Hot Tracks and Cold Trails – Hunters Horn
Got home last night from the Eastern Carolina hunt at Foxhunter’s Paradise in Pamplico, S.C. and had a wonderful time as usual.
The 2012 Hound of the Year was decided there with a spectacular hound from Louisiana named Coot winning the hunt and the HOY. Tinker Atkins’ Lucy had a great hunt and placed in speed and drive and endurance, but didn’t have enough score to crack the top ten HGA. Both of these fine hounds performed the way we all hope that hounds will perform on a consistent basis and are worthy of any and all accolades that they get. The full report of this hunt will appear in a later issue of The Horn.
As most of you know, this was the last hunt to be held at Pamplico. The lumber company that owns the land decided not to lease it any more to the pen owners, so dog running there is over. I was a very sad person when I pulled out of that front gate for the last time.
The many memories that I have of this place include running hounds in the very first Eastern Carolina that was held here back in 1985. At this event, we kenneled the hounds in a tobacco warehouse over in Pamplico. There was a big turnout for this hunt which was won by the late Larry Yates. At this time, the pen had not yet been ditched and about half of the pen was under water.
I remember serving as a Master of Hounds for my first time at the 1987 Atlantic States, which was the first Atlantic States hunt.
In 1989, South Carolina State President, the late Mac McElveen had me to serve as the Master of Hounds. As the first day unfolded, I remember it being incredibly humid with mosquitos as big as buzzards attacking me everywhere I went. Then, later in the evening, Hurricane Hugo passed through and made the hunt a one day event.
I was able to attend all 6 All American’s that were held here even placing fourth in speed and drive in 1999. I can remember serving as Master at the 2008 All American which I will always believe was one of the best field trials that have ever occurred in the history of our sport.
I have been fortunate enough to have been able to help officiate here when the last 3 Hounds of the Year were decided. Certainly OTB Coot, Kyle’s Remington and Touchdown Super Sport were worthy of winning this high honor. I have also been able to watch hounds like Ward’s Quick Lips, Big Oaks Ellie May, Lakehill’s Ike and the incomparable Howard’s Maggie perform at this venue.
I have been able to enjoy many delicious meals here that were prepared by several different cooks that were always headed up by the lovely Lottie Poston.
I have been able to make many friends here over the years that, if not for attending events at this facility, I would never have met. I also cherish the memories of the legendary hunters who were regulars at events here. Ebbie McElveen, Hubert Clemons, Jimmy Brown and Larry Yates are a few of those that helped shape the direction of this place.
Finally, I will always appreciate the hard work that the pen owners did over the years to help make the Foxhunter’s Paradise a true foxhunter’s paradise. My good friend Charles Graham was at the top of this list and also qualifies as a legend. Some of the others included current pen owners Stewart Evans, Ludie Poston and Clayton Poston. Ray Poston, Nelson Evans and several others were heavily involved at some point and there were many folks who worked behind the scenes to keep the roads and other facilities in top shape. I will always have respect for these folks as they helped a lot of people truly enjoy themselves for the past 27 years.
On a somber note, I am sad to report to you the passing of R.A. Keith of Creedmoor, NC.
R.A., along with James Ray, helped make the Tar River Fox Preserve one of the top field trial facilities in the country over the past eight or nine years. When he and James took over, they invested a considerable amount of time and money to pour the game into the pen and to upgrade the kennels and the bunkhouse. R.A. took it upon himself to use his farm equipment to add much needed paths to the pen and to keep the roads clean as well as the other facilities. Because of this, I have been to several hunts there where 1000 points in speed and drive would not get a hound in the top 10. R.A, will be sorely missed.
By: Bill McGee