Sunday, February 21, 2010
Grand Course 2010
Since we missed the Grand Course last year I decided we should definitely go this year. For those who don't know, the Grand Course is NOFCA's season-end finale to the open field coursing season every February. It consists of two breed hunts judged by two different judges and one final mixed hunt consisting of the top half of all the breed winners from the breed hunts the days before. Since the event is so big the breeds are usually split up into different fields. This year the rarebreeds (that's us) got to hunt in the same field with the Greyhounds, Wolfhounds and while the and Whippets went to a separate field.
The first day of breed hunts we headed out to a field that ended up being like a hidden swamp due to all the strong rain we've had this year. Several cars in our hunting party, including mine, got stuck in the mud which held us up for a couple of hours while we dug them up and helped tow everyone out. Despite the delay we managed to finish before sunset. Gil walked away with the highest score in our breed hunt that day with Fecni coming in a close second. The cover was heavy and the rabbits hid themselves well which proved to be a challenge for the dogs but they still pulled off some good runs.
The second day we made a point to avoid muddy roads and headed to another field with drier ground. The brush was thicker and the terrain was rougher so several dogs had a hard time staying sighted. To utilize the field as efficiently as possible we worked as a double-ended gallery with two sets of hunters on each side. Unfortunately this caused several mishaps throughout the day when both ends would slip their dogs on the same hare by accident. This happened in Gil's course so in addition to running with his own trio he was also accompanied by a couple of wolfhounds. Despite the mistake the dogs had a great run and Gil ended up with the high score of the day, making him the winner of the rare breed hunt for the weekend. Fecni came in a close second and both were advanced to the final round.
Unfortunately the other hunting party didn't finish their second round of breed hunts and so had to continue on into the third day. The fog and lack of rabbits further delayed the completion of the saluki hunt so we were not able to start the final mixed hunt until 3:00pm. With barely two hours of sunlight left to hunt there was no way we were going to finish the Grand Course in three days. Fecni drew the seventh course with a named Muffet for the mixed final and Gil drew the high score whippet. We only managed to find three rabbits before sunset so Gil and Fecni had to wait until the next day to run their courses.
The next day the fog delayed us from going into the field until 11:00am. We all worried that we might not finish but we only needed five more rabbits. Fecni's and Gil's courses were on the line at the same time so when a hare popped up on Gil's side we slipped the dogs. Unfortunately Fecni's handler slipped her at the same time which effectively put her out of the competition. Although Gil ran well the Whippet ended up winning the course.
The final winner of the Grand Course was a Greyhound named "Fanny", Huntington's Fantasia. Her sister, Huntington's Ruby Too, was the winner of the Grand Course last year so it was nice to see that her sister got a chance to follow the family tradition. Overall the competition was tough, as was the terrain, but the Magyars put on a good show and left several people with a good first impression. This is the first time a has ever attended the Grand Course but it won't be the last. It's very possible that a Magyar Agar could make the top 10, or even win the Grand Course, in the future so we'll keep on trying :-)