by Katherine Mitchell and Travis Gibson
About 50 members and guests joined the Board of Directors on Sunday at Upper Shirley Plantation to toast the new PAH year; learn about how things went last year and participate in a PAH hound show with Martyn and Sue Blackmore. We were greeted by host Suzy Dameron with Upper Shirley champagne and the news that her first grandchild had just been born. About 70 percent of the event teams for 2023-2024 were filled at the meeting by volunteers. Katherine will be reaching out to you this summer to sign up if you weren't able to be there.
We all marked the occasion of the traditional "changing of the guard". Mark Wenger and Cynthia Porter concluded their terms as Board Directors as did Elaine Honneycutt who finished her term as secretary. We thank them so very much for their service on the Board and Christine Sweet for her service as Membership Chair. One of the most significant appointments of the year was the appointment of Merri Musso as our new Master, joining Travis Gibson, MFH and Ed Mitchell, MFH. This is the team of Masters who will work with PAH leadership to position Princess Anne Hunt for our next century of hunting. Merri was on the nominating committee this year with Katherine Mitchell and Jerel Johnson. She oversaw the vote of Jim Daniels to the Board as Director; Rachel Toquothty as Secretary; Robin Somers-Strom as Vice President and Membership Chair; and Katherine Mitchell for another term as President.
Other details from the business meeting and highlights from the year can be found HERE in the minutes from the meeting which includes the president's report; Hounds and Hunting; the Membership report; theTrail Ride Series; and the Treasurer's Report by Tim Watson. Tim shared the numbers for last year and the news that due to inflationary increases in expenses there will be a 6 percent increase in membership dues next year, beginning in August. This is the first increase since 2019.
Following the business meeting, Master Travis Gibson introduced the PAH Hound show and our first MFHA Junior Judging Competition. Participating were Steven Cardoza, John Savage, Evan Savage and Sophia Savage. Professional Judge, Matthew Cook, the Huntsman with Farmington Hunt. Eight PAH hounds competed. Members were also given judging sheets and encouraged to see if they could match scores with the professional judge. Sophia Savage won the junior judging competition. She was invited to participate in the Junior handling class at the Virginia Hound Show on Sunday, May 28th.
After the hound show, members and guests enjoyed refreshments made by the Board of Directors and a landowners bar, manned by Mark Wenger with help from Steve Musso. We all did a good job demolishing the almond amaretto cake made by Robin Daniels who also had PAH merchandise for sale. The weather was perfect until the first drop of rain came down as we were cleaning up and heading home.