The first annual Moingona Invitational Performance Trial and Joint Meet was held March 7th-11th in the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas near the historic town of Council Grove. Early settlers traveling on the old Santa Fe Trail passed through this area and there are multiple historic markers pointing to sites where the old wagon ruts are still visible. The country is mainly comprised of cattle farms and boasts small coverts, open rolling hillsides, and excellent footing. It appears to be perfect habitat for coyotes and perfect terrain for following hounds on horseback. The weather ranged from sunny and warm to cold with freezing sleet over the course of the total 5 days of hunting. Despite the varying weather conditions there was great hunting and hound work on each day.
The trial took place over 3 days (quite a precedent given that the majority of Performance Trials are typically held over 2 days) followed by 2 days of Joint Meets. It would be a true test of the hounds’ (and the horses’ and riders’!) endurance. The participating packs were the Bridlespur Hunt (Missouri), the Full Cry Hounds (Alabama), the Grand Canyon Hounds (Arizona), and the Mill Creek Hunt (Illinois).
Moingona huntsman, Ken George, was huntsman for the trial and he put in a few of his own hounds to assist the 10 couple pack of competitors. The group of judges consisted of huntsmen from each of the participating packs plus other huntsmen, masters, and whipper-ins who were also attending the trial. A few of the judges rode in trucks with local greyhound hunters and; thanks to the drivers’ expert knowledge of roads, country, and game; got many scores that the mounted judges would have most likely missed. Coyotes were plentiful throughout the trial and judges easily recorded numerous scores each day. The field masters rode hard and always kept the field members up with the huntsman and hound action. In the end, it was the Full Cry Hounds taking top honors in both the Individual and Pack divisions (see full results below).
On Saturday and Sunday the Grand Canyon Hounds and the Moingona Hunt took their regular packs out and provided good sport for those attendees who still had enough horse left to keep up. Overall, it was an excellent 5 days of hunting and camaraderie in some prime coyote hunting country. The potential is there for this to be one of the premier Performance Trials in the country, so watch for it in the future. It is an experience you won’t want to miss!!!
Amanda Wilson is Whipper-in for Grand Canyon Hounds.