Memories of Don McVay, Sr. shared at memorial hunt

| September 9, 2019

The Don McVay, Sr. Memorial Hunt was held at the Coshocton County Fairgrounds the weekend of Sept. 6-8. Pictured are three of his sons and his wife: Dave, Danny, Vada and Donnie, Jr. Jen Jones | Beacon

COSHOCTON – “He was the nicest gentleman that ever walked the Earth,” said Sam Fry about Don McVay, Sr. Fry was one of the many people who gathered at the Coshocton County Fairgrounds the weekend of Sept. 6–8 to participate in the Don McVay, Sr. Memorial Hunt.

Vada McVay, Don’s widow, said he passed away in 2002 and his five sons wanted to do something to honor their father. The hunt began that fall and every year, it grows. His sons, Donnie, Danny, Dave, Dick, and Dennis and their families work together each year to put on the hunt.

“He was an avid beagle hunter and he loved his coon dogs, too,” said Vada.
“He hunted coons until he had trouble walking in the woods and then he focused on his beagles. He loved his dogs and he loved showing the kids how to show dogs.”

Don, Sr. gave his 8-year-old grandson, Jason, a beagle puppy that Jason named Tess, after a friend. “Jason stayed with us a couple of weeks to learn how to work with the puppy,” said Vada. Grandpa and grandson spent many hours working in the training pen with Tess. After Don passed away, Tess won the World Hunting Beagle Championship in 2005 and World Performance in 2006. “He was always so proud of his dogs.” Tess was the only beagle in UKC history to win two major hunting titles.

Dave said his dad loved the sounds of the dogs as they ran rabbits and coon. “He loved the chase.” The family’s kennel is called Sundown Beagles, for both the coon hounds his dad loved and the beagles.

“My dad was a founding member of the local Coshocton County Beagle Club. He knew there were a lot of guys running beagles in the area and he wanted to share his passion. Our local club is one of the strongest in the nation,” said Dave.

The proceeds from the memorial hunt all stay with the local club. “We use it to make the next hunt bigger and better,” said Dave. On Friday, 61 beagles competed and on Saturday about 125 beagles ran. Hunters from several states travelled to Coshocton to compete.

Fry travelled from Shreve to attend the event. “I’m 86-years-old and I haven’t missed any of Don’s memorial hunts. I was born in 1933 and as soon as I was old enough, my grandpa from West Virginia started me hunting. Don McVay knew more about beagles than any man I’ve ever known.”

“He could take a dog that could barely walk and win with it. He was very, very intelligent and so kind. I could talk all day about what an amazing man he was and what a wonderful family he raised. I enjoy coming here and seeing people and visiting. I go to hear the dogs run – you just can’t get it out of your system.”

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Category: Clubs & Organizations

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