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Final Cast Interview with McVay, Miller and Nichols
Posted on 10/02/2012 in Beagles.

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The 2012 Hunting Beagle World Championship

Final Cast Interview

It’s always interesting to find out a little bit more about those owners, handlers and their dogs that advance to the Final Cast of a World Hunt. Here’s what those players in the 2012 World Championship had to say.

Allen Gingerich: As it has turned out, we’re left with two undefeated hounds that will go head-to-head tomorrow morning in our Final Cast of the 2012 UKC Hunting Beagle World Championship. Those two hounds will be Gauge VIII owned and handled by Dave McVay of Fresno, Ohio and Miller’s Litle Legend owned by Dave Miller of Homer, Michigan that is being handled by Jed Nichols. First, let’s bring up Dave McVay from right here in Fresno, Ohio.

First of all let me start by saying congratulations Dave. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, and how you got involved with Beagles.

Dave McVay: Thanks, Allen. I’m married to my wife, Shelley. I have a daughter who is a senior in Ashland University, and a son who is a sophomore in Highland College. I got started in Beagles about ten years ago with a dog that my father sold; it was a pup back from that breeding. Luckily enough, she won the World Championship, also. I run a kennel with my brother Donnie. My brother Dick runs Beagles also. My whole family has been involved with Beagles for thirty years.

Allen: Tell us about Gauge (HBCH Gauge VIII). How he’s bred, did you raise him from a pup or how long have you had him?

Dave McVay: He’s out of Rock Run Sonny, and a dog called Lowe & Miller’s Rose. He’s a three-year-old. We’ve had him for about a year and a half. We purchased him off of long-time friends, Paula and Terry Lowe after Terry’s passing. Paula called us and gave us the chance to purchase some hounds, and we did. Gauge was one of those.

Allen: Dave, I’m looking at the dog you’ll be up against tomorrow. I see he’s a six-year-old. Considering the difference in age are you concerned that experience makes Gauge the underdog? Or do you feel like the home field, so to speak, might actually be an advantage for your hound.

Dave McVay: Well, uh, yeah! You know, to have a good cast dogs need to work together. You have to catch a break or two along the way but you also gotta have a good dog. You certainly need a good dog to get this far. You have to have those great ones in your life once in a while, and so far we’ve been very fortunate to catch some good breaks. As to who will have the better advantage, I think both dogs have to be good or they wouldn’t be here. I wish Dave Miller and Jed the best of luck. May the best dog win tomorrow.

Allen: Dave have there been any certain casts that come to mind during this World Hunt that you consider huge or key wins that put you and Gauge where you are now?

Dave McVay: Yes, my round this morning. In the second round I was ahead by about 75 points when we caught the dogs. We turned them back loose with about four minutes left in the hunt when Gauge struck in. And it got quiet until about thirty seconds into the three minutes. The other dog opened up, and had to strike in also, and that right there made the difference in the hunt. So, yeah, it was one of those breaks I just mentioned. You just have to have those along the way.

Allen: I know you’ve been in this position before. You’ve won the World Hunt before. Tell us what it would mean to you to win it again.

Dave McVay: Well, that’s kind of sentimental. My first World Hunt was with the first Beagle I personally ever owned. It’s so hard to do it once. An opportunity to win it again is even sweeter. I think that one of the hardest challenges of the sport is to win the World Championship. Everything that comes with it, the title, everything that it represents. Yeah, it means a lot. I always proclaimed that when I see one of these World Champion handlers, you become part of a fraternity. You’re part of the World Championship. I think Roy Swafford could relate and Dave Hummell and several of the others who have won it in the past. It’s an honor that you don’t realize until after you’ve won it.

To win first place twice would be a super honor.

Allen: Very well, Dave. I want to congratulate you again for making it this far but before you go I’ll ask you for some final comments on this World Championship as a whole; your experiences thus far.

Dave McVay: Great experience. I’ve had wonderful casts all the way through. A lot of good sportsmanship. It’s been very competitive, which it should be. I’ve watched a lot of good dogs work. One of the tough things is in the last round I had to compete against one of my better family friends, the Stacys. Awesome people who represent UKC very well. It’s been a good run. I appreciate it. Again, I want to wish Dave Miller and Jed the best of luck tomorrow.

Allen: Thank you very much, Dave. Good luck.

Dave Miller, c’mon up. We’ll get some words with him.

Dave Miller: (From the gallery) Naw. I’ll let Jed do the talking. I’m not good at that kind of stuff.

Allen: We’ll get to Jed in a minute. I’ll make it very easy on you Miller. Plus, I want to keep the pressure on Jed for a bit longer. And just so he knows, I’ve saved some tough questions for him (laughs). Ahh, I’m just kidding.

