04 Sep 2010

Melvin Poe Just Turned 90

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Then 89-Year-Old Huntsman Melvin Poe leading out the Bath County Hounds last November (click on image for larger picture)

Norman Fine, at FoxHuntingLife.com, reports on the recent birthday party held for renowned Huntsman Melvin Poe’s 90th.

Hounds were screaming, and the huntsman was cooking. A cattle guard loomed ahead—a coop to the left and a gate to the right. The huntsman veered left.

“Melvin,” someone yelled, “the gate’s on the right!”

“Melvin just kept kicking on, right over the coop,” recalled Joe Conner, shaking his head and grinning in wonder.

Conner, who has whipped-in to Melvin for years at Bath County (VA), didn’t resurrect that story out of a distant past. It had happened only weeks before Melvin Poe’s ninetieth birthday celebration.

A month or so earlier, I had recognized the same notes of awe and wonder as I stood chatting withe Brian Smith, my farrier, about Melvin’s upcoming ninetieth birthday.

“I was just down at Melvin’s shoeing horses,” he said, “and man, he climbs up on his horse smoother than I do!”

Saturday night, August 28, friends and family gathered at the Marriott Ranch in Hume, Virginia, just down the road from Melvin’s and Peggy’s farm, to celebrate his ninetieth birthday and to honor his achievements.

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