A small group of us headed down for what has become an annual pilgrimage to Hoffman NC for the Sedgefield Cup, a performance hound trial put on by the Sedgefield Hunt. Most of you already know what a great group the Sedgefield Hunt is, and this year was no exception. Great hunting, fun, food, and friends make the weekend really special.
The Sedgefield group does a fabulous job with this event, making everyone feel welcome and entertaining us all weekend! A bit thank you to them all for all the hard work.
We got really lucky with the weather, as it didn't actually rain or storm on us while we were riding. Scenting was tough the first day, but the huntsman, Lincoln Sadler (who knows the Sandhills Gamelands like the back of his hand) moved hounds quickly from covert to covert in search of the elusive game.
Finally, after being out for a good while, hounds struck in one of the coverts (they call them "heads" -- deep mucky bogs of green foliage and swampy terrain) and started getting stronger and stronger. Fred Berry kept the field as close to the coverts as he could, which meant we got to see a lot of houndwork.
Let me tell you that you haven't gotten goosebumps like this until you have been next to a covert with close to 50 hound voices crescendo as they come closer and closer. Surely SOMETHING has to pop out! Sure enough, a BEAUTIFUL gray fox broke covert and zigazgged in front of the whole first flight! Hounds came out right after, and Kate and I saw Tenson and Sawyer first to work out and speak on the line and take off in full cry.
This gray fox gave us a pretty good run, and was viewed a couple times I believe, so judges got some good scores.
At the end of the first day we returned for dinner and awards. Believe it or not, Texas was the star of the show, followed by Charlie and Tenson. Rockbridge Hunt, who has won this event in past years, also had some great placings and shows a very consistent pack with many of their hounds scoring very well and placing.
We were surprised and thrilled to hear Texas named the #1 hound for the first day (overall) and our pack named first overall for the day, and Charlie was 5th and Tenson 7th overall as well. Rockbridge and Full Cry (from Alabama) also placed very well.
Mitzi Cabeen, last year's "Cutest Huntsman" somehow convinced a dozen or so huntsmen and women to get up in front of everyone and do the "Chicken Dance" to see who earned the crown. Gary Riggs from Red Mountain really got into it and gave the best chicken dance which drew hoots and hollers from the crowd and earned him the award for this year. It was really funny!
The second day dawned with the threat of more rain, but nothing ever came of it. Hounds found pretty quickly and started in full cry again. We thought maybe coyote, but they circled back around and it was a gray fox.
Unfortunately a giant bottomless puddle tried to eat my horse, and he went down on his knees and up to his belly in the sandy churned up water, and I came off hard (luckly in a soft sandy spot!) Since I had hit my shoulder hard and my head too, I elected to go back in. After that "concussion jump" fall awhile back I realized you often don't know you have a concussion til later, and I didn't want to risk galloping around anymore.
It sounded like the fox was coming back to where the field ended up stopping (on the other side of the evil puddle) and I waited with Uzi to see if the fox might cross, but he circled and they all took off. I understand the fox was viewed and chased for awhile, then hounds found a coyote afterwards. Lili and others said how much better the pack sounded on that fox than the coyote.
Everyone came back very excited about that day's hunt as well.
Day 2 awards found Rockbridge hounds really pulling hard and taking the day 2 top pack award, but Texas was again the top hound for the day and Charlie 5th and Tenson 7th again!
Sedgefield Cup Performance Trial
3/24/2012-3/25/2012 (2 day totals)
We all had a great time, and thank our huntsman and MFH, Lili for the opportunity to hunt with her and our fabulous red & white American Hounds. They really performed well at this event--a testament to her breeding and training program (both Charlie and Texas are sired by Tenson, a previous winner of the event!).
Congratulations, also, to our friends at Rockbridge Hunt who have shown year after year that they have a great pack of consistently hard-hunting hounds. Not to mention that they are a hoot to hang out with!
We hope more of you will attend next year -- it's a fun event not to be missed! Hopefully the rest who attended will add their comments below.