Friday, August 16, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Beagling comes to area with field trial

Leader sports editor

A beagle field trial will be held between the Bayou Meto area and Mayflower next month. The Ark-La-Miss beagling club is holding a Beagle Fun Run on Saturday, Sept. 21 that is free of charge and open to anyone with an AKC registered beagle.

The event is a tune-up for the official American Kennel Club two-day field trial at the same location that will be held Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 23-24.

Club president John Hankins of Cabot helped get the Ark-La-Miss club started again earlier this year in central Arkansas. The club existed for years in Eudora before disbanding several years ago. Hankins and a few others, including David Bounds, a beagle breeder in Cabot, re-established the group in March.

“I just love doing it and I got to wishing we still had the club, so we just decided to start it back up around here,” Hankins said. “It’s just a labor of love. It costs about $1,200 to host an offical AKC field trial, and that’s just about what we got. We’ll start over trying to raise a little bit so we can have another next year.”

A field trial consists of four divisions and that’s how the Fun Run next month will be set up. There are male and female divisions for 13- and 15-inch beagles. Rabbitsare not tame and turned loose for competition, wild rabbits are sniffed out and run by the dogs, and are not shot or captured by owners.

“It’s not a rabbit hunt,” Hankins said. “We don’t kill anything. We’re just following the dogs. There are judges out there watching to see which dog is doing the best. It’s just a whole lot of fun watching them do what they were made to do and seeing all those instincts kick in. You will quit rabbit hunting if you start beagling-–it’s so much fun.”

The Fun Run begins at 6:30 a.m. and there will be a cookout at lunch time for all the participants. The Ark-La-Miss kennel is located at 331 Clinton Road, Mayflower. It is located on the Camp Robinson Wildlife Management Area.

The club holds its monthly meetings at Western Sizzlin’ in Jacksonville at 7:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. The next meeting will be in October as club members will spend September’s meeting at the kennel preparing for the Fun Run.

Anyone interested in participating in the free Fun Run can contact Hankins at 501-681-7290.