For the second time in two years, representing Loudoun Fairfax Hunt, Evan Dombrowsky, 10 year-old son of Beth and Ret. Naval Commander Donald Dombrowsky, won the 10 and under Junior Handler class at the recent Virginia Foxhound Show at Morven Park.

“All he talked about was winning the class again” his Mother described between beaming smiles as she and her husband watched the entries pile into the English ring. Beth grew up hunting with Chagrin Valley Hunt in Ohio and now she and Evan will be hunting with Loudoun Fairfax. “Evan spends as much free time as he can at the hunt’s kennel. He’s very passionate about the hounds.”

Last year Evan earned the blue with Loudoun Fairfax Sprocket, but he wanted to select the hound for this year’s competition. After selecting Admiral, they bonded through the weeks of practice. As Huntsman Andy Bozdan describes, “He’s one of our best hunters, but he’s not an easy hound to show. He won’t work with you unless he knows you’re his buddy.”

The 10 and under age group drew so many entries the class was split into two divisions. Exhibitors as young as 3 walked hounds, mostly going forward, a couple backwards, and one just did not want to budge. The ground was heavy with biscuit scent. The chaos is both amusing and heart wrenching. Everyone is trying their best under the hot, midday sun. Very smartly, Evan stayed in the front row to be in the judges’ views, one of the bits of ring craft he learned from his mentor Andy.

Being an Old English Hound, Evan sported the English bowler and showed Admiral “English style” — off leash, running freely, to display his athleticism and how well he returned to stand at attention. Expert biscuit tossing from palm to palm kept Admiral’s nose in the right direction and after what seemed to be an eternity, the results were announced.

One will never know who was more nervous, proud parents or serious contender. But upon hearing his name, an elated Evan coolly removed his bowler in deference to the honor from the judges as he extended his hand to receive the ribbon and trophy. It’s what an English hound handler does, he would say. His mother says he’s already thinking about next year, the 11-16 group.

Evan is spending his summer walking hounds with Andy and looking forward to hunting with his “buddy.”

Well done, young man!