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By Lauren R. Giannini
olorado’s four foxhunts: Arapahoe Hunt,
Bijou Springs Hunt, and Woody Creek Hounds
are recognized by the Masters of Foxhounds
Association of America, with Fort CarsonHounds registered,
pending fulfllment of the MFHA’s criteria.
Arapahoe, founded in 1907 on the outskirts of Denver, is the
oldest pack in the Centennial State. Reorganized in 1929 and
recognized (again) in 1934 by the MFHA, the Arapahoe hunts
over country whose terrain is deceptive: grasslands appear fat,
but closer scrutiny (often at fat-out gallop) will reveal “obstacles”
such as ditches and the occasional coop. The rolling landscape
turns into rugged foothills, boasting bluffs, cliffs, and ravines,
until it all merges into the Rockies, set against the breathtaking
backdrop of big sky.
Arapahoe’s pack of primarily English Foxhounds, oblivious to
the absence of fox, their traditional quarry, acclimated easily to
sniffng out and chasing the feet and clever coyote. Last November
during their annual Rendezvous Week, Arapahoe hosted hounds
and enthusiasts from Juan Tomas Hounds in New Mexico and
Grand Canyon Hounds in Arizona.
Rendezvous 2012 attracted visitors from nine hunts (American,
Canadian and British), which swelled the feld to 100 mounted
riders, eight staff, and a combined pack of 33 couple (66 hounds)
and the coyotes obliged. “We kept going for hours until it got
too dark to see the hounds,” recalled Marvin Beeman, MFH-
huntsman. “It was an amazing day.”
One major difference of hunting wide, open spaces: the sound
of hound music can only be heard if you’re well up with the pack.
It takes woodlands to contain the sound so that it reverberates.
Whenever Arapahoe hunts wooded areas, they thrill to the
hallelujah chorus of hounds in full cry. More often, the gorgeous
but testing countryside keeps enthusiasts busy with their trusty
steeds in the heat of a run. The visuals and all that sky more
than compensate for any lack of musical accompaniment. Rest
assured, Arapahoe’s reputation for providing great sport attracts
visitors from all over the map.
“Arapahoe is one of the best hunts in the world,” stated
Dennis Foster, MFHA Executive Director, who has hunted with
399 different packs in 11 countries. “It has all the ingredients.
The country is huge. They have a leadership and membership
committed to quality in all their endeavors. They’ve had two
phenomenal huntsmen. Dr. Marvin Beeman has carried the horn
since 1987, after whipping-in for many years to his father George
Beeman, who hunted hounds for 53 seasons. That continuity
in breeding and consistency in hound handling pretty much
guaranteed the development of a great pack.”
Arapahoe’s continuity is historical – not just in their huntsmen,
but also in the mastership. There have been only seven since
1929 – fve of them currently serving as joint-masters. Lawrence
C. Phipps III began his offce in 1967, following in the footsteps of
his father. In 1990, veterinarian Marvin Beeman, the huntsman,
joined the mastership. In 2006 Robert H. Deline and Michael
Wilfey added joint-MFH to their titles, and in 2010 Mary Ewing, a
trial lawyer, became the frst lady joint-Master.
“I’m honored and humbled and I love it,” stated Mary, who
considers hunting the perfect remedy for demanding days in
court. “When I graduated from law school, I bought horses, a
horse trailer, and I went hunting.”
Mary Ewing Esq., the frst female Master in Arapahoe’s history,
with Dr. Marvin Beeman, MFH/huntsman.
Photo by Linda Hanselman
Arapahoe – Rocky Mountain Tally Ho!
Arapahoe Hunt’s Opening Meet last October: the hounds and
staff silhouetted against the stunning backdrop of Pike’s Peak.
Photo by Zina Balash,