Huntsman Barry Magner, dressed in the puppy handler's traditional white lab coat and black bowler hat, would name the hounds he wanted to be brought out, and whipper-in Mary Taylor Miller would carefully open the metal kennel gate just wide enough so they could come out.
Barry (whom all the hounds quite obviously adored) would then put them through their paces as the judges, Bruce Davidson and Joe Cassidy, watched closely. (Cheshire is hunting with both male and female hounds this year after many seasons of using females only.)
The judges then asked for several hounds to be brought back for further scrutiny (the woman next to me told me she was a fan of Malcolm's, and her hopes rose when the judges looked at him again). But finally, after much discussion, they chose Wilbur as the best male hound (with Matchbox and Tenor in second and third place).
Joe explained to the crowd that they based their decision on such qualities as the way the animal stood, the line of his back and the appearance of his feet: "Wilbur," he said, "has the most substance."
Barry then showed five female hounds, and Telltale was the judge's immediate favorite. "She has such presence!" exclaimed Joe.
|From left, Bruce Davidson, Joe Cassidy, and Barry Magner (with three of the male hounds) at the Cheshire puppy show.|
|The female hound Telltale poses for the cameras after winning the puppy show.|