The National Beagle Club held its annual Triple Challenge Event at Aldie, Virginia last May. Combining Bench (conformation) and Stake (performance trials) competition, the five-day gathering included great camaraderie among the beagle enthusiasts, including many foxhunters in their ranks. The Stake judges, who followed on horseback to make their selections, were Hazel Hannon and Loudoun Fairfax Huntsman Andy Bozdan. A fundraising auction also took place.
Release the beagles! Photo courtesy Jessica Anderson.
Jessica Anderson, National Beagle Club (NBC) President, explains, "NBC founded the Triple Challenge event 20 years ago, and it is open only to the first 30 RSVP's at the appointed deadline. The Triple Challenge tests beagles individually on the bench; in a brace format (2 to 3 hounds competing against one another); and finally a large pack/stake which places all 30 hounds against one another to prove their abilities under the pressure of a full force pursuit of their quarry. It is an unbelievable competition and a rare opportunity to evaluate the beagle breed in a variety of divergent formats."
Gary's Runem Over Snoopdog, owned by Harry Burger, was the top placing hound for the bench show. The NBC Triple Challenge Overall Champion was Moore's Punk Rockk Star in the Park co-owned by by Gregg Moore and Paul Moore.
Moore's Punk Rockk Star in the Park, Overall Champion. Photo courtesy Jessica Anderson.
Judge Andy Bozdan commented, "I was very happy to be asked to be a judge at the beagle Triple Challenge Trials. As I spent 17 years as whipper-in and then huntsman of the Surrey and North Sussex beagles in the United Kingdom, I love my beagles and beagling!" He noted the difficulty of sorting out the field: "A true test for these hounds and as we had to make the cut each time it became harder and harder to separate the final few to come up with a winner. Amazingly, both of us judges actually agreed on what we had seen! And in the end our final 10 list was virtually identical."
The National Beagle Club of America, Inc., was established over a century ago with a few board members, hoping to create and reach out to dedicated beaglers and to improve the breed. Competition formats span from individual hound trials to pack competitions to conformation shows which have spread all across the country. Anderson adds, "It may have taken a few decades, but after finding a home base upon 400 acres in Aldie, Virginia at the former Loudoun Chemical & Agricultural Institute, the National Beagle Club is one of the few breed clubs to establish a home ground and can dedicate its acreage and knowledge to the betterment of the breed."
For more information about the Club's history and activities, please see its website.