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History of the Foothills Gazehound Club

"Any one interested in forming a sighthound club please meet …" was the page over the PA system at the Alberta Kennel Club Dog Show in February, 1976. Making the page was Rachelle Descent, founding member of the Foothills Gazehound Club (FGC). That announcement marked the beginning of Alberta’s first sighthound club. Of those who answered the call, Rachelle is the only one who is still an active member of the club. A special trophy honouring Rachelle is awarded at our Specialty to the winner of Best in Specialty. A year later, it was an ad about lure coursing in the local newspaper that caught the attention of Pat & Bruce Ingram. These three people have stuck with the Club through good times and bad.

Although originally organized with the thought of holding Specialty shows, FGC took a somewhat different direction. The greater interest of the membership at the time appeared to be with a relatively new sport called lure coursing and we worked towards achieving CSFA recognition in order to hold lure field trials. At our final qualifying match, we had an entry of 70 dogs, so we knew that lure coursing was well on its way in Alberta.

Our first Field Trial was held on September 27/28 1980. Judging were George Martin, Ken Reynolds, Don Schafer and Tom Robinson. Considering that very few of the members had ever attended a field trial, we managed to pull it off with only a few minor problems. Equipment was unique to say the least! Skateboard wheels and ten-speed bike hubs formed the basis for the pulleys. Some of the bike hub hold-downs are still in use today! Whippets were the biggest entry and our inaugural BIF winners were Schafer’s Padneyhill Moonlight Sonata FChX, LCM and Ken Reynolds Darbe’s Black Gold. We got brave the second year and held two trial weekends one in the Spring, the other in the Fall. This practice continued for several years with the club even boldly having three trials weekends for several years in the late 1980’s.

Weather always seems to be a factor at our May long weekend trials. Those of you who here in 2001 will remember the raging dust storm that blew through just as we were getting ready to start. Our concession tent nearly took flight and the dust sandblasted us all. We have had trail weekends where nearly every type of weather has taken place sometimes all in the same day. Everyone has their fingers crossed that Mother Nature will co-operate this coursing season providing blue sky and sunshine for all our trial weekends.

One of our more memorable trails took place in May 1986 and true to form was influenced by the weather. We were running in an entirely new location-the Airdrie Rodeo Grounds. The field was a bowl shape with several small hills that we utilized in our course plans. Well those course plans went right out the window! Five days before the trial, we had one of Alberta’s infamous spring snowstorms. The huge power transportation towers snapped like twigs and power wasn’t restored until the day before the trial. To get to the building that we were using for the concession/trial secretary, it was necessary to shovel a path through knee deep snow. Our judges Tom Longfellow and Frank Zaworski from Minnesota, Wayne Drenner from Winnipeg and Lynda Webster from Edmonton were used to snow but not this much in May. Course plans were modified based on wherever there was bare ground to put a pulley and the weekend went ahead. The weather was incredible, by the time it was over everyone had sunburns enhanced by the reflection of the snow. Exhibitors built a "snowghan" and the dogs had a great time rolling around in the snow to cool off.

The Foothills Gazehound Club held its 100th Field Trial on May 19, 1997. Winning that event was Laurie Soutar’s Greyhound, Ch. Lakilanni Forever in Blue Jeans FChX, LCM, CGC, JOR. We celebrated our 20th year of lure coursing in 2000 and are still going strong.

We did finally start having Specialty shows with the first one held in 1985 in conjunction with the Alberta Kennel Club February shows. Judging the Specialty for us was Dr. John Reeve-Newson and L.T. (Bud) Haverstock, who graciously stepped in as a last minute substitute when our second judge cancelled, while Larry Coleman of Thunder Mountain Borzoi and Salukis presided over the Sweepstakes. Taking top honours was Ch. Nineveh Royal Denby, a Whippet owned by Marc Fontaine, Tanya Saville and Susan Badick, and Best Puppy in Specialty was Thunder Mountain Nomad Tecaro, a Saluki owned by Carol Ann and Ted Goodman. Our second and subsequent specialties have been held in conjunction with the Alberta Kennel Club Summer shows. In 2009 FGC celebrated our 25th  Specialty. Judging our anniversary Specialty Show wasMr. Kent Delaney. Best In Specialty was Am Can Ch Polo ís the Aviator, an Afghan owned by L. Amadeo & D. Eiswerth, Best Puppy In Specialty was Silverstars Mighty Quinn, an Irish Wolfhound owned by Mary-Jo Kirk and Best Veteran In Specialty was Am Can Ch Nausua Windchase For Kicks, JC, a Whippet owned by Carla & Susan Badick. Please mark July 31,2016 on your calendar to help the FGC celebrate our 32nd  Specialty.

The Foothills Gazehound Club would like to wish everyone on the field and in the ring all the best in the future. We look forward to seeing you all. A reverse triangle if you would please then "Tally Ho".

Updated: February 22, 2016