The Tryon Hounds, based near the state line of North and South Carolina enjoys a very enthusiastic and involved mastership. Bonnie Lingerfelt, MFH serves as a whipper-in in addition to her master’s duties; Kerry Holmberg, MFH leads the first flight; and Louise Hughston, MFH, one of the longest-serving masters in the country, lead the hilltoppers until a few years ago and now is a dedicated road whip. Master Dean McKinney both whips in and serves as field master as needed.
Sidelines: When did you start foxhunting and when did you become a master?
DMK: My wife Roberta and I bought a piece of land right in the middle of Tryon’s hunt country and that’s what got us interested in foxhunting. I started hunting 18 years ago and became a master for Tryon in the 2006 season. We built a farm on that land 15 years ago. The views are phenomenal and we have access to a wonderful trail system that is part of our hunt country.
Sidelines: What is your favorite foxhunting memory?
DMK: My favorite memory has to be when I was jumping a coop and looked down just in time to see that the fox was jumping the coop, too; but in the opposite direction!
My birthday present this year was a papier-mâché rendering of the moment created by Kerry Holmberg’s wife Sarah.
The most thrilling memory was viewing a coyote cross the trail in front of me and seeing my favorite hound, Sage, only a few feet behind it with the rest of the pack joining in the hot pursuit.
Sidelines: What was your favorite road trip and is there anywhere you would like to hunt?
DMK: Our huntsman Jordan Hicks is good friends with Keswick’s huntsman Tony Gammell and Tryon was invited to take our hounds to Keswick’s country last fall. The masters and members were very welcoming, the country was beautiful, and our hounds thoroughly enjoyed hunting a country with so many red foxes.
I’m interested in hunting in some of the Northern Virginia countries, Orange County or Piedmont. Tryon mainly travels in the Southeast so getting to travel to Virginia is a treat for us.
Sidelines: What kind of horses do you hunt?
DMK: My first hunt horse was a Tennessee Walker, Chance, who started out as my trail riding horse but learned to be a really reliable mount for the hunt field, jumping every coop in the country! My next horse, Flash, is a Thoroughbred who at 21 years old is still going strong. My wife Roberta stole him from me a few years ago and she now leads the second flight with him. My current horse Harry is a Canadian Sport Horse who is an awesome jumper, he’s been a great whip’s horse and I lead first flight with him occasionally as well.
Sidelines: Is there anything the readers should know about hunting in Tryon?
DMK: Visitors are always welcome, so if you want a great day’s sport in the beautiful foothills of the Carolinas come see us!