GRAND SIXTEEN Class of 2011
Posted on 09/09/2011 in Coonhounds.
UKC GRAND SIXTEEN - A record number of Grand Nite Champions pre- entered into the 52nd Annual Autumn Oaks with aspirations of earning a ticket to – the GRAND SIXTEEN. The 2011 stars, emerging from a grand field of 225, included three Black & Tans, one Bluetick, six English and six Treeing Walkers.
One of the first handlers in the headquarters early Saturday morning was a youngster - Brent Christie. The 18 year old owner-handler had his whole family out there anxiously anticipating the posted results. Eventually, the smiles surrounding the Christie group told the story that their English hound Redneck’s Smokin Joe made the cut. By noon all of the connections of those on the list made their way by the photo booth for pictures and instructions on the procedure for Saturday night.
Publicly introducing and recognizing the GRAND SIXTEEN were the first order of business on Saturday afternoon’s hunt check list. Amongst them stood a world renowned champion coonhound named Mr Clean. His Friday night 550 point effort had placed him mid-pack of those top Grand scores.
Also included in this ceremony was Woodmaster’s Stone Cold Joe who posted the top score of 1,075+. That score also turned out to be the highest of the weekend and only score to break the 1,000+ mark in all categories. Another coonhound back in the GRAND SIXTEEN was a B&T, Triple Creek Lock. That now made him the only two-time contender in the GRAND SIXTEEN.
It was neat to see each GRAND coonhound and its connections of owners and handlers applauded by the crowd of hunters in the stands. As it turned it took a score of 475+ or better for a ticket and opportunity to be named the next National Grand Champion.
With the GRAND SIXTEEN holding in the spotlight, well qualified non-hunting judges were drawn to each scorecard followed by each dog called as its entry was pulled from a blind draw. Each cast had a local non-hunting guide assigned to each cast before any judges or entries were drawn to them. After each cast was assembled and cast photos were taken it became a waiting game. Waiting for dark-thirty.
Grand Sixteen including Friday night score:
GRNITECH'PR'WOODMASTER'S STONE COLD JOE , JESSIE LUTTRELL, LAWRENCEBURG KY handled by Mark Jones 1,075+
GRNITECH'PR'BURDINE STYLISH LACE , DEAN MILLER & NICK BRADY, BERLIN OH, handled by Nick Brady 875+
CH GRNITECH'PR'HAILES RED RIVER , JODY JESSUP / PENNY JESSUP, LONDON KY, handled by Jody Jessup 700+
GRNITECH'PR'HILLTOP'S MOUNTAIN MOMMA, BRIAN M COLLINS / ARTHUR M COLLINS, HALLBACK WV handled by Josh Bullard 650+
CH GRNITECH'PR'TRIPLE CREEK LOCK, JAMES GREEN & EDWARD DIBLING, ANGOLA IN, handled by Anthony Goss 575+
GRNITECH NORTHERN REDNECKS SMOKIN JOE, JAMES CHRISTIE / BRENT CHRISTIE, FARWELL MI, handled by Brent Christie 550+
GRNITECH'PR'MANNS' WILD-N-BLUE PEG, JOHNNY SHEFFIELD, WHITESBURG GA 550+
WLDNITECH GRNITECH'PR'HOUSE'S MR CLEAN, BRYAN WHITTED / MICHAEL THOMAS, handled by Bryan Whitted 550+
GRNITECH GRCH'PR'JOE'S BATTLEWOOD POUNDER, TERRY A VANCE, CORINTH KY 500+
GRNITECH GRCH'PR'CHRISTIAN'S LATE NITE CASH, DON CHRISTIAN, KITTS HILL OH 500+
GRNITECH'PR'FRANKS DOODLEBERRY, ASHLEY DALTON, HARTS WV, handled by Duane Brown 500+
GRNITECH'PR'MAIN STREET JOHN BOY, ALBERT GERARDOT & MARK FREY, handled by Mark Frey 500+
GRNITECH'PR'STYLISH ABAGAL, STEVE BURKHOLDER / SHANE GROVES, ANGOLA IN handled by Steve Burkholder 475+
GRCH GRNITECH'PR'SOUTHEASTERNS RIVER SWAMP JUDD, MIKE SETLIFF / GREG KOONS, GRAYSON KY handled by Mike Setliff 475+
CH GRNITECH'PR'FLAT TIMBER'S LOOK OUT SAM, TRENTEN LIVINGSTON / TERRY LIVINGSTON, GREENVILLE OH handled by Trent Livingston 475+
GRNITECH GRCH'PR'THOMPSONS FIRST AND LAST TIME, STEVEN RAY THOMPSON, CHESTERVILLE OH, handled by Cody Sipe 475+
Cast #1- from left to right) Judge Evan Workman, Steve Burkholder with Abagal, Johnny Sheffield with Peg, Brent Christie with Joe, Bryan Whitted with Clean, Issac and Adam Stretch and Cole Basler.
Cast #2 - Don Christian with Cash, Judge Asa Briggs (standing), Cody Sipe with Time, Guide Mike Carmack, Mike Setliff with Judd and Anthony Goss with Lock.
