Our Annual Meeting in New York City on January 26 was an enthusiastic opportunity to thank our leadership for their hard work, to recognize individuals and clubs who have contibuted to our sport, and to anticipate an exciting year ahead. In addition to acknowledging Board members and newly elected Masters, the occasion highlighted this year's recipient of the prestigious Hunting Habitat Conservation Award and a new trophy for the championship performance trial hound.
Deep Run Master Ginny Perrin accepts the award from Daphne Wood.
President Tony Leahy's and officers' reports reflected steady growth in our Subscribing Membership numbers and welcomed our newest member hunt, Tot Goodwin's Goodwin Hounds, making 150 total recognized or registered packs. The packed room listened to positive financial reports from both the Association and the Foundation, including responsible stewardship toward the completion of our new headquarters building in Middleburg.
Deep Run Hunt Club (VA) turned out in force to accept the Hunting Habitat Conservation Award from Conservation Committee Chair Daphne Wood, MFH, Live Oak Hounds. Please see the Spring issue of Covertside Magazine for an in-depth feature on Deep Run's conservation work. Master Ginny Perrin and others spoke about Deep Run's resilient and proactive work to find and protect country in the rapidly growing Richmond, VA area. Their professionally-produced video, featuring spectacular drone footage of the hunt, was shared and several generations of Deep Run members came forward to accept the hand-painted display plate and the $5,000 award.
Congratulations to all the Deep Run family!
Former MFHA President Mason H. Lampton, MFH, Midland Fox Hounds, then presented a stunning bronze hound bust to Hillsboro Hounds (TN) in recognition of their Salty '15, overall winner of the Hark Forward Performance Trials Championship. Donated by Lampton and his wife, Mary Lu, and created by Margery Torrey, the lifelike piece will be on display at our new home in Middleburg.
The Performance Trials Championship trophy.
Executive Director David Twiggs praised Marion Chungo for her exemplary efforts organizing the Junior North American Field Hunter Championships. He emphasized the importance of involving children in our sport and the JNAFHC's focus on teaching kids land conservation as a key element of foxhunting.
Outgoing Board members Terry Hook, MFH, Green Mountain Hounds and Tad Zimmerman, MFH, Piedmont Fox Hounds, were thanked for their active service. Eleanor Parkes, MFH, Hillsboro Hounds, received gratitude for stepping in to complete Orrin Ingram's term, and new members Suzanne Levy, MFH, Wentworth Hunt and Anne McIntosh, MFH, Blue Ridge, were approved.
Following the business meeting, Lampton gave a humorous but detailed review of the progress the MFHA has made since our centenary in 2007. He reflected on the previous six terms of MFHA presidencies, which laid the groundwork for the volume of new events, joint meets, performance trials, hunter trials, hound shows, fundraisers, and both the financial success and camaraderie of the Hark Forward initiative. "These results have taken a small organization with a very limited scope, and converted it to an organization that can address the changing focus of society," he said. "We have exhibited the creativity to overcome the barriers as we constantly morph into a modern promotional hunting association."
Lampton concluded with the following exhortation to the membership:
"We have set the stage, made our plans, and armed ourselves with knowledge. Now we've got to go forth, have fun, gallop across the country without stepping in a hole, enjoy ourselves, fill the calendar with joint meets, hunt weeks, hunter trials, hounds shows, and seminars.
'Let's recruit good people to serve as staff and support them through the Professional Development Program. If we do this, we will perpetuate and promote the sport to new members. Let's bring them to Middleburg and teach them our rich history in our new office complex.
"Let us leave a legacy of hunting to our successors."