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The 2022 National Foxhound Performance Trials Championship
Photos by Mark Jump Photography
The 2022 National Foxhound Performance Trials Championship is the culmination of nine regional performance trials held around America over the past year. With the top ten qualifiers from each trial coming together to form the ultimate “Super Pack,” riders and spectators saw the best of the best competing for Best Hound in the country. “More than 50 Hounds from 18 states competed across two days of hunting and were followed by a field of 170 riders,” summarized photographer Mark Jump. “Congratulations to all who competed and attended this weekend, sponsored by the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) and hosted by the Sedgefield Hunt.”
The qualified foxhounds hunted on the premier bird dog field trial grounds on the East Coast. This 9,000 acre game mecca is stocked with 3,000 quail each year, but is not fox or coyote hunted all season.
The countryside has sand footing, with many sand roads and fire lanes making it easy for riders and truck followers to stay with the action. There were multiple fields, from First Flight to Hilltopper. The hillsides of open pines allow all flights to group above the hunting hounds so that everyone gets to watch these hounds at work. All foxhunters were welcome to participate, whether or not their hunt competes hounds.
The social events of the Performance Trial got underway on Friday March 25 with the hound numbering party, cocktails, dinner and Calcutta.
The first phase of the trial began at 8 a.m. on Saturday March 26 with a Formal Hunt, followed by the hunt breakfast at noon. Saturday evening’s festivities featured a BBQ dinner, with First Day Awards and a Whip Cracking Contest.
Sunday’s (March 27) hunt was Ratcatcher, again beginning at 8 a.m. with the hunt breakfast at noon. Culminating the trial were the Hound Show and the Grand Championship Awards.
This year’s National Champion Foxhound, with 312.5 points, is Indigo with Huntsman Tot Goodwin of the Goodwin Hounds. Indigo was top hound out of 55 hounds from across the USA competing in the National Foxhound Performance Trials in Hoffman, NC. The crowd wildly approved the choice of Top Hound for one of the renowned Huntsman in the Sport.
Indigo was the top foxhound after day 1 of the trials (297.5 points). Hillsboro Hounds’ Piston was fourth (237.5 points) and Charity was fifth (215 points). It was a great day’s hunt with two long chases on two coyotes. And a grey fox was viewed, reported Gretchen Pelham.
On day 2 of the trials, Tennessee Valley Hunt’s (TVH) Headboard was first (120 points) and TVH’s Wallet was second (67.5 points).
Gretchen Pelham commented that day 2 was quite different from day 1. “Lots of trying, but without the results of the day before,” she described. “They hit really quickly on a viewed grey fox. They really tried to keep it, screaming at times, but kept losing the scent. They eventually worked the line too close to the paved road and out of country. Then it took some time to gather them up and cast in another spot. Blank. Nothing. So at 11:15 a.m. they called it.”
In Overall scoring, Bull Run Hunt’s Wicked was second with 305 points and Hillsboro Hounds’ Piston was third with 282.5 points. Hillsboro Hounds’ Charity placed sixth (190 points) and Striker was thirteenth (47.5 points). Champion Huntsman’s Choice: Shawnee Dart.
View more of Mark Jump’s photos from the weekend’s performance trials at: https://markjumpphotography.mypixieset.comand on facebook at Mark Jump Photography.
Find more information about the Performance Hound Trials at: https://mfha.com/performance-trial and on facebook at Foxhound Performance Trials, https://www.facebook.com/FoxhoundPerformanceTrials/.
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