Cast #3 - From left to right) Judge Dale Rakestraw, Jody Jessup with River, Mark Jones with Joe, Terry Vance with Pounder, Mark Frey with John Boy and Albert Gerardot.
Cast #4 - back row left to right ) Judge Marlin Yoder, Dean Miller, Guide Reagan Lanter, Terry Livingston and Ashley Dalton.
Front row left to right) Josh Bullard with Momma, Nick Brady with Lace, Trent Livingston with Sam and Duane Brown with Doodleberry.
Cast #1 and #4 were the first ones to return in close unison at 12:55am. Cast #1 had scored on two coon; both of which were treed first by the eventual cast winner Mr Clean. Brent Christies’ hound Smokin Joe had made three trees alone. Unfortunately for him, no coon were seen in any of those trees. Cast #4 saw a total of five coons and scored on two. Hilltop’s Mountain Momma took a 125 hit right out of the gate but managed to come back to win the cast in a tie-breaker against Burdines Stylish Lace.
At 1:42 am cast #2 came back to Master of Hounds Doug Cundiff at the headquarters. Just like the previous two casts, they also scored on two coons. Late Night Cash and First and Last Time had each treed one each with Time coming away with the cast win. Cast #3 came back several minutes later. Like the previous three casts they had also scored on two coons. Joe’s Battlewood Pounder treed the first coon seen. River and Joe backed him on it. Joe was shut out on strike on that tree so he was only credited with tree points. After turning back loose, Joe made a tree by himself with a coon seen passing Pounders score to be named the cast winner.
Treeing coons throughout this whole weekend didn’t seem to come very easy at all. It was dry and hot, hot, hot. Earlier in the day the temperature had tipped the 100 degree mark and it hadn’t dropped a whole lot during the night. Verbal reports included many of the casts seeing plenty of coons sitting around - treeing them, however, seemed to be a different story.
Final Four - So, the late round was set. Bryan Whitted with Mr Clean, Mark Jones with Joe, Cody Sipe with Time and Josh Bullard with Momma (call name Chloe). The three Walkers and English would hunt for one hour to determine the next National Grand Nite Champion of Autumn Oaks. According to co-judge Mike Lester the chain of events were as follows. (Check out the scorecard shown below)
In the wee hours of Sunday morning the four hopefuls were cast; kicking up rooster tails in separate directions. Momma struck first followed by Clean and Time. Josh Bullard was the first to announce the first tree call in the cast. Shortly thereafter, Cody Sipe called Time treed as well. Clean was in the opposite direction working a track and nothing from Joe. Not yet. After Mommas tree was closed the cast arrived to find Time split from Momma. A coon was seen in Momma’s tree while Time’s tree was circled. The two hounds were recast.
Next, Mark Jones struck Joe for a quarter followed by a tree call. The cast was heading towards Joe’s tree when Brian Whitted called Clean treed in another direction. No coon was seen in Joe’s tree but the judges found it reasonable to be circled. Joe was recast.
As time was winding down on Cleans tree and while the cast was walking in his direction, Momma, Time and Joe were declared struck by their handlers. With the cast still walking towards Clean and his tree now closed Bullard called Momma treed towards his direction. As they neared it became obvious she was off to one side of Clean treed separate. Only six or seven minutes of hunt remained at this point.
While the primary judge and other cast members were shining Cleans tree secondary judge Mike Lester and handler Josh Bullard headed towards Momma to handle her. Momma was handled on a small walnut tree, described as being about the size of an arm next to a woven wire fence. Lester recalls Bullard turning a bit pale as they arrived. And who wouldn;t because it was pretty clear, even in the darkness, this tree would either have a coon or it wouldn’t.
Before they could return to Clean’s tree they met the cast coming over to Momma’s tree with the announcement that they had seen Clean’s coon and scored him as such. At this point hunt time had expired. All that was left was to score one more tree - a tree that would determine whether it would be Clean or Momma that would win Autumn Oaks. Unfortunately, for Bullard and Momma no coon was seen and it was scored as empty. What an empty feeling it must have been for Bullard being that close and considering the circumstances as they had unfolded.
With a little luck on his side at the wire, Mr Clean proved worthy of the addition of yet another prestigious title to his already world renown name, now NGRNITECH WRLDNITECH GRNITECH ‘PR’ Mr Clean. The United Kennel Club congratulates the owners and handlers of each of the GRAND SIXTEEN players for their accomplishments at the 52nd Annual Autumn Oaks. A special applause goes to owners Bryan Whitted and Michael Thomas and their Champion coon-treer - Mr Clean!
A special thanks to each of the non-hunting judges, Evan Workman, Asa Briggs, Dale Rakestraw, Marlin Yoder, James Atwell and Mike Lester who took on the responsibility of judging the GRAND SIXTEEN. And to the non-hunting guides, Bruce Johnson, Mike Carmack, Ben Banks and Reagan Lanter thanks to each of you for the use of your hunting grounds and making it a Grand Hunt!
2011 National Grand Nite Champion
WLDNITECH GRNITECH 'PR' Mr Clean owned by Bryan Whitted and Michael Thomas of Huntington, Indiana
Also shown from left to right) Brandon White, Issac Stretch, Michael Thomas, Bryan Whitted, Jody Jessup, Cole Basler, Adam and Rick Stretch.