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Mells Opening Meet


Photos by Patricia Branan-Wendell, Equestrian Influence

On Saturday November 14, 2020 The Mells Foxhounds celebrated 56 years of continuous hunting in Giles County, Tennessee at their annual Opening Meet and Blessing of the Hounds. The field gathered at the Goodman Equestrian Facility near Lynnville, Tennessee and were greeted by Mr. & Ms. Fox painted by Carla Babcock, special guest with her husband from Ohio,  along with Stirrup Cups, coffee, and biscuits. The event hall was beautifully decorated by Mr. Joe Rankin of Rankin Interiors in Jackson, MS.  

Mells welcomed several former Masters, as well as current Masters: Stasia Backrach, MFH; Karen Kressenberg, MFH; Bill Haggard, MFH; Gerald Robeson, MFH; Charles Montgonery, MFH; and Theresa Menefee, MFH. Huntsman Charles Montgomery hunted the hounds, with support from professional Whippers-In Boo Montgomery and Clare Pinney, along with Honorary Whippers-In Cole and Lisa Cowley, Bob Esslinger, and Stephen Heard.

Blessing of the Hounds was given by Dr. Dennis Haskins, minister of the International Church of Four Square Gospel and Associate Professor of the DW Johnson School of Business at the Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, TN. Mr. Bill Haggard, MFH gave the introductions and instructions for the day’s hunt.

Mells had absolutely beautiful fall weather for their meet, hunting the Sugar Valley Farm near Lynnville, Tenn. They had an amazing turnout of 86 riders, enough for four fields. Field Masters were Stephen Heard, leading the First Flight Field; Brian Johnson, leading Second Flight; and Col. Bruce Cheever, leading Third Flight, and Sonja Esslinger, leading Fourth Flight. Several young members of Cedar Hill Pony Club joined the hunt, as well as MBH Ron Ausman of the Okaw Valley Foot Bassets.

The foxhounds provided good hunting, with many views of the coyote and some fast-paced galloping and jumping.
After the hunt, riders returned to Goodman for a delicious hunt breakfast of prime rib, catered by Russell Catering Service from Lewisburg, TN.

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