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2002/12/18

Longreen Opening Hunt Raises $10,000 for St. Jude Submitted by Susan Walker, MFH Photos courtesy of www.baldwinphoto.net Longreen Hunt Club gathered to celebrate its 45th season in grand style on Noember 2, 2002. Gray clouds, threatening rain, and chilly winds whipped leaves around Longreen, south of Rossville. Inside the clubhouse and under the tent to the south, both artistically decorated with pine, magnolia, pumpkins, and hunt related items, people warmed up with Starbucks coffee, hot chocolate, and donuts procured by Dora Wagner. Wendy Shea and her volunteers distributed glasses of punch for friends and family to toast the season ahead. To start the morning's event, the tradition of the stirrup cup was set up on the hillside south of the home of Kate and Allen Mueller, MFH. At age 87, Mr. Bart Mueller founded the first traditional hunt of horses and hounds in West Tennessee in the fifties. With the ancestors of Longreen's current hounds, Mueller greeted landowners, friends from visiting hunts, memebers and visitors, both local and out of state. Since Bart established the Longreen territory in the Fayette County area back in the sixties, he gave special thanks to the landowners, without whose continued cooperation, the sport of foxhunting would cease to exist. A day in the field behind a pack of hounds trailing a coyote line can cover up to 5000 acres. In the past, the hunt would trail fox, but have since been chased off by coyoetes who followed food in the 1970's in the form of heavy deer population increases. When coyotes moved in, they chased the foxes out. Bill Gray, announcer for the day, extended Longreen's sincere appreciation for all of the Volunteer Help and Donations that made the day a success. A special thanks went out for the generosity of the surrounding Landowners in their support of our sport. Over 180 people gathered as Rev. John Sterling of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Collierville led the blessing of the hounds, horses, riders, and our friends, and the wiley coyotes, who provide scent that the hounds trail. Then hounds moved off followed by over forty riders and four hay wagons. All of this came together and enabled Longreen to raise over $10,240 for St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital. Each person involved in the day's festivities touched a child's life in the battle against cancer. The coverts hunting just south of highway 57 were confined to wooded areas because the soybeans had not been harvested. A pack of hounds can do damage to a crop while running through ripe beans. Several deer were seen, but hounds did not detect any coyote scent. As they loudly snuffled through the grass and woods. Even in the south part of the county, owned by the Shockey and Pulliam families, multiple deer were seen. No coyote scent was holding on the ground for the hounds to speak to for any distance. With wagging tails and wet tongues, the pack took a break for some petting and spoiling as they greeted children from the hay wagons. Everyone regrouped and headed for the trailers just as a wiley coyote appeared crossing an opening two fields to the West. Fieldmaster Rose Marie Lawson drew everyone's attention with a loud "tally ho" There was the temptation to take the hounds to the line, but it was overruled by the masses who were ready for the feast waiting back at the clubhouse. With a deep sigh, we all tipped our hats and said "another day" as hounds headed home. Bart Mueller has enjoyed sharing these special hounds with people over the years. He selectively bred for loud, bugle voices, long ears (Mr. Mueller says the longer the ear the longer the voice.) keen sensitive nose, and a hound who wants to please its huntsman. The mueller longreen Kennel of 32 hounds contains pure Penn Marydel Bloodlines of the 1900's. Unlike most American packs, Longreen hounds are not crossbred with English or any other American hound lines. While hounds curled up in their straw and horses pushed noses into haynets, Longreen supporters enjoyed smoked ham, omelets, cheese grits, bisquits with jam, mulled fruit and hot apple cobbler served in grand style by Hog Wild compliments of the summit club. At the day's end, all of us took home memories of a day filled with fellowship and excitement that nature can stir within us while watching horses, hounds, deer and wiley coyote float effortlessly across a grassy meadow. In gathering these memories, we contributed towards the lives of children, that they may live long enough to have memories of their own. Longreen thanks each and every person who became involved with their opening meet 2001 and 2002. Thanks for creating memories.

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