Dear Members of the Virginia Foxhound Club,
In this post, I will outline some changes we are making to the Virginia Hound Show to reinforce fiscal responsibility to the membership and our dedication to improving the Virginia Hound Show for exhibitors and spectators alike.
First, I wish to extend my sincere thanks to Mrs. Joan Jones, ex-MFH for her leadership, friendship, and tutelage over the many years in which she helped prepare me for the challenges that lie ahead. I also wish to tell you that it is my intention to serve as President for no more than three years. It is my sincere hope that a young MFH will step up to succeed me in this position.
Today, we face the reality that the costs of the show have significantly increased over the past several years. We must look for ways to improve the show while also cutting expenses where possible. This is a challenge as the costs are organic to the location of the show and requirements established by Morven Park. In this post, I will lay out the changes we are enacting to meet these challenges. If we fail to act now and continue on our current path unchecked, we will ultimately signal the end of the Virginia Hound Show.
Among the expenses we have each year are:
- the annual stipend to Morven Park
- insurance (as required by Morven Park)
- straw for kennels
- show packets
- chair rentals
- shuttle bus and driver
- Morven Park cleanup to include pickup of hound waste on the grounds and kennels cleanup
- cups for classes without trophies and judges cups
- English judge’s transportation
- judges and spouses dinners
- golf carts
Website & Communications
To help modernize and communicate with our membership we have instituted a new website. The URL remains www.virginiafoxhoundclub.org but its refreshed layout and navigation provides improved communication with members, exhibitors, and spectators alike.
The website is now the primary communication method with hunts and members of the foxhunting community and will replace regular mailings and printings of invitations and the prize list.
In years past, we have printed and mailed the prize list and dinner invitation to all members of the Virginia Foxhound Club (member hunts and individuals). This very costly method of communicating required several drafts, reviewing, printing, and mailing costs. The elimination of this paper method will help offset our climbing show costs- and enables digital transformation.
Sunday, February 11, 2024
Chase’s End Farm: 17237 Antioch Rd., Milford, VA 22514
Traditionally, we hold our Annual Meeting on the second Sunday in February. This has been held at a variety of venues with the addition of a guest speaker and silent auction.
I have asked Mr. Coleman Perrin, Ex-MFH to hold a “fireside chat” about what he undertook while Master of Deep Run Hunt to expand their territory. These actions ensured the viability and continued success of that hunt. All hunt territory is impacted by changing landowners and rural development on the eastern seaboard.
Hunts are beginning to face closure due to loss of territory while others will look to moving their hunt country or potential amalgamating with adjoining hunts. Few hunts are exempt from this challenge, and I believe we can learn from Coleman’s efforts that secured the future for Deep Run Hunt.
The upcoming Annual Meeting will be structured more like a hunt breakfast at our farm and will include a silent auction and cash bar. I am confident you will be well fed and watered! It will be open to all current members of the Virginia Foxhound Club and tickets are $35 per person. This will include your lunch and initial drink. Please RSVP and pay via the website.
Hound Show & Tent Location
I met with the Morven Park staff to identify a way to enable people to park closer to the grounds, both for the dinner the night before and the day of the show, but we were unsuccessful in getting a concession in that area. However, they have agreed to our moving the tent for dinner closer to the parking area, which, in turn, would make the pack and championship classes significantly closer to the kennels. We will hold the dinner in the Tent on the “Green,” which is close to the main gravel parking area and at the end of the grass field used for parking (see photo below).
This move will make it significantly more convenient for people parking both in the field and the parking lot and will afford us the opportunity to reserve handicap parking and reserved parking for the Show Sponsors.
For attendees of the Hound Show dinner, it will be significantly more convenient to park and attend. For the day of the show, we will continue the bus shuttle in the morning but eliminate it for the afternoon. In the late afternoon the Dinner tent will be where attendees gather to watch the pack classes, the Performance Champion, and Grand Champion classes.
There will be no change to the location of the kennels, Secretary’s Tent, vendors, or the show rings. We will, however, make a change in the two cross bred rings to be “over 25 couple” and “under 25 couple” to even out the two ring’s entries.
Tailgate spaces continue to be on a first come – first serve basis and, as before, we will have the hospitality shed at the bottom row of the kennels.
To provide sufficient instructions to our stewards and clerks to help make the show run smoothly, we are renewing the former practice of having a chief steward who will oversee the five rings to make them operate efficiently. I have asked our long-standing English Ring Steward, Mr. Bill Burnette, MFH to serve in this capacity.
We are fortunate to have a great Show Secretary in Ms. Stuart Sanders who will continue the initiatives instituted over the last couple of years to make registering and making changes as easy as possible for exhibitors. We are also looking at improvements in other areas, which we will announce on the website.
Last year, we instituted a very successful sponsorship program. We will continue to offer these opportunities to help offset expenses and keep class fees unchanged.
Please contact me directly at 703-447-2816 to confirm your desire to become a sponsor.
The cost of sponsorship for the rings or classes listed below is $500 and includes a sponsor banner at the ring, sponsor listing in the program, and a reserved parking space marked by name near the dinner tent for both the day before and day of the show.
- American Ring: Sponsored by Sherry Buttrick, ex-MFH
- Crossbred Ring (Over 25 couple): Sponsored by Friends of the Deep Run Hunt
- Crossbred Ring (Under 25 couple): Sponsored by Anne McIntosh, MFH
- English Ring: Sponsored by Linda Jenkins Armbrust, Ex-MFH
- PMD Ring: Dr. Sara Willard
- Junior Handlers Classes: Sponsored by Clinton Kelley and Jill Marshall
- Champion Performance Trial Hound Class: Sponsored by Billie-Jo Pearl
- Grand Champion Class: Sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. C. Martin Wood III, Jt. MFH
We are also fortunate to have a special Huntsman’s purse and Hunt purse for the best Performance Hound courtesy of Clinton Kelley and Jill Marshall of Irish Horses North America. This will be the second year they have donated this generous purse.
We are faced, like many organizations, with an aging group of volunteers, and I am asking everyone to identify younger volunteers who can help put on the show and take it to the next level to ensure the show’s continuation for generations to come.
I am charging everyone to step up and make the Virginia Hound Show, the largest foxhound show in the world, the best possible event for the foxhunting community.
Clearly, the advantage of the show is to see the top breeding in North America each year, but it also serves as a unique forum to exchange ideas and share camaraderie between foxhunters, Huntsmen, Staff, and Masters.
The cost of putting on this show has almost tripled over the past couple of years, and we are reluctant to increase costs for exhibitors who already spend a great deal of money coming to the show. So, we must find ways to make the show successful and pleasant for attendees but also economize and the changes outlined above are in that spirit. Feel free to contact me at any time with your concerns or ideas.
Thank you for supporting the Virginia Foxhound Club and please identify a young foxhunter to help with the show. We welcome everyone to participate and join us Memorial Day weekend in 2024.
Robert N. Ferrer, MFH