Hunt Country Cluster
Warrenton Kennel Club
Old Dominion Kennel Club of N. VA, Inc.
Sept. 29-Oct. 1
There’s no doubt the late dog fancier Harry Z. Isaacs would have smiled to see the turnout and exciting competition at the third annual Hunt Country Cluster at the Historic Long Branch Farm in Millwood, Va., last weekend. The cluster was the first-ever AKC event hosted by the Historic Long Branch Farm, which Isaacs donated to a non-profit to restore it and open it to the public. The Warrenton Kennel Club held its dog show Sept. 29-30. The Old Dominion Kennel Club of N.VA, Inc. (ODKC), an AKC member club, rounded out the weekend with its show Sunday, Oct. 1.
Fanciers will appreciate the generosity, hard work and dedication that helped make the weekend’s memorable and successful shows possible.
At the age of 32, Harry Z. Isaacs took over his family's Maryland clothing manufacturing business. His hobbies included dogs, horses and the decorative arts. He was president of the Maryland Kennel Club for 20 years and was instrumental in introducing the Rottweiler to the United States. His Brookfield Stables with locations in Maryland, New York, Florida and California produced exceptional racehorses.
“After purchasing Historic Long Branch and beginning its restoration, Isaacs learned that he had terminal cancer. He decided to leave the house and the 400-acre farm to a non-profit foundation and open Historic Long Branch to the public,” according to the Historic Long Branch website. “Isaacs died in 1990, shortly after the restoration of the mansion was complete.”
“The Harry Z. Isaacs Foundation was headquartered in Baltimore, but a local board of directors, chaired by Tyson Gilpin of Boyce, was created to oversee the daily operation of the estate. Colette Poisson, an assistant to Isaacs who had advised him in the restoration and furnishing of the house, became the curator,” according to the Historic Long Branch website. “Poisson also exhibited dogs. Joseph B. Hickey, a nationally known competitive horseman, signed on as the resident farm manager. On April 3, 1993, Historic Long Branch was opened to the public.”
Through the vision and hard work of John Woodson and Joe Pistolesi, Director of Show Operations, on the weekend of Sept. 29-Oct. 1, the Historic Long Branch hosted its first ever AKC dog event – the 3rd Annual Hunt Country Cluster. ODKC had considered Long Branch a decade ago for its spring show. At that time Long Branch did not want overnight RVs. Fall weather, the hay crop long harvested from the desired field and an appreciation, understanding and acceptance of the necessity for RVs made fall shows a possibility. Woodson and Pistolesi worked together to accomplish the actual layout and details of Isaac’s dream! The ever-present Harry Miller and his crew made it all happen smoothly. The two-day Warrenton Kennel Club event and one-day event for Old Dominion Kennel Club were each a great success. Surely Isaacs was smiling down on his beautiful Long Branch and enjoying the spectacle.
Click on image for caption and larger view. Photos by Robert Young/AKC.