The Arapahoe Hunt was founded in 1907 in Denver. We know very little about the early Hunt other than that its kennels were located on what is now the eighth green of the Denver Country Club golf course. Its hunt country was along Cherry Creek in what was then “South” Denver. John F. Kuykendall was M.F.H..
The Arapahoe Hunt went dormant in about 1927 with the loss of its hunt country because of the development of the Denver Country Club and South Denver. However, the Hunt was reactivated in 1929 by Lawrence C. Phipps, Jr., who had moved to Denver from Pittsburgh with his father, Lawrence C. Phipps, who later became a U.S. Senator. Lawrence C. Phipps, Jr. was the father of one of our late Joint Masters, Lawrence C. Phipps, III.
Mr. Phipps located the kennels on his ranch, the “Diamond K,” now known as Highlands Ranch, located in northern Douglas County, about ten miles south of Denver. The old country consisted of about 23,000 acres, all part of the Highlands Ranch, plus 6,000 additional acres on the adjacent Cherokee Ranch and Daniels Park, a buffalo preserve owned by the City of Denver, and several small ranches along Santa Fe Drive. This old country comprised virtually all of the land south of County Line Road to Sedalia.
The north half of the old country was rolling grassland with very few trees, much like our present country. The south half, however, was rugged, hilly country cut by many steep arroyos and heavily forested with pine, cottonwood, and scrub oak. It was easy to get separated from the hounds or the field in the south half of the old country.
In 1976, the Highlands Ranch was sold to Mission Viejo Company, a land developer. However, the purchaser allowed the Hunt to maintain its kennels in their original location on the Highlands Ranch and to continue to hunt on the ranch until 1987.
In 1987, the Hunt entered a lease with the Colorado State Land Board for the Lowry Bombing Range in Eastern Arapahoe County for new hunt country. For the 1987-1988 season the kennels were located in Sedalia in Douglas County, at a small ranch owned by Mr. Clyde Canino. In 1988, the Hunt built kennels and a horse barn on the Range.
The new hunt country is all rolling grassland cut by three drainages: Box Elder Creek, Coal Creek, and Piney Creek. Willows and cottonwoods border the creeks and a number of foundations of old homesteads dot the fields.
In late 1998, the Hunt helped to place the entire Lowry Bombing Range in the Stewardship Trust. As a result, this land will remain undeveloped open space unless and until the State Land Board removes it from the Stewardship Trust.
Occasionally, we hold hunts in the Plum Creek Valley area near Larkspur, Colorado; on the Monaghan Ranch near Laramie, Wyoming; on the Phipps/Younglund Ranches near Kiowa; and on Bradbury/Pippen Ranch near Byers, Colorado.
We presently have 32 couple of hounds (i.e. 64 hounds)—14 couple of bitches and 19 couple of dogs. This includes 7 ½ couple of first season season hounds, which are just 1 year old. This number declines as the season progresses due to attrition from age and a variety of incidents. This number is necessary to hunt 2-3 days a week.
Most of our hounds are straight English foxhounds rather than American, but four couple are Crossbreds. Our hounds’ lineage is directly tied to English packs—Old Surrey and Barstow, the Whaddon Chase, the Puckeridge-Thurlow, the Vale of the White Horse, the North Cotswold, the Exmoor, the College Valley, Toronto North York, Live Oak and Midland Foxhounds. We’ve had very good success in breeding to the bitch Pennant, of Irish descent. The ticking present in many of our hounds was introduced by Cardiff (Whaddon Chase) and Acrobat (Puckeridge-Thurlow) and has been a characteristic of good hounds. We have drafted hounds to other packs or bred their bitches to our dog hounds. Some of the hunts participating in this program are Los Altos, Bijou Springs, Cornwall, Juan Tomas, Fort Leavenworth, Moore County, Toronto-North York, Caza Ladron and College Valley.
The hounds are exercised most days; we do not hunt throughout the year. From early May to late July, we walk the hounds on foot or horseback. The rest of the year, we exercise on horseback.
