Episode 25: Recorded November 15, 2021
“I think of you as the Sir Mark Prescott of American coursing…”Host John Parker on Steve Downs and his involvement in coursing in the United States
Steve Downs is a fourth generation Greyhound man. His father’s family hailed from California and became interested in hunting hares, also referred to as as jackrabbits in the United States. Steve caught his first hare around the age of five with the first Greyhound he could call his own, a black brindle named Felix.
In 1990, Steve joined a friend for a coursing meeting sanctioned by the National Open Field Coursing Association (NOFCA). On this trip to Wyoming, he experienced coursing under rules for the first time with his Greyhound. Steve’s favorite Greyhound at the time — Sally — won the hunt on his behalf.
NOFCA, founded in the 1960s, established rules for walked-up coursing in the United States for most of the sighthound breeds. Steve would continue his involvement with the organization into the mid-2000s when he became a licensed judge for NOFCA coursing meetings. He also began to breed his own Greyhounds for open field coursing and developed a sense for the traits that made for excellent coursing dogs.
In this episode, host John Parker and Steve discuss the history of open field coursing in the United States, including the evolution of NOFCA as a governing body for the sport. Steve shares his experiences as a breeder, a judge, and a competitor during the course of the interview.