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June 26, 2009

Potomac's Driftwood Takes Over At Bryn Mawr Hound Show

The unentered bitch pulls off a big win over esteemed company.

  As the hounds started posing and pouncing on biscuits at the Bryn Mawr Hound Show, May 20 in Malvern, Pa., Potomac (Md.) Huntsman Larry Pitts was optimistic about his chances.

Potomac Jacket ’06 had been reserve grand champion foxhound at the Virginia Hound Show a week earlier and topped the American dog hound championship at Bryn Mawr. But in the final judging for the American foxhound title, an unentered hound took over the winning.

Potomac’s Driftwood (Potomac Bishop ’04—their Dressy ’06) claimed the American title over Jacket and then went on to top the grand foxhound championship.

“We were kind of expecting Jacket to win, but Driftwood is a good-looking bitch. Our unentered hounds hadn’t been showing that well this year, so we weren’t expecting a lot,” Pitts said.

“She got her confidence about showing and showed beautifully, and she’s a great looking hound,” he added. “She’s the right type—the judges thought so, and we thought so. She’s a little leggy and a little long—a galloping type. She’s got great feet.”

Driftwood hadn’t shown her best at Virginia, so she placed out of contention. But at Bryn Mawr, she was all business.

“She was sharp; she showed perfectly,” said Pitts, who showed her. “She didn’t pay any attention to what was going on around her; she was paying attention to who was showing her.”

Pitts is no stranger to winning. Potomac Jefferson ’05 took the grand foxhound championship at the Virginia and Bryn Mawr shows in 2007. With Jefferson’s line, Pitts has a powerhouse. Jacket is a son of Jefferson, and Jefferson won the stallion hound with get class. Jefferson’s full brother, Potomac Jeopardy ’05, topped the stallion hound class over Jefferson’s son, Potomac Magnet ’07.

But Driftwood isn’t part of that royal family.

“She’s sort of an oddity for us. She’s got breeding from three different places. It’s not really our traditional breeding. Her father was half Penn-Marydel and her dam was by a dog from Mission Valley. She has a lot of different lines in her,” Pitts said.

Lark Honors His Sire With Penn-Marydel Win


Ciaran Murphy has a vision for where he wants to take the Golden’s Bridge pack of Penn-Marydel hounds. Showing Golden’s Bridge Lark ’07 to the Penn-Marydel championship and Golden’s Bridge’s Keeper to the unentered Penn-Marydel title assured him he’s on the right track.

“Just having one of them win would have been nice—to have both was just phenomenal,” Murphy said. “It was probably one of the toughest competitions I’ve had since I’ve been showing Penn-Marydels. The quality out there was great this year. I have an idea where I want Penn-Marydels to go, and it’s nice to see that some people agree with me.”

Murphy arrived in the United States from Ireland six years ago and spent a year whipping-in for the Why Worry Hounds (S.C.), then took over hunting the Golden’s Bridge pack (N.Y.). “When I got there, it was a lovely pack of hounds. The foundation was there, and I just tried to take it to the next level,” he said.

“I’ve certainly brought a lot more athleticism to them. I always try to get more correctness. I’d rather have a plain hound that was correct than a flashy hound with one bad quality. I’ve been trying to get them to be correct and athletic,” he explained.

Murphy noted that his pack has gotten quicker, and it’s a harder-hunting pack now.

“Penn-Marydels have been known for dwelling, and I think I’ve proven that’s a myth,” he said. “Penn-Marydels can run as hard as any hound and do it with their great nose. I’ve tried to keep what Penn-Marydels have been famous for—a good nose and voice—and make them a well-rounded hound that everyone wants to hunt with.”

Golden’s Bridge Lark ’07 (Golden’s Bridge Lazer ’02—their Lyric ’02) is just as outstanding in the hunting field as in the show ring.

“I love his work ethic. He’s one of the best hounds in the kennel—he never has a bad day. He shows well, but he’d much rather be out there hunting,” Murphy said.

“I lost his sire [Golden’s Bridge Lazer ’02] last year—he got kicked by a horse out hunting,” Murphy added. “Lazer was, to me, the pinnacle of what I was trying to do. For me, this is a very special thing because of how much I believed in his father. I was devastated when I lost that hound. So, it’s nice to see Lark do as well as he did. Lark reminds me of him, especially out hunting. Lark and his three brothers are the four best hounds I have in the kennels.”

Murphy tries to avoid outcrossing, but when it came to breeding the unentered champion, Keeper (Mt. Carmel Howdy ’07—Golden’s Bridge Kringle ’03), he made an exception.

“[Mt. Carmel Howdy] was the first stallion hound I went out of the kennel for. I saw him at the Penn-Marydel show last year, and he was a young hound, but he won his class. I liked him because he was a very plain, but correct hound, with a lot of substance to him. I bred him to a really nice quality bitch, and Keeper is exactly what I was hoping would be the end result. I can’t wait to hunt him,” Murphy said.

Keeper’s littermate, Kilo, placed second to him in the unentered dog class, and one of Lark’s offspring, Golden’s Bridge Chapman, took third in that class.

In the five years he’s been hunting the Golden’s Bridge pack, Murphy has become a big fan of the Penn-Marydel breed.

“I’d never switch. I absolutely love them,” he said. “I have great respect for any hound no matter what breed it is, but for our country and the kind of hunting we do, you can’t get better than them. It’s trappy and hilly, but you can go out all day. You rarely have a bad day with Penn-Marydels. It might not be a barnburner, but it’s rarely blank. As long as there’s something out there to hunt, they’ll find it.”

Proud Moments In The Crossbred Ring


George Thomas III had many reasons to be proud during the grand championship judging at Bryn Mawr. Notonly was his hound Why Worry Arric ’08 the Crossbred champion, but he also got to watch Murphy showing his Penn-Marydel champion alongside him.

“We’re very proud of him. We were instrumental in convincing Ciaran to come over from Ireland, and he’s like a son to us,” Thomas said. “To be next to him in the grand championship class made the day even more special,” said Thomas.

Why Worry Arric ’08 (Why Worry Jupiter ’05—their Arwen ’02) topped the single Crossbred dog, entered class before taking the dog hound and Crossbred championships.

“He’s a great hound—he hasn’t missed a day of hunting,” said Thomas. “He showed a bit last year, but he was shy. He’s shown much better this year. He’s quite the man!”

Arric is part of Thomas’ effort to bring back old American blood to his pack. “We’re trying to go back to my mother’s Bywaters and resurrect as much of the Bywater blood as we can,” he said.

Thomas sees Arric’s shyness as part of that line. “They’re always a bit shy, but they have very good noses. That whole line is a bit slow to enter and come around, but once they get rolling, they do very well,” said Thomas.

“Arric is a very balanced hound, and he’s a gorgeous mover. He covers a lot of ground,” he noted.

Why Worry hounds don’t usually show at Bryn Mawr, but Bryn Mawr Hound Show President George Hundt and board member Jake Carle talked Thomas into making the trip.

“We made a bit of a vacation out of it—after showing at Virginia, we stayed a week with Sue and Martyn Blackmore [of Loudoun West (Va.)] and then went up to Bryn Mawr. We had a great weekend, and we’ll definitely be back next year,” Thomas said.

One of the most emotional wins for Thomas at Bryn Mawr was the best Crossbred handler title, won by the Why Worry team showing hounds.

“Mrs. Hannum, who has been a wonderful friend to us, presented the trophy, and I have to admit, it choked us up a bit,” Thomas admitted.

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