THE SLOUGHI STORY: INSPIRATION
BEHIND THE LGRA
By Jack William Lewis, Reata Whippets
National Race Director-Large Gazehound Racing Association
|It was on a trek to Colorado from Utah, with
my Whippets to participate in a National Oval Track Racing Association
Meet weekend that I first became acquainted with the Sloughi. After
the meet completed on August 20, 1994, Dominique De Caprona and Bernd Fritzsch
arrived from Omaha with their Sloughi, five of them! After the Meet
Awards ceremony we spent the afternoon training the fast adapting Sloughi
to ovaling. Linda and Tim Sanders then brought all the travelers to their
beautiful home for a great evening and a super pasta dinner. No better
hospitality anywhere as the Sanders' put us all up for the evening.
The next day the Oval Meet had as participants, Whippets, Pharaoh's, Afghans, a Saluki; and five Sloughi! As the current (1992-1997) National Race Director of the NOTRA, I granted Dominique and Bernd "Provisional" status to run their hounds, keep a record of their feats, and then submit the question of the approval of the Sloughi as a recognized breed to the NOTRA Clubs at the end of the year on NOTRA's annual ballot. The Sloughi did not disappoint in their first Oval Meet (August 21) and "Chamisa" took the victory. All the owners were very impressed with the performance of the Sloughi that day. Their feat made the lead story of the September 1994 issue of The Whippet Wrunner, a monthly newsletter that published Sighthound racing results! The year end NOTRA Ballot process approved the Sloughi for full recognition with NOTRA.
The NOTRA Nationals were held in Celina, Texas in May of 1995 and the Sloughi made their first appearance as approved NOTRA hounds. The two day event once again demonstrated the beauty, soundness and racing heart of the Sloughi. Their were seven entries each day with "Rif" winning the 350 meter on May 6, while "Aswad" came back the next day to win the four program 300 yard event. Rif took the Nationals for Sloughi breed with a High Combined score of 29.5, just hedging Aswad's 29 points. I would see the Sloughi again in Colorado in June and again the excitement of their racing was terrific. I asked Dominique and Bernd if they would consider coming to Utah to race in August or September, however when told the format would include Whippet Sprints on Saturday and All Breed ovaling on Sunday, they thought the expense of great travel for just one day of racing was prohibitive. I had to agree and then wondered to myself, why don't we have Sprint racing for breeds other than Whippets?!
Determined to have the Sloughi come to Utah, I spent the months of June and July, 1995 developing the Rules for what would become the Large Gazehound Racing Association (LGRA). I reviewed my Rule Book with several Whippet racing fanciers, chief among them Jean Balint, and all gave me encouragement. In August I informed Dominique and Bernd, that LGRA would have its inaugural meet on my property, Reata Whippet Park, in Riverton, Utah on September 16. And they came! "Amir" would lead 8 Sloughis to the finish line in the first LGRA Meet ever held and on the following day, Aswad would come back to win the Oval, with Amir second.
It is now 1998 and the marvelous Sloughi have
become a great success among Sighthound Fanciers for both their beauty,
grace and racing ability. And on a parallel track, LGRA has grown
to be a first rate racing organizations with the annual Schedule including
50 Meets all over the US and Canada with over 600 hounds registered to
participate. In the meanwhile the Sloughi now count
The future seems assured for the Large Gazehound Racing Association, and even more so for the hounds who inspired LGRA's birth, the magnificent Sloughi of Dominique de Caprona and Bernd Fritzsch.
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