Masters of Foxhounds and huntsmen from surrounding areas were among those who arrived at Bretton Woods Country Club for a party Saturday night to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Larry Pitts’ tenure as professional huntsman for the Potomac Hunt.
Tribute after tribute followed many recollections.
Potomac’s jtMFH Vicki Crawford told one of the hunting crowd’s favorite stories. It seems “Rapidan,” a champion hound, failed to return with the pack to the hound truck after a day’s hunt last winter. “Larry, looking for him, slept in his truck for two nights until 'Rapidan' was found,” she recalled. This pretty well reveals the man’s devotion to his hounds.
More than 175 guests joined in the tribute planned by Crawford, Toni Koerber, Ellie Trueman, Rex Reed and Pat Sutherland. From the way things turned out this group should forget their day jobs and take up party planning.
Each table, where guests enjoyed roast beef and salmon dinners, plus desserts that will never appear on a weight watcher’s menu, was graced with a silver hound trophy holding a bouquet of spring flowers. Color photographs were prominently displayed throughout the clubhouse. A bowl of “memory cards” filled to capacity as the crowd assembled, and Larry Dale Pitts bios plus anniversary table favors at each place setting completed the well planned commemoration.
Naturally, there were numerous riding tales and at least one obvious mishap. Joe Muldoon III, was on crutches, his foot in a cast. “A horse fell on him,” his dad, Joe, Jr., said.
Lauren Pollin, there with husband, Rick, showed little effect of her bad hunting accident last winter when her horse got too close to a tree. She was much more excited about the progress of their new home under construction in Barnesville, than talking about a smashed knee.
Many in the crowd could remember when Pitts arrived in Potomac. Just a few days earlier the Potomac Hunt had relocated from the Glen Road location where the clubhouse and kennels had been since 1945, to Barnesville. Gogo and Austin Kiplinger, Missy Lankler, Carol and Bob Ladd, Sara Lee Greenhalgh, “Junior” and Csaba Magassy, Steve Paley, Sue Roberts, Anne Davies, Marlys and Lyle Gramley, jtMFH Peter Hitchen and jtMFHs Vicki and Skip Crawford were among those who could recall the big move.
“I remember when we moved up here there wasn’t even a horse barn on the property,” Pitts said. Neither was his wife, Peggy, there when Larry took the job on May 1, 1980. “I went back to Ontario, Canada, [where his previous job was] to marry her on June 14. It has been, for me at least, 25 wonderful years,” he beamed. The former Peggy Bayliss, their children, Justin and Laura, and Peggy’s parents were all there.
Potomac jtMFH Skip Crawford summed up the evening when he reminded everyone, “This is not a retirement party. We just want to thank Larry for a great time. Twenty-five years? I don’t know where they went,” he said.
Mentioning retirement to Pitts brought the same conclusion. “Not as long as I can keep on hunting and doing a good job,” he responded.
“A good day of fishing is not quite as good as a good day of fox hunting,” he added.