by John Rogers, Jr.
Last article title, "Why Do You Start A Beagle Club?", I covered the why behind the formation of the Tokeena Beagle Club . After digging a little deeper into the mess that I call a desk I found out that our first unofficial meeting was July 10, 1990 and we officially became a club on September 9, 1990. At the gathering July 10th we decided to meet the first Sunday afternoon in August and work out the details . We were to bring a prospective member if we could .
That hot August afternoon we had a fish fry and the all important bull sessions . It is a fact of life that it is easier to get people to come eat good fried catfish , coleslaw and hush puppies , than to dig fence ditches . We did assemble a few good men and our Beagle club started to become reality .
Besides the food and all the tall tales we did get some serious work finished . If you are going to build a fence you need wire and if you are building a big fence you need a lot of wire and that means a lot of money . One inch by two inch welded wire five feet high with metal post was our choice of materials . How do you get money for wire ? Membership dues will buy a small amount of wire , some members donated a roll of wire and we were still short . What do you do then ? We couldn't sell raffle tickets , but we could take donations and give tickets for a drawing for a prize . We gave a gift certificate to Wal-Mart that covered the cost of a nice deer rifle .
We planned to put the wire in the ground about four to six inches to prevent rabbits pushing under it . We considered renting a trencher , but we had a man volunteer his tractor to plow a deep furrow for burying the wire . This worked pretty good but we had to clean out the ditch and cut roots out of it around the woods . The wire in the ditch had to be covered with dirt after it was fastened to the post .
Wire has to be fastened to post to hold it up and it takes a large amount of post for a running enclosure . We got some fence post to start , then came Mr. Jim McCollum . Mr. Jim joined shortly after we started building and he had a lot of pipe and he donated some for the fence post . Mr. Jim seemed like a very nice gentleman and it is a shame we didn't get to know him better, Mr. Jim passed away just a few months after he joined us . We later purchased all the pipe from his widow and we used it to build our next pen .
We got our first pen built and after using it for awhile just to run our grade dogs in ,we let in a field trialer and that started us down a different path. Leonard Shelton was a field trialer with a good AKC Beagle that joined to have a place to exercise his dog . He convinced us to hold a fun trial just to see what field trialing was like . We held that fun trial in June 1991 it was one of those hot miserable days like we usually get in July and August . My dog Dan that was from a registered female and a great grade male was NBQ . The field trial seed was planted and it grew into a great Beagle club named Tokeena. Leonard became our second club president .
That is how a group of hunters became field trialers . We held fun trials to help pay the bills and we just evolved into a trialing club. >From that hot June day we progressed to our first AKC B Trial on September 19, 1992 . The road was not all smooth traveling a group of strictly hunters, hunters that wanted to trial and hunt and trialers that didn't want to do any hunting led to some very exciting meetings.
The hunters wanted to spend our money to lease land to hunt on and the field trialers didn't and then there was the group that I was in, the group that wanted to do both. I felt along with others that a gundog Beagle should be a dog that you could hunt and a dog good enough to hunt should run good in a trial and a trial is where you picked the rabbit dogs . We did lease some good hunting land in Georgia and in spite of the nay-sayers we did keep building into a very good trialing club .
We did as most club we worked , we sweated , and then worked and sweated some more. As proud as I am to have had a small part in this club there were others that did a lot more than me. There have been so many that contributed that I couldn't mention them all here, but there are a few that I do want to mention .
As I mentioned before we lost Mr. Jim McCollum , we have also lost three more good men to death . We have a section of wall with plaques to honor these men along with Mr. Jim are Mr. Gillian Couch one of the founders , Marshall Kelly and Erskine Young . These men left us with some fond memories and it would have been harder to built Tokeena Beagle Club without them .
It takes a lot of paper work to have trials and since I was appointed the first Secretary Treasurer the paper work became my job . When we held our next election we split the job and and I kept the Secretary part .
When we started field trialing I became the field trial secretary until another one could be found and we soon found a capable young man in Scott Wilson . We first joined the Deep South Gundog Federation since all other Deep South Clubs were so far away we joined The UBGF later .
Larry Dillard the Deep South Secretary was a tremendous help to me, as was Gail Dillard Secretary of Tuckasegee Beagle Club at that time. I talked to everyone that would help and I became acquainted with some fine people. One of those people was Wayne Price a writer for Hounds and Hunting Magazine. A couple of people at the SC Department of Natural Resources were very helpful with permit information. During this time when phone rates were cheaper than they are now I received a phone bill for $95.00 so you can see I needed a lot of help .
We held our AKC Licensed Trial March 9th and 10th and we did pretty good . We had 75- 13" males and 48-15" males entered on the 9th. On Saturday the 10th we had 71-13" females and 33-15" females. 227 entries was pretty good. We, also, had a good turn out for our UBGF Derby Qualifying Trial April 7.
I helped out a little in the kitchen at both trials and after lunch I would sit on the porch and look around and think, when we sat under the trees out beside the dog lot and talked of fencing a running area who would of thought it would turn into what it has become. Once very scarce around this area , but now common are not only registered dogs but also Field Champions . This is one of the most competitive areas for trialing thanks to the men of Tokeena of Westminster, SC, Foothills of Greenwood, SC, and Tuckasegee of Brevard, NC, all three clubs a short drive from one another .
A few men belong to and support more than one of these clubs. This is a little of the how and why we started Tokeena. Remember that any reason to get together and run dogs is a good one. And if you build it they will come, if you have rabbits .