|Odell's Blue Jake, Logan Elm Red Rambler, and Big Meadows Eagle|
posed by Larry Harrison, Old Jim McGuire, and Dennis Kennedy
You just never know what will happen when you go to the World Hunt. You run your dogs night after night and just hope for the best. I am not sure about anyone else, but I never think about what could possibly happen. I don't know if it is the fear of putting on a jinx, or just afraid of a huge let down, but I NEVER plan for success.
My buddy, Jim Schneider says the real March Madness has nothing to do with basketball. He swears it is what happens to beaglers trying to get dogs ready for the World. He seems to think we loose our minds and do nothing but train dogs nonstop. And he is soooo right. Nothing matters like the World Hunt in when you are training in March.
When you finally get there and enter your dogs there is a certain feeling in your gut. I think it is half hope, half fear, and all ready to run to the bathroom and puke. Your gut aches and the air is too thin. You enter your dogs, walk away from the table, and just want to hide. But you have to act cool. So you stroll away just pretending to have everything under control. It is just an act. Inside you are trying to control this volcano of boiling lava that is tearing you apart.
Then there is this slow agony as your dogs get knocked off one by one. When you get through a round, you try to stay cool. Some times it works a little, but not too much. You just know the next round will be the end. You are afraid to hope.
When a friend wins a cast you are jealous for a second, then happy, and just hope they will make it to the finals. As you fight through your own feelings, you work at supporting your friends. Man it is a struggle though. You dig deep for some sportsmanship even as you try to deal with your own agony.
When you get to the finals, there are so many emotions running through your body that you can hardly control yourself. You don't want to talk. You can't shut up. You hope and worry and don't dare to think ahead. On each check you agonize, just hoping to hear your dog.
You keep score in your mind and know the judges will screw up. You know they hate you. You think back to every time you ever talked back to them in your life. You know they are cheaters. You hate them. When they read the score, and you are in the lead, you realize they are the best judges ever. You finally got some good judges. And back and forth and back and forth and back and forth for an hour that lasts for years and years.
I felt so lucky this year when Rambler placed second place in the open class. I was so pleased that he ran well. I am happy that he gave me the motivation to keep working for another win at the World Hunt. And I feel so lucky that Logan Elm Beagles has been able to place for 16 years in a row at the World. Already I am thinking about my lineup for next year. I can hardly wait for the 2014 World Hunt.