Hooper Spinone Fest 2019
The West Coast Spinone Club held it’s annual Spinone-fest in Hooper Washington Sept. 26 – 29. Hooper is a very small community in Eastern Washington, where my husband Andy grew up, and it is still a family-owned working ranch. We’ve held an event there for a number of years, primarily centered around hunt training but also featuring other activities, such as grooming seminars, rally obedience, agility, art night and movie night. Technically we started back when my husband and I still lived in Alaska and came down for summer vacations when 5 friends brought our Spinoni for “Gals with Guns”. For probably the last 6 or 7 years, it’s been an annual event for West Coast Spinone Club members and friends.
The event is centered around the “Hooper Hotel” – Hotel Glenmore in the long distant past, where the likes of Zane Gray, and many others, stayed. More recently, the hotel has been used to house ranch workers, and used by friends hunting on the ranch, for family retreats and weddings, quilting weekends… and the Spinone fest. There are around 10 bedrooms, a big communal kitchen, a dining room, and a front room/lobby for gathering after dinner. It’s rustic – bathrooms down the hall. Breakfasts are “continental” and lunches build your own, and dinners cooked in the kitchen and served in the dining room. (Thanks to Rebecca VanEss and Rebecca Flores for assisting with that, as well as with setting up and cleaning the rooms before most people arrived)
This year, the Spinoni were joined by 4 Vizslas and one English Cocker. We started the weekend’s activities on Friday with my husband giving an agility “class”, when dogs had the chance to try tunnels, jumps, and weave poles in the park across from the hotel. Dogs and people alike enjoyed and were entertained! Andy and my brother-in-law John also took groups of people out on ranch tours, seeing sights like Palouse Falls (which the ranch overlooks on one side of the falls), the old sheep barns, where great horned owls nest, and the wheat ranch. In the evenings we played some entertaining games, and watched a wonderful documentary on the history of the nearby town of Lacross and the Palouse region, narrated by my brother in law Alex McGregor, who joined us for dinner.
For the second year in a row, we brought Jonathan Parenjothy from the Chicago area to assist us with hunt training. Jonathan is a NAVHDA judge and a Spinone breeder. This year Jonathan brought his wife Ann. We gathered at a field near the town on Sat. morning and everyone got a chance putting their dogs on birds so that Jonathan could assess their experience level. In the afternoon, thanks to some unseasonably cold and wet weather, we spent a few hours in the hotel “lobby” learning about table training. Sunday morning it was back out to the field for more training. After lunch, everyone headed home. I remained behind to tidy up the hotel, and the weather warmed and the sun came out the next day!
Going to Hooper is a little like stepping back in time. There is limited cell service and internet, so the entertainment is each other. It is a special place and we all look forward to going back next year!