Crowd: Get up there Dave.

Dave: All right. (clapping)

Allen: Dave, congratulations.

Dave Miller: Thank you very much.

Allen: Tell us about yourself, where you’re from, your family and so forth.

Dave Miller: I’m from Homer, Michigan. Don’t live very far from Roy. I hunt with Mark Rockwell a lot. He owns a half interest in this dog (HBCH Miller's Litle Legend).

I’ll tell you what; I don’t know how to act right now. You know, I’ve never been in this situation. I’ll be tickled to death no matter what happens.

Allen: Tell us a little about the dog. How he’s bred? Did you raise him and train him?

Dave Miller: He’s out of the Spring dog (GRHBCH Miller's Litle Spring), and by my Leader of the Pack dog (HBCH CH Miller's Leader Of The Pack). He’s a full littermate to GRHBCH Rockwells Sassy Girl. I know a lot of you guys know that dog.

I feel kind of guilty because we don’t hunt him much at all. He’s had about seven and a half hours of hunt time on him in the last month. I’m kind of ashamed to bring him here in that shape (laughing). I know you’re going to find this strange but we really can’t run him with our dogs because he’s too fast. Our dogs have got to cheat like mad just to keep up with him. I like that line control though, and I don’t want to lose it.

Allen: Yesterday I was talking to you when you were sitting here waiting on Jed to come back in from his first round, and you mentioned that you have never had a dog make it through the first round. Did you think yesterday you’d be sitting her today?

Dave Miller: I could only dream it. I’ve never won a cast here at the World. Only at the Nationals. Here, it’s been a jinx. Everybody out there can win it like I can if the stars are lined up right. Don’t anybody ever give up, that’s for sure. And I hope I can be in the same situation Roy Swafford has been in. I bet I’ll cry like a baby too. (Lots of laughing.)

Allen: How did you decide to have Jed handle the dog for you?

Dave Miller: Couldn’t find anyone else? No, seriously, Jed didn’t have anything to handle, and I needed a good handler. My foot being the way it is, I couldn’t run him. Thankfully, he came down and ran with him to make sure he knew them, (Tuffette and Legend) their voices, and everything. I’m forever deeply indebted to him.

Allen: Dave, we appreciate you talking to us, and we wish you the best of luck in the morning.

Dave Miller: Thank you very much.

Allen: All right, Jed, now you can come on up here.

As you all know, Jed and I worked together for several years and became good friends. So it’s good to see you doing well here. Congratulations, man. Most of these folks know you as well Jed but tell us a little about your family.

Jed Nichols: I live about thirty miles north of Kalamazoo. I’ve been married to my wonderful wife, Lindsay, for six years. We don’t have any kids, and she supports me in everything I do. Obviously, she lets me play with the Beagles all the time. I appreciate that. Got a great wife to back me up with everything I do.

Allen: How much had you hunted with this dog before bringing him here?

Jed: I didn’t have anything qualified, so when Dave called me and asked if I would handle two dogs for him, I said yes. I told him I wanted to run with the dogs first. I run with both of them, but it had been a while since I’d run with Legend, so I wanted to come down. I went down there one day last week and Dave and I ran them about four and a half hours. I think before that I’d only run with Legend two or three times. And that was several years ago.

Allen: What is his hunting style and the strong suits that you might see in him?

Jed: First of all, he definitely hasn’t made many mistakes. This weekend, when he did he’s always come back from it. He missed the line in two casts, but then came right back, not even five minutes later. He’s real consistent. He’s got good foot under him. This morning, and yesterday morning, tracking was rough to start out with in both spots we were in. He was the one dog in both those casts that could keep the track going and ended up producing the rabbit. That, combined with his good foot, he’s been real consistent all weekend.

Allen: You ran two different dogs for Dave this weekend. Did you even think, Friday morning when you got here, that you’d be sitting here? And would have thought it would be Legend over Tuffette?

Jed: Honestly, I did not think I’d be sittin’ here. I know Dave’s got a real nice dog in Tuffette (GRHBCH GCH Millers Litle Tuffette), and I know his hopes were high for her. We just didn’t get any breaks in the cast she was in yesterday. As for Legend, I didn’t think we would be here. But we are because of his consistence, round after round.

Allen: You know, it’s all great working in a field that you have a passion for , and you and I have had this conversation, but’s it’s hard to sit here when you all go out and hunt. We’re hunters, and that’s the part that I really do miss. My question to you is; is it really this easy? Reckon I could leave the job and be in your shoes just like that!? (Laughter from crowd.)

Jed: Yeah, but you’re going to need a good Beagle, first! (More laughter from the crowd.)

Allen: Jed, congratulations to you and good luck tomorrow morning.

Jed: Thank you very much.