More images to follow
Since 2010 the Beagle Club of Queensland has held its final event for the year on the Gold Coast. The event is a walk along the beach on the Southport Spit for our Beagles and their owners, with a Christmas morning tea held afterwards. This walk has been a very enjoyable and fun event and as a result, the number of Beagles and people attending the walk has increased since it was first held.
In 2012, our numbers reached 75. For 2013, the Club pushed to get the numbers over 100, something we wouldn’t have imagined 12 months before. That year, we reached 153 Beagles for our walk.
With the increase in numbers and interest from many avenues, the Beagle Club of Queensland initiated the event now known as “Beagles Across Australia”. This event is a day for all Beagle clubs around Australia, along with members in various regional locations, to get out and celebrate the breed. We had more than 350 Beagles across the country participating in this simultaneous celebration of the breed. Walks took place in more than 10 centres across Australia, from Cairns and Townsville in North Queensland, to Perth in the west. We also had interest and walks taking place overseas in Germany and Qatar. As a result of Beagles Across Australia and with media coverage from the Gold Coast Bulletin and Channel 7, the numbers for our Southport Spit walk reached 186, despite torrential rain before and during the walk.
In July 2015 at the Beagle National in the USA, 200 Beagles assembled in a pack – a world record for the largest Beagle pack. Their claim to this record challenged the Beagle Club of Queensland to beat the record as part of Beagles Across Australia for 2015. The wheels were set in motion to make this event our biggest yet and to see if we could set a record.
The Club setting about making this a “Beagle Bonanza”, with stalls, raffles, prizes and fun and games for the Beagles. Media outlets were notified and the event was advertised on Facebook, the Club web site and on the Beagles Across Australia web site. The stage was set.
As the Beagles and their owners began to congregate at Federation Park, opposite Sea World, the numbers were looking very promising. Almost every car that drove down Seaway Drive had at least one Beagle, smiling in anticipation.
The numbers kept increasing – 50, 100, 150. Journalists from the Gold Coast Bulletin and two TV stations had arrived to take in the spectacle. Had we reached the record. Even if we didn’t achieve the record, it was going to be a fabulous day.
The Beagles and their owners moved from Federation Park to the beach – a feat in itself. There were Beagles everywhere. The count kept going up. At the official start time of the walk, we had assembled an amazing 403 Beagles on Main Beach. This was more than double the record set in the USA earlier in the year. The number blew everyone away. We had no idea we would achieve this number. The media were having a field day, taking video and photos of the mass of Beagles, sniffing, playing and enjoying this event.
With the record broken, the focus moved to the walk. Having more than 400 Beagles walking north along Main Beach was a sight in itself.
As the pack returned, the Club had organised morning tea, drinks, merchandise stalls for everyone to enjoy, and information about Beagle welfare, the Club and the breed. We had two photo booths for people to take photos of their Beagles with Santa. Beagles Across Australia T shirts were available to celebrate the event, as well as club merchandise items. Most importantly, the Club was able to enjoy the breed in the best way possible – by getting together, enjoying time with other Beagle owners and to take one day out to celebrate the breed with other Beagle owners across the country.
Beagles Across Australia and the walk on Southport Spit was an amazing event for our Club and one that has enabled us to promote the breed to a level we could not have imagined. In total, we had close to 600 Beagles walking across the country, with walks taking place across Queensland in Cairns, Townsville, Charters Towers, Toowoomba and Hervey Bay, as well as in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
USA has already thrown down the gauntlet to break our record next year, so the challenge is now on to hold onto or break our record. Who knows – maybe Beagles Across Australia in 2016 will go global!!