liz Callar.
The weekend's busy schedule began with Daniel Crane, Master of the Scarteen Hunt in Ireland, speaking Saturday morning about the influence of hunting on his art as one of Great Britain's premier sporting artists. The Resident Artist to the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, Crane addressed his audience in the Carriage Museum, one of many attractions at Morven Park enjoyed by show participants and spectators. Through the afternoon, hound trailers continued to arrive from across the country and the permanent kennels filled with singing hounds waiting for Sunday's competition.
Saturday evening, the Museum of Hounds and Hunting North America, which occupies a wing of the main house at Morven Park, inducted James Atkins, Marvin Beeman, DVM, and C. Martin Wood III into its Huntsmen's Room [read our separate article about this event here]. An enthusiastic audience celebrated these honorees, then moved to the VFC's tent on the lawn below for cocktails and dinner. They were entertained by the MFHA's Horn Blowing Championship, which saw judges and Masters Marion Thorne, Anne McIntosh, and Tad Zimmerman evaluate entries' calls while facing away to preserve objectivity. Perennial powerhouse Brian Kiely, Potomac Hunt (MD), successfully defended his title and took home the cash prize again.
Overcast skies kept temperatures tolerable for hounds and humans during show day on Sunday. Classes in the four rings were judged by C. Martin Wood III, MFH, George Hundt, Andrew Barclay, Charlotte McDonald, MFH, John W. D. McDonald, MFH, Richard Tyacke, MFH, Dr. John van Nagell, MFH, and Ginny Perrin, MFH. Participants in the MFHA's Professional Development Program participated as apprentice judges, listening keenly as the officials explained their criteria for each class.
Junior handlers focus on keeping their charges in line. M. Drum photo.
The overflowing junior handlers classes were judged by Iona Pillion, Kay Blassic, ex-MFH, and Catherine Thomas. The ring stewards kept busy encouraging the children and sometimes reminding hounds to mind their small handlers, especially in the younger division.
Throughout the day, spectators could visit dozens of vendor tents, admire the hunt club tailgates lining the show rings, and tour the special exhibit,"The Hunt Tables: 19th & 20th Century Hunt Scene China" at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting. Crowds moved toward the rolling lawn in front of the house in the late afternoon, when the pack class concluded the regular show schedule.
Orrin Ingram, MFH, then evaluated several hounds who had earned champion titles at MFHA Performance Trials during the preceding season. Epp Wilson, MFH, gave a helpful explanation of the significance of these hounds' proven records in the field, and also excellent conformation, and how important this selection could be in guiding breeding decisions for the working pack. Bull Run Ella '14 (Piedmont Ranter '10 x Bull Run Chawawa '12), a Crossbred hound shown by huntsman Charles Montgomery with whipper-in Elizabeth Montgomery, received the Benjamin Hardaway III Perpetual Cup for Best Performance Trial Hound.
Elizabeth and Charles Montgomery, Bull Run huntsman, show their Performance Trial Champion, Ella. Photo by Liz Callar.
"Ella was one of our strongest entries our first season at Bull Run, she is the dam of the first litter we bred here, and was one of the keenest hounds we had to figure out coyotes. It was my pleasure to see her receive such public recognition in winning the Performance Trial Championship," Montgomery said.
Four spectacular and very different hounds challenged Coleman P. Perrin, ex-MFH, to select the Grand Champion. Ultimately, American doghound Orange County Kermit '15 (Potomac Kadillac '12 x Orange County Pernod '11), shown by huntsman Reg Spreadborough, earned the title and the William W. Brainard, Jr. Perpetual Cup.