Record number of beagles participate in Don McVay Sr. Memorial Hunt

| September 11, 2017

WEST LAFAYETTE – When asked why they were attending the 16th Don McVay, Sr. Memorial Hunt, the answers from the crowd were different. Many said this was one of the best beagle events around several states. Others were there to support the McVay family. Still others used to hunt with McVay and wanted to share stories with other people who knew him.

“My dad grew up with Don and I’ve known the family my whole life,” said Dean Miller of Berlin. “I don’t have beagles – I have coonhounds – but I hunted with Don for many years. He was an amazing guy. I come to this every year just to see everyone and support the family. It’s good to see so many people. Don would be so proud of this event and I’m sure he wouldn’t be able to believe how well it’s turned out.”

Dave McVay, one of Don’s sons, said they were expecting more than 300 dogs by the end of registration Sunday morning. “Last year, we had 247 dogs so we’ve really grown just since then. We have dogs from 11 states. The ones that travelled the farthest came from Missouri. The weather has been great this weekend and the dogs are running well.”

The event was held at Shumaker Farms. It began Friday morning with the running of the registered dogs, meaning they haven’t yet won a championship. Saturday morning, the dogs who are champions ran and Sunday morning, the grand champion dogs would be running.

“Coshocton County is perfect for our event. There are a lot of public hunting grounds. We use local guides or people who have hunted here a lot. The dogs go out in groups of four and each winner of the group advances,” McVay said.

“These dogs are athletes,” McVay said. “They are fed and trained just like an athlete would be. Some live in the house with the family, others are outside dogs.  It can be an expensive hobby.”

McVay’s dad hunted with dogs for more than 50 years, starting with coonhounds.  Although all of Don Sr.’s sons hunt, none compete in the event named for their father. They work on the plans for the hunt all year.

“We have over $35,000 in raffles prizes, including a 4 Wheeler,” McVay said. “Most people don’t realize that anyone can come and buy raffle tickets – you don’t have to be a hunter.”

This year, two local high school students won scholarships from proceeds from the memorial hunt. Jessi Olinger, from Ridgewood High School and Logan Thornsley from Coshocton High School each won a $500 scholarship from the committee members. Anyone can apply for these scholarships. The application can be found on the Don McVay Sr. Memorial Hunt Facebook page.

John Hill traveled from West Virginia to attend the hunt. “I’ve been to every event.  It’s a great hunt. I knew Don many years and I look forward to catching up with the family. I schedule my vacation every year so I can be here.” Hill brought two dogs – Ozzy and Candy, who are both grand champions. “The weather is perfect this year. One time, it was in the 90s during the hunt.”

McVay said, “Coshocton is just a great supporter of the hunt. The visitor’s bureau, hotels, restaurants – everybody just welcomes the hunters and supports us. Shumaker’s is great to work with, too. We can’t thank everyone enough for helping us.”

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