The Arapahoe hunts only the coyote and was probably one of the first hunts in the U.S. to hunt coyotes exclusively since its reactivation in 1929. The fox and the coyote seldom appear to coexist peacefully. The coyote has extended its range in the face of civilization—one of the very few animals to do so. You have probably seen pictures of the coyote drinking out of a Los Angeles swimming pool or loping through a suburban New York City cemetery. Unlike foxes, coyotes do not scurry about or “go to ground” frequently. They tend to “take off” and run long distances; for example, runs of seven to ten miles are quite common. We have hunted since 1972 without “drawing a blank,” i.e. failing to chase a coyote. Although we hunt several coyotes each time we go out, accounting for them is the exception rather than the rule.
The Arapahoe has had only seven Masters since 1929 and two of those were in its very early years. Except for military service during World War II, Lawrence C. Phipps, Jr. served as Master from the mid-1930s until he retired in the early 1970s. W. W. Grant served as Master from 1941 to 1945 while Mr. Phipps was in the Army. Mr. Phipps appointed his son, Lawrence C. Phipps III, a rancher, Joint Master in 1968. He passed away in September, 2016. Donald J. O’Connor, a lawyer, was added as Joint Master in 1981; in 2008, he became MFH Emeritus and an Honorary Member. In 1990, Dr. Marvin Beeman, a veterinarian, became MFH. Dr. Beeman is the Huntsman and was President of the Masters of Foxhounds Association from January 2008 to January 2011. In 2006, they were joined by Robert H. Deline, rancher and businessman, and Mike Wilfley, Denver businessman. In 2010, Mary Ewing, a Denver lawyer, was appointed as Joint Master.
The Arapahoe Hunt has had only three huntsmen since its reactivation in 1929. David Thornton, a Scotsman, was the original Huntsman. George Beeman succeeded him in 1934 and George hunted the hounds for 53 years until his retirement in 1987 when his son Dr. Marvin Beeman succeeded him. Even after retirement, George occasionally hunted the hounds as Huntsman Emeritus in his son’s absence, until 1990 when he sustained serious neck injuries in a fall on July 15 while exercising the hounds.
During these 53 years, George and his family were the “spirit” of the Arapahoe. His wife, Marguerite, produced two whips, their son, Marvin, and daughter, Bunny, and led the vehicular hilltoppers during the hunts. George not only hunted the hounds, but also bred and raised them, bred, raised, and broke the staff horses, cared for 30 members’ horses boarded at the kennels, and mended everything from saddles to pickups to windmills.
When George retired in 1987, his son, Marvin, a well-known equine veterinarian, took over as Huntsman and has hunted, exercised, bred, and doctored the hounds ever since. Marvin began his career at the Arapahoe as a gateboy at age ten and wore scarlet as a whip for 42 years before becoming Huntsman.
The Arapahoe Hunt goes out 60-70 hunts a year, with cubbing from Labor Day to mid-October and regular season from mid-October to mid-April. Depending on the weather, we have approximately 30 field members on Wednesday hunts and 70 on weekend hunts. Guests are welcome for a $40 capping fee during the autumn hunt season and $90 during the regular season.
In September, we sponsor a cross country pace event at Plum Creek Hollow Farm, hosted by the Gooding family, or at Colorado Horse Park. We also host a Field Day in mid-April at the Range. At the social level, we have a Huntsman’s Dinner in November, a Christmas party, Men of the Hunt party, and St. Patrick’s Day party. Our formal dinner dance (“scarlet preferred”) is the Masters’ Dinner in late April.
The Arapahoe Hunt has about 225 members. They come from all walks of life—from bank teller to bank president—and over half are women. There is excellent member participation in all activities.
Depending on the weather, we have approximately 30 field members on Wednesday hunts and 70 on weekend hunts. Guests are welcome for a $40 capping fee during the fall cubbing season and $80 during the regular season.
In September, we sponsor a cross country pace event at Plum Creek Hollow Farm, hosted by members Richard and Nancy Gooding, or at Colorado Horse Park. We also host Point-to-Point races in mid-April at the Range. At the social level, we have a Huntsman’s Dinner in November, a Christmas party, Men of the Hunt party, and St. Patrick’s Day party. Our formal dinner dance (“scarlet preferred”) is the Masters’ Dinner in